Ingmar Bergman – Ansikte mot ansikte AKA Face to Face (1976)

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Description: “Face to Face was intended to be a film about dreams and reality. The dreams were to become tangible reality. Reality would dissolve and become dream. I have occasionally managed to move unhindered between dream and reality, in Persona, Sawdust and Tinsel and Cries and Whispers. This time it was more difficult. My intentions required an inspiration which failed me. The dream sequences became synthetic, the reality blurred. There are a few solid scenes here and there, and Liv Ullmann struggled like a lion, but not even she could save the culmination, the primal scream which amounted to enthusiastic but ill-digested fruit of my reading. Artistic license sneered through the thin fabric.”
— Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern Read More »

León Klimovsky – La Orgía nocturna de los vampiros aka The Vampires Night Orgy (1973)

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A group of travellers are stranded in a lonely village in the Transylvanian mountains when their bus breaks down. At first the place appears quite normal but things are not as they seem. Who is the mysterious countess that everyone is in awe of? What exactly is the meat served up for their evening meal? And why does no one want the travellers to leave? Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Telets Aka Taurus (2001)

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Following up on his shaded character study of Adolf Hitler in Moloch, acclaimed filmmaker Alexander Sokurov directs this companion piece — the second in a planned trilogy — based on the waning days of the life of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Set in 1923 in the newly created U.S.S.R., state founder Lenin (Leonid Mozgovoy) — though he is never mentioned by name — is convalescing from a stroke at age 51 in his dacha. Surrounded by watchful guards, a live-in doctor, his wife, and his sister, this formerly titanic figure lives as a virtual prisoner after the deterioration of his health. Unable to make contact with the outside world — newspapers are forcibly removed and the phone lines cut — Lenin spends much of his time puttering around in the garden or eating with his loyal wife. One day, Stalin (Sergei Razhuk) pays him a visit, even though Lenin isn’t quite sure who the future tyrant is. He presents the sick man a walking stick, mentioning that he wanted it to be engraved but Trotsky vetoed the idea. After the visit, Lenin becomes upset that he is living in luxury while his countrymen are starving. This film was screened in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide Read More »

James Benning – Deseret (1995)

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Deseret
Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum
From the Chicago Reader
One of the best films of James Benning, one of this country’s leading experimental filmmakers, is this multifaceted look at the landscape and history of Utah (or Deseret, as the Mormon Church prefers to call it). Benning condenses 93 news stories from the New York Times from 1852 to 1992 (read offscreen by Fred Gardner) and sets them against contemporary Utah landscapes, the shots changing with each sentence. Benning’s eye for evocative beauty is as sharp as ever, and his complex invitation to the viewer to create a narrative space between his separate elements keeps this 1995 film continually fascinating. 82 min. Read More »

Sidney Lumet – The Fugitive Kind (1959)

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Poignant and poetic, The Fugitive Kind is a challenging film that works more often than it doesn’t. Based on Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending—a play that had been critically panned and did little business in its original Broadway run—this adaptation boasts terrific performances, atmospheric direction by Sidney Lumet (The Verdict), and excellent cinematography by Boris Kaufman (On the Waterfront).

As with any Williams work, the film is loaded with subtext and imagery, much of it sexual—including Snakeskin’s beloved Guitar and Vee’s paintings, which are rife with Freudian symbols. For its time, The Fugitive Kind tackles sexuality with surprising frankness, its story of hustlers, nymphomaniacs, illicit relationships, and passions both ignited and unrequited presented straight, not watered down. Williams infuses this story with layers of meaning, and repeat viewings offer different experiences. Read More »

Vilgot Sjöman – Ingmar Bergman Gör En Film AKA Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie (1963)

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Vilgot Sjöman (I Am Curious — Yellow 1967) and a crew from Swedish Television followed Ingmar Bergman during the filming of Winter Light and came away with a five-part documentary, including set construction, rehearsals, editing, and behind-the-camera conversations with Bergman and the cast and crew, and audience reactions to the film. Written by Bubbleofearth Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Karins ansikte aka Karin’s Face (1986)

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This short was made for Swedish television and was actually aired in 1986, unlike imdb claims.

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“This is a surprising and lovely film, and thoroughly engrossing, given its brief length. Shot and framed with exquisite care, it validates a favorite past time and the value of looking at old photographs of family members to gain insight into one’s self.

Amassing as many of the old photos as he could of his parents and grandparents, their relatives and offspring, Bergman takes long, lingering views of their faces, their hands, the expressions in their eyes and mouths, registering for us all, something special in the faces of siblings and relatives young and old. These are long loving looks, with no narration, just a piano playing a simple slightly abstract tune. It was quite moving to see, just through juxtaposition, what Bergman could lead us to think about how he regards his mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, — anyone who was pictured, including himself as a boy. Read More »