Alexandre Stockler – Cama de Gato AKA Cat’s Cradle (2002)


Three young hedonistic sociopaths find themselves in deep, deep trouble in Alexandre Stockler’s ugly 2002 teen drama Cat’s Cradle. Longtime pals and recent high school graduates Gabriel (Cainan Baladez), Cristiano (Caio Blat), and Francisco (Rodrigo Bolzan) are all from privileged Sao Paulo households, and as such, spend the vast majority of their time seeking entertainment in any way, shape, or form. The depths of their depravity become fully apparent when the trio captures and gang rapes a young woman — who dies in the midst of this horrific crime. In a panic, the gang of rapists/murderers try to cover up their crime and quickly discover that the cover-up is oftentimes more egregious than the initial crime, with more death and mayhem following suit. Cat’s Cradle marked the first film of the newly formed TRAUMA (Trying to Realize Anything Urgently and with a Minimum of Audacity) school of filmmaking, a so-called “ironic Latin American response to Dogma 95” co-founded by director Stockler. ~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Brian De Palma – Obsession (1976)


Brian De Palma has often been accused of ripping off Hitchcock, the director he most admired as a young man. Nowhere is this influence more apparant than in Obsession which is so heavily inspired by Vertigo as to be suspiciously familiar. Having said that, De Palma’s film is very entertaining in its own right and full of technical virtuosity that serves the story as well as being impressive on a purely aesthetic level.

On a technical level, the film is astonishingly well made. It’s here that De Palma really demonstrates his imaginative brilliance as a director. This was present in large portions of Sisters and Phantom of The Paradise, and even in his early work like the obscure Get To Know Your Rabbit and the underrated Hi Mom, but it flowers in Obsession into a signature style that he has been using ever since. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Blackmail (talkie version) (1929)


Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920’s London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened. Continue reading