Various – The Ascent of Man (1973)


Dr. Bronowski’s magnificent BBC television series The Ascent of Man traces our rise both as a species and as moulders of our own environment and future. It covers the history of science, but of science in the broadest terms. Invention from the flint tool to geometry, from the arch to the theory of relativity, are shown to be expressions of man’s specific ability to understand nature, to control it, not to be controlled by it. Read More »

Roberto Rossellini – L’India vista da Rossellini (1959)


Series of programs broadcast on RAI TV in Italy showing footage shot by Roberto Rossellini in India. The series was also broadcast on ORTF TV in France under the title ‘J’AI FAIT UN BEAU VOYAGE PAR ROBERTO ROSSELLINI’. The footage shown in the individual episodes seems to have been the same in the Italian and French series.

Rossellini stayed in India for almost 9 months, refusing to look at famous monuments and rather preferring to take a non-exotic view of India, by looking at lives of common persons. Read More »

Seijun Suzuki – Aisaikun konban wa: Aru kettou AKA Good Evening Dear Husband: A Duel (1968)

A writer and his wife have their house invaded by a young man sheltering from a storm. The woman panics and asks her husband to see the stranger off. A shot is fired. What the hell is going on? King, Queen, Jack… Trouble brewing in the palace. Read More »

Rudolph Cartier – BBC Play of the Month: An Ideal Husband (1969)

An Ideal Husband (BBC1, 1969, dir. Rudolph Cartier)

Rudolph Cartier’s Play of the Month version of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (1895) shares the same aesthetic of visual pleasure realised through detail as Cedric Messina’s Pygmalion (BBC1 16 December 1973), as well as many common features of setting and dressing; ballrooms, studies, morning rooms, elegant dresses and eveningwear. However, Cartier’s directorial technique demonstrates a greater awareness of the possibilities of studio technique to comment upon the action of a play, and is an exemplary production in its use of finely realised period detail to achieve dramatic effects, as an interpretation that works on deeper levels than surface aesthetic visual pleasure. Read More »

Christopher Morahan – Old Times (1975)

‘Married couple Kate and Deeley are joined by Kate’s friend, Anna and talk of the past ensues. Although it is a past they have shared, their memories of it are not always the same.
An intimate three-character play about the capriciousness of memory and the jealousy of our beloved’s intangible past.’
– BFI Read More »

Giulio Questi – “I giochi del diavolo” L’uomo della sabbia AKA The Sandman (1981)

L’Uomo della sabbia (The Sandman) is the first episode of the 1981 RAI horror anthology series I Giochi del Diavolo (The Devil’s Games). It is based on the short story Der Sandmann (1816) by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Hotheaded, romantic student Nathaniel conceives a passion for the professor’s daughter, Olympia. Others, though, say she has no soul, even that her singing and dancing are mechanical. When he stumbles on the professor and his assistant fighting over the automaton’s disassembled body, Nathaniel becomes even more unhinged. Read More »

Paul Vecchiali – Le récit de Rebecca (1964)

Ce film, ou plutôt ce “divertissement cinématographique”, tourné principalement dans les châteaux et les paysages sauvages de la Provence, a été tiré d’un chapître d’un livre fantastique du XVIIIème “Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse” de Jan POTOCKI. Il s’agit du récit, fait par une jeune femme, Rebecca, au héros du roman, de ses noces ésotériques avec les gémeaux de la Kabbale et de son initiation par son frère aux pouvoirs surnaturels. Pour adapter ce récit, Paul VECCHIALI a méler des images réalistes à de l’iconographie et de l’animation abstraite. Il a utilisé pour les dialogues le texte intégral de POTOCKI, n’y ajoutant qu’une seule phrase, la dernière du film. Le choix des couleurs répond aussi à des critères symboliques : le jaune pour les démons, le rouge pour la Kabbale, le bleu pour les divinités. Sur le plan de la photographie, ALEKAN et VECCHIALI ont réalisé des prouesses techniques : utilisation du plan fixe, photos retouchées, etc… Read More »