Drama

W.S. Van Dyke – I Live My Life (1935)

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Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A brisk romantic/comedy Joan Crawford vehicle capably directed by W.S. Van Dyke and gamely written but not one of the better scripts by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It’s from the short story “Claustrophobia” by A. Carter Goodloe. It’s the usual class warfare Joan Crawford film of that era with the good looking actress dressed chic and defending her free-spirited upper-class superficial lifestyle in her argumentative romance with the commoner Brian Aherne, who thinks the high society crowd are idlers and lightweights.

Bored heiress Kay Bentley (Joan Crawford) travelling with her dad (Frank Morgan) on his yacht meets on the Greek island of Naxos handsome Irish archaeologist Terry O’Neill (Brian Aherne), who’s on an archaeological dig for the Pygmalion statue. Learning that he thinks very little of the society jet set Kay tells Terry she’s Ann Morrison, the secretary of Mr. Bentley. They kiss and he falls madly in love, surpisingly following the attractive secretary to New York where he hopes to marry her. Learning the truth, the two have a spat but nevertheless grow fonder of each other. Read More »

W.S. Van Dyke – Rage in Heaven (1941)


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Old friends Ward and Phillip both become smitten with Phillip’s mother’s attractive young secretary Stella. But Stella marries Phillip and stands by him as his behavior becomes more and more erratic and his jealousy of Ward increases. Read More »

Harvey Hart – Street Killing (1976)


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Plot
In this detective drama, a prosecutor investigates a murder and finds that it is connected to a recent mugging. In the end, he is led to convict a high-ranking crime lord. Read More »

Emanuele Crialese – Terraferma (2011)


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Two women, an Island dweller and a foreigner: one dramatically influences the life of the other. But they both share the same desire for a different future, a better life for their children and the dream of the mainland. Terraferma is the desired destination of those travelling by sea, but it may also turn out to be an island with its deep-rooted traditions.
The Pucillo family has to come to terms with immobility: Ernesto is 70 years old and he’d do anything to avoid having to scrap his fishing boat. His grandson Filippo is 20. His father was lost at sea and he finds himself caught up “in time“ between his grandfather Ernest and his uncle Nino, who gave up fishing in favour of “baiting“ tourists. His young, widowed mother, Giulietta, senses that this island’s frozen, immutable time has turned them all into strangers and that there is no future for her nor for her son Filippo. For there to be a future they must have the courage to leave. Read More »

René Vautier – Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès AKA To Be Twenty in the Aures (1972)


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Summary
In 1961, a group of pacifist Bretons are sent to fight in France’s war against Algeria. Reluctant warriors, they are moulded into killing machines by the inspirational lieutenant Perrin and soon find their first taste of conflict. One of the group continues to rebel against the folly of the war and goes on the run with an Algerian prisoner. For all concerned, the experience will not be easily forgotten – for those that survive, that is… Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Nuit et jour aka Night and Day (1991)


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Synopsis
Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver of the taxi, and soon Julie is spending her nights with Joseph and her days with Jack.. Read More »

Lech Majewski – The Mill and the Cross (2011)

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Quote:
Here is a film before which words fall silent. “The Mill & the Cross” contains little dialogue, and that simple enough. It enters into the world of a painting, and the man who painted it. If you see no more than the opening shots, you will never forget them. It opens on a famous painting, and within the painting, a few figures move and walk. We will meet some of those people in more detail.

The painting is “The Way to Calvary” (1564), by the Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder. We might easily miss the figure of Christ among the 500 in the vast landscape. Others are going about their everyday lives. That’s a reminder of Bruegel’s famous painting “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus,” about which Auden wrote of a passing ship “that must have seen something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.” Extraordinary events take place surrounded by ordinary ones. Read More »