Nagisa Oshima – Ai no borei AKA Empire of Passion [+Extras] (1978)

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With an arresting mix of eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution in Empire of Passion (Ai no borei). Set in a Japanese village at the end of the nineteenth century, the film details the emotional and physical downfall of a married woman and her younger lover following their decision to murder her husband and dump his body in a well. Empire of Passion was Oshima’s only true kaidan (Japanese ghost story), and the film, a savage, unrelenting experience, earned him the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival. Read More »

Jesús Garay – Eloïse (2009)

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A young girl hospitalized with a coma manages to have a relationship with an enigmatic girl

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Asia, an 18 year-old girl, is in the hospital in comatose state. Her mother and her boyfriend, Nathaniel, take care of her. Little by little we’ll see the events that led Asia to the hospital, the relationship with her mother, her girlfriends and her boyfriend, and specially with Eloïse, an enigmatic girl who introduce her in a new world of feelings. With her, Asia will revive a painful episode from her past, a one her mother will not allow to see the light. Finally, Asia will face everybody to be happy in her relationship with Eloïse. Read More »

Nicolas Roeg – Bad Timing [+Extras] (1980)

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The setting is Vienna. A young American woman is brought to a hospital after overdosing on pills, apparently in a suicide attempt. A police detective suspects foul play on the part of her lover, an American psychology professor. As doctors try to save her life, the detective interrogates the professor, and through flashbacks we see the events leading up to the woman’s overdose; her stormy and intensely sexual relationship with the professor, her heavy drinking and numerous affairs, and her estrangement from her Czech husband. A darkly erotic study of several rather unsympathetic characters. Written by Marty Cassady Read More »

Barbet Schroeder – Maîtresse [+Extras] (1975)

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Drifter Olivier (Gérard Depardieu) lands in Paris and partners up on a friend’s home invasion. Ostensibly they’re breaking into the vacant flat of a vacationing old lady, but in reality it’s the kinky dungeon of a high-class dominatrix with a powerful client list. The bearish Depardieu falls for the lithe professional, blonde Ariane (Bulle Ogier) in a black bob wig and dressed in tight leather and latex, and soon moves into her handsome flat while she plies her trade downstairs. Barbet Schroeder’s kinky little slice of sexual decadence is initially titillating and erotic, but soon turns grotesque. Ariane’s clients desire her domination but only as contracted: They control their abuse. The romance becomes a warped mirror of her career, Ariane allowing Olivier the appearance of control as he slides behind the driver’s seat of her car, but setting the parameters of his dominance. Easygoing Olivier soon begins to simmer with frustration and jealousy, unable to comprehend her twisted world of sexual deviance, and attempts to “save” her from her lifestyle. Schroeder pushes the portrayal of S&M and bondage to the limits with graphic scenes of pain, torment, and mutilation, presented with a bland detachment that makes them all the more uncomfortable to watch. He brings that same dispassionate attitude to the romance, which results in an uninvolving yet undeniably fascinating story of a quirky affair. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Ett drömspel aka A Dream Play (1963)

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From ingmarbergman.se:

This made-for-television film constituted Bergman’s first production of Strindberg’s A Dreamplay – a play he would revisit three times more. Gunnar Ollén’s Malmö crew was behind this, for its time, prestigious and costly theatre production, involving more than 40 actors and no less than 75 extras.

In this production, critics thought they discerned a change in Bergman’s style of directing. Ebbe Linde in Dagens Nyheter:

‘I think one can differentiate between an old and a new Ingmar Bergman: an old sensational one from the beginning of his career and a subdued, demanding one, now at his peak. That his approach implies a deepening of his art seems clear to me, at the same time as it might limit his geographical appeal.’ Read More »

Alex Ross Perry – The Color Wheel (2011)

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SYNOPSIS:
JR has broken up with her professor. She enlists her nervous and obnoxious younger brother Colin to take a short road trip in order to help move out her belongings. They bicker and fight, with one another and pretty much anybody they encounter, before being brought to a place of togetherness and understanding as a result of being pushed away by everybody in their lives except one another. Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Skorbnoye beschuvstviye aka Anaesthesia Psychica Dolorosa aka Mournful Unconcern (1987)

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Mournful Unconcern (Russian: Скорбное бесчувствие, translit. Skorbnoye beschuvstviye) is the third produced film by Alexander Sokurov, completed in 1983, but the fourth released one, as it was banned by Soviet authorities until perestroika in 1987. The film, set during World War I, is inspired by Bernard Shaw’s play Heartbreak House. Professional actors (Zamansky, Osipenko, Sokolova and others) were used alongside amateur actors, like in most early Sokurov films, and many of the trademarks of his cinematographic style were already apparent.
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