Hans Richter & Jean Cocteau – 8 X 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements (1957)

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A masterpiece of experimental film and a projection of the surrealist vision into cinema by its outstanding artists. Described by Richter as “part Freud, part Lewis Carroll,” it is a fairy tale for the subconscious based on the game of chess. This chess-sonata is played by a host of artists including Paul Bowles, Jean Cocteau, Julian Levy, Jacqueline Matisse, Jose Sert, Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Alexander Calder. “What interested me is the poetry of images, the melody and rhythm of forms and colors” (Hans Richter). Continue reading

Jean Genet – Un chant d’amour (1950)

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From Senses of Cinema:
Mark Adnum is the editor of outrate.net.

Jean Genet set an example for other self-performers like James Dean, Joe Orton and Andy Warhol to follow. His real life, like those of his successors, emerging as by far the most compelling work of art he produced. Like those other iconic artists, Jean Genet is Jean Genet’s consummate creation, and finding the boundary between the day-to-day realities of life and his creative existence is a bit like exploring a Mobius Strip.
Abandoned by his birth mother, Genet was brought up on a farm, where despite his academic gifts, he was unpopular for his effeminacy and insistence on speaking only formal French, rather than the local slang. Unsettled and kleptomaniac, he bounced between various carers (including blind musicians and Parisian typesetters), spent time in psychiatric institutions, and then joined the army at the age of 19. He was stationed in Syria, but soon deserted, escaping to bum around Europe, funding his travels through prostitution and petty crime. Eventually busted, he spent a long period in jail, where he wrote Our Lady of The Flowers (1942), the work that came to the attention of Jean-Paul Sartre, who secured Genet’s release and became his patron. Genet suffered from depression throughout his life, and attempted suicide more than once. Continue reading

Henri-Georges Clouzot – Quai Des Orfèvres (1947)

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Blacklisted for his daring “anti-French” masterpiece, Le corbeau, Henri-Georges Clouzot returned to cinema four years later with the 1947 crime fiction adaptation, Quai des Orfèvres. Set within the vibrant dance halls and crime corridors of 1940s Paris, Quai des Orfèvres follows ambitious performer Jenny Lamour (Suzy Delair), her covetous husband Maurice Martineau (Bernard Blier), and their devoted confidante Dora Monier (Simone Renant) as they attempt to cover one another’s tracks when a sexually orgreish high-society acquaintance is murdered. Enter Inspector Antoine (Louis Jouvet), whose seasoned instincts lead him down a circuitous path in this classic whodunit murder mystery. Continue reading

Dennis Iliadis – Hardcore (2004)

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Two young women on the wrong side of both society and the law fall into a dangerous love affair in this stylish drama from Greece. Martha is a cynical 17-year-old drug addict who supports her habit by working as a prostitute for pimp Manos. Martha has resigned herself to a short and ugly life on the streets when she meets Nadia, a 16-year-old who has fallen into the street life and is also hooking for Manos. Martha and Nadia are rivals at first, especially when Nadia attracts the attentions of good-looking hustler Argyris, for whom Martha has long carried a torch. But in time, the two girls become close friends, and then Nadia takes their relationship to a new level by seducing Martha. Martha falls hard for Nadia, but Nadia takes a more opportunistic attitude toward their new romance, and refuses to break things off with Argyris, while Martha retaliates by becomes involved with Miltos, a close friend of Argyris.
-All Movie Guide Continue reading

Per Blom – Is-slottet aka Ice Palace (1987)

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Description: Set in a rural community in the 1930s Norway. 12-year-old Unn moves to a small village to live with her aunt after her unmarried mother dies, where she makes a new friend, the 11-year-old Siss. One day she admits to have secret and indecent fantasies about her new girlfriend, and admits to her that she is afraid she will not be let into heaven whe she dies.

On the following day Unn pauses beside an enchantingly beautiful frozen waterfall. To her it is an “ice palace.” She enters the shining castle and begins to wander through it’s beautiful crystalline chambers. Unfortunately she becomes hopelessly lost. The ice then begins to melt, and though she makes a valiant effort to make it through the icy water to the entrance, she fails and perishes from cold and exhaustion. Her friend’s name is the final word uttered from her freezing lips.

Based upon the novel by the Norwegian author Tarjei Vesaas, and considered a classic of Norwegian literature.
Continue reading

Stéphane Marti – Diasparagmos (1980)

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“A filmmaker and academic, Stephane Marti has pursued cinema as a visual art form, divorced from the codes of the dominant narrative cinema, since 1976. He is a passionate and militant advocate of Super-8, a filmmaking tool which he has used for 30 years.

His work has been shown in festivals and international presentations and has elicited numerous articles and interviews. His flamboyant, baroque and sensual style focuses principally on the Body and the Sacred.

Baroque shades of red and gold fill the frame and dominate the color palette. These pure colours are captured by a mobile, trembling camera, whose gaze is projected with desire towards the bodies of the actors. The plasticity of the masculine subject’s skin is the axis of its gaze. Continue reading