Niki Caro – Whale Rider (2002)

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Nominated for Oscar. Another 29 wins & 28 nominations.

From IMDb:

“The film presents a glimpse of the Maori society in New Zealand’s North Island. Having visited New Zealand, but not being very familiar with the Maori culture, this film was a refreshing way to learn some aspects of it.

The story presented here has a lot to do with pride and tradition, which is a running theme among different cultural groups the world over. It has to do with the frustration of Koro by the defection of his eldest son, the designated heir of hundred years of a bloodline where only the males can carry the knowledge and the legends from one generation to the next. Continue reading

Shuji Terayama – Les Fruits de la passion AKA Fruits of Passion (1981)

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from IMDB……Though the film concerns the “O” and Sir Stephen characters, it really has nothing to do with Pauline Reage’s original novel or the 1974 film The Story of O. However, the film does pay attention to artistic detail and symbolism of an almost mystic kind. “O” decides to prostitute herself for Sir Stephen in violent 1920s Hong Kong. Her mission is to prove her unending devotion and love for her master through giving her body to other men. Naturally, Sir Stephen enjoys watching her during her unpleasant sexual escapades and even finds himself a mistress. However, the tables are turned when “O” actually finds a kind of love with a young male admirer. Suddenly, Sir Stephen feels the threat… Continue reading

Otto Preminger – The Cardinal [+Extras] (1963)

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From DVD Verdict.com:

The Charge
“Look at him now, will you? Stiff as a board, he is, in that fine Eye-talian suit.”—Dennis Fermoyle (Cameron Prud’Homme)

Opening Statement
As World War I reaches its peak, bland and sincere Stephen Fermoyle (Tom Tryon) prepares for his new assignment in his hometown of Boston. As a newly ordained Catholic priest, Fermoyle takes his duties very seriously. But over the next two decades, he will see his faith tested, his family torn apart, and the world plagued by the horrors of racism and fascism. Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

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from allmovie:
“Francoise Sagan’s bittersweet novel Bonjour Tristesse is given a sumptuous Riviera-filmed screen treatment. David Niven plays a wealthy playboy, the father of teenaged libertine-in-the-making Jean Seberg. Seberg tolerates most of her father’s mistresses, but doesn’t know what to make of the prudish Deborah Kerr, who will not cohabit with Niven until after they’re married. Feeling that her own relation with her father will be disrupted by Kerr’s presence, Seberg does her malicious best to break up the relationship–only to be beaten to the punch by Niven, who despite his promises of fidelity to Kerr cannot give up his hedonistic lifestyle. The combination of the daughter’s disdain and the father’s rakishness drive Kerr to suicide. Niven and Seberg continue pursuing their lavish but empty lifestyle, though both realize that their lack of moral fibre has destroyed a life. The incestuous undertones of the original Sagan novel are only slightly downplayed in the film version; the “tristesse” (sadness) is visually conveyed by filming the Deborah Kerr flashback scenes in color and the opening and closing of the film in bleak black and white. Bonjour Tristesse was codirected by Otto Preminger, who’d previously discovered Jean Seberg for his benighted 1957 filmization of Saint Joan. Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Saint Joan (1957)

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Synopsis (possible spoilers):
“Twenty-five years after having been burnt at the stake for heresy, Joan of Arc returns to King Charles VII of France as a ghost and taunts him for having betrayed her. They recall the time when Joan, driven by divine messages, persuaded Charles, then Dauphin, to allow her to lead an army to attack the English at Orleans. Did Charles show gratitude when Joan defeated the English, a victory that enabled him to be crowned king at Reims? No, he only wanted her to return to her village and resume the life of an anonymous peasant girl. When she failed in her attempt to take Paris from the English, who came to Joan’s aid when she was arrested and tried by the Catholic Church for heresy? No one…”
– Films de France Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Advise & Consent (1962)

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Description: Are the men and women of Washington really like this?
Senate investigation into the President’s newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President’s character as well.

Robert Leffingwell is the president’s candidate for Secretary of State. Prior to his approval, he must first go through a Senate investigation to determine if he’s qualified. Leading the Senate committee is idealistic Senator Brig Anderson, who soon finds himself unprepared for the political dirt that’s revealed, including Leffingwell’s past affiliations with a Communist organization. When Leffingwell testifies about his political leanings, he proves his innocence. Later, however, Anderson learns that he lied under oath and even asks the president to withdraw Leffingwell for consideration, especially after the young senator begins receiving blackmail threats about a skeleton in his own closet. Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Porgy and Bess (1959)

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A stellar line-up of African-American actors and musical stars helped to bring DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin’s classic operetta to this screen in this lavishly-produced adaptation. Porgy (Sidney Poitier) is a crippled man living in the shantytown of Catfish Row who has fallen in love with Bess (Dorothy Dandridge), a beautiful but troubled woman addicted to drugs. Bess is already being courted by several men, including Crown (Brock Peters), a muscular laborer, and Sportin’ Life (Sammy Davis, Jr.), a sharp-suited hipster who deals narcotics. Crown gets in a fist fight with Robbins (Joel Fluellen) and ends up killing him; Crown goes on the lam, and Bess, needing companionship, takes up with Porgy. However, Crown soon returns, and Porgy kills him in a subsequent altercation, forcing him to hide from the police. Meanwhile, the fickle Bess follows Sportin’ Life in search of the bright lights of New York City. Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Ivan Dixon, and Clarence Muse also highlight the cast; Robert McFerrin provided the singing voice of Porgy, and Adele Addison dubbed in Bess’ musical numbers. — Mark Deming Continue reading