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Archive for December 20th, 2009

by Joel Bocko

Syndromes and a Century touches reality only tangentially – like a dream, or a memory. Nothing in it is “un-realistic” so to speak, and nothing that happens is fanciful or even especially dramatic. The film, directed by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, begins quietly and maintains this peaceful air for about an hour. A female doctor is interviewing a male doctor, asking him questions that will pertain to his job – as well as a few curveballs. Both doctors leave the room and walk out onto the deck of the clinic, a pleasant little building deep in the country. The camera pushes forward to frame the meadow behind them, and remains on this composition as they leave the picture and their indistinct chatter continues softly in the background. A feeling of nostalgia, of a deeply buried connection one cannot quite put a finger on, may wash over the viewer. If one gets into this groove, the movie flows along quite nicely, like a calm boat ride down that river in Wind in the Willows. However, as in that story, there’s a Wild Wood – and a Wide World – on the horizon, distant as that possibility seems while enjoying the quiet pleasures of this opening. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France/Italy 1927 137m) not on DVD

Aka. The Loves of Casanova

Great lovers should be…extravagant, risqué and wickedly funny

Alexandre Volkoff, Noé Block  d  Alexandre Volkoff  w  Alexandre Volkoff, Ivan Mosjoukine, Norbert Folk  ph  Leonce-Henry Burel, Sergei Bourgassov, Vladimir Toporkoff, Jean-Pierre Mundviller  ed  Renée Lichtig  m  Georges Delerue (new score)  art  Ivan Lochakoff, Robert Mallet-Stevens  cos  Boris Bilinsky, Jean Perrier

Ivan Mosjoukine (Casanova), Diana Karenine (Maria, Duchess de Lardi), Suzanne Bianchetti (Catherine the Great), Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Peter III), Jenny Jugo (Thérèse), Rina de Liguoro (Corticelli), Nina Kochitz (Countess Vorontzoff), Olga Day (Lady Stanhope), Michel Simon (Sbire), Nathalie Lissenko,

It was back in 1995 when I first heard of Casanova.  I was watching Brownlow & Gill’s Cinema Europe and, in dealing with French silent cinema, amongst clips from the usual suspects – Gance, Feuillade, Dreyer’s Jeanne d’Arc – there was this gem from the close of the silent era.  I distinctly recall thinking to myself seeing the clips from it that “there’s a film I’ll never see.”  Yet it was only around twelve months later that I did see it, for the BBC made up for not backing up the Brownlow series with accompanying films by showing Casanova late one Saturday night on BBC2.  Needless to say I was somewhat delirious.  (more…)

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