France

Catherine Breillat – Romance (1999)

Although deeply in love with her boyfriend – and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him – a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly frustrated, she gradually finds her sexual appetites leading her into ever more risky situations…

Senses of Cinema wrote:

“But it was with the release of Romance in 1999 that Breillat would face censorship internationally, when the film was either banned altogether in some countries, or given an X rating. It was a situation Breillat spoke out about when she declared that, “censorship was a male preoccupation, and that the X certificate was linked to the X chromosome.” Breillat’s statement was echoed in the French poster for the film, which features a naked woman with her hand between her legs. A large red X is printed across the image, thus revealing the source of the trouble: a woman in touch with her own sense of sexual pleasure. Read More »

Barbet Schroeder – Le vénérable W. AKA The Venerable W. (2017)

Plot : A view of the religious tensions between Muslims and Buddhist through the portrait of the Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, leader of anti-Muslim movement in Myanmar. Read More »

Bertrand Blier – Les valseuses AKA Going Places (1974)

Quote:
Two whimsical, aimless thugs harass and assault women, steal, murder, and alternately charm, fight, or sprint their way out of trouble. They take whatever the bourgeois characters value: whether it’s cars, peace of mind, or daughters. Marie-Ange, a jaded, passive hairdresser, joins them as lover, cook, and mother confessor. She’s on her own search for seemingly unattainable sexual pleasure. Read More »

Nina Companéez – Faustine et le bel été aka Faustine and the Beautiful Summer (1972)

“Faustine (Muriel Catala) suffers the wounds of first love in this gentle French film. During a summer when she is staying with her grandmother, she comes to know the nearby neighbors. Two brothers live in the large house. One is divorced and one has recently remarried, both of them live there with their teenaged and adult children. Though the boys of the household are drawn to Faustine, she grows ever more smitten with the divorced older man. During one visit she has to hide in his room to avoid the unwelcome attentions of his sons. As the summer draws to a close she has her first amorous kiss. “
by Clarke Fountain Read More »

René Clément – Le passager de la pluie AKA Rider on the Rain [+Extras] (1970)

Synopsis (possible spoilers):
‘A beautiful young woman in the South of France is stalked by, then raped by, a mysterious masked assailant. She shoots him dead soon afterwards and dumps his corpse in the sea. Later, an American investigator turns up, and to her horror he seems to know everything about what she has done.’
– Jonathon Dabell (IMDb) Read More »

Eugène Green – Faire la parole (2015)

Synopsis
Documentary about the mysteries of the idiosyncratic Basque world shaped by words. “Making the word” speaks of how one lives according to the language spoken, a language that traces an invisible community between a group of young Basques (Spanish and French) who choose to live in Basque, with special emphasis on three teenagers who embark on a journey by the mountains, and by the identity itself. Read More »

Raymond Rouleau – Les sorcières de Salem AKA The Crucible (1957)

Salem, 1692. Industrious farmer, John Proctor, has twice made love to 17-year-old Abigail, a youth he and his wife have taken in. (His wife Elisabeth has rebuffed him for seven months; she is puritanical and cold.) When she finds John and Abigail embracing, she sends the lass from her home and John, feeling damned, agrees. Abigail vows revenge. Her chance comes when she accuses Elisabeth of witchcraft and manipulates younger girls to support her claims of seeing spirits. The town’s minister and politicians want a cause: ridding the town of witchcraft is the ideal repression. John too, is accused; Abigail offers him a way to avoid hanging. Elisabeth has her own confession. Read More »