Govindan Aravindan – Kummatty AKA The Bogeyman (1979)

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Kummatty is adapted from a Central Kerala folk tale about a partly mythic and partly real magician called Kummatty. Kummatty travels from place to place and entertain children with dancing, singing and performing magic. At one such performance at a village, Kummatty turns a group of children into animals. But one boy, who was changed into a dog, is chased away and misses the moment Kummatty changed the children back to their human form. The dog-boy has to wait a year until Kummatty returns to the village to get back his human form. Aravindan claimed Kummatty to be his personal favourite film. Kummatty won the State award for best children’s film. Continue reading

Helmut Käutner – Der Apfel ist ab AKA The Original Sin AKA The Apple Fell (1948)

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Lubitsch wrote:
Time again to raise more interest in post war German cinema before the Heimatfilm wave and Käutner’s witty and inventive comedy is just a fine example to do that. Again it’s in the end no masterpiece, but not unlike Geheimnisvolle Tiefe you can feel the experimental impulse and vibrancy of these early post war films.
An apple juice producer can’t decide between his wife and his secretary and tries to commit suicide. Being committed to psychiatry (the doctor being played by director Käutner himself) he falls asleep and dreams of adventures as Adam and Eve in heaven and hell. The realistic frame story is shot like a parody of a rubble film with tilted camera angles throughout, while the main story line, the dream, takes place in a surrealistic heaven and hell decoration which takes input from Dali, Miro and other artists. Continue reading

Moumen Smihi – Chroniques marocaines AKA Moroccan Chronicles (1999)

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In Moroccan Chronicles, set in the ancient city of Fez, a working class mother, abandoned by her husband who has emigrated to Europe, tells three tales to her just-circumcised ten-year-old son. In the first, Smihi re-stages the Marrakech market scene from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which a monkey trainer makes children dance for tourists. In the second, two lovers meet on the ramparts of Orson Welles’s Essaouira locations for Othello and speak of their own forbidden love. And in the third, set in Smihi’s home town of Tangier, an old sailor dreams of vanquishing a sea monster: the Gibraltar ferry that connects Europe to Africa. Continue reading

Shion Sono – The Virgin Psychics AKA Eiga: minna! Esupâ da yo! (2015)

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From Busan International Film Festival:

High school student Kamogawa Yoshiro wakes up one day to discover that he has psychic superpowers. He also soon discovers that others in the city have the gift, only some of them are hellbent on causing trouble. He becomes embroiled in several strange incidents and eventually overcomes those seeking to do the city and its people harm, meeting the woman of his dreams along the way. A film that takes a different approach to the superhero genre by introducing a joyful young man who becomes a hero not by boasting of his superpowers but by overcoming temptation.
The Virgin Psychics is an adaptation of a serial comic strip that has been published in Weekly Young Magazine since 2009. It was later made into a TV show (also by SONO Sion) in 2013 and is the director’s fifth film. SONO is the same filmmaker who brought us Love & Peace, Shinjuku Swan, The Chasing World, and the independent film Whispering Star (scheduled to be released in theaters next year), which was shot in the area ravaged by the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. (PARK Jin-hee) Continue reading

William Dieterle – The Devil And Daniel Webster aka All That Money Can Buy [+Extras] (1941)

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Quote:
Jabez Stone is a hard-working farmer trying to make an honest living, but a streak of bad luck tempts him to do the unthinkable: bargain with the Devil himself. For seven years of good fortune, Stone promises “Mr. Scratch” his soul when the contract ends. When the troubled farmer begins to realize the error of his choice, he enlists the aid of the one man who might save him: the legendary orator and politician Daniel Webster. Directed with stylish flair by William Dieterle, The Devil and Daniel Webster brings the classic short story by Stephen Vincent Benét to life with inspired visuals, an unforgettable Oscar-winning score by Bernard Herrmann, and a truly diabolical performance from Walter Huston. Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – Gustave est médium (1921)

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Quote:
Gustave realizes he has acquired a telekinetic power.

Alors que ses collègues de l’administration départementale s’apprêtent à sortir déjeuner, Gustave dort profondément sur son bureau. Lorsque son chef passe et le trouve assoupi, il le réveille brutalement et le congédie. Dépité, Gustave rend visite à sa tante qui est en pleine séance de spiritisme. Elle demande aux esprits de lui désigner un médium et c’est Gustave que la table choisit en gigotant très fort. Ravi, Gustave teste ce nouveau don chez lui et les meubles font un raffut terrible à son approche. Il cherche à en tirer un profit et se fait engager par un déménageur. Avec lui, plus de problème, tables, chaises armoires, tout voltige et ses nouveaux collègues, ravis de l’aubaine n’ont qu’à le laisser faire. Gustave heureux gagne beaucoup d’argent. Malheureusement ses amis de l’administration rentrent de déjeuner et le réveillent. Gustave désolé est contraint de reprendre son ennuyeux travail de bureaucrate. Continue reading