Dirty Words & Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment
by Jeremy Geltzer
Foreword by Alex Kozinski
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press (January 4, 2016)
From the earliest days of cinema, scandalous films such as The Kiss (1896) attracted audiences eager to see provocative images on screen. With controversial content, motion pictures challenged social norms and prevailing laws at the intersection of art and entertainment. Today, the First Amendment protects a wide range of free speech, but this wasn’t always the case. For the first fifty years, movies could be censored and banned by city and state officials charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities. Once film was embraced under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, new problems pushed notions of acceptable content even further. Continue reading
‘Paris, in the 1960s. A series of crimes troubles the public tranquility. On March, 22, 1968, Hélène Picard, a prostitute sentenced to death two years before for several murders, is killed by executioner Louis Guilbeau. Immediately, the violent crimes, similar to Hélène’s ones, go on again. In parallel, Louis is having an affair with the police woman in charge of the investigation… What are the obscure relations hidden behind the executioner and the mysterious killer? Who is this dark man in reality?’
– UniFrance Continue reading
Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche opens with an aerial shot of Turin, Italy that, in the moment, could easily be mistaken as simply a cheery, picturesque backdrop for the credits sequence. Retroactively, though, the image proves deceptive and even misleading in its suggestion of peace and tranquility. Antonioni’s 1955 film interrogates the detrimental socio-economic dimensions of modernity in Turin by moving an assortment of characters through confrontations and conversations in drawing rooms and cafés, and outside on beaches and in alleyways, so that a character’s elation or devastation must be understood in relation to the place where it occurs. Le Amiche is filled with characters asking one another “why” something is happening, but for the director, “where” is always the most optimal question. Continue reading
“Cautiva” features a solid performance by 23-year-old Barbara Lombardo that goes a long way in making up for the telenovela script.
Lombardo, who had small role in “The Motorcycle Diaries,” is amazingly believable as Cristina, a teenager who discovers that the man and woman who raised her are not her real parents.
Cristina’s biological parents were among the 30,000 Argentines who “disappeared” under the military dictatorship that ruled the country in the 1970s. She was born in prison on the day Argentina won the World Cup in 1978. Continue reading
Jonas et Lila: A Demain
by Paul Kalina March 2000 Senses of Cinema
So far at least, new millennium events appear to have produced little of lasting value, apart from early retirement packages for those well placed in the IT sector.
But there has been one legacy cinephiles are likely to relish. With great foresight, Swiss director Alain Tanner commemorated the new millennium and the 25th birthday of his fictional character Jonas, born of course during Tanner’s 1976 film Jonas qui aura 25 en l’an 2000 (Jonas Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000), with a follow-up film, Jonas et Lila: A Demain (1999). Continue reading
In the 18th century, a recently deceased young man is exhumed by a gravedigger, suddenly revives, and then launches into the story of his highly eventful life. Brought up in a puritanical household, Robert is seduced by a mysterious stranger into killing his wine-, woman- and song-loving brother. What follows is a descent into a hallucinatory hell, where reality and illusion merge, as Robert’s evil doppelganger sins with terrible abandon–and Robert stands accused. Continue reading
Talented Iranian director Sohrab Shahid Saless has succeeded in taking on an unusual project — the life and times of a German literary figure — and making it interesting. Christian Dietrich Grabbes lived a very short life in the first half of the 19th century and is primarily known for his satire, skepticism, basurd theater and the fact that he presaged the Postmodern movement in literature. Hannibal and Don Juan and Faust are two of his better-known works. In this docudrama, his Comedy, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning is featured partly because it gives a drubbing to the icons of German thought that had a stranglehold on the creative process. One memorable moment in this three-and-a-half-hour story is when the alcoholic writer is caught in the throes of delirium and comes around to see his own mother as a figure of death. The irony is that an Iranian director could capture the spirit and age of a German writer so well. —allmovie guide Continue reading