Archive for August 5th, 2015



 © 2015 by James Clark

      I want to begin this account of Manhunter (1986) with a rather more extensive alert regarding the torrent of misapprehension getting in the way of clarity as to its specific soundness and that of Mann’s other films. Like his guiding light, Jean Pierre Melville (1917-1973), Mann hies to an avenue of performance serving two very disparate market zones. (He is on record as lightly rebuffing filmmakers of “niche” seriousness the output of which few, if any, ever see, let alone comprehend and enjoy. Wide popularity and integrity, he declares, with the example of Stanley Kubrick to back him up, are not mutually exclusive phenomena.) Thus, like Melville, he gravitates to good old crime adventures the dynamics of which verge on what astrophysicist John Gribbin calls “spooky action at a distance.” Both Melville and Mann have sweated out that latter territory—somewhat questionably taken over by astrophysics—way too hot to handle on the part of normal willpower, to the point of Mann’s injecting it into a desperately normal protagonist like Manhunter’s Will, whereby his dividedness in face of hard and deadly challenge can both attractively burnish a heroes and villains diversion while at the same time allowing the penniless niche-crowd to look on with awe that maddening problematics can elicit such fun and profit.

Our Tricky Two in fact probe in this manner an avenue where uncomplicated fun seekers can startle themselves into unsuspected maturity. In getting around to the elegant and very volatile vectors of a film rife with inelegant moments, I feel that a brief look at a performance craft very different in many ways from that of Mann’s can bring to bear how widespread and thought-provoking that play of startling self-revelation has become. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1970 74m) DVD1/2

Aka. Valerie A Tyden Divu

Valerie the Vampire Slayer

p  Jaromil Jires  d  Jaromil Jires  w  Jaromil Jires, Ester Krumachova  story  Viteslav Nezval  ph  Jan Curik  ed  Josef Vausiak  m  Lubos Fiser  art  Jan Oliva

Jaroslava Schallerova (Valerie), Jan Klusak (Gracian), Helena Anyzova, Petr Kopriva, Juiri Prymek,

Well, it’s certainly more of a mouthful than Buffy.  And slayer probably isn’t quite the word either, but the idea of a young girl coming face to face with vampires was not just created by Joss Whedon; Jaromil Jires beat him to it by over twenty years.  However, though vampires appear it isn’t a vampire movie at all, but rather a study in adolescence and female sexual discovery.  It’s also the sort of film that could never, and indeed will never, be made in the US or even the UK, where it would outrage the moral majority.

Valerie is a thirteen year old redhead who has fantastic dreams and a rich imagination.  She lives with her grandmother, a pale but youthful looking woman who has never been near a man since her seduction and impregnation with Valerie’s mother at seventeen.  Valerie is warned by her grandmother not to wear her mother’s earrings, which seem to possess some sort of magical significance and, not doing so, finds herself in increasingly fantastic scenarios, involving witchcraft, vampirism and ghosts (even involving her dead parents) and at the same time, is beginning to explore her sexuality.  (more…)

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