Antoine Barraud – Le dos rouge AKA Portrait of the Artist (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

A Chinese aphorism says that although the poet dreams he is a butterfly, it is perhaps instead the butterfly that dreams it has become a poet. In Le dos rouge, a famous filmmaker played by Bertrand Bonello searches for an image of the uncanny. An eccentric female art historian accompanies him through museums, where they examine and discuss numerous works of art. A metamorphosis gradually takes place, as red marks appear on the filmmaker’s back. It seems that gazing at all that monstrousness has brought about a transformation in the observer. Bonello, a victim of Stendhal Syndrome, gradually loses himself in his admiration of the sublime uncanny. When he is hypnotised by the artworks, he exudes a fascination as great as that of the objects themselves. It’s a pleasure to watch one artist gazing at another, for this film is a multi-layered mise en abyme. By creating a fictional portrait of an aesthete, Barraud subtly allows the paintings to enter into a dialogue with his newly created images. Artificiality meets art, and during the search for the ideal monster, a playful, aesthetic spell is cast. Continue reading

Anne Fontaine – Les innocentes AKA The Innocents (2016)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
It was only three years ago that Ida diligently aestheticized the blackness of religious habits against the whiteness of Polish snow, so it’s hard not to expect Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents, also centered around nuns in war-ravaged Poland, to abide by the pathos we associate with Pawel Pawlikowski’s film. While Fontaine does take advantage of the ways that the costuming of nuns lends itself to striking contrasts against landscape vistas, she’s more interested in retrieving a historical account than pleasing the eye or tugging at our heartstrings. Fontaine’s film is all gloom and doom from beginning to end not because of the horrors a single character we identify with suffers, but because of the scale of horror impinged upon an entire community. Continue reading

Jean Epstein – Coeur fidèle AKA The Faithful Heart (1923)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
In Coeur Fidèle’s accompanying 44-page booklet, Jean Epstein, at a 1924 address, argues his film as “romantic” rather than”realist”, the label with which Italian poet Ricciotto Canudo assigned it before his death. The truth is that Epstein’s largely unknown masterpiece provides a fascinating agreement of the two styles, oscillating with seamless precision between reverie and sincerity. Marie (Gina Manès) is in love with Jean (Léon Mathot), a kind-hearted man who works on the Marseille docklands, but Marie’s adoptive parents want to marry her off to the obnoxious and unemployed drunk Petit Paul (Edmond Van Daële), and the scene is set for a sensational melodrama to unfold. Continue reading

Will Tremper – Die endlose Nacht AKA The Endless Night (1963)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

esther-ofarim.de wrote:
Film about people, who come to the airport and no airplane is flying.They are waiting and nothing happens. It’s a kind of criminal film with drama and comedy.

Sandra Brennan (allmovie.com) wrote:
This interesting film is set in Berlin’s Tempelhof airport during a bad storm. The airport is closed because of the weather, and many travelers are stranded there. Their unscripted, unrehearsed stories are the basis for the film. Most of the tales center around various forms of sex. Continue reading

Richard Pottier – Le Monde tremblera aka The World Will Shake AKA The Revolt of the Living (1939)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
In this sci-fi film, a scientist invents a prescient machine that can tell people when they will die. Oddly enough, the people do not want to know and therefore begin to riot…

Review:
With capital supplied by the unscrupulous banker Emil Lasser, Dr Jean Durand succeeds in creating a machine that can predict, to the nearest minute, when an individual will die. A ruthless man facing financial ruin, Lasser intends using Durand’s invention for a crooked life insurance business, but the scientist refuses to go along with the scheme, even though he is in love with Lasser’s daughter, Marie‐France. Subjecting himself to Durand’s machine, Lasser learns he has only a few days left to live. He ends up committing suicide, after leaving a note to his daughter warning her to stay away from Durand. As Marie‐France embarks on a new romance with Durand’s best friend Dr Gérard Gallois, Durand begins capitalising on his invention and soon has a steady stream of clients eager to know the exact date of their demise. The implications of Durand’s discovery soon hits home when people, knowing they have only a short time to live, begin behaving in an irresponsible manner. Durand realises too late that he has created a monster… Continue reading

Robert Bresson – Pickpocket (1959)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Michel is an inscrutable young man – neatly dressed, mild mannered, intelligent – hardly the type whom one would suspect to be a pickpocket. And perhaps, that is reason that he does it. Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket is a well crafted, austere, and taut film of a man driven by his self-destructive compulsion. We first encounter Michel (Martin LaSalle) at a Paris racetrack, stealthily fingering through the clasp of a woman’s handbag, reaching in, pocketing her money. A wild, almost euphoric gaze comes over his impassive face, heightened by the cheering crowd as the horses approach the finish line. Soon, his compulsion consumes him. His friend, Jacques (Pierre Leymarie) furnishes him with contacts for employment opportunities, but he does not follow through. Continue reading

René Clair – Tout l’Or du Monde AKA All the Gold in the World (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
The small village of Cabosse is renowned for one thing: the people who live there can enjoy a long and healthy life, thanks to the pure country air. Seeing a chance to make some easy money, businessman Victor Hardy decides to buy up the entire village and transform it into an upmarket community for the well-off. Within a few weeks, everyone in the village has agreed to sell his house to Hardy, except one man. The elderly Mathieu Dumont refuses to sell up because he is determined to preserve an old family tradition, namely that every Dumont who has lived in the Cabosse should die and be buried there. Hardy sees a potential ally in Dumont’s timid son, Toine, and wastes no time trying to win him round. However, his troubles are far from over… Continue reading