Founder and Editor of Filmuforia.com
|Az EN XX. SZAZADOM
|Small Time Crooks
|Gordon Parks Jr.
|Don't Look Now
|The Great Adventure
|Nosferatu Phantom der Nacht
Az EN XX. SZAZADOM
An elegant inventive whisper-light reverie about civilisation at the turn of the 20th Century seen from a woman's point of view.
Small Time Crooks
A whip-smart comedy satire that makes me laugh out loud every time I watch its brilliant depiction of rags to riches life in Brooklyn seen from the perspective of its authentic fictional characters played by: Tracey Ullman, Hugh Grant, Elaine May and Wood Allen himself.
This epic saga has something new to discover each time I watch it. An extraordinary treasure trove of images, performances and historical details captured by John Alcott and bound up in an iconic score. If I could choose one film to take to my desert island it would be this one.
I discovered this gem at a Black cinema retrospective at Locarno Film Festival some years ago. A heady breath of New York in the early 1970s it captures the daily life of a cocaine dealer (Ron O'Neal) and his lover (Sheila Frazier) who live life on a knife edge with such style and gutsiness - Curtis Mayfield's score it just the icing on the cake. And of course costume design from Nate Adams sets the tone.
Paris is the sombre star of this twisted psychodrama, a portrait of paranoia punctured by lewd moments of humour in a scabrid script. Polanski is the timid outsider gradually cowered into submission, and as the horror unravels to Philippe Sarde's plangent score, all sorts of skeletons emerge from the past and the present. Bang up to date with its immigration theme, yet constantly resonating with the Holocaust, and echoing the pity, shame and humiliation of its central character, this is an endlessly haunting thriller that left Polanski empty-handed at Cannes (1976) after surely one of the most extraordinary performances of the 20th century.
Shot on a hand held camera, this simple tragedy speaks volumes about the abject emotional misery and privation suffered by its central character Irena who lives alone on the outskirts of Communist era Wroclaw with only her 8 year old son for company. A brief period of happiness leads once again to desperation and gloom. Unforgettable in its stark depiction of life in eighties Poland. Won the Special Jury prize at Polish Film Festival 1988
Kalatozov led Soviet cinema back to the lyricism of Pudovkin and Eisenstein away from the realism of the Stalin era in a poignant drama portraying dark times with such elegance, its everlasting themes of love, war and courageous sacrifice enveloped in the velvety visuals of DoP Sergey Urusevsky. Tatyana Samoylova is mesmerising as Veronika and won Best Actress at Cannes where the film won the Palme d'Or in 1958.
Don't Look Now
A beautiful horror masterpiece: chilling, soulful, romantic in its depiction of extreme grief, regret and yearning for love lost, in all its forms. Totally relatable and yet mysterious, treacherous and unreachable. So many emotions well up when watching this film. It resonates with a grief that is palpable. The tragedy of its story remains in the mind forever.
The Great Adventure
A lyrical black & white Swedish cinema verite docudrama that pictures a year on a farm in remote Sweden where a man lives with his family in the heart of the forest, the director doubling us as the pipe-smoking father and DoP.
The film won prizes at Cannes and Berlin for the poetic way Sucksdorff combines wildlife photography with a gripping storyline that plays out like a thriller with touches of humour, the local fauna unwittingly providing the characters: owls, otters, pine-martens, rabbits, squirrels and a lynx all take part in their natural habitat in a deeply forested 1950s Sweden. Enchanting.
Nosferatu Phantom der Nacht
The vampire legend is brought to life in this hauntingly beautiful fantasy fable that takes us into the realms of darkness and beyond with an atavistic quality that strikes at the core of our deepest fears. The power and complexity of the performances, the magnificence of the sets and Wagner's score make this an all time classic masterpiece that feels fresh and deeply thought-provoking each time you watch it .
I've tried to choose films not just for their technical brilliance but for their powerful effect on me, there has to be an interactive quality at play. I want to come away feeling moved, enlightened, inspired or changed in some way. They need to stand up to the test of time. All these films have good performances, a solid script and strong visual allure, but there has to be an X factor too. And that lies at the heart of my choices.