Roger Vadim – Barbarella (1968)

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Sexy Barbarella roams 41st-century space with her blind guardian angel, Pygar. Directed by Roger Vadim; actors Jane Fonda, John Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea, David Hemmings, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin

In this notorious film version of the popular French comic strip by Jean-Claude Forest, Jane Fonda plays a sexy yet innocent space-age heroine in the year 40,000 A.D. who never gets herself into a situation that requires too much clothing. BARBARELLA opens with the titular heroine stripping down to nothing in zero gravity among strategically placed credits. From there Barbarella embarks on a mission to find a peace-threatening young scientist named Duran Duran (Milo O’Shea) by order of the president of Earth. En route, she’s attacked by killer dolls, is strapped into a contraption known as the Excessive Machine, and falls in love with a blind angel. Continue reading

Walerian Borowczyk – Docteur Jekyll et les femmes AKA The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)

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The film takes place before, during and immediately after the engagement party of Dr.Henry Jekyll and Miss Fanny Osborne, attended by numerous highly respectable guests (a general, a doctor, a priest, a lawyer), the last of which informs the company that a child has been murdered in the street outside. While the others watch a young dancer perform, Dr.Jekyll instructs the lawyer to alter his will, leaving everything to a certain Mr.Hyde. Shortly afterwards, the dancer is found murdered, and the guests realise that one of their number must be a maniac with a prodigious sexual appetite… Continue reading

Quentin Dupieux – Réalité AKA Reality (2014)

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Quote:
Quentin Dupieux is stuck in a time warp. His new film “Reality” has a texture so washed out that it looks like it was shot in 1974 and has just been unearthed from some film vault in Paris. This is no accident. “Reality,” just like his hilarious killer tire movie “Rubber,” is an unapologetic tribute to B-movies — especially those with a high-concept plot, a dash of science fiction and actors determinedly chewing up the set.

There are several plot strands that come together like elegantly crafted origami. It’s only by watching each fold intertwine that we arrive at the beautiful final product. Continue reading

Catherine Breillat – 36 fillette (1988)

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Quote:
Perhaps in stark reaction to the soft porn delusions of Hamilton’s work, Breillat decided to approach the subject of a young adolescent’s sexual education with a clarity and honesty rarely found in art in general, let alone film. Getting audiences to confront and deconstruct the cultural baggage they bring to sex remains at the centre of her more recent films Romance (1999), À ma soeur! (2001), Sex is Comedy (2002) and Anatomy of Hell (2004), but 36 Fillette, to this viewer, strikes the perfect balance between polemic, critique and compelling psychological study.

The film’s title refers to a little girl’s dress size and the little girl in question is 14-year-old Lili, played with chilling conviction by Delphine Zentout. Continue reading

Christian-Jaque – Si tous les gars du monde AKA If All the Guys in the World… (1956)

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Synopsis
Si Tous Les Gars du Monde is an entertaining tribute to the ham radio operators of the world. The story begins when a French shipping boat takes on an Arab passenger. While on the high seas, the Arab becomes seriously ill with a communicable disease that threatens the lives of everyone on board. Unable to reach the proper medical authorities, the boat sends out a desperate S.O.S., whereupon several amateur-radio enthusiasts of different nationalities spring into action… Continue reading

Jacques Rivette – Duelle (une quarantaine) AKA Twilight (A Quarantine) (1976)

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It all began (as things Rivettian tend to do) auspiciously enough. There were to be four films in a series originally entitled Les Filles du Feu (after Gerard de Nerval) before the more expansive Scenes de la vie parallele replaced it. Each would center on a “non-existent myth” of a battle between goddesses of the sun and the moon for a mysterious blue diamond that has the power to make mortals immortal and vice versa. Each film was to be in a different genre: a film noir, a pirate adventure, a love story, and finally a musical – the last-mentioned of whose scenario particulars hadn’t been completely worked out when the four-film project went into production. Two films were ultimately completed – Duelle (the film noir) and Noroit (1976, the pirate adventure). But two days into the shooting of the third, Histoire de Marie et Julien the metteur en scène (as Rivette always chose to call himself, auteurism be damned) suffered a nervous breakdown, and the entire project fell apart – though traces of it linger in Merry-Go-Round (1981, a paranoid conspiracy jape that has everything but the goddesses) and the semi-demi-musical Haut/Bas/Fragile (1995). Continue reading

Sacha Guitry – Le Roman d’un Tricheur AKA Confessions of a Cheat (1936)

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Synopsis
The story of the cheat begins and ends with personal misfortune. When he was a young boy, our hero was caught stealing money from the family shop. As a punishment, he was not allowed to join his family on their picnic. They ate mushrooms and died of food poisoning, he survived and was placed in the care of his unscrupulous aunt and uncle, who intended to rob him of his inheritance. Years later, our hero ends up as a croupier in a casino at Morocco. There, he is about to embark at what looks like being a very lucrative career – as a professional cheat. Continue reading