Carmelo Bene – Salome (1972)

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This experimental film by the maverick Italian director Carmelo Bene is a free adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome and is even more irreverent than the original. In this film, Bene carries the New Testament story beyond the incident with Herod, and pictures Christ nailing himself to the cross, unable (of course) to finish the task. This film uses many musical and filmic special effects and includes at least one pornographic sequence and a number of sadistic ones. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Moses und Aron (1975)

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This is one of the best opera films ever, one of the few to intelligently juxtapose image and music. S and H’s minimal visual style allows Schoenberg’s maximal musical style to flourish, and there are even spots where we have a black screen, with music only. Filmed outdoors, in natural locations.

Schoenberg’s opera is one of the landmarks of 20th century music, and is heard and seen at its best in this performance.

‘With Moses und Aron, I have tried to destroy Stravinsky’s quote
saying that music was powerless to express the most abstract, the
most ordinary, the most concrete things.’ (Jean-Marie Straub) Continue reading

Ken Russell – il mefistofele (1989)

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Arrigo Boito’s Il Mefestefele was first performed in 1868 and his most known work. In Ken Russell’s modern interpretation presented by the Genoese Opera, it has Faust as an ageing hippy. He smokes marijuana and is tormented by his lost youth. Mephisto makes a bet with God that he can turn anyone to pagan life, even someone as innocent as Faust. From then on it is a battle of good against evil in a flamboyant, surreal display of primary colours, PVC costumes, nurses with swastikas, rocket trips, love and even characters dressed as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Ken Russell said because the devil is always with us is his reason for the contemporary setting. Written by Archie Moore Continue reading

Carlos Saura – Tango [+Extras] (1998)

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When the idea of a film about the tango was proposed to director Carlos Saura by a producer, the director spent several months hammering out a scenario that used dance to propel the story about a dancer, Mario Suárez (Miguel Ángel Solá), injured in a recent car accident and freshly divorced, using a film about the tango to heal some deep personal wounds.

Woven into the dances-within-a-film-within-a-film are pieces evoking the tango as the social glue of Argentinian culture, as well as the music’s function during the dark years under Juan Peron, when tango music was played loud by the secret service to smother the cries of torture sessions.

Repression is more or less linked through Mario’s own need to repress his still-broiling feelings for ex-wife Laura Fuentes (Cecilia Narova) who’s a key dancer in his film, as well as emerging feelings for Elena Flores (Mía Maestro), the young dancer he casts at the behest of the production’s biggest financier, a major mafia figure. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Markisinnan de Sade AKA Madame de Sade (1992)

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Quote:
Bergman’s production Yukio Mishima’s play Madame de Sade was not the first work by the Japanese playwright to be performed in Sweden. In 1959, Dramaten had produced some of Mishima’s Noh plays and in 1970, the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki visited Dramaten with a version of Madame the Sade. Mishima had been nominated several times to the Novel Prize in literature but was passed over in favour of his mentor Kawabata (1968).

The setting of Madame de Sade begins in France in 1772 and ends twelve years later, nine months after the French Revolution. Six Women, one of them Madame de Sade, discuss their views and feelings of the notorious sadist and sodomist Marquis de Sade.

An enthusiastic critical corps focussed on Bergman’s ensemble of actresses and on the concentration and musicality of his staging. Continue reading

Michel Ricaud – Sexandroide (1987)

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PLOT SUMMARY
Plot? Are you kidding or what ?There is no plot! This is 57 minutes of naked French weirdness.
Directed by porn king Michel Ricaud and starring a French theatrical troupe in the tradition of Grand Guignol (pronounced Grahn Geen-yol), this shocker contains three gore-drenched, sex-filled tales.
In the first, a sadist with a voodoo doll tortures an attractive woman. The catalogue of humiliation includes vomiting, menstrual trauma, pins through nipples, and finally death.
Next, a possessed woman is tortured by a crazed zombie, who slices off her nipples and gouges out her eye before disembowelling himself. Finally, a woman is attacked by a vampire and returns to life as a lascivious temptress. Continue reading