Selasa, 31 Mei 2011

Abel Gance - Vénus aveugle AKA Blind Venus (1941)

From Wikipedia :
Vénus aveugle (Blind Venus) is a 1941 French film melodrama, directed by Abel Gance, and one of the first films to be undertaken in France during the German occupation. (It is also sometimes cited as La Vénus aveugle.) In the upheaval following the German invasion of France, in summer 1940 Abel Gance went to the Free Zone in the south and arranged a contract to make a film at the Victorine studios in Nice. The original title was to be Messaline, drame des temps modernes ("Messalina, a drama of modern times"), but it was later changed to Vénus aveugle. Although the film is not set in any specified period, Gance wanted it to be seen as relevant to the contemporary situation in France.

La Vénus aveugle is at the crossroads of reality and legend... The heroine ... gradually sinks deeper and deeper into despair. Only when she has reached the bottom of the abyss does she encounter the smile of Providence that life reserves for those who have faith in it, and she can then go serenely back up the slope towards happiness. If I have been able to show in this film that elevated feelings are the only force that can triumph over Fate, then my efforts will not have been in vain. (Abel Gance)

only eng subs

Keisuke Kinoshita - Nihon no higeki aka A Japanese Tragedy (1953)

At the close of the war in Japan, a widowed mother makes every possible sacrifice to bring up her ungrateful son and daughter who are unimpressed with their poor standard of living at home. They gradually reject her in search of the material comforts that working as a maid cannot provide. The mother's despair becomes interminable.

Kinoshita is widely regarded as having more breadth as a director than any other in Japan. Just comparing this film with the other Panorama Kinoshita DVD release TWENTY-FOUR EYES (made the following year in 1954) is quite astonishing. Every film for him - 42 in 23 years - was a chance to experiment. He pushed long takes to the limit with deep focus long shots; he tried fast cutting action; he approached *all* genres and was wildly successful at almost everything he tried his hand at, yet he remained modestly unimpressed with his jack-of-all-trades approach describing it as "half-baked". Masaki Kobayashi (a pupil of Kinoshita) believed that Kinoshita's genius lay precisely in his wide-ranging breadth and fearlessness. Indeed, according to Audie Bock's marvellous book "JAPANESE FILM DIRECTORS" (from which the DVD text extras liberally quote) Kinoshita's films were more liked in Japan and more successful than both Kurosawa and Mizoguchi at the time of release.

Within 15 minutes it becomes apparent that this is a major film by a major filmmaker. The way the film unfolds, interspersed with genuine newsreel footage to underline the poverty and atmosphere of postwar Japan, is tremendously effective and as brilliantly fresh today as I expect it was when it was made. Throughout the film, the mother (Yuko Mochizuki) occasionally has flashbacks which are presented without sound. This stark, simple device - one which is rarely used in sound cinema - concentrates all the viewer's attention on the flashbacks' significance and reinforces her feelings in a particularly unique way. I don't want to give much away about the plot - suffice to say I was glued to this throughout. [Lovely to see Ozu regular Keiji Sada in a small part as a down-on-his-luck guitarist (Sada unfortunately died in a car accident in 1964 aged 38)]. Rarely written about, this film is astonishing, and deserves a place in every cineaste's collection.

Nick Wrigley of Masters of Cinema

no pass

Gilles Grangier - Le rouge est mis AKA Speaking of Murder (1957)

Louis Bertain, a respectable garage owner by day, is the head of a band of notorious crooks by night. When a hold-up goes badly wrong, Bertain’s younger brother Pierre is suspected of having sold them out to the police. He was, after all, recently picked up by the police and then released after questioning. When he is finally caught by Commissaire Pluvier, Louis discovers that he has been betrayed not by Pierre but by another member of his gang…

French only. No english subs.
no pass

Max Nosseck - Dillinger (1945)

Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Dillinger, the was the ninth effort from the enterprising King Brothers, and their most financially successful film to date. Lawrence Tierney became an overnight cult favorite with his gritty portrayal of maverick bank robber John Dillinger, though top billing is bestowed upon Edmund Lowe as gang chieftain Specs. The film traces Dillinger's criminal career from his first petty theft to his spectacular 1934 demise outside Chicago's Biograph Theater (incidentally, this film was banned in Chicago for several years). Anne Jeffreys plays Dillinger's fictional moll Helen, while Elisha Cook Jr., Marc Lawrence, and Eduardo Ciannelli go through their usual crime-flick paces. The film's set piece is an elaborate armored-car holdup, lifted in its entirety from footage originally shot for Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once (1937). Screenwriter Philip Yordan, fresh from his Broadway triumph Anna Lucasta, earned an Academy Award nomination for Dillinger.

no pass

Didier Le Pêcheur - J'aimerais pas crever un dimanche (1998)

Ben works in a morgue. Ben's wife left him and he is into various kinds of alternative sexuality. Teresa dies of an ecstasy overdose on the dance floor. When she is brought to the morgue, she is resurrected -how shall I say?- in Ben's arms (that part based on a true story). From this starting point, the film revolves around the interactions between them and Boris (orgy fan), Abdel (no sentimental life), Ducon (wants to kill himself), Nico (dying of AIDS), etc... A social study of the 90s with heavy references to sex and death.

Language: French
Subtitles: None

Adam Sherman - Happiness Runs (2010)

Plot wrote:
A young man named Victor realizes the shortcomings of the Utopian ideals on the hippie commune where he was raised. Victor's mother is funding the commune where the guru Insley hypnotizes and seduces women with a technique he calls "running." Insley manipulates the minds of these women so that they give him their bodies and all their worldly possessions. Victor's childhood love, Becky, returns to take care of her deathly ill father. Victor, haunted by visions of Becky's death, is desperate to save her and himself by escaping from the polygamous cult. Preoccupied with Insley's free love philosophy, the adults of the community overlook the painful reality that the self destructive behavior of their children is most certainly due to early exposure to sex and drugs. To afford an escape, Victor tries to sell weed but is cut out by rivals competing for Becky's affection. Finally, Victor is torn between getting money from his mother who is entirely under Insley's influence, dealing with the violent drama of his drug-addled friends, and staying to save Becky as she spins out of control. Runs (2010).avi

no pass

Jean Rouch - Un lion nommé l'américain aka A Lion Named The American (1968)


...:I regretted having to reedit the footage in The Lion Hunters so much that I made the second film about hunting The American [called in Songhay simply The Whiteman, ed. note] entitled Un Lion Nommé l'Américain (1968) just to use the long sequence about the death of the lion and to show exactly what happened during the whole time in syncsound. In it you see us going out in the Land Rover, and Damouré asks the hunters to tell us when they are on the track, and Isiyaka says "You see, that's the track of The American, because when we were with Rouch he had a leg caught in the trap, and you can see where he was hurt. That's The American." It's all very clear and at the end of the film Damouré interviews Isiyaka and there is the lioness, dead, and he says to Isiyaka, "Well, it's not The American." And Isiyaka says, "No, The American went into another bush. But maybe next year we will kill The American." And it was the beginning of the myth of The American. But I think all that's very difficult to put in a film. It was the last attempt to kill "The American." We killed another lion, yes, but The American was killed by a Mali hunter, using a gun, one year later.

It's very strange because Tallou was working with me when I made Un Lion Nommé l'Américain. (You remember he became possessed by the Hauka.) And when we were right in front of the lion ready for action (he was carrying the Nagra) he became possessed again and his new god was called The Americain! And Tallou started to roar like a lion: "The Americain" And the lion was very astonished. Tallou was possessed because he was afraid, you see that assimilation. He was mimicking The American. Now The American is a kind of myth: every big lion is The American and the spirit of The American is, I don't know, perhaps a Hauka.

There's nothing profound about the second film. Wangari and Tahirou sing for the lion and for the hunters and so on. It is based essentially on a very long five minute shot of the death of the lion. But the film is not dramatic, and that's the trouble- truth is less dramatic than editing. I know that. But I go for the truth and then try to find drama inside the truth. It will happen, but it's unpredictable. For instance, I made a small film, only ten minutes long, of a possession dance in one shot (Tourou et Bitti, 1967). I started to shoot just five minutes before the trance began. It's dramatic because something happened in the middle of the shooting. That's the way to make films: you have to start just before the event and the fact that you are shooting evokes the event. But when you shoot like that, very often it's a mess. One time I started and just when there was no more film in the camera, the trance happened. But anyway, I think that's the way you can film the drama.

As I said, the correct way to hunt a lion is one-on-one, one hunter, one lion. Well, you can do it if you have the courage. I didn't know the way to do it, not really, and there was the question of sound equipment. If you could use a Nagra in your pocket and could be alone with a hunter like that you might be able to film it, but I cannot say that I would stay in front of a lion who is charging. When I was shooting the lioness hunt I was using the Beaulieu and a Nagra but it was not syncsound. It was too difficult at that time. But if I could use a crystal system, with an Eclair and a Nagra, and could be absolutely independent, certainly, I would try to shoot the whole film, everything, even if I was frightened. Even if I was running, I would continue my shooting. Maybe it would be a very strange film but the drama would be inside!

When I was shooting the Fitili lioness I really was frightened. She was jumping around like a grasshopper. Even a small lion is dangerous, and if you are hurt, it's very infectious. When she started to jump, I stopped the camera, but the sound man didn't stop, so there was something in the action that I missed. Of course I hoped audiences would believe me, but many people don't believe that it actually happened that way. Well, I think there's less than one minute lost between the moment I stopped and the death of the animal. Isiyaka got his arrow in very quickly, but at the time I didn't know exactly what to do. I was a student in lion hunting, tool I didn't know the way.

They say that if you stand absolutely still, you're all right. If you are afraid you can take a small tree, or just a branch, and hold it in front of you, and the lion will just roar, and die there like a dog. In the bullfight there are clowns who stand quietly in the middle of the arena and if the bull is just standing around they have only not to move, and they're safe. I think it's the same thing, but well, if you are making a film... I even thought of using a helicopter, but what would that mean? A helicopter would make it all very stupid. Besides, I'm very happy to know that there is something like that which nobody can film. I've never seen a kill one-on-one, but they tell the story all the time. Tahirou killed one hundred lions that way, he killed ten lions a year, alone, and came back alone...."é-Conte - 1972 - Un lion nommé lAméricain (Jean Rouch).AVI


Wladyslaw Starewicz - Noch pered Rozhdestvom aka The Night Before Christmas (1913)


A 1913 silent film made in the Russian Empire by Ladislas Starevich, based on the tale of the same name by Nikolai Gogol. Unlike most of Starevich's films, it is mainly live-action.

The action is set in a Cossack stanitsa. On Christmas Eve, a minor demon (Ivan Mozzhukhin) arrives to a local witch called Solokha. They both ride on the witch's broom, after which the demon steals the Moon and hides in an old rag. In the ensuing darkness, some inebriated Cossacks can't find their way to a shinok (tavern) and decide to go home. One by one, they each come to visit Soloha, who hides each one (starting from the demon) in bags so that none of them see each other.

At the same time, Solokha's son Vakula the Metalsmith (P. Lopukhin), tries to woo the beauty Oksana (Olga Obolenskaya), but she laughs at him and demands that he find her the shoes which the Tsarina wears. Vakula goes to Soloha in sadness, but upon coming there sees the bags and decides to take them to the forge. Getting tired along the way, he leaves the heaviest bags on the street, which are picked up by a caroling company. Vakula, who is left only with the bag containting the demon, goes to Patsyuk, a sorcerer, to ask him how to find a demon - only with the help of a demon can he hope to get Tsarina's shoes.

The Patsyuk answers that a person should not search for a demon if he has a demon behind his back. Vakula takes it as some kind of a murky wise say, but indeed eventually finds the demon in the bag and forces him to take him to St. Petersburg. There, Prince Potemkin takes him for an ambassador of the Zaporozhian Cossacks and gives him Tsarina's shoes. The demon takes Vakula home and Vakula lets him go. Oksana agrees to marry Vakula.

With new music score by Messer Chups

Language:Silent with Russian intertitles
no pass



blogger templates | Blogger