The notorious final film from Pier Paolo Pasolini, Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . It’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in. (-Criterion) Read More »
A director with a very distinctive style, Jovan Jovanovic has filmed in 1971 one of the most significant works in the history of contemporary Serbian film. “Young and Healthy Like a Rose” is a strong visionary achievement that still looks topical today as back in the times when it was filmed and banned by the then communist censorship. A story about a young delinquent, who evolves from typical outsider to mafia boss of Belgrade seemed shocking back then; today, it is the cruel reality of our times. With incredible foresight of things to come, Jovanovic’s leading character says: “I am your future”. More poetical than Hollywood movies, much more realistic than “Trainspotting”. An exciting story about crime, drugs and the deadly grip of the secret police in Serbia. The best role of Dragan Nikolic, one of the rare ones he presented himself as a tough guy and the authentic sex symbol from this region. A slap in the face of film and other convention. A must see! Read More »
Die Legende von Paul und Paula (English: The Legend of Paul and Paula) is a 1973 tragicomic East German film directed by Heiner Carow. It was based on the novel of the same name by Ulrich Plenzdorf.
The film was extremely popular on release and drew as many as three million viewers (the GDR had a population at the time of around 17 million). However, due to the film’s political overtones it was almost not released; East German leader Erich Honecker personally decided to allow it to be shown. Today it is considered one of the best-known East German films. Read More »
Once more, Vlacil’s films are largely about subjects that are not seen on screen. With some spoilers, here we have a story set in 1947 when Ukrainian right-wing anti-Communist guerillas, looking like and feeling like Nazi’s, are trying to fight their way through Czechoslovakia to Austria. They come out of the forest to occupy a family’s countryside farm house, kidnapping a doctor to help heal one of their wounded, but this could just as easily be about the post-war occupying forces in Eastern Europe, or the occupying Soviet forces in the 60’s, as there is an initial belief that there is nothing anyone can do, or to coin a STAR TREK phrase, `Resistance is futile.’ The film has a very languid pace which establishes the mood and pace of this small village, much of it is wordless, with a Sergio Leone acid-western feel, easily the most outstanding feature is the original music by Zdenek Liska, which plays on the inner psychological turmoil, providing an unseen character in the film. The father gives the appearance of passivity, as he is outmanned and outgunned, while his eager young son wants a taste of immediate revenge. But a wiser course of action is called for, waiting, giving the impression he is yielding to their demands, as the father wants to protect the lives of his wife and children, which allows for large doses of screen time where various family members are performing daily farm chores, just trying to survive this ordeal, while interspersed in each frame are men with machine guns who sadistically threaten their every impulse. This farmhouse under occupation represents a country under occupation, all feel like helpless victims where every moment is spent in fear, any minute things could spin helplessly out of control, and this film skillfully gets under everyone’s skin. Read More »
Abbas Kiarostami, director of such somber films as Taste Of Cherry, is the last person one would suspect of dabbling in goofy formalist instructional movies. Nevertheless, that’s what he does here. A color is brought up – red, for example. Then various red things are shown, starting with that which is found in nature and going from there. And so on for various colors. Also, a boy with a pistol shoots different colored bottles of water and the same boy is the last survivor of a car chase. This is rather inconsequential but fun – like Seseme Street for simpleminded adults. Read More »
The movie revolves around the life of a tax collector who is accused of taking bribes, and also has to deal with problems at home, including the suicide attempt of his wife. Read More »
A business executive gets mixed up with a killer female and her lesbian roommate, who plot to take over his fashion business. Read More »