France

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – La Puce joyeuse, Ada Lichtman (2017)

From MUBI:
Four Sisters, a quartet of Lanzmann documentaries that recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, avoids many of the pitfalls of the often-irascible documentarian’s lesser films by dint of its remarkable self-effacement. Devoted to the frequently jaw-dropping stories of four women who survived the Holocaust, the films—The Hippocratic Oath, Baluty, The Merry Flea, and Noah’s Ark— confirm that filmed oral history is Lanzmann’s métier. This seems particularly noteworthy in an era where the macro-historical approach of scholars such as Timothy Snyder has become embraced as the best conceptual tool for defining and explicating the Holocaust. Read More »

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – Le Serment d’Hippocrate (2017)

From MUBI:
Four Sisters, a quartet of Lanzmann documentaries that recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, avoids many of the pitfalls of the often-irascible documentarian’s lesser films by dint of its remarkable self-effacement. Devoted to the frequently jaw-dropping stories of four women who survived the Holocaust, the films—The Hippocratic Oath, Baluty, The Merry Flea, and Noah’s Ark— confirm that filmed oral history is Lanzmann’s métier. This seems particularly noteworthy in an era where the macro-historical approach of scholars such as Timothy Snyder has become embraced as the best conceptual tool for defining and explicating the Holocaust. Read More »

Arnaud Desplechin – Un conte de Noël aka A Christmas Tale (2008)

Criterion wrote:
In Arnaud Desplechin’s beguiling A Christmas Tale (Un conte de Noël), Catherine Deneuve brings her legendary poise to the role of Junon, matriarch of the troubled Vuillard family, who come together at Christmas after she learns she needs a bone marrow transplant from a blood relative. That simple family reunion setup, however, can’t begin to describe the unpredictable, emotionally volatile experience of this film, an inventive, magical drama that’s equal parts merriment and melancholy. Unrequited childhood loves and blinding grudges, brutal outbursts and sudden slapstick, music, movies, and poetry, A Christmas Tale ties it all together in a marvelously messy package.
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Nagisa Oshima – Max Mon Amour (1986)

“Just tell me one thing frankly. Is this monkey really your lover?”

It is and it isn’t unlikely material for Nagisa Ôshima. The element of transgressive love is here, but this time, it’s in a dry comedy whose centerpiece is a diplomat’s wife’s extramarital affair with a sensitive, somewhat unstable chimpanzee (aren’t they all?). Charlotte Rampling is the woman, Anthony Higgins is the diplomat, and Victoria Abril is the housekeeper who develops a mysterious allergy, probably but not necessarily to the titular Max. Read More »

Claude Sautet – Mado [+Extras] (1976)

Synopsis (possible spoilers):
“Middle-aged businessman, Simon Leotard finds his future in jeopardy when his partner Julien commits suicide after having accumulated a mass of debts. Simon’s unscrupulous business rival Lepidon offers to save him from bankruptcy by buying his company, at a discount rate. Reluctant to fall into Lepidon’s trap, Simon decides to resolve the crisis himself. A prostitute, Mado, provides him with the solution to his problems…”
– IMDb Read More »

Adolfo Arrieta – Tam Tam (1976)

Adolpho Arrietta was a major figure in the new cinemas that appeared in the sixties and seventies in various countries. Thus he became one of the fundamental film directors in the history of Spanish cinema. As with Buñuel, a long exile seems to have been the condition that allowed his work to keep up with the most important trends in the cinema of his era. Throughout the seventies he produced a series of “punk à la française” films, as Severo Sarduy called them, which for their originality and influence are among the most important in French cinema of that decade. In 1989 he returned to Madrid, and despite noteable intervals, which other Spanish film directors of his generation also experienced, his work proceeded. Alone, like in the era of El crimen de la pirindola but with a digital camera, he produced what for the moment is his latest film: Vacanza permanente (2006). Read More »

Michel Gondry – L’écume des jours AKA Mood Indigo (2013)

Quote:
Colin has a very pleasant life: he is rich, he loves the food his cook makes (Nicolas), he loves his pianocktail (contraction of piano and cocktail, a word invented by Vian) and his friend Chick. One day while having lunch with Chick, Chick tells him that he met a girl named Alise with whom he has a common passion: the writer Jean-Sol Partre (an spoonerism of Jean-Paul Sartre who was Boris Vian´s friend). Colin meets Chloe at a party Chick invited him to. They fall in love, marry, but Chloe becomes ill during their honeymoon. As time passes, Chloe’s condition deteriorates while the relationship between Chick and Alise turns sour … Read More »