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George Cukor – My Fair Lady (1964)

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My Fair Lady is one of the screen’s joyous achievements, an elegant musical filled with adult characters who think before they speak. Exquisitely produced by Warner Bros, it represents the zenith of the movie musical as an art form and as popular entertainment. Rex Harrison leads an impeccable cast, and, yes, that’s Marni Nixon singing for Audrey Hepburn, but Hepburn is perfectly cast otherwise. The major star of the film is perhaps set designer/costume designer Cecil Beaton, whose visual contributions immediately impacted European and U.S. fashion trends. One of the best-looking movies ever made, My Fair Lady took eight Oscars, including Best Picture. Hepburn failed to be nominated in the Best Actress category, which was won by Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins, in what many observers saw as backlash against Andrews’ not being cast in the movie after originating the role of Eliza on stage. — Richard Gilliam Continue reading

Ada Bligaard Søby – The Naked of Saint Petersburg (2010)

Description:

It is winter in Saint Petersburg and the streets of the former capital are teeming. Half naked sunbathers stand in the snow; fledgeling dancers watched by throngs of teens are an explosion of underground fashion; a therapist who cannot afford an office sees clients in his car; immigrant street cleaners wander estates in orange vests, hoping they won’t be mistaken for terrorists. Saint Petersburg makes do with what it has. Continue reading

Natalia Koryncka-Gruz – Zbig [Zbigniew Rybczynski] (2001)

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An excellent documentary on the great Zbig Rybczynski, spanning his entire career, from Kwadrat to his most recent Hi-Def works. It’s not an overstatement to say that Zbig is one of the great pioneers of the moving image; a true visionary whose influence and ideas can be found everywhere in contemporary filmmaking and advertising.

Fascinating and moving in equal parts, Zbig discusses his life and experiences and how they have shaped his work. An incredibly eloquent and engaging narrator and storyteller, the man is as interesting as his creations – a beautiful mind, an extraordinary artist and a remarkable man. Continue reading

Kon Ichikawa – Nobi AKA Fires On The Plain [+Extras] (1959)

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An agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II, Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain (Nobi) is a compelling descent into psychological and physical oblivion. Denied hospital treatment for tuberculosis and cast off into the unknown, Private Tamura treks across an unfamiliar Philippine landscape, encountering an increasingly debased cross section of Imperial Army soldiers, who eventually give in to the most terrifying craving of all. Grisly yet poetic, Fires on the Plain is one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema’s most versatile filmmakers. (Criterion) Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Thunderbolt (1929)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader wrote:
Except for The Saga of Anatahan, this 1929 release is probably the most underrated of Josef von Sternberg’s sound pictures, and it’s underrated for the same reason: Sternberg is known almost exclusively as a visual stylist, but the most exciting thing here is the highly creative sound track. It’s Sternberg’s first talkie–a near remake of Underworld, a spiritual romance about a doomed gangster, with the same lead (George Bancroft) and Fay Wray–and although this is a minority opinion, I find it better than the original in many ways. With Richard Arlen and Tully Marshall. Continue reading

Kon Ichikawa – Enjo aka The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1958)

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Quote:
The story revolve around a teenage name Mizoguchi, Ever since his father explain the beauty of the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, the surreal ideology of beauty was convey to it. After his father died from Tabeculocus he was then accept by the Monk priest Tayama who was the guardian of the Temple of Gold Pavilion.
When Mizoguchi first saw the golden pavilion, the beauty does not strike him, instead it grow much stronger inside his soul. it was like as if hearing part of the script of melody, the whole ongs will rise naturally. such as the actual image of the golden pavilion one can see the whole temple just by a glips of thought.
The Character Mizoguchi suffers from Stutter, which everyone laugh at him, this sickness makes him feel selfpitty and autism from others, it makes him thinks no one understand his true feeling of how he perceive about life, event or even the temple of golden pavilion. Continue reading