Moumen Smihi – Chroniques marocaines AKA Moroccan Chronicles (1999)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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

Christophe Honoré – Métamorphoses (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
One of France’s most unpredictable writer-directors, Christophe Honoré (Dans Paris, Love Songs) offers an audacious, erotically upfront re-reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, enacted by a fearless cast of (largely unknown) young actors in contemporary French settings. Kicking off with a startling take on the story of Diana and Actaeon, Honoré’s film follows the wanderings of Europa (Akili), a high-school student who encounters a marauding truck driver – none other than Jupiter (Hirel), father of the gods. Streams of stories within stories bring the old transformation myths a modern-day slant – Narcissus as an arrogant teenage heart-throb, Orpheus as a charismatic housing-estate preacher – and add a multi-racial, polysexual perspective, teasing out the perversity, violence and rapture of classical legend. You may detect shades of Borowczyk, Pasolini, Rohmer and Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane, but this savage, rhapsodic, moving film is something entirely its own. A fabulous soundtrack completes the wayward beauty –BFI Continue reading

Veit Harlan – Hanna Amon (1951)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
Hanna and her brother Thomas Amon live on the estate of their deceased parents. While Hanna of local veterinary and Thomas Brunner of the mayor’s daughter is secretly admired and sought after, the siblings have eyes only for each other. Thomas, however, forfeited the much older, seductive Vera Colombani, a castle owner. He follows her (his sister, defying the warnings) to the south, where they spend the winter. Thomas is dropped in the wake of the Colombani and returns repentant return to the home farm. But when he meets again with his former lover, he triggers a disaster the Colombani and eventually fall victim to Hanna. Continue reading

Arne Mattsson – Vaxdockan aka The Doll (1962)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

summary
A night watchman (Per Oscarsson) in Stockholm interrupts a burglary and finds a mannequin that he takes home; in his mind, it’s a beautiful and very much alive woman. Director Arne Mattsson knows how to use the shadows of black-and-white cinematography to chilling effect; that along with Oscarsson’s performance elevate this psychological look at loneliness and mental illness. The star must have studied Anthony Perkins in Psycho (1960); he looks like him and plays his character in a similar fashion. Behind the youthful façade lies insanity. Gio Petré is credible in the transition between doll and human. ~ Movie Hamlet. Continue reading