France

Claude Sautet – Max et les ferrailleurs AKA Max and the Junkmen (1971)

From slantmagazine

In a 1994 interview, director Claude Sautet, who had a particular fondness for his Max et les Ferrailleurs, expressed directly and unequivocally his disdain for its protagonist, the police detective Max (Michel Piccoli), an efficient, dedicated policeman with no home life and a hard-won icy exterior. Cops like Max weren’t new in 1971—not in French movies, not in the American thrillers and noirs that inspired the French film industry, not even in Sautet’s work. But like a lady once said about a reporter, you may have met hard-boiled before, but Max, he’s 10 minutes. He’s also independently wealthy. Read More »

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Operai, contadini AKA Workers, Peasants (2001)

Quote:
A peasant tradition of making homemade ricotta cheese on a wood-burning fire becomes an act of resistance in this unforgettable film. Amateur actors from the regional Buti theater, many of them ordinary laborers and farmers, recite or read passages from Elio Vittorini’s Marxist novella Women of Messina, their singularly musical voices ringing out as one in the verdant forest. The story, which Italo Calvino called a “choral narrative,” centers on a group of workers and peasants who rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the Second World War by rebuilding a destroyed village and forming a utopian community. Read More »

Virgil Vernier – Mercuriales (2014) (HD)

Synopsis:
In a Parisian suburb of Bagnolet two receptionists who work in the lobby of the titular high-rise drift from one enigmatic situation to the next going to the pool, visiting a maze-like sex club and hunting for new employment. Read More »

Maurice Pialat – À nos amours aka To Our Loves (1983)

Quote:
In a revelatory film debut, the dynamic, fresh-faced Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a fifteen-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father (played with astonishing magnetism by Pialat himself), ineffectual mother, and brutish brother. A tender character study that can erupt in startling violence, À nos amours is one of the high-water marks of eighties French cinema. Read More »

Barbet Schroeder – Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (1974)

Quote:
In 1971, the small African nation of Uganda was taken over by self-styled dictator General Idi Amin Dada, beginning an eight-year reign of terror that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. In this chilling yet darkly comic documentary, director Barbet Schroeder turns his cameras on the infamous tyrant, revealing the dynamic, charming, and appallingly dangerous man whose fanatical neuroses held an entire nation in their grip. Made with the full support and participation of the infamous dictator, General Idi Amin Dada provides a candid and disturbing portrait of one of the 20th century’s most notorious figures. Read More »

José Giovanni – Deux hommes dans la ville AKA Two Men in Town (1973)

Synopsis:
Thanks to the support and influence of a kindly parole officer, Gino Strabliggi is released from prison and has a chance to start a new life. However, things soon begin to go wrong for him. First his wife is killed in a car accident and then a ruthless police commissioner, Goitreau, begins to taunt him. In spite of his parole officer’s continued presence in his life, Gino soon finds himself on the wrong side of the law – and this time he is unlikely to be given another chance… Read More »

Maurice Pialat – Passe ton bac d’abord… aka Graduate first (1979)

The world sometimes seems divided into two camps: those who recall their teenage years as having been an exhilarating dream, and those who remember them as having been an infernal, nightmarish hell. So it might do to describe Passe ton bac d’abord… [Graduate First… / Pass Your Bac First…] as Maurice Pialat’s “The Best Years of Our Lives”, while bearing in mind all that such a description might suggest: an unsparing portrait of the era when the words ‘sixteen candles’ still might have first conjured the image of flames. Read More »