Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Pociag AKA Night Train (1959)

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Quote:
Two strangers, Jerzy (Leon Niemczyk) and Marta (Lucyna Winnicka), accidentally end up holding tickets for the same sleeping chamber on an overnight train to the Baltic Sea coast. While handsome, well dressed and rather laconic, Jerzy seems ill at ease, while Marta is not talkative and would prefer to be alone. Staszek (Zbigniew Cybulski) is a student and Marta’s spurned lover, and will not leave her alone. When the police enter the train in search of a murderer on the lam, rumors fly and everything seems to point toward one of the main characters as the culprit. [spoiler removed from quote] Continue reading

Jacques Rivette – Duelle (une quarantaine) AKA Twilight (A Quarantine) (1976)

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It all began (as things Rivettian tend to do) auspiciously enough. There were to be four films in a series originally entitled Les Filles du Feu (after Gerard de Nerval) before the more expansive Scenes de la vie parallele replaced it. Each would center on a “non-existent myth” of a battle between goddesses of the sun and the moon for a mysterious blue diamond that has the power to make mortals immortal and vice versa. Each film was to be in a different genre: a film noir, a pirate adventure, a love story, and finally a musical – the last-mentioned of whose scenario particulars hadn’t been completely worked out when the four-film project went into production. Two films were ultimately completed – Duelle (the film noir) and Noroit (1976, the pirate adventure). But two days into the shooting of the third, Histoire de Marie et Julien the metteur en scène (as Rivette always chose to call himself, auteurism be damned) suffered a nervous breakdown, and the entire project fell apart – though traces of it linger in Merry-Go-Round (1981, a paranoid conspiracy jape that has everything but the goddesses) and the semi-demi-musical Haut/Bas/Fragile (1995). Continue reading

Jack Conway – Arsène Lupin (1932)

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Synopsis by Mark Deming
John Barrymore plays a burglar and his brother Lionel Barrymore is the detective trying to catch him in this cleverly cast drama. An upscale thief who works under the name of Arsene Lupin is making the rounds of the homes of the wealthy and privileged, and Detective Guerchard (Lionel Barrymore) is determined to track him down. What he doesn’t know is that the suave and sophisticated Duke of Charmerace (John Barrymore) is actually the man behind the robberies. Will Guerchard find out the thief’s true identity before he can execute a daring theft from the Louvre Museum? Karen Morely co-stars as Sonia, the Duke’s love interest. Continue reading

George Fitzmaurice – Arsène Lupin Returns (1938)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This follow-up to MGM’s 1932 John Barrymore vehicle Arsene Lupin stars the ineluctable Melvyn Douglas. Reported to be dead, suave gentleman jewel thief Arsene Lupin (Douglas) resurfaces under the assumed name of Rene Farrand. Intending to follow the straight and narrow path, Lupin/Farrand reverts to his old larcenous ways when the opportunity to pilfer $250,000 in gems presents itself. Slowing down our hero somewhat is the presence of hotshot American private eye Steve Emerson (Warren William) and glamorous adventuress Lorraine de Grissac (Virginia Bruce). Ironically, both Melvyn Douglas and Warren William also played thief-turned-sleuth Michael Lanyard, aka “The Lone Wolf”, over at Columbia. Continue reading

Andrea Staka – Cure: The Life of Another (2014)

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Quote:
1993, Dubrovnik after the siege. The city is still shaken and wounded by the horrors of war and the traces of that agonizing past-present are still visible on the walls of houses but above all in the minds and hearts of its inhabitants. One day Linda and her best friend Eta get lost in mountains of Dubrovnik. The two girls sink into an ambiguous and sexually-charged game of switching roles and identities which culminates in a fatal fall. Alone, in a country that she no longer fully understands, Linda loses herself; her personality splits in two: on the one hand her inner self and on the other the far away and persistent echo of her deceased friend… Continue reading

David Lynch – Inland Empire (2006)

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Quote:
There are, in the movies, few places creepier to spend time than in David Lynch’s head. It is a head where the wild things grow, twisting and spreading like vines, like fingers, and taking us in their captive embrace. Over the last three decades these wild things have laid siege to us even as they have mutated: the deformed baby of “Eraserhead” evolving into the anguished distortions of “The Elephant Man,” the Reagan-era surrealism of “Blue Velvet,” the serial home invasion in “Twin Peaks” and the meta-cinematic masterpiece “Mulholland Drive,” a dispatch from that smog-choked boulevard of broken dreams called Hollywood. Continue reading