Archive for July 10th, 2009

female 1

by Sam Juliano

     Present-day John Waters fans who are only familiar with his vomit-inducing Pink Flamingos may be unaware that his best work  followed that landmark of sleaze with Female Trouble (1974) and Desparate Living (1977).  Of these two, the former rates a slight edge, as it gave bad taste an entirely new level of meaning.  Yet, it’s outrageous characters, vile mise en scène and trashy decor was what Waters was all about in those years, and as he was in his writing “prime” it brought out his most inspired talents for satire and self-parody, no matter whose expense it was at.  You know you’re in for a most “special” experience after the opening scene, when rotund Baltimore high-schooler Dawn Davenport (played by the king of sleaze himself, Divine) takes major issue with a Christmas present she received from her parents; she discovers a shoe box under the Christmas tree that does not contain the cha cha heels she asked for:

Dawn Davenport: What are these? 

Mrs. Davenport:    Those are your new shoes, Dawn!

Dawn Davenport:  Those aren’t the right kind, I told you cha cha heels, black ones!

Mr. Davenport:  Nice girls don’t wear cha cha heels!

Dawn Davenport:  Gimmie those presents, I’ll never wear those ugly shoes!  I told you the kind I wanted!  You ruined my Christmas!

[stomps the Christmas presents]

Mrs. Davenport:  Please Dawn!  Not on Christmas!

Dawn Davenport:  Get off me you ugly witch!  [pushes mother into Christmas tree]

Mr. Davenport:  Dawn Davenport are you crazy?  Look at your mother!

Dawn Davenport:  Get off me……Lay off me!  I hate you; fuck you!  Fuck you both, you awful people!  You’re not my parents!  I hate you, I hate this house, and I hate Christmas! (more…)

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ascent 1

by Allan Fish

(USSR 1976 111m) DVD1

Aka. Voskhozhdeniye

I’m Sotnikov

d  Larisa Shepitko  w  Yuri Klepikov, Larisa Shepitko  novel  “Sotnikov” by Vasili Bykov  ph  Vladimir Chubkhnov, Pavel Lebeshev  ed  Larisa Shepitko  m  Alfred Shnitke  art  Yuri Rashka

Boris Plotnikov (Sotnikov), Vladimir Gostyukhin (Rybak), Anatoli Solonitsin (chief collaborator), Sergei Yakovlev, Lyudmila Polyakova, Viktoria Goldenthul, Mariya Vinogradova, Nikolai Sektimenko,

The last of four films made by Larisa Shepitko before her tragically early death in a car accident, The Ascent is not only one of the most powerful anti-war statements of the modern era, but one of the last great Russian films of the Soviet era.  It owes much to the work of Andrzej Wajda, both cinematically and aesthetically, while it also recalls the feel of Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood – in both the use of famous character actor Anatoli Solonitsin and in the way that children are punished as adults in wartime – but more than anything it looks ahead to Elem Klimov’s Come and See.  What must not be overlooked is the fact that Klimov and Shepitko were husband and wife, and it was after Klimov completed Farewell, which his wife was originally going to direct, that he turned his attention to his own visionary, apocalyptic work.  To watch The Ascent without knowing this it is a savagely powerful, hypnotically depressing film.  To realise just how utterly and intrinsically linked the two films and film-makers are, it adds further cathartic layers to what are already seriously affecting, almost numbing stories.  (more…)

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