TVTV – Adland (1974)

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TVTV turns its critical eye to the world of advertising in Adland, subtitled Where Commercials Come From. Focusing on the reality behind the image, and specifically on the strategies of Madison Avenue, they interview prominent 1970s admen such as George Lois and Jerry Della Femina. They also go behind the scenes of commercial shoots, where such figures as Ronald McDonald and the precocious child actor Mason Reese are put through grinding routines, only to reveal themselves as jaded pros off-camera. In this clear-eyed look at the manipulation inherent in advertising, the TVTV crew meets its match in the relentless cynicism and masculine braggadocio of the seasoned admen; ultimately, TVTV conveys respect for the savvy and skills of these shrewd veterans Continue reading

TVTV – TVTV Looks at the Oscars (1976)

EAI writes:
Made in 1976, TVTV’s close-up look at Hollywood’s annual awards ritual mixes irreverent documentary with deadpan comedy. TVTV’s cameras go behind the scenes to follow major Hollywood figures (including Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Lee Grant, Jack Nicholson, and many others), capturing them in candid moments—inside their limousines, dressing for the ceremony, backstage at the awards. Lily Tomlin appears as a fictional character watching the televised Oscar ceremony in her suburban home. Tomlin, nominated for best supporting actress in Robert Altman’s Nashville in 1975, is also seen as she attends the actual awards ceremony. With Tomlin serving as a fulcrum between Hollywood’s insiders and outsiders—the adoring fans, the workers who serve the stars, those overlooked by the awards—TVTV records the lead up to and letdown after the ceremony, revealing the vagaries of fame and stardom. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Spokoj AKA The Calm AKA Peace (1976)

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Based on the short story A Step Beyond the Gate / Krok za brame by Lech Borski).
A television feature that is considered to have been one of the pioneering films in the cinema of moral anxiety. The story of worker Antoni Gralak who is released from prison and wishes to settle down to a calm life. He fails to find peace though he does find a woman to marry and a place to live. The realities of the Polish People’s Republic cause him to enter into conflict with his construction worker colleagues who decide at one point to organise a strike, and with the manager of the construction site who wishes to make an informer of him. These complications conclude tragically. Premiered on television in 1980. @culture.pl
Continue reading

Rimas Tuminas – Uncle Vanya (2010)

Winner of 2010 Golden Mask for Best Russian Theatre Performance.

Anton Chekhov
UNCLE VANYA
Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow

Director: Rimas Tuminas
Composer: Faustas Latenas
Set designer: Adomas Yacovskis

Rimas Tuminas’s production was enthusiastically greeted by Moscow critics – not only for its undoubted merits but also because Uncle Vanya gave a positive response to the ‘accursed question’: is it possible at all to breathe life into a half-dead academic theatre today? Yes, it’s possible, answers the Vakhtangov Theatre but only in case there is a powerful director that is able to sweep his actors along with him. In Uncle Vanya there are a lot of witty solutions and paradoxical psychological moves. Rimas Tuminas seems to reflect Chekhov’s ‘scenes of rural life’ in secret false mirrors of otherness, and for this reason his performance turned out to be darkly eccentric. And you ask yourself: is it really that those on the stage are not ghosts of the country seat? Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Puissance de la parole aka The Power of Speech [uncut] (1988)

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Puissance de la parole is a 25 minutes film made by J-L Godard in 1988. Was financed by France Telecom as a commercial but the company never used for advertising… The film was never officially distributed nor broadcast.

The title is ispired by a Edgar Poe short story (in New extraordinary stories). Godard take some lines from the dialog of Agathos and Oinos and turns it into a classical Godard couple dialog… Continue reading

Ken Loach – It’s a Free World… (2007)

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Fresh from the great success of The Wind that Shakes the Barley, his Palme d’Orwinning story of the “Irish Troubles,” Ken Loach returns to a contemporary setting with an absolute zinger of a film. Sharp, incisive, provocative and engaging, It’s a Free World… is also a wonderfully balanced piece of filmmaking from a director who has often been accused of having a political axe to grind.

It’s a Free World… is based upon the plight of Eastern European migrants who provide a cheap labour pool for wealthier European Union nations. The story centres around the brash and blonde Angie (Kierston Wareing), who is laid off from a recruiting company that brings workers from Poland to the United Kingdom. Angie persuades her flat-mate and long-time friend Rose (Juliet Ellis) to take a huge leap into the void and start their own recruiting agency. They buy a computer, create a website and, with Rose working out of their “office,” Angie sets out every day on the company’s new motorbike to build a clientele. Before long, they have a comfortable little business going. Foreign workers are easy to find, and Angie’s charm, guile and guts get them hired by contractors looking to shave costs at every turn. They know they are treading a fine line of legality, but Angie and Rose have a pact: they will only deal with legal immigrants. But, as they say, stuff happens! Continue reading

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

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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