Joseph L. Mankiewicz – The Quiet American (1958)

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Plot:
In this adaptation of Graham Greene’s prophetic novel about U.S. foreign policy failure in pre-war Indochina, Audie Murphy plays an innocent Young American opposite the older, cynical Brit Michael Redgrave. They play out their widely different views on the prospects stuggle for the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people in their competition over a young woman. Murphy wants to reform her and make her a typical middle class American housewife; Redgrave accepts her inability to formulate or retain a political ideal and while promising her no real future, he objects to Murphy’s attempts to change her. It’s not clear whether Murphy is just what he appears – a bungling Yankee do-gooder – or a deliberate agent of U.S. covert operations, but he ends up an expendable pawn in the end. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Ce jour-là AKA That Day (2003)

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Quote:
Auspiciously set in the nebulous and indeterminate milieu of “Switzerland, in the near future”, Raoul Ruiz’s eccentric, surreal fable opens to the shot of an abstracted and dotty young woman named Livia (Elsa Zylberstein) sitting on a park bench overlooking a fog obscured dirt road that is curiously located near the entrance of the San Michelle mental health institution. While jotting down a series of random, fleeting thoughts into her journal, she meets a cyclist who is abruptly thrown from his bicycle and, convinced that he is an angel (since, as her idiosyncratic theory goes, all angels on earth have fallen), proceeds to explain that tomorrow is destined to be the best day of her life, or rather – as she corrects herself – the most important day, which she comes to realize is not the same thing. Soon after the encounter, Livia is whisked away by her faithful and devoted servant Treffle (Jean-François Balmer) and brought home to the family’s country estate where a crowd of snide and unscrupulously calculating relatives amass near the front steps awaiting her father, Harald’s (Michel Piccoli) return home to celebrate his birthday. Continue reading

Robert Greene – Kate Plays Christine (2016)

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Actress Kate Lyn Sheil prepares to portray the role of Christine Chubbuck, a real-life news reporter who took her own life on national television in 1974.

rogerebert.com wrote:
Movie publicity is filled with buzzwords about acting, “transformation” in particular, but it’s sad how little practical information we viewers get about that process. It’s often wrapped up in mysticism or ignored entirely; we hear in the abstract that an actor trained as a boxer to play a boxer, or studied someone’s accent in order to play a character of a different nationality or ethnicity, but there are precious few examples of what it actually means to enter another person’s consciousness and become them for purposes of telling a story. Continue reading

Guillaume Nicloux – Le poulpe AKA The Octopus (1998)

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“Le Poulpe” is adapted from one of a series of French crime novels, each written by a different author. They are quick reads and often of dubious quality. This film adaptation by Guillaume Nicloux is, however, a different matter.
Gabriel, dit Le Poulpe (The Octopus), played superbly by Jean-Pierre Darroussin, is a laid-back private investigator who works on cases for his own pleasure. He is drawn to the fictional Loire Valley port of Angerneau (St. Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique), with his lover Clotilde (the luscious Courau) who has been summoned by the police concerning the defacement of a deceased relative’s grave. Since Angernau is her home town, she wants to leave it as soon as possible to avoid old acquaintances, but Gabriel stumbles on intriguing events concerning the cargo of a ship in port. Central to the scheme of things is a drunken Scotsman (Faulkner) who seems stranded in the town. Continue reading

Alberto Rodríguez – El hombre de las mil caras AKA The Man with Thousand Faces (2016)

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The story of a man who fooled an entire country. A tale of cheats and impostors, taking its inspiration from true facts and from one of the most intriguing characters of recent decades: the spy Francisco Paesa.

Nominated at
31st Goya Awards
Premios Feroz 2017 Continue reading

Gonzalo Suárez – Morbo AKA Morbidness (1972)

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This Spanish thriller by dilettante director Gonzalo Suarez tells the story of two newlyweds and the uncanny happenings that attend their low-budget honeymoon. For much of the film the audience is treated to scenes of freshly-married bliss. The couple have parked their car/camper combination in a remote area, and generally frolic around. Then they begin to experience some odd occurrences, such as one of their two hamsters killing the other one. When hubby discovers a nearby home where he can get water, the story gets much more complicated and involves a blind woman, a murderer, and some inexplicable symbolism. Continue reading