France

Serge Bard – Détruisez-vous AKA Destroy Yourselves (1969)

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Synopsis:
The first Zanzibar film, Détruisez-vous takes its title from an oft-repeated ’68 slogan (“Aidez-nous, détruisez-vous”) and its lead from Godard’s La Chinoise, Warhol’s Factory, and the French Revolution. A drop-out from Nanterre University, Serge Bard returned to the school to shoot his film in April ’68, just a month before the student protests erupted. Incidentally, Anne Wiazemsky, who stars in La Chinoise, was also a student at Nanterre at that time. Bard’s muse, the English fashion model Caroline de Bendern, plays a confused member of an agit-prop cell led by Alain Jouffroy, cast as a professor proselytizing revolution to a near empty classroom. Juliet Berto, who also appears in La Chinoise, is another member of the cadre but offers no sisterly love to de Bendern, who grows increasingly uncertain and fragile in light of all the militancy. Read More »

Pierre Rissient – Alibis AKA One Night Stand (1977)

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Richard Jordan plays Paul, a disillusioned American in search of the meaning of life. After his ex-wife attempts suicide, Paul retreats to Hong Kong. Here he tries to assuage his angst by becoming involved with several local lovelies. Still unsatisfied, Paul leaves the British protectorate, once more trying to find himself. The film was shot entirely in Hong Kong. Read More »

Raymond Depardon – 12 jours AKA 12 Days (2017)

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Quote:
A young woman stares across a table at the judge who is reviewing her case. Her gaze is both searingly intense and curiously blank. Holding herself preternaturally still, muscles tensed against the turmoil of emotions, she pleads to see the two-year-old daughter who has been removed from her care. “Not all the time, I accept that. But just to change her diaper, to love her.” If there’s a more achingly sad moment in any film of the 2017 Cannes film festival, it’s hard to imagine what it could be. For 12 Jours, veteran documentarian Raymond Depardon (Modern Life, Journal de France) turns his lens on to the desperate, broken souls of the patients who have been involuntarily committed into the care of a Lyon psychiatric institution. Read More »

Milos Forman – Valmont (1989)

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Quote:
“Valmont,” Milos Forman’s spin on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” is sumptuous suds, a broadly played trivialization of de Laclos’s 18th-century novel of boudoir intrigue. With its callow cast and playful tone, there is nothing dangerous about Forman’s variation on the novelist’s schemes. It’s a naughty costume dramedy in which the erotic conquests of bored libertines are transformed into children’s kissing games.

Colin Firth and Annette Bening play the story’s sexual strategists, the smarmy Vicomte de Valmont and the devious Marquise de Merteuil, whose machinations sully the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Meg Tilly) and the virginal Cecile de Volanges (Fairuza Balk). A generation younger than the cast of Stephen Frears’s “Dangerous Liaisons,” the actors’ ages more closely mirror those of the novel’s young adults and teenagers, but they seem less bedroom Machiavellians than members of a 1700s Breakfast Club, not tragically flawed, hopelessly jaded, ultimately doomed and self-destructive, just wet behind the leers. Read More »

Cannes Film Festival – Jean-Luc Godard Press Conference Cannes 2018 (2018)

Press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, with the virtual participation of Jean-Luc Godard via FaceTime. It took place on May 12, 2018. [Dual audio, original french in the first track, english translation in the second track] Read More »

Manuelle Blanc – Persona, le film qui a sauvé Ingmar Bergman AKA Persona – The Film That Saved Ingmar Bergman (2018)

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In 1965, Ingmar Bergman directed “Persona”, a cult film that sums up all the obsessions of the Swedish master, born a hundred years ago. This Arte TV documentary explores the film, based on interviews with film critics, collaborators and the maser himself. Read More »

Serge Bard – Ici et maintenant aka Here and now (1968)

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“I had the idea to call my film ICI ET MAINTENANT, because the cinema is exactly the contrary of the here and now. The cinema is always elsewhere and before…It seemed important to rediscover the magic of the present, that is the here and now. I wanted the spectator during the film to return to himself and thus not to participate in the usual process of identification where he is able to escape from himself” (Serge Bard). Emblematic of the Zanzibar movement’s youthful, revolutionary zeal, the title of Bard’s film ICI ET MAINTENANT is a “seize the day” clarion call, fitting for a generation who sought to change the world. Shot in Brittany, with Caroline de Bendern and Olivier Mosset who were lovers at the time, and no script, the film took as its subject the idea of “contestation .” With its loose, radicalized narrative, and hyper-aestheticized flamboyance, ICI ET MAINTENANT depicts a series of symbolic attacks against society and an atomic factory threatened by sketchy characters. This was the final film Bard made before decamping for Africa and clandestinely converting to Islam, expeditiously sending his film crew, many of whom had worked on ICI ET MAINTENANT, back to Paris, bewildered. Read More »