Viewing several films by Walerian Borowczyk allows certain traits and patterns to form in regard to his filmmaking. From the extreme polar ends of Blanche (1971) to The Beast (1975), he’s a difficult to pin-down creator, though the man’s style has several factors that appear to gradually come into play. Goto, Isle of Love (1969) already conjures images simply from its title though it’s doubtful … Continue reading Goto, Isle of Love (1969) – Walerian Borowczyk (Arrow Video).
By the mid 1970s, the ease in censorship over large swaths of Europe lead to cinema pushing boundaries and taboo like the medium had never done before. The decade was awash with cinematic controversy and intelligent but often disturbing treatises on sexuality, drug culture, language, and violence. 1975 seems to be the pinnacle of the boundary pushing that started with films such as Ken Russell’s … Continue reading The Beast (1975) – Walerian Borowczyk (Arrow Video).
A palette of strange objects, muted imagery, and medieval oddness awaits the viewer of Walerian Borowczyk’s Blanche (1971); only the third feature film in one of the most surreal and haphazard cinematic careers of all European art house directors. Though now more infamous as a purveyor of perverted worlds and eventually soft-core titillation (Emmanuelle 5 in 1987 being a complicated low point), Blanche shows the … Continue reading Blanche (1971) – Walerian Borowczyk (Arrow Video).
This review contains minor plot details. When a body of work is inherently made up of intricately layered themes and hidden caches of ideas, surmising the work as a whole can be extremely difficult. This is never more prescient than in the BFI’s release of six films by French film writer and director, Alain Robbe-Grillet; a seemingly missing link in French cinema of the 1960s … Continue reading Alain Robbe- Grillet: Six Films, 1963-1974 (BFI).
This reviewer contains spoilers. Robert Altman was a master in critiquing American forms of culture. So many of his greatest renowned work revolves around taking an American form, cultural sect, or problem and portraying their dramatically polar angles of perspective often denied to it (then and now) in mainstream culture. From early documentaries on college football in his debut work Modern Football (1951) and on … Continue reading Nashville (1975) – Robert Altman (Masters of Cinema).
Despite living in an age of increased documentation, archive and detail, history can still be a tricky picture to paint. For so long, the old adage of it being written by “the winning side” has been a tried and tested bias exposed in whole chapters of recounted history. This has been a development based around prejudice whether through class, racism, sexism or other forms of … Continue reading The Missing Picture (2013) – Rithy Panh.
From its opening declarations, John Akomfrah’s documentary on Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project (2013) explicitly acknowledges that it is going to be condensing fifty years of complex history and ideology into its relatively short running time. Akomfrah achieves this in an unusual but extraordinary way by linking the ideas and history of the public intellectual with his passion for the music of Miles Davis. … Continue reading The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).
The latest release in the BFI Flipside series revels in the social satire of its era with glee. Though of course the main draw of the release will be Saxon Logan’s main feature, Sleepwalker (1984), the release itself is built up to make a whole package of potential double and even triple bills of viewing; some Logan themed, some nocturnal themed. The main feature simply … Continue reading Sleepwalker (1984) – Saxon Logan, BFI Flipside.
Sergei Loznitsa is becoming more well known in the film world for his foreboding dramas with two excellent feature films currently under his belt. In the Fog (2012) and My Joy (2010) are strong dramas, highlighting the emotional turmoil of war in the former and solitude in the latter. This release sees three of Loznitsa’s documentaries being released by New Wave Films, all of which … Continue reading Blockade, Landscape, Revue: 3 Films by Sergei Loznitsa (New Wave Films).
Classical traditions and feminist ideologies collide and intertwine in Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s Riddles of the Sphinx (1977). It’s instantly clear from its opening “contents” page that the film isn’t simply going to be a piece of narrative cinema, nor is it going to be purely avant-garde. With the increasing use of the term Essay Film within the analysis of cinema, Mulvey’s film is … Continue reading Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) – Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen (BFI).