2 items from 2012
Valerio Zurlini, writer-director, is someone I find a little hard to pin down: a career which contains both Girl with a Suitcase (1961), in which prostitute/aspiring actress Claudia Cardinale becomes houseguest of a teenage boy (but it's Not like Risky Business) and Desert of the Tartars (1976), an existential historical epic based on a novel which David Lean had planned to film at one point. What initially seems to unite the work is a rare seriousness: Zurlini is earnest, almost humorless, and at times despairing.
The strikingly titled Black Jesus (1968 - the Italian title translates, more subtly, as Sitting on His Right) is a good example of Zurlini's willingness to follow a story into the darkest places. It's based blatantly on the true story of Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected Congolese leader, who was deposed, tortured and assassinated under the watchful eye of the Un, and with the probable connivance of the Us and Belgium. »
The second in a short series celebrating the films of the Pathé-Natan company, 1926-1934.
Fyodore Otsep (Russia), also credited as Fjodor Ozep (Germany), Fedor Ozep (Canada) and Fédor Ozep (France) is probably best known as co-writer of sci-fi epic Aelita (1924) and director of Soviet classic Miss Mend (1926). His work in Europe and America is harder to see, and the whole lot is rarely grouped together for consideration as a whole, the curse of itinerant filmmakers like Dassin, Siodmak, even Ophüls.
To decide whether this is merely a quirk of film history, or a full-on case of major artistic neglect, simply watch this clip:
Amok (1934) is the third of Ozep's Pathé-Natan films, and the most baroque. It's based on a story by Stefan Zweig (Letter from an Unknown Woman) later filmed in Mexico with less fidelity but plenty of gusto. It's a very weird orientalist fever dream.
Jean Yonnel, »
2 items from 2012
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