Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fitzcarraldo

(West Germany, 1982, 157 minutes)

A bankrupt Irishman literally moves a boat over a mountain so he can make enough money to build an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. What starts as a period epic mutates uncomfortably throughout its extensive length into a voyage into human folly or a quasi-ethnographic documentary, giving the impression its ambitious director has for once bitten more than he could chew; but there is much to be admired among the longueurs and the clumsy dubbing. Production extended for nearly three years due to a never-ending series of trials, among which the departure of original lead Jason Robards, taken ill with dysentery.

Werner Herzog Filmproduktion presents a co-production of Werner Herzog Filmproduktion, Pro-Ject Filmproduktion/Filmverlag der Autoren and ZDF. Starring Klaus Kinski; José Lewgoy, Miguel Ángel Fuentes, Paul Hittscher, Huerequeque Enrique Bohórquez, Grande Othelo, Peter Berling; and with Claudia Cardinale. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; produced by Werner Herzog and Lucki Stipetic; music by Popol Vuh; director of photography (colour), Thomas Mauch; art directors, Henning von Gierke, Ulrich Bergfelder; costume designer, Gisela Storch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht

Nosferatu the Vampyre

(West Germany/France, 1978, 106 minutes)

Immortal vampire Count Dracula travels to Wismar carrying death and pestilence with him. Technically a (not entirely successful) remake of F. W. Murnau's 1921 silent classic but in fact a loose and very idiossyncratic variation on the original Dracula story made into a hyper-romantic, highly stylized apocalyptic melodrama.

Michael Gruskoff presents a Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production; a Werner Herzog Filmproduktion/Gaumont/Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen co-production. Starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani; with Bruno Ganz; and Jacques Dufilho. Directed and produced by Werner Herzog; screenplay by Werner Herzog, based on F. W. Murnau's film Nosferatu and on the novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula; music by Popol Vuh/Florian Fricke; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; art director, Henning von Gierke; costume designer, Gisela Storch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

(USA, 2009, 149 minutes)

When the evil Decepticon aliens find a way to have their revenge on the kind Autobots, the fate of the Earth lies again on the shoulders of Sam Witwicky, who has just enrolled in college. More of the same as the first picture starring the children's toys brought to live action, only far too much of it, louder, longer and less enjoyable. Pass.

Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Pictures present, in association with Hasbro, a Don Murphy—Tom de Santo/Di Bonaventura Pictures/Ian Bryce production. Starring Shia Labeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, Julie White; and John Turturro. Directed by Michael Bay; produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom de Santo, Don Murphy, Ian Bryce; screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, based on the Hasbro action figures; music by Steve Jablonsky with Linkin Park; director of photography (DeLuxe prints, Panavision), Ben Seresin; production designer, Nigel Phelps; costume designer, Deborah L. Scott; film editors, Roger Barton, Paul Rubell, Joel Negron, Thomas Muldoon; visual effects supervisor, Scott Farrar.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Woyzeck

(West Germany, 1976, 80 minutes)

A lowly soldier being experimented on by the regiment's doctor becomes insanely jealous of his prostitute girlfriend when he finds she's been sleeping with the drum major. Relatively straightforward presentation of a celebrated unfinished play that is turned by its director into a scathing satire of social warfare.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production. Starring Klaus Kinski; with Eva Mattes. Directed by Werner Herzog; screenplay by Werner Herzog, based on the unfinished play by Georg Brückner, Woyzeck; music by Fiedelquartett Telc; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; art director, Henning von Gierke; costume designer, Gisela Storch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stroszek

(West Germany, 1976, 107 minutes)

An alcoholic just out of jail moves to America with his elderly neighbour and his prostitute girlfriend in search of a better life that fails to materialise. Bleak, disturbing melodrama of broken dreams with a strong documentary component, that fails to follow conventional narrative arcs and works all the better for it.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production. Starring Bruno S., Eva Mattes, Clemens Scheitz. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; director of photography (colour), Thomas Mauch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coco avant Chanel

Coco Before Chanel

(France/Belgium, 2008, 109 minutes)

The early days of celebrated fashion designer Coco Chanel, as, in the 1910s, she tries to escape her barren life as a provincial seamstress by becoming confidante to a Parisian nobleman. Not so much a biopic as an elegantly old-fashioned, subtly handled romantic melodrama, anchored by an outstanding star performance, wisely used production values and excellent acting all around.

A Warner Bros. Pictures release. Haut et Court, Cinéa and Warner Bros. Pictures present a Haut et Court/Cinéa/Warner Bros. Entertainment France/France 2 Cinéma production, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinécinéma and France 2, in association with Films Distribution, Cofinova 5, Banque Populaire Images 9 and Scope Pictures. Starring Audrey Tautou; Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola, Marie Gillain; and Emmanuelle Devos. Directed by Anne Fontaine; produced by Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta, Philippe Carcassonne, Simon Arnal; screenplay by Anne Fontaine and Camille Fontaine, with the collaboration of Christopher Hampton and Jacques Fieschi, based on the book by Edmonde Charles-Roux, L'irregulière ou mon itinéraire Chanel; music by Alexandre Desplat, director of photography (LTC, Duboicolor, Panavision), Christophe Beaucarne; production designer, Olivier Radot; costume designer, Catherine Leterrier; film editor, Luc Barnier.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Herz aus Glas

Heart of Glass

(West Germany, 1976, 94 minutes)

A psychic shepherd prophesises the decline of a village known for its unique ruby-coloured glass, after the master glassmaker dies without revealing his secrets. Phantasmagorical, oblique fable that is most fascinating for its powerful visuals.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion presentation/production. Starring Josef Bierbichler; Stefan Güttler, Clemens Scheitz, Volker Prechtel, Sonja Skiba, Brunhilde Klöckner. Directed by Werner Herzog; written by Herbert Achternbusch; music by Popol Vuh, Studio der Frühen Musik; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; art directors, Henning von Gierke, Cornelius Siegel; costume designers, Gisela Storch, Ann Poppel; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

(West Germany, 1974, 109 minutes)

A young man unable to speak and write is found in a Bayern square in 1828 and turns out to be a disowned orphan who grew up locked in a cellar. Melancholy, impressionist melodrama of social mores that is presented almost as if it were a documentary; quieter and more subdued than most of its director's work, but no less powerful.

A Filmverlag der Autoren release of a Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production, in co-production with ZDF. Starring Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mora. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; art director, Henning von Gierke; costume designers, Gisela Storch, Ann Poppel; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

(West Germany, 1972, 95 minutes)

In the 16th century, an ambitious Spanish conquistador ruthlessly takes over an expedition into the Peruvian jungles in search of the mythical Eldorado. Haunting meditation on ambition, power and madness cleverly disguised as exotic historical adventure, extraordinarily shot on location; the film that truly put its director on the map.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production, in association with Hessischer Rundfunk. Starring Klaus Kinski; with Helena Rojo, Del Negro, Ruy Guerra; Peter Berling, Cecilia Rivera, Daniel Ades. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; music by Popol Vuh; director of photography (colour), Thomas Mauch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit

Land of Silence and Darkness

(West Germany, 1971, 84 minutes)

56-year old Fini Straubinger, a blind and deaf woman who overcame her disabilities, travels through Bavaria looking to help others do the same. Sensitive, harrowing documentary on the plight of the handicapped in modern society, neither exploitative nor pamphleteering.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion presentation/production. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fata Morgana

(West Germany, 1971, 76 minutes)

Plotless, conceptual documentary where images of modern-day Africa are illustrated by words from a Mayan creation myth. Esoterically non-linear composite of breathtaking visuals, classical and rock music and obscure voiceovers; not so much a film as an experience that will infuriate and delight in equal measure, but probably of little interest outside the director's fanbase.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion presentation/production. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; director of photography (colour), Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Hangover

(USA/Germany, 2009, 97 minutes)

Three groomsmen wake up from a riotous bachelor party in Las Vegas with no recollection of what happened last night... and no sign of the groom with 24 hours to go before the wedding. Raucous comedy that never rises to the level of its smart premise but offers some outrageously funny gags along the way.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Green Hat Films production; in association with IFP Westcoast Erste. Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helm, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Mike Epps; with Justin Bartha; and Jeffrey Tambor. Directed by Todd Phillips; produced by Todd Phillips, Dan Goldberg; written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore; music by Christophe Beck; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Lawrence Sher; production designer, Bill Brzeski; costume designer, Louise Mingenbach; film editor, Debra Neil-Fisher.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

State of Play

(USA/Great Britain/France/Germany/Japan, 2009, 126 minutes)

A veteran Washington reporter finds out a drive-by shooting may be related to the apparent suicide of a congressman's assistant. Smartly handled political thriller heavily compressed from an acclaimed BBC series and translated to the US with some flair; the problem is in the compression rather than the translation, speeding far too fast through the convoluted plot to keep it under the running time.

Universal Pictures and Working Title Films present, in association with Studiocanal and Relativity Media, an Andell Entertainment production; in association with International Filmproduktion Stella-del-Sud Fourth; in association with Dentsu. Starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels; and Helen Mirren. Directed by Kevin Macdonald; produced by Andrew Hauptman, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner; screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray, based on the BBC television series written by Paul Abbott, State of Play; music by Alex Heffes; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Rodrigo Prieto; production designer, Mark Friedberg; costume designer, Jacqueline West; film editor, Justine Wright.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen

Even Dwarves Started Small

(West Germany, 1970, 95 minutes)

The inmates at an isolated asylum rebel against authority and take over the facility. Plotless, apocalyptic portrait of anarchy and chaos at work made all the more disturbing by all its performers being dwarves; very typical of its time and of its director's no-holds-barred approach.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion production. Starring Helmut Döring, Gerd Gickel, Paul Glauer, Erna Gschwendtner, Gisela Hertwig, Gerhard März, Hertel Minkner, Alfredo Piccini, Gertraud Piccini, Brigitte Saar, Marianne Saar, Erna Smolarz, Lajos Zsarnoczay. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; director of photography (b&w), Thomas Mauch; film editor, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lebenszeichen

Signs of Life

(West Germany, 1968, 91 minutes)

During WWII, three convalescing German soldiers in an occupied Greek island are sent to guard an old castle fort where nothing ever happens and the isolation starts getting to them. Low-budget melodrama of creeping insanity that is very German in tone and generally well done, but chiefly interesting for being its director's debut feature and featuring many intimations of his work to come.

A Werner Herzog Filmproduktion presentation/production. Starring Peter Brogle, Wolfgang Reichmann, Athina Zacharopoulou, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg. Directed, produced and written by Werner Herzog; music by Stavros Xarchakos; director of photography (b&w), Thomas Mauch; film editors, Beate Mainka, Maxi Mainka.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Viridiana

(Spain/Mexico, 1961, 91 minutes)

A novice reluctantly agrees to visit the ailing uncle who has been supporting her, and the turn of events prove her right. Corrosive but somewhat disjointed satire of piety and religion that set its director's controversial reputation in stone.

Gustavo Alatriste presents an UNINCI/Films 59 production. Starring Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey. Directed by Luís Buñuel; written by Luís Buñuel and Julio Alejandro; musical director, Gustavo Pitaluga; director of photography (b&w), José F. Aguayo; art director, Francisco Canet; film editor, Pedro del Rey.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Abismos de Pasión

Wuthering Heights

(Mexico, 1954, 91 minutes)

The return of a long gone servant mistreated by the eldest son after the death of the father who took him in and now a wealthy man raises romantic havoc in a snobbish rural family. Feverishly melodramatic take on the classic novel that throws away all the backstory and consumes itself in a spiral of claustrophobic, hyper-romantic histrionics; it works, though it shouldn't.

A Columbia Pictures release. Producciones Tepeyac present an Oscar Dancigers production. Starring Irasema Dilian, Jorge Mistral, Lilia Prado, Ernesto Alonso; with Francisco Reiguera, Hortensia Santoveria, Jaime González; and Luís Aceves Castañeda. Directed by Luís Buñuel; produced by Oscar Dancigers; screenplay by Luís Buñuel, adapted by Luís Buñuel, Julio Alejandro and Dino Maiuri, based on the novel by Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; music by Raúl Lavista, based on themes by Richard Wagner; director of photography (b&w), Agustín Jiménez; production designer, Edward Fitzgerald; wardrobe, Valdés Peza; film editor, Carlos Savage.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shotgun Stories

(USA, 2007, 90 minutes)

In rural Arkansas, the death of a former alcoholic awakens a dormant family feud between his sons by two different mothers. Moody, stately melodrama of rural life, smartly observed and lyrically handled.

Upload Films presents, in association with Muskat Film Properties, a Lucky Old Sun production. Starring Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs. Directed and written by Jeff Nichols; produced by David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Jeff Nichols; music by Ben Nichols, Lucero; additional music by Pyramid; director of photography (Deluxe, widescreen), Adam Stone; wardrobe, Rachel Worthen; film editor, Steven Gonzales. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rudo y Cursi

(Mexico/USA, 2008, 99 minutes)

Two brothers from rural Mexico become soccer stars over the course of one season. Rags-to-riches comedy that runs through by-numbers scripting with energy, zip and lively performances from the leads; ultimately, though, it's not enough to distance it from the pack.

A Cha Cha Chá Films presentation/production, in association with Focus Features International and Universal Pictures International. Starring Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Guillermo Francella, Adriana Paz, Jessica Mas; with the special participation of Dolores Heredia. Directed and written by Carlos Cuarón; produced by Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, Frida Torresblanco; music by Felipe Pérez Santiago; director of photography (Deluxe), Adam Kimmel; production designer, Eugenio Caballero; costume designers, Annai Ramos, Ana Terrazas; film editor, Alex Rodríguez. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Genova

(Great Britain, 2008, 93 minutes)

A newly widowed father and his two daughters move to Genova hoping for a fresh start away from the shadow of the deceased mother. Sketchy and rather aimless drama of family loss, whose sincere performances and occasional inspired moment fail to rescue from boredom.

Film 4 and The UK Film Council present, in association with Aramid Entertainment and Hanway Films, a Revolution Films production. Starring Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Willa Holland, Perla Haney-Jardine; and Hope Davis. Directed by Michael Winterbottom; produced by Andrew Eaton; written by Laurence Coriat, Michael Winterbottom; music by Melissa Parmenter; director of photography (colour, widescreen), Marcel Zyskind; production designer, Mark Digby; costume designer, Celia Yau; film editors, Paul Monaghan, Michael Winterbottom.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Susana

(Mexico, 1951, 85 minutes)

A young woman escapes the reformatory and finds shelter at a rural ranch where she seduces every man in sight and turns them against each other. Superb melodrama of sin and punishment that is undermined at every step by its director's sensual, subversive yet totally straight style.

An Internacional Cinematografica presentation/production, distributed by Columbia Pictures. Starring Fernando Soler, Rosita Quintana, and Victor Manuel Mendoza; with María Gentil Arcos, Luís López Somoza and Matilde Palou. Directed by Luís Buñuel; original screenplay by Manuel Reachi; adaptation and dialogue, Jaime Salvador; additional dialogue, Rodolfo Usigli; music by Raúl Lavista; director of photography (b&w), José Ortiz Ramos; production designer, Gunther Gerszo; film editor, Jorge Bustos.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Los Olvidados

(Mexico, 1950, 80 minutes)

The violent, hopeless daily life of Mexico City slum kids. Powerful, harrowing melodrama raised above problem picture level by a bleak ruthlessness spiked with its director's trademark surrealist touches.

An Ultramar Films presentation/production. Starring Estela Inda, Miguel Inclán, Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo, Alma Delia Fuentes; Francisco Jambrina, Jesús García Navarro, Efraín Arauz, Sergio Villarreal, Jorge Pérez, Javier Amézcua, Mario Ramírez. Directed by Luís Buñuel; produced by Oscar Dancigers; written by Luís Buñuel and Luís Alcoriza; music by Rodolfo Halffter, based on themes by Gustavo Pittaluga; director of photography (b&w), Gabriel Figueroa; production designer, Edward Fitzgerald; film editor, Carlos Savage.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Dinner with Andre

(USA, 1981, 111 minutes)

A playwright-actor and a director who haven't seen each other in years discuss life, art and happiness over dinner. Peculiar little two-hander born out of real-life conversations by its writers and stars that manages to make gripping cinema out of a theatrical conceit but, despite being unable to sustain it throughout a feature length, went on to have a long shelf life as a cult movie. 

A George W. George presentation in association with Michael White; production supervised by Saga Productions. Starring Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn; with Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler. Directed by Louis Malle; produced by George W. George, Beverly Karp; written by Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory; music by Allen Shawn; director of photography (Movielab), Jeri Sopanen; production designer, David Mitchell; costume designer, Jeffrey Ullman; film editor, Suzanne Baron. 

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Le Souffle au coeur

Dearest Love (GB title)
Murmur of the Heart (US title)

(France/Italy/Germany, 1971, 117 minutes)

In 1954 Dijon, a sensible schoolboy grows up confused between a stern gynecologist father, an equally confused Italian mother and his two rebellious older brothers. Eccentric but endearing coming-of-age tale that raised many eyebrows because of an (elegantly ellided) incest scene.

A Pyramide Distribution release. A N. E. F./Marianne Films/Vides Films/Seitz Filmproduktion co-production. Starring Léa Massari, Benoît Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Michel Lonsdale, Ave Ninchi, Gila von Weitershausen. Directed and written by Louis Malle; music by Gaston Frèche, Sidney Bechet, Henri Renaud and Charlie Parker; director of photography (colour), Ricardo Aronovich; production designer, Jean-Jacques Caziot; film editor, Suzanne Baron.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Le Feu follet

A Time to Live and a Time to Die (GB title)
The Fire Within (US title)

(France, 1963, 108 minutes)

The last day in the life of a recovering alcoholic who decides he has nothing else left to live for and visits his friends and former flames to see if they can talk him out of it. Poignant melodrama of despair whose very existentialist bleakness is paradoxically life-affirming, carried by a superbly controlled lead performance and stylish but subdued handling.

A Pyramide Distribution release. Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France presents a Nouvelles Éditions de Films production. Starring Maurice Ronet, Léna Skerla, Yvonne Clech, Hubert Deschamps, Jean-Paul Moulinot, Mona Dol, Pierre Moncorbier, René Dupuis, Bernard Tiphaine, Bernard Noël, Ursula Kubler, Jeanne Moreau, Alain Mottet, François Gragnon, Romain Bouteille, Jacques Sereys, Alexandra Stewart, Claude Deschamps, Tony Taffin, Henri Serre. Directed by Louis Malle; screenplay by Louis Malle, based on the novella by Pierre Drieu de la Rochelle, Le Feu follet; music by Erik Satie; director of photography (b&w), Ghislain Cloquet; production designer, Bernard Evein; film editor, Suzanne Baron. 

Friday, June 05, 2009

Terminator Salvation

(USA, 2009, 114 minutes)

In 2018, with the remains of mankind at war with the machines, John Connor has yet to find his father-to-be and finds unexpected help from a former death row inmate whose body was used for cyborg experiments. Fourth in the Terminator series is basically a re-run of plots from the previous three attached to a B-series sci-fi actioner turbocharged with an A-list budget; not bad as these things go, and one that honours the series' pedigree.

A Columbia Pictures/The Halcyon Company release. Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson present a Moritz Borman production, in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision. Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington; Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, Michael Ironside; and Helena Bonham Carter. Directed by McG; produced by Moritz Borman, Jeffrey Silver, Victor Kubicek, Derek Anderson; screenplay by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, based on characters created by James Cameron; music by Danny Elfman; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Shane Hurlbut; production designer, Martin Laing; costume designer, Michael Wilkinson; film editor, Conrad Buff; Terminator make-up and animatronic effects, John Rosengrant; visual effects supervisor, Charles Gibson.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Star Crossed

(Portugal/Great Britain, 2008, 99 minutes)

A soccer player falls in love with the daughter of the president of a rival team. Well presented but forgettable update of Romeo and Juliet.

A Yellow Films production, in association with RG Productions; with the financial support of FICA. Starring Kyle Redmond-Jones, Teresa Tavares, Luke Mably; Diogo Morgado, Neil Fluellen, Conceição Mendes; and Wayne Duvall. Directed by Mark Heller; produced by Russell Gray, Soraia Ferreira; written by Neil Jackson, Tiago R. Santos; music by Timothy Williams; director of photography (Tobis, widescreen), Yaron Orbach; production designer, Augusto Mayer; costume designers, Isabel Quadros, Sílvia Meireles; film editors, Christopher Blunden, Carlos Domeque. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Zazie dans le métro

(France, 1960, 89 minutes)

A young girl spends a madcap day in Paris trying to avoid the grown-ups who swarm around her. Dizzying exercise in nonsensical slapstick that spins around like an endlessly inventive live-action cartoon and must have seemed very alien at its time of release.

A Pyramide Distribution release of a Nouvelles Éditions de Films production. Starring Vittorio Caprioli, Yvonne Clech, Hubert Deschamps, Jacques Dufilho, Annie Fratellini, Carla Marlier, Philippe Noiret, Antoine Roblot, Odette Picquet, Nicolas Bataille; and Catherine Demongeot. Directed by Louis Malle; screenplay by Louis Malle and Jean-Paul Rappeneau, based on the novel by Raymond Queneau, Zazie dans le métro; music by Fiorenzo Carpi; director of photography (Eastmancolor), Henri Raichi; production designer, Bernard Evein; costume designer, Marc Doelnitz; film editor, Kenout Peltier. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Les Amants

The Lovers

(France, 1958, 90 minutes)

An unhappily married, bored provincial housewife who spends most of her time with her society friend and polo-playing admirer in Paris is swept off her feet by an archaeologist who gives her a ride home. Hyper-romantic, affecting melodrama of adultery that created a public scandal for showing a woman happier with her lover than with her family.

A Pyramide Distribution release. Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France presents a Nouvelles Éditions de Films production. Starring Jeanne Moreau; with Jean-Marc Bory, Judith Magre, José Villalonga; and Alain Cuny. Directed by Louis Malle; screenplay (uncredited) by Louis Malle and Louise de Vilmorin, based on the novel by Dominique Vivant, Point de lendemain; dialogue, Louise de Vilmorin; music by Johannes Brahms; director of photography (b&w, Dyaliscope widescreen), Henri Decae; production designer, Bernard Evein; film editor, Léonide Azar. 

Monday, June 01, 2009

O Último Condenado à Morte

(Portugal, 2008, 96 minutes)

The true story of Francisco de Mattos Lobo, the last man to be sentenced to the death penalty in Portugal for having murdered his French aunt with whom he was desperately in love. An interesting story is wasted in a messily scripted, uninspiredly handled melodrama.

Ana Costa presents a Cinemate production, with the support of RTP and ICA/Ministério da Cultura. Starring Ivo Canelas, Maria João Bastos, Nicolau Breyner, Albano Jerónimo, António Fonseca, Maria d'Aires, Ângelo Torres, João Lagarto, João Cabral, David Almeida. Directed by Francisco Manso; produced by Ana Costa, Luís Gaspar; screenplay by António Torrado; adaptation by Luís Carlos Patraquim; music by João Oliveira; director of photography (colour, widescreen), Miguel Sales Lopes; art director, Luís Gaspar; wardrobe, Susana Abreu; film editor, Tomás Baltazar.