France

Jean-Luc Perreard – Itineraire bis (2011)

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Synopsis:
‘Jean is 35 and still lives with his mother in the small Corsican town where he was born. His future is clearly mapped out for him – to take over the running of the family restaurant. But one day something happens that sets him on new and unexpected course. He meets Nora, a young woman who has just been thrown into the sea from her racing yacht. Nora awakens something in Jean, a sense of adventure, a yearning for new experiences. Jean’s life has only just begun…’
– Films de France Read More »

Abel Gance – Lucrezia Borgia (1935)

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Episodes from the life of Lucrecia Borgia’s. Spoiled and willful, she has many love affairs and tries to resist her ruthless and scheming brother César Borgia’s plans to marry her off for political advantage.

Episodic and hard to follow to those not familiar with Italian geography and with the political situation of the time. Nice sets and costumes but the 16 millimeter print I saw did not show them well.

The kind of movie the French New Wave rebelled against Read More »

Claude Autant-Lara – Marguerite de la nuit AKA Marguerite of the Night (1955)

Quote:
Truffaut and Godard gave a bad name to the “quality” French cinema that preceded them. This film was one of their pet examples of what they saw as staid, boring, unadventurous cinéma de papa. Without an axe to grind, it is actually a breathtakingly bold modernization of the Faust legend, ravishing to look at with its highly stylized sets (Trauner on LSD) and containing multi-layered undercurrents, including a message on the unthinking destructiveness of youth which seems almost like a prescient reply to its New Wave critics. Read More »

Jean-Marie Straub – Schakale und Araber (2011)


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Description: Based on Kafka’s short story:

A European traveler from the North, accompanied by Arab guides, is camped in the desert. When night falls, and the Arabs are at a distance, the traveler is accosted by talking jackals. The jackals speak of an age-old hatred for Arabs, whom they associate with uncleanliness. They relate a belief passed down from their ancestors, that a man such as the protagonist would be the one to “end the quarrel which divides the world in two”. The jackals attempt to enlist the traveler’s assistance in destroying them, offering him old rusted scissors with which to slit the throats of the Arabs. (en.wikipedia.org) Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge…: Portrait d’une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles (#1.3) (1994)


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Dave McDougall at MUBI.com

Last Monday night, MoMA played two installments from the series “Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge…”, a series of one-hour television episodes “in which French directors were asked to contribute films based on their recollections of adolescence” (BFI). The first episode shown was Chantal Akerman’s Portrait of a Young Girl at the End of the 1960s in Brussels.

Akerman’s episode is an achievement of an entirely different level. It moves beyond being one of the great coming-of-age films; it is simply one of the great films. A moving, multifaceted, and magical hour, presented with honesty and subtle artistry. Read More »

René Vautier – Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès AKA To Be Twenty in the Aures (1972)


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Summary
In 1961, a group of pacifist Bretons are sent to fight in France’s war against Algeria. Reluctant warriors, they are moulded into killing machines by the inspirational lieutenant Perrin and soon find their first taste of conflict. One of the group continues to rebel against the folly of the war and goes on the run with an Algerian prisoner. For all concerned, the experience will not be easily forgotten – for those that survive, that is… Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Nuit et jour aka Night and Day (1991)


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Synopsis
Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver of the taxi, and soon Julie is spending her nights with Joseph and her days with Jack.. Read More »