HarryTuttle's Spontaneous Impressions - C
Café Lumière
Capturing the Friedmans
Carlito's Way
El Castillo de la Pureza
Céline et Julie vont en bateau
The Ceremony
Chats Perchés
Chen Mo and Meiting
La Chute de la maison Usher
La Cienaga
The Cinemascope Trilogy
City Girl
Cœur Fidèle
Copy shop
La Coquille et le Clergyman
The Corporation
Les Corps Impatients
Le Couperet
Le Couple Témoin
La Communidad
The Company
The Conversation
The Cranes are Flying
Crazy Thunder Road
Cries and Whispers
Crimson Gold
Cyrano de Bergerac

> CRIT <Café Lumière
2004 - HOU Hsiao-hsien - Japan

Proclaimed homage to Ozu's centenial, the film re-enact Ozu's traditional family drama with a new generation gap in today's Japan, "Ozu's children" are parents now, and their daughter announces her father-less pregnancy. Omnipresence of trains in a labyrintic Tokyo. The homage to Ozu is indirect, and the style is closer to Kore-eda or K. Kurosawa. The central homage is to a taiwainese composer who studied in Japan. Incidentally the father of the girl's baby is taiwanese too.


content ++++ \ playwright ++++ \ mise-en-scène ++++ \ inspiration ++++ \ craft ++++

> CRIT <Capturing The Friedmans
2003 - Andrew JARECKI - USA

it's a terrible documentary... it's more like a Real TV show. there is absolutely no journalistic rigor in this work. evidences are stack with no order, for pure sensational effect. i was manipulated from end to end.
i didnt know what i was watching, just that it was some kind of documentary about a family who got involved in a trial in 1986. i didnt know if they were guilty, condemened, dead or alive...
1) my opinion was it's about a dysfunctional family
2) my opinion was it's about a daddy who hid to his family he had pedophile fantasies
3) the guy did it, the police is onto something
4) this police investigation with mass hysteria is gone nuts, teh guy is innocent
5) damn, this guy has a solid perverted history, abused in childhood, abusing children occasionaly
6) these interviews are all phony
7) this guy denies but he deserves jail for whatever he did
8) his son is too young to be alienated by an aimless/threatening/bargaining parody of justice
9) his son is too careless and joyful to be innocent
there is no contradictory confrontation of assertions... the opposing points of view are interviewed separately (notably Jesse and his lawyer) and neither party is asked to rebute the opposing position, or respond to the denial of the opposing party.
this is such a show! would anybody tour around altogether after your family has been destroyed and humiliated by an affair of this kind??? this is symptomatic of the Real TV generation, Jerry Springer-like Talk shows... people have no shame and just want to get attention.
the way he films himself with his video diary (looking like a last will...), he adresses the audience, and already suspects the cops to watch this footage in teh future... so he's making evidences FOR them, to be watched, and says it while doing it. not to mention he ask us to turn it off if we, viewers, are not him, David Friedman, and discontinue watching this. however David obviously agreed to the publishing of this material... Howard, seems to be having a lot of fun being interviewed by the camera too! he's so melodramatic, exagerating his reaction, the tone of his voice, that i thought he was a bad actor. he cant be real, he cant be talking about his own family... like Vincent Gallo, this guy is too self-conscious of being on camera!
the comparison to Rashomon is very clever. i didnt think of it that way
what i thought of was Bob Crane's fictionous biopic Auto Focus, dealing with the same kind of family movies/pornography short of pedophilia.


> CRIT < Carlito's Way
1993 - Brian DE PALMA - USA

awesome opening scene with that spining camera in B&W! with a bird POV reminiscent of the funeral procession scene in Dreyer's Vampyr.
lots of beautifuly composed scenes, with worked out mise-en-scene (the final subway sequence). the evolution of the characters is interesting, and well impersonated by great actors, but the overall story is pointless and without much surprises.


> CRIT <Carnages
2002 - Delphine GLEIZE - France/Belgium/Spain/Swizerland

excellent entertwined-storyline melo. half-surrealist half-tragedy and another half or irony. involving a confused lil 5 yold girl, a mall actress, a fighting bull, a dog, and quintuplets. nice existensialism emotions painting. Cannes Festival selection Un Certain Regard - Prix Jeunesse. Rugus London film festival - Sutherland Award Stockolm film festival - Best Scenario
the film is difficult to summarize without spoiling the fun.
multiple stories develop in parallel in various places, untill the pathes cross and some characters bump into each other, and their lives collide. several people go through a life crisis at different age, and ponder about life and death from their unique point of view. the metaphysical considerations facing pregnancy, cheating, fatherhood, motherhood, loss, abandon, identity take a strange look as these characters realize other people around them might have answers. the movie is all about atmosphere, the collage of all the stories together is clever and the transitions around this bullfight carrion give a very surrealist twist to this quirky fable. it's a succession of moving scenes about people's intimacy, an aspect of their life, unshielded, helpless, naked. the photography is rich and colorful, each scene is fully furbished of very personal objects and a complex emotional background surrounds each character, that tells about their whereabouts. the whole dance throughout each sequence, rythmed by the sweet music and the cynic visual derision move us into this burlesque world that is simultaneously sad and humourous.


> CRIT <El Castillo De La Pureza
1973 - Arturo RIPSTEIN - Mexico

The Castle of Purity

it has definitely a Buñuel touch. i was disappointed by the dragging heavy narration lacking in virtuosity. but this heavy endless disturbing atmosphere is well rendered. the feeling of imprisonment feels close to the one in Midnight Express. the acting direction, apparently rather free and leaving room to improvisation for the kids was well mastered. the "apocalyptic" ending is crazy, and the ambiguity is preserved until the last minute.


> CRIT <Céline Et Julie Vont En Bateau
1974 - Jacques RIVETTE - France

I must say I'm quite disappointed after all the praise I heard about it beforehand... It's fun, the concept and the experimental editing have a strong potential but fails to achieve as much as it should. Always too superficial, with a shortsighted ambition limited to private jokes and silly improvisations... This Monty Python's sketch didn't need to develop on over 3h. Rivette's prank can hardly compare to Vera Chytilova's Daisies, Resnais' Je t'aime, je t'aime, Buñuel's Cet obscur objet du désir, or Cassavetes' improvisations... I like the narrative construction but the performances are just uninspired and uninvolved in the film's delisiously absurd atmosphere. It could have been so much better with a minimum of mise-en-scène and the improvisation kept at the rehearsal stage.
I wonder how the dialogue translates in english subtitles... the text is full of 50ies street slang, neologisms, puns, free-word-association, surrealist cadavres-exquis, self-reference... and it goes very fast, with characters talking at the same time!


> CRIT <The Ceremony
1971 - Nagisa OSHIMA - Japan

What a complicated extended family transgenerational tragedy! I had trouble to keep track of all characters, their flashback history, and official/unofficial ties to the rest of the clan... Arranged marriage by the grandfather who runs his descendance like a business empire, and funerals (execution, suicide, murders) articulate the discontinuous related story. Although the film is supported by a somptuous cinematography! and a chilling mise-en-scène. I got lost in all the post-war ressentment against the old regime, communists, manchurians, koreans, war criminals, police state, american occupation, foreign influence... for my poor knowledge of the political evolution within this timeframe. However the symbols are powerful enough to push their point across. Baseball plays a central role in the main character's life, obviously siding with the american world. The marriage with the invisible bride is one of the best metaphore I've seen to yell out angst for inhumane traditions, followed by the "public honeymoon" and yet another funeral. A spectacular piece of cinematography!


> CRIT <Charade
1963 - Stanley DONEN - USA

an adorable comedy full of irony, where Audrey Hepburn and Carry Grant dont take themselves seriously and make fun of their own role in this mere parody of a robbery investigation involving the american embassy in Paris, spies turned baddies, mistaken identities and feminine intuition.
i heard Carry Grant refused to play with Audrey Hepburn earlier because he thought she was too young an actress for his age, to make him the love interest. Here, she falls for him with a fanatic passion! and he keeps her at distance all along :p leading to hilarious scenes (the fully clothed shower with dripdry suit!), where seduction is unilateral.
WOW Audrey is gorgeous!!!!


> CRIT <Chats Perchés
2004 - Chris MARKER - France

I just saw the last Marker tonight at the Centre Pompidou (museum of modern art): Chats Perchés, which I would translate into A cat with a Grin (see picture) :D
This is kinda Marker's version of Fahrenheit 911... A retrospective of hot politics events taking place in France since november 2001 (anti-war protests, the fascist/Chirac duel at last presidency, various social strikes, the islamic veil controversy, death of actress Marie Trintignant murdered by her b/f, communist propaganda...) following the narrative track of occurances of this mysterious graffiti cat on the walls and streets of Paris.
I didn't really like it. It's a video-grade made-for-TV mockumentary with limited commentary and bad video effects. I guess it serves as an archive of french politics only. Disappointing.


> CRIT <Chen Mo And Meiting
2002 - LIU Hao - China

Chen Mo he Mei Ting
the documentary-neorealist touch of what seem to define the latest generation of chinese filmmakers is again painting Beijing with smog, cold, traffic, poverty, gloom and fatalism. A portrait of the chinese reality under the brutal opening to the western economies. Idleness, unemployment, illegal market, business abuse, skyrocketting rents, shortage of accomodations, helplessness of the police...
This is the daily life of young adults who have no future but to make enough money to live by the day. Their relationship is somehow naive and tender, a friendly-platonic love, but the chinese society is very prude and taboo on sex. The evolution of this relationship is shown through small details, silent attitudes, unspoken words, making touching and poetical scenes.
The cinematography is mixed... half of it is made of unmastered shots (too much camera moves or wrong angle, wrong frame), and the other half gives us this beautiful light and close ups.
Interesting debut film.


> CRIT <La Chute De La Maison Usher
1928 - Jean EPSTEIN - France

The Fall of the House of Usher
Silent Black&White (with an interesting contemporean/dodecaphonic music on it! by Rolande de Cande)
Photo : Georges Lucas et Jean Lucas
cast : Jean Debucourt (Sir Roderick Usher), Marguerite Gances (Madeleine Usher) Abel Gance's wife!
Assistant Director : Luis Buñuel ! who argued with Epstein and split before the end of the shooting. he started his own film a few months later with Salvador Dali : Un chien Andalou.
Scenario : Epstein. inspired from short stories of Edgar Allan Poe (The New Extraordinary Stories) : The Fall of the House of Usher, The Oval Portrait, Berenice, and Tomb of Ligeia.

Story : Allan a visitor look to go to Usher, but the name itself is cursed by a doom and gloom reputation in the region, so nobody wants to drive him there. the castle is derelict and inhabited by Roderick Usher, his wife Madeleine (his sister in Poe's story, changed because of the incest innuendo). Madeleine is very sick, and Roderick spends his days painting her. The long poses exhaust her, and it seems every stroke of brush that makes the picture more real, makes herself weaker (a reverse of the Portrait of Dorian Gray). and once the portrait is finished, Madeleine dies. But Roderick believes she'll be back and forbid to ceal the coffin...
the fine line between life and death is the essence developed throughout the film, using all possible technics to better express it emotionaly and symbolicaly.
the cinematography is impressive! expressionism, ghostly darkness and some surrealism. Epstein uses overlaping footage, slow-motion, shadows and a magic lighting with candles and veils. he manages skillfuly the special FX for the "live painting". the whole set with the huge rooms that dwarf the actors and vibrate with the wind. some FX of the House setting ablaze and crumbling down are a bit funny, with a genealogical tree cast with stars in the night above the House
the editing itself is a reference! Epstein uses power-cut with almost 2 or 3 pics per second at times, inserting some unrelated shots (for graphism or surrealist purpose), some inverted shots, or upside down, quick glances at many places at the same time...
few slates, most of the story goes throught images instead (even the main narration), yet on the opening scene, a black screen with the word "Usher" is redundantly displayed to show how the locals are afraid at the sound of the name (power-cuts with horrified faces)
the characters arent much talkative, Epstein emphasis on the atmosphere: meloncholy, macabre, romantic, fantastic, poetic, dreamy... he fully experiment all visual technics and produce an avant-garde aesthetism.


> CRIT <La Cienaga
2001 - Lucrecia MARTEL - Argentina

The Swamp

"family differences" between the city of Buenos Aires, a country town, Salta, and the isolated mountians of Argentina, during a too hot summer.
the wealthy family of 6 living in a large villa with pool (although unfiltred) with 2 servants and a poorer family of 5 living in town.
the 2 mothers are sisters, Mecha and Tali. the older son of the first one, José, has gone to live in Buenos Aires with the a friend of them (or their age!)
When Mecha has an accident, Tali and José come by to take her company. Family proximity always bring up tensions and forgotten issues... Everyone knows, and talk in the back, but nothing is told in the face. Each chracter keeps his/her problems for himselfs and covers them up, by playing the expected role in the family.
The children play with shotguns, swim near the dam, go dancing, nothing much to do when the heat sweat you out.
Meanwhile a girl in town claims to have witnessed an apparition of the Virgen Maria, which is the big event in these fervent latine population.
We can feel the slowish pace of these damp overheated summer days, the photography is very crude, bare, realist, sometimes poetic, sometimes painful, like the screenplay, almost a true and honest documentary.


> CRIT <The Cinemascope Trilogy
1998 - Peter TSCHERKASSKY - Austria

Extraordinary experimental work with "found footage" recycling! An homage to the begining of the cinematographe, both in its primitivity, and the aging errors aspect. The highly contrasted B&W photography is enhanced by hand-made FX : overexposition, halos, solarisation, inversion... The film slides across the screen revealing the perforations, the soundtrack, mirroring itself, duplicating many times creating a new vitual space of the film footage itself where characters face their double, or themselves in a past/future action. Overlapping of several faces against a black background. The editing go as far as 24 edits per second, alternating the inversed image every second frame, rendering a stroboscopic effect on screen. The film cuts crackle, the sound track grates, suppressed, smothered.

L'arrivée / The arrival (1998, B&W, 2')
Using the first film footage existing : The brothers Lumière's Arrival of the Mail Train (1895). Mirror effects, reel perforations, optical sound track, shuffle around at the stroboscopic beat of stuttering sound effrects. The film itself makes its arrival on screen from offscreen. A second film arrives from the opposing side. The 2 trains on each film crash and show a woman exiting from the slit tearing apart the screen.

Outer Space (1999, B&W, 10')
Using footage from The Entity (1988, Sidney J. Furie) with Barbara Hershey. A woman alone at home in the night, gets undressed, go to bed. The film jumps and thrusts, the woman is trapped in the frame and an invisible monster stalk on her in the dark, and maybe rape her, or maybe it's only her dream. Gradualy the montage goes crazy, first only the image texture is altered by isolating details in the frame, overlaping, mix of several scenes at once, repeat, stroboscopic effect, then the frames jump, the film itself explodes, while the soundtrack rages fury.

Dream Work (2002, B&W, 11')
extension of Outer Space. Homage to Man Ray's surrealist photographic experimentations like rayographs (contact printing by laying objects on the photosensible surface to screen the light and outline a silhouette) with taks, ciszors, film reel and his own hands, all frame by frame.


> CRIT <City Girl / Our Daily Bread
1930 - F. W. MURNAU - USA

Inspired by Chaplin's Woman of Paris, and Flaherty's Nanook, Murnau became fully american, makes a realist romance, no longer expressionist, an opposite counterpart of Sunrise, where the city-girl is the legit wife who must make her husband a man despite the patriarcal misogynist society of the country.


> CRIT <Cœur Fidèle
1923 - Jean EPSTEIN - France

The Faithful Heart
B&W Silent
Screenplay : Marie Epstein et Jean Epstein
Cinematography : Paul Guichard
with : Marie (Gina Manès); Jean (Léon Mathot); Petit Paul (Edmond Van Daele, also in Epstein's 6 1/2 x 11 see above); the cripple girl (Marie Epstein as Miss Marice);

Marie, a foster child raised by an old couple of mean bar tenants, on the port of Marseille on the mediterranean coast of France, is loved by 2 men. one is
Petit Paul, a thug feared on the port, the other is Jean, a poor hardworker. both want to marry her, so Petit Paul runs away with Marie to the country, and wants to marry Mary on a Merry-go-round.
powerful images of the entertainment fair, with attractions, music, party's confetti and streamers, with power cuts to close ups, and faces of the actors spinning on the merry go round.
Jean finds them at the fair, and fights with Petit Paul, who takes off when the police shows up. Jean serves 1 year of jail. When he exists, he finds Marie with a baby, and still loves her. but Petit Paul is around...
a naturaliste melodrama portraying the figure of innocence (young and beautiful orphan girl), whose heart is split between Good (the honest, poor, romantic man), and Evil (the mean alcoholic wife-beater thug), that turns out to be a critical study on populist cinema through the avant-garde visual experiment of Epstein. expressionist lighting, strong contrast, dramatical focused spotlight, shadows. use of images/footage overlapping, mirrors, diaphragm. power cut editing, with fast succession of alternating plans.
a fantastic model of avant-garde cinema.


> CRIT <Copy Shop
2001 - Virgil WIDRICH - Austria

12', B&W, no dialogue.

it looks different on the big screen than online. What looked like nice B&W photography is in fact a Xerox-like grainy dirty picture. He used a mix of frame by frame animation with photocopies of screen capture, and a dirtying effect in post production on the film footage. He definitely used blue screen trick (white screen for B&W positive) and CGI inserts for the duplication/overlapping. I noticed blury edges around the character.


> CRIT <La Coquille Et Le Clergyman
1928 - Germaine DULAC - France

The Seashell and the Clergyman
There has been a controversy around the making and the release of this film. Screenwritten by Antonin Artaud, who was a poet belonging to the surrealist movement, and directed by Germaine Dulac, symbolist filmmaker. Irène Hillel who produced all the films of Dulac, was the benefactor of the Dadaist movement (Breton, Soupault, Aragon...), and Dulac used to meet them, so the link between symbolists and surrealist was more natural than expected.
A satirist newspaper called it "The marriage of the carp and the rabbit".
At the premiere the audience excited by a mediatic scandal shouted insults and booed, the film was stopped after only a few minutes. In the dark theatre they said:

- Who made this film?
- Germaine Dulac
- What is that Germaine Dulac?
- A cow

Despite the bad reputation and his conflicts with Dulac about the direction, Artaud never disowned his scenario, contrary to popular belief.
Jean Vigo was admirative and inspired by this film. The strange bottle with cut hands that Michel Simon shows to the bride on his boat in L'Atalante (1934) is reminiscent of the glass ball containing a face in Dulac's film.


> CRIT <The Corporation
2004 - Jennifer ABBOTT / Mark ACHBAR - Canada

Powerful anti-globalization message deconstructing the psychopath profile of major corporations without ethic for the environment and the human condition. Only money matters, and they condition people to become dependant consumers since childhood. Uninventive documentary.


> CRIT <Les Corps Impatients
2003 - Xavier GIANNOLI - France

Eager Bodies

it is kinda amateurish in form and shape, but beyond that it features very powerful performances by teen actors involved in an uncomfortable menage à trois, while one of them is fighting against cancer. outstanding performance by the young Laura Smet (with real shaved head!) who is doing her debut here. (she is the daughter of Nathalie Baye (who plays in Les Sentiments)
a disturbing story about the need for love at the edge of death, jealousy, and the greed for flesh.


> CRIT <Le Couperet
2005 - COSTA-GAVRAS - France

Neo-noir political satire. Based on Donald E. Westlake's eponymous novel The Ax. Passional crime adaptated to job-hunting. Unemployment is like an intimate relationship breakup followed by breakdown. A man only exists through his social position, when it's taken away from him, because of proficiency purges, firms fusion or dislocation, the employee takes it personaly and feels abandonned, cheated, betrayed, devaluated. Costa-Gavras deepens this metaphor in a parallel couple therapy the wife brings her husband to:

Him: "This job was my life! They took away my life!"
Her: "...but you have me"
Him: "Can you give me a job?"

A deliciously cynical observation of the many paradoxes in capitalist globalization. Behind a darker extreme case study (a top specialized manager in paper chemistry plots to assassinate the 5 other unemployed managers on the job market, as qualified as him, who could steal the next available position), the film explores human nature when subjected to challenging situations, when morality digressions escalate to justify previous faults. Begining with a lie (as in L'emploi du Temps / Time Out), a double life, outlaw way of life, up to cold-blooded premediation, crime justifications.
Andy Garcia, formerly famous for his comedic roles, is this self-home-made serial killer with naive improvised tactics. This first serious dramatic role is successful, yet I thought a moustache or somekind of prop missed to make him feel somebody else, and break away from his comedy-typing. Thus the atmosphere tends to be lighter. Humor isn't absent though, as Costa-Gavras plays with a recurrant billboard ad with naked girls and wealth/power icons (diamonds, watch, phone, gun, lingerie) that show up on screen like a subliminal message confusing both the audience and the hero.

C +++ W +++ M ++ I +++ C ++


> CRIT <Le Couple Témoin
1975 - William KLEIN - France

The Model Couple
a young couple going through an identity crisis is projected into a governmental experiment to observe, manipulate and brainwash the life of people in year 2000 with (70ies) high tech environment. anticipation-futuristic tale about Big Brothers scientific holy quest for the average citizen. the first Real Tv show ever!


> CRIT <La Communidad
1999 - Alex DE LA IGLESIA - Spain

his best achievment so far. a strange story of a community of greedy and nasty people who live trapped by their own sins in an old building. there is a hidden treasure, gossips and sneaky spies. an outstanding Carmen Maura!
it reminds Jeunet's Delicatessen somehow with a different humor and outcome.


> CRIT <The Company
2003 - Robert ALTMAN - USA

a beautiful film that didnt play up to my expectations... all the dance performance is impressive and admirable, but the narration is disappointing, it does not justice to the hardwork of a ballet troup.
Neve is unbelievable at dancing! is there no body-double at any time?
the Xmas parody show is hilarious!
first off, i'm disappointed by the cinematography! dance is highly graphic, the world of a ballet training, with mirrors, choreography, bodies moving graciously should be inspirational for photography researches... but the shots are closer to real-TV than to documentary standards. and the cinematography gets interesting only halfway through with the red ballet. the (experimental) lighting, the jump cuts are very frustrating because it makes the ballet very hard to follow. it's already hard to relate to so many characters, but there is no continuity in shots on individual dancers so we can figure who is on stage.
the result appears as if you wink your eyes randomly or you turn your head off the show in the middle of a movement... we get only pieces of the whole, and the point is not even to make an aesthetic editing of abstract motion of shapes and colors on screen, like an art performance. it fails both.
i thought, since it's a backstage look at a ballet's life, we'd get a more informed vision on a ballet performance than the general public usualy sees.
i've seen better documentaries on the world of dance, showing more accurately how hard and painful it is to reach this level of art.
pain is treated only anecdotaly : a neck pain, an achilles snapped, a shoulder broken... (echoed by the cook b/f's finger cut! ) this is so silly. all this was so politicaly correct! Neve gives us a glam vision of a ballet, the reality is very different... even Billy Elliot is more sensible.
ok the dramatic narration isnt as cheesy as in the average romance, situations portray subtle hints at people's social life, and stays away from oversignificant clichés. even Neve's broken heart and new relationship building is sketched out lightly and without heavy comments.
but the overall treatment is underdevelopped, and the characters are overlooked. no indepth on their personality, no showing situations, no continuity with characters... for instance the lead dancer portrays an interesting personality
another issue is the loose editing of the yearly season schedule. the passing time is very confusing. i'd think daily hours of painful training, deadlines before shows are a major concern in their life, although nothing in the screenplay helps to figure how fast the time passes (except for main holydays). the shows succeed one after the other and the editing choice is to make it look like if time is meaningless.
i dont find McDowell exceptional as an ex-dancer. his moody condescending hypocritical attitude is great for a theatre director, but i found the artistic involvement in dance training uneducated and unconvincing.
despite all this, i admit that the film conveys an indie feeling above average. the dance performances are great and the acting performances arent too bad. but i expected higher standards and a more aesthetic cinematic work.


> CRIT <The Conversation
1974 - Francis Ford COPPOLA - France

outstanding opening sequence!!! groundbreaking on several levels : soundtrack, of course! camerawork/framing, visual editing, sound editing, and the manipulative narration that gives us just not enough to know where we are.
the last half of the film is riveting, not just the last hotel sequence. all the part from him lashing out his woodenfloor. the paranoia of the character is captivating.
i dont remember well the dream sequence tho.
all the scenes in the middle didnt feel right... even on the existentialist inspiration! and what Mr blonde says might explains why...
there is an obvious lack of coherence in the point of the movie. compared to Mulholland Dr. that was pieced together budget issues as well, Coppola cannot make it seemless like Lynch did.


> CRIT <The Cranes Are Flying
1957 - KALATAZOV - Russia

what a gorgeous movie! appealed by Soy cuba i was motivated to watch another film of this russian genius. and i'm fullfilled.
the photography is not as pure and composed as in Cuba, of course, this is a war film in Moscow, but the masterful plan-sequence are there! this guy can give motion to a shot, and exploit the position of his characters in a crowd or in a graphic photography.
each shot is a picture! the lines of perspective, of stairs, buildings or trees compose with precision each frame, like in the constructivist russian photography (i.e. Rodchenko)
the lead actress: Tatyana Samojlova's talent spans from sexy, playfull and innocent, to fear, guilt, wound and pain. She carries the narration on her shoulders.
she reminds me of the young Chulpan Khamatova (currently playing in Becker's Good Bye Lenin!, and stared in Khudojnazarov's Luna Papa) her acting is obviously very uch inspired by Samojlova.


> CRIT <Crazy Thunder Road
1980 - Sogo ISHII - Japan

His first student film he made at 22 yold. They advertized it as being in Takeshi Kitano's top10 favorite movies... It's almost painful to watch. It's about street thugs on motorbikes who beat eachother back and forth in a tit-for-tat gang war. Put in the middle a couple of chicks to film some cheesy romance scene (with the whitish colors and the cloudy lens effect), and an far-right fascist at the head of a nationalist militia who wants to channels these kids energy under his command for the order of Japan. It's all hand held camera (even on motorbikes, trembling) and the dialogues are terrible, in japanese slang, approximately subtitled in english slang... Although I have to admit it was pretty ambitious for a homemade film, full of stunts on wheels, action, explosions, machine guns and bazooka...


> CRIT <Cries and Whispers
1972 - Ingmar BERGMAN - Sweden

Viskningar och rop
the central theme of the film is the love craved from a self-concerned mother out of reach, by broken children . Due to one of the sister's illness they are forced to meet again, in the family house, in their traumatic childhood context, forming again the "hierarchical" structure of the siblings, playing out the old tension/jealousy that built their character. Each girl hates the other 2 for stealing her mother love share, a trauma that adulthood, and their subsequent sentimental life didn't overcome. Back in the house of their spoiled childhood they re-enact their past competition.


> CRIT <Crimson Gold
2003 - Jafar PANAHI - Iran

Talaye sorkh
Cannes 2003 - Un Certain Regard Jury Award
Chicago International Film Festival - Gold Hugo

Based on a true story, Abbas Kiarostami writes this scenario for his former assistant, Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Circle).
The last day in the life of Hussein, a strange and sympathetic man from the lower iranian class who delivers pizzas in Teheran on his scooter. He's a veteran from the Iraq war, depressed under medication, about to marry his best friend's sister. Humiliated by the condescending attitute of the new wealthy people, he ends up shooting a jeweler and commit suicide.
the film start off by the last scene : the attack of a jewelry, when he is trapped in by the security system, freaks out and shoot the jeweler, then shoots himself. the film follows up accounting for the events since the morning that led to this tragedy. there is no moralization, no justification, no explanation. this realist cinema observes objectively the contradictions in the iranian society, the opposition between the rich and the poor, the overwhelming moral police watching people's lives, the oppression on women, arranged marriages, tradition, religion... the adventures of this man start off with drive-by purse snatching, with his friend, and moves on to burglary when a stranger overhear their conversation and push their ambition toward more bandit professionalism. Hussein will deliver a pizza to a rich heird who came back from the USA in an empty luxury duplex with pool and marble bathroom at the top of a skyscrapper. oddly enough this young man whose girlfriend has just left, is very friendly and invite Hossein in to eat with him, and listen to his bourgeois spleen.
the cast is non-professional, and the cinematography is raw to the bone, away from seduction and emotional manipulation. the performances are rather dull and slowish without much point, but the whole together embraces a disturbing portrayal of the iranian society, like in his previous films. the underlaying message in each scene is very powerful, behind a minimalist cinéma-vérité. a social/political fiction-documentary.

content : pro / script : mixed / inspiration : pro / craft : mixed


> CRIT <Cyrano de Bergerac
1990 - Jean-Paul RAPPENEAU - France

Cyrano can fight and play with words finely but his overdimensioned nose complexion blocks his desire for the gorgeous Roxanne. Christian is cute and brave but stutters in front of a woman. The young handsome idiot and the old ugly poet team up to seduce the woman they are in love in a Romeo & Juliet setting. The doppleganger splits the love interest into 2 distinct entities : physical emotion and intellectual emotion. Love wants it all. And lovers are never perfect enough. Cyrano lives in the shadow of Christian and can finaly address his most ardent passion to her through him, touching her heart like the flesh stand-in will never touch her skin. The doppleganger and his puppet play opposite roles whether on the battlefield or on the love ground, causing conflicts of influence between them, although both know they couldn't live without the other.