Ken Russell – The Music Lovers (1970)


Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was born in Kamsko-Votinsk in 1840 and died in St. Petersburg of cholera in 1893. In between he composed some of the world’s loveliest, most romantic music, married unhappily, suffered terrible bouts of depression that were linked to both his genius and his homosexuality (which he hid and referred to in his writings only by means of a hieroglyphic), and was acclaimed at home and abroad.

Although such authentic genius defies rational interpretation, except, perhaps, by another genius, Ken Russell’s “The Music Lovers” sets out to do just that. At least, I assume that’s what the film set out to do. Because “The Music Lovers” plays rather loosely with some of the facts of Tchaikovsky’s life, it can be accepted only as the kind of interpretation that certifies the most baroque speculation. Read More »

Ken Russell – Altered States (1980)


Based on a novel and a disowned script by the late Paddy Chayefsky, Russell’s noisily grandiose swipe at psychedelia embellishes what is no more than the cosily familiar story of the obsessive Scientist Who Goes Too Far and Unwittingly Unleashes, etc. Harvard clever-dick (played with almost unconvincing solemnity by Hurt) blows his sensory deprivation experiments (with a little help from his friends and hallucinogenic drugs), and starts to regress – spectacularly – until he looks in serious danger of being sucked down the cosmic lavatory pan into the big zilch.
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Alexander Pfeuffer – Frühstück? aka Breakfast? (2002)

Boris, on the cusp of coming out, is smitten with Til. Upon leaving a club one night, just as they are about to kiss for the first time, an interloper joins them and much to Boris’ chagrin, Til is delighted. Boris doesn’t know how to deal with this and is jealous.

This is a well-made short that gives the audience a peek into the difficulties that arise when two boys look at love (and their relationship) differently.

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Marian Dora – Melancholie der Engel AKA The Angels’ Melancholia (2009)


Melancholie Der Engel is widely regarded by most extreme horror film fans as the single most extreme film that has ever been created. This film pushes every boundary that has ever been set before in an extreme film. There are scenes in here that will make even the most hardened horror fan cringe.

This film was created in 2009 by the extreme German horror film director, Marian Dora. This director was behind the famous film Cannibal, which caused massive controvery when it was first released. He has done the same thing again with this film. It is shot in much the same fashion using, light and shadow as not only a part of the scene, but almost as a character in itself. Read More »

José Luis Guerín – Innisfree (1990)


A documentary focused on the modern-day village of Innisfree, the location used by legendary director John Ford for his Irish romance The Quiet Man.

Innisfree (from the Gaelic Inis Fraoich, the heather island) is the name of a tiny island in Lough Gill, to the south ­east of Sligo town, which was immortalised by Yeats in one of his best ­ known poems, ” The Lake lsle of Innisfree ” (The Rose, 1893). Written at a time when the poet lived in London with his family, and “felt very homesick” (Kirby, 1977: 46), “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” expresses a nostalgic longing for a simple country life apart from the stresses of urban life that places it within a pastoral tradition. Read More »

Alain Resnais – L’année dernière à Marienbad AKA Last Year at Marienbad (1961)


Not just a defining work of the French New Wave but one of the great, lasting mysteries of modern art, Alain Resnais’ epochal Last Year at Marienbad (L’année dernière à Marienbad) has been puzzling appreciative viewers for decades. Written by radical master of the New Novel Alain Robbe-Grillet, this surreal fever dream, or nightmare, gorgeously fuses the past with the present in telling its ambiguous tale of a man and a woman (Giorgio Albertazzi and Delphine Seyrig) who may or may not have met a year ago, perhaps at the very same cathedral-like, mirror-filled château they now find themselves wandering. Unforgettable in both its confounding details (gilded ceilings, diabolical parlor games, a loaded gun) and haunting scope, Resnais’ investigation into the nature of memory is disturbing, romantic, and maybe even a ghost story. (Criterion) Read More »

Emmanuelle Bercot – Mes chères études aka Student Services (2010)


Plot / Synopsis

A cash strapped college student goes to work as an escort in order to make ends meet, only to realize that her education has taken a back seat to her budding career in the pleasure industry. In her struggle to stay financially stable during her first year at the university, 19 year old Laura discovers that a part-time job just won’t pay the bills. Then, just when Laura is at her most desperate, she sees an internet ad from a man who’s willing to pay £100 an hour to spend an intimate evening with a willing student. Compelled by the lure of some easy money, Laura answers the ad. Later, despite a promise to herself that this will be a once time occurrence, Laura finds herself falling into a new bed every night, and making more money than she ever thought possible. By the time Laura realizes she has stumbled into the downward spiral of prostitution, she begins to doubt her ability to break free from temptation, and finish her education. ~ Jason Buchanan, Allrovi
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