Philosophy

Wim Wenders – Palermo Shooting (2008)

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Wim Wenders muses on love, death and his perennial bugbear, the ‘Crisis of the Image’ in The Palermo Shooting, a metaphysical thriller cum philosophical essay that marks another step on the downwards slope for this once-vital film-maker. Unwisely cast, leadenly written and ultimately farcical in its earnestness, The Palermo Shooting is a glossy travelogue-thriller with metaphysical pretentions, and one of the low points of this year’s Cannes Competition. Unlikely to fare well in the market, the film may also find festivals preferring to tactfully take a rain check.

An overbearingly-glossy first half centres on the travails of Finn, played by German rocker and moody scowler Campino. Finn is a successful photographer with a major reputation in the art world, but has a sideline working on slick fashion shoots with the likes of actor-model Milla Jovovich – seen here very pregnant and playing herself. Fascinated by digital photography and its possibilities for visual manipulation, Finn is accused by a high-minded student of betraying ‘real’ images. Meanwhile, he suffers from elaborate, vaguely Cocteau-esque nightmares involving his dead mother and a mysterious bald cloaked figure (Hopper), whose true identity isn’t too hard to guess. Read More »

Akio Jissoji – Mujo aka This Transient Life (1970)

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Synopsis
This Transient Life tells the story of the siblings Masao and Yuri who live in a huge estate near Lake Biwa north of Kyoto. Masao refuses to go to university and is infatuated with Buddhist sculptures. Iwashita, a student who lodges at the house, and Ogino, a young priest and former classmate of Masao, are both in love with Masao’s beautiful sister Yuri, who rejects all proposals from her parents to marry her off. One day, while being alone in the big house and playing with No-masks, Masao and Yuri end up in a passionate embrace. Thus starts their forbidden relation that soon bears fruit. When Yuri gets pregnant the siblings plot a perfidious plan. Yuri seduces Iwashita only to be discovered by her parents, who then force Iwashita to marry her. Masao leaves for Kyoto to become an apprentice to the famous sculptor of Buddhist statues, Mori Takayasu. He starts a relation with the much younger wife of the impotent sculptor, who secretly enjoys watching them make love. A year later Masao briefly returns to his parents’ house. Read More »

Chris Marker – L’héritage de la chouette (1989)

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Made as a series of 13 programmes about the influence of Greek culture in our society.

The Owl’s Heritage: Sequence

1. Symposium, or Accepted Ideas
2. Olympics, or Imaginary Greece
3. Democracy, or the City of Dreams
4. Nostalgia, or the Impossible Return
5. Amnesia, or History on the March
6. Mathematics, or the Empire Counts Back
7. Logomachy, or the Dialect of the Tribe
8. Music, or Inner Space
9. Cosmogony, or the Ways of the World
10. Mytholody, or Lies like Truth
11. Mysogyny, or the Snares of Desire
12. Tragedy, or the Illusion of Death
13. Philosophy, or the Triumph of the Owl
Read More »

Eric Rohmer – La Boulangère de Monceau AKA The Baker’s Girl of Monceau [+Extras] (1963)

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Synopsis
Simple, delicate, and jazzy, the first of the Moral Tales shows the stirrings of what would become the Eric Rohmer style: unfussy naturalistic shooting, ironic first-person voice-over, and the image of the “unknowable” woman. A law student (played by producer and future director Barbet Schroeder) with a roving eye and a large appetite stuffs himself full of sugar cookies and pastries daily in order to garner the attentions of the pretty brunette who works in a quaint Paris bakery. But is he truly interested, or is she just a sweet diversion? Read More »

Tony Guzman – Philosophy in the Bedroom (1995)

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This comedy chronicles the experiences of Juliette, a young woman who undergoes a deep exploration of her sexuality as she is given a series of special lessons in sex and philosophy by the extremely decadent Dolman. During the course of an evening Dolman helps demolish Juliette’s conservative ideology and replaces it with his own libertine perspectives. Juliette becomes an enthusiastic convert in this bicentennial production of the Marquis de Sade’s classic book. ~ WorldCat
This orally erotic drama is inspired by the writings of the Marquis de Sade. It is oral in the sense that all of the sexual action is explicitly discussed, but never seen on screen. At one point Mr. Dolman begins reading chapters from his sexual journal. At another juncture, the uptight mother of a recently deflowered virgin shows up. To show her mother all she’s missed, the daughter involves her in an orgy that has her mother committing sodomy, incest, lesbianism, and adultery simultaneously. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi Read More »

Jean-Luc Godard – JLG/JLG – autoportrait de décembre (1995)

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JLG/JLG (1995) Jean-Luc Godard stars in this film as a fictional character of his own creation. JLG muses about in his home in Rolle, Switzerland in the dead of winter. He suffers the rude interruption of critics and the cheeky services of a pretty maid while contemplating the end of western culture, cinema, and himself. A busy day… but still with time for tragedy, tennis and television. Read More »