Júlio Bressane – O Mandarim aka The Mandarin (1995)

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The history of Brazilian popular music in the 20th Century, focusing specially on the life and works of intriguing singer Mário Reis, a loner who, with his special way of singing – whispering and softly saying the words – in a time when singers with potent voices ruled, was in a way a forerunner of Bossa Nova style. Continue reading Júlio Bressane – O Mandarim aka The Mandarin (1995)

René Féret – Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart aka Mozart’s Sister (2010)

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Plot / Synopsis

Written, directed and produced by René Féret, MOZART’S SISTER is a re-imagined account of the early life of Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart (played by Marie Féret, the director’s daughter), five years older than Wolfgang and a musical prodigy in her own right. Originally the featured performer, Nannerl has given way to Wolfgang as the main attraction, as their strict but loving father Leopold tours his talented offspring in front of the royal courts of pre-French revolution Europe. Approaching marriageable age and now forbidden to play the violin or compose, Nannerl chafes at the limitations imposed on her gender. But a friendship with the son and daughter of Louis XV offers her ways to challenge the established sexual and social order. Continue reading René Féret – Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart aka Mozart’s Sister (2010)

Douglas Sirk – Hitler’s Madman (1943)

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Hitler’s Madman is based on an all-too-real wartime atrocity. John Carradine portrays Heydrich, the vicious SS officer put in charge of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Heydrich is killed by the Czech underground, prompting the Nazis to plan a horrible retaliation. The Gestapo selects the Czech village of Lidice for annihilation: They kill all the male villagers, throw the women and children into concentration camps, and torch Lidice into nonexistence. The victims of Nazi tyranny become martyrs to the underground cause, ending the film on a note of triumph. Based on a narrative poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hitler’s Madman was produced by the “poverty row” PRC studio, but was sold to MGM and given a class-A presentation at choice theatres throughout the U.S. Continue reading Douglas Sirk – Hitler’s Madman (1943)

Jaromil Jires – Krik AKA The Cry (1963)

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Synopsis: While a woman is in the hospital preparing to deliver her child, her husband has all day to reflect upon his wife and their relationship. As he tends to his job as a television repairman, Slavek fondly remembers how he first met Ivana and the days they spent getting to know one another. Slavek also grows increasingly aware of the environment that surrounds him and questions the society his new child will be entering. Loaded with a repeated plea for social change, this is the first feature from Czech writer/director Jaromil Jires. (Kristie Hassen, allmovie) Continue reading Jaromil Jires – Krik AKA The Cry (1963)

Marcel Varnel – King Arthur Was a Gentleman (1942)

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King Arthur Was a Gentleman is a 1942 British musical comedy film, directed by Marcel Varnel, starring Arthur Askey as Arthur King. Set during World War II, the plot involves the diminutive Arthur joining the army to prove himself to his girlfriend Susan (Evelyn Dall), who is in the same unit as him. Here, his idealistic notions about King Arthur prompt his messmates to trick him into believing that a sword they have dug up is the fabled Excaliber. Armed with this talisman Arthur strides forth to deal with the Wehrmacht. Continue reading Marcel Varnel – King Arthur Was a Gentleman (1942)