Bertolt Brecht & Carl Koch – Mann ist Mann AKA A Man’s a Man AKA Man Equals Man (1931)

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Stage play directed by Berthold Brecht, filmed by Carl Koch, about a civilian who is press-ganged into a machine-gunner’s squadron and transformed into the perfect soldier.

Man is Man, a tragi-comedy written in 1927, a work of Brecht’s youth that marks his entry into epic theatre. How can Man manage to adapt to all the different roles that the industrial society of the 20th Century demands, in an apparently intransigent call for change ? Galy Gay is this unorthodox hero who starts out as a messenger and becomes an active soldier under nauseating pressure from dubious soldiers. French critic Bernard Dort noted that the construction and dismantling of Widow Begbick’s refreshments carriage in this play take place at the same time as the transformation of Galy Gay into Jeramiah Jip. The mobility of the location, theatrically points to the instability of the characters in the epic form. Thomas Ostermeier seized upon the theme of deconstruction, and has his actors play furiously with the different states of reality. Read More »

Ken Jacobs – A Tom, Tom Chaser (2002)

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A Tom Tom Chaser is Jacobs’ 2002 poetic riff on the transformation of his classic film Tom Tom the Piper’s Son from chemical to electronic form during the telecine process. Read More »

Ken Jacobs – Capitalism: Child Labor (2006)

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“Jolting in every sense of the word, this short masterwork flickers between stereographic cards depicting Victorian-era child laborers, creating a portrait of standardized horrors, endlessly reproduced.” —MoMA Read More »

Marcel Camus – L’oiseau de paradis AKA Bird of Paradise AKA Dragon Sky (1962)

One of the rare Western films to take advantage of the spectacular setting of the temples at Angkor in Cambodia, L’Oiseau de Paradis is directed by Marcel Camus. The tale itself is relatively simple. A beautiful dancer has two admirers – one is a young worker whom she has only met by accident, and the other is an unscrupulous businessman. The worker had been training as a Buddhist monk and as his interest in the dancer and the businessman’s pursuit of the woman develop, the dancer and the former monk end up at the archaeological site of Angkor. There, Buddhists still worship in the temples and it is in this setting that the businessman kills them both. Reincarnation being accepted as truth in Cambodia, the story implies that the ill-fated young couple would be joined together in the future. Read More »

Joe D’Amato – Ator l’invincibile AKA Ator the Fighting Eagle (1982)

The son of Torren learns of his heritage, goes to avenge the deaths of his fellow villagers, and rescue his sister/love interest from the evil Dakkar and his spider cult. Ator battles giant spiders, swordsmen cloaked in shadow, re-animated dead warriors, and horribly hideous witches. Read More »

Renzo Rossellini & Roberto Rossellini – La lotta dell’uomo per la sua sopravvivenza aka Man’s struggle for survival (1970)

For three years Rossellini and his son worked on a twelve-part series for Italian television about man’s search for food and the subsequent development of civilization.

sense of cinema wrote:
In 1963 Roberto Rossellini called a press conference and announced: “Il cinema è morto.” “Cinema is dead.”

Rossellini had lost confidence. For four years he refused to direct. He was through with art. Civilisation was collapsing from infantilism; film’s urgent task was to show the masses the map of human achievement. He marketed himself as a purveyor of educational materials. Cynics laughed as Rossellini begged funds from a steel company, Italsider, so that his son Renzo could direct the 4.5-hour The Iron Age (1964), and then convinced Jean Riboud and John de Menil to come up with $500,000 from Schlumberger, IBM, Gulf, and UpJohn so that Renzo could direct the 12-hour Italian-French-Egyptian-Roumanian Man’s Struggle for Survival celebrating the conquest of nature. Read More »

Quark Henares – Keka (2003)

Francesca ‘Keka’ Jose is a beautiful young woman working in a call center. wanting to avenge her boyfriend’s death five years ago, Keka undergoes rigid training and hunts down the killers. Everything has been going well until she meets Jason Sanchez, a detective who decides to immerse himself in work after his girlfriend rejected his marriage proposal. They meet and eventually fall in love. But when clues about recent murders lead to Keka, conflict arises. What will Jason do if he finds out that Keka is indeed responsible for the murder? Read More »