France

Philippe Lesage – Genèse AKA Genesis (2018)

Three teenagers are shaken up by their first loves in the turmoil of their youth. At a time when others are conforming, they stand their ground and assert their right to love and be free. Read More »

Barbet Schroeder – La virgen de los sicarios AKA Our Lady of the Assassins (2000)

Quote:
A Colombian writer returns to his native Medellín to mourn his lost youth and, while he’s at it, pick up a new one. That, more or less, is the tale that Barbet Schroeder’s new movie has to tell. Schroeder has made some spicy pictures in his time, but this one feels lacklustre by comparison, and the two main performers-Anderson Ballesteros as the hustler and German Jaramillo as his aging mentor-tend to drift through their scenes, trying not to notice the hellfire around them. Whether they are genuinely ground down by the woes of the world or simply exhausted by years of casual sex is hard to work out; to be fair, few directors could make a film about moral anesthesia without sinking into glumness, and Schroeder does a pretty good job of insuring that no one in the audience will book a Colombian vacation in the near future. Read More »

Fabien Delage – La rage du Demon AKA Fury of the Demon (2016)

Quote:
A documentary investigation on the rarest and most controversial French movie in the history of early cinema: a fascinating, lost and dangerous short film which causes violent reactions to those who watch it. Read More »

Georges Lautner – Des pissenlits par la racine AKA Salad by the Roots (1964)

Jockey Jack has a bill open with a gangster just released from jail. He somehow manages to parry the gangster’s knife attack backstage at a theatre and the latter ends up dead being put into a double bass case. A day later the gangster mysteriously has disappeared, but it turns out that he was carrying a bet ticket for a horse race now worth over a million. A turbulent run for the money begins. Read More »

Marc Lobet – Meurtres à domicile AKA The Apartment Murders (1982)

Synopsis:
‘Based on the novel “Hotel Meuble” by Thomas Owen, this suspense thriller has a female police inspector Aurelia Maudru living in a baroque apartment house in Brussels, the site of a nasty murder. All the inspector’s neighbors are suspects in the case, and she is hard-put to ferret out the reasons for the foul deed from among the building’s strange inhabitants, including a death-obsessed undertaker and an aging photographer. As the suspense builds to the final scenes, the solution to who did it is as unusual as the residents of the building.’
– Eleanor Mannikka Read More »

Edgardo Cozarinsky – Citizen Langlois (1994)

Citizen Langlois by Edgardo Cozarinsky is an essayistic documentary about Henri Langlois, founder and head of the Cinémathèque française until his death in 1977. I recently rewatched this along with Jacques Richard’s much longer documentary (which is also on the tracker –here–) and liked it even better than the time I saw it first at the Berlin festival some years ago.
The movie mostly consists of archive footage, showing Langlois, the musée du cinéma, collaborators and famous actors and directors. The events around the Affaire Langlois in 1968 take some time here, too, but Cozarinsky succeeds in finding a different angle to focus on Langlois and cinéphilia in general. Read More »

Pierre Chenal – Crime et châtiment aka Crime and Punishment (1935)

Pierre Blanchar plays the murderer Raskolnikov, and Harry Baur is the police inspector on his trail…

Quote:
Crime et châtiment is one of the overlooked masterpieces of 1930s French cinema, an early and almost faultless adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s celebrated 1866 novel Crime and Punishment. One of the reasons for the film’s comparative obscurity is that it was released in the same year as Josef von Sternberg’s better known American adaptation which starred Peter Lorre and Edward Arnold. The French version appears to have been heavily influenced by an earlier silent adaptation Raskolnikow (1923) from the renowned German filmmaker Robert Wiene, whose best-known work – Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (1920) – is powerfully evoked in this film’s staging of the pivotal murder scene. Read More »