Claude Chabrol – La demoiselle d’honneur aka The Bridesmaid (2004)


A hard-working young man meets and falls in love with his sister’s bridesmaid. He soon finds out how disturbed she really is.

the bridesmaid (First Run) Going to a new Chabrol film these days is like sitting down with an old friend who will tell you another one of his stories. Chabrol has been making films since 1958: the latest of his more than fifty features is The Bridesmaid, and another one has already been finished. He has co-written or co-adapted many of his pictures, and he has also played bit parts in some of them (as well as in the films of others). I have seen a lot of Chabrol’s films, and many others must share my sense that much of my filmgoing life is threaded throughout with his work. He has always been a director who felt that moving ahead was at least as important as polishing a single work. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Spokoj AKA The Calm AKA Peace (1976)


Based on the short story A Step Beyond the Gate / Krok za brame by Lech Borski).
A television feature that is considered to have been one of the pioneering films in the cinema of moral anxiety. The story of worker Antoni Gralak who is released from prison and wishes to settle down to a calm life. He fails to find peace though he does find a woman to marry and a place to live. The realities of the Polish People’s Republic cause him to enter into conflict with his construction worker colleagues who decide at one point to organise a strike, and with the manager of the construction site who wishes to make an informer of him. These complications conclude tragically. Premiered on television in 1980.
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Andreas Dresen – Stilles Land AKA Silent Country (1992)


Up until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of communist rule in East Germany, the most anyone in the outlying regions of that country knew about its overall situation was that nothing in their lives had changed. Everything went on just as it always had. In this story, set around that time, a naive, young and enthusiastic drama-school graduate has been given the job of directing a theater group in a grim, super-conservative factory town. His spirits are undaunted when the locals beat him up in bars when he orders tea instead of beer or by the evident lack of enthusiasm his theater company has for producing a revival of Waiting for Godot. However, when the winds of change sweep through the country and through his troupe, while everyone else is given a new lease on life, it begins to seem as though he has lost something essential to the continuation of his. Continue reading

Victor Fleming – Red Dust (1932)


Conditions are spartan on Dennis Carson’s Indochina rubber plantation during a dusty dry monsoon. The latest boat upriver brings Carson an unwelcome guest: Vantine, a floozy from Saigon, hoping to evade the police by a stay upcountry. But Carson, initially uninterested, soon succumbs to Vantine’s ostentatious charms…until the arrival of surveyor Gary Willis, ill with malaria, and his refined but sensuous wife Barbara. Now the rains begin, and passion flows like water… Continue reading

Joseph L. Mankiewicz – 5 Fingers [+Extras] (1952)


Synopsis (possible spoilers):

“Based on a true story. In neutral Turkey during WWII, the ambitious and extremely efficient valet for the British ambassador tires of being a servant and forms a plan to promote himself to rich gentleman of leisure. His employer has many secret documents; he will photograph them, and with the help of a refugee Countess, sell them to the Nazis. When he makes a certain amount of money, he will retire to South America with the Countess as his wife.”
– Ken Yousten (IMDb) Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – 3x3D: Les trois desastres (2013)


It’s no surprise that in undertaking his first 3D project (one third of 3X3D, a triptych that also includes Peter Greenaway and Edger Pêra), Jean-Luc Godard would do so much that everything else yet shot in the format looks meager and infantile by comparison (even the few notable filmmakers to have explored 3D’s potential fall short of Godard’s ambitions: Scorsese, Herzog, Paul W.S. Anderson). Also, it should not have been a surprise that 3D would make perfect sense for Godard’s layering of texts and superimpositions, which command an even greater effect with the extra dimension. All of Godard’s films, are, to an extent, about images, and here as much as ever he concerns himself with the apparatus, perspective, history (through images) and specifically 3D and digital’s impact on these things, as well as on cinema itself.
Adam Cook Continue reading