Ingmar Bergman – Aus dem Leben der Marionetten AKA From the Life of the Marionettes (1980)


From “Wiki”

From the Life of the Marionettes (German: Aus dem Leben der Marionetten) is a 1980 film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film was produced in West Germany with a German language screenplay and soundtrack while Bergman was in “tax exile” from his native Sweden. It is filmed in black and white apart from two colour sequences at the beginning and end of the movie. It is set in Munich. The title is a quotation excerpted from a passage in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

“Most unfortunately in the lives of the Marionettes there is always a BUT that spoils everything”.

Unlike Collodi’s story, however, Bergman’s is unremittingly bleak in tone. Continue reading

John Korty – The People (1972)


Shy, introverted eager-beaver young school teacher Melodye Amerson (sweetly played by the adorable Kim Darby of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark fame) takes a job at a remote, quiet rural farming community that’s isolated from the rest of the world. The job proves to be far more difficult and challenging than she initially figured: the students are extremely terse, reserved and uncommunicative, the other townspeople are every bit as reticent, mysterious and unapproachable, and everyone lives by a strict code which leaves Melodye feeling confused and alienated. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Polizeiruf 110: Kreise (2015)


German review by T. Groh:

[…] Ein Meta-Fernsehkrimi. Für dieses Vorhaben bietet der BR-“Polizeiruf” um Kommissar von Meuffels einem etablierten Auteur wie Christian Petzold das ideale Experimentierlabor: Schon die Initialzündung im Jahr 2011 (Dominik Grafs “Cassandras Warnung”) setzte einen deutlichen Akzent, der sich im weiteren Verlauf der Reihe bestätigte: Der Münchner “Polizeiruf” (mit weiteren Beiträgen u.a. von Hans Steinbichler, Leander Haußmann, Hendrik Handloegten, Jan Bonny, nochmal Graf) ist im Wesentlichen ein Regieformat, das Reibeflächen zwischen Formatvorgabe und individueller Handschrift nicht nur zulässt, sondern offen sucht. In verlässlicher Regelmäßigkeit entstanden hier die besten oder wenigstens interessantesten Fernsehkrimis der vergangenen Jahre. Und mit dem von Matthias Brandt kongenial verkörperten Kommissar von Meuffels etablierte sich eine der spannendsten, trotz gedämpftem Spiel facettenreichsten Ermittlerfiguren. […] Continue reading

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


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)


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)


From Bergmanorama:

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)


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.


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