Rodolphe Marconi – Ceci est mon corps AKA This is my Body (2001)

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Antoine’s future is all mapped out. A student at France’s top business college, some day he’ll slip into his father’s shoes at the head of a booming company.

Antoine is brilliant, but he’s bored. As a game or a challenge, to prove to himself he’s not on a one-way street, he agrees to play the lead in a film in preparation. It’s a scandal. The more Antoine delves into the unknown, the more he finds himself alone, misunderstood, torn between the wounded love of his parents and his lady director’s voracious passion Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Querelle (1982)

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More a dream about than a dramatisation of Genet’s novel, this is glorious and infuriating in equal parts. The port of Brest is built and lit more like one of Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night, murderous deity Querelle’s ambisexual encounters are suffused with a sweaty, tangible eroticism, and Fassbinder’s ‘version’ stays faithful to Genet’s nightmare poetry. But its narrative detachment, weighty monologues, Resnais-like anachronisms, and (most irritating of all) listless rationale turn it into a lurid hymn to teenybop nihilism. All in all, perhaps an entirely appropriate parting shot from a drug-crazed German faggot. – TimeOut London Continue reading

Warren Sonbert – Short Fuse and Carriage Trade (1972 – 1992)

“In [Sonbert’s] best work, behind the mask of unalloyed visual pleasure lurks a dramatic intensity and trajectory, not just of personal concerns or protracted journeys but of massive social upheavals, the melding or collision of distinct cultural rituals of crisis, cessation, renewal.” – Paul Arthur

(Descriptions below are online program notes written by Jon Gartenberg)

SHORT FUSE is informed by Sonbert’s awareness of his own mortality, once he was diagnosed with HIV. As film critic Steven Holden astutely noted, in SHORT FUSE, “an undercurrent of rage seeps through the cracks of its ebullient surface.” The opening of the film explodes with a sea of turbulent emotions, underscored by the gripping sound track from Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto. Shifting musical passages collide against images of leisure, war, and protest. Continue reading

Christophe Honoré – Métamorphoses (2014)

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One of France’s most unpredictable writer-directors, Christophe Honoré (Dans Paris, Love Songs) offers an audacious, erotically upfront re-reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, enacted by a fearless cast of (largely unknown) young actors in contemporary French settings. Kicking off with a startling take on the story of Diana and Actaeon, Honoré’s film follows the wanderings of Europa (Akili), a high-school student who encounters a marauding truck driver – none other than Jupiter (Hirel), father of the gods. Streams of stories within stories bring the old transformation myths a modern-day slant – Narcissus as an arrogant teenage heart-throb, Orpheus as a charismatic housing-estate preacher – and add a multi-racial, polysexual perspective, teasing out the perversity, violence and rapture of classical legend. You may detect shades of Borowczyk, Pasolini, Rohmer and Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane, but this savage, rhapsodic, moving film is something entirely its own. A fabulous soundtrack completes the wayward beauty –BFI Continue reading

Roman Polanski – Bitter Moon (1992)

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Plot description :
A prim and proper British couple, Fiona (Thomas) and Nigel (Grant), are on a Mediterranean cruise ship to Istanbul, en route to India. They encounter another couple on the ship, the seductive Frenchwoman Mimi (Seigner) and her paraplegic American husband Oscar (Coyote), a failed and self-centered writer.

The story unfolds as Oscar invites Nigel to his cabin, where he recalls, in a series of episodes, how he and the much younger Mimi met on a bus in Paris and fell in love; and then how their relationship went horribly wrong. Continue reading

Terence Fisher – The Brides of Dracula (1960)

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The vampire Baron Meinster (David Peel) terrorizes a girl’s academy, and it’s up to Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) to stop him…

Following the phenomenal success of their 1958 version of Dracula (released in the U.S. as Horror Of Dracula), Hammer Studios mulled over the idea for the inevitable sequel. 1960’s The Brides Of Dracula is misleadingly titled, in that Dracula himself never appears, but it’s a worthy follow-up that, for many fans, actually eclipses the original. Precisely why Dracula doesn’t factor into the narrative is open to speculation. Hammer was obviously looking to capitalize on their biggest success, so why not bring back Christopher Lee to essay the role that made him famous? Some sources indicate that Lee refused a sequel, fearing that he’d become typecast in the role just as Bela Lugosi had been before him. Yet other sources, including Lee himself, refute this claim. Regardless, despite its title, Brides Of Dracula charts the exploits of Dracula’s disciple, Baron Meinster. Establishing continuity between the two films is the heroic/obsessed Dr. Van Helsing, played once again by Peter Cushing. Continue reading