William A. Graham – Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980)

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This two-part TV movie was, of course, sparked by the November 1978 mass suicide of 913 people at the South American religious “colony” of Jonestown. The catalyst for this tragedy was cult-leader Reverend Jim Jones (played by Powers Boothe, who won an Emmy for his performance), head of the so-called People’s Temple. The film traces the life of Jones from his days as an idealistic 1960s activist. He drifts into penny-ante confidence scams and bed-hops from woman to woman, before electing to pass himself off as a modern messiah–eventually believing his own feverish sermons. The climactic scenes are chillingly staged in a near-documentary fashion, with Puerto Rico and Georgia substituting for Guyana. Ned Beatty plays the ill-fated Representative Leo Ryan, while James Earl Jones has a cameo as 1930s religious-leader Father Divine; most of the other main characters are composites of real people. Originally broadcast April 15 and 16, 1980, The Guyana Tragedy was adapted by Ernest Tidyman from the Washington Post and Charles A. Krause’s Guyana Massacre: An Eyewitness Account. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Cuba Libre (1996)

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Imdb:
WELL-MADE BUT DEPRESSING DRAMA
by jan onderwater (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Depressing, dark love drama with thin story line, that makes you wonder whether the makers believe in life at all. The male protagonist is constantly running into problems and gets beaten up time and time again, so much so that after a while I could not help laughing, which cannot have been the intention of the makers: they are vèry, vèry serious. The crux of the film seems to be a sharp comment on the money driven German society, in which it is impossible to show any real affection; of course this could be a dilemma of the makers themselves: money is not the problem, but what you do with it. Not forgotten is to include an extreme right wing man whose self-proclaimed purpose in life it is to free the street of socially undesirable elements. It is all very heavy symbolism with no relief, but it is certainly well-made with a script that – as the film progresses – becomes less and less surprising. The two acting leads are good.; fine cinematography. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Riten aka The Ritual (1969)

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From Bergmanorama:

SYNOPSIS
The Rite deals with a touring variety troupe called “Les Riens,” who are prosecuted and summoned to an interrogation because one of their numbers is considered grossly indecent. They are confronted with the judge’s accusations, which are extremely vague. The judge’s interrogation is harsh and relentless, it humiliates the artists, confuses them, shakes their self-confidence. Who are we? What is the meaning of our lives? – that is, our art?

In a series of taught scenes with great dramatic power and tension Bergman lets the three artists reveal themselves to the spectator’s astonished gaze. In scenes of passion, of blood, of darkness, which are occasionally broken by gleams of hope and consolation, the author gives a vision of what it means to be an artist and of art’s sanctity and curse. In the rite that forms the finale of the film, Art has avenged itself on reason. The artists, the abused ones, have spoken. Continue reading

Various – X Femmes (Various)

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X Femmes (English: X Women) is a French television series of short films shown on Canal+ in 2008–2009. They were shot by female directors with the goal of producing erotica and soft-core pornography from a female point of view.

Episodes

Season 1 – Original air date 25 October 2008

1. Le bijou indiscret (The jewel indiscreet).
Director: Arielle Dombasle.
Stars: Arielle Dombasle, Jérémie Elkaïm and Paz de la Huerta Continue reading

John Irvin – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

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Complete 7-part, 290-minute BBC miniseries plus BBC interview – John Le Carre – The Secret Centre

Complex but compelling, this miniseries is based upon one of John Le Carré’s greatest works and serves as a grand summing-up for the late Sir Alec Guinness, one of Britain’s greatest actors. Guinness literally is Smiley: Le Carré said that Guinness served as a template for the character’s cunning and mournful rectitude. In anyone else’s hands, Smiley might have seemed a blank and lifeless character, but Guinness’ matchless ability to play within a scene while seeming to think well beyond it is magnetic. Guinness was the great everyman and underplayer of the generation that gave us such great British Shakespearean actors as Olivier, Richardson, and Gielgud. He’s helped, too, by sharp dialogue lifted almost word-for-word from the book and terrific supporting performances (particularly an entirely silent but amazingly communicative Patrick Stewart, who has a cameo as Karla), which almost entirely obscure the fact that the miniseries largely consists of people sitting in rooms talking. It’s a literate treat that brings to life the gray morality and conflicting loyalties of the Cold War. Be advised: viewers can get lost in the intricate plot if they don’t pay close attention.
— Nick Sambides, Jr. Continue reading

Julien Temple – Never Mind the Baubles Xmas ’77 With The Sex Pistols (2013)

The Sex Pistols’ last UK gig – a benefit for the children of striking firefighters at Ivanhoe’s nightclub in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977 – remains their most implausible.

“It’s footage I filmed on a big old crappy U-matic low-band camera,” explains director Julien Temple, who dodged flying cake and pogoing punks to record the two performances (an afternoon children’s matinee and an adult evening show) from 25 December 1977. “But it’s right in their face. I’m right up there with them. It’s probably the best footage of the Pistols on film but it’s never been seen.”

This aired on the BBC on Boxing Day 2013 – more at the guardian. Done in the Temple style, with lots of wacky old footage from the 70’s. Continue reading