Romance

Eric Rohmer – Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon AKA Romance of Astree and Celadon (2007)

Reviews:
Although Eric Rohmer’s fresh, unadorned style rarely sits heavily on his films, The Romance of Astrée et de Céladon, his adaptation of 17th century writer Honoré d’Urfé’s 5th century fable of affronted love, not only features an usual absence of intellectual banter, but is more importantly the lightest and silliest the director has been in ages. These are not pejorative descriptions—the film’s wholesome delight in d’Urfé’s modest whimsy amongst the 5th century Gauls of druids, nymphs and many amorous declarations of assured sincerity and flighty infidelity, the director’s own sweet, unexpected eroticism, and the film’s gentle spirit simply make a work that is light, lovely, and strange.
– D. Kasman (D-kaz.com) Read More »

Hsiao-hsien Hou – Zui hao de shi guang aka Three times (2005)

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Time out review
In 2000, a North American poll of critics and curators named Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Abbas Kiarostami as the most important filmmakers of the ’90s, echoing acclaim that had greeted a tour of the Taiwanese director’s work. Here, his standing’s very different: he remains largely unknown.

Unlike 2004’s ‘Café Lumière’ – the first of his films released here in over a decade – this triptych film should help to change that, since the styles and concerns of each story reflect phases in Hou’s career so far. ‘A Time for Love’ is clearly autobiographical: set in 1966, it sees a young guy fall for a girl employed at a pool hall, but military service keeps him away so long, she’s moved to another job by the time he returns. The second story, ‘A Time for Freedom’, is set in 1911 and resembles a silent movie; it depicts the relationship between a Chinese activist and a courtesan. Finally, ‘A Time for Youth’, set now, concerns the desultory coming together of a photographer and a bisexual rock star. Read More »

Frédéric Fonteyne – Une Liaison Pornographique AKA A Pornographic Affair (1999)

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They recount their impressions to the Interviewer. They met through a magazine ad, She and He. They corresponded through the Internet. He responded to her ad seeking someone to fulfil her fantasy for “a pornographic affair”. This is their first meeting in a Paris café. He’s a little reticent. She wants to know whether or not he’s hairy. (He is; he’s Spanish.) They retire to a nearby hotel room. The door of the room closes. Unseen, the affair is consummated… They continue to see one another regularly each week. They find they get along well together. Soon she suggests that they try normal sex the next time… Read More »

Radley Metzger – Camille 2000 (1969)

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“Camille 2000, with its cast of wealthy, weary sophisticates, clear plastic blow-up beds, outlandish metal dresses, refined S&M orgies, and Euro-psychedelic music, is often cited as the quintessential Metzger film. In fact, all that’s missing in the world of the doomed romantic Marguerite Gautier (Daniele Gaubert) is a gilded go-go cage. Fans of the 1935 Garbo version may be startled to see that Metzger’s update, underneath the wild period decor, is recognizably the same story, though Gaubert’s existential exhaustion may be less evident to an audience mesmerized by the parade of Italian haute couture and decor.” – Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal Read More »

Mark Sandrich – A Woman Rebels (1936)

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Plot: The story revolves around Pamela, as a woman in late-1800’s England who has no intention of marriage and wishes to be her own person. After a great deal of difficulty in finding a job, she finally lands a position at a “woman’s” magazine, which covered topics such as sewing and cooking. After the editor takes sick, she moves the magazine into discussing issues of gender equality, child labor, medical care, and finding a job. She then finds herself as the unexpected leader of a movement. After an unexpected event, she is also faced with raising a child without a father, which people at that time thought was scandalous. Written by Taed Nelson Read More »

Paul Verhoeven – Turks fruit aka Turkish Delight (1973)

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Glenn Erickson wrote:
Called in turn a Dutch Love Story, a horrible mess of tastelessness, and great art, Turkish Delight was made by a filmmaker dedicated to the concept of shock. This is as earthy as honest filmmaking gets: Billy Wilder in interviews claimed that interaction between real lovers doesn’t stop at bourgeois niceties (such as Marlene Dietrich spitting toothpaste in her lover’s face in A Foreign Affair) but here Paul Verhoeven goes full out with an intimate relationship seemingly without borders. Most bodily functions get involved; Verhoeven’s philosophy seems to be that real commitment is messy, and he wastes no opportunity to rub our noses in this fact.

This insistence on in-your-face, blunt depictions of all kinds of activity (some not so ‘shocking’, just unexpected) does make Turkish Delight fascinating. It starts with full frontal male nudity & masturbation and goes on from there – and the really ‘shocking’ thing is that with all the ‘nasty’ content, the film never seems exploitative or less credible than any other intimate romance. Just more honest … ? And certainly more messy. Read More »

Frank Borzage – 7th Heaven (1927)

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THE SCREEN
In the William Fox screen version of Austin Strong’s play, “Seventh Heaven,” which was presented last night at the Sam H. Harris Theatre, you can once again meet those lovable characters—Chico, Diane, Papa Boule and Pere Chevillon—in that little patch of Paris within sight of the Eiffel Tower. This picture grips your interest from the very beginning and even though the ending is melodramatic you are glad that the sympathetic but self-satisfied Chico is brought back to his heart-broken Diane.

This is an exceptionally well-acted place of work and Janet Gaynor’s performance as Diane is true and natural throughout. This young woman was discovered by Winfield R. Sheehan, general production manager for the Fox Film Corporation. Never once does she falter in her difficult task of reflecting the emotions of the character she portrays. There is no effort to make her unduly beautiful with a halo over her head. She is winsome from the moment one beholds her countenance. She can cry and smile simultaneously and she impresses one by her depiction of faith when every day at 11 o’clock she “meets” her Chico, who is in the trenches. Sometimes Miss Gaynor reminds one of Lillian Gish and in other moods she resembles Lois Moran. Yet in her acting there is nothing imitative, but always an earnest and successful effort to impersonate the French girl who is rescued from hardship and cruelty by that “very remarkable fellow,” Chico. Read More »