Carlos Saura – Ana y los lobos aka Ana and the Wolves (1973)

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The young but traveled Ana arrives in a manor in the countryside of Spain to work as nanny of three girls and finds a dysfunctional family: the matriarch is a sick old woman obsessed by death and having constant nervous breakdown; her son José was raised dressing girl’s clothes until his First Communion and is obsessed by military clothes and stuffs; Juan, the father of the three girls, is a pervert since his childhood that writes pornographic letters to Ana; his wife Luchy has suicidal tendencies; and the mystic and religious eremite Fernando, who was inflicted to flagellation in his childhood, lives recluse in a cave. The presence of Ana disturbs the three brothers with tragic consequences. Read More »

Ken Russell – Lisztomania (1975)

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Synopsis
A musical extravaganza based loosely on the lives of 19th-century Romantic composers Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Far from being dreamy artistes, these music men are both wildly ambitious and hungry for acclaim — Liszt frolics with European royalty, while Wagner campaigns for the unification of Germany. Read More »

Slavoj Zizek – Populism, Democracy and Iran (2009)

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Fourth lecture from the ‘Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture’ Masterclass Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, 17. June 2009, 3:00pm

A two hour, wide ranging, and topical talk. Read More »

Amos Vogel – Film As a Subversive Art (1974)

Review:

Norman Mailer wrote:
According to Vogel–founder of Cinema 16, North America’s legendary film society–the book details the “accelerating worldwide trend toward a more liberated cinema, in which subjects and forms hitherto considered unthinkable or forbidden are boldly explored.” So ahead of his time was Vogel that the ideas that he penned some 30 years ago are still relevant today, and readily accessible in this classic volume. Accompanied by over 300 rare film stills, Film as a Subversive Art analyzes how aesthetic, sexual, and ideological subversives use one of the most powerful art forms of our day to exchange or manipulate our conscious and unconscious, demystify visual taboos, destroy dated cinematic forms, and undermine existing value systems and institutions. This subversion of form, as well as of content, is placed within the context of the contemporary world view of science, philosophy, and modern art, and is illuminated by a detailed examination of over 500 films, including many banned, rarely seen, or never released works. I think that it must be the most exciting and comprehensive book I’ve seen on avant-garde, underground, and exceptional commercial film. The still pictures are so well chosen that their effect is cumulative and powerful. Read More »

John G. Avildsen – A Night in Heaven (1983)


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From IMDB:

Faye Hanlon is a community-college professor with an emotionally depressed husband and an abundance of sexual frustration. Her sister drags her to a male strip-club for a girls-night out, where she discovers that one of the dancers is her failing student Rick Monroe, a.k.a. “Ricky the Rocket”. A heated affair between teacher & student ensues, as Faye struggles to reconcile her emotions and make consequential life choices: Continue her lustful sessions with the studly-but-shallow teen stripper? Or break it off with Ricky & work to salvage her marriage to the loving-but-distant husband? Read More »

Radley Metzger – Camille 2000 (1969)

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“Camille 2000, with its cast of wealthy, weary sophisticates, clear plastic blow-up beds, outlandish metal dresses, refined S&M orgies, and Euro-psychedelic music, is often cited as the quintessential Metzger film. In fact, all that’s missing in the world of the doomed romantic Marguerite Gautier (Daniele Gaubert) is a gilded go-go cage. Fans of the 1935 Garbo version may be startled to see that Metzger’s update, underneath the wild period decor, is recognizably the same story, though Gaubert’s existential exhaustion may be less evident to an audience mesmerized by the parade of Italian haute couture and decor.” – Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal Read More »

Paul Schrader – Patty Hearst (1988)

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synopsis
A newspaper heiress is kidnapped, brainwashed, and forced to join a group of terrorist bank robbers in this docudrama, based on the saga of Patricia Hearst. In 1974, Hearst (Natasha Richardson), the granddaughter of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst, was a student at the University of California. On February 4, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical political group, broke into the Berkeley home she shared with her boyfriend and kidnapped her. Hearst then allegedly spent 57 days locked in a closet as she was indoctrinated into the group’s revolutionary beliefs by their charismatic leader, Cinque (Ving Rhames). Eventually, Hearst joined (or at least pretended to join) the SLA, adopted the name Tania and participated in a number of high-profile bank robberies. After several SLA members died in a police fire storm, Hearst and fellow members Bill and Emily Harris (William Forsythe and Frances Fisher) went on the lam and were later arrested. Although she claimed her participation in the group was a ruse carried out to protect herself from further rape, torture, and mind control, Hearst eventually served several years in prison after her 1976 conviction for bank robbery. Based on the novel Every Secret Thing, Hearst’s own account of the events, Paul Schrader’s film tells the story from the heiress’ own viewpoint, with little in the way of conflicting evidence. After President Carter ordered her release from prison in 1979, Hearst went on to act in several films, including Cecil B. Demented, a John Waters spoof whose plot bears some resemblance to her own life story.
by Brian J. Dillard (allmovie). Read More »