In a murky, sometimes confusing tale about a future dystopia in which people are waiting — and waiting — for a rescue ship called the Ark, there are several good one-liners, but they are outnumbered by the puzzling riddles and symbolism that permeate the story. The flotsam and jetsam of humanity are huddled together in an underground labyrinth after civilization as we know it has been obliterated by the Bomb. The survivors are protected by a dome which a repairman notes is bound to crack before the Ark arrives because it was constructed under a one-year plan. The hero of the film searches for the origins of the myth about the Ark and along the way falls in love with a prostitute. It seems the world’s oldest profession has also survived the nuclear holocaust. Continue reading
Palme d’or short films CANNES 2010
Constantinople 1910. The streets are overrun with stray dogs.
The newly-established government, influenced by a model of Western society, uses European experts to choose a method of eradication before deciding, suddenly and alone, to massively deport the dogs to a deserted island away from the city. Continue reading
Sexuality and the prison house of the self are the themes of Pedro Almodóvar’s fantastically twisted new film, a luxury pulp fiction that breathes the atmosphere of the sick-room. Antonio Banderas stars as Ledgard, a wealthy and brilliant plastic surgeon who in his palatial home, tastefully furnished and equipped with its own private operating theatre, is secretly experimenting on the beautiful and submissive young Vera (Elena Anaya), whose entire skin covering he is replacing with an eerily smooth artificial substance, transgenically derived from pig hide. Is the prisoner his long-lost beloved wife, widely thought to have died of burns in a recent car crash? Or someone else entirely, who he is surgically refashioning to resemble her? Either way, captor and captive appear to be in love. Yet it is a relationship that can only end as it began: in violence. Continue reading
The story concerns a couple of ex-servicemen who engineer a robbery, only to run afoul of professional criminals.
Dick et Tony, parachutistes rapatriés d’Indochine ont accepté de rendre un petit service au Maltais. Pour une commission de deux millions de francs, ils ont fait transiter 25 millions, mais au moment de rendre l’argent, le Maltais n’est pas là. Ils investissent alors cet argent dans une boîte de nuit.
In his mesmerizing debut feature, twenty-four-year-old director Louis Malle brought together the beauty of Jeanne Moreau, the camerawork of Henri Decaë, and a now legendary score by Miles Davis. A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Elevator to the Gallows is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night. Continue reading
Ideas are imperishable, such is the premise of this powerful, upbeat allegory from one of Egypt’s most esteemed directors, Youssef Chahine. Ostensibly the true tale of revolutionary Muslim philosopher Averroes who lived in 12th-century Spain when Arabs ruled Anadulsia, it parallels the story of Chahine’s own experiences with Islamic fundamentalists when he released his 1994 film L’Emigre because it dared depict a sacred Muslim prophet. During that time, fundamentalists were not content to merely have the film banned, they also threatened Chahine’s life. Despite their destructive efforts, the fundamentalists ultimately failed and L’Emigre became one of Egypt’s most successful films. Averroes was a follower of Aristotelian thought, an innovative lawyer and an important scientist (he discovered the purpose of the retina) who lived during the rule of the great liberal Caliph Al Mansour. At the time, the Caliph’s rivals were part of Magdi Idris, a fundamentalist sect, who sought to destroy his power by cloaking their own political agendas in religious dogma and spreading it liberally amongst the easily influenced peasantry. Continue reading
In 1920, the anarchist Italian immigrants Niccola Sacco (Riccardo Cucciolla) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (Gian Maria Volonté) are sentenced to death, falsely accused of a robbery and murder. Indeed they are condemned due to their political beliefs, in one of the most shameful and hypocrite judgments of the human history. Continue reading