Romance

Yasujirô Shimazu – Joriku dai-ippo AKA First Steps Ashore (1932)

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Fascinating remake of Sternberg’s “Docks of New York.” The geometric and pictorial aspects, as in the case of many Japanese films, and especially those of this time period, fascinate as much as the story. The push/pull, attraction/repulsion dynamic of the romance between the lowly ship stoker and the “fallen woman” he rescues from drowning gives a charge to the claustrophobic confines of their scenes together. The fight scenes between the men fascinated me also: a chaotic melange of sprawling limbs, bodies leaping over one another, sharp jabs and uppercuts. Read More »

Jacques Feyder – La Kermesse héroïque AKA Carnival in Flanders (1935)

When the village of Boom, in Flanders, learns a Spanish Duke and his troops plan to pass the night, the 4-man army deserts and the Mayor plays dead; so the Mayor’s wife organizes the townswomen to greet the invaders and preserve the peace with womanly wiles. Read More »

María Luisa Bemberg – De eso no se habla AKA I Don’t Want to Talk About It (1993)

Leonor, a widow in a small South American town, gives birth to Charlotte, a dwarf. The mother not only provides a rich childhood for her daughter, she erases any clues her daughter might see that would lead her to think she is different (mother burns books such as “Snow White” and destroys lawn statues of gnomes). In short, she doesn’t want to talk about it. The mother succeeds in creating a modern-day Rapunzel: Charlotte becomes an accomplished young woman who captures the heart of Ludovico. But then, the circus comes to town. Read More »

Pierre Grimblat – Lisa (2001)

Stumbling across an uncompleted 1939 film called “Princess Marushka”, filmmaker Sam becomes intrigued with the young actor Sylvain Marceau, who last appeared in the film. Hoping to discover the mystery behind Sylvain’s disappearance, Sam decides to make a documentary and sets off to interview those who knew Sylvain, including elderly Lisa Morain. Through her interview, Sam learns the story of Lisa and Sylvain’s doomed love affair on the eve of World War II. Read More »

Fernando Trueba – Ópera prima (1980)

Boy meets girl. Matias meets Violeta, his cousin (“prima”) one morning in Madrid at the Plaza de Opera. He is twenty-five. She is 18. He’s a divorced journalist trying to write a thriller. She studies violin. She’s a vegetarian. He loves meat. Many things separate them, but he moves into her apartment. Read More »

Raimondo Del Balzo – Un Tenero Tramonto AKA A Tender Sunset (1984)

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The young Nicoletta gets a huge heritage. Her shady stepfather, however, recruits a currency dealer to lock her up in a Swiss nursing home and seize the money. Read More »

George Kordellas – I Roza tis Smyrnis AKA Roza of Smyrna (2016)

The enigmatic old woman Rosa from Izmir and the powerful Ismael live for decades with the weight of a well-kept secret. An avid collector of Greek objects in Asia Minor, Dimitris, prepares an exhibition in a renowned museum in Athens on Culture of Nationalities who cohabited in Izmir before the genocide. In a trip to Izmir with the curator of the museum and his girlfriend Rita, he accidentally finds in a small antique shop a Greek wedding dress that is stained with blood. An old photograph, a wedding dress soiled with blood and a letter, become the reason to retract their story from the past. Read More »