Epic

Andrei Tarkovsky – Andrey Rublyov (1966) DVD

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Presented as a tableaux of seven sections in black and white, with a final montage of Rublev’s painted icons in color, the film takes an unflinching gaze at medieval Russia during the first quarter of the 15th century, a period of Mongol-Tartar invasion and growing Christian influence.

Commissioned to paint the interior of the Vladimir cathedral, Andrei Rublev (Anatoli Solonitsyn) leaves the Andronnikov monastery with an entourage of monks and assistants, witnessing in his travels the degradations befalling his fellow Russians, including pillage, oppression from tyrants and Mongols, torture, rape, and plague. Faced with the brutalities of the world outside the religious enclave, Rublev’s faith is shaken, prompting him to question the uses or even possibility of art in a degraded world. After Mongols sack the city of Vladimir, burning the very cathedral that he has been commissioned to paint, Rublev takes a vow of silence and withdraws completely, removing himself to the hermetic confines of the monastery. Read More »

Gerardo de Leon – Jose Rizal’s “Noli me tángere” (1961)

Quote:
A multi-awarded film by Filipino National Artist Gerardo de Leon, based on a novel written by martyr-hero Jose P. Rizal, and which trigerred the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Produced in 1961 for the national celebrations commemorating the birth centenary of Rizal, the film considered lost for almost two decades until its recent restoration by German Archivist. Read More »

Kar-Wai Wong – Dung che sai duk AKA Ashes of Time Redux (1994)

Two years after forming his own production company, Jet Tone, Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai released ASHES OF TIME, a martial-arts epic based on THE EAGLE-SHOOTING HEROES, a series of novels by Louis Cha writing under the pseudonym Jin Yong. The film was set in jianghu, an imaginary world with its own views of good and evil. In 2008, unhappy with the many alternate versions of ASHES OF TIME available, Wong reedited and restored the film, working with the original negative and soundtrack, which were in severe disrepair. Read More »

Carol Reed – The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) pulls Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) from his life’s work making sculptures to instead throw a fresco up on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a dreary building the Church can’t afford to tear down. Michelangelo hates painting and does everything he can to dodge the assignment, but stays on thanks to the counsel of the Contessina di Medici (Diane Cilento), a married woman who can’t understand why the artist prefers his work to her company. Michelangelo drags his feet while architect Donato Bramante (Harry Andrews) tries to have the commission shifted to his favorite, Raphael (Tomas Milian). Read More »

Nunzio Malasomma – La rivolta degli schiavi AKA Revolt of the Slaves (1960)

Synopsis:
Fabiola, the nasty daughter of a Roman aristocrat, whips a Christian slave after he refuses to partake in a wrestling match. Eventually, she falls in love with the same slave, and gets involved in an attempt to save Christians from persecution. Starring Rhonda Fleming and her real-life husband Lang Jeffries. Read More »

Raphaële Billetdoux – La femme enfant AKA The Woman-Child (1980)

Synopsis
A compelling but very strange relationship between a young and lonely fourteen-year-old girl and a mute peasant farmer is at the core of this curious film by Raphaele Billetdoux. Elisabeth (Penelope Palmer) has reason to be unhappy at home so when she meets Marcel (Klaus Kinski), a farmer who indulges her, the two enjoy many an innocent moment together every morning before she leaves for school. Eventually, Elisabeth’s parents send her off to study the organ because of her musical talent. As a result, she begins to develop her abilities and grow beyond the relationship she once had with Marcel. But the mute farmer does not necessarily see this change from Elisabeth’s perspective. Read More »

Albert Boadella & Mercè Vilaret – La odisea (1976)

A little-known Spanish take on Homer’s Odyssey. Read More »