The defiantly independent French director Jean-Pierre Melville was an outsider by choice. He financed his films outside of the studio system and built his own studio for maximum independence. He loved American cinema and made his reputation with a brilliant series of cool gangster thrillers, beginning with elegant, elegiac Bob le Flambeur (1955) and culminating in the austere masterpiece Le Samourai (1967), with Alain Delon as an existential assassin, and the heist classic Le Cercle Rouge (1970).
Army of Shadows, adapted from the 1943 novel by Joseph Kessel about the early years of the French Resistance, is the third of Melville’s three dramas set during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II (after his debut feature, La Silence de la Mer , and his 1961 drama Leon Morin, Priest), but by far his most personal. During World War II, Melville was himself a member of the Resistance, worked for French intelligence in London, and served in the Free French forces in the liberation of Italy and France. “This is my first movie showing things I’ve actually known and experienced,” Melville told Rui Nogueria in Nogueria’s 1971 interview book with the director. Kessler’s book is a work of fiction, but the characters were inspired by real life figures. Continue reading
London, 1949. John Christie is an unassuming, middle aged man who, along with his wife Ethel, manages the apartment building at 10 Rillington Place. His unassuming demeanor masks the fact of being a serial killer. His modus operandi is to act as a person with a medical background, lure unsuspecting women to his apartment on the pretense of curing them of some ailment, knock them unconscious with carbon monoxide gas, gain his sexual release through contact with the unconscious body, then strangle the victim dead before disposing of the body usually by burying it in his back yard. His next intended target is Beryl Evans, a young woman who has just moved into a flat in his building. Beryl’s husband, Tim Evans, is an illiterate man who likes to put on airs. Already with an infant daughter named Geraldine, the Evanses learn they are going to have another baby, which they cannot afford to have, nor can they afford to abort the pregnancy. This problem, on top of the constant issue of lack of…
It is the Second World War. The Nazis have invaded Britain. There is a split between the resistance and those who prefer to collaborate with the invaders for a quiet life. The protagonist, a nurse, is caught in the middle.
British film historian Kevin Brownlow was all of 18 when he conceived the idea for this alternate-history film depicting what life in London would have been like if Nazi troops had conquered England in July 1940. Along with his friend and collaborator Andrew Mollo (only 16 at the time), he took eight years to piece the film together using borrowed equipment and begging scraps of film stock from established filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick. The result owes much to Brownlow’s penchant for silent films (he authored a classic text on the subject entitled The Parade’s Gone By), and possibly to Italian neorealism, since the semidocumentary style bows in that direction. Good thing, too. The documentary feel captivates the viewer. The story follows an Everybrit named Pauline as she grows from complacence and resignation over the Nazi occupation of England to when she becomes a nurse for the Nazis and realizes the true horror of her and England’s situation. Brownlow’s pure desire for authenticity makes the film more chilling than it would otherwise have been. For instance, on the film’s initial release, Jewish groups objected to a sequence involving a real-life fascist of the time, Colin Jordan, spouting his opinion of Jews and euthanasia. They feared people wouldn’t pick up on the film’s anti-Nazi stance, and would therefore take the comments seriously. So seven minutes of footage were cut that have now been restored, making the film scarier than ever
Fixed Bayonets! (1951) is a war film written and directed by Samuel Fuller and produced by Twentieth Century-Fox during the Korean War. It is Fuller’s second film about the Korean War. In his motion picture debut, James Dean appears briefly in the film.
The film is set in the first winter of Korean War. The story follows the fate of a lone 48 man platoon left as a rear guard to defend a hill in hostile territory, to cover the withdrawal of their division over an exposed bridge. The subplot explores the psychological makeup of the individuals charged with leadership of the platoon, and therein examines the nature of service and valor. Ultimately command of the platoon falls upon Cpl. Denno (Richard Basehart), who has an innate aversion to responsibility for the lives of others. Continue reading
Plot / Synopsis
Feliks Falk’s latest movie “Joanna” is a story set in the time of World War II. The main heroine’s husband had been sent to an Oflag. One day Joanna encounters a little Jewish girl in a church. Despite the risk, she decides to take care of her.
“Joanna” is an example of a true story as it reflects the behaviour of thousands of the Righteous Among the Nations.
Feliks movie has enchanted the audience of 35. Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.
Tadeusz Sobolewski, a film critic, gave the movie a very positive review.
Coup de Grâce (German: Der Fangschuß, French: Le Coup de grâce) is a 1976 West German film directed by Volker Schlöndorff. It was adapted from the novel by the same name by the French author Marguerite Yourcenar. The title comes from the French expression, meaning “finishing blow”.
Synopsis: A countess’ unrequited love for an army officer leads to disaster. Latvia, 1919: the end of the Russian Civil War. An aristocratic young woman (brilliantly played by Margarethe von Trotta) becomes involved with a sexually repressed Prussian soldier. When she is rejected by her love, the young woman is sent into a downward spiral of psychosexual depression, promiscuity, and revolutionary collaboration. A startling tale of heartbreak and violence set against the backdrop of bloody revolution, Volker Schlöndorff’s Coup de grâce is a powerful film that explores the interrelation of private passion and political commitment.
In the third and final film of Rossellini’s WWII trilogy, the director shifts his focus from his native Italy to the bombed-out ruins of Berlin, where 12-year-old Edmund Koehler struggles for survival. Among the nine people he lives with are: a father, who is suffering from malnutrition and a fatal illness; a brother, who is a former Nazi soldier hiding to avoid arrest; and a sister, who has turned to prostitution. Scouring the rubble-strewn city for food, money, and cigarettes, he comes upon a former teacher, Herr Enning (Erich Guhne), who evinces a barely restrained sexual attraction to the boy while providing him with records of Hitler’s speeches that can be bartered on the black market. He also drums into the boy a classic piece of Nazi propaganda about the importance of having the courage to let the weak be destroyed. Under his influence, the confused young protagonist heads down a tragic path.
~ Michael Costello, AMG Continue reading