Krzysztof Zanussi – Barwy ochronne AKA Camouflage (1977)

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A group of students are spending the summer vacation at a university camp studying the science of linguistics. One of the camp directors, Jaroslaw, is a young professor who prefers the straightforward, intimate approach to students. He is opposed in his liberal views by Jakub, who likes to manipulate people. There is a confrontation from the beginning when Jaroslaw allows to attend the seminar a student who presents the views not according to the official line. In the end, a jury prize is given to mediocre paper, while the suspected school of thought still draws a recommendation. Finally the deputy rector arrives for the closing ceremonies, and since he disfavors the line of thought awarded by the recommendation the tensions rise. They climax when student in question bites the rector in the ear while receiving recommendation. The confrontation results in a scandal and the police is called in. Continue reading

George Sluizer – Twee vrouwen AKA Twice A Woman (1979)

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Laura (Bibi Andersson) has long been divorced from her theater-critic husband Alfred (Anthony Perkins), though they still see one another from time to time. One day, while working at the icon museum she directs, Laura strikes up a conversation with Sylvia (Sandra Dumas). The two take a shine to one another immediately, and soon they are in bed together. This begins to lead to problems, because Sylvia is young and still lives at home with her parents, who are beginning to suspect something has been going on. Ex-husband Alfred chimes in, saying that Laura should be more careful. By this time, Alfred and Sylvia have also become lovers, as Laura soon discovers. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Richard Schenkman – The Man from Earth (2007) (HD)

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In the mood for a little blasphemy today? Then allow me to introduce you to ‘The Man from Earth’. Now I can’t tell you why this film is so blasphemous as that pretty much ruins the thing and as it is I’ve said too much already, but this is a work of fiction which does openly challenge some long held religious beliefs. Keywords being ‘work of fiction’ so I see no reason for anybody to watch this film and get all upset because it’s just a story that Jerome Bixby made up. The only thing that we’re concerned about here is if this filmed work of fiction is entertaining, and to that end allow me to say it is very entertaining. Continue reading

Aki Kaurismäki – Juha (1999) (HD)

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A farmer’s wife is seduced into running away from her stolid older husband by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel.

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Literature is full of triangle dramas, but very few of them can beat Juhani Aho’s “Juha” (1998) for deepness of emotions and understanding of all three parties. The story is straight and strong, yet full of detail, just waiting to be ruined by cinematic means.
I had planned to film “Juha” almost as long as we had planned to make a silent movie with composer Anssi Tikanmäki. One day we were clever enough to put the ideas together and the catastrophe was ready.
Afterwards I’m not surprised that all efforts (except Tati’s “Mon Oncle”) to make a silent film during the last decades have somehow failed; the easiness of explaining all by words has polluted our story telling to a pale shadow of original cinema.
We can never again make films like “Broken Blossoms”, “Sunrise” or “Queen Kelly” because since film started to gable with mumble and all that hoochie-coochie and fancy words, stories have lost their purity, cinema its essence: innocence.
(Aki Kaurismäki) Continue reading

Volker Schlöndorff – Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell AKA Man on Horseback [alternate English cut] (1969)

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Man on Horseback (German: Michael Kohlhaas – der Rebell) is a 1969 German drama film directed by Volker Schlöndorff based on the novel Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich Von Kleist. It was entered into the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Another film based on the book is scheduled for release at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The made-for-TV western “The Jack Bull” (1999) starring John Cusack is also based on von Kleist’s “Michael Kohlhaas.”

Synopsis: It’s medieval times. Kohlhaas merchants with horses. When going to the local fair to sell his horses, is forced by a noble to leave him part of the merchandise as payment for traveling through his land, promising to give it back when the fair is over. When he returns, the horses are almost dead, and the man refuse to respond, so Kohlhass begins to fight unsuccesfuly against the injustice.

This is your basic revenge story with a bunch of horses and violence. Also, David Warner wears some ridiculous leather pants and gets Anna Karina to walk on his back. Continue reading

Gonzalo Suárez – Morbo AKA Morbidness (1972)

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This Spanish thriller by dilettante director Gonzalo Suarez tells the story of two newlyweds and the uncanny happenings that attend their low-budget honeymoon. For much of the film the audience is treated to scenes of freshly-married bliss. The couple have parked their car/camper combination in a remote area, and generally frolic around. Then they begin to experience some odd occurrences, such as one of their two hamsters killing the other one. When hubby discovers a nearby home where he can get water, the story gets much more complicated and involves a blind woman, a murderer, and some inexplicable symbolism. Continue reading

Frantisek Vlácil – Marketa Lazarová (1967)

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In less than a minute, before the film’s opening titles even conclude, Marketa Lazarová has announced itself as something potentially unique, perhaps indefinable. The first line of a brief prologue declares, “This tale was cobbled together almost at random,” before a title card reiterates what we’re about to see as a “rhapsody in film,” one “freely adapted” by director František Vláčil and co-screenwriter František Pavlíček. That all these things are soon confirmed, even exceeded, is certainly the impetus behind Marketa Lazarová’s reputation as simultaneously one of the greatest and most difficult works of Czechoslovakian cinema. Though it emerged at the height of what came to be known as the Czech New Wave, this 1967 film stands as something rare not just amid the anarchic vulgarity of Daisies or the emotional naïveté of Loves of a Blonde, but also among the greater cinematic landscape of the period. What this film is—along with being, yes, random, free, and rhapsodic—is something stranger, something paradoxical and altogether original: an intimate epic, a tangible hallucination, a visceral symphony, and, perhaps most affectingly, a beautiful display of brutality. Continue reading