• Douglas Sirk – Sign of the Pagan (1954)

    1951-1960Douglas SirkEpicUSA

    Roman centurion Marcian is captured by Attila the Hun en route to Constantinople, but escapes. On arrival, he finds the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius plotting with Attila to look the other way while the latter marches against Rome. But Marcian gains the favor of Pulcheria, lovely sister of Theodosius, who favors a united Empire. As Attila marches, things look bleak for the weakened imperial forces. But the conqueror has an awe of the power of the Christians’ God…Read More »

  • Heinz Bütler & Manfred Eicher – Holozän (1992)

    1991-2000DramaEpicHeinz BütlerManfred EicherSwitzerland

    In 1990/91 Manfred Eicher and Heinz Bütler co-directed “Holozaen” a film based on the Max Frisch novella “Man in the Holocene”, starring Erland Josephson and Sophie Duez, and with photography by Giorgos Arvanitis. The film was awarded the Special Jury Prize of the Locarno Festival in 1992, but has been little seen, outside the art film festival circuit, since then. Underpinning the striking cinematic images and Josephson’s compelling performance is a rich soundtrack with music of Bach, Bartók, Garbarek, Hindemith, Jarrett, and Shostakovich.Read More »

  • Yvan Lagrange – Tristan et Iseult (1972)

    1971-1980ArthouseEpicFranceYvan Lagrange

    This magnificently photographed French film tells the ancient legend of Tristan and Isolde to the accompaniment of an operatic musical score by MAGMA. Tristan is a young warrior who has been sent to Ireland from Cornwall to bring back Isolde, the bride of his king. The two of them drink a love potion, fall in love, and, despite the wrath of their people, persist in their tragic love.Read More »

  • Mervyn LeRoy & Anthony Mann – Quo Vadis (1951)

    1951-1960Anthony MannDramaEpicMervyn LeRoyUSA

    America’s mid-20th century love affair with the Biblical epic began with Mervyn LeRoy’s Quo Vadis (1951). And a new Blu-ray by Warner Home Video goes a long way to proving why that’s the case. The saturated colors and epic setpieces that dominate the film’s mise-en-scène are reason enough to sit back and enjoy the spectacle. But Peter Ustinov’s scenery-chewing performance as the last Roman Caesar, Nero, is another great justification. This film was the template for future movies of its ilk, and should be seen for that if for no other reason. Like The Robe (1953), or Ben-Hur (1959), Quo Vadis is based on a historical novel that examines the nascent religion of Christianity through the eyes of an outsider. Here it is loyal Roman commander Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor), who falls in love with a Christian slave, the beautiful Lygia (Deborah Kerr), while struggling to remain loyal to the increasingly mad Emperor Nero. Lygia’s entreaties for Vinicius to join her in following Christ’s teachings are initially dismissed.Read More »

  • Patrice Chéreau – La Reine Margot AKA Queen Margot [169 min.] (1994)

    Patrice Chéreau1991-2000DramaEpicFrance

    Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover, but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.Read More »

  • D.W. Griffith – Judith of Bethulia (1914)

    1911-1920D.W. GriffithEpicSilentThe Birth of CinemaUSA

    Judith of Bethulia was a 1914 film and starred Blanche Sweet and Henry B. Walthall, and was produced and directed by D. W. Griffith in 1913. This was the first feature-length film made by pioneering film company Biograph, although the second that Biograph released. Shortly after its completion and a disagreement Griffith had with Biograph executives on making more future feature-length films, Griffith left Biograph, and took the entire stock company with him. Biograph delayed the picture’s release until 1914, after Griffith’s departure, so that it would not have to pay him in a profit-sharing agreement they had.Read More »

  • Michael Curtiz – The Egyptian (1954)

    1951-1960ClassicsEpicMichael CurtizUSA

    In eighteenth-dynasty Egypt, Sinuhe, a poor orphan, becomes a brilliant physician and with his friend Horemheb is appointed to the service of the new Pharoah. Sinuhe’s personal triumphs and tragedies are played against the larger canvas of the turbulent events of the 18th dynasty. As Sinuhe is drawn into court intrigues, and bizarre secrets are revealed to him, he learns the answers to the questions he has sought since his birth. Short on historical accuracy but strong on plot and characterization.Read More »

  • Bernardo Bertolucci – Novecento AKA 1900 [4K Restoration] (1976)

    1971-1980Bernardo BertolucciDramaEpicItaly

    After the international firestorm of Last Tango in Paris, Bernardo Bertolucci went on to create one of the grandest and most legendary epics in modern cinema. A stunning five-hour saga following the intertwined fates of two childhood friends born on the same day in 1901 at opposite ends of the social scale through five decades of class struggle.Read More »

  • Sherwood Hu – Prince of the Himalayas (2006)

    2001-2010ChinaDramaEpicSherwood Hu

    From the IMDB:
    Set in ancient Tibet under the shadow of the Himalayas, the young prince Lhamoklodan learns of his father’s mysterious death and returns to the Kingdom Jiaobo. Troubled by his mother’s sudden remarriage to his uncle Kulo-ngam, he swears to find the truth of his father’s death. His obsession of revenge overwhelms his spirit and shadows his love to Odsaluyang. When he points his sword at the new king, Queen Nanm finally tells her beloved son, Lhamoklodan, the true identity of his uncle. In the struggle to face his destiny and fight his demons, a new king is born.Read More »

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