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Joris Ivens, Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani – L’Italia non è un paese povero (1960)


According to Carlos Böker’s thesis, Joris Ivens, Film-Maker: Facing Reality (“Studies in Photography and Cinematography, No. 1”, UMI Research Press, 1978):

…… Ivens was approached by Enrico Mattei, head of ENI, the Italian State Natural Gas Monopoly. Mattei, who died mysteriously in an air crash in 1962, and was the subject of a later film by Francesco Rosi (Il caso Mattei, The Mattei Affair, 1972), had been put in charge of ENI on the understanding that he would wind it up. However, he expanded its activities and investment programme against much internal political opposition and external opposition from the US-controlled multinational oil firms. Ivens’s films, collectively entitled Italia non è un Paese povero, were to be shown on television. The first part, Fuochi della Val Padana (Fire in the Po Valley), deals with the extraction and distribution of methane in the Po Valley. The second part is divided in two: Due città (Two Cities), devoted to Venice (Porto Maghera) and Ravenna, is a treatment of the production of agipgaz and its by-products; and La storia di due alberi (The Story of Two Trees), set in Lucania, which contrasts the impoverishment of peasant life in a southern village, where seven families are dependent on one olive tree, with the future benefits to come through the newly exploited natural resource (mechanisms for controlling the gas outlets, lit up at night, are called “Christmas trees”). Read More »

Ken Loach – Play For Today: The Rank and File (1971)


When a pay discrepancy continues without any resolution, glass factory workers turn to their union for support. But when it is not forthcoming, they take things into their own hands. Read More »

Jean Cazenave – Apostrophes: Charles Bukowski (1978)


almost 35 years ago (sept 22 1978) bukowski made this notorious ill fated appearance on french tv. no subs and mostly in french (chuck speaks english but a french translator does his best to drown him out, as does everyone else). he initially seems okay with with suffering through it all via the proverbial bottle of wine and indian cigs but it isnt long before the self important pseudo intellectual bloody frogs begin to wear him down. after awhile he decides to remove his earpiece and wing it. soon he cant get a word in edgewise (douchebag host bernie pivot even shushes him numerous times as things get increasingly ugly. chuck says finally “i’m sorry i said anything”):) Read More »

Bille August – Den goda viljan AKA The Best Intentions (1991)


Scripted (but not directed) by Ingmar Bergman, Best Intentions is a multilayered backwards glance at the courtship of Bergman’s own parents. Henrik Bergman (Samuel Froler) is a struggling theology student in the year 1909. His intended, Anna Aakerbloom (Pernilla August, who married director Bille August while the film was in progress) is from a well-to-do family. Despite the expected class differences and personality clashes, love-or at least mutual understanding-prevails. But after a harsh, spare few years as the wife of a clergyman, Anna yearns for the more bountiful pleasures of her family home. Bergman writes himself into the proceedings as a mewling infant. The current three-hour theatrical version of Best Intentions (original title: Den Goda Viljan) was simultaneously prepared as a six-hour TV miniseries, which ran in Europe, Scandanavia, and Japan. Read More »

Paul Seed – House of Cards (1990)



Francis Urquhart is the chief whip of the Conservative party. When Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader, he remains neutral and after a general election where the conservatives are returned with a reduced majority, he fully expects the new Prime Minister, Henry Collingridge, to give him his just reward: a senior Cabinet post. When he’s informed that he is to stay in his current position, he devises a plot to unseat Collingridge and ensure his own election as party leader which would make his Prime Minister. Written by garykmcd Read More »

Adam Curtis – The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004)


BBC documentary in three parts written and produced by Adam Curtis on the history and influence of the ideologies of Islamic fundamentalism and neoconservatism

Part 1 Baby It’s Cold Outside (originally broadcast on October 20, 2004)
Part 2 The Phantom Victory (originally broadcast on October 27, 2004)
Part 3 The Shadows in the Cave (originally broadcast on November 3, 2004)
Read More »

Samuel Fuller – Dogface (1959)


This unaired pilot for a series Fuller pitched to CBS about a U.S. infantry troop fighting its way through Nazi-held North Africa offers a fascinating new angle on Fuller’s relationship with the average foot soldier and moral complexity of war. Read More »