Middle-aged Hideo lives alone with an inflatable doll he calls Nozomi. The doll is his closest companion. He dresses it up, talks to it over dinner, and has sexual intercourse with it. However, unbeknown to Hideo, Nozomi was created with a heart. After Hideo leaves for work each day, Nozomi dresses in her maid’s outfit and explores the world outside their apartment with a sense of child-like wonder. She encounters various city residents who metaphorically are as “empty inside” as she is. When Nozomi meets Junichi, who works at a local video store, she falls in love with him and gets a part-time job at the store. She learns about the world through the movies she watches with Junichi, but her happiness with him is interrupted by a dramatic turn of events. Director Koreeda has stated that the film is about the loneliness of urban life and the question of what it means to be human.
The Zero Theorem casts Christoph Waltz as Qohen Leth, an egghead data processor who is given a mission to make order out of chaos. This being a production by Terry Gilliam – the rambling mad uncle of British cinema – Qohen Leth is clearly screwed from the outset. The Zero Theorem is a sagging bag of half-cooked ideas, a dystopian thriller with runaway dysentery, a film that wears its metaphorical trousers around its metaphorical ankles. In fits and starts, I quite enjoyed it.
The plot (by Pat Rushin) blunders merrily between the trite and the tangled as Qohan holes up in his big old house, tapping maniacally at his keyboard to make the numbers add up. But the theorem is unprovable, and the walls are closing in, and the sense of airless claustrophobia is partly a result of budgetary constraints and partly the director’s own junk-shop aesthetic. Here is a man who cannot see a movie interior without festooning it with lightbulbs and candles, religious artefacts and antique telephones. Continue reading
A ruthless carnival barker, blinded by ambition, keeps a fair open — despite warnings from an inspector that the fair is unsafe — leading to a fatal disaster. Starring Spencer Tracy and Claire Trevor with Rita Hayworth in one of her earliest film appearances, credited as Rita Cansino. Continue reading
Two soldiers–searching the Sahara for Atlantis–are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is an endless nightmare, climaxing with the murder of one of the soldiers. There are some brilliant moments in this sci-fi fantasy classic.
A pair of Legionnaires discover the remains of the lost city of Atlantis in the middle of the Sahara desert. It is ruled by a strange and beautiful demi-goddess. (guess who). Continue reading
In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the “Arbiter of Elegance” in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence.
He was a writer. He thought he wrote about the future but it really was the past. In his novel, a mysterious train left for 2046 every once in a while. Everyone who went there had the same intention…..to recapture their lost memories. It was said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knew for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back- except for one. He was there. He chose to leave. He wanted to change. Continue reading
City of Pirates
(La Ville des pirates, France/Portugal, 1983)
Raúl Ruiz’s City of Pirates is (de)composed under the sign of Surrealism, with its trust in ecstasy, scandal, the call of the wild, mystification, prophetic dreams, humour, the uncanny. Given the surprising swerves and disorientations evoking Buñuel and Dalí, and the confidence in a poetic discourse recalling Eluard and Péret, one wonders if Ruiz didn’t elaborate his scenario using the Surrealist mode of automatic writing. Troubled, graceful Isidore – Ducasse and Duncan? – is a purely Surrealist heroine, part Ophelia, Salomé, Bérénice, prone to trances, somnambulism, hysterical seizure, contact with the ‘other side’. Her calm violence links her to the real life murderesses – Germaine Berton, the Papin sisters – exalted by Breton’s circle, and by Jacques Lacan. Indeed, Lacan’s notion of a psychoanalysis in which the analyst stays off his patient’s wavelength, inspired by the idea of ‘surrealist dialogue’ in which paired monologues at cross purposes strike sparks of meaning off each other, underpins the scatty trajectory of Ruiz’s own graphomania, snared this time as the tale of a Pirate’s City. Continue reading