Catherine Breillat – Tapage nocturne (1979)

ebD5mD Catherine Breillat   Tapage nocturne (1979)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Catherine Breillat   Tapage nocturne (1979)

Quote:
Perhaps the film is more personal for Catherine Breillat. Is it a record of her working methods during this period? Her films have always dealt with sexuality and maybe the filmmaker was simply using the medium to express her own thoughts and experiences. I love that; a great deal of why I love the cinema is the auteur theory which states the director is the author of a film; that links in an artist’s work can be found from work to work. Breillat surely qualifies, and I can see how this film influenced her later work. For example, it seems to be a precursor or even a veiled prequel to Sex Is Comedy, an infinitely more insightful look at the filmmaking process and sexual manipulation, and there’s a series of shots showing 2 characters descending a spiral staircase that she would repeat 30 years later in Bluebeard. The problem with Nocturnal Uproar is that it isn’t insightful about the cinema, it isn’t insightful about relationships, and it isn’t even honest about sex. I don’t want to sound perverted but the sex scenes in this film almost all look fake, though it is obvious that actress Laffin is being touched between her legs. The film develops into a woman’s sexual obsession for a man who toys with her, someone who may or may not have alternate intentions with his amours. This is a great subject for a film but it is arrived at a little too late.
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Fred Zinnemann – Oklahoma! (1955)

xO6x52 Fred Zinnemann   Oklahoma! (1955)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Fred Zinnemann   Oklahoma! (1955)

Plot Synopsis
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway music’s 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play’s intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for Lonely Room and It’s a Scandal!, which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud’s invitation to the box social. But it’s Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud’s unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. Continue reading

Catherine Breillat – Parfait amour! AKA Perfect Love (1996)

4ub4eU Catherine Breillat   Parfait amour! AKA Perfect Love (1996)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Catherine Breillat   Parfait amour! AKA Perfect Love (1996)

As Frédérique lies dead on her kitchen table at the hands of Christophe, police try to piece together the events that led to the gruesome killing. Frédérique’s teenage daughter narrates the tragic tale of love gone wrong.

From IRO:
Review by Kevin Vu: Though it possesses the voice of a notorious auteur, “Perfect Love” is one of Catherine Breillat’s lesser works. Despite being her sixth feature, the film seems like an early and minor effort, containing recurring elements explored in more accomplished films (e.g. “Fat Girl” and “Romance”), not to mention the sex and flesh that marries her reputation with vulgarity and controversy. Although Breillat has since found alternative outlets for her provocation and feminine rage, such as costume drama and fairytale, she has always challenged the conventional notions of sex using facets of the human body and soul that she strips bare – figuratively and literally. The plot here is not a matter of boy meets girl, and it never is for Breillat as she continues to reveal human depravity through sexuality. Continue reading

Vincente Minnelli – Designing Woman (1957)

Designing woman Vincente Minnelli   Designing Woman (1957)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Vincente Minnelli   Designing Woman (1957)

Synopsis
Peck is a New York sportswriter who’s on the West Coast on assignment, doing a story about a horse race. He wakes up from a drinking binge during which he had met New York fashion designer Bacall, though he doesn’t recall it. While he struggles to recover from his hangover, she relates the events of the previous evening which included filling his latest story. He notices how beautiful she is, and they begin a brief torrid affair which leads to a hasty marriage. Of course, each is a “fish out of water” in the other’s world, which they begin to discover when they return to New York. Continue reading

Richard Brooks – The Happy Ending (1969)

wewmyI Richard Brooks   The Happy Ending (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Richard Brooks   The Happy Ending (1969)

From IMDB’s user comments:

THE HAPPY ENDING might not seem special today, and may well seem very dated in some ways, but we must remember this is the pre-DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE era. I’m sure the film seemed pioneering in its day, questioning the role of the traditional housewife and demanding that women are entitled to the same satisfaction and autonomy that men expected. Writer-director Richard Brooks often dealt with social issues and political themes–that he took on women’s issues is no surprise. The film is especially an acting tour-de-force: Jean Simmons as the unsatisfied woman; John Forsythe as the non-understanding but well-meaning husband; Teresa Wright as Simmons’ mother; Dick Shawn and Tina Louise as a miserable couple; Shirley Jones as the woman who survived by having affairs with married men; Lloyd Bridges as a married man with Jones as his mistress; Bobby Darin as a lost and lonely gigolo looking for that one big score. I was also impressed by the film’s structure–with two parallel stories a year apart and various flashbacks all presented in such a way that the details of the relationship’s coming apart are given to us a little at a time, and we are gradually brought to the point where we understand WHY the present state has become what it is. Continue reading

Alan J. Pakula – Sterile Cukoo (1969)

YR4nXj Alan J. Pakula   Sterile Cukoo (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alan J. Pakula   Sterile Cukoo (1969)

Synopsis:
Eccentric Pookie Adams (Liza Minnelli) pursues a quiet entymology student named Jerry (Wendell Burton), who she meets on the bus while travelling to college.

Review:
Alan J. Pakula’s debut film offers an insightful exploration into the exhilaration, complications, and devastation of “first love”. Many scenes — such as when Pookie and Jerry are about to make love for the first time — ring remarkably true, and are handled with sensitivity and gentle humor; and Minnelli’s Pookie — while unbelievably irritating at first — quickly becomes sympathetic, as we recognize a little bit of ourselves in her desperation to have a romantic relationship at any cost. Continue reading

George Cukor – Two-Faced Woman (1941)

cgfr2 George Cukor   Two Faced Woman (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 George Cukor   Two Faced Woman (1941)

Plot Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Attempting to Americanize Greta Garbo to appeal to American audiences (since most of the foreign markets for Hollywood product had been cut off due to World War II), M.G.M.’s Two-Faced Woman succeeded in making Garbo angry enough to announce her retirement from the screen. Two-Faced Woman was Garbo’s final screen appearance, as the legendary actress slipped into a reclusive existence that lasted until her death. This George Cukor romantic comedy casts Garbo as ski instructor Karin Borg Blake. She gives lessons to wealthy American playboy Larry Blake (Melvyn Douglas), and the two fall in love and marry even though Larry has a girlfriend named Griselda Vaughn (Constance Bennett) waiting for him back in New York. Returning to New York, Karin fears that Griselda will win Larry back. In an effort to foil Larry’s imagined dalliance, Karin poses as her own twin sister, Katherine, hoping to get Larry to fall in love with her instead of Griselda. Larry is onto the scheme and plays along with her, pretending to fall in love with Katherine. But this infuriates Karin, who can’t believe that her husband would fall in love with her sister, and she storms back to her ski resort..
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pixel George Cukor   Two Faced Woman (1941)