classic world cinema Articles
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Maria Kimberly, Marcel Fraval, Honoré Bostel, François MaisongrosseIn Brief: Jacques Tati's final theatrical film — and the swan song for his Monsieur Hulot character — is a strange affair in that Tati the performer takes a definite backseat to Tati the director. The results are a mixed bag, but a likable one. The plot is nothing more than having M. Hulot transport his fantasticated "camping car" from Paris to a car show in Amsterdam— and though Hulot is rarely the cause of the trouble this time, things do not go smoothly. Rarely hysterically funny, the film is instead mostly pleasantly goofy.
Genre: Political Comedy Drama
Director: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin
Starring: Yves Montand, Jane Fonda, Vittorio Caprioli, Elizabeth Chauvin, Castel CastiIn Brief: Jean-Luc Godard's Tout Va Bien may be the single best representation of the filmmaker's work in that it's brilliant, stupid, fascinating, boring, compelling and infuriating at the same time. That strikes me as a perfect summation of the many faces of Godard packed into one movie. What the film is about is hard to say. It's partly about making a film, partly about the malaise following the riots of 1968, partly an examination of the relationship of the world's most uninteresting characters. It's also probably about other things, but you might have to be Godard to say what.
Director: Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now)
Starring: Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gulpill, John Meillon, Robert McDarraIn Brief: Cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Nicolas Roeg's first solo film, Walkabout — the story of a pair of orphaned children lost in the Australian outback with only a young Aborigine on "walkabout" to aid them — holds up remarkably well more than 40 years later. It's a strange, quasi-mystical film that tantalizes the viewer with suggestion more than outright statement and wisely refuses to reveal all its mysteries.
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
Director: Ishirô Honda (The H-Man)
Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki MurakamiIn Brief: Well, the big boy is back -- proving that you can't keep the mightiest of all monsters down. It's only been about three months since our pal Gojira -- or Godzilla as he came to be known over here -- was in town to stomp and blast his way through Tokyo. World Cinema, realizes you can't have enough kaiju — especially in this first one, here seen in its original Japanese version. There were countless sequels and imitations, but no subsequent film got anywhere near the darkly grim tone of this one.
Genre: Drama Horror
Director: Marco Bellocchio (Vincere)
Starring: Lou Castel, Paola Pitagora, Marino Mase, Liliana Gerace, Jeannie McNeil, Pier Luigi TroglioIn Brief: Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket — an intimate look at the inner workings of a dysfunctional, decadent middle-class family — is something of an oddity. It's definitely not Italian neo-realism. It kind of feels like an offshoot of the French New Wave, but it's that by way of something in the nature of one of those black-and-white Hammer psychological horror movies. And while the film is definitely a commentary on the Italian middle class, it really is a horror movie at heart.
Genre: Surreal Semi-autobiographical Comedy Drama
Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Barbara SteeleIn Brief: If you only see one Federico Fellini film, 8 1/2 is the one to see. It's the film where Fellini emerged as the fully-formed fantasist he's most identified as. It's a beguiling fantasy about a filmmaker trying to come to terms with his life, his spirituality, his love life and the big movie already in the works that he's supposed to make — even though he has only the barest notion of what that film will be. Whether it actually means anything or is simply a look at a filmmaker's own confusion is up to you, but it's a ride like few others.
Genre: Surreal Comedy Drama
Director: Luis Buñel
Starring: Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquent, Ángela Molina, Julien Bartheay, André WeberIn Brief: For what turned out to be his final film, Luis Buñuel turned to Pierre Louys' story The Woman and the Puppet — a work that had also served as the final film collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich in 1935 as The Devil Is a Woman. The resulting film, That Obscure Object of Desire (1978), is so insistent that the woman be perceived as so obscure that Buñuel had her played by two different actresses. (When you're the world's most famous surrealist filmmaker, you can get away with that sort of thing.) The story of an older man's obsession with a younger woman may not be Buñuel's best, but it's certainly a farewell worth having.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Édgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer, Fadi Abi Samra, Ahmad KaabourIn Brief: Part three of Olivier Assayas' critically-acclaimed TV mini-series (that also saw a theatrical release), Carlos, will be shown by World Cinema (this is the final installment). Covering 20 years and taking place all over the world, the story of Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (aka Carlos) is an exhaustive — and occasionally exhausting — examination of its subject. Even so, it's delivered in large chunks that are just slapped together in a way that can make it hard to follow.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Édgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer, Fadi Abi Samra, Ahmad KaabourIn Brief: Part two of Olivier Assayas' critically-acclaimed TV mini-series (that also saw a theatrical release), Carlos.(It is being shown over the next two weeks in two more installments by World Cinema.) Covering 20 years and taking place all over the world, the story of Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (aka Carlos) is an exhaustive — and occasionally exhausting — examination of its subject. Even so, it's delivered in large chunks that are just slapped together in a way that can make it hard to follow.
Genre: Fact-based Drama
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Édgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer, Fadi Abi Samra, Ahmad KaabourIn Brief: Olivier Assayas' critically-acclaimed TV mini-series (that also saw a theatrical release), Carlos, is being shown over three weeks in three installments (totaling 330 minutes) by World Cinema. Covering 20 years and taking place all around the world, the story of Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (aka Carlos) is an exhaustive (and occasionally exhausting) examination of its subject. Even so, it's delivered in large chunks that are just slapped together in a way that can make it hard to follow.
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