Drama

Don Askarian – Avetik (1992)

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“Avetik” is very much in tradition of the cinema of dreams. A gorgeous and mesmerizing film, “Avetik” both thrills the eye and boggles the mind. It takes you on a journey of the mind that leads to heaven or hell – a succulent garden full of bare-breasted goddesses or a frozen step of devastation and death”. “Askarian is capable of producing images that are unlike anything ever seen before, yet hit you with a primal immediacy”.Hovering between the realms of poetry and history, this stunningly photographed, elegiac work-hot mostly in long takes-mixes cryptic metaphor and fantastic symbolism to tell the story of Avetik, an Armenian filmmaker exiled in Berlin. Director Askarian employs dreamlike images-a crumbling, ancient stone chapel gradually reduced to nothing by the rumbling vibrations of passing military vehicles; a ghostly cemetery of carved tombstones in which a woman takes a starving sheep in her arm and breast-feeds it back to life-to reflect the history of his homeland and shades of his own exile in Germany. In sensuous, lyric tableaux, Askarian explores German racism, the 1915 Armenian genocide, the disastrous earthquake of 1989, tranquil childhood memories, and images inspired by erotic medieval poetry. Read More »

Marco Ferreri – Liza AKA La Cagna [+Extra] (1972)

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synopsis:
This dark offbeat comedy from Marco Ferreri features Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. Mastroianni plays Giorgio, who lives on a island somewhere off the Mediterranean coast of France. He lives there with his dog, and the remains of an old German World War II airbase.

He earns his living drawing cartoons. Liza (Deneuve) swims to the island from a rich man’s yacht, and the yacht’s crew confirm the end of her relationship with the owner by bringing her luggage to the island. She and Giorgio meet and become involved. She is jealous of his relationship with the dog and kills her rival while assuming its duties: wearing a collar, fetching sticks, etc. Read More »

Marco Ferreri – Ciao maschio aka Bye Bye Monkey (1978)

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Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, in 1978. It would be interesting to bail up the panel now and ask them why they gave Ferreri’s film the award (in a tied decision with in tie with Jerzy Skolimowski’s The Shout). I suspect that they would not remember, let alone be able to explain why. In the 70s the absurdist, non-conventional, sexually-candid aspects of the film were all qualities that were regarded as inherently significant but times change and like so many films of its era, the meaning is now far less apparent. Broadly speaking, Ferreri’s first English-language film is a Fellini-esque portrait of the male species under attack from castrating women. Gérard Depardieu stars as a lighting technician who is raped multiple times by the members of the feminist theatrical group he works for. He subsequently finds a baby chimpanzee inside the remains of a huge stuffed gorilla and starts a relationship with one of his rapists. Marcello Mastroianni as a lonely old man and James Coco as a decadent wax museum owner also move in and out of the story. Whilst the images of the characters with the beached giant gorilla (which presumably Ferreri salvaged from Dino De Laurentis’ 1976 remake of King Kong) shot against the New York skyline are haunting and there are individual moments of surreal humour throughout the film, the absence of much in the way of narrative, characterological or dramatic development will make Ferreri’s film a trial for those other than students of the era or of the director’s work in particular.
BH @ cinephilia.net.au
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Marco Ferreri – Dillinger e morto aka Dillinger Is Dead [+Extras] (1969)

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Description :
In this magnificently inscrutable late-sixties masterpiece, Marco Ferreri, one of European cinema’s most idiosyncratic auteurs, takes us through the looking glass to one seemingly routine night in the life of an Italian gas mask designer, played, in a tour de force performance, by New Wave icon Michel Piccoli. In his claustrophobic mod home, he pampers his pill-popping wife, seduces his maid, and uncovers a gun that may have once been owned by John Dillinger—and then things get even stranger. A surreal political missive about social malaise, Dillinger Is Dead (Dillinger è morto) finds absurdity in the mundane. It is a singular experience, both illogical and grandly existential. Read More »

Marco Ferreri – Diario di un vizio AKA Diary of a Maniac (1993)

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Quote:
In this stylish and offbeat black comedy, Benito ( Jerry Calà) keeps a diary of his sexual fantasies and cravings. As a result of his on-again, off-again relationship with the beautiful and insatiable Luigia (Sabrina Ferilli), his thoughts along these lines have grown increasingly bizarre. For his own part, he is driven to pick up and bed women at almost every opportunity. As the fantasies recorded in his diary consume more and more of his life, and grow darker and darker, his ordinary waking life becomes flatter and duller, until he disappears altogether.
~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Read More »

Claude Whatham – That’ll Be the Day (1973)

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Quote:
An intriguing hybrid, this yarn about a young, John Lennon-like West Country lad (David Essex) who abandons his A-levels (‘I’ve had enough of sodding school!’) and heads off to find his fortune in ashabby, seaside town is made in the same downbeat, naturalistic way as the so-called kitchen sink films of a decade before, but boasts a very upbeat rock’n’roll soundtrack.

Director Whatham (better known for his TV work than for anything he did on the big screen) elicits suprisingly strong performances from Essex and from Ringo Starr as his teddy boy guru. Look out, too, for Billy Fury as the aptly named rocker, Stormy Tempest. The film marked an important staging post in the career of its relentlessly ambitious producer, David Puttnam, and spawned an excellent sequel, Stardust.
Time Out Read More »

Marco Ferreri – L’Harem (1967)

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A sophisticated Italian beauty (Carroll Baker) is unable to pick between the three men she is admittedly in love with. As a result Gianni (Gastone Moschin), Gaetano (Renato Salvatori), and Mike (Michel Le Royer) are invited to a lush villa in the Adriatic coastal city of Dubrovnik to participate in a small contest. There day after day Margherita will toy with the men’s sexual fantasies until they finally realize that no one is expected to win. Read More »