John G. Blystone – Change of Heart (1934)

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Four courageous college graduates become heroes when they successfully complete a 15-hour coast-to-coast plane flight. Alas, things don’t go so well for the foursome when they return to earth to seek out employment. Chris Thring (Charles Farrell) has a particularly rough time of it, but his sweetheart Catherine Furness (Janet Gaynor) remains faithful through thick and thin. Trouble brews in the form of Chris and Catherine’s mutual friends Mack McGowan (James Dunn) and Madge Rountree (Ginger Rogers): Catherine thinks Chris is in love with Madge, while Mack falls in love with Chris? and on and on it goes. Shirley Temple shows up in the early scenes as a plane passenger, while that grand old trouper Gustav von Seyfertitz sheds his usual villainous image as the film’s avuncular last-minute problem-solver. Change of Heart is based on a novel by Kathleen Norris. Continue reading

Andrew Haigh – 45 Years (2015)

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Plot
Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) had to cancel the party for their 40th anniversary at short notice when Geoff underwent bypass surgery. The comfortably off, left-wing, childless, provincial couple now have a week to go before a replacement party to celebrate their 45th anniversary. Theoretically, this week should just involve planning, dress purchasing and a bit of social fretting. This is not to be: shattering news arrives for Geoff from the Swiss authorities, explaining that the perfectly preserved body of his ex-girlfriend, Katya, has been found, 50 years after she slipped into an Alpine crevasse. From the moment the news is received Kate can ‘smell Katya’s perfume in the room’ and her perspective on their marriage changes forever. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Continue reading

François Truffaut – La peau douce AKA The Soft Skin (1964)

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Many of François Truffaut’s film have elements of the autobiographical and The Soft Skin is no exception. Written in collaboration with Jean-Louis Richard, the French director in renowned for having affairs with his leading ladies. Luckily for Truffaut he didn’t suffer the same fate as Jean Desailly does in the film.

On his way to deliver a talk about Balzac in Lisbon, a well-known writer and editor of a literary magazine Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) meets and is instantly attracted to an air stewardess (Nicole – Françoise Dorléac). Despite seemingly living a happy life with his wife Franca (Nelly Benedetti) and their daughter, he is fascinated by her, and the pair embark on an affair. As Pierre attempts to covertly carry on the affair whilst fulfilling his speaking commitments, relationships become strained both home and away. Continue reading

Pedro Almodóvar – Carne trémula AKA Live Flesh (1997)

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Curious, seeing this after the smash hits of “Todo Sobre Mi Madre” and “Hable con Ella”, because this movie sort of prepared the viewers to what was coming. Grabbing a solid and original story, Pedro Almodovar creates a movie that revolves around a strange set of characters, and on the process gives an excellent essay on the effect time has on people’s lives. All the actors are top notch, specially the commanding Javier Bardem, who would later become an Oscar nominee with “Before Night Falls”. Great music, cinematography and direction give this movie an even more satisfying look, and make this a well-achieved movie that ends up being the first part of an unofficial trilogy of Almodovar’s best works. Continue reading

Edmund Goulding – Dark Victory (1939)

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Judith Traherne is at the height of young society when Dr. Frederick Steele diagnoses a brain tumor. After surgery she falls in love with Steele. The doctor tells her secretary that the tumor will come back and eventually kill her. Learning this, Judith becomes manic and depressive. Her horse trainer Michael, who loves her, tells her to get as much out of life as she can. She marries Steele who intends to find a cure for her illness. As he goes off to a conference in New York failing eyesight indicates to Judith that she is dying. Continue reading

Alice Wu – Saving Face (2004)

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A romantic comedy about right, wrong and everything in between

A Chinese-American surgeon, living in Manhattan, is shocked when her single mother shows up on her doorstep pregnant. To help her mom save face and avoid the taboo in the Chinese community of an unmarried woman pregnant, the doctor helps her mom find Mr. Right. Cultures clash in this film that explores culture shock. Continue reading

Lisa Cholodenko – High Art (1998)

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AMG: Lisa Cholodenko wrote and directed this lesbian-themed drama, winner of the 1998 Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Ambitious photography magazine associate editor Syd (Radha Mitchell) has a ho-hum relationship with James (Gabriel Mann). Investigating a ceiling leak, she enters the apartment of her neighbor, retired photographer Lucy Berliner (Ally Sheedy), who lives with former Fassbinder actress Greta (Patricia Clarkson), a heroin addict. The friendship between the worldly Lucy and the naive, insecure Syd ripens into an affair, one destined to change the lives of both women. Continue reading