A Man aka Un uomo a metà (Vittorio De Seta, 1966)|
De Seta, another director I've been getting into through MUBI.com, has been a divisive individual. I've been exceptionally cold to his work, but this one, so different from the realism of his short documentaries and Bandits of Orgosolo (1960), the one that might be dismissed as the empty experiment, has had the more impact. It's very stylish yes, which is something others could dismiss, but its take on a man's complete inability to speak aloud his true thoughts, in a mix of memories, flash forwards and the sense of depth and atmosphere of the locations he is in, has an effect that is compelling. A link to a review can be found here.
of Malformed Men (Teruo Ishii, 1969)/Singapore Sling (Nikos Nikolaidis, 1990)|
Thank you Synapse, I only wish your DVDs were available to buy in the UK without having to import them. Unfortunately the BBFC, the British film classification board, has to take some blame for this alongside the state of cult cinema in this country. Singapore Sling may be too extreme still to pass, but the costs to have films classified, which has to be done, means that it limits the gamble on stuff like this. Thankfully labels like Arrow Video, and more arthouse ones like Second Run, have managed to sustain themselves and bring out obscure gems, but we have no way near the amount of material the Americans do on DVD and Blu-Ray. Two films that break transgressions in shocking ways, both based on pulpy sources with almost meta levels to them. Horrors of... compressing together the works of an author so legendary in Japan his work has bleed into their cinema so many times before, the other film noir as interpreted through a Greek filmmaker's world as an absurdist black comedy. Horrors of... was suppressed from being shown in Japan, one of only a few, and considering some of the shocking films allowed to be made from there, the other banned from being shown in the UK and being the only film (unfortunately) that has been made available of Nikolaidis in English speaking countries. Sexuality and violence are prevalent, family roles are undermined and both films show this in distinct, bold visual choices that cause them to exist between exploitation and arthouse cinema. Both of them are great works. Singapore Sling was reviewed here
(Contempt (1963), Alphaville (1965), Sympathy for the Devil (1968))
Another French New Wave director who broke down the structure of cinema and remoulded it into something truly unique to him. Two rewatches of films that have grown in quality, the third a key film that's growing in my mind. I'm happy. Alphaville is reviewed here.
(The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962), Succubus (1968), Venus in Furs (1969),
Dracula: Prisoner Of Frankenstein (1972), The Curse of Frankenstein (1972), Female Vampire (1973), Blue Rita (1977), Voodoo Passion (1977))
It says something when I had to cut down the amount of films I've seen this year to the key ones of interest for me. I had seen a few films before last year, but prompted by the unfortunate passing of Franco, I decided to fully dive into his work. I'll be within it for a long while, barely scraping it within 2013. Not every film is good, but my admiration for the late director is not only because he was legitimately talented, but the repetitions and similarities between the films adds to their interest, blurring them together into a fascinating mass of exploitation films fed by dream logic and jazz improvising. It's not that surprising that Orson Welles and Fritz Lang liked films of his; he was an exploitation director, he squeezed whatever resources he had, and could be completely bored with the work like with Bloody Moon (1981), but barely into the filmography, even the softcore films have moments where a distinct mood, a striking visual flourish or an abstraction of reality takes place, making them stand out from many hack works. Expect a few more Franco films to be on a list like this at the end of 2014. Reviews of Franco films can be found here.
Soaking images from the following sources: