Archive for the ‘Allan’s 80s Countdown’ Category

a nos amours 1 

piece amended ACF 220909 – comments prior to this relevant to earlier piece

(France 1983 102m) DVD1/2

Aka. To Our Loves

I don’t want to always hurt people

p  Micheline Pialat  d  Maurice Pialat  w  Arlette Langmann, Maurice Pialat  ph  Jacques Loiseleux  ed  Yann Dedet  art  Jean-Paul Camail, Arlette Langmann

Sandrine Bonnaire (Suzanne), Dominique Besnehard (Robert), Evelyne Ker (mother), Maurice Pialat (father), Anne-Sophie Maillé (Anne), Christophe Odent (Michel), Cyr Boitard (Luc), Cyril Collard (Jean-Pierre), Maite Maillé (Martine),

David Thomson never wrote a truer word than when he declared “has any actress made a debut of such force – and youth – as Sandrine Bonnaire managed in À Nos Amours, made when she was fifteen?excited, afraid, daring, sensual, and innocent.  Everything was there, without coyness or boasting.”  Yet that very unique quality has proved a double-edged sword.  American distributors were not used to such naturalism from one so young, but rather teen stars who were ex-film moppets slowly growing up before our eyes.  They were not fresh, startling, precocious lookers, who mix fragility with a truth that takes root not in the fantasy of the movies, but in the harsh light of reality.  Furthermore, Bonnaire was not afraid of the sexuality of the part, she owned that character of Suzanne.  Such maturity from young actresses is hardly uncommon in French, or indeed European, cinema.  Such modern stars as Delpy, Gainsbourg, Sagnier, Ledoyen and Morton all bared their souls at a period when American actresses are stuck in formulaic teen movies.  (more…)

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blade 1

(USA 1982/1991/2007 114m) DVD1/2

Moonbeams on the shoulder of Orion

p  Michael Deeley, Ridley Scott  d  Ridley Scott  w  Hampton Fincher, David Webb Peoples  novel  “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K.Dick  ph  Jordan Cronenweth  ed  Terry Rawlings, Marsha Nakashima  m  Vangelis  art  Lawrence G.Paull  spc  Douglas Trumbull 

Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty), Sean Young (Rachael), Daryl Hannah (Pris), Edward James Olmos (Gaff), M.Emmet Walsh (Bryant), William Sanderson (J.F.Sebastian), Brian James (Leon), Joseph Turkel (Tyrell), Joanna Cassidy (Zhora),

Blade Runner is a film that will either entrance or infuriate and probably as many people don’t respond to it as do.  But this could also be said to be true of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  For a sci-fi film to become a classic, it must first pass through that darkest of tunnels – cinematic cultdom.  In its original cut, the film was at best a cult classic.  In Ridley Scott’s director’s cut, which was surely the only major one in history to be shorter than the original (by two minutes), it becomes a classic.  Period.

            In Los Angeles in 2019 we find the earth radically altered.  Many of the intelligent minds have moved off the planet to “off worlds” where they are supplied special slave labour, in the form of the Tryell Corporation’s series of Nexus androids, known as Replicants.  These androids are programmed to have everything but human emotion, but with that itself also acquirable in time, a self-defence mechanism is included whereby the Replicants self-terminate after just four years.  A group of six Replicants escape the off world to come back to earth to try and get the process revoked so they can continue to live.  The law enforcement authorities recruit a seemingly retired assassin, known as a Blade Runner, to ‘retire’ (ie. kill) the Replicants before they achieve their objective. (more…)

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(UK 1982 301m) DVD2


p  Michael Wearing  d  Philip Saville  w  Alan Bleasdale  ph  Keith Salmon, Brian Cave, Paul Woolston, John Kenway (and others)  ed  Mike Bloore, Greg Miller  m  Ilona Sekacz  art  David Attwood, Andrew Smith

Bernard Hill (“Yosser” Hughes), Michael Angelis (“Chrissie” Todd), Tom Georgeson (“Dixie” Dean), Julie Walters (Angie Todd), Alan Igbon (Loggo Logmond), Peter Kerrigan (George Malone), Gary Bleasdale (Kevin Dean), Tony Haygarth (Aitch), Paul Barber (Scotty), Jean Boht (Miss Sutcliffe), David Ross (Donald Moss), Chris Darwin (Snowy Malone), Clive Russell, Andrew Schofield, Ricky Tomlinson,

Oh, you can talk about the concrete and the boys who work the train, and the fellas in the hopper in the sun and wind and rain, but the boys who work the black stuff, sure they’re really rough and tough, when they’re working on the highway laying the old black stuff.”  The words of the opening song to the 1978 play The Black Stuff introduced us to the characters who, four years later, would really grow into the public consciousness in the serial masterpiece, Boys from the Blackstuff.  (more…)

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Raging Bull (no 13)

r bull 1

(USA 1980 125m) DVD1/2

Once I was blind and now I can see

p  Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff  d  Martin Scorsese  w  Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin  book  Jake la Motta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage  ph  Michael Chapman  ed  Thelma Schoonmaker  m  Pietro Mascagni  art  Gene Rudolf

Robert DeNiro (Jake la Motta), Cathy Moriarty (Vickie), Joe Pesci (Joey), Frank Vincent (Salvy), Nicholas Colasanto (Tommy Como), Theresa Saldana (Lenore), Frank Adonis (Patsy), Mario Gallo (Mario), Lori Anne Flax (Irma),

Raging Bull is, without a shadow of a doubt, not only the greatest boxing movie of all time, but arguably the greatest sporting movie of all time.  Yet to call it merely that would seem to be grossly disrespectful as, in the end, the boxing is merely the surface.  At its heart, and the heart of a raging bull it truly is, it is a story of macho pride driven to self-destruction.  La Motta was a man of many demons, of the jealous and truly psychotic kind and thus a man of many weaknesses and vulnerabilities, for all his feral viciousness.  That is what makes him a great movie character.  That and Robert DeNiro, of course.

            The film starts in 1964 with La Motta, now heavily overweight, bankrupt and reduced to doing stand up guest invitational spots in seedy night clubs, preparing his routine in a dressing room.  It then goes back to his early fights in 1941 and through the forties (including six with Sugar Ray Robinson), winning the title in 1949 but losing it to Robinson soon afterwards.  Later on, his vicious temper and self-destructive behaviour alienates his friends and family and he is left alone.  (more…)

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Ran (no 14)

ran 1

(Japan 1985 161m) DVD1/2

Chaos theory

p  Masato Hara, Serge Silberman  d  Akira Kurosawa  w  Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Ugoni, Masato Ide  ph  Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda, Asaichi Nakai  ed  Yoshiro Muraki  m  Toru Takemitsu  art  Yoshiro Muraki, Shinobu Muraki  cos  Emi Wada

Tatsuya Nakadai (Lord Hidetora Ichimonji), Akira Terao (Taro), Jinpachi Nezu (Jiro), Daisuke Ryu (Saburo), Mieko Harada (Lady Kaede), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Lady Sué), Shinnosuke Ikehata (Kyoami), Masayuki Yui (Hirayama), Hitoshi Ueki (Fujimaki), Takeshi Namura (Tsurumaru), Hisashi Igawa (Kurogane),

Ran is an old man’s eulogy to himself, or rather to his career.  A long dreamt ambition or dream brought to life.  Many filmmakers have reworked Shakespeare, indeed Joe Mankiewicz did a gangster reworking of King Lear himself as House of Strangers (with Edward G.Robinson as the patriarch).  Kurosawa himself had already adapted Macbeth to Japan as Throne of Blood in 1957, and probably made the greatest version of that tale yet filmed, too.  There had been other straight versions of King Lear; one recalls Kozintsev’s widescreen monochrome epic from 1970 and two excellent TV versions in the years leading up to Ran, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Hordern respectively.  But where the latter two were little more than filmed theatre, Ran is pure cinema, a radical version of the great tragedy which, though slow to set its scene, is so intrinsically detailed and gorgeously shot as to have you hooked from the start.  (more…)

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cin par 1

(Italy 1988/1994 174m) DVD1/2

The lost kisses of youth

p  Franco Cristaldi  d/w  Giuseppe Tornatore  ph  Blasco Giurato  ed  Mario Morra  m  Ennio Morricone (and Andrea Morricone)  art  Andrea Crisanti

Jacques Pérrin (Salvatore “Toto” di Vita), Salvatore Cascio (Boy Toto), Philippe Noiret (Alfredo), Mario Leonardi (Young Toto), Brigitte Fossey (Older Elena), Antonella Attili (Maria – young), Enzo Cannavale (Spaccafico), Leopoldo Trieste (Father Adelfio), Isa Danieli (Anna), Agnese Nano (Elena), Pupella Maggio (Maria), Nicola di Pinto (Square madman), Leo Gullota (Bill sticker), Roberta Lena (Lia),

Cinema Paradiso is surely one of the most beloved foreign language films in the English speaking world.  It holds a special entry in that select list of subtitled classics that have made the transition to popular cinema, also bidding fair to the title of most nostalgic film of all time.  In its native Italy, though well enough liked, it’s generally perceived by local critics to be no better than another virtually concurrent piece of cine-nostalgia, Ettore Scola’s Splendor.  So do we have the wrong film selected here?  Well, if it were the original cut, there would be a case for such an argument.  I always found the original slightly too sugary, slightly too sentimental, with the final scene that has become one of the greatest in all cinema seeming a little too saccharine for my tastes.  The longer version, however, is a far richer experience, a mournful study not just of childhood rekindled, but also lost, of innocence stolen away and of love extinguished by time.  It may be a lucky fluke for its director, who has certainly not made anything half as rich again, but that should not deny it a place here.  Anyone who sees it will not forget the journey made by young Toto, from his childhood as an altar boy (played by the unforgettable Salvatore Cascio) to his first love, military service and eventually leaving for the mainland to become a filmmaker. (more…)

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Blue Velvet (no 16)

blue velvet 1

(USA 1986 120m) DVD1/2

Welcome to Lumberton

p  Richard Roth, Fred Caruso  d/w  David Lynch  ph  Frederick Elmes  ed  Duwayne Dunham  m  Angelo Badalamenti  title song m/ly  Bernie Wayne  art  Patricia Norris 

Kyle McLachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), Hope Lange (Mrs Williams), Priscilla Pointer (Mrs Beaumont), George Dickerson (Det.Williams), Frances Bay (Aunt Barbara), Jack Harvey (Mr Beaumont), Brad Dourif,

A seventeen year old still at school turns detective at night when investigating a hidden menace in his community.  It sounds rather like recent cult TV hit Veronica Mars.  And before you dispel thoughts of the uncommonly sassy Kristen Bell and her short skirts, just take yourself back fifty years – in setting at least – and see the common link.  After Blue Velvet came Lynch’s Twin Peaks.  And what did Twin Peaks and Veronica Mars have in common?  Both were based around the investigation into the murder of a sexually overactive schoolgirl in a local community.  The link may be tenuous, but it’s undoubtedly there. 

            In the fictional Midwestern town of Lumberton in the fifties, Jeffrey Beaumont is in his last year at high school when his father is admitted into hospital.  On his way back from visiting him, crossing through a meadow shortcut to his home, he comes across an ant-infested severed human ear.  Taking it to a detective friend of his father’s, he is told to stay out of it, but unable to resist he enlists the help of the detective’s smitten daughter, Sandy, to help him look into it.  In doing so, he centres his investigations on the apartment of a dark haired nightclub singer with a dark secret. (more…)

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sacrifice 1

(Sweden/France 1986 146m) DVD1/2

Aka. Offret

Our father, who art in heaven…

p  Katinka Farago  d/w  Andrei Tarkovsky  ph  Sven Nykvist  ed  Andrei Tarkovsky, Michel Leszczlylowski  m  J.S.Bach  art  Ann Asp

Erland Josephson (Alexander), Susan Fleetwood (Adelaide), Valerie Mairesse (Julia), Allan Edwall (Otto), Gudrün Gisladottir (Maria), Tommy Kjellqvist (Little Man), Sven Volter (Victor), Filippa Franzen (Marta),

There’s something divine about The Sacrifice, Tarkovsky’s closing cinematic testimony.  I don’t just mean in the subject, for even listed here, thanks to the vagaries of the alphabet, it’s placed over the page from Sokurov’s Russian Ark, a director often labelled the successor to Tarkovsky as leader of cinema’s spiritual quest.  It’s a slow film, but it’s mesmeric stuff which Alexander Walker called “one of the great films of Western Europe.” 

            A late middle-aged intellectual writer/actor and all round philosopher invites several friends to spend his birthday with him and his immediate family at the remote island retreat where he spends most of his time.  During the gathering, a crackly TV broadcast is heard during which they are told that a nuclear apocalypse is imminent and that everyone should prepare for death.  Each handles it differently, and on this long night the writer offers up a prayer to God offering to sacrifice that which is held dearest to him if he will save his friends and the world in general from this imminent cataclysm.  He then wakes up the following morning and realises that his prayer has been answered, but now he must uphold his half of the bargain and make the titular sacrifice.  (more…)

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diary fmc 1

(Hungary 1982 107m) DVD2

Aka. Napló Gyermekeimnek

Diary for myself…

d  Márta Mészáros  w  Márta Mészáros, Balàzs Fakan, András Szeradás  ph  Miklós Jancsó Jnr  ed  Éva Kármentö  m  Zsolt Döme  art  Éva Martin

Zsuzsa Czinkóczi (Julia ‘Juli’ Kovacs), Anna Polony (Magda), Jan Nowicki (Janos), Mari Szémes (grandmother), Pàl Zolnay (grandfather), Ildikó Bánsági (Juli’s mother), Támas Toth (Janos’ son),

Referring to Márta Mészáros’ trilogy of which this was the first part (Diary for My Loves in 1987 and Diary for My Father and Mother in 1990 completed the triptych) Mark Cousins observed that collectively they “represent not only the country’s greatest films of the decade but the best ever about women living in the shadow of Stalin.”  Seeing the whole trilogy today can prove quite tricky, unseen on British television since the glory days of Channel 4’s World Cinema strain, never released on video, and even Second Run’s DVD suffered more delays than British Rail.  Thankfully the film had been released in France in a perfectly decent English subtitled DVD release which will hopefully bring it the recognition that’s long overdue.  If only the other films in the trilogy – though they’re not quite as good – would follow. (more…)

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pont du nord

(France 1981 131m) not on DVD

Day belongs to strength, the night to power

p  Margaret Ménégoz  d  Jacques Rivette  w  Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman, Jerome Prieur, Bulle Ogier, Pascale Ogier  ph  William Lubtchansky  ed  Nicole Lubtchansky  m  Astor Piazzola 

Bulle Ogier (Marie), Pascale Ogier (Baptiste), Jean-François Stevenin (Max), Pierre Clémenti (Julien), Mathieu Schiffman, Antoine Gurevitch, Benjamin Baltimore,

There have been a few billets doux to Paris on film over the years.  Here’s another, except that billet doux doesn’t quite seem to fit right.  What we have here is a Rubik Cube to Paris, a Gordian Knot, Rivette’s Riddle of the Sphinx.  It’s a puzzle and it is life, it’s real and it most definitely isn’t.  It’s everything Time Out’s Paul Taylor said it was when he observed that it’s a “movie that pushes the conspiratorial playfulness of Rivette’s Céline et Julie in directions both maddening and magical.”

            Essentially it centres around Marie, a fortyish woman released from prison after several years inside for her involvement in an extremist underground group.  It’s unclear exactly what her part was, and who she was protecting, but her boyfriend Julien is involved and she sets out to meet him on the day of her release.  On the way to meet him she bumps into the same young woman, Baptiste, three times, and Baptiste then continues to pop up – stalk would be a better word – around Marie until she attaches herself to Marie like a limpet.  Both are then involved in an intrigue, in which various people are after the contents of Julien’s briefcase, including a map which showcases Paris divided up into areas like the spiral of a snail’s shell that resemble a board game Marie played when a child. (more…)

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