Marguerite Duras – Les mains négatives (1978)

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Marguerite Duras (1914 – 1996) was one of France’s most famous writers of the twentieth century. Her talents ranged across fiction, film, playwriting, andjournalism, and all through her long career, just the mention of her name could be counted on to start a spirited discussion in a Parisian café or in an American or English college literature or women’s studies department. A compulsive worker, Duras wrote 34 novels and a wide variety of shorter works, returning to writing even after a stroke robbed her of the use of her dominant hand. Continue reading

Jane Campion – An Exercise in Discipline – Peel (1982)

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Review (Geraldine Bloustien, ‘Jane Campion: memory, motif and music’. Continuum)
Peel explores the dynamics of family relationships and the way patterns of power can be
learnt and repeated. It also says a great deal about our need for daydreams and fantasies.
The film opens with a juxtaposed, almost cacophonous mixture of sounds and visual images –
the noise of the radio being switched from station to station, the flash of cars on the
roadway, the white lines on the road and the thump of what we discover is an orange
being thrown against the front windscreen of the car, like a ball. In contrast to this
nerve-jangling montage, the graphics after the large and forceful title – PEEL – present
us with a diagram connecting the words ‘sister’, ‘brother’ and ‘son’ in a triangle and
we are informed, again through the written text, that the film explores ‘an exercise in
discipline’ and that this is a ‘real story’ of ‘a real family’. In other words, it would
seem at first sight that we are being asked to regard this film as a scientific study, a
documentary exploring anthropological patterns of kinship, perhaps. However, the
contrast between the opening montage of subjective images with the more formal graphics
already alerts us to the tension in the car and that all may not be as it seems. Continue reading

Various – Cinema16: European Short Films (Special US Edition) (1965 – 2005)

Quote:
Cinema16 celebrates the short film by showcasing some of the best classic and award-winning shorts on DVD.

Aside from providing short films with a much needed platform, Cinema16 gives filmmakers and movie-lovers access to some great films that would otherwise be near impossible to see, from the fascinating early works of some of the world’s greatest directors to award-winning films from its most exciting new filmmakers.

Launching for the first time in North America, Cinema 16’s European Short Films DVD celebrates some of the best short films to have come out of Europe in the last half-century.

With over three hours of films, this DVD is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the moving image. The majority of the films are accompanied by original audio commentaries, almost always by the directors themselves. Continue reading

Louis Lumière – Débarquement du congrès de photographes à Lyon (1895)

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Débarquement du congrès de photographes à Lyon

Maths Jesperson on IMDb wrote:
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the many men in straw hats are also a few women in long skirts. Some of the men lift their hats toward the photographer when passing. Many of them are carrying their own cameras. Continue reading

Alexandre Promio – Enfants pêchant des crevettes (1896)

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Catalogue Lumière wrote:
Vue N° 45

“Des enfants traînent leurs filets sur la plage à mer basse : les fillettes, les jupes relevées, rivalisent d’entrain avec les garçons dans cet exercice.”

– Un des personnages porte un panier sur lequel est inscrit “Shrimp” [crevette].- Une vue supplémentaire et non cataloguée représente le même sujet. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – O Pão AKA Bread [Short Version] (1959)

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Quote:
Each day, a man must work around the clock to produce and acquire bread: throwing the seeds into earth, helping the breeding of the corn, the corn’s recolt, transport to the mills, manipulation of the flour into actual bread, transport to a variety of locations and consumers. Continue reading