Luis Buñuel – Un chien andalou (1929)

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In a dream-like sequence, a woman’s eye is slit open–juxtaposed with a similarly shaped cloud obsucuring the moon moving in the same direction as the knife through the eye–to grab the audience’s attention. The French phrase “ants in the palms,” (which means that someone is “itching” to kill) is shown literally. A man pulls a piano along with the tablets of the Ten Commandments and a dead donkey towards the woman he’s itching to kill. A shot of differently striped objects is repeatedly used to connect scenes. Written by Ryan T. Casey Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Ingmar Bergman Bris Soap Commercials (1951)

In 1951 there was a conflict in the Swedish film industry. The production companies had declared a ban on filming in protest against the high rate of tax on entertainment. Recently remarried, Ingmar Bergman, found himself with three families to support, and his contract with the Gothenburg City Theatre had expired. In order to earn any income whatsoever that year, he agreed to direct nine commercial for Bris soap on behalf of Swedish Unilever. It seems more than a coincidence that Sweden’s most famous film director should be the one to take the country’s advertising to a higher plane: the Bris films were the most lavishly funded that the country had ever seen. Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – Alice in Movieland (1940)

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Synopsis:
In a U.S. town that could be anywhere, 18-year-old Alice Purdee wins a free trip to Hollywood. With the assistance of a cheerful porter, she takes the night train and dreams about her arrival. Instead of instant success, she meets disappointment after disappointment, and she needs the unexpected encouragement of her grandmother and an aging, former star whom she meets at a talent night. Finally she gets a call to be an extra, and she’s so hopeful that the regulars decide to make a fool of her. Is this the end of Alice’s dream? Not if the porter has anything to say about it.
— IMDb. Continue reading

Patrick Bokanowski – Patrick Bokanowski Short Films (1972-2008)

Quote:
Patrick Bokanowski, the ‘artist-alchemist of celluloid’, employs an extraordinary range of technical invention – combining live-action with optical experiments, drawing, performance, painting, and animation – to conjure magical forays into a parallel universe: moving from dread and terror in the early shorts, via bursts of zany humour, to sublime serenity in the landscape films and joyous kinetic energy in his most recent work.

“The pinnacle of experimentalism in the film arts.”
– Richard Curnutte, The Film Journal

“Magisterial images seething in the amber of transcendent soundscapes. Drink in these films through eyes and ears.”
– The Brothers Quay Continue reading

Albert Lamorisse – Le ballon rouge AKA The Red Balloon (1956)

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Quote:
The story of a boy and his toy, The Red Balloon is widely praised for its narrative and visual “purity,” but not enough is said about the movie’s delightful manipulation. A quasi-silent comedy with musical cues straight out of the Charlie Chaplin tradition, Albert Lamorisse’s film plays a game with its audience, just as the little boy (Pascal Lamorisse) and his glowing red orb cling to, fall away from, and chase each other throughout the 34-minute running time. With its many stairs and sloping alleyways, the blue-gray Ménilmontant neighborhood of Paris is like a maze, constantly threatening to come in between the boy and his new pal, but like a magnet or a dog starved for attention, the balloon always comes back to him. He lets go of it on his apartment balcony and watches it fall to him downstairs. He directs it to “wait here” while he buys a treat at the local bakery. A group of neighborhood bullies chase the balloon through a perilously narrow corridor, throwing rocks as it tries to escape. The honeymoon is short-lived, but Lamorisse suggests that kids are always keenly attuned to the objects of the world around them: After the boy loses his red friend, a montage of balloons across the city shows them flying to his side and, in the final shot, launching him into the sky. For Lamorisse, then, the pleasures of childhood are as fleeting as they are ecstatic. Continue reading

Virpi Suutari – Eleganssi AKA Elegance (2016)

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Elegance is a short film about a group of Finnish men, and the style and elegance of hunting partridge and pheasant. The film’s protagonists are all wealthy men, for whom hunting is a treasured hobby, a passion and a way of life. The film unfolds in three acts on a scenic autumnal field. Meet the three businessmen: Nokia’s former CEO, Jorma Ollila, engineering company Kone Oy’s owner, Antti Herlin, and the charming narrator, Publishing Company Otava’s former CEO, Heikki A. Reenpää. His narration leads the viewer through hunting expeditions, creates the mood and introduces the people. Almost equally important are the gentlemens’ dogs: handsome pointers and setters, whose pedigrees, abilities and hunting prowess ultimately determine whether any birds are caught at all. Continue reading