Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Fish Obscuro’ Category

lupo 1

by Allan Fish

(Italy 1949 77m) DVD2 (Italy only, no English subs)

Aka. Il Lupo della Sila: The Wolf of the Sila

A tale of two crosses

p Dino de Laurentiis d Duilio Coletti w Duilio Coletti, Steno, Mario Monicelli, Carlo Musso, Ivo Perilli, Vincenzo Talarico ph Aldo Tonti ed Adriana Novelli m Enzo Masetti, Osvaldo Minervini art Ivo Perilli

Silvana Mangano (Rosaria Campolo), Amedeo Nazzari (Rocco Barra), Jacques Sernas (Salvatore Barra), Luisa Rossi (Orsolo Barra), Vittorio Gassman (Pietro Campolo), Olga Solbelli (Signora Campolo), Dante Maggio (Gennaro), Laura Cortese (little Rosaria), Michele Cappezzuoli (little Salvatore),

One hesitates to call director Duilio Coletti forgotten because it’s unlikely he was even known in the English speaking world in the first place. More surprising is that The Lure of the Sila isn’t better known; or at least, until recently. For too long, perceptions of post-war Italian cinema were that there was nothing but neo-realism and, indeed, little but Visconti, de Sica, Fellini and Rossellini. There were other neo-realist directors and films, of course, and it was one of these, Giuseppe de Santis’ Riso Amaro, that gave neo-realism its poster girl, Silvana Mangano.

What has until recently been overlooked is that Italian film c.1945-1955 was also home to many historical spectaculars and melodramas. The Lure of the Sila is one of these, and yet it seems to owe its ancestry not to Italy at all. It rather recalls the great Scandinavian melodramas of the silent era which Mauritz Stiller, Victor Sjöstrom used to turn out in Sweden and which were still then being made by Teuvo Tulio in Finland and other directors in Denmark and Norway. (more…)

Read Full Post »

nv2

by Allan Fish

(Brazil 1964 93m) not on DVD

Aka. The Empty Nigh

One night in Rio

p Nelson Gaspari, Walter Hugo Khouri d/w Walter Hugo Khouri ph Rudolf Icsey ed Mauro Alice m Rogerio Duprat art Pierino Massenzi

Norma Bengell (Mara), Odete Lara (Regina), Mario Benvenuti (Luisinho), Gabriele Tinti (Nelson), Lisa Negri (Nelson’s lover), Marisa Woodward (girl in club), Célia Watanabe (Japanese waitress),

Though considered one of the key films in the cinema novo moment in its native Brazil, Noite Vazia has never been accorded the same status on an international level. There are probably other reasons and yet is it a coincidence that, of the seminal works of that same movement which made Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Ruy Guerra and Anselmo Duarte figures on the world stage, Walter Hugo Khouri’s film seems very much the odd one out. The cinema novo movement owed its debts to Italian neo-realism and the art-house cinema of the past. Khouri’s film seems indebted not to the past but to the Italian cinema of the early 1960s, the intellectual masterpieces of Fellini, Zurlini, Visconti and, especially, Antonioni. (more…)

Read Full Post »

h95 2

by Allan Fish

(UK 1970 6m) not on DVD

Defeating boredom and its vicissitudes

p/d Bob Godfrey w Stan Hayward m John Hawksworth

voices by Bob Godfrey, Monika Ringwald

Whenever I think of Bob Godfrey’s little gem I am reminded of my favourite Terry Gilliam animation from Python. The one with the middle-aged, nagged man sat in front of the gogglebox, out of which bashers, scrubbers and suckers emerge to try and pull his eyes out of his sockets. After surviving this attempted involuntary eyectomy, we hear a shout from the kitchen; “Henry, turn that television off, you know it’s bad for your eyes.”

The name Henry might have something to do with it, but in truth Godfrey was, along with Borowczyk and Lenica, surely one of the antecedents of Gilliam’s anarchic animation style. Just watch Godfrey’s The Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit, a near classic in itself, which not only uses similar techniques nearly a decade earlier, but even had faint echoes of Python’s famous ‘Blackmail’ sketch. (more…)

Read Full Post »

morning a

by Allan Fish

(Yugoslavia 1967 75m) not on DVD

Aka. Jutro

Freedom starts in the morning

d/w Mladomir Djordjevic ph Mihajlo Popovic ed Mirjana Mitic m Miodrag Ilic-Beli

Ljubisa Samardzic (Mali), Neda Arneric (girl), Milena Dravic (Slobodanka), Mija Aleksic (Capt.Straja), Ljuba Tadic (Gen.Milan Prekic), Neda Spasojevic (Marklena), Jelena Jovanovic (Ruza), Olga Jancevecka (Stana),

When it comes to Yugoslavian cinema, the west remains fairly ignorant. Essentially, it’s based around two figures; Makavejev in the sixties and Kusturica either side of the war that would tear the country into six or seven pieces. Yet Makavejev was only one of many directors at work in the sixties, and there are many whose work is worthy of some attention; Branko Bauer, Velkjo Bulajic, France Stiglic, Alexander Petrovic, Zvonimir Berkovic, Vojislav Rakonjac, Bostjan Hladnik, Ante Babaja or Zivojin Pavlovic, whose The Awakening of the Rats and When I am Dead and White came to embody the ‘black wave’ of Yugoslavian film of the period.

Only one or two of those directors have work represented here, but this is quite possibly a defect on my part, for Yugoslavian film has always been the odd one out amongst the old eastern bloc cinemas. We know Polish film, we know Czech, we know Hungarian. Yugoslavian was different. The people were different, the Romany DNA and the close proximity to Italy lent itself to exaggerated passions and structureless anarchy. Like Czech film, Yugoslavian film was subversive, but Czech film was gentler; its films seemed to ring the doorbell of authority and run. Yugoslav films rather seemed to put a Molotov cocktail through authority’s letterbox. (more…)

Read Full Post »

fruit 1

by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1970 99m) DVD1

Aka. Ovoce stromu rajských jíme

Ye shall surely not die

p Pavel Juracek, Jaroslav Kucera, Bronka Ricquier d Vera Chytilova w Ester Krumbachová, Vera Chytilova ph Jaroslav Kucera ed Miroslav Hajek m Zdenek Liska art Vladimir Labsky

Jitka Novakova (Eve), Karel Novak (Joseph), Jan Schmid (Robert), Julius Albert,

When Vera Chytilova died earlier this year film, enthusiasts, writers and critics tweeted about the influence she had on feminist cinema. Her film Daisies was trending, but there was no mention of any of her other works. She made seventeen fictional feature films and yet most people have only seen one. Is there any other director in history of film to be remembered for just one film out of so many? Her gender undoubtedly had to have played a factor, but even then, were the feminist readings accurate? Daisies never seemed a particularly feminist work to these eyes, but rather an anarchic essay, a petrol bomb in the face of the establishment, like its two female protagonists were urinating on the desks of those in authority.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

aiwma 1

by Allan Fish

(USA 2000 300m) DVD2 (France only)

A little fragment of paradise

p Jonas Mekas d/w Jonas Mekas ph/ed Jonas Mekas m Auguste Varkalis

narrated by Jonas Mekas

There’s a scene in Stephen Poliakoff’s masterful Shooting the Past when Emilia Fox’s Spig and Blake Ritson’s Nick arrive at Timothy Spall’s Oswald’s flat. Oswald is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but not before letting his old colleagues know that he’s made a discovery potentially vital to their staying in business. As Spig and Nick arrive, though, they realise they’re faced with a decision. There’s so much stuff in Oswald’s flat that they’ll never get through it all in the time left to them. So they have a toss of the coin decision to make; do they take the material from one side of the room or the other.

That was 1999, and around that time one can imagine Jonas Mekas making a similar sort of decision. He tells us about it in his opening narration. “I have never been able to figure out where my life begins and where it ends”, he begins. “I have never, never been able to figure it all out. What it’s all about. What it all means. So when I began now to put all these rolls of film together, to string them together, the first idea was to keep them chronological, but then I gave up and just began splicing them together by chance, the way that I found them on the shelf.”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

dupes1

by Allan Fish

(Syria 1972 106m) not on DVD

Aka. Al Makh-du’un

The heartbeat of the earth

d/w  Tewfik Saleh  novel  Ghassan Kanafani  ph  Bahgat Heidar  ed  Farin Dib, Saheb Haddad  m  Solhi El-Wadi

Mohamed Kheir-Halouani (Abou Keïss), Abderrahman Alrahy (Abou Kheizarane), Bazzan Lofti Abou-Gazzala (Assad), Saleh Kholoki (Marouane), Thanaa Debsi (Om Keïss),

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to composing a work like this is to put aside but not entirely dismiss personal taste and familiarity.  Where this becomes most difficult is with regard to foreign classics tailored for home audiences.  The most obvious example is Bollywood, which western audiences can either embrace or shun, but there are others.  Take the often broad comedy employed in Hong Kong action films or the gypsy subculture that forms the heart of several important Yugoslav films from Petrovic to Kusturica.  Then there’s the biggest blind spot of all, African film, a true appreciation of which requires an immersing into the culture, flavour and aroma of what is, to western eyes, the most unknown of continents.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

mw 2

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1953 130m) not on DVD

Aka. Nigorie; An Inlet of Muddy Water

Three tales of sacrifice

d  Tadashi Imai  w  Yoko Mizuki, Toshiro Ide  stories  Ichiyo Higuchi  ph  Shunichiro Nakao  m  Ikuma Dan  art  Totetsu Hirakawa

Ken Mitsuda (Kanae Saito), Yat’suko Tanami (Seki Harada), Akiko Tamura (Moyo Saito), Hiro Kumon (Inosuke Saito), Hiroshi Akutagawa (Rokunosuke Takasaka), Yoshiko Kuga (Omine), Nobuo Nakamura (Yasube), Michiko Araki (Shin), Hisao Toake (Tobei), Haruko Sugimura (Ohatsu), So Yamamura (Asanosuke), Seiji Miyaguchi (Gen Shichi), Meiko Hojo (Otaka), Chikage Awashima (Oriki),

Tadashi Imai’s Muddy Water was on a hiding to nothing.  In 1953 it was rated the best Japanese film of the year by Kinema Junpo, which could normally be taken with a pinch of salt, until you take a look at those in the top 10 below it.  Three of them didn’t quite make the cut here, but were all close (Shindo’s Shukuzu, Naruse’s Older Brother Younger Sister and Imai’s own Tower of the Lilies).  The others?  Toyoda’s The Mistress, Mizoguchi’s Gion Bayashi, Kinoshita’s A Japanese Tragedy, Gosho’s Where Chimneys are Seen and Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu Monogatari.  Oh, and at number two, the little matter of Tokyo Story. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

lil 1

by Allan Fish

(Yugoslavia 1970 80m) not on DVD

A tale of two slippers

d  Branko Plesa  w  Dragoslav Mihailovic, Branko Plesa  novel  Dragoslav Mihailovic  ph  Aleksandr Petkovic  ed  Bojana Subota  art  Miodrag Hadzic

Dragana Kalaba (Milica Sandic), Blanko Plesa (counsellor), Ljerka Drazenovic (Aunt Jelena), Danilo Stojkovic (Poocim Sandic), Lilijana Kontic (Djurdjica), Vladimir Pevec (Peca),

We all know the final freeze frame of Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups; Jean-Pierre Léaud looking not so much at the camera as beyond it, to a free future.   It’s one of the most iconic closing shots in movie history.  Take another 13 or 14 year old child, this time a girl, with blonde hair, tiny freckles and blue eyes.  She’s seen in colour, not in black and white, and this ending has the opposite effect.  Where Antoine Doinel ran away from the equivalent of borstal to the freedom of the sea, this girl, Milica, is being taken from the freedom of the coast to the confinement of, in her own words, “a prison for children.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

2441764

by Allan Fish

(USA 2003 170m) not on DVD

Call 555…

p/d/w  Thom Andersen  ph  Deborah Stratman  ed  Seung-HyunYoo

narrated by  Encke King

The wording of the title to Thom Andersen’s three hour visual doctorate thesis on his home town could act as its ultimate summarisation.  It’s Los Angeles, not LA.  There had been a film titled LA Plays Itself, of course; that infamous gay porn classic from 1972 which Andersen even includes and praises.  Yet Andersen spends some of his three hour address – actually spoken by Encke King – talking about how he hates the abbreviation and how Hollywood became complicit in the foreshortening of the name.  This attitude, pernickety in the extreme to outsiders, sums up Los Angeles’ curmudgeonly appeal.  It’s the prejudiced, jaundiced diatribe of a grumpy old man.  In some ways it’s reminiscent of Terence Davies’ later Of Time and the City, but twice as long and no less grouchy.

That in itself brings another thought, of Los Angeles as one of a series.  Say that the BFI commissioned, as they did the Century of Cinema series in 1995, a series of movie documentaries along the lines of Los Angeles, but with different locations.  Andersen talks of the difference between LA and New York, so New York’s an obvious one, with Marty Scorsese, but then how about London Plays Itself by Patrick Keiller, Paris Plays Itself by Godard or Rivette, Rome Plays Itself with Bertolucci, even Tehran Plays Itself with Mark Cousins?  Interesting concept, but one for another diatribe than this. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 271 other followers