Kaneto Shindô – Hadaka no shima aka The Naked Island (1960) (HD)

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The Naked Island
Filmed on the virtually deserted Setonaikai archipelago in south-west Japan, The Naked Island was made — in the words of its director — “as a ‘cinematic poem’ to try and capture the life of human beings struggling like ants against the forces of nature”. Kaneto Shindô (Onibaba, Kuroneko) made the film with his own production company, Kindai Eiga Kyôkai, who were facing financial ruin at the time. Using a tenth of the average budget, Shindô took one last impassioned risk to make this film. With his small crew, they relocated to an inn on the island of Mihari where, for two months in early 1960, they would make what they considered to be their last film. Read More »

Christian Petzold – Wolfsburg (2003)

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IMDB:

Philipp Gerber is a smart, but self-satisfied car salesman. In an inattentive moment at the wheel of his car, he runs over a biker and drives away. As he has feelings of guilt, he tries to find out more about the accident’s victim and learns that the boy lies seriously injured in a hospital. Philipp wants to tell his mother Laura Reiser the truth, but he doesn’t. After a carefree holiday with his girlfriend Katja, he learns that the boy is dead. Meanwhile, Laura staggers between grief and the desire for revenge. One evening, she can’t bear it any more and jumps off a bridge, but Philipp saves her life…
– Written by fippi2000 Read More »

Otar Iosseliani – Pastorali (1975)

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synopsis

Pastorale won the International Critics’ Prize from the 1982 Berlin Film Festival. Director Otar Ioseliani was something of an outsider in the Soviet system and now lives and works in France. This film, made in 1976, was not released in the West until 1982. Iosseliani’s films show a characteristically Georgian film style; focusing more on character and mood than narrative coherence, they exhibit a characteristically whimsical humor. Pastorale explores what is truly valuable in human relationships, when one cuts away the non-essentials. The story shows what happens when a highly cultured group of musicians from a string quartet spend the summer rehearsing in a small village in the Georgian countryside. In this contemplative, idiosyncratic and somewhat humorous film, they get embroiled in local controversies, and share their gusto for living, loving and drinking with the villagers, to whom they are otherwise incomprehensible, while they rehearse and bicker among themselves. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Beröringen AKA The Touch [12 min longer] (1971)

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imdb plot summary:
A seemingly happy Swedish housewife and mother begins an adulterous affair with a foreign archaeologist who is working near her home. But he is an emotionally scarred man, a Jewish survivor from a concentration camp who found refuge in the U.S.,and, consequently, their relationship will be painfully difficult. Read More »

Bill Viola – Hatsu Yume (1981)

« I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite – darkness or the night and death. I thought about how we have built entire cities of artificial light as refuge from the dark. »
Video treats light like water – it becomes a fluid on the video tube.
Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish. Darkness is the death of man. »
Bill Viola, 1981

Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) is Bill Viola’s masterpiece, the greatest work by one of the most important video artists in the world. A spiritual allegory equating light and dark with life and death. Hatsu-Yume was produced in Japan in 1981 while Viola was artist-in-residence at the Sony Corporation. The title refers to Japanese folklore, wherein things done on the first day of a new year are significant. But the tape is not to be taken literally as a dream. For Viola, it’s more like the aboriginal concept of dreamtime, the creation of the world. That’s why, as a whole and in its parts, Hatsu-Yume progresses from darkness to light, stillness to motion, silence to sound, simplicity to complexity, nature to civilization. There are two interwoven themes: the dark water world of fish, and Buddhist rituals invoking the souls of dead ancestors. As in a dream, we frequently can’t tell if these wordless streams of image and sound are unfolding in real time, slow-motion or time-lapse. A work of extravagant pictorial beauty, Hatsu-Yume represents the most painterly use of light in the history of video. Form is content: the light that lures fish to their death protects human life. At once ominous, majestic, mystical and deeply spiritual, Hatsu-Yume is the work of a visionary poet of image and sound. Read More »

Orson Welles – Around the World with Orson Welles: Pays Basque I & II (1955)

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Around the World with Orson Welles (1955) is a series of 26-minute TV documentaries, made for British television. Five of the episodes survive, and have been collected and released on a DVD. Welles compared the series to home movies. This is a bit misleading. There are travelogue sections shot silent, edited together with narration by Welles – segments that do resemble in form the average person’s vacation films of the era. But there are also extensive synch sound interviews with people Welles meets in his travels. These parts are a bit like a talk show, although they are generally set on locations where the person lives, rather than in a studio. In general, Welles resists “voice of authority” narration here, and tries to disguise his comments as elements of conversation with another character. Welles will also frequently show the camera, microphone, and the camera crews filming. It is part of the spectacle. Read More »

Bernard Vorhaus – Lady from Louisiana (1941)

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Plot:

Northern Lawyer John Reynolds (John Wayne) goes up against the lottery racket in 1880 corrupt Louisiana.
While on the riverboat to New Orleans, he meets and falls in love with Southern Belle, Julie (Ona Munson), General Anatole Mirbeau’s beautiful daughter. The General (Henry Stephenson) and his right-hand man Blackburn ‘Blackie’ Williams (Ray Middleton) run the popular Louisiana State Lottery Company, which support illegal activities and brothels while corrupting judges and other city officials. The battle between the men are complicated with Reynolds’ love for the General’s daughter and interrupted by torrential rain storms that breaks the levees, floods the city and threatens to destroy the city of New Orleans.

Stylishly directed by Bernard Vorhaus who had previously directed John Wayne in the memorable drama, Three Faces West. Includes an early performance by Dorothy Dandridge (Carmen Jones). Read More »