Jean Rollin – Les démoniaques aka Demoniacs aka Curse of the Living Dead (1974)

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Jean Rollin’s surreal pirate film takes place on land amidst the skeletons of beached and plundered ships, the legacy of a cutthroat band of “wreckers” who lure ships into the shallows. When a pair of survivors, young girls glowing in white nightgowns, wander through the shallows seeking help from the merry quartet, they are summarily molested, beaten, and left for dead. Like in many of Rollin’s films, the story doesn’t make much narrative sense–the girls escape to the haunted ruins where a woman in clown makeup cares for them and a mysterious magician gives them the power to take their revenge in return for sex–but the logic takes on a dreamlike quality appropriate to the gorgeous and bizarre imagery. In a strange tavern adorned with skeletons (and a man playing with a Dracula doll!), the Captain is haunted by visions of the girls as white-faced specters. A search for the girls amidst the rotting hulls of old ships culminates in a fiery inferno that burns spectacularly against the night sky. Meanwhile well-endowed costar Joëlle Coeur strips at the slightest suggestion, frolics and bounces on a bed, and runs around the beach topless while hunting the girls. Rollin’s strange little film, a ghost story without ghosts, rambles on a little too long before it culminates in a self-destructive frenzy and ends on a sad, serene note. Continue reading

Albert Serra – La mort de Louis XIV (2016)

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Agust 1715. Coming back from his promenade, Louis XIV feels a pain in his leg. The following days, the king his keeping his obligations but he has agitated nights, and the fever is getting him. He eats little and gets weaker day after day. The agony has just begun for the great king of France, surrounded by his doctors and servants. Continue reading

Jérôme de Missolz – La mécanique des femmes AKA The Mechanics of Women (2000)

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The Mechanics of Women is based on the novel by Louis Calaferte and directed by Jerome De Missolz. It concerns one man’s obsession and one woman’s appetite, and the consequences of their ultimate meeting. A man is entering the final stages of a love affair. His girlfriend tells him a tale of a woman, lurking of the streets of Paris in a search of men to conquer. The man, obsessed with this image of the woman, embarks on a quest. He enters a series of brief sexual encounters in hopes of finding her. His mind flows between fantasy and reality as he relives a lifetime of hapless affairs and one-night stands. One night, he attends a party in the projects when he comes face-to-face with the object of his obsession…

Jerome de Missolz is a well-known documentary film -maker. He has also directed a number of television films on fashion, politics and social issues, including a potrait of Yves Saint-Laurent; < fascism: The Return >. < La Mecanique des Femmes > is his first feature. Continue reading

Pierre Coulibeuf – Les guerriers de la beauté (2003)

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This film sprang from an encounter between French film-maker Pierre Coulibeuf and Flemish choreographer Jan Fabre. The choreographer re-created his own world and offered Coulibeuf a phantasmagoria based on his theatrical and choreographic inventions. The resulting film is a labyrinth with multiple entrances, where an unlikely Ariane in wedding gown guides and misleads the viewer in a strange world marked by metamorphosis, multiple personalities, conflicting drives, parody, ritual, surreality… Continue reading

Travis Collins & Amélie Ravalec – Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay (2015)

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Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay traces the development of one of music’s most quietly influential genres from the post-industrial cities of Europe to America’s avant-garde scene, and features contributions from members of pioneering outfits : Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, NON, SPK, Test Dept, Clock DVA, Re/Search – V Vale, Z’EV, Click Click, Sordide Sentimental, Hula, The Klinik, Ant-Zen, Orphx, In The Nursery and Prima Linea. Continue reading

Alain Cavalier – Libera me (1993)

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the AMG clerk wrote :

“Exploring a dystopian future which has parallels to those found in Brazil, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984, this film, tells of a place where a military junta has taken control and requires people to think, speak, and act in precise ways: anyone who fails to do so is killed. The story is told entirely without the use of spoken dialogue. Symbolic imagery replaces much of what would have been spoken in a narrative, establishing the situation and setting. In the story, two brothers are part of an underground organization opposed to the totalitarian regime. Members of the underground identify themselves using pieces of torn photographs. Reviewers found that the story is told intelligibly and quite swiftly, despite the absence of dialog, but is not quite lively enough to satisfy action buffs.” Continue reading

Maroun Bagdadi – Liban, le pays du miel et de l’encens AKA Lebanon, the Land of Honey and Incense (1988)

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Doctor Fournier arrives in Beirut as the civil war is raging. He finds himself with a colleague working in a hospital controlled by a Shiite militia and treating the injured. Driven by his doctor’s oath, he crosses the demarcation line to treat Christian casualties of the ongoing clashes. This causes Muslims in his neighborhood to brand him a traitor. He is kidnapped to be exchanged for a fighter captured by Christian militiamen. The film is part of the TV series Médecins des hommes (Doctors of Men). It was considered the best movie in the series. Continue reading