Stanley Kubrick – A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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Twenty-five years on from its release, A Clockwork Orange has lost none of its power to shock and outrage. In this near-future setting the outlets for teenage enthusiasm are few and far between. Disenchanted, youths form ritualistic gangs, fight battles and engage in vandalism. Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of just such a group, marked out by their preferences for phallic masks and boiler suits. His select followers (known as droogs) are Dim (Warren Clark), Georgie (James Marcus) and Pete (Michael Tarn). On a typical evening they’ll stop by the Korova for some milk-plus, to sharpen them up, before venturing into the urban jungle. On this particular night they don’t have to travel far for a spot of “ultraviolence”; a rival gang are about to force a bit of the “old in-out” on a helpless young devotchka (girl). For the pure love of violence they decimate their rivals. Continue reading

Miklós Jancsó – La pacifista – Smetti di piovere AKA The Pacifist (1970)

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This highly symbolic and enigmatic political drama by Hungarian director Miklos Jancso was produced by a consortium from Italy, France and West Germany. This film is considered to be an homage to Antonioni as it uses his favorite leading actress (Monica Vitti) and his cameraman Carlo di Palma. This film was made during a time when Jancso was not allowed to make films in his native Hungary. In the middle of the crowd, while covering an Italian political protest by leftists, The Journalist (Monica Vitti), a pacifist, finds herself surrounded by a quite different group of people who jostle her, remove her recording equipment from her and set her car on fire. She complains to the police about this. However, when the police bring one of the young men before her for her to identify him, she says he is not one of her attackers. This leads to her having a romantic relationship with the young man. The group, and the young man, are young Italian neo-fascists, and the young man has been given the job of assassinating a leftist. He is too gentle to do this, and his group kills him right before The Journalist’s eyes. She goes to the police again, but they begin to believe that she is insane, even when she is forced to kill her boyfriend’s assailants right there in the police station. Continue reading

Sara Fishko – The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith (2016)

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About the Jazz Loft Project

In January 1955 W. Eugene Smith, a celebrated photographer at Life magazine whose quarrels with his editors were legendary, quit his longtime well-paying job at the magazine. He was thirty-six. He was ambitious, quixotic, in search of greater freedom and artistic license. He turned his attention to a freelance assignment in Pittsburgh, a three-week job that turned into a four-year obsession and in the end, remained unfinished. In a letter to Ansel Adams, Smith described it as a “debacle” and an “embarrassment.” Continue reading

Ferzan Ozpetek – Le fate ignoranti AKA His Secret Life (2001)

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When Antonia’s husband Massimo is killed in a car accident, she accidentally discovers that he has been having a same-sex affair with a produce wholesaler named Michele. Although she’s initially devastated by the news and hostile toward Michele, she soon develops a friendship with him and his and Massimo’s circle of gay, transgender, and straight friends, among whom are a Turkish immigrant, a playwright and a boutique owner. As she gets to know these people and become a part of their lives, the new relationships dramatically transform Antonia. Continue reading

Terence Young – Wait Until Dark (1967)

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Wait Until Dark (1967) is a suspense-thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, supported by Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. The screenplay by Robert Carrington and Jane-Howard Carrington is based on the stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott.

Hepburn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (losing to Katharine Hepburn), and Zimbalist was nominated for a Golden Globe in the supporting category. The film is ranked #55 on AFI’s 2001 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and its climax is ranked tenth on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Continue reading