Gyula Nemes – Papagáj AKA Parrot (1999)

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Surrealist short feature about common tricks of uncle Pepin and the young Bohumil Hrabal. The harum-scarum young man pays his looney uncle a visit and his life changes at once. We can find out, where the snowmen lives in summer, what Franz Joe’s favorite food was, how to sell one half of a pair of shoes and fly in a cage. Continue reading

Jean-Marie Straub – Schakale und Araber (2011)

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Description: Based on Kafka’s short story:

A European traveler from the North, accompanied by Arab guides, is camped in the desert. When night falls, and the Arabs are at a distance, the traveler is accosted by talking jackals. The jackals speak of an age-old hatred for Arabs, whom they associate with uncleanliness. They relate a belief passed down from their ancestors, that a man such as the protagonist would be the one to “end the quarrel which divides the world in two”. The jackals attempt to enlist the traveler’s assistance in destroying them, offering him old rusted scissors with which to slit the throats of the Arabs. (en.wikipedia.org) Continue reading

Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani – Chambre jaune (2002)

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The Giallo film reinvented as an experimental S&M-tinged fever dream, told through a combination of color-gelled cinematography and jump-cut photographs, infused with dark sensuality and perverse cruelty. The short films of the directors of Amer are technically rawer than that film, but they show what was to come in terms of themes based on giallo films and an abstract style, from the use of still frames like in Chris Marker’s La Jetee to harsh coloured lighting. They are worth seeing by themselves as a refining of their ideas into a fantastic debut feature film. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault – Paris vu par… vingt ans après (1984)

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Directors:
Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault

“Two young French filmmakers, Bernard Dubois and Philippe Venault, had the provocative idea of making a follow-up to the 1964 anthology film, Paris vu par, that became a manifesto for the emerging directors of the New Wave. Unfortunately, the unity of that movement is long gone, and this new project is wildly uneven, ranging from the brilliant (Chantal Akerman’s opening sketch, J’ai faim, j’ai froid, is an entire coming-of-age film compressed into 12 frenetic, hilarious, and ultimately touching minutes) to the intriguing (Philippe Garrel’s Rue Fontaine offers a rare Stateside opportunity to see the work of this acclaimed avant-gardist, whose work suggests a crossing of John Cassavetes with early German expressionism) to the mediocre (the segments by Dubois, Venault, and Frederic Mitterrand) to the unwatchable (Vincent Nordon’s Paris-Plage, certainly the longest 13 minutes in film history). A sad lesson emerges–that the French have no more new ideas than we do–but the Akerman itself is worth it all.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Meeting Woody Allen (1986)

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Woody Allen – Jean-Luc Godard? This might seem an odd combination to many American film lovers, at least to much of Woody’s loyal audience, trying hard to be highbrow and intellectual, but not perhaps all that much interested in the challenges of a mischief-maker like JLG. As it happens this is a highly entertaining and somewhat informative look at both filmmakers as they are passing through middle age (Allen 51, Godard 56), lamenting the loss of cinematic and artistic innocence through the corruption of TV and at the same time celebrating their own longevity and continued relevance in the small world of art-cinema. I was especially intrigued by Godard’s use of title cards and the couple of shots of him playing around with videocassettes and books, and a still photo near the end of the film that I think was of Allen around the “Take the Money and Run” days but may have in fact been Godard; both are small, owlish men and the similarities both physical and intellectual are certainly played up here. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard & François Truffaut – Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut: In Defense of Henri Langlois (1968)

Henri Langlois, Georges Franju, and Jean Mitry, founded the Cinémathèque Française (a Paris-based film theater and museum) in 1936 which progressed from ten films in 1936 to more than 60,000 films by the early 70s. More than just an archivist, Langlois saved, restored and showed many films that were at risk of disintegration. Films are stored in celluloid, a material which requires a highly controlled environment and some degree of attention to survive over time.

During the Second World War, Langlois and his colleagues helped to save many films that were in risk of being destroyed due to the Nazi occupation of France. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Lettre à Freddy Buache (1981)

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Quote:
This short film is Godard’s message to the people of Lausanne, specifically Freddy Buache, giving his reasons why he will not make a film about their town’s 500th anniversary.

First Godard expresses his frustration with the town. When attempting to film on the side of a highway, they were forced to stop filming by the local authorities. The officer said they could only stop for an emergency. Godard replied that it was an emergency because the light was perfect. The officer wasn’t understanding, and Godard complains that it could take 5 years of shooting to get the necessary lighting again. Continue reading