Drama

Marco Ferreri – La Donna scimmia aka The Ape Woman (1964)

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This film was nominated for the 1964 Palme d’Or

A sideshow huckster discovers a woman working in a kitchen who is completely covered with hair, and hits upon the scheme of presenting her as an ape woman in a bid to make money. He soon discovers that in order to keep her cooperation, he will have to marry her, and this leads to an interesting chain of events…

Though this can’t really be described as properly belonging to any of the fantastic genres, it does deal the theme of deformity, a staple of many horror movies. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this movie going into it; the plot description certainly makes it sound like it’s going to be somewhat depressing look at human exploitation. Yet, though the theme of human exploitation is very much there, it never becomes a simple portrait of the vileness of man, and even though there is something offensive about his money-making scheme, one is aware that the huckster is the one human being in the woman’s life who is not allowing her to be ashamed of her appearance, and this opens up a new world of possibilities for her. This is one movie that isn’t predictable; the twists and turns of life for these two are fascinating, and in particular, you never know what Ugo Tognazzi’s character is going to do. Read More »

Marco Ferreri – I Love You [+Extras] (1986)

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Synopsis
In another indictment of the flaws of our so-called civilization, this satire from the late director (Marco Ferreri) features (Christopher Lambert) as Michel, a miserable man who has failed at love and finds solace in a mechanical key holder. Michel has just been dumped by Barbara (Anemone) because he has not been able to get her pregnant. He is feeling pretty low when he finds a key holder with blue eyes and big red lips that responds to the sound of a whistle with “I Love You.” Michel tacks this gadget up on his TV set and whistles away. He seems happy with this fool-proof declaration of love until one day, the key holder responds to the neighbor’s whistle and Michel goes berserk. After all, if your key ring can’t be faithful, what’s the world coming to? ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

Lindsay Anderson – In Celebration (1975)

from allmovie:
One of the more cinematic entries in the mid-1970s American Film Theatre series, In Celebration is adapted from the play by David Storey. Lindsay Anderson, who directed the original stage version, reassembles his cast for this filmization. Alan Bates, James Bolam and Brian Cox play Andrew, Colin and Steven, the well-educated sons of roughhewn coal miner “Mr. Shaw” (Bill Owen) and his wife (Constance Chapman). On the occasion of their parents’ wedding anniversary, the three sons return to their dank little home village. All three boys have become successful, but only Bolam is comfortable with his success. To his parents’ dismay, Andrew announces that he has given up his law practice to become an artist; he also confesses to harboring homosexual inclinations. Prompted by the embittered Andrew, the other sons churn up memories of their childhood that they–and their parents–had hoped to keep buried. — Hal Erickson Read More »

Lindsay Anderson – The Whales of August (1987)

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Lindsay Anderson’s The Whales of August stars silent film legend Lillian Gish, in her 95th year, and Bette Davis, 79, as widowed sisters, one warm and supportive, the other cold and cantankerous, who have been coming to a small cottage on the Maine seacoast for sixty years. Every August, they watch the journey of the whales passing in the nearby waters together but the sense is that this may be their last summer together. Knowing that their time is limited, the siblings attempt to resolve long-standing differences but face many obstacles. The Whales of August takes place during the course of a single day and the camera stays mostly inside the house except to follow the sisters on occasional walks to the ocean. It all sounds static but there is a great deal of emotion churning beneath the surface.
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Marco Ferreri – Storia di Piera AKA The Story of Piera (1983)

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Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com by Eleanor Mannikka

This sometimes confusing erotic drama about the incestuous relationship of a mother and daughter is based on the autobiography of Italian theater actress Piera Degli Esposti though it focuses more on her mother Eugenia (Hanna Schygulla). The liberated Eugenia and her spaced-out, husband (Marcello Mastroianni) — a professor — live in a small provincial Italian town, where Eugenia is noticed as she zooms around on her bicycle and chats up strangers at the train station. While still no more than a grown child, Piera — in tight dresses — goes with her mother for a threesome when she engages in sexual relations with other men and subsequently suffers both from poor health and the lack of a normal home. The shadow of the future already clouds the household when Eugenia is committed again and again to the psychiatric clinic. By the time Piera has become an adult, both of her parents are in separate mental hospitals — and both (even the father) are still sexually eccentric, to say the least. (Hanna Schygulla) won the “Best Actress” award at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of Eugenia. Read More »

Abram Room – Tretya Meshchanskaya AKA Bed And Sofa (1927)

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A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband’s arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them. While Kolia is away on business, sensual Liuda and attractive Volodia fall in love and have an affair. After his initial outrage, the husband calms down. Kolia winds up on the sofa, and the three settle into a menage-a-trois until the wife finds herself pregnant. The two men are trying to decide what to do, but Liuda is strong enough to make her own decisions. Considered a landmark film because of humor, naturalism, and its sympathetic portrayal of the woman. Read More »

Benoît Jacquot – Au fond des bois (2010)

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Inspired by a true story, this atmospheric drama set in 1865 explores the ability of passion to overcome one’s sense of self as young beauty Josephine’s (Isild Le Besco) comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the hypnotic presence of a wild vagabond named Timothee (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart). After Timothee assaults her, Josephine flees with him into the woods and enters into a life of sensual abandon, until neither can tell who is in control Read More »