Fritz Lang – Das wandernde Bild aka The Wandering Image (1920)

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The tangled story that unfolds in the torrid melodrama The Wandering Shadow centers around the character of Irmgard (played by actress Mia May), a virtuous woman who, like many such heroines past and present, gets involved with the wrong kind of man. As the film opens, she is seen fussing on a train headed for the picturesque mountains of Germany, fleeing an unidentified gentleman. Through flashbacks, we learn that Irmgard once found employment with a wealthy free-love advocate (Hans Marr). The two have an affair and, with Irmgard pregnant and desperate, she schemes to secretly marry the man’s brother (also played by Hans Marr) so it at least appears that the child is being raised properly. The confusing story eventually has Irmgard trudging through the mountainous terrain to come across a generous monk who offers her a chance at the redemption she so desperately desires. Continue reading

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Thomas Brasch – Engel aus Eisen AKA Angels of Iron (1981) (DVD)

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Berlin, 1948/1949. The town is divided into two sectors. The world is close to World War III. West Berlin is kept alive by the biggest airlift in history. While the city is deadlocked, three teenagers set out to fulfil their dreams: Völpel (Hilmar Thate), ex-executioner, receives secret information from Police Headquarters. Gladow (Ulrich Wesselmann), 17 years old, wants to be like Al Capone. Lisa Gabler (Katharina Thalbach) dreams of buying Berlins biggest revue venue the ‘Friedrichstadt Palast.’ But suddenly, the droning of the airplanes ceases? Based on a true story from the times of the ‘Berlin Blockade.’ Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Bolwieser aka The Stationmaster’s Wife (1977)

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Jim’s Reviews/Fassbinder
From Slant:
By Fernando F. Croce
October 4, 2005

The Stationmaster’s Wife’s first image sets up the template for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s magnificently excruciating study of romantic degradation-frozen in embrace over the opening credits, newlyweds Xaver (Kurt Raab) and Hanni Bolwieser (Elisabeth Trissenaar) kiss and grope ardently, until she abruptly pushes him away (“We don’t want a baby for the moment, all right?”). Watched from outside the bedroom window, the couple is framed in pitiless flat space, Fassbinder’s camera movements terse and entrapping, distilling the director’s maxim of love as “the best, most insidious, most effective instrument of social repression.” The love is Xaver’s, the titular stationmaster and arguably the greatest of Raab’s stump-like petit bourgeois jobs for the director; infatuated with his new wife, he’s unable (or, given Fassbinder’s preference for characters implicit in their own misery, unwilling) to believe the sensation-hungry Hanni is enjoying affairs with various men in their provincial burg in late-1920s Bavaria. Actually, “enjoying” is a misleading word: Hanni’s promiscuity, rather than liberating her, plunges depths of self-loathing, as when, fresh from some afternoon delight with handsome butcher Merkl (Bernhard Helfrich), she gazes at her new Garbo locks in the mirror and spits at her reflection. Venomous gossip promptly spreads throughout the town, derisive cackling ringing in Xaver’s ears as he leaves the pub and marches home to confront his wife, only to be inevitably shouted back into hen-pecked submission. Continue reading

Angela Schanelec – Mein langsames Leben AKA Passing Summer (2001)

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An attempt to observe life from the outside – to gain distance, to not interfere, to just observe. Two young women sitting in a café on a summer day, a family arriving at the airport, an older woman sitting alone in a train, adult children standing in front of the hospital where their father is dying. Situations found everyday, a thousand times over. But what happens when you try to depict this normality?

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A film about several persons shown in different constellations talking to each other about their inner feelings, relationship problems, future plans, and so on. As the original title (“My slow life”) indicates, it is a very slow film with hardly any action at all, more a sequence of still photographs than a movie – even the camera hardly ever moves. Rather, the camera looks for, and finds, beautiful views of silence and peace, thus reflecting what the persons shown are looking for. A very homogeneous, credible film, without any hectic or loud moments. A film for the late evening, with a glass of whisky in your hand. Continue reading

Franz Marischka – L’uomo dal pennello d’oro (1969)

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Edwige Fenech plays the girlfriend of beatnik-hippy artist Archie (Willi Colombini). Throughout the film Edwige is either having her body painted during a hippy party, posing naked for Archie or seducing other men. All is not fun and games for Edwige though after another hippy girl (Marcella Michelangeli) has her eyes on Archie. Continue reading

Joseph W. Sarno – Butterflies (1975)

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“BUTTERFLIES is the bonafide masterpiece… the best of the three Sarno-Nebe films and probably the sexiest “softcore” film he ever made. If BUTTERFLIES could be called “softcore”…the film was shot hardcore and then the penetration cut out to focus on the reactions and intense chemistry between the performers. Some fleeting moments of hardcore are still present, but this qualifies more as a hard softcore feature which would still be rated X today. Marie Forsa returns as Denise, a beautiful country girl whose life is filled with joy and love for her handsome boyfriend, Freddy. But living in an idyllic existence soon bores her, and she is off to the big city to experience the glamour and glitz for herself. She meets Frank, a dashing nightclub owner who takes her under his wing. But she doesn’t take kindly to the fact that she’s just one of his stable of women and must choose between the big city life and her dreary farm life. Continue reading

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