Tag Archives: 1980s

Mircea Daneliuc – Proba de microfon AKA Microphone Test (1980)

An uncompromising and prolific auteur whose battles with censorship during the Communist era are legendary, Mircea Daneliuc doubles as director and star of Microphone Test, a pivotal film in Romanian cinema and a direct reference point for the future New Wave. The film’s protagonist, Nelu (Daneliuc), is a TV cameraman who falls for Ani, one of his interview subjects for a feature on misdemeanour offenders who have been caught on trains without a ticket. Unemployed and without a fixed address, Ani is the quintessential undesirable, an outcast in a society rigidly controlled by state-imposed morals. As Nelu finds himself torn between his casual but stable relationship with his colleague Luiza and his intense attraction to Ani, Microphone Test paints a raw and heart-wrenching portrait of personal liberation versus social(ist) conformity. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Kono ko no nanatsu no oiwai ni AKA For My Daughter’s 7th Birthday (1982)

The film is Yasuzo Masumura’s last feature film, based on Mio Saito’s novel which wons him a Seishi Yokomizo Award, shot by Setsuo Kobayashi, principle cinematographers of such Kon Ichikawa & Yasuzo Masumura classics as Fires on the Plain, An Actor’s Revenge, Being Two Isn’t Easy, Ten Dark Women, A Wife Confesses, Red Angel, Blind Beast, Manji, Black Express… (Indeed I think he’s responsible for the look (for example, the tight framing & deep focus) of these films). The film also boasts a fabulous cast, including Tetsuro Tamba, who seems uncredited. Read More »

Liliana Cavani – Oltre la porta aka Beyond Obsession aka Beyond The Door (1982)

From Time Out Film Guide
There is something to be said for Liliana Cavani, but it is difficult to remember what it is. The cruelty of her Night Porter was ruined by sentimentality, and Beyond Good and Evil managed to conflate Nietzsche and Robert Powell in a ménage à trois. Beyond the Door is the usual mix of cheapjack sentiment, cutprice Freudian familial relations, and a baffled cast running way over boiling point. Giorgi (a madonna face) keeps her stepfather Mastroianni (or maybe he’s her father) in a Moroccan prison after faking evidence against him over her mother’s death, so that she can keep her claws on his body, which she desires far more than the American oilman (Berenger, looking like a young Paul Newman) who desires her like mad but can’t understand what’s going on here. Un peu tortueuse, hein? There are some dinky touristique scenes in the brothels of Marrakesh, that mosaic city which caters to the devices and desires of your heart; but it should all have been made in hardcore by Gerard Damiano (Behind the Green Door). CPea. Read More »

Alfonso Cuarón – Cuarteto para el fin del tiempo AKA Quartet for the End of Time (1983)

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A man sits alone in his apartment. Why does he watch as his goldfish washes down the drain? Why does he blow up balloons then release them out the window for no one to see? And for whom does he take out his clarinet to play ‘Quartet for the End of Time’?.

Shot in 16mm, while Alfonso Cuarón was a film student, Cuarteto Para El Fin Del Tiempo is a meditation on isolation and a young man’s withdrawal from the outside world. Using very few words, Cuarón relies on the power of the image to narrate the film, for which there was no written script:

‘It was an emotion rather than an idea that drove the process, it was about improvising and trying different things every day, trying to blend the character and the location with this emotion.’ Read More »

Lindsay Anderson – Free Cinema, 1956 – ? An Essay on Film by Lindsay Anderson (1985)


A documentary about the history of the Free Cinema movement, made by one of it’s greatest proponents, Lindsay Anderson, to commemorate British Film Year in 1985.

Produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill.

Unlike Richard Attenborough’s celebratory episode of the same series, or Alan Parker’s more aggressive show, which was balanced between celebrating the greats and attacking Parker’s bugbears, Greenaway and Jarman and the BFI, Anderson’s show accentuates the negative, painting an image of a British cinema in terminal artistic decline and trashing the ambitions and approach of British Film Year itself. It’s mordantly funny and very savage. Read More »

Lilyan Sievernich – John Huston and the Dubliners (1988)


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‘John Huston and the Dubliners” is a valentine to the late director and a relatively standard production film about his making of ”The Dead.” Much time is devoted to the actors’ understandably admiring comments about Mr. Huston, and to the disposition of the prop department’s fake snow. The film has the potential to seem ordinary, but it becomes touched with magic whenever the director makes his presence felt. Mr. Huston displays his characteristic gallantry and his keen attention to seemingly unimportant touches (”Don’t worry about what you say, just keep talking,” he tells one actor, and gives precise instructions for reading the line ”Would you please pass the celery?”). He describes ”The Dead” as ”lacework,” and this film makes the aptness of that description very clear. Read More »

Peter Greenaway – A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Quote:
I know one fact about this didactic director, Peter Greenaway—that he is a painter—and that is all I need to know. Everything falls in to place. He composes every frame, meticulously, based on the fundamentals of classical design and structure as if any frame could be snatched from the reel and hung at the Tate. This is the art of cinematography, and he is a master.

A summary of A Zed and Two Noughts, or most any Greenaway film would be like briefly describing the Sistine Chapel—and it takes the Big Book to do that. This film is a lesson in dichotomy: life/death, birth/decay, everything and nothing. He reminds us that our own redemption lies in the cyclical aspect of nature and the blending of these universal opposites into the dizzying blur of existence. Read More »