Frédérique Devaux & Michel Amarger – Cinexperimentaux #9: Stephen Dwoskin (2006-2010)

Stephen Dwoskin was born in New York in 1939 and began making independent shorts there in 1961. In 1964 he followed his research work to London where he settled and participated in the founding of the London Filmmaker’s Co-op. His experimental films, for which he himself does the camera work, play with ideas of desire, sexual and mental solitude and the passage of time. In his films he also explores representation in cinema, performances, personal impressions and his own physical handicap which has been a source of inspiration for him throughout his career. His sensitive and emancipating works have been the subject of various international presentations. Continue reading

Pierre Granier-Deferre – Le train AKA The Last Train (1973)

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Synopsis:

May 1940. Germany invades Europe, people panic and try to flee by any means possible. In France, Julien, a radio repairman, boards a train with his wife and child. As the men are placed in cattle cars with only the women and elderly allowed in the passenger cars, events begin their fateful turning as the insignificant repairman encounters an attractive fugitive and love begins – a doomed love. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Pravda (1969)

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Quote:
English dubbed – Jean-Luc Godard (Dziga Vertov Group) film

Pravda was filmed clandestinely in Czechoslovakia on 16mm. It’s one of those films Godard made with the Groupe Dziga Vertov – a Marxist film about the political situation after the ’68 revolution. I’d call it a kind of essay. Basically, we get an hour’s worth of montage of very interesting documentary images with voice-over.

It’s been compared to ‘Letter to Jane’ and that’s probably a good comparison.

Godard apparently described Pravda in retrospect as ‘a marxist-leninist garbage movie’. Continue reading

François Truffaut – La femme d’à côté AKA The Woman Next Door (1981)

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Quote:
MUCH in the way that a writer of precise, clean, seemingly effortlessly flowing prose can capture one’s attention in an opening paragraph of essential but banal information, Francois Truffaut can draw us immediately into the everyday world of his films, which look familiar but are as foreign to most of us as life among a tribe of aborigines.

The inhabitants of his world are not exotic. No rings in their noses. No lavender-dyed hair. They have no difficulty differentiating reality from fantasy. To all appearances they tend to be commonplace. Yet it is the exhilarating talent of this film maker to be able to define the commonplace in a manner that is not at all commonplace, and thus to find – and appreciate – the mystery within. This is the continuing revelation of each of Mr. Truffaut’s best films, especially of ”Jules and Jim,” ”La Peau Douce,” ”Stolen Kisses” ”The Story of Adele H” and, now, of ”The Woman Next Door,” a love story of almost self-effacing mastery. Continue reading

Alain Cavalier – Le paradis (2014)

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The experience of living through two periods of depression and the quiet expectation of a third has endowed a filmmaker with the capacity to perceive the true beauty of life and to capture it on film. He films everything he sees, without favour and without preference, providing it awakens within him a feeling of love. His only worry is that he feels he may have lost some part of that essential quality of his art: innocence… Continue reading

Claude Chabrol – Merci pour le chocolat (2000) (DVD)

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When the young Jeanne finds out that she could have mistakenly been exchanged, from her cradle, with another newborn (the son of a famous piano player), she decides to contact this family, not really thinking that this could be the truth. After she tells this to the presumed father and the rest of the family, even the son of the piano player starts having more than one doubt about his origins, and all this will lead to the discovery of a murder committed many years before by the second wife of the musician. The story is a pretext to dramatize the misdeeds and the hypocrisy of the French upper class members, shown without pity: the coldness between the family members, hidden by a false happiness; the lack of real feelings; the unbearable ‘bon ton’ of the mother, and so on. (IMDb) Continue reading

Georges Franju – Judex [+Extras] (1963)

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There’s a world of difference between the natural, “found” surrealism of Louis Feuillade’s lighthearted French serial (1914) and the darker, studied surrealism and campy piety of this 1964 remake by Georges Franju. Yet in Franju’s hands the material has its own magic (and deadpan humor), which makes this one of the better features of his middle period. Judex (Channing Pollack) is a cloaked hero who abducts a villainous banker to prevent the evil Diana (Francine Bergé in black tights) from stealing a fortune from the banker’s virtuous daughter. Some of what Franju finds here is worthy of Cocteau, and as he discovered when he attempted another pastiche of Feuillade’s work in color, black and white is essential to the poetic ambience. (Jonathan Rosenbaum) Continue reading