Paul Schrader – Adam Resurrected (2008)

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Quote:
While the Holocaust is certainly a legitimate topic of inquiry for the committed filmmaker, most contemporary treatments of the Nazi camps betray their mission by allowing the viewer to feel altogether too comfortable as they take in the on-screen atrocities. Whether through the establishment of a mitigating historical distance, the adoption of standard genre tropes or the repetition of an established catalog of horrors, films like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and A Secret tend to overly familiarize the events of World War II, allowing the viewer to safely assimilate that conflict’s genocidal horrors. But whatever the flaws of Adam Resurrected, and despite the fact that no physical violence is perpetrated on screen, Paul Schrader never allows the viewer to get comfortably situated, relying on an absurdist central conceit and a rapidly shifting array of intellectual and moral concerns—whose superficial treatment unfortunately leads to a certain diffuseness in the work—to continually de-familiarize his subject. Continue reading

Abel Gance – Lucrezia Borgia (1935)

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Episodes from the life of Lucrecia Borgia’s. Spoiled and willful, she has many love affairs and tries to resist her ruthless and scheming brother César Borgia’s plans to marry her off for political advantage.

Episodic and hard to follow to those not familiar with Italian geography and with the political situation of the time. Nice sets and costumes but the 16 millimeter print I saw did not show them well.

The kind of movie the French New Wave rebelled against Continue reading

Anton Corbijn – Linear (2009)

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Quote:
“Late May 2008 – at a band meeting I was introduced to the new songs. The reason for letting me in so early on this sonically and lyrically different U2 record is that the band have this idea for me to make some kind of moving imagery to go with the record. The thinking is that as a lot of people buy music from the internet and are likely to hear this on a computer or mp3 player, their listening pleasure could be heightened by visuals. Instead of just seeing a pack shot of the record sleeve, or a still photograph of the band for 45 plus minutes, as is often the case now, why not have a moving image for the duration of the record? It is not essential to the record, you can either watch it or ignore it. Brilliant! As always, U2 are thinking ahead, not so much having one foot in tomorrow’s door, as having built the house to which that door is the entrance. Continue reading

Selim Demirdelen – Kavsak AKA The Crossing (2010)

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Guven works in an accounting company. He is well liked in the office. He is a hard-working man. He has a happy marriage and a daughter whom he loves more than his own life. At the end of an ordinary workday, Guven leaves the office and goes home. He enters his flat, undresses, washes his face, and sits on the couch in the living room. There is no one else in the flat. Guven’s family life is a huge lie… (Written by Selim Demirdelen) Continue reading

Claude Autant-Lara – Marguerite de la nuit AKA Marguerite of the Night (1955)

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tiberio wrote:
Truffaut and Godard gave a bad name to the “quality” French cinema that preceded them. This film was one of their pet examples of what they saw as staid, boring, unadventurous cinéma de papa. Without an axe to grind, it is actually a breathtakingly bold modernization of the Faust legend, ravishing to look at with its highly stylized sets (Trauner on LSD) and containing multi-layered undercurrents, including a message on the unthinking destructiveness of youth which seems almost like a prescient reply to its New Wave critics. Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Onna no mizuumi aka Woman of the Lake (1966)

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Quote:
Eight years into her marriage, Miyako Mizuki (Mariko Okada) looks happy on the outside, but in fact she is not satisfied with her husband, Yuzo (Shinsuke Ashida), who cares about nothing but his career. Miyako has been having an affair with a young interior designer named Kitano (Tamotsu Hayakawa), who in turn has a fiancée named Machie (Keiko Natsu). One night in a hotel, Miyako lets Kitano takes some nude photos of her. On her way back, she is followed by a stranger (Shigeru Tsuyuguchi), and loses her handbag with the film negatives inside while trying to escape. Later at home, Miyako receives a call from the stranger. He uses the negatives to threaten her to follow his instructions and take a train to the north. The stranger is named Ginpei. He was a teacher in a girls’ school, but was expelled because of a scandal with one of his students. As Miyako meets up with Ginpei, she develops a strange attraction towards him.
Continue reading

Alain Cavalier – Un étrange voyage AKA On the Track (1981)

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Synopsis
A father-daughter relationship is melded, strained, and deepened by a shared angst: the grandmother in the family left her home by train and never arrived at her destination. The father Pierre (Jean Rochefort) is distraught that the police could basically dismiss the issue as inexplicable, and he decides to retrace on foot the voyage his mother should have made. His daughter Amelie (Camille de Casablanca) goes with him, and the story evolves as the two walk along the train tracks, searching in the nearby terrain and bushes for any evidence that might point to what happened. Along the way, their once antagonistic and distanced relationship (Amelie is a student, her father is a picture-restorer) begins to work itself out… Continue reading