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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. Continue Reading »

la-strada-1

© 2014 by James Clark

    Pasolini’s angry bid to undo not only modernist cinema but modernist culture may be an annoyance; but it’s also a golden opportunity. A special aspect of this windfall is Giulietta Masina, coming to us along those sightlines as the Antipode of the lumpen amateurs Pasolini would favor (not quite getting what Bresson was up to with that angle). Pasolini’s rather systematic but flamboyant notion of gender unwittingly shines a spotlight upon the supposed more natural and efficacious sense of integrity a quorum of female historical players possesses (to be supplemented by the coercive efficacy of the few teachable males on the planet). His sincerely longing for interpersonal decency, while happily installing mass regimes of bestial indifference, redirects our view to those of his filmmaker contemporaries who pursued their muse in resisting being sideswiped by traditional rationalism, including Italian neorealism. As such our examination of the case of Pasolini’s film output—a probe looking for signs of the wherewithal to counter being mired in half-measures—takes on a very welcome complement, namely, the films of Federico Fellini, which bring us to his muse and wife, Giulietta Masina. Continue Reading »

Miracle find in basement of this Liverpool fish n chips shop in the U.K.

 

The unthinkable has happened, and film fans around the world are in frenzied celebration.  The owner of a Liverpool fish n chips store, Edward Fotheringham came forward late last night with news that has rocked the earth on it’s axis.  Once owned by a collector who dealt with underground acquisitions during the war, but who subsequently vanished, mint condition complete prints of the two most hoped for mutilated films were housed in a safe that Fotheringham said was found during basement excavation.  The print for GREED runs nine hours, while THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS runs close to four.

Film historians and authorities are estimating the find to yield Fotheringham tens of millions at auction later this month at Southbys, and early reports indicate Queen Elizabeth will be active in the bidding.

The winner will no doubt be besieged by film fans to commission a theatrical run and corresponding blu ray release.  The great grand daughter of Greed’s venerated director Erich von Stroheim told The Daily Mail that her famous ancestor is celebrating in heaven, while descendants of Welles are envisioning the iconic director lighting up the biggest Cuban cigar after the incredible news.

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. Continue Reading »

Iconic final freeze shot of Francois Truffaut masterpiece “The 400 Blows”

 

by Sam Juliano

More moderate temperatures have descended on the metropolitan area as some rain has cascaded on the region as if to portend what could be in store for April, traditionally the wettest month of the year.  While I wouldn’t quite recommend putting those winter coats in mothballs just yet, it does appear that Father Winter has nearly gone into hibernation.  These benign observations however, may serve as a jinx, so readers are advised to roundly reject them.  Baseball fans are no doubt in their own kind of nirvana as the season is set to commence this week.  Yours Truly of course is a lifelong Yankees rooter, and has reason to be optimistic this year in view of the spate of new acquisitions.

The romantic countdown ballot phase is nearly over with any and all ballots still outstanding due no later than tomorrow evening (April 1st) by 11:00 P.M.  I believe we have received in the neighborhood of 22 or 23 ballots, and may well get a few more before the deadline.  Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. will probably have the final Top 75 results ready for the inner group of people who cast ballots or were privy to the constantly updating e mail chain a few days later, or by the end of the week.  Readers of course will learn the results peace meal during the course of a three to four month Monday to Friday essay presentation that will launch on Thursday,  May 1st.  Some titles have been reserved by specific writers, but all this is tentative as some of these films may not even make the final cut, while others may draw multiple statements of interest. Latest report from Angelo:   As of this morning 25 ballots have been cast!

Locally the five-week ‘Complete Hitchcock’ Festival at the Film Forum has ended, with the ‘Tout Truffaut’ two week run officially starting.  Lucille, Sammy, Danny and I were busy taking in the various screenings and events of the week in what was surely one of the more active weeks in quite a while.  When I have time I will discuss the entire festival in a separate post.  I managed to see 40 of the 53 films screened over four and a half weeks, though I have already seen the ones I didn’t watch in the festival. Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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.”

Continue Reading »

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