“Movies about making movies are usually concerned with the frantic desperation of a shoot, with crises popping up by the minute and everyone rushing about madly. Not so in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film, allegedly about his experiences making Whity on-location in Spain. The first quarter of the film is taken up with a long scene in a hotel lobby which might have been directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The lassitude and sense of sexual longing is almost suffocating, as members of the film within a film’s cast and crew down drinks, break glasses, nuzzle on couches, or stare blankly into space. With the arrival of more money to continue the production and of the film’s director (Lou Castel playing a handsome version of Fassbinder) and the film’s star (Eddie Constantine more or less playing himself — there is even a reference to his Lemmy Caution character), the energy level picks up — especially when the director begins throwing hourly tantrums. And Fassbinder’s narrative becomes more fragmented, featuring short snippets of conversations among the various characters, most of them complaining about someone else on the crew screwing things up. In one long and very funny scene, the director carefully reads a newspaper containing an article about him while a half-dozen other characters around him drift away. There is some witty use of music, too; three Leonard Cohen songs from his first album drone on during the long opening scene in the lobby, and later, a party scene plays out to Ray Charles’ “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” This is all likely to be more amusing to those in the know about Fassbinder and his methods; less informed viewers are likely to see it as so much navel-gazing.” Continue reading
Two soldiers–searching the Sahara for Atlantis–are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is an endless nightmare, climaxing with the murder of one of the soldiers. There are some brilliant moments in this sci-fi fantasy classic.
A pair of Legionnaires discover the remains of the lost city of Atlantis in the middle of the Sahara desert. It is ruled by a strange and beautiful demi-goddess. (guess who). Continue reading
Premiered at Toronto Film Festival, UFO In Her Eyes is a cinematic adaptation of her most recent novel of the same title. The film stars Shi Ke and Udo Kier and is a political metaphor recounted through the phantasmagoric transformation that befalls a small Chinese village after an alleged UFO sighting. Inspired by Soviet cinema, Xiaolu Guo dedicated this film to Soy Cuba, a 1964 Soviet-Cuban film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. The movie’s score is composed by the Somali-Canadian musician Mocky and produced by Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin. It received the Public Award at Milan 3-Continental Film Festival 2013. Continue reading
Review from DVDTalk:
My first introduction to the oddball cinema of Spanish filmmaker Jesus ‘Jess’ Franco came one night about 3am while channel surfing in my parent’s basement. I’d just gotten back from college, it was time for the summer break, and I’d only minutes beforehand returned from an evening at the pub. I came across what appeared to be a pair of lesbian vampires doing their thing set to a be-bopping score and some whacked out colors and it instantly caught my attention. I didn’t really know what I was watching and didn’t find out until the film was finished that it was one of Franco’s most popular films, Vampyros Lesbos. That semi-intoxicated late night initiation led me to seek out more of the man’s work, and since that night over ten years ago I’ve become a casual fan of his wildly uneven catalogue of work. His films may not always be good in the traditional sense of the word, but they’re always interesting and there’s always a little piece of himself put into his work. Continue reading
The sun shone on Old Trafford on 12th September 1970 as Manchester United beat Coventry 2:0 in a league match. It was not an important victory; that season Man Utd would only be also-rans in the race for the championship. But a record was preserved of the match that is probably unique in the history of film and television. Using eight 16mm cameras, Hellmuth Costard, one of the most important experimental filmmakers in German cinema of the 60s and 70s, followed every move over the 90 minutes of the man in the red jersey with the number 11 – traditionally associated with the conventional outside left, but here worn by the mercurial George Best. Continue reading
“Suddenly there was a powerful explosion, the earth trembled under my feet and the older people who had already experienced a war, thought this would be the start of a new one.” This is how Gulschara, a witness, describes one of the worst nuclear disasters to mankind.
On September 29th, 1957 a tank containing highly radioactive waste exploded at the Mayak nuclear facility in the south Ural region in Russia and released large amounts of radioactivity, which spread up to 400km northeast of Mayak. Due to the meteorological situation the contamination accumulated to the south Ural area, so that the warning systems in Europe weren’t triggered. The accident could therefore be kept secret for more than 30 years until the Perestroika.
In that time most of the people living in the affected areas were not properly informed. Many lived a normal life as if nothing had happened. Even today people have only been partially moved to a new settlement called New Muslyumovo, which is only two kilometres away from the old town and the Tetscha river, which originates in the secret area of Mayak and in which high-level radioactive waste was inserted repeatedly. “I am afraid of the radiation… but I don’t feel it a lot during day-to-day life”, says Nail, one of the residents of Muslyumovo.
The filmmaker uses the cinematic language to capture a danger, that is not visual nor perceptible, and to show the strenght of people and nature who has to cope with it.
The fascination of watching Damage is similar to the fascination of watching a car crash in progress–you know something unpleasant is going to happen, but your attention is riveted to the scene of destruction. In the case of this acclaimed drama, adapted by playwright David Hare from the novel by Josephine Hart, the destruction results from a collision of sexual attraction between a British governmental official (Jeremy Irons) and his son’s fiancée (Juliette Binoche). Blind to the damage they’ll cause to others and themselves, they begin an obsessive affair based purely on impulsive attraction and the hidden emotions that feed into their immediate physical desires. As you could expect, this leads to emotional fallout for everyone concerned, lending multiple interpretations to the film’s title and allowing Miranda Richardson (as Irons’s wife) to give a brilliant performance drawn from raw anger and betrayal. Under the direction of Louis Malle, this forceful drama never resorts to sordid detail or gratuitous titillation. Rather, Malle and his esteemed cast have explored the ways in which the power of sexuality supercedes the rationality of logic, when mutual attraction is stronger than one’s ability to resist temptation. Damage makes it clear that such an indulgence will always come at considerable cost. The DVD of this fine film includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer. Continue reading