Posts Tagged ‘100 Best Films’

Strike (Russian: “Стачка”) is a 1925 silent film made in the Soviet Union by Sergei Eisenstein. It was Eisenstein’s first full-length feature film, and it is the story of a strike by factory workers in the Tsarist Russia of 1912 and its brutal suppression. It was shot almost entirely on location so that it seems like a reconstruction of genuine events. It was acted by the Proletcult Theatre, and composed of six parts. It was in turn, intended to be one part of a seven-part series, entitled Towards Dictatorship (of the proletariat), and the project was left unfinished. Most probably The Battleship of Potemkin,- his mature work and more enduring as a film classic, was released later that year and it made such prepraratory work unnecessary. Like Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, Strike reveals the creative energy of an artist given its wings without pulling back.- and it is the liberty of a young film-maker to test the boundaries of film-making, and in Eisenstein it is shown in the way he has tested every rule in the book and rewrote it by adding some of his own. This is evident in Battleship Potemkin and October.
Most of the characteristics of Eisenstein’s film style can be seen in part derived from his early influences. Before he came into filmmaking he was attached to a military construction unit, and also note-worthy is that his father was an architect. He is probably the most architectural of directors, evidenced by his film sets in which architectural elements add to the dramatic tension. In part his style is derived from masters like Griffith and Chaplin. But with Strike he enlarged the vocabulary of cinema especially in the area of montage. His influential essay, Montage of Attractions was written between Strike’s production and premiere. (See also quote from Metalluk’s review -epinions.com)

The film opens with a quote from Vladimir Lenin.

На заводе всё спокойно / At the factory all is quiet

Using typography, the word “но” (but) is added to the title of the chapter, which then animates and disolves into an image of machinery in motion. The facory bosses have set their sights on the workers and they are seen reviewing a list of agents with vivid code names such as as The Monkey, The Fox, The Owl, Bulldog, and Fly-by-Night. The job of the spies is to infiltrate the union and ferret out the identities of the ringleaders.
Vignettes are shown of them. Conditions are tense with agitators and Bolsheviks planing a strike.

Повод к стачке / Reason to strike

A micrometer is stolen, with a value of 25 rubles or 3 weeks pay. A worker, Yakov, is accused of the theft and subsequently hangs himself. Fighting ensues and work stops. The workers leave the milling room running and resistance is met at the foundry. The strikers throw rocks and loose metal through the foundry windows. Then locked within the gates of the complex, the crowd confronts the office. They force open the gates and sieze a manager.
Завод замер / The factory dies down

The chapter begins with footage of ducklings, kittens, piglets, and geese. A child then wakes his father who is out of work and they have funtime. The factory is shown vacant and still with birds moving in. The children act out what their fathers had done, wheelbarrowing a goat in a mob. The shareholders discuss  with the director and read the demands. They are dismissive on the workers demands. Meanwhile the police raid the workers, and they sit down to protest. At their meeting the shareholders use the demand letter as a rag to clean up a spill, and a lemon squeezer. It expresses howfar the shareholders are willing go.

Стачка затягивается / The strike draws out

Scenes are shown of a lines forming at a store, which is closed, and a baby needing food. A fight occurs at a home between a man and a woman, subsequently she leaves. Another man rummages through his home for goods to sell at a flea market, upsetting his family. A posted letter publicly shows the administrators rejection of the demands.
Провокация на разгром / Provocation and debacle

The scene opens with dead cats dangling from a structure. A new character is introduced, “King” whose throne is made of a derelict automobile amidst rubbish and he is instructed by Tsarist police  to set fire, raze, and loot a liquor store. A crowd gathers at the fire and the alarm is sounded. The crowd leaves to avoid being provoked but are set upon by the firemen with their hoses regardless.
Ликвидация / Liquidation

The governor sends in the military. A child walks under the soldiers’ horses and his mother goes under to get him and is struck. Rioting commences, and the crowd is chased off through a series of gates and barriers heading to the forge, then their apartments. The crowd is chased and whipped on the balconies. A policeman raises and drops a child from the balcony, killing it. The workers are driven into a field by the army and shot en masse. This bloody scene is shown with alternating footage of the slaughtering of a cow. (ack:wikipedia)

Directed by     Sergei M. Eisenstein
Produced by     Boris Mikhin
Written by     Grigori Aleksandrov
Ilya Kravchunovsky
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Valeryan Pletnyov
Cinematography     Eduard Tisse
Release date: April 28, 1925
Running time     82 min.
Language     Silent film

‘Strike is a veritable catalog of technical innovations and wizardry. There are double exposures, an upside down puddle reflection, shots through windows, reflections in mirrors, fades and melds, side by side panels that then merge, shots of distorted reflections in a glass ball, low angle shots, film reversals, silhouette shots, and much, much more. There are some surreal elements introduced, such as a pair of midgets dancing on a table behind two policemen who are in the process of turning one of the strikers into a snitch. There are a host of out-of-context images, such as nervous eyes turned to the side, juxtaposed to add a sense of paranoia to the main sequences. There are back and forth cuts between a manager squeezing juice from an orange while the Cossacks, who have surrounded a group of workers in a wooded area, tighten the ring around them.

Eisenstein was most fortunate to acquire the services of Edward Tissé as his cameraman for Strike. Eisenstein, though teeming with brilliant ideas, was raw and inexperienced as a filmmaker in 1925, while Tissé was both experienced and talented as a cinematographer. Tissé was able to capture effectively Eisenstein’s conceptions on film. The professional relationship between the two men lasted through most of Eisenstein’s career.

While making Strike, Eisenstein effectively developed his notion of “intellectual montage.” He typically spent many more hours in the editing of a film than in the shooting. Eisenstein’s idea was to create a rapid succession of quick shots (which might be relatively meaningless taken alone) that would acquire meaning through the intellectual process of association. The secondary benefit is that rapid cuts can also add tempo and excitement to a film. To the Soviet authorities, Eisenstein’s editing techniques became known as “formalism,” which they railed against incessantly.

Many of the film’s frames are notable for the intricate detail of the mise-en-scene. Especially impressive are the shots in the factory interior (a labyrinth of wheels, ropes, aisles, and machinery) and the worker’s multistory tenement maze’.

“Eisenstein was supremely the master of film rhetoric.” – Orson Welles
‘The films do lack a certain humanity. Battleship Potemkin and October were masterpieces of technique, to which film-makers still bow today. Alexander Nevsky and the two parts of Ivan the Terrible were operatic and often grotesque, but classics too. Only Strike, his first feature, showed his basic humanity, and it is arguably his best because of it’.( Derek Malcolm-The Guardian, Oct 12, 2000)

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Raging Bull is a 1980 biopic on Jack La Motta and directed by Martin Scorsese. Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin wrote the script from the memoir Raging Bull: My Story.
The ageing boxer in the beginning sequence alludes to the “I shouda have been a contender” scene from On The Waterfront complaining that his brother should have been there for him. Terry Malloy also suffered the indignity of taking a dive as he did but Terry exuded a nobility that transcended his circumstances. Jack La Motto was paranoiac, foul mouthed and with a taste for underage girls. Then Terry was pure make-believe while the boxer was large as life. Mardik Martin wrote the script in a conventional manner closer in spirit to the biography. Paul Schrader made several changes to the script, one of which was to make the role of Joey La Motta, Jake’s brother, the second most prominent character. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro also had a hand in rewriting the script until they had the film as they wanted. Opening sequence has La Motta (Robert De Niro) practicing his 1960s night-club act, and over the hill and in girth( Reportedly the production was shut down so that De Niro could gain 50-plus pounds) Then the film flashes back to 1940s New York, when Jake’s career was on the rise.
The film stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta who won deservedly Oscar for his acting. Jack is shown as a temperamental and paranoid but tenacious boxer (a lifesaver considering all those pent up  bile and stress) alienates himself from his friends and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta’s brother and manager, and Cathy Moriarty as his abused wife. The film features supporting roles from Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, and Frank Vincent, who has starred in many films directed by Martin Scorsese. After receiving mixed initial reviews, it went on to garner a high critical reputation and is now widely regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made, along with the pair’s other famed collaboration from that era, Taxi Driver (1976).
The film won eight Oscar nominations but won only two: Robert De Niro (acting) and Thelma Schoonmaker(editing).  Award for Best Picture went in favor of Robert Redford and Ordinary People. Raging Bull has often been cited as the best American film of the 1980s.
Directed by     Martin Scorsese
Produced by     Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written by     Paul Schrader
Mardik Martin
Starring     Robert De Niro
Joe Pesci
Cathy Moriarty
Cinematography     Michael Chapman
Editing by     Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by     United Artists
Release date(s)     14 November 1980 (US)
19 February 1981 (UK)
Running time     129 minutes
Country     United States
Language     English
Budget     $18,000,000 (est.)
Similar Movies
Champion  (1949, Mark Robson)
Requiem for a Heavyweight  (1956, Alvin Rakoff)
The Set-Up  (1949, Robert Wise)
Requiem for a Heavyweight  (1962, Ralph Nelson)
Pugili  (1995, Lino Capolicchio)
Cobb  (1994, Ron Shelton)
Dempsey  (1983, Gus Trikonis)
The Prizefighter and the Lady  (1933, W.S. Van Dyke)
Rocky V  (1990, John G. Avildsen)
Somebody Up There Likes Me  (1956, Robert Wise)
Movies with the Same Personnel
New York, New York  (1977, Martin Scorsese)
Mean Streets  (1973, Martin Scorsese)
The King of Comedy  (1983, Martin Scorsese)
GoodFellas  (1990, Martin Scorsese)
‘Round Midnight  (1986, Bertrand Tavernier)
Who’s That Knocking at My Door?  (1968, Martin Scorsese)
New York Stories  (1989, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese)
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies  (1995, Martin Scorsese, Michael Henry Wilson)
Other Related Movies
is featured in:      A Decade Under the Influence  (2003, Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese)
is related to:      Taxi Driver  (1976, Martin Scorsese)
Body and Soul  (1947, Robert Rossen)
Fat City  (1972, John Huston)
The Great White Hope  (1970, Martin Ritt)
The Harder They Fall  (1956, Mark Robson)
Mean Streets  (1973, Martin Scorsese)
On the Waterfront  (1954, Elia Kazan)
Cape Fear  (1991, Martin Scorsese)
Confessions of Tom Harris  (1969, John Derek, David Nelson)
The King of Comedy  (1983, Martin Scorsese)
New York, New York  (1977, Martin Scorsese)
Night and the City  (1992, Irwin Winkler)
The Great John L.  (1945, Frank Tuttle)
On the Ropes  (1999, Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen)
( wikipedia, Allmovie.com)
* Robert De Niro read the autobiography of Jake LaMotta while filming The Godfather: Part II (1974) in 1974 and immediately saw the potential for a film to make with his collaborator, Martin Scorsese. It took over four years for De Niro to convince everyone, including Scorsese, to get on board for this film.

* Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous “hit me” scene.

* To achieve the feeling of brotherhood between the two lead actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci actually lived and trained with each other for some time before filming began. Ever since then, the two have been very close friends.

* Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were deliberately destroyed by the sound technicians, to prevent then being used again.

* The scene by the chain link fence where Jake meets his girlfriend was ad-libbed.

* Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle. See also Casino (1995).

* Jake (Robert De Niro) asks Joey (Joe Pesci) “Did you f*** my wife?”. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t think that Pesci’s reaction was strong enough, so he asked De Niro to say “Did you f*** your mother?”. Scorsese also did not tell Pesci that the script called for him to be attacked.

* To visually achieve Jake’s growing desperation and diminishing stature, Martin Scorsese shot the later boxing scenes in a larger ring.

* Robert De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to play the older ‘Jake La Motta’, and Joe Pesci lost weight for the same scene (De Niro’s movie weight-gain record was subsequently broken by ‘Vincent D’Onofrio (I)’, who gained 70 pounds for his role as Pvt. Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket (1987)).

* Director Cameo: [Martin Scorsese] asking Jake to go on stage.

* In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.

* To show up better on black-and-white film, Hershey’s chocolate was used for blood.

* The original script was vetoed by producer Stephen Bach after he told Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro that Jake LaMotta was “a cockroach”. De Niro and Scorsese took a few weeks in Italy to do an uncredited rewrite of the script, during which time the two found some sympathetic aspects of La Motta, which eventually satisfied the producers.

* According to Martin Scorsese, the script took only two weeks to write on the island of St Martin in the Caribbean.

* Was voted the third greatest sports movie of all time after Rocky (1976) and Bull Durham (1988) by ESPN.

* Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.

* Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with fellow actor Frank Vincent.

* Martin Scorsese’s father Charles Scorsese is one of the mob wiseguys crowding the LaMotta brothers at a Copa nightclub table.

* While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro actually met with La Motta and became very well acquainted with him. They spent the entire shoot together so De Niro could portray his character accurately. La Motta said that De Niro has the ability to be a contender, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer.

* Actor John Turturro makes his film debut as the man at table at Webster Hall. Both Turturro and Robert De Niro have played characters named Billy Sunday. De Niro as Master Chief Leslie W. ‘Billy’ Sunday in Men of Honor (2000), and Turturro as Coach Billy Sunday in He Got Game (1998).

* Beverly D’Angelo auditioned for the role of Jake’s wife, Vicki LaMotta. She also auditioned for the role of Patsy Cline in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) at around the same time. Martin Scorsese chose Cathy Moriarty (whom the producers saw before D’Angelo), freeing D’Angelo to appear in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

* The role of Jake’s wife was the last to be cast.

* Sharon Stone also auditioned for the role of Vicki LaMotta.

* Martin Scorsese claims that nothing should be read into his using the On the Waterfront (1954) quote. Jake LaMotta, in his declining years, used to appear on stage reciting dialogue from television plays and even reading William Shakespeare. According to Scorsese, he’d planned to use something from “Richard III” (because in the corresponding real-life event LaMotta used it), but director Michael Powell suggested that “Richard III” wouldn’t work in the context of the film because the film in general and LaMotta in particular are inherently American. Scorsese picked the lines from “On the Waterfront”.

* Some scenes and phrases are from On the Waterfront (1954) because Jake LaMotta admired Marlon Brando’s character and used to quote the movie in real life.

* Martin Scorsese was worried about the On the Waterfront (1954) recitation because he knew he’d be inviting critical comparison between the scene in this film and the original film’s scene. Robert De Niro read it in various ways. Scorsese chose the take in which the recitation is extremely flat specifically to mute the comparison, and to suggest that it is simply a recitation and not indicative of how Jake LaMotta felt about his brother.

* No original music was composed for the film. All of the music was taken from the works of an Italian composer named Pietro Mascagni. Martin Scorsese selected it because it had a quality of sadness to it that he felt fit the mood of the film.

* The biblical quote at the end of the film (“All that I know is that I was blind, and now I can see”) was a reference to Martin Scorsese’s film professor, to whom the film was dedicated. The man died just before the film was released. Scorsese credits his teacher with helping him “to see”.

* The home movie sequences were in color to make them stand out from the rest of the film. Another reason was the feeling of reality, because at the particular time represented by the home movies, 8mm color home movie cameras were very popular.

* The rooftop wedding scene was directed by Martin Scorsese’s father after he fell ill while filming.

* In 1978, when Martin Scorsese was at an all-time low due to a near overdose resulting from an addiction to cocaine, Robert De Niro visited him at the hospital and told him that he had to clean himself up and make this movie about a boxer. At first, Scorsese refused (he didn’t like sports movies anyway), but due to De Niro’s persistence, he eventually gave in. Many claim (including Scorsese) that De Niro saved Scorsese’s life by getting him back into work.

* Was voted the 5th Greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

* When the real Jake LaMotta saw the movie, he said it made him realize for the first time what a terrible person he had been. He asked the real Vicki “Was I really like that?”. Vicki replied “You were worse.”

* Martin Scorsese had trouble figuring out how he would cut together the scene when La Motta last fights Robinson (in particular when he is up against the ropes getting beaten). He used the original shot-list from the shower sequence in Psycho (1960) to help him figure it out. Scorsese later commented that it helped most in that the scene was the most horrific to him.

* According to Martin Scorsese in the “Raging Bull” DVD, this was going to be one of eight boxing movies to come out in 1980.

* Martin Scorsese shunned the idea of filming the boxing scenes with multiple cameras. Instead, he planned months of carefully choreographed movements with one camera. He wanted the single camera to be like “a third fighter”.

* Robert De Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

* Neither Director of Photography Michael Chapman nor Martin Scorsese could get the right look for the amateur LaMotta home movies that comprise the only color sequences in “Raging Bull”. Both men gave in to their natural instincts for camera placement and framing, which was the antithesis of what they wanted to achieve. They solved the problem by asking Teamsters working on the set to handle the camera in order to give the 16mm film the appropriate feel of amateur home movies.

* Jake LaMotta’s autobiography, co-written with friend ‘Peter Savage’, omitted mention of his brother, as did Mardik Martin’s original screenplay. Unhappy with the result, the producers hired Paul Schrader to restructure it, and in the course of doing research on La Motta, the writer came across an article on the relationship between Jake and his brother Joey LaMotta. Schrader incorporated the relationship into the revised screenplay, co-opting the Savage character and creating a composite of the two men in the person of Joey La Motta. That relationship became the central plot theme in the revised screenplay and one of the primary reasons for the film’s success.

* Frank Vincent also plays a character named Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990).

* According to Martin Scorsese on the DVD, when first screening some test 8mm footage of Robert De Niro sparring in a ring, he felt that something was off about the image. Michael Powell, who at that time had become something of a mentor and good friend to Scorsese, suggested that it was the color of the gloves that was throwing them off. Realizing this was true, Scorsese then decided the movie had to be filmed in black and white.

* The f-word  is used 114 times in this film.

* In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #4 Greatest Movie of All Time.

* Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sports” in June 2008.

* Was voted the 4th best film of all time in AFI’s 10th anniversary of the 100 Years… 100 Movies series.

* ‘Nicholas Colasonto”s character, Tommy Como, is based on the real-life mobster Frankie Carbo, who basically ran all boxing in New York City during the 1940s and ’50s. He eventually was sent to prison for conspiracy and extortion after being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.

* Cathy Moriarty’s film debut.(imdb)

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This film was based on the 1948 short story The Sentinel, by English science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke.
Any film that could express in a running time of little more than two hours, a cyclical evolution from ape to man to spaceman to angel-starchild-superman without sounding boring is nothing short of a marvel. Stanley Kubrick has just done that. It owes to his visual storytelling in part and to the futuristic vision of Arthur C. Clarke that is based squarely on thorough understanding of Science. The film is a textbook example of different approach that could be told to advantage over the written word. In cinematic terms Stanley Kubrick has made any comparison with the book as irrelevant.
Director Stanley Kubrick’s astounding work owes its power from his non-verbal images that add to our visual experience. The first spoken word is almost a half hour into the film, and there’s less than 40 minutes of dialogue in the entire film. All scenes in the film have either dialogue or music (or silence), but never both together. Much of the film is in dead silence, and it is what it means to travel in space. A spaceship traveling in that vast ocean of silence is a mystic experience and Kubrick didn’t need any passage from the book to make us understand that.
Plot: The film can be broken into 4 sections.
1. The Dawn of Man
The title sequence begins with an image of the Earth rising over the Moon, while the Sun rises over the Earth all in alignment to the opening chords of Strauss’ “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”
A primeval ape man makes a breakthrough – becoming endowed with intelligence after experiencing a mysterious black monolith.

2.      The Lunar Journey in the Year 2000
Eons later, a similar monolith is discovered on the lunar surface in the 21st century, sending its signals to Jupiter.

3.      Jupiter Mission, 18 Months Later in 2001
A futuristic, 18-month journey to Jupiter.

4.      Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite
A mystical experience in another time and dimension.

This happy amalgam of art and science from two creative minds shows also how trivial are Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and many other sci-fi films in comparison. These above cited films also dealt with space exploration and extra terrestrial lives in other planets. But 2001: Space Odyssey almost sounds plausible. Leaving aside my personal reservations with regards to the premise of ubermensch or optimism as hinted in the movie, I think the film is still a landmark science fiction classic.
The film was ahead of its times. it was criticized for being boring and lacking in imagination. 19 minutes were cut from the film after premieres in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles. It was re-released in a slightly shorter version (141 minutes) in 1972.
With time hostile or indifferent critical reviews gave way to rave notices partly due to its cult status among the anti-establishment groups.
Kubrick’s masterpiece was not nominated for Best Picture, but received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Story and Screenplay. It won one Oscar, for Best Visual Effects. The film was snubbed by the Academy that instead voted its top accolades to the odd musical Oliver! (1968) based upon the Charles Dickens tale.
2001: A Space Odyssey is today recognized by many critics and audiences as one of the greatest films ever made; the 2002 Sight & Sound poll of critics ranked it among the top ten films of all time.  It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and received one for visual effects. In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

The film is enriched by stunning, pioneering technical effects, and featured orchestral music, presented in movements like in a symphony, from:

* Richard Strauss, Also Sprach Zarathustra
The opening trinitarian chords [C, G, and again C] of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra accompany and welcome this striking shot of orbital and visual alignment. The credits then follow.
Choice of Strauss happily reinforces the superman idea of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Ligeti’s Atmospheres,opens up the film signifying perhaps a pre-creation era,and it ends with The Blue Danube Waltz
* György Ligeti, Atmospheres, Lux Aeterna, and Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs and Orchestra
* Aram Khatchaturian, Gayane Ballet Suite
A sequel was made years later: director Peter Hyams’ 2010 (1984) (from a 1982 published adaptation titled 2010: odyssey two by Clarke). Other Clarke writings are potential film installments: 2061: odyssey three and 3001: final odyssey.

* Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman
* Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole
* William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood R. Floyd
* Daniel Richter as Moon-Watcher
* Leonard Rossiter as Dr. Andrei Smyslov
* Margaret Tyzack as Elena
* Robert Beatty as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
* Sean Sullivan as Dr. Bill Michaels
* Douglas Rain as HAL 9000 (voice)
* Frank A. Miller as Mission controller (voice)
* Bill Weston as Astronaut
* Ed Bishop as Lunar shuttle captain (as Edward Bishop)
* Vivian Kubrick as Floyd’s daughter
* Glenn Beck as Astronaut
* Alan Gifford as Poole’s father
* Ann Gillis as Poole’s mother
Future Projection:
The film shows an imagined version of the year 2001. Some of what is seen in the film has come to pass:

* Flat-screen computer monitors (simulated by rear projection in the film)
* Glass cockpits in spacecraft
* The proliferation of TV stations, the BBC’s channels numbering at least 12. (They currently have 9 UK TV stations (6 in 2001), 4 of which are numbered, plus various international channels)
* Telephone numbers with more digits than in the 1960s (to permit direct national and international dialing)
* The endurance of corporations like IBM, Aeroflot, Howard Johnson’s, and Hilton Hotels
* The use of credit cards with data stripes (the card Heywood Floyd inserts into the telephone is American Express; a close-up photo of the prop shows that it has a barcode rather than a magnetic strip, as some present-day ID cards have PDF417 barcodes)
* Biometric identification (voice-print identification on arrival at the space station)
* The shape of the Pan Am Orbital Clipper was echoed in the X-34, a prototype craft that underwent towed flight tests from 1999 to 2001
* Electronic darkening of a normally transparent surface (Bowman uses a helmet control to darken his visor during an EVA)
* A computer that can defeat a human being at chess
* Personal in-flight entertainment displays on the backs of seats in commercial aircraft
* Voice recognition / voice controlled computing (although not as powerful as HAL) are seen today in things as simple as telephone systems and video games.
* Tanning beds


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Aka. Tokyo Monogatari, 1953 is one among the best 100 films. It is directed by Ozu. Any film of Ozu suffers considerably in retelling. He is a master of understatement which for a film maker would mean a visual narrative that somewhere hovers between make-believe and reality so finely pared to an extent life and art becomes almost interchangeable. Ozu’s use of camera I had already touched upon in my appreciation of his Late Spring. Indoors points of view are fixed at the eye level of characters from a low angle. Yet within each framed composition, Ozu’s camera does not move. While creating an intimate, familial atmosphere, in the case of presenting the lives of the Hirayama family, he prefers subtle gestures and mannerisms, prosaic conversations, daily rituals, and simple acts of kindness that are natural to them. Throughout the film, there is a pervasive sound of movement: ticking clocks, churning steamboats, passing trains. Beauty of life that Ozu describes is to be experienced than described.


It is a story about generational divide all the more sharp considering how vital culture, tradition Aesthetics are for the Japanese. In a post-war Japan all that was truly unique to them are being eroded. Modernization is the culprit and against it growing old has its insidious effect. An elderly couple, Shukichi (Chishu Ryu) and Tomi Hirayama (Chieko Higashiyama), venture forth from a small coastal village in southern Japan to visit their married children in Tokyo. Their eldest son, Koichi (So Yamamura), a doctor running a clinic in a working-class part of town, is too busy to show them around town, and their eldest daughter is occupied with her beauty salon. Is their condition anything extraordinary? In literature we may find examples most notably from King Lear and Pere Goriot of fathers treated vilely by their offsprings. Ozu has no use for such drama to paint the sad truth of human condition. It has been so then as it is now. Crabbed age and youth cannot march in step. Where life ceases to hold meaning for the former as was hinted in their youth, for the latter significance of life is entirely of another context and language. It is as strange as the argot or a coded language the youth would employ to baffle their peers. It is a misalliance if fathers and their offsprings are set upon finding a single yarstick to measure the beat of their lives.


The elderly couple are naturally disappointed since their children are as removed from their lives by their routine as their village is as backward as Tokyo is most advanced. Only their widowed daughter-in-law, Noriko, played memorably by Setsuko Hara, is willing to take time off work to show the couple the sights of Tokyo. The older children arrange for their parents to visit Atami Hot Springs, but the unimpressed couple soon returns to Tokyo. Tomi stays with her daughter-in-law while Shukichi goes out drinking with some of his buddies, and the bunch complains about their vague sense of disappointment toward their children. Not knowing how to entertain their parents (and to save money), the siblings decide to send them to a noisy, crowded spa. Unable to enjoy themselves, the elderly couple return early, only to be sent away for the evening when their unexpected arrival interferes with Shige’s scheduled club meeting. Consequently, Mrs. Hirayama (Chieko Higashiyama) spends a final evening with Noriko before heading back to Onomichi, and Mr. Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) finds some old friends in town, hoping to be invited to spend the evening, but in the process, gets hopelessly drunk. On the following day, Mrs. Hirayama offers the adult children some words of reassurance at the train station, and the couple leave. (ack: Synopsis- Jonathan Crow/ http://www.allmovie.com) .

September/October 2006 Directed by Yasujiro Ozu Produced by Takeshi Yamamoto Written by Kôgo Noda Yasujiro Ozu Starring Chishu Ryu Chieko Higashiyama Setsuko Hara Music by Kojun Saitô Cinematography Yuuharu Atsuta Editing by Yoshiyasu Hamamura Distributed by Shochiku (Japan theatrical) Release date(s) 3 November 1953 (Japan) Running time 136 min. Language Japanese (wikipedia) Similar Movies Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu) The Trip to Bountiful (1985, Peter Masterson) The Joy Luck Club (1993, Wayne Wang) Maborosi (1995, Hirokazu Kore-eda) The Ceremony (1971, Nagisa Oshima) Café Lumiere (2004, Hou Hsiao-Hsien) Kurosudo Nooto (2007, Isao Yukisada) Gone is the One Who Held Me the Dearest in the World (2002, Ma Xiaoying) A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2007, Wayne Wang) Movies with the Same Personnel Early Summer (1951, Yasujiro Ozu) Late Autumn (1960, Yasujiro Ozu) Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu) Floating Weeds (1959, Yasujiro Ozu) An Autumn Afternoon (1962, Yasujiro Ozu) Good Morning (1959, Yasujiro Ozu) Early Autumn (1961, Yasujiro Ozu) No Regrets for Our Youth (1946, Akira Kurosawa) Other Related Movies is related to: The Funeral (1984, Juzo Itami) influenced: Cherry Blossoms: Hanami (2008, Doris Dörrie) all movie

Memorable Quotes:

Kyoko: Isn’t life disappointing?

Noriko: [smiles] Yes, it is.


# Voted #7 in Total Film’s 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time list (November 2005). # The original negative was lost soon after the film was completed, due to a fire at the vault of the lab in Yokohama city. The film had to be released using prints made from a dupe protective negative. (Imdb)


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After the groundbreaking, experimental work of Un Chien Andalou (1928) Buñuel and Dali were expressly commissioned by Marie-Laurie and Charles de Noailles to provide a follow-up. The first was a surrealistic poem, where images in place of words loaded with symbolism. If Un Chien Andalou was the untrammeled folly of two creative minds whose youth was their licence, L’Age D’Or was the laying of ground rules for the kind of film-making Buñuel would do in his long career. He cut his teeth on Surrealism and all his movies beginning with this set out to examine the social mores,- moribund and nascent attitudes of a society in flux, with the eye of a satirist. After its initial screening it was banned in Spain and also in France. In Un Chien Andalou film operated more as subconscious mind given expression: it is chaos, unrelated to the conscious mind or will. ‘Surrealism ‘as rape of the conscious mind.’ Surrealism strictly speaking does not espouse a visual image as watching a beautiful sunset that puts reverence of God in the viewer’s mind; nor is it a shot of watch, placed in a succession of images to celebrate the union of technology and art. In short surrealism places the stolid virtue of visual images as we perceive them in our mind, cultivated by culture or art, on its head. (note: A Chinese may examine both the background and foreground in a painting with equal care while a Western mind shows more attention to detail in the foreground. Culture helps in understanding a work of art.) Visual ‘imagery’ in L’Age D’Or is to be understood in that context. If In a clear-cut narrative of a man and a woman being continuously thwarted in their attempts to make love by interruptions what significance can a man walking through a park with a loaf of bread on his head hold? ( Remember the nimbus that always is foisted on the icon of a saint in Catholic churches? His saintliness radiates heavenly light, so it would indicate. A loaf of bread he could provide to his worshipers  would be more practical and to the point. Would it not?’)

Man’s basic right to think or speak in the 30s was being curtailed by the fascist and totalitarian regimes in Spain, Italy, USSR and elsewhere. If the conscious life is repressed how our subconscious cope with it may lie in travesty of sense. Nonsense rhymes of Lear or Lewis Carroll tale are a case in point. If Alice has the misfortune to follow a rabbit through the hole she should not consider a Cheshire cat grinning as out of place. L’Age D’Or is sexed up but not pornograhic to titillate. The erotic aspects merely make the satire most ludicrous as in the scene where ragged children lap up the throes of the amorous couple, a man (Gaston Modot) and a girl (Lya Lys) rolling around in the mud. They are first spotted by the children. As soon as the crowd (the crowd of on-lookers is organized in accordance with the established social hierarchy.) frown on the indecency of it, children also quickly join in the general condemnation. The lower order if it will suit them, is all for propriety and morality of the bourgeoisie. The man (Gaston Modot) in his anger could crush a beetle, or kick a poodle out of the way. Beggars fare no better. In Buñuel’s vitriolic view of society it is such sort of a cad that is deputed as “Ambassador of Good Will.” L’Age d’Or is one of the cinema’s great “shock” films. At the time, it was accompanied by a manifesto.


The Story is episodic in form. The opening segment has a title card explaining the image. A poisonous scorpion is“not at all sociable, it ejects the intruder who comes to disturb its solitude.” Then the creature sets out to dine on a large rat. The next segment follows some hours afterwards when four bishops are shown deep in prayers. For a place in the sun we toil from sunup till sundown. But the well-fed prelates who make a show of their devotion as we see them rot away under the blazing Spanish Sun. Next segment develops the theme of Imperial Rome. A group of armed peasants gravitate towards the cliffs that line the rocky shoreline to resist the arrival of invading Mojorcans, but the peasants collapse in exhaustion along the way. The peasants are too weak to be of any threat to the invaders who come by ancient ships,-the invaders are however dressed nattily in modern dress. The Mojorcan dignitaries disembark uncontested, and launch a ceremony to mark the founding of a new city – Imperial Rome. The Church, the middle class and the lower class are all under attack by Buñuel. In his eyes they are all busybodies who keep butting in while the man and the daughter of the Marquis merely want to satisfy their lust. A hilarious scene is where two drunken oafs on a rickety horse and cart pass through the lounge room where an upper-class party is taking place. We will see it repeated in Viridiana where the beggar’s drunken orgy is a savage spoof on Da Vinci’s last supper. The film concludes with a segment derived from the novel The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. Portrayal of an orgy and making the ringleader very much like the Christ figure was shocking. Perhaps Buñuel wished to poke fun at the sham reverence for a Jesus (whose features and build as painted by El Greco or Michalangelo are different) that is arbitrarily made a sacred image, the preserve of the Church from the pale of criticism. How closer to truth is the image of Jesus as promoted by the Church?) The film concludes with a cross as controversial as anything else in his arsenal of ridiculing the Roman Church. Tufts of hair (possibly beards or pubic patches) are nailed to it. Even to the modern movie goers L’Age D’Or seems fresh and shocking as ever. (ack: senses of cinema- Bill Mousoulis, epinions-metalluk)


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Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes to the Germans, is an independent 1972 German film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh. The fame of Aguirre has continued to grow since its release. Its visual style and narrative elements had a strong influence on Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
Several critics have declared the film a masterpiece.
Aguirre belongs to the genre of adventure but more closer in spirit to Greed than to Kurasowa’s Seven Samurai.

Plot Synopsis
Framed The 1650-51 expedition of Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro (Alejandro Repulles) comes stuck in the thick, impenetrable jungles of Peru. As a last-ditch effort to locate treasure, Pizarro orders a party to scout ahead for signs of El Dorado, the fabled seven cities of gold. In command are a trio of nobles, Pedro de Ursua (Ruy Guerra), Fernando de Guzman (Peter Berling), and Lope de Aguirre (Kinski). Traveling by river raft, the explorers are besieged by hostile natives, disease, starvation and treacherous waters. Crazed with greed and mad with power, Aguirre takes over the enterprise, slaughtering any that oppose him. If Greed had Death valley and thirst to drive the last nail on the greed of McTague and Marcus, in Aguirre we have Nature and Aguirre’s own nature: his unquenchable thirst for glory. Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, played out in the heart of a lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.

Don Lope de Aguirre: I, the wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I’ll found the purest dynasty the earth has ever seen. Who but a madman will speak this while we see him in charge of nothing but a raft of corpses and chattering monkeys.
(ack: Karl Williams-all movie)
Herzog’s films are personal in his manner of myth making: use of a striking imagery which connects at different points in the film gives his visual narrative certain unity. For example the valley in Crete with its hundreds of rotating windmills in Signs of Life (1967) or the camera tracking the lonely Aguirre on his raft in the backwaters of the Amazon jungle. That brings me to his landscape which becomes a kind of reference point, a moral coda to the inner workings of man as in Aguirre. Landscape and the mindscape are brought together and the ethereal score of Popol Vuh sustains the mood.

Memorable quotes
Don Lope de Aguirre: That man is a head taller than me. That may change.
Don Lope de Aguirre: Perucho, don’t you think the cannon might be a little bit rusty?
Perucho: It might.
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the great traitor. There must be no other. Anyone who even thinks about deserting this mission will be cut up into 198 pieces. Those pieces will be stamped on until what is left can be used only to paint walls. Whoever takes one grain of corn or one drop of water… more than his ration, will be locked up for 155 years. If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees… then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. But whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts…
[last lines]
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the wrath of God. Who else is with me?
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the wrath of God.
Okello: [Hallucinating] That is no ship. That is no forest.
[Arrow hits him]
Okello: That is no arrow. We just imagine the arrows because we fear them.

Directed by     Werner Herzog
Produced by     Werner Herzog
Hans Prescher
Written by     Werner Herzog
Music by     Popol Vuh
Cinematography     Thomas Mauch
Editing by     Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus
Release date(s)     December 29, 1972
Running time     100 min
Country     West Germany
Language     English/German
Budget     US$370,000
Similar Movies
Fitzcarraldo  (1982, Werner Herzog)
Apocalypse Now  (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Mosquito Coast  (1986, Peter Weir)
El Dorado  (1988, Carlos Saura)
Cobra Verde  (1988, Werner Herzog)
The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage  (1996, Paul Seydor)
Apocalypse Now Redux  (2001, Francis Ford Coppola)
Last of the Dogmen  (1995, Tab Murphy)
1492: Conquest of Paradise  (1992, Ridley Scott)
The Desert Within  (2008, Rodrigo Plá)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Fitzcarraldo  (1982, Werner Herzog)
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser  (1975, Werner Herzog)
Wo Die Grünen Ameisen Träumen  (1984, Werner Herzog)
Signs of Life  (1968, Werner Herzog)
Burden of Dreams  (1982, Les Blank)
Woyzeck  (1978, Werner Herzog)
Stroszek  (1977, Werner Herzog)
Heart of Glass  (1976, Werner Herzog)
Other Related Movies
is related to:      Woyzeck  (1978, Werner Herzog)
My Best Fiend  (1999, Werner Herzog)
Reverse Shot: Rebellion of the Filmmakers  (2007, Laurens Straub, Dominik Wessely)
Q’ero: In Search of the Last Incas  (1993, Zadoc Nava)
*  Although the opening titles claim the film was based on “the diary of the monk Gaspar de Carvajal”, director Werner Herzog has stated that there is no historical basis for the story and that the monk’s diary was invented to lend it more credence. However, a diary of Carvajal does in fact exist, but Carvajal was not part of any expedition with Aguirre, but rather part of one 20 years earlier to the interior.

* Near the end of the shooting, Werner Herzog thought he had lost all the negatives that the film was shot on. He later discovered that the shipping agency at the Lima airport had completed all paperwork that accompanied the transportation of the film cans, but had not actually shipped them. The cans were thought lost for several weeks before the oversight was revealed.

* Many of the scenes depicted in the film were unrehearsed and unstaged. Herzog did not storyboard a single frame of the film. All of it was shot and framed spontaneously.

* Werner Herzog claims to have written the screenplay in two and a half days.
* During one scene set in a native village, Klaus Kinski hits one of the crewmen over the head with his sword. The blow nearly killed the man, and only his helmet saved his life.

* Klaus Kinski claimed at one time that while filming the final scene, he was actually bitten by some of the monkeys.

* Ranked #46 on Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time”

* This was the first Werner Herzog film with Klaus Kinski. It was the start of an extremely stormy, and sometimes violent, professional relationship that lasted 15 years,

* The complete crew comprised only eight people.


* Klaus Kinski …. Lope de Aguirre
* Helena Rojo …. Inez de Atienza
* Ruy Guerra …. Don Pedro de Ursúa
* Del Negro …. Brother Gaspar de Carvajal
* Peter Berling …. Don Fernando de Guzman
* Cecilia Rivera …. Florés de Aguirre
* Daniel Ades …. Perucho
* Edward Roland …. Okello
* Armando Polanah …. Armando
* Alejandro Repullés …. Gonzalo Pizarro
* Justo González …. González
(ack:all movie,imdb.wikipedia, Ingo Petzke)

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The film (aka. The Conformist) is based on the 1951 book of the same name, by Alberto Moravia. The story is set in the 30s when Fascists had tightened their control over Italy. The central character is Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant), one who desperately needs to belong. For him marriage is a normal life. ‘I’m going to build a life that’s normal. I’m marrying a petty bourgeoise’.
Bertolucci has given for his need to conform a motive, in his latent homosexuality. Thus marriage is a means to conform, a smokescreen to hide his innermost fears. Hence the title.
The film opens with Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) hurrying to save Anna the wife of his former college professor, Luca Quadri (Enzo Tarascio). It is 1938. A series of  flashbacks delve into his past in order to show the kind of mentality that Fascism fed upon.
He is planning to marry a woman who is sensual but silly. He characterises her as ‘mediocre’ and his casual approach to confession shocks the confessor. What is she? A mound of petty ideas. Full of petty ambitions. ‘She’s all bed and kitchen’. Such an attitude to his future wife and the family he intends to raise necessarily invite comparison with his mother, a morphine-addict stuck in a decrepit villa while his mad father is commited to an asylum.
He has known another kind of isolation, that family wealth brought to him as a boy. He was sexually bullied by his schoolmates until he is rescued by chauffeur Lino (Pierre Clémenti). Lino offers to show him a pistol and then makes sexual advances towards Marcello. To this he responds by grabbing the pistol and shooting wildly all around and Lino is felled by one of the bullets. He thinks he has killed him.
As a man in fascist Italy, Marcello finds himself a cog in a great bureaucratic machine that keeps Italy going. Even for such religion must mean surely something in Italy? Marcello knows whatever be the crime or sin of the flesh confession will make amends. Marcello the conformist tells his confessor, ‘ I want to be excused by society. Yes. I want to confess today the sin I’ll commit tomorrow. One sin atones for another. It is the price I must pay society. And I shall pay it’. With such a moral mindset he has no uneasy conscience when he is asked to assassinate his former mentor who is an enemy to fascism. He accepts the order.
His botched attempt to do the job at a big party brings more operatives and the professor and wife are killed. This scene is beautifully orchestrated visually as well as aurally that it will linger in the mind of the viewer long after watching the film. The crucial moment is when he,unable to respond to the plea of Anna but digs deeper inside the car brings shock and despair to his once lover. She and her husband had in their Paris apartment hosted him knowing well he could be there only with criminal intentions. She succumbs to his passion,-mind you during his honeymoon, and she pleads, ‘don’t hurt us, marcello.’
After overthrow of Mussolini in 1943 Marcello is advised to escape.
Giulia: What are you going to do now?
Marcello: The same as everyone else who thought like me. When there are so many of us, there’s no risk.

Ideologies like caravans move on and those who wanted to ride the baggage train of Nazism or Fascism find themselves left out. It is what happenes to  Marcello.  He denounces all those on whom the charges may stick. He recognizes Lino his former chauffeur as a homosexual, fascist, and of participating in the murder of professor Quadri and his wife. He also accuses his only friend Italo from the former times. In the end, Marcello is alone, unaccepted by the people of the new partisan political movement. He sits near a small fire and looks behind him through a metal grate, mulling over Plato. Dry as dust matter for one who has lost his best part, his integrity.
Only one flaw I could think of and it is very serious one. It is the casting of Clierci. Tritingnant has a very strong personality ,-and is heroic, that while watching him we tend to accept him even when he behaves so abominably as required of the part. It seems to undermine the purpose of the film.

‘In addition to its strong storyline, the film is critically revered for the astonishing production design by Nedo Azzini, which, together with Vittorio Storaro’s camerawork, recreates the atmosphere of Fascist Italy with some of the most complex visual compositions ever seen on film, filled with highly stylized uses of angles, shapes, and shadows. The Conformist was cut by five crucial minutes when first released in the US; those missing moments were restored in the 1994 reissue’.(Hal Erickson-all movie)
Similar Movies
Mephisto  (1981, István Szabó)
Lacombe Lucien  (1974, Louis Malle)
Colonel Redl  (1985, István Szabó)
For a Lost Soldier  (1993, Roeland Kerbosch)
The Damned  (1969, Luchino Visconti)
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis  (1970, Vittorio De Sica)
Hanussen  (1988, István Szabó)
The Night Porter  (1974, Liliana Cavani)
La Strategia del Ragno  (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Gli Occhiali d’Oro  (1987, Giuliano Montaldo)
Movies with the Same Personnel
1900  (1976, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Partner  (1968, Bernardo Bertolucci)
La Tragedia di un Uomo Ridicolo  (1981, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Sheltering Sky  (1990, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Last Tango in Paris  (1972, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Sans Mobile Apparent  (1971, Philippe Labro)
La Commare Secca  (1962, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Last Emperor  (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Bertolucci’s cinematic style synthesizes expressionism and “fascist” film aesthetics. Its style can be compared with classic German films of the thirties, such as in Leni Riefenstahl’s The Triumph of the Will and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.[5]

The drama was influential to other filmmakers: the image of blowing leaves in The Conformist, for example, influenced a very similar scene in The Godfather, Part II by Francis Ford Coppola (1974).[6]

Filming locations

The filming locations included: Gare d’Orsay and Paris, France; Sant’ Angelo Bridge and the Colosseum, both in Rome.[7]


* Jean-Louis Trintignant as Marcello Clerici
* Stefania Sandrelli as Giulia
* Gastone Moschin as Manganiello
* Enzo Tarascio as Professor Quadri
* Fosco Giachetti as Il colonnello
* José Quaglio as Italo
* Dominique Sanda as Anna Quadri
* Pierre Clémenti as Lino
* Yvonne Sanson as Madre di Giulia
* Giuseppe Addobbati as Padre di Marcello
* Christian Aligny as Raoul
* Carlo Gaddi as Hired Killer
* Umberto Silvestri as Hired Killer
* Furio Pellerani as Hired Killer
Directed by     Bernardo Bertolucci
Produced by     Giovanni Bertolucci
Maurizio Lodi-Fe
Written by     Bernardo Bertolucci
Alberto Moravia
Starring     Jean-Louis Trintignant
Stefania Sandrelli
Music by     Georges Delerue
Cinematography     Vittorio Storaro
Editing by     Franco Arcalli
Distributed by     Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)     October 22, 1970
(USA and Italy)
Running time     107 minutes
111 minutes
(Director’s Cut)
Country     Italy
West Germany
Language     Italian
memorable quotes:
[denies a rumor regarding his father]
Marcello: You see, the origin of my father’s mental illness isn’t venereal. That can be medically confirmed.
Giulia’s Mother: By the way, my little girl has had the mumps, scarlet fever, and German measles.
Marcello: They’re all very moral maladies.
Marcello: I’m going to build a life that’s normal. I’m marrying a petty bourgeoise.
Confessor: Then she must be a fine girl.
Giulia: Speak out. Go ahead.
Marcello: Mediocre. A mound of petty ideas. Full of petty ambitions. She’s all bed and kitchen.
Confessor: The one thing you have to do is repent and humbly ask His pardon today.
Marcello: I’ve already repented. I want to be excused by society. Yes. I want to confess today the sin I’ll commit tomorrow. One sin atones for another. It is the price I must pay society. And I shall pay it.
Italo: A normal man? For me, a normal man is one who turns his head to see a beautiful woman’s bottom. The point is not just to turn your head. There are five or six reasons. And he is glad to find people who are like him, his equals. That’s why he likes crowded beaches, football, the bar downtown…
Marcello: At Piazza Venice.
Italo: He likes people similar to himself and does not trust those who are different. That’s why a normal man is a true brother, a true citizen, a true patriot…
Marcello: A true fascist.
Giulia: He’ll be a typical intellectual, disagreeable and impotent.
Professor Quadri: Clerici, you had me convinced you were the typical new Italian.
Marcello: No such type exists yet, but we’re creating him.
Anna: Through repression?
Marcello: No, through example.
Anna: Giving him castor oil? Throwing him into prison? By torturing them? Blackmailing?
Professor Quadri: Anna, please, dear, calm down. Clerici is a fascist. I’m an anti-fascist. We both knew. And we decided to have supper together all the same.
[after overthrow of Mussolini]
Giulia: What are you going to do now?
Marcello: The same as everyone else who thought like me. When there are so many of us, there’s no risk.
Giulia: Marcello, don’t go out. They could hurt you.
Marcello: I won’t be in danger. After all, what have I done? My duty.
Giulia: But why do you want to go?
Marcello: I want to see how a dictatorship falls.
Giulia: [sexually aroused while kissing Marcello on a couch] If you want… want to…
Marcello: If I want to…?
Giulia: Yes, right here… on the floor… on the carpet… Want to?
Marcello: Better think about the priest. He may not grant absolution.
Giulia: They grant everyone absolution.
Giulia: Oh, hunchbacks bring good luck.
Giulia: [somewhat inebriated] Shopping is only for women. Husbands pay!
Giulia: What was Marcello like as a student?
Professor Quadri: Serious. Too serious!
Giulia: But you can’t be too serious.
Professor Quadri: Really serious people are never serious.
Anna: [to Marcello] You’re only a worm. You revolt me. You’re disgusting!
Manganiello: [disgusted by Marcello’s inability to act and leaving their car] How disgusting! I’ve always said so. Make me work in the shit – sure, but not with a coward! It’s up to me! Cowards, homosexuals, Jews – they’re all the same thing! If it were up to me, I’d stand them all against a wall!
[he blows on his fingers in the stinging cold]
Manganiello: Better yet – eliminate them when they’re born!

#  The Latin phrase recited by Clerici on his way to kill the Quadris was “Animula, vagula, blandula, hospes comesque corporis”, the first line of a poem attributed to the Roman emperor Hadrian.

# When Clerici asks the operator to connect him with Prof. Quadri, the telephone number he gives is the (one-time) telephone number of Bertolucci’s idol Jean-Luc Godard. When Quadri answers the phone, Clerici recalls one of his lectures in which Quadri said “The time for reflection is over. Now is the time for action.” This is the opening line in Godard’s film Le Petit Soldat.

# Bertolucci proposed the film adaptation of the novel to Paramount, without ever reading it himself. Within a month, he started the screenplay.

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Dekalog 7
‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’

In the seventh episode Kieslowski poses the question of whether you can steal something that is already yours. The world we live in is so complex and there are simple thefts and subtle forms of theft. A young woman, Majka (Maja Barelkowska) is planning to leave for Canada and at the passport office she also wants to obtain a child’s passport and that requires the mother’s signed permission. Majka is Ania’s birth mother, which in the eyes of law could be challenged. The same evening a girl of six, Ania (Katarzyna Piwowarczyk), is crying in a nightmare and Majka attempts to comfort her. The effort ends in failure though when their mother Ewa (Anna Polony) takes charge. The father, Stefan (Wladyslaw Kowalski), holds and soothes Majka, even as Ewa is doing the same with Ania. Could the two women with a child in between live in amity? For a casual observer they represent a happy family but between the women there is an undercurrent of tension. Majka was underage when she became pregnant so Ewa steps in for all intents and purposes as the mother. Ewa wants the sole control over Ania. (The irony is that Ania is actually sired by a young teacher, Wojtek (Boguslaw Linda), from the school where Ewa is headmistress.)

On the following day Ewa takes Ania to a pantomime with all of the other mothers and kids. However, Majka manages to take the child out of the building and disappear. Ania is a pawn in the tug-of- war and is the ultimate loser. As with the first Dekalog 7 proves Kieslowski’s to write for and direct children. He presents an extremely believable and thoroughly tragic commentary on the Commandment that essentially related to material goods. Stealing money and stealing affection are on the same scale but in the eyes of law are not punished equally.

Dekalog 8
Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness’

In the woods close to a familiar apartment complex an old lady, Zofia (Maria Koscialkowska), jogs carefully and she exchanges a few words with her stamp-collecting neighbour and prepares for work. She is a professor of ethics within Warsaw University.  That day as usual she takes class with Elzbieta (Teresa Marczewska), an American translator of Zofia’s work, sitting in.

During the session when Zofia comments on a true-life tale, and impresses upon her students the point that a child’s life is of paramount importance, Elzbieta feels compelled to relate another tale. In this one, set in 1943, a 6 year-old Jewish girl is about to be lodged with some willing Catholic protectors, since her parents are in the ghetto. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the man and woman renege on their promise, leaving the child to an uncertain fate. A tragic story without a doubt but Zofia seems shaken far more deeply than the situation warrants, suggesting a hidden connection (since she is of roughly the correct age for wartime exploits). The question is, how does Elzbieta know the story and why is she choosing now to have her say?
Advancing in years and well grounded in logic and ethics do not remove life’s incidents perhaps forgotten or glossed over. Elzbieta and Sofia meets accidentally and yet there are points in the past that connect them.

Motives and actions do not exactly match point to point. An action carries so many overtones, some of which are of contrary to what is done. This point is brought home to Sofia by her translator.

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Dekalog 2

Inspired, though not chained to, the second Commandment, Dekalog 2
deals with a hospital consultant (Aleksander Bardini) who lives alone surrounded by his cacti in one of the nondescript apartment complexes. He has a bustling housekeeper. Most of energy is spent on medical matters and he tends critically ill patients such as Andrzej (Olgierd Lukasiewicz). Burdened with possibly terminal cancer a violinist Dorota (Krystyna Janda)  his wife is so desperate that she hangs around near the consultant’s flat, even though he only officially sees relatives at 2-5 on Wednesdays.
Dorota is pregnant but not with the child of her husband. So her desperation is not purely for her husband’s cure but for the certainty. In case he regains health she must abort the baby that is someone elses.  The consultant and Dorota already know each other under rather unfortunate circumstances( she ran over his dog a few years previously.)
As a physician he invites Dorota in and he explains how difficult it is to make accurate predictions. At the moment all he can counsel is to wait and see,- news, which fails to satisfy Dorota. She is fixated upon obtaining a definitive answer for what is really a moral and psychological problem. The consultant is unwilling to play God just for her. She uses him rather to make a choice between two lives, that of her husband or her unborn child.
Once again, great camera-work and a suitable choice of music form part of the greater whole.

Dekalog 3

On a snowy Christmas Eve, Janusz (Daniel Olbrychski) a taxi-driver has dressed up as Santa Claus to surprise and delight his children-(an annual tradition).Toting a sack bulging with presents, he stomps merrily into the apartment block where his wife (Joanna Szczepkowska) is delighted. They head off to Midnight Mass. There Janusz briefly spots a familiar face amongst the crowd, that of Ewa (Maria Pakulnis) who had come visiting in the neighborhood.
Later on, Janusz and his wife are disturbed by entry of of Ewa. On the brink of hysteria, Ewa hurriedly explains how her husband has gone missing and that she can’t find him anywhere. Should he help her in such a special night when she could have turned to others as well? Kieslowski in this episode explores with affairs of the heart and their consequences. While Janusz surely loves his family, there was an episode between him and Ewa that had not been fully settled. Things are not what they seem especially when Ewa takes Janusz back to her flat. The dynamics, which guide the actions of the characters are under deep shadows that the past casts on the present, however commendable they may appear to be. The principle actors do a fine job of emoting with each other, expressing the ambiguities and uncertainties of love.
Excellent camerawork is another strength of this part.

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Drifting Clouds (Finnish:Kauas pilvet karkaavat) is a 1996 Finnish film directed by Aki Kaurismäki and the film is the first in Kaurismäki’s Finland trilogy, the other 2 films being The Man Without a Past and Lights in the Dusk.
In “Drifting Clouds,” a woman loses her job at a bankrupt restaurant, her husband is laid off by the transport system, their TV is repossessed, she pays her savings to an employment agency for another job, she isn’t paid, and when her husband tries to collect he gets beaten up. But there’s a happy ending. Does such misery of everyday proportions that Tom, Dick and Harry face these days make a movie worth writing about?

A film can do its job well with such couple, whom we might easily pass unnoticed if we were to pass them on street in course of a day. Ilona Koponen (Kati Outinen), a head waitress at Dubrovnik restaurant, is married to Lauri (Kari Väänänen), a tram driver. The couple lives in a small, modestly furnished apartment in Helsinki. There is sympathy and understanding between the two: Lauri is macho who has immense confdence in himself. He considers it beneath him to go on welfare. Whereas Ilona having gradually worked her way up from dishwashing to the level of a head waiter  is more tuned to the reality of living. Their struggle for survival has hope at its best since they have nothing else by way of worldly goods to show them in better light. At the point of starting their own restaurant, their capital depends upon the director of the bank with which she had all along done business. She has hope of making a successful go of her venture but the banker needs a backer and all she could produce is another stolid citizen like her, a shoe repairer. Of course the bank shoots down their dream. Hope always has its way of showing up in unexpected places and it turns out into the form of the director of Dubrovnik, where she had worked earlier. Lauri who can no longer drive a tram because of an ear problem will work for her in the capacity of the porter. The story’s punchline is delivered by their concerted effect to survive. They, thanks to the film take the centre stage for 96 minutes of its running time.

Camera is a creative eye in the hands of a creative cameraman; and everyday life of for a discerning film-maker offers a wealth of material out of which the excellence of editing can lift the narrative from pedestrian to the level of art. Film-making can never be objective or impersonal but instead film is a creative ‘lie’ of every day events to fall in a preconceived mold of some. For the very reason we pay undivided attention to the effect of vagaries of market economy on Lauri and Ilona. The mold may be a wellcrafted script or a sketch of scenes that is to be followed through in a day’s shooting. Lie it is since a lot of material gets discarded at the cutting floor and more scenes are added to what is retained in order to make a cogent whole. Drifting Clouds succeeds inspite of its commonplace storyline. It is made special by the particular vision and sympathies of Aki Kaurismäki.
Aki Kaurismaki has a quirky comic vision to hold viewers attention out of everyday happenings.
Although the film was not as widely distributed as an average Hollywood feature and, as a result, was not a commercial success to the same extent, it was well received by film critics worldwide. At the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention award as well as being nominated for the Palme d’Or. The film won several awards at the 1997 Finnish Jussi awards including Best Film, Best Director (Kaurismäki), Best Script (Kaurismäki), Best Actress (Outinen), and Best Supporting Actress (Salo).
Directed by     Aki Kaurismäki
Produced by     Aki Kaurismäki
Written by     Aki Kaurismäki
Music by     Timo Salminen
Cinematography     Timo Salminen
Editing by     Aki Kaurismäki
Running time     96 mins
Language     Finnish
Budget     FIM 5,562,154 (approx. € 935,000)
Ilona: Kati Outinen
Lauri: Kari Vaeaenaenen
Melartin: Sakari Kuosmanen
Pianist: Shelley Fisher
Tax Inspector: Tero Jartti
#  Dedicated to the memory of Matti Pellonpää (who was frequently cast by director Aki Kaurismäki) for whom the main role was originally intended. The child who can be seen in the photo is Pellonpää, a homage.

# One of the restaurants in this film is named “Dubrovnik”. Scenes set in that restaurant were filmed at Yrjönkatu 18, which at time were not an actual restaurant. However, in summer 2005 at this location opened restaurant G18. Bit later the Andorra cinema, which is co-owned by Kaurismäki brothers, was converted into new form and one of the theatre halls was changed into Dubrovnik Lounge & Lobby.
Memorable Quotes:
Ravintolapäällikkö: [Ilona is applying a new job] To be honest, you’re beginning to be too old.
Ilona: I’m 36.
Ravintolapäällikkö: You can pass away at any time.
Olympian mies: [after Lauri has recovered from beating] You start distantly remind a human being

(Ack:wikipedia, imdb)

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