Drama

Akira Kurosawa – Akahige (1965)

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In the Nineteenth Century, in Japan, the arrogant and proud just-graduated Dr. Noboru Yasumoto (Yuzo Kayama) is forced to work in the Koshikawa Clinic, a non-profit health facility ruled by Dr. Kyojio Niide (Toshir Mifune), a.k.a. “Red Beard”. “Red Beard” is a good, sentimental, but also very firm, strong and fair man. While in the clinic, Dr. Yasumoto becomes responsible for healing the hurt teenager Otoyo (Terumi Niki), and he learns a lesson of humanity, becoming a better man. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Whity (1971)

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Description: Perhaps the most iconoclastic Western ever made, Whity is simultaneously entertaining and deeply disturbing. Set in April 1878, it tells the story of the title character, who is the illegitimate son – and de facto slave – of the dissolute and “dying” patriarch Ben Nicholson and his African-American servant. But Ben is only faking his illness to test the loyalty of his wife and two demented sons. Each monumentally dysfunctional family member tries to bribe and/or seduce the bisexual Whity into murdering the others in order to claim what they think is the imminent inheritance. Read More »

Catherine Breillat – Sale comme un ange AKA Dirty Like an Angel (1991)

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Quote:
Sale comme un ange is another dark portrayal of human sexuality from Catherine Breillat, her fourth in a series of provocative and unequivocally personal films. What is most striking about this film is its sense of realism and the totally unromantic way in which a romantic liaison is portrayed. By showing a consensual love affair between a young woman and a much older man in a sordid, almost animalistic way, Breillat risks offending the sensibilities of her public, but her boldness works – the end result stands as one of her most haunting and poetic films. Read More »

Pál Fejös – Marie, légende hongroise aka Spring Shower (1932)

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Fejos’s Spring Shower is one of the key Hungarian films of the 1930s and 1940s to explore the miserable lives led by maidservants. It tells the story of Mari, an austerely beautiful young peasant girl played by the French star, Annabella. Mari is seduced beneath a flowering tree by the admirer of one of the daughters of the prosperous family for whom she works, becomes pregnant and is cast out. Read More »

Marguerite Duras – Le navire Night (1979)

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Quote:

The plot of Le Navire Night concerns a love affair between a young man and a woman, F., who first make contact by telephone one night, quite by chance. They have never seen each other or met before, but a relationship begins as a result of the conversation; F. continues telephoning. He, however, never learns F.’ s full name, telephone number or address, and all initiative for the relationship falls to her. The affair unfolds purely as an affair of the human voice, but this adds to the sexual intensity of the relationship rather than detracting from it: ‘C’est un orgasme noir,’ one hears the voice of Bulle Ogier saying. ‘Sans toucher réciproque. Ni visage. Les yeux fermés. Ta voix, seule’ (‘It’s a dark orgasm. Without mutual touching. Nor a face. Eyes closed. Just your voice’, N, 27–8). Three years go by, and the pair agree to meet. (In the 1978 magazine version the meeting is F.’ s idea, while, in the later version, it is the man who insists on seeing F., but only as a way of putting an end to his fear of seeing her [N, 33]; in this respect it is as though the desire to see belongs to neither her nor him, but circulates between them as a necessary step that must continually be envisaged yet constantly deferred.) Read More »

Victor Sjöström – The Scarlet Letter (1926)

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Only Lillian Gish could have gotten The Scarlet Letter (1926) past the censors of the late ’20s and only she could have made it such an authentic American classic. Ironically, she did it with the help of two Swedes, director Victor Sjöström and leading man Lars Hanson. As she would say in her memoirs, however, “I have always believed that the Scandinavians are closer in feeling to New England Puritans than are present-day Americans.” Read More »

Robert Bresson – Mouchette (1967)

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From the Criterion Website:

Synopsis
Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with Mouchette, one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson’s hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema’s great tragic figures. Read More »