Takashi Ishii – Hana to hebi aka Flower and Snake (2004)

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Synopsis
In this erotically charged drama, Shizuko (Aya Sugimoto) is a beautiful and talented dancer who feels like her husband no longer cares for her, and has begun to indulge in sexual fantasies of sadomasochistic edge play. When her husband falls deep in debt to a powerful gangster, Shizuko is kidnapped by members of the yakuza and held for ransom until he makes good on what he owes. To prove they mean business, the gangsters force Shizuko to take part in a series of perverse S & M performances, but Shizuko finds that her “punishment” is beginning to reflect the rough treatment of which she’s been dreaming. Hana to Hebi (aka Flower and Snake) was written and directed by Japanese underground auteur Takashi Ishii, adapted from a novel by Oniroku Dan. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide Read More »

Ephraim Kishon – Ha-Shoter Azulai AKA The Policeman [+extra] (1971)

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Born in Budapest, Hungary, as Ferenc Hoffmann, Ephraim Kishon studied sculpture and painting, and then began publishing humourous essays and writing for the stage. After 1945 he changed his surname from Hoffmann to Kishont. He emigrated to Israel in 1949, where an immigration officer gave him the name Ephraim Kishon.

Acquiring a mastery of Hebrew with remarkable speed, he started a regular satirical column in the easy-Hebrew daily, Omer, after only two years in the country. From 1952, he wrote the column “Had Gadya” in the daily Ma’ariv. Devoted largely to political and social satire but including essays of pure humour, it became one of the most popular columns in the country. His extraordinary inventiveness, both in the use of language and the creation of character, was applied also to the writing of innumerable sketches for theatrical revues.

Azulai is a soft-hearted and incompetent policeman in Jaffa. His superiors want to send him to early retirement, but he would like to stay on the force. The criminals of Jaffa who also don’t want to see him leave try to find a way to help him keep his job.
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Louis Malle – Le feu follet AKA The Fire Within [+Extras] (1963)

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Quote:
THE FIRE WITHIN: DAY OF THE DEAD
When he shot The Fire Within in the spring of 1963, Louis Malle had already established a strong reputation. Incredibly precocious, he won a Palme d’Or at the age of twenty-four, at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, for the underwater documentary The Silent World, photographed and codirected with oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. One year later he anticipated the French New Wave with Elevator to the Gallows, scored by Miles Davis and starring a young Jeanne Moreau, who also starred in his next film, The Lovers, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1958 and created a scandal with its explicit eroticism. His follow-up, an audacious 1960 adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s farcical novel Zazie dans le métro, further proved his fondness for literary sources, and 1962’s Vie privée created a stir by featuring Brigitte Bardot in one of her more complex roles. Read More »

Camillo Mastrocinque – La banda degli onesti AKA The Band of Honest Men (1956)

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Description: Janitor Antonio Buonocore joins his friend Lo Turco e Cardone, to print some counterfeit bills. When they decide to circulate one counterfeit bill, they are only able to spend the right one, used as a mould for the others. Crime is not for them and so they decide to renounce their plans. Read More »

Helmut Weiss – Die Feuerzangenbowle (1944)

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Die Feuerzangenbowle (The Fire-Tongs Bowl or The Punch Bowl) is a 1944 movie, directed by Helmut Weiss and is based on the book of the same name. It follows the book closely as author Spoerl also wrote the script for the movie. Both tell the story of a famous writer going undercover as a pupil at a small town secondary school after his friends tell him that he missed out on the best part of growing up by being educated at home. The story in the book takes place during the Weimar Republic in Germany. The movie was produced and released in Germany during the last years of World War II and has been called a “masterpiece of timeless, cheerful escapism.”[1] The movie stars Heinz Rühmann in the role of the student Hans Pfeiffer, which is remarkable as Rühmann was already 42 years old at that time.

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Sébastien Pilote – Le Vendeur (2011)

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Quote:
This stunning Quebecois kitchen sink drama is so raw and real, the pain evoked so acute, you’ll be devastated by its quiet power while at the same time dazzled by its cinematic genius. The film had its World Premiere in Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 and was cited as one of Canada’s Ten Best Films of the year in the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) CTT. That it has not garnered one single nomination for a Genie Award is an utter disgrace.

(Greg Klymkiw, canadianfilmcorner.blogspot.com)

Quote:
A tale of quiet resilience and human frailty that plays out against a harsh and apparently endless Quebec winter, befouled by the global economic downturn and a cruel twist of fate, Quebec filmmaker Sébastien Pilote’s debut, Le Vendeur (The Salesman) is a masterful observation of ordinary people squeezing what they need to get by out of unforgiving circumstances. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Suspicion: Four o Clock (1957)

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NBC’s “Suspicion” was a 40 episode series (which ran from 1957 to 1958) in a similar mold to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. Alfred Hitchcock directed the series permiere episode, “Four O’Clock”. It was originally broadcast on 30/Sep/1957.

Synopsis :
Paul Steppe, a successful watchmaker, begins to suspect that his wife Fran is seeing another man. Consumed with jealousy, Steppe decides to murder her. His plan, he feels is ingenious. Painstakingly Steppe applies all of his watchmaking skills to the construction of a time bomb. He plans to slip into his house in the afternoon without his wife’s knowledge, leave the bomb and then return to his jewelry store unnoticed and unsuspected. Read More »