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Archive for February 18th, 2009

wall-e 

by Jennifer Boulden

Note: In forming my top 10 list, I decided to define it as my 10 favorites list. There are some films that may technically be “better” than some of my choices, but these are the movies I will take from 2008 and hold closest to my heart, for whatever reasons that they connected with me. It is also, though late, terribly premature as there are a great many films listed at the bottom of this post I have yet to see. Still, I’m happy with it.

It is an entirely subjective list, except for all the places where I am unequivocally right.

(more…)

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sam-1 

by Sam Juliano

1939 was a landmark year in American culture, arts and politics.  The depression was ending and the country was seemingly infused with fresh optimism, even as Europe was darkened by the invasion of Poland by Hitler on September 1st of that year.  Undaunted, Americans vowed to stay focused to domestic concerns, having had their fill of being pulled into overseas conflicts.  The famous 1939 World’s Fair, which promised a bright, modern future, showcased it’s “World of Tomorrow,” built atop a wasteland in Flushing Meadows, Queens.  American literature had a stellar year with Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, du Maurier’s Rebecca, Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider, and Chandler’s The Big Sleep, while classical composers like Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson reached their zenith at during this period.  American musical theatre blossomed too, with the pre-eminence of Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and George Gershwin.  Kern wrote what is widely considered his greatest song “All The Things You Are” for a show released in spring of that year.     

But there is no art form more connected to 1939 in it’s definitive excellence than that of the cinema.  The year is widely considered the greatest of all-time, and timeless classics like Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Stagecoach, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, Ninotchka, and Babes in Arms, among others, remain ensconced in our national consciousness, as part of an output which will probably never be equaled.       (more…)

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 house-angel-1-copy

by Allan Fish

(Argentina 1957 73m) not on DVD

Aka. La Casa del Angel

Sin is death for the soul and body

p  Leopoldo Torre-Nilsson  d  Leopoldo Torre-Nilsson  w  Leopoldo Torre-Nilsson, Beatriz Guido, Martin Rodrigues Rodriguez Mentatti  novel  Beatriz Guido  ph  Anibal Gonzalez Paz  m  Juan Carlos Paz  art  Emilio Rodrigues Mentasti

Elsa Daniel (Anna Castro), Lautaro Murua (Pablo Aguirre), Guillermo Battaglia (Dr.Castro), Berta Ortegosa (Señora Castro), Yordana Fain (Naná), Bárbara Mujica (Vicenta), Lili Gacel (Julieta), Alejandro Rey (Julian),

At the turn of the sixties the star of Leopoldo Torre-Nilsson burned brightly both at home and abroad.  His films were compared to those of Orson Welles, particularly in their visual style, and helped bring his nation’s cinema to the attention of the whole, not just the Hispanic, world.  So what exactly went wrong?  Why is he so forgotten today?  Why is the Halliwell Guide the only annual to even include this or his other films within its pages?  One would think that he had gone seriously out of vogue, and one would be absolutely right.  But again I ask, why?

            It seems this is rather down to circumstances outside of his control.  But for a director once called, admittedly as valedictory following his early death at fifty three in 1978, “Argentina’s foremost director“, why is it that none of his great works are even on DVD in his homeland, let alone with English subtitles to allow us to savour of them?  Why are his films now so rarely glimpsed that every sighting would be a cause for rejoicing, were not so many critics unaware of his very existence?  It would be fair to say that his later films were more overtly political, and even occasionally sexual (especially Piedra Libre), both factors that hardly endeared him to the authorities in his homeland.  But his early works, filled with what Edgardo Cozaninsky called “a fondness for Gothic households and perverse children“, are delicate works indeed, almost as delicate as the female protagonist at the heart of the film that surely remains his masterpiece. (more…)

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