10 items from 2013
Rossana Podestà dead at 79: ‘Helen of Troy’ actress later featured in sword-and-sandal spectacles, risqué sex comedies (photo: Jacques Sernas and Rossana Podestà in ‘Helen of Troy’) Rossana Podestà, the sensual star of the 1955 epic Helen of Troy and other sword-and-sandal European productions of the ’50s and ’60s — in addition to a handful of risqué sex comedies of the ’70s — died earlier today, December 10, 2013, in Rome according to several Italian news outlets. Podestà was 79. She was born Carla Dora Podestà on August 20, 1934, in, depending on the source, either Zlitan or Tripoli, in Libya, at the time an Italian colony. According to the IMDb, the renamed Rossana Podestà began her film career in 1950, when she was featured in a small role in Dezsö Ákos Hamza’s Strano appuntamento ("Strange Appointment"). However, according to online reports, she was actually discovered by director Léonide Moguy, who cast her in a small role in »
- Andre Soares
Directed by Georges Franju
France and Italy, 1960
The idea of what a quintessential French horror film might be, especially in the middle of the last century, would be a conflicting concept, the French being culturally revered as the custodians of the high-brow, the poetically human, and the avant-garde (we even import the word in its French form); horror is a genre maintained to provoke the base and primal, better left to B-movie thrills. Enter Georges Franju, a co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, to helm Eyes Without a Face, a work to arrive with scorn from both French and Anglophone audiences as it had not been crafted to either of their palettes, but rather an amalgamation of tastes and something completely new.
When Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) identifies the body of his daughter Christiane »
- Zach Lewis
Film, opera and stage director known for La Reine Margot and his Ring cycle at Bayreuth in 1976
Unusually for a director, Patrice Chéreau, who has died of lung cancer aged 68, had more or less equally prestigious careers in the theatre, cinema and opera. Although he was internationally known from films such as La Reine Margot (1994) and his groundbreaking production of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle at Bayreuth (1976), he was renowned in his native France mostly for his "must-see" stage productions, especially during his long stints as co-director of the Théâtre National Populaire (1971-77) and the Théâtre des Amandiers (1982-90).
At these two subsidised theatres, in Villeurbanne, near Lyons, and Nanterre, in western Paris, respectively, Chéreau was able to introduce modern plays and bring a freshness to bear on the classics, particularly Marivaux, whose La Dispute he directed to acclaim at the Tnp in three different versions in the 1970s. At the Amandiers, »
- Ronald Bergan
I hadn't heard of Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face until last year, following a screening of Holy Motors in Cannes when someone noted how Edith Scob was wearing a similar white mask (see here) to the one she wore throughout all but a few minutes of Eyes, where she plays the scarred daughter of a high profile Paris surgeon (Pierre Brasseur). Come to learn, the film's influence is more widespread than that, including films such as Pedro Almodovar's Skin I Live In, the mask for Michael Myers in John Carpenter's Halloween and even Tim Burton's Batman as Jerry Hall wears a mask to cover her face playing The Joker's secret lover, Alicia Hunt. Little did Alicia know, her plunge out the window was decided almost 30 years earlier. Described as a horror, the adjectives "lyrical" and poetic are also associated with this film and both are incredibly appropriate. »
- Brad Brevet
Patrice Chéreau dead at 68: French director best known for ‘Queen Margot,’ gay-related dramas (photo: Patrice Chéreau; Isabelle Adjani in ‘Queen Margot’) Screenwriter, sometime actor, and stage, opera, and film director Patrice Chéreau, whose clinically cool — some might say sterile — films were arthouse favorites in some quarters, has died of lung cancer in Paris. Chéreau was 68. Born on November 2, 1944, in Lézigné, in France’s Maine-et-Loire department, and raised in Paris, Patrice Chéreau began directing plays in his late teens. In the mid-’60s, he became the director of a theater in Sartrouville, northwest of Paris, where he staged plays with a strong left-wing bent. Later on he moved to Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, and in the ’80s became the director of the Théâtre des Amandiers in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. His 1976 staging of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth was considered revolutionary. Patrice Chéreau »
- Andre Soares
European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Judi Dench are the only three female recipients to date (photo: European movies’ Lifetime Achievement Award-less actress Danielle Darrieux) (See previous post: "Catherine Deneuve: Only the Third Woman to Receive European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.") As mentioned in the previous post, French film icon Catherine Deneuve is only the third woman to receive the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award since the organization’s first awards ceremony in 1988. Deneuve’s predecessors are The Lovers‘ Jeanne Moreau (1997) and Notes on a Scandal‘s Judi Dench (2008). In that regard, the European Film Academy is as male-oriented as the Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. More on that below. Male recipients of the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award are the following: Ingmar Bergman, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Andrzej Wajda, Alexandre Trauner, Billy Wilder, »
- Andre Soares
Alfred Hitchcock silent movies added to Unesco UK Memory of the World Register (photo: Ivor Novello in The Lodger) The nine Alfred Hitchcock-directed silent films recently restored by the British Film Institute have been added to the Unesco UK Memory of the World Register, "a list of documentary heritage which holds cultural significance specific to the UK." The nine Hitchcock movies are the following: The Pleasure Garden (1925), The Ring (1927), Downhill / When Boys Leave Home (1927), The Lodger (1927), Easy Virtue (1928), Champagne (1928), The Farmer’s Wife (1928), The Manxman (1929), and Blackmail (1929) — also released as a talkie, Britain’s first. Only one Hitchcock-directed silent remains lost, The Mountain Eagle / Fear o’ God (1926). Most of those movies have little in common with the suspense thrillers Hitchcock would crank out in Britain and later in Hollywood from the early ’30s on. But a handful of his silents already featured elements and themes that would recur in »
- Andre Soares
Without a doubt, Suspiria is Dario Argento’s best film (some of you may not feel the same, but I stand behind my choice), and one of the most atmospheric and artistic films ever made in the horror genre. It is the first in Argento’s “The Three Mothers” trilogy, which also includes Inferno and The Mother Of Tears. Argento was at the top of his proverbial game when directing both Suspiria and Inferno as they defy everything you've come to expect from horror films. Not only are they brimming with suspense and incredibly stylized violence, they are absolutely beautifully filmed.
Suspiria defines the horror film as a work of visual art. Scenes are lit with bright reds, greens, and blues making them look more like moving paintings than film. It's a masterpiece of visual filmmaking. Suspiria also includes one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time. Goblin, who »
- Lianne Spiderbaby
Feature Aliya Whiteley 13 Mar 2013 - 06:59
Aliya salutes one of Hollywood's most suave and talented actors - the great Louis Jourdan...
Traditionally Hollywood works in boxes. It finds a box, and then it places an actor in it. The box of the French lover has been filled by quite a few stars over the years: Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier, Yves Montand, Pepe Le Pew, Alain Delon, and even Gerard Depardieu for one moment in the madly entertaining Green Card.
Louis Jourdan was the most classically handsome of these actors (yes, even more debonair than the skunk). He had a smile that the camera loved and a way of cocking his head and crossing his legs that exuded style. Most well known for Vincent Minnelli’s chocolate-box love affair with France, Gigi, he brought a sense of humour to the film that kept it fresh, but it was a retread of his standard role. »
When it comes to Italian horror it’s fair to say that Mario Bava is one of the most known names. A visionary director he’s brought us the likes of Black Sunday and not only paved the way for the success of Italian horror but also brought us some truly unique films, one of them being Lisa and the Devil. Now that Arrow Video have brought this classic directors cut to Blu-ray along with the alternative version House of Exorcism we can see what his original vision was and why in my view it’s one of his best pieces of work.
When holidaying in Spain, Lisa is shown a painting said to be of the devil, »
10 items from 2013
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