Archive for October 9th, 2014


Note: The fourth review of the Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series -Le Mepris- was chosen by renowned cineaste Duane Porter

by Allan Fish

(France 1963 100m) DVD1/2

Aka. Contempt

Snakes, Funerals and la Bébé

p  Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard  d/w  Jean-Luc Godard  novel  “Il Disprezzo/A Ghost at Noon” by Alberto Moravia  ph  Raoul Coutard  ed  Agnès Guillemot, Lila Lakshmanan  m  Georges Delerue  art/cos  Tanine Autre

Brigitte Bardot (Camille Javal), Michel Piccoli (Paul Javal), Jack Palance (Jeremy Prokosch), Georgia Moll (Francesca Vanini), Fritz Lang (himself), Jean-Luc Godard,

Welcome, my friends, to the true cinema of wonder.  There have been many films made about the movie-making process, but none of them remotely reach the depths of feeling, both for the subject and for the characters, as does Jean-Luc Godard’s wonderful masterpiece Le Mépris.  To put it simply, it’s his greatest film.

The storyline is simple; a down on his luck writer with aspirations to great things is forced due to a lack of money to undertake a script-writing job on a sword and sandal adaptation of Homer’s masterpiece The Odyssey, to be made by great director Fritz Lang for an egotistical producer.  Slowly but surely, over the course of the pre-shoot, his wife slowly comes to not only lose love for him, but grows contemptuous of him, so much so that she begins an affair with the egotistical producer, a man whom she despises. (more…)

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Note: This review of ‘Melancholia’ , the third posting in the Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series, was selected by Doodad Kind of Town’s superlative film and theater writer, Pat Perry.

by Allan Fish

(Denmark 2011 139m) DVD1/2

Life is only on earth…and not for long

p  Meta Louise Foldager, Louise Vesth  d/w  Lars Von Trier  ph  Manuel Alberto Claro  ed  Molly Marlene Stensgaard, Morten Hojbjerg  m  Richard Wagner  art  Simone Grau  cos  Manon Rasmussen

Kirsten Dunst (Justine), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Claire), Kiefer Sutherland (John), Cameron Spurr (Leo), Charlotte Rampling (Gaby), John Hurt (Dexter), Alexander Skarsgard (Michael), Stellan Skarsgard (Jack), Udo Kier (wedding planner), Brady Corbet (Tim), Jesper Christensen (Little Father),

It all seems such a long time ago, that benevolent, lovely face staring back to us off a billboard at the beginning of Spider-Man 2.  Then Kirsten Dunst was one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, superb as Marion Davies in The Cat’s Meow, better than the mediocre likes of Crazy/Beautiful deserved, earning a place in the ensemble of Eternal Sunshine so she wasn’t out of her depth with Winslet, Carrey and Wilkinson.  But then she drifted, lost in the blancmange of her friend Sofia Coppola’s teen Marie Antoinette and half a dozen awful films.  All Good Things was a turning point; not an especially special film, but she was touching as the missing wife, yet still it seemed strange she would consider working with Lars Von Trier.  But Lars was a canny old sod; picking Emily Watson from nowhere, making Björk believable, getting career best turns from Nicole Kidman, Bryce Dallas Howard and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

            Then there was the title.  For those eclectic few who had seen the film on the previous page, it conjured up comparisons between two masters – Von Trier and Diaz – at opposite ends of the cinematic spectrum but both testing boundaries.  Not to mention the personal link to Von Trier’s own life, a man haunted by ghosts but at the same time welcoming them as an old friend for a glass of sherry.  He knew all about melancholia, so it’s little surprise he’d eventually make a film devoted to it.  Or not… (more…)

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