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Archive for October 8th, 2010

(Dario Argento, 1977)

(essay by Troy)

Suzy Banyon decided to perfect her ballet studies in the most famous school of dance in Europe. She chose the celebrated academy of Freiburg. One day, at nine in the morning, she left Kennedy airport, New York, and arrived in Germany at 10:40 p.m. local time.

So the narrator intones amidst a credit sequence consisting of a cacophony of pounding tympanis, screeching guitar strings, entrancing prog synths, and eerie background vocalizations.  It would have been just as appropriate for Dario Argento to insert a title card which states “Once Upon A Time…” as it soon becomes apparent that Suspiria is Argento’s stylized and lurid attempt at crafting a supernatural, gothic fairy tale (Argento has admitted to using the story and film of Snow White as an influence).  Even while mixing a few of his earlier giallo tropes into the mix —  the Grand Guignol setpieces and a mystery that hinges on an unresolved memory come immediately to mind — he begins moving even further away from the more literal constructs of those earlier films and into the dreamscapes that he would incorporate for his short run of intriguing films.

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by Allan Fish

(Japan 1935 80m) DVD3

Aka. Tokyo no Yado

Tomorrow we’ll make it

d  Yasujiro Ozu  w  Tadao Ikeda, Masao Arata  ph  Hideo Shigehara  ed  Hideo Shigehara  m  Keizo Horiuchi

Takeshi Sakamoto (Kihachi), Yoshiko Okada (Otaka), Chouko Iida (Otsune), Tomio Aoki (Zenko), Kazuko Ojima (Kuniko), Chishu Ryu (Policeman), Takeyuki Suematsu (Masako),

Probably Ozu’s least seen masterwork, An Inn in Tokyo is an important film for many reasons, but perhaps mostly because it rather goes against accepted movie history.  Mention the term neo-realism to most film connoisseurs and they will tell you it’s a naturalist movement in Italian cinema that began around the time of Visconti’s Ossessione and reached its greatest flowerings in the works of director Vittorio de Sica and writer Cesare Zavattini.   What we have with this Ozu gem, then, is an anomaly, a film that is neo-realist to its every frame, but which pre-dates that movement by the best part of a decade.  Indeed, the film itself seems out of step with conventional chronology in a number of ways, made as a silent in 1935, when Hollywood has not only had talkies for eighty years but had evolved to feature length colour films with Becky Sharp in that self same year.  In the end, however, that doesn’t even matter, as a great film is a great film, no matter what the time or circumstances. (more…)

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