1981-1990

Lina Wertmüller – Un complicato intrigo di donne, vicoli e delitti AKA Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime) (1985)

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The vicious drug-related killings of young pre-teen boys are the fuel that moves this mystery-actioner into high gear.
After Annunziata (Angela Molina) opens up a hostel with her friend Antonio (Daniel Ezralow), she is saved from being raped by a Camorra boss because the gangster gets suddenly killed. The killer escapes before Annunziata is able to see who it was. Following this murder are several others, and always with the same “signature” — a syringe in one of the testicles of the victims. Everyone suspects a drug war is on because the slain men are cocaine-heroin pushers. In a subplot, Annunziata’s young son is forced to run drugs (underage children cannot be prosecuted), making him the next candidate for murder. As the drug dealers continue to be killed off, the identity of the killer – or killers – slowly becomes obvious. Read More »

Michael Cimino – The Sicilian [Director’s Cut] (1987)

From Mario Puzo, the best-selling author of The Godfather, comes the riveting saga of the life, loves and dreams of the infamous Sicilian bandit, Salvatore Giuliano. Directed by the Academy Award winning director of The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino, this epic motion picture stars Christopher Lambert (Highlander) in the most powerful performance of his career. Read More »

Joaquim Pinto – Uma Pedra no Bolso AKA Tall Stories (1988)

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Twelve-year-old Miguel (Bruno Leite) is sent to live with his aunt for the summer at a seaside resort, where he makes friends with Joao (Manuel Labao), an older boy who revels in stories of his sexual conquests of vacationing women. Miguel is also befriended by the maid Luisa (Ines Medeiros). Later, Miguel must defend Joao when he is accused of stealing from his aunt. This is the film debut for director Joaquim Pinto, who used 4 people and 2 1/2 weeks to produce the feature. Read More »

Alain Cavalier – Thérèse (1986)

The life of little St. Therese of Lisieux, depicted in minimalist vignettes. Therese and her sisters are all nuns in a Carmelite convent. Her devotion to Jesus and her concept of “the little way” to God are shown clearly, using plain modern language. A sense of angelic simplicity comes across without fancy lights, choirs, or showy miracles. Read More »

Chung-Hsing Chao – You huan dao shi AKA Hello Dracula (1985)

A traveling performance squad with 4 orphan boys, Xigua Pi, Xiao Hu, Bao Ya, Xiao Hei and their master Sha get into trouble during their journey with jiangshi. Later on the boys manage to cause more jiangshi trouble and set the course for something they might not have wished for. The squad is unaware of the strict child abuse laws in the city they arrive in and during their martial arts performance their master gets into trouble with the law. Luckily the town is the home of a Taoist Priest Grandpa Jin and his granddaughter Tian Tian who run the local funeral parlor and are there to help out the boys and to fight the jiangshi. But Tian Tian and the boys manage to cause even more trouble… Read More »

Ágúst Guðmundsson – Útlaginn AKA Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli (1981)

From an authentic Viking saga, Outlaw tells the story of a family blood feud, set in 10th century Iceland.

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After decades of phony Hollywood Vikings, you can finally see the real thing if this film ever makes it to video or DVD. It is made in Iceland, with Icelandic dialog, and captures the authentic speech and flavor of the sagas: the understatement, occasional grim humor, and slow nursing of grudges over the long winters until they flower into blood feuds. The film also shows the strong bonds of loyalty and affection that held families and clans together, and the painfully developed methods of negotiating settlements that prevented the medieval Icelanders from wiping each other out completely. Indispensable for those who love the Icelandic sagas. Read More »

Claude Goretta – La provinciale AKA The Girl From Lorraine (1981)

Draughtswoman Nathalie Baye moves to Paris. This is the tale of her sad encounters and experiences, and the dignity she retains.
Aside from the subdued and true-to-life quality that Claude Goretta’s movies share – in my opinion – with his fellow Swiss Alain Tanner, this is a deeply emotional and depressing film. Nathalie Baye is – as usual – incredibly beautiful, moving and convincing. Read More »