Ariane Mnouchkine – Molière (1978)

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Plot
Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-73) was perhaps the greatest playwright of French history. His comedies have been performed, adapted and re-adapted continually from his day to ours not only in France, but around the world. It is certain that he lived and breathed for the theater: the company he toured with became first, the King’s Troupe (for the “Sun King,” Louis XIV), and later became what was even then the most prestigious theater company of France, the Comédie Française. The Comédie Française remains a national institution of unimaginable importance. Thanks to Molière’s devastating wit, the king’s patronage and protection was more than a formality: he offended many important people personally and in his comedies. This lavish biographical film chronicles his childhood experiences as a merchant’s son, going by the name of Pouquelin, up to the time he ran away to join the Béjart company of travelling players, and then follows his later years as a respected client of the king. Viewers will find their appreciation for this film enriched by prior knowledge of Molière, his plays, and his times. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Tinto Brass – Action (1980)

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Description: Bruno is an idealistic hero who questions the meaning of life in this confusing and sometimes hallucinatory erotic drama. After a night in jail, he is gang-raped by punk rockers in a garbage dump. He later saves an old man who believes he is Garibaldi and a woman he believes is Ophelia. Bruno watches helplessly as she later jumps from a window.
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Tinto Brass – Nerosubianco AKA Black on White (1968)

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IMDB:
Before directing “Salon Kitty” and moving into the erotic style of film making that he is more known for director Tinto Brass made a series of movies that can only be called “pop art” (these also include “L’urlo” and “Col cuore in gola”). This one, my personal favorite, follows a beautiful young woman (Anita Sanders) who, after being dropped off in the park by what seems to be her husband (I don’t speak much Italian unfortunately!), spends the day wandering the city where she is sometimes pursued by a Black man who she seems to have an interest in despite her reluctance to confront him. On her trip Brass sneaks in statements on politics, racism, hippies, sexuality, conformity and other topical subjects through the use of disjointed editing, stock footage, psychedelia, and music from the UK rock group The Freedom (not the American group of the same name) who pop in and out performing the movie’s groovy score. This is certainly a movie for someone enjoying nonsensical, train-of-thought plot less counterculture type films and anyone not liking that kind of thing would probably wanna steer clear. Radley Metzger released the film in the US through his Audobon distributing group as “The Artful Penetration of Barbara” Continue reading

Luigi Scattini – Il corpo (1974)

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Plot :

Director Luigi Scattini had previously worked with the beautiful model-turned-actress Zeudi Araya in “The Sinner” (1972) and in a previous film that I have not had the pleasure of viewing. Even though she was constantly typecast as the beautiful barefoot island girl, it was always obvious that Araya was having a good time. Casting “Il Corpo” with such tried-and true talents as Leonard Mann, Enrico Maria Salerno, Carroll Baker and Ms. Araya, it is equally obvious that Scattini had a good time, and the result is a dramatic, slightly erotic thriller that begs to be seen. The story is simple and familiar: Mann comes to work for Salerno and his common-law wife Araya, and with Salerno going away from time to time, Mann and Araya fall for each other, and the classic love triangle develops. From here, though, Scattini takes his characters in not-so-obvious directions and leads them them all down the path toward self-destruction. Continue reading

Luciano Emmer – Parole dipinte. Il cinema sull’arte di Luciano Emmer [+Extras] (1946-1966; 2000-2009)

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The art film by Luciano Emmer: the camera explores the figurative worlds of Giotto, Bosch, Carpaccio, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Picasso. First edition on DVD of a valuable asset for art history and Italian cinema.
This two-DVD boxset presents, collected for the first time, a wide selection of art films made by Luciano Emmer (1918-2009). Emmer, screenwriter and director, is the author of films that told with delicacy and humor about Italy in the Fifties (Domenica d’agosto, Terza liceo) and one of the inventors of TV commercials; especially personal and meaningful is his work on art documentaries, awarded all over the world. Continue reading

Luchino Visconti – Le notti bianche AKA White Nights [+extras] (1957)

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Synopsis:

A chance encounter on a canal bridge results in a series of twilight rendezvous between a lonely city transplant (Marcello Mastroianni) and a sheltered woman (Maria Schell) haunted by a lover’s promise. Their hesitant courtship soon entangles both of them in a web of longing and self-delusion. Adapted from the Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story, director Luchino Visconti’s Le notti bianche—shot in ravishing black and white—is a romantic, shattering tale of the restlessness of dreamers. Continue reading