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William K. Howard – The Valiant (1929)

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Paul Muni’s film debut. Muni earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance, the first of six in his long career.
A drifter with a clouded past accidentally kills the key witness to a crime, then sacrifices himself to the law under an assumed name rather than disgrace his family. In this manner, Muni is certain that he’s redeemed himself for his previous misdeeds–but a curious police inspector tries to probe his past. The Valiant was remade in 1940 as THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T TALK, with Lloyd Nolan in the Muni role. Continue reading

Jules Dassin – Night and the City [+Extras] (1950)

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Synopsis
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh-and soon Fabian learns the horrible price of his ambition. Luminously shot in the streets of London, Jules Dassin’s Night and the City is film noir of the first order and one of the director’s crowning achievements. Continue reading

Peter Weir – Peter Weir Short Film Collection (1969 – 1972)

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Peter Weir Short Film Collection is a wonderful collection of some early works of this great Australian director, at a time when the local film industry was beginning to take great strides forward. These films may not appeal to the average mainstream film viewer, but if you’re keen to view the rarely seen beginnings of Peter Weir’s career, or you are a fan of early Australian cinema, then this will be an asset to your collection.

Reading through the current filmography of Weir’s impressive body of work, it’s safe to say that not many filmmakers could match the level of consistent quality in their work. From these humble beginnings, Peter Weir has firmly established himself as one of world’s finest film directors. Continue reading

Frédéric Fonteyne – La Femme de Gilles AKA Gilles’ Wife (2004)

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Review from IMDB:

The Title, Sadly, Says It All, 23 October 2006
10/10
Author: gradyharp from United States

‘La Femme de Gilles’ (‘Gilles’ Wife’) began as a novel by Madeleine Bourdouxhe and was transformed for the screen by Philippe Blasband, Marion Hänsel and Frédéric Fonteyne who also directs this stunning and controversial art piece. Certainly one of the most visually magnificent films of recent years (cinematographer Virginie Saint-Martin) ‘Gilles’ Wife’ succeeds on every level: the story is unique, the direction is liquid and languorous, and the cast is superlative. Continue reading

Michael Winterbottom – Wonderland (1999)

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The members of a British working-class family see their lives starting to come apart as the Nation prepares to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (named for an anarchist who tried to blow up Parliament) in Michael Winterbottom’s drama Wonderland. Eileen (Kika Markham) and Bill (Jack Shepherd) are a married couple with four grown children. Bill has lost his job and is drifting through life, unsure of what to do. He’s also having sexual problems with Eileen, who is being driven insane by their noisy neighbors. Neither Bill nor Eileen have seen their son Darren (Enzo Cilenti) for a long time, and his birthday is a heartbreaking experience for them. (Darren, on the other hand, would prefer to celebrate his birthday by spending the night in a hotel with his girlfriend rather than seeing his parents.) Bill and Eileen also have three daughters, Nadia (Gina McKee), Debbie (Shirley Henderson) and Molly (Molly Parker). Nadia works in a cafe and has trouble meeting men; she’s signed up with a dating agency, but has yet to meet anyone she likes. Debbie is suddenly a single mother after separating from her drunken lout of a husband. Debbie drowns her sorrows in a series of meaningless one-night-stands, while her husband flies into uncontrollable rages and their son is left with no one to turn to on either side. And while Molly’s story seems happy on the surface — she’s soon to give birth to her first child and her husband has done well in kitchen sales — she’s suddenly thrown into instability when she finds her husband has quit his job, without telling her, to follow his dream of becoming a chef. Wonderland received enthusiastic reviews for its ensemble cast when shown at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. – allmovie.com Continue reading