Sat, 28 March 2015
Wild Reeds is Andre Techine's coming-of-age story set during the backdrop of the Algerian War in the early 1960's. The film was a smashing success in France, and is lauded by many as one of the masterpieces of queer cinema from the 1990's, although it's unlikely that Techine intended the film's gay character to be a subplot that involves the lives of three other characters.
The film snagged a number of the top prizes at the Cesar Awards (France's equivalent of the Oscars). Although it is currently out of print and no longer on DVD, you can find a cheap used copy on the internet.
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Sat, 21 March 2015
Long before 50 Shades of Grey or any of its ilk, there was Last Tango in Paris, the sultry erotic drama starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. Most people probably haven't seen it but know it by reputation; that reputation usually involves something involving a stick of butter.
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the film revolutionized the genre and art house cinema. It resulted in a debate over censorship, a short prison sentence for Bertolucci, and two Academy Award nominations. In this episode we take a look at the history of the film and the careers of its director and lead male star up to the point it was made.
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Sat, 14 March 2015
Frank Sinatra had just won an Oscar before he signed up to star in Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, but who knew he could really act? In a day when films about [insert drug name here] addiction and abuse seem like a dime a dozen, Sinatra delivers a top notch performance that has aged like a fine wine after 60 years.
Performances aside, Preminger delivers the goods with the film, which was arguably part of his crusade snubbing the Hollywood production code which would never permit mainstream studios to release a picture about drugs. Indeed, the chemistry between Sinatra and Preminger, two Hollywood celebrities who everyone predicted would never bond, is part of the magic of this production.
Have a comment or question for the host? Email Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him in Twitter via @1001moviespc.
Sat, 7 March 2015
Director Tran Anh Hung is arguably the biggest name in Vietnamese cinema, which is unfortunate because film is not one of the country's popular exports. What Vietnamese cinema lacks in quantity, however, it makes up for in quality with Cyclo, a fascinating little gem of a gangster picture that sprouted up just when Quentin Tarantino was becoming a household name.
It's fair to note that Cyclo is not technically a Vietnamese film: Tran was born there, but has lived most of his life in France and much of the production team is French. Nevertheless, the film captures the essence of metropolitan Vietnamese life, an admirable accomplishment without the common backdrop of wartime.
One note: sometimes in this episode I refer to director Tran Anh Hung as "Tran" and sometimes as "Hung". Since he and I obviously aren't friends, I prefer to refer to him formally using his family name. I understand that in most Asian cultures this would be his "first" name, which would be "Tran". My apologies for my confusion on that part.
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