Peter Weir – Picnic at Hanging Rock [Director’s Cut] (1975)

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Desire as persistent and intense as the sunshine on a bright summer day is what teases out madness in Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. The objects, or goals, of these desires are disparate, though they all spiral out following the 1900 disappearance of three young women and a teacher from the Appleyard School during a trip to the small titular ridge on St. Valentine’s Day. The vanishing of these women is central to the plot, but Weir’s film is never as fascinated with the reasons for this absence as it is with the characters left in its inexplicable wake. Cliff Green’s script, adapted from Joan Lindsay’s novel of the same name, never goes about teasing what could have happened to these women at Hanging Rock, instead focusing on the wild cupidity that erupts in the surrounding community in reaction to the mystery. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – ‘Je vous salue, Marie’ aka Hail, Mary (1985)

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IMDB says:
In this modern retelling of the Virgin birth, Mary is a student who plays basketball and works at her father’s petrol station; Joseph is an earnest dropout who drives a cab. The angel Gabriel must school Joseph to accept Mary’s pregnancy, while Mary comes to terms with God’s plan through meditations that are sometimes angry and usually punctuated by elemental images of the sun, moon, clouds, flowers, and water. Godard intercuts a brief parallel story of Eva and her nameless lover; their adulterous affair, rife with philosophical discussions, leads nowhere.
– Written by jhailey Continue reading

José Luis Borau – La Sabina (1979)

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A Brit named Michael, comes to Andalusia in the footsteps of an English writer disappeared in that area in the nineteenth century. The mystery, the charm of the place and the fierce beauty of local women catch him completely. Cultural and emotional shock have as a background to the legend of La Sabina, a mythical being who lives in caves and devours men after having sex with them.
Many years ago not to watch this extraordinary film. There is no DVD edition. My film is a high quality digital recording. A Masterpiece of Spanish cinema. Co-produced with Sweden and the wonderful Harriet Andersson and Angela Molina. Continue reading

Veiko Õunpuu – Püha Tõnu kiusamine AKA The Temptation of St. Tony (2009)

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There’s no better cinematic praise than to be evocative of Béla Tarr’s tour de force Werckmeister Harmonies. And The Temptation of St. Tony is just that. Veiko Õunpuu has weaved an existential rumination on Eastern European temporality, where work is waiting and waiting is work, and a visually stunning critique of the exacerbation of difference that post-communist times have to offer. A nouveau riche class fascinated by its newly imported sense of sophistication and superiority is so in love with itself that getting a glimpse of the lower classes is as unbearable as staring at Medusa right in the eye. Continue reading

René Clément – La baby-sitter aka Jeune fille libre le soir (1975)

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Whatever one says about the plot of this film is going to be a spoiler. Let’s just say that a girl takes a baby-sitting job for one night and in the morning finds that things are not what they seemed and she is in a big load of trouble.

The film has been trashed by just about everybody who ever bothered to write about it, and that’s unfair. At least among Clément’s thrillers – Les felins, Le passager de la pluie, La course du lièvre à travers les champs, etc – it can stand its ground, sharing their dreamlike ambiguity and opaque plot structure. It may not be a masterpiece, but it’s certainly a worthwhile couple of hours. Continue reading

Carol Reed – The Third Man (1949)

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Of all the iconic images in Carol Reed’s The Third Man, none is as recognizable as the sight of Harry Lime (Orson Welles) standing in a Vienna doorway, bathed in shadow. Accompanied by Anton Karas’s unforgettable zither score, it’s one of the most iconic entrances in film history, which is befitting one of film’s most iconic characters. Although he’s only on screen for a fraction of the film’s running time, Lime stands out as one of the screen’s most chilling embodiments of the banality of evil, and a perfect stand-in for Third Man‘s vision of moral breakdown in post-WWII Europe. Continue reading