5 items from 2015
Love’s Connections: Sautet’s Frustrating, Savvy Love Story
Out of the many representations of cinematic emotional complexities French filmmakers master over most is the messy actuality of that thing called love. Director Claude Sautet went on to make Cesar and Rosalie in 1972, his third consecutive film with star Romy Schneider (they would work on five films together, all told) and also his first union with frequent collaborator Yves Montand. An attempt to portray the complicated elusiveness of loving the one you’re with, at its core the film is about a love triangle, with a beautiful woman as the ever shifting apex. Its title is actually misleading, and could easily have been called Rosalie.
Rosalie (Schneider) is currently dating Cesar (Montand), a wealthy scrap metal dealer with significant business connections. As they get ready to attend a wedding, we get the sense he loves her more than she does him, »
- Nicholas Bell
Criterion adds two more early works of auteur Costa-Gavras to the collection, rounding out his early trilogy of political thrillers headlined by Yves Montand with 1970’s The Confession and 1972’s State of Siege. Having blazed into the cinematic scene of the late 60’s with the dramatic Z in 1969, his immediate follow-up was a more sobering treatment of historical bureaucratic wrongdoing. Wearying, to say the least, the film is based on the real life account of the Communist Party show trials in 1952 Czechoslovakia as accounted in Lise and Artur Lindon’s book. Intelligently rendered, Costa-Gavras highlights the sobering reality of a mind-numbingly Kafkaesque scenario, filmed in an era where these depictions caused significant unrest, with communist factions of the period banning the film’s release in several countries.
Anton Ludvik (Yves Montand), also known as Gerard from his days in the French Resistance, is vice minister of Foreign Affairs in Czechoslovakia. »
- Nicholas Bell
Jazz music has long expressed its capacity to borrow from various, sometimes contradictory sources in order to create something which in every sense transcends the original elements. Since the earliest days of jazz as a musical form, it has been inspired by military and funeral marches; has stylishly interpreted popular songs; and even brought the classical intricacies of Wagner into the domain of swinging brasses and reeds. This multiculturalism and eclecticism of jazz likens it to cinema which, in turn, has transformed pop culture motifs into something close to the sublime and mixed ‘high’ and ‘low’ artistic gestures to remarkable effect.In the history of jazz, the evolution from ragtime or traditional tunes, to discovering the treasure trove of Broadway songs was fast and smooth. The latter influence was shared by cinema, as the history of film production quickly marched on. The emergence of ‘talkies’ in the United States meant rediscovering Broadway, »
- Ehsan Khoshbakht
Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret. The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to »
- Andre Soares
Just as the summer blockbuster movie season will be in full swing, the folks at The Criterion Collection will be catering to the cinephiles who prefer dramatic queries versus CGI enhanced explosions. And the auteur's take command for their May lineup. Costa-Gavras, perhaps best known for "Z" and "Missing," has two movies hitting the boutique label: "State Of Siege" and "The Confession." The former is a 1972 film starring Yves Montand about a CIA official kidnapped by a guerrilla group in South America. The features are spare, but it will come packaged with NBC news excerpts about the kidnapping of Dan Mitrione in 1970, which inspired the movie. The latter picture also stars Montand and follows an influential Czechoslovak dignitary who is abducted, imprisoned, and interrogated by fellow members of his country’s Communist ruling party. It too is based on a true story and comes loaded with extras, including documentaries, interviews, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
5 items from 2015
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