Archive for the ‘The Fish Obscuro’ Category

hard 2

by Allan Fish

(Russia 2013 177m) DVD1/2

Aka. Trudno byt bogom

Earth minus 800

p Viktor Izvekov, Leonid Yarmolnik d Aleksei German w Aleksei German, Svetlana Karmalita novel Arkadiy Strugatskiy, Boris Strugatskiy ph Yuriy Klimenko, Vladimir Ulin ed Irina Gorokhovskaya art Elena Zhukova, Georgi Kropachyov, Sergei Kokovkin

Leonid Yarmolnik (Don Rumata), Yevgeni Gerchakov (Budakh), Aleksandr Chutko (Don Reba), Valentin Golubenko (Arata), Yuri Tsurilo (Don Pampa), Oleg Botin (Bucher), Natalya Motova (Ari), Zura Kipzhidze (Zurab),

Remember that priceless moment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, directly after the ‘Bring Out your Dead’ scene where Graham Chapman’s Arthur, King of the Britons, rides past accompanied by Terry Gilliam’s servant Patsy clumping coconut halves and John Cleese turns to cart driver Eric Idle and asked who that was, and Idle replies “must be a king. He hasn’t got shit all over him.” It’s hard not to think of Holy Grail when watching Aleksei German’s farewell statement. There’s no king here, everyone seems to have shit all over them, and proud they are, too. (more…)

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visit 3

by Allan Fish

(Italy 1964 108m) DVD2 (Italy only)

Aka. La Visita

Donald Duck the parrot

p  Moris Ergas  d  Antonio Pietrangeli  w  Antonio Pietrangeli, Ruggero Maccari  story  Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari, Gino de Santis  ph  Armando Nannuzzi  ed  Eraldo da Roma  m  Armando Trovajoli  art  Luigi Scaccianoce

Sandra Milo (Pina), François Périer (Adolfo di Palma), Mario Adorf (Cucaracha), Angela Minervini (Chiaretta), Gastone Mochine (Renato Gusso),

Coming as it did at the height of the Italian art-house flowering, it’s not surprising that films such as this slipped through the cracks.  With Fellini and Antonioni reinventing themselves and Italian cinema from their neo-realist roots, the Gothic horrors of Bava and co. at their peak and enfants terribles like Pasolini and Bertolucci making a name for themselves, there were always going to be directors who fells through the cracks.  One such director is surely Antonio Pietrangeli, a director sadly taken from us far too soon and perhaps best known for his 1960 Golden Lion nominee Adua e le Compagne, a decent film in its own right, but a precursor for things to come that few outside Italy would get chance to see.  In a landscape of Italian film we think we know so well, it’s a film to make us adjust our preconceptions. (more…)

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maison 1

by Allan Fish

(France 1971 355m) not on DVD

Aka. The House in the Woods

Hervé’s war

p  Pierre Long, Yves Laumet  d  Maurice Pialat  w  René Wheeler  ph  Roger Duculot  ed  Martine Giordano, Arlette Langmann  m  Maurice Ravel, etc.  art  Isabelle Lapierre

Hervé Lévy (Hervé), Michel Terrazon (Michel), Albert Martinez (Bébért), Pierre Doris (Albert), Jacqueline Dufranne (Mother Jeanne), Agathe Natanson (Marguerite), Ovila Légaré (priest), Alexandre Rignault (Birot), Jean Mauvais (Mahu), Fernand Gravey (Marquis), Henri Saulquin (Le Bedeau), Albert Michel (Cottin), Henri Puff (Marcel), Michel Tugot-Doris (sergeant), Paul Crauchet (Paul, Hervé’s father), Philippe André (Jacques), Maurice Pialat (teacher), Marie-Christine Boulard (Mme.Pouilly), Micha Bayard (M’elle Latour), Barbara Laage (Hélène), Serge Kovacs (Serge), Brigitte Perrier (Brigitte), Eliette Demay (Michèle), Marie Marc (Aunt Marie), Magali Vacher (Magali),

Maurice Pialat’s TV drama begins with a sense of familiarity; a soldier in what is clearly a French soldier’s uniform from World War I, traipsing across the fields to return to his home village.  We have been there before; Edgar Reitz’s Heimat began the same way with a German soldier, but there the returnee was demobbed, the war was over and the series would become a chronicle of life for the next 60 years.  La Maison des Bois takes place during and the immediate aftermath of World War I, but the difference is that Pialat, as one may expect from a director who had not long ago made L’Enfance Nue (whose young star Michel Terrazon reappears here),tells it from the point of view of a child.  Not the French Heimat then, but more of a World War I variation of so many French stories of childhood or lost innocence over the course of a summer, only the summer here is rather several seasons reduced to one figurative one. (more…)

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1860 2

by Allan Fish

(Italy 1934 75m) DVD2 (Italy only)

Aka. 1860 – I Mille di Garibaldi; Gesuzza the Garibaldian Wife

Waiting for Giuseppe

p  Emilio Cecchi  d  Alessandro Blasetti  w  Gino Mazzucchi, Emilio Cecchi, Alessandro Blasetti  novel  Gino Mazzucchi  ph  Giulio de Luca, Anchise Brizzi  ed  Ignazio Ferronetti, Giocinto Salito  m  Nino Medin  art  Vittorio Cafiero, Angelo Cannavale

Giuseppe Belino (Carmelo Trau), Aida Bellia (Rosuzza Trau), Gianfranco Giachetti (Father Costanzo), Maria Denis (Clelia), Mario Ferrari (Colonel Carini),

It’s one of the most famous paintings in the world.  Goya’s ‘The Third of May 1808’.  The title may not be familiar, but the painting will be.  Is there a more potent depiction of the oppression of the working class than Goya’s masterpiece?  It depicts the brave but failed resistance of Spanish rebels to Napoleon during the peninsular war.  A group of peasants are placed against a wall while a firing squad prepares to give out improvised ‘justice’.  Among the huddled few awaiting their fatal bullets, a man in a white shirt pleads with arms outstretched.  It’s become an icon of resistance to tyranny everywhere.  It’s also the painting that comes to mind whenever I think of Alessandro Blasetti’s 1860(more…)

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hlemmur 3

by Allan Fish

(Iceland 2002 86m) not on DVD

Aka. Last Stop


Gerd Haag  d/w  Olafur Sveinsson  ph  Halldór Gunnarsson  ed  Olaf de Fleur Johannesson  m  Sigur Rós

Childhood memories are always somewhat hazy with me, but one thing I remember is regular trips to Lancaster on the bus and, while the journey itself is depressing enough, taking over an hour to wind its way through all the places it can when a car would do the journey in twenty minutes, what lay at the end was more depressing; Lancaster bus station.  I loved Lancaster itself; its old railway station, the castle then and now half converted into a prison, the little priory next door with its tiny café, the long since gone shops where I would pick up VHS tapes; Our Price and Andy’s Records.  Against all that was a bus station on an island that felt marooned, a triangular shape with over-hanging flat roof, dilapidated offices which no-one seemed to occupy and foul-smelling toilets.  The Sally Army probably never bothered to go there on their Christmas soup runs.  After seeing Olafur Sveinsson’s truly heart-rending documentary, one can be sure such terminuses exist through the known world. (more…)

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ghat 1

by Allan Fish

(India 1977 108m) DVD0 (India only)

Aka. The Ritual

Outcast of the agrahara

Sadananda Suvarna  d  Girish Kasaravalli  w  Girish Kasaravalli, K.V.Sabanna  novel  Ananthamurthy U.R.  ph  S.Ramachandra  ed  Umesh Kulkarni  m  B.V.Karanth

Ajith Kumar (Nani), Meena Kuttappa (Yamuna), Naraya Bhatt (Shastri), Ranaswamy Iyengar (Udupa), Shanta Kumari, Janganath, Suresh, H.S.Parvathi, Ramakrishna,

Girish Kasaravalli’s Ghatashraddha should be better known in the west.  It was voted one of the ten greatest Indian films ever made by critics in 2007 and its viewpoint, that of a child’s view of adult hypocrisy and injustice, it a familiar one in the west.  The reason for its neglect isn’t entirely clear, but language may have had something to do with it.  While very much in the tradition of great Hindi humanist cinema, it isn’t actually a Hindi film.  Kasaravalli’s film, and Kasaravalli himself, speak another language; Kannada.  The only DVD of the film as yet released advertises the fact in typically intrusive Indian style in the form of a bright logo running through the top right of the screen and a Kannada text logo below it.  Some sources have it running over half an hour longer than the running time of the DVD and quoted above; even now it seems elusive.  (more…)

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CM Capture 2

by Allan Fish

this begins an infrequent series of films about childhood criminally neglected in the US to coincide with Sam’s childhood poll

(France-TV 1977 312m) not on DVD

Girl, boy, girl, boy…

p  Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville  d/w  Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville  ph  Pierre Binggeli, William Lubtchansky, Dominique Chapuis, Philippe Rony

Albert Dray, Betty Berr, Camille Virolleaud, Arnaud Martin,

If one was to ask a selection of serious film buffs, critics and writers to name the single-most influential director in late 20th century culture, I’d be surprised if Jean-Luc Godard didn’t top the poll.  He’s come to be seen as much as personification of the zeitgeist as a director, indeed often setting the tempo for what would become the daily zeitgeist.  One would think then that his work was easily accessible, preserved on DVD and now Blu Ray in the way that the work of, say, Hitchcock, Scorsese or Bergman is.  Yet this is only partly true; the canonical Godard has always existed, but it generally covers his work up to 1967-68; the experimental films that followed in the subsequent decades have always been somewhat harder to track down.  There are still a few I have been unable to see, and until recently one of them was France/Tour/Detour/Deux/Enfants.  It only became so when an old Channel 4 TV recording surfaced. (more…)

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