Claude Chabrol – Les Bonnes Femmes aka The Good Time Girls (1960)

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inette, Rita, Jacqueline and Jane try to find fulfillment and love in their lives. Rita has a fiancé whose family is obsessed with social distinction; Jane has a boy-friend in the army, but does not hesitate to enjoy herself with chance encounters; Ginette has a mysterious passion that keeps her away from her colleagues at nights. Jacqueline is lonely; but who is that mysterious bike-rider who is constantly following her? Continue reading

Alain Resnais – Providence (1977)

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The first English-language film from Alain Resnais, this drama about a spiteful, alcoholic novelist contains the French director’s typically playful surrealist touches and recurring use of characters shackled by memory. John Gielgud stars as Clive Langham, a drunken author in failing health who spends an increasingly intoxicated evening at his estate working on his new novel. Clive bases the characters in the melodramatic story on his own family, including his two sons, Claude (Dirk Bogarde) and the illegitimate Kevin (David Warner), as well as Claude’s wife Sonia (Ellen Burstyn). Imagining a bitter love triangle full of spite between the three protagonists of his tale, Clive uses generous doses of imagination and symbolism, including a discordant soccer player (Denis Lawson) related to Kevin and werewolves. Continue reading

Alain Resnais & Chris Marker – Les statues meurent aussi aka Statues Also Die (1953)

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Documentary about the disintegration and desecration of black African art
by white Europeans, who have removed it from its sacred animist context
to be viewed in sterile museums.The strong anticolonialist message precipitated
a ten year ban after its premier at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Continue reading

Aki Kaurismäki – La Vie de bohème AKA The Bohemian Life (1992) (HD)

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Based on the same 19th-century novel (Henri Murger’s Scenes de la Vie de Boheme) that inspired Puccini’s opera, the story is about three down-and-out losers doomed to penury and artistic obsession. There’s Albanian painter Rodolfo (Matti Pellonpää), playwright Marcel (Andre Wilms) and composer Schaunard (Kari Väänänen). Their problems are exactly the same: no rent or food money and the futile struggle to be recognized.

It doesn’t help Marcel that he refuses to reduce his 21-act play to commercial size or that the chances of Schaunard’s latest work making it (it’s called The Influence of Blue on Art) seem remote. Continue reading