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Jean-Jacques Rousseau has just finished his last film, shot in unworthy conditions. He is preparing to show it to the movie critics of a local newspaper. The filmmaker launches the first images but these reveal all the problems that a non-professional filmmaker may encounter. Continue reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau – L’Histoire du Cinema 16 (1982)
Adapted from a novel by HE Bates (The Purple Plain, The Darling Buds of May, My Uncle Silas, Love for Lydia) and set in an isolated Wiltshire farm in 1942.
Alice has been living alone in the country, since her husband was taken prisoner by the Japanese a half-year earlier. One day a young soldier, Barton, comes along and during a tender moment she invites him in for tea. When time comes for Barton to rejoin his regiment, he decides to go AWOL and stay with Alice. So as not to be discovered he starts donning female clothes. Just as Barton is becoming tired of his equivocal role, a stray tank comes rolling down the hill with a sergeant in it. Next day he’s back again, trying to catch a glimpse of Barton, whom he believes to be Alice’s sister. Continue reading Michael Apted – The Triple Echo (1972)
In Jersey City, an African American hit man follows “Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai.” He lives alone, in simplicity with homing pigeons for company, calling himself Ghost Dog. His master, who saved his life eight years ago, is part of the local mob. When the boss’ daughter witnesses one of Ghost Dog’s hits, he becomes expendable. The first victims are his birds, and in response, Ghost Dog goes right at his attackers but does not want to harm his master or the young woman. On occasion, he talks with his best friend, a French-speaking Haitian who sells ice cream in the park, and with a child with whom he discusses books. Can he stay true to his code? And if he does, what is his fate? Continue reading Jim Jarmusch – Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
Pete Tombs’ Mondo Macabro label has been unearthing cinematic obscurities for almost two years now, digging up such oddball entries as Pakistan’s THE LIVING CORPSE, Italy’s THE NUDE PRINCESS (with transsexual superstar Ajita Wilson), and Indonesia’s MYSTICS IN BALI. Now, they have uncovered a long-lost French sexploitation film, SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN, directed by Franco regular Michele Lemoine and starring familiar Franco face Howard Vernon, and reportedly banned in its home country.
Continue reading Michel Lemoine – Les Week-ends malefiques du Comte Zaroff AKA Seven Women for Satan (1976)
After escaping from an asylum, young medical student Hirosuke assumes the identity of a dead man in order to solve the mystery of a weird doppelganger whose picture he sees in the newspaper. Traveling to faraway Panorama Island, he discovers a mad scientist surgically remaking normal human beings into misshapen monsters…but that is only the beginning. Hirosuke soon learns the horrible truth about the island and his own family’s shameful past, and finds himself plunged into the depths of incest, murder, and madness. Continue reading Teruo Ishii – Edogawa ranpo taizen: Kyofu kikei ningen AKA Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)
Young Bodies Heal Quickly, Andrew T. Betzer’s first feature after a storied career as a short film-maker, is about as personal as a narrative fiction can get: Betzer wrote, directed, produced, edited and even color-graded the film. But in this case, “personal” doesn’t mean a regurgitation of the filmmaker’s latest breakup or childhood ups and downs. It means a highly idiosyncratic take on storytelling, in which the viewer is thrown in the deep end from the enigmatic first shot and carried along by the hurtling young bodies of two brothers who do a bad thing and have to get out of town fast. Set in godforsaken parts of Maryland and structured as a picaresque road film in five main episodes, Young Bodies Heal Quickly is as unpredictable as the boys’ off-the-grid father yet crystal clear in its intent to present an unflinching exploration of masculinity and the transmission of violence. If there is anything else out there like it, I haven’t seen it. Continue reading Andrew T. Betzer – Young Bodies Heal Quickly (2014)
Over the course of one year, a group of friends gathers for three parties (a birthday dinner party, a Halloween costume party, and a New Year’s celebration) at the Brooklyn apartment of a young married couple (Chris Reed, Lauren Katz). Friendships and relationships are formed, dissolved, and re-formed amidst witty banter. Continue reading Noah Baumbach – Highball (1997)