Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani – Chambre jaune (2002)

http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/4443/cover4o.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The Giallo film reinvented as an experimental S&M-tinged fever dream, told through a combination of color-gelled cinematography and jump-cut photographs, infused with dark sensuality and perverse cruelty. The short films of the directors of Amer are technically rawer than that film, but they show what was to come in terms of themes based on giallo films and an abstract style, from the use of still frames like in Chris Marker’s La Jetee to harsh coloured lighting. They are worth seeing by themselves as a refining of their ideas into a fantastic debut feature film. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault – Paris vu par… vingt ans après (1984)

http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/4615/snapshot20090207130056g.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Directors:
Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault

“Two young French filmmakers, Bernard Dubois and Philippe Venault, had the provocative idea of making a follow-up to the 1964 anthology film, Paris vu par, that became a manifesto for the emerging directors of the New Wave. Unfortunately, the unity of that movement is long gone, and this new project is wildly uneven, ranging from the brilliant (Chantal Akerman’s opening sketch, J’ai faim, j’ai froid, is an entire coming-of-age film compressed into 12 frenetic, hilarious, and ultimately touching minutes) to the intriguing (Philippe Garrel’s Rue Fontaine offers a rare Stateside opportunity to see the work of this acclaimed avant-gardist, whose work suggests a crossing of John Cassavetes with early German expressionism) to the mediocre (the segments by Dubois, Venault, and Frederic Mitterrand) to the unwatchable (Vincent Nordon’s Paris-Plage, certainly the longest 13 minutes in film history). A sad lesson emerges–that the French have no more new ideas than we do–but the Akerman itself is worth it all.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Demain On Demenage aka Tomorrow We Move (2004)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Director Chantal Akerman helmed this offbeat comedy about a mother and daughter who find themselves living together again for the first time in many years. Still reeling emotionally from the recent death of her husband, Catherine (Aurore Clément) has chosen to leave her old home and move in with her grown daughter, Charlotte (Sylvie Testud). While Charlotte is sympathetic, she’s something less than enthusiastic; her mother’s mood swings and the clutter of her collected belongings are cramping her home and her style, and when Catherine decides to revive her career as a piano teacher, the constant parade of youngsters bludgeoning the keyboard makes it all but impossible for Charlotte to complete her latest writing project. Catherine and Charlotte decide to look for more spacious living quarters, while Charlotte is also in search of her own office space. As a steady stream of prospective tenants check out their home, Charlotte makes friends with a pregnant woman looking for a new flat (Natacha Régnier), while her search for a space of her own brings Charlotte a relationship with a like-minded realtor (Jean-Pierre Marielle) and an unlikely collaborator in Michelle (Elsa Zylberstein), a poet who enjoys tinkering with Charlotte’s prose. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Le Milieu du monde AKA The Middle of the World (1974)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Summary
Paul, a high-flying engineer, is proud to have been born in a Swiss town the locals refer to as the Centre of the World. He is running for a local election when he meets Adriana, a young Italian waitress in a café. Although he is married, Paul starts to have a passionate love affair with Adriana, and is soon prepared to give up everything for her. However, the young waitress realises that it is not she that Paul loves but a self-made fantasy… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – La vallée fantôme (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

An ageing writer Paul is determined to make a film but he cannot decide on the subject or location. Instead, he chooses to concentrate his efforts on finding the actress who will star in the film, believing that she will define the lead character and content of the film. He recruits a young man, Jean, to try to find an Italian actress, Dara, whom he has lost sight of. Jean finds Dara in a small Italian town, serving in a modest restaurant, but she refuses to return to acting… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Une flamme dans mon coeur AKA A Flame in My Heart (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The terrifyingly destructive power of a woman’s sexual obsession provides the compelling subject for this psychological study of a woman’s descent into madness from French filmmaker Alain Tanner. It is the tale of Parisian actress Mercedes who is first seen attempting to break up with the obsessive Arab Johnny, who stalks her until she meets handsome newspaper writer Pierre on the subway and goes with him for an afternoon fling. Before the sweat even dries, she finds herself hopelessly in love with him. Pierre is flattered and encourages her desperate devotion, but soon after their affair begins, he is called off on a business trip leaving the suddenly distraught Mercedes alone with her demons. Though preparing for a new play, she is unable to concentrate and barely able to function without Pierre. She quits the production, locks herself in Pierre’s apartment and quietly begins falling apart until he returns. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Le Mépris AKA Contempt (1963)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

On Capri, an Italian crew makes a German film of Homer’s Odyssey; Fritz Lang directs with American money. Prokosch, the producer, with his sneer and red Alfa, holds art films in contempt and hires writer Javal to help Lang commercialize the picture. Against this backdrop, we watch the breakup of Javal’s marriage to Camille, a young former typist. It opens with the couple talking in bed, she asking assurance that he finds her attractive. Later that day he introduces her to Prokosch, and, unawares, blunders unforgivably. The rest of the film portrays her, in their apartment and in public, expressing her hurt and change of heart and his slow grasp of the source of her contempt. Continue reading