Giovanna is a bookeeper in a company which packs chickens. She is married to a man who has a precarious job. First she starts being curious about a young man who lives in the block opposite hers, and then she falls in love with him. The relationship between the two becomes much stronger when she starts to find out more about him from an old man who bursts into their lives. The old man, obsessed with the memories of some things that happened n the long past autumn of 1943, has lost his memory and finds refuge in Giovanna.
“Facing Windows (La Finestra di fronte)” is like a very European and more sophisticated take on “The Notebook,” as it shifts between romantic and culinary past and present through the in-and-out consciousness of an elderly man. The “Rear Window” eroticism is just one element that accidentally brings together tangled, stymied lives swirling around lovely, exhausted, frustrated chef, wife and mother Giovanna Mezzogiorno, where each child, man, woman, friend and neighbor has separate priorities and fantasies that annoying real life interferes with, from the practical to the political. Continue reading Ferzan Ozpetek – La Finestra di fronte aka The Window Opposite (2003)
After breaking parole for self defensive manslaughter, Sailor Ripley and his girlfriend Lula Fortune head down the highway for sunny California. Lula’s mother sends out a private detective and a hitman after them. Sailor and Lula encounter an assortment of extremely bizarre “people” while discovering hidden secrets about one another. Full of lurid imagery and references to The Wizard of Oz. (Written by Jennifer Harrison)
Continue reading David Lynch – Wild at Heart (1990)
If you are moved by the death of a parakeet at the beginning of The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen), you are in for a bumpy ride, as all of humanity as we know it will be wiped out by the film’s end in a brief written epilogue. Of course, those who have read the novel (Les particules élémentaires in its original French, Atomised in its UK version) saw this coming, but for those who are unfamiliar with Michel Houellebecq’s cult hit that explosively mixes sex, death and science to annihilate mankind – and blames the flower power generation for it in the process – this might come as something of a shock. Continue reading Oskar Roehler – Elementarteilchen aka Elementary Particles (2006)
Vittorio De Sica, heir to a large sum of money and owner of a newspaper vending stall, makes enough money out of his business to take a vacation at a fashionable resort. He is given a cruise ticket by an aristocrat who is an old school friend, and is mistaken for the aristocrat when he uses a camera that has his friends name on it. Assia Noris plays a maid who falls in love with him because of who he is and not who others think he is. Continue reading Mario Camerini – Il Signor Max (1937)
A bizarre entry in Alfred Hitchcock´s filmography: Johann Strauss Jr. is the son of the famous conductor and composer, and plays the violin in his father’s orchestra. He hasn’t had any of his own compositions performed or published because Strauss Sr. sternly discourages it. Not dismayed, Strauss Jr gives singing lessons to his gifted sweetheart Resi, the daughter of a pastry chef, and dedicates all his songs to her. Then he meets a Countess who has written some verses and asks his help in setting them to music. When her husband hears from a servant that a young man is upstairs with his wife, he storms into the music room, but the name of Strauss placates him. Later, Resi isn’t so easily placated, for she senses a rival. However, the Countess essentially has Strauss Jr’s best interests at heart. With a publisher friend, she successfully plots to have the elder Strauss delayed one night so that Jr’s new composition, “The Blue Danube” may receive a performance. Strauss Jr. conducts the waltz himself, becoming the sensation of Vienna. Soon afterwards, though the Prince’s suspicions have briefly been aroused again, everyone is finally reconciled.
In his interview with François Truffaut in 1964 and in many other interviews, Alfred Hitchcock referred to this film as “the lowest ebb of my career”. Continue reading Alfred Hitchcock – Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is a rarity in that it was directed by that master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. The film pays in ways that only a crafty Hitchcock would know how. The director takes Norman Krasna’s screen play and gives it an elegant treatment.
The idea of a technicality annulling a marriage is at the center of the story. When David Smith is told about it, he sees the possibility of not telling his wife. Ann and David have a strange marriage life. They love each other dearly and they seem to work at maintaining their union as a fun enterprise where they are playful and do unexpected things to please one another. David miscalculates Ann’s reaction to his playing a joke and not telling her about their new status.
The revelation at the beginning of the film is made known to Ann, who goes along with the joke expecting to be asked that same day to run to a justice of the peace to get married again. When David doesn’t act on what for Ann seems to be essential, she flies into a rage and vows to get even with David. This is the basic premise of the comedy. Things get complicated, but we know all will be right at the end as Ann will come to her senses. David also is expected to legalize their status. Continue reading Alfred Hitchcock – Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)
Meenakshi, a young women from a very traditional Hindu family (Tamil Brahmins), travels by bus from a mountain town to catch a train from the plains. It’s a long journey, especially when one has a small baby to care for (like Meenakshi), so she is entrusted into care of Raja, worldwide known photographer. They behave as polite strangers until some religious flare-up disrupts the journey. Continue reading Aparna Sen – Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002)