Ghasem Ebrahimian – The Suitors (1989)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
A young Iranian woman fends for herself in America in spite of the wishes of her newfound friends after her husband is accidentally killed.

Review
From the NY Times:

Before we are 15 minutes into ”The Suitors,” this dark satire reveals the dangers of slaughtering sheep in a bathtub. A quirky first feature written and directed by Ghasem Ebrahimian, who was born in Iran and who settled in the United States in the 1970’s, the film also takes a sharp, affectionate view of Iranian immigrants trying to merge their traditions with Manhattan living. Continue reading

Richard Myers – The Path (1960)

B&W, SILENT.

“Light as the symbol of the ineffable. The ‘plot’ of this subjective recreation of a dream seems to concern a mysterious journey; the spectator, however, is visually directed toward forms and substances rather than to the protagonists by a filmmaker who is a master of visionary cinema.” – Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art

“Richard Myers has, thru his films, given us the ONLY consistently creative variable to dream-thinking in our time. All else, in film, slides toward surrealism and/or props itself with misplaced Freudian symbols, at best, or else gets lost in the Jung-le, at the verses. Myers’ work is rooted in what he doesn’t know about, just exactly what he knows – his own home grounds mid-America, and like D.W. Griffith he takes the great risk of being native to his art, attending it on its home-grown grounds/his-UNowned-dreams.” – Stan Brakhage Continue reading

Len Lye – Free Radicals (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Free Radicals

Directed by Len Lye
US 1958, revised 1979, 16mm, b/w, 4 min.

Quote:
In arguably his greatest film, Lye reduces the medium to its most basic elements by scratching designs on black film. He used a variety of scribers ranging from dental tools to an ancient Native American arrowhead, and synchronized the images to traditional African music (a field tape of the Bagirmi tribe). The film won second prize in the International Experimental Film Competition, which was judged by Man Ray, Norman McLaren, Alexander Alexeiff and others at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. In 1979 Lye further condensed the film by dropping a minute of footage. Stan Brakhage described the final version as “an almost unbelievably immense masterpiece (a brief epic).” Continue reading

Robert Altman – Fool For Love (1985)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

“At the center of Sam Shepard’s ‘Fool for Love’ are two people whose hurts are so deep, whose angers are so real, that they can barely talk about what they really feel. That does not stop them from talking, on and on into the hurtful night, and eventually we can put together their stories, using what they have said, and especially what they have not said.

One of the characters is a blond slattern named May, whose natural beauty has been rearranged into a parody of the classic movie baby doll — Brigitte Bardot, say. The other character is named Eddie, and he is a cowboy who drives through the empty Texas reaches in the obligatory pickup truck with the obligatory rifle rack behind his head and the obligatory horse trailer behind the truck. One night May is working behind the counter of a restaurant in a crumbling motel, and she sees Eddie’s pickup coming down the road. She runs and hides. Standing in the shadows of the rundown motel is an older man (Harry Dean Stanton) who simply waits and watches. Continue reading

Andrei Konchalovsky – Shy People (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Diana (Jill Clayburgh) and her rebellious cocaine snorting daughter (Martha Plimpton) travel to the Louisiana bayou to meat their distant relatives. They find a wild gun-toting marsh woman (Barbara Hershey), and her grown children who she protects from the outside world still, going as far as putting one in a cage. Diana came to write an insightful article about her lost family, but may have gotten in over her head. The atmosphere is beautiful. There are some great performances by the brilliant Barbara Hershey (won best actress in 1987 Cannes), and Martha Plimpton. The turning point of the film is a bizarre rape sequence involving Martha Plimpton, cocaine, a big barrel of honey, a dozen goats, and Patrick Swayze’s brother, Don Swayze. This leads to both Jill Clayburg and Martha Plimpton being alone in the swamp, fighting for survival, and also a serious conflict within the family. Photographed by Chris Menges (The Killing Fields, The Mission). This film is incredible. Continue reading

Andy Warhol – The Nude Restaurant (1967)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

At a New York City restaurant, the patrons are men, nude but for a G-string, waited on by one woman, also clad in a G-string (played by Viva) and a G-bestringed (bestrung?) waiter. Some of the “nude” patrons leave the establishment, their places taken by new customers, also nearly in the buff. There are numerous in-camera jump cuts (known as ‘strobe cuts’) and the camera weaves around a bit. The waiter and waitress move from table to table, talking to the customers. Taylor Mead sits smirking at the fountain, where eventually he partakes in a long conversation with Viva about her Catholic childhood. Viva, the waitress if not the actual person, seemingly is obsessed with the subject of lascivious priests. There is more strobe cutting and at one point, Viva turns to the camera and asks that it be turned off. The camera is turned off and, after an interlude, is turned back on again, after which Viva continues with her monologue. More patrons arrive while others go, perhaps thinking — if not speaking — of Michelangelo. Written by Tummy AuGratin Continue reading