Epic

Emil Loteanu – Tabor ukhodit v nebo AKA Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven (1976)

Rada, a beautiful and very proud gipsy girl is used to steal men’s hearts and monk them. Zobar is a horse thief who’s heart is stolen by Rada and his mind is bewitched. He is ready to give up his freedom but not his pride. Read More »

Albert Serra – Honor de cavalleria aka Honour of the knights (2006)

Matt Zoller Seitz (The New York Times) wrote:
Elmore Leonard once said that the key to telling an exciting story was leaving out the parts that people skip. The “Don Quixote” adaptation “Quxiotic/Honor de Cavalleria” is composed of little else.

In adapting Miguel de Cervantes’s novel about the senile would-be knight, Don Quixote (Lluís Carbó), and his sidekick, Sancho Panza (Lluís Serrat), the film’s writer and director, Albert Serra, favors landscape imagery and natural sounds over dialogue and music. Read More »

Arnaud des Pallières – Michael Kohlhaas aka Age of Uprising (2013)

In this epic tale of wrongdoing and retribution set in 16th-century Cévennes, Michael Kohlhaas starts out as a successful, well-to-do horse trader with a loving family. The once unshakable feudal system is slowly declining, and when a local nobleman humiliates Kohlhaas and seizes two of his horses, he retaliates by gathering an army and embarking on a Robin Hood-esque mission to have his revenge against the baron. Kohlhaas’s actions become more and more violent and extreme, and the repercussions increasingly devastating. Read More »

Otto Preminger – Exodus (1960)

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Plot
Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, Exodus is a 212-minute screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Leon Uris. The film is concerned with the emergence of Israel as an independent nation in 1947. Its first half focuses on the efforts of 611 holocaust survivors to defy the blockade of the occupying British government and sail to Palestine on the sea vessel Exodus. Paul Newman, a leader of the Hagannah (the Jewish underground), is willing to sacrifice his own life and the lives of the refugees rather than be turned back to war-ravaged Europe, but the British finally relent and allow the Exodus safe passage. Once this victory is assured, 30,000 more Jews, previously interned by the British, flood into the Holy Land. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Read More »

Otto Preminger – The Cardinal [+Extras] (1963)

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From DVD Verdict.com:

The Charge
“Look at him now, will you? Stiff as a board, he is, in that fine Eye-talian suit.”—Dennis Fermoyle (Cameron Prud’Homme)

Opening Statement
As World War I reaches its peak, bland and sincere Stephen Fermoyle (Tom Tryon) prepares for his new assignment in his hometown of Boston. As a newly ordained Catholic priest, Fermoyle takes his duties very seriously. But over the next two decades, he will see his faith tested, his family torn apart, and the world plagued by the horrors of racism and fascism. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Au hasard Balthazar aka Balthazar [Criterion] (1966)

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Jim Ridley wrote:
With exquisite, heartrending calm, Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar lays out the life of a donkey, from first brays to final rest. Baptized Balthazar, the donkey goes through passages of life parallel to his early owner, a farmer’s daughter named Marie (played as an adult by Anne Wiazemsky).
Together and separately, they experience the full spectrum of man’s failings: Balthazar is kicked by passing thugs, beaten by an owner, and eventually used for theft, while Marie is seduced, abandoned and ultimately assaulted. Yet while Bresson’s vision is harsh, it’s also redemptive, even merciful. It ends on a note of quiet transcendence, as if to say all suffering, no matter how grave, cannot last. Read More »

Enrico Guazzoni – Fabiola (1918)

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Quote:
Italian film’s early master of the historical spectacle, Enrico Guazzoni, was responsible for the second of (at least) three film adaptations of Nicholas Patrick Wiseman’s classic novel about Christianity’s rise in ancient Rome. Aside from the usual great production values of these silent epics, what surprises here is perhaps the rather graphic violence. And, the film is further notable for being Elena Sangro’s debut (when she was still going by the name Maria Antonietta Bartoli-Avveduti) in the title role no less. Read More »