Ayreen Anastas – Pasolini Pa* Palestine (2005) (DVD)

“Pasolini Pa* Palestine is an attempt to repeat Pasolini’s trip to Palestine in his film, Seeking Locations in Palestine for The Gospel According to Matthew (1963). It adapts his script into a route map superimposed on the current landscape, creating contradictions and breaks between the visual and the audible, the expected and the real. The video explores the question of repetition. For Heidegger Wiederholung ‘repetition, retrieval’ is one of the terms he uses for the appropriate attitude toward the past. “By the repetition of a basic problem we understand the disclosure of its original, so far hidden possibilities.” The project ventures a conversation and a dialogue with Pasolini, especially his ‘Poem for the Third World’. Discutere ‘to smash to pieces’ is the Latin source of dialogue, discussion. The piece does not criticize Pasolini, but reveals unnoticed possibilities in his thought and works back to the ‘experiences’ that inspired it.” (Ayreen Anastas) Read More »

    Steve James – Life Itself (2014)

    29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

    Late in this documentary about film critic Roger Ebert, the subject himself e-mails director Steve James from the hospital to insist that a difficult conversation with his wife Chaz be captured for the movie. After all, he writes, “This is not only your film.”

    The correspondence underscores how this filmic profile is also a kind of a self-portrait by Ebert. It shares a title with the critic’s 2011 memoir, passages of which are lifted to narrate his rise from precocious tabloid reviewer to unlikely celebrity to national treasure. And while it’s too candid about Ebert’s ego, petulance, and late-career critical softening to be called hagiography, that very frankness does harmonize with the critic’s own eleventh-hour turn toward full and fearless disclosure. He came out as alcoholic in 2009, used his blog to inform readers of his health issues (which rendered him unable to speak in 2006), and here thrills to James’s documenting of his most painful medical ordeals.
    Read More »

      John Flynn – The Outfit (1973)

      29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

      The Outfit is a 1973 film directed by John Flynn. It stars Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker and Robert Ryan. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Richard Stark and features a character modeled on Parker, who was introduced in The Hunter.

      Career thief Earl Macklin (Robert Duvall) pays no mind to the mobster’s threat. He intends to put a big hurt on an L.A crime outfit. He, his girlfriend (Karen Black) and his partner (Joe Don Baker) will avenge the murder of Macklin’s brother by cutting down gangland operations bit by violent bit. Based on the novel by Point Blank author Richard Stark, The Outfit has a feel and grit that makes it a throwback to film noirs of the 1940s and ’50s. The casting of noir veterans underscores the tone: Robert Ryan, Jane Greer, Marie Windsor, Timothy Carey and Elisha Cook. Hollywood buffs will also enjoy seeing longtime Variety columnist Army Archerd in a bit role.
      Read More »

        Hy Averback – I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)

        29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

        synopsis

        One of the few 1960s satires of the hippie culture that doesn’t appear to be concocted by grumpy old men, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas stars Peter Sellers as Harold Fine, a staid Jewish attorney. Engaged to the equally straitlaced Joyce (Joyce Van Patten), Harold wistfully dreams of having a more exciting lifestyle. Through a fluke, Harold is obliged to drive a station wagon emblazoned with “psychedelic” imagery; it is with this vehicle that he picks up his flower-child brother Herbie (David Arkin), and Herbie’s groovy chick Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young). Rather enjoying the company of people outside of his establishment orbit, Harold lets Nancy stay over at her place, and she plies him with marijuana-spiked brownies. His inhibitions released by the spiked pastries, Harold kicks over the traces, grows his hair to shoulder length, and embarks upon an affair with Nancy. But when the effects of the brownies wear off, Harold suddenly feels like the rather foolish middle-aged man that he is. The beauty of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas is that it patronizes neither the hippies nor the Establishment characters; both groups are shown as human beings rather than agit-prop stereotypes.
        Read More »

          John Huston – Sinful Davey (1969)

          29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

          synopsis

          Davey Haggart (John Hurt) wishes to follow his father’s footsteps and become a highway robber. He also wishes to avoid his father’s fate — which was death by hanging at the tender age of 21 after a botched robbery of the Duke of Argyle (Robert Morley). Davey commits a daring robbery in broad daylight with the help of two henchmen (Ronald Fraser and Fidelma Murphy) and heads for the highlands of Scotland to hide out. The local Constable (Nigel Davenport) warns young Davey he will end up just like his father but helps him escape the fate of dancing on the end of a rope. Annie (Pamela Franklin) is the kind-hearted farm girl who tries to make sweet Davey give up a life of crime and settle down. This comedy was taken from the autobiographical diary”The Life Of David Haggart.” Read More »

            Sidney Lumet – The Appointment (1969)


            29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

            synopsis
            Sidney Lumet directed this romantic melodrama involving deceit and marital secrets. The film takes place in Rome where lawyer Federico Fendi (Omar Sharif) falls in love with his colleague Renzo’s (Fausto Tozzi) fiancee Carla (Anouk Aimee). Renzo warns Federico that Carla is actually a high-priced call girl, but Federico refuses to believe it. Instead, Carla and Federico marry. After the wedding however, Federico notices that Carla has been making curious disappearances from her domestic home. Recalling Renzo’s warning, Federico begins the secretly follow her to find out the truth. Read More »

              Mario Ruspoli – Regards sur la folie (1962)

              29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

              L’aliénation mentale filmée en Lozère, à l’hôpital psychiatrique de Saint-Alban : constat sur les malades eux-mêmes et sur la patiente rééducation de leur cerveau par les psychiatres.

              Quote:
              « C’est un film sur l’impossibilité de montrer la folie, explique Mario Ruspoli dans un entretien accordé au Monde en 1962. Cependant, il est possible de faire passer derrière le miroir, d’utiliser comme tremplin, comme moyen de communication, l’angoisse, qui est le dénominateur commun entre le malade, le médecin et le public. Seul, ce dénominateur commun d’angoisse nous fait pénétrer à l’intérieur du monde de la folie. » Claude Mauriac confirme ces propos : « Parmi les malades non délirants dont la pensée demeure cohérente, les raseurs restent les raseurs. D’où des longueurs. Les autres, les enterrés vifs, font à l’arrière-plan les mêmes gestes toujours recommencés et, toute fraternité oubliée, nous avons peur, parce que nous nous sentons en danger. » Le documentariste explique ses méthodes : « Nous avons mis peu à peu notre technique au point et nous avons utilisé une équipe de trois extrêmement mobile qui permet de filmer en courant, le cas échéant : un cameraman, un homme pour la mise au point, un preneur de son. Pour les interviews dans les fermes, j’ai pensé que si on prenait un interviewer de l’extérieur, les paysans ne diraient rien ; je suis donc arrivé avec des gens du milieu : un docteur, un curé, un instituteur agricole itinérant. L’important, c’est que les gens s’habituent à vous, qu’ils vous connaissent, qu’ils aient de l’estime, de l’amitié pour vous. Il faut les mettre en confiance, il faut qu’ils sachent que vous n’allez pas les trahir, les ridiculiser, les fausser pour leur faire servir une thèse dans le style Mondo Cane. Il faut que les réalisateurs aient une fantastique conscience professionnelle. »
              Read More »