The River (1951)

The River (1951) In the aftermath of Edward Said’s “Orientalism” and Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” what can be said of Jean Renoir’s first Technicolor film, shot in documentary fashion on location in Bengal, with a mix of actors and local nonprofessionals? The emphasis on British colonial life through the eyes of Harriet, a … More The River (1951)

Kika (1993)

Kika (1993) Another preposterous plot twists around a group of people who are connected through serial killings by a novelist [Peter Coyote] whose successful fiction is actually a confession. Kika [Veronica Forqué] is a make-up artist called over to make a recently deceased young man [Alex Casanovas] look acceptable for burial, but the makeup causes … More Kika (1993)

Les Parents Terribles

Les Parents Terribles (1948) Jean Cocteau adapted his successful play to film, keeping the original cast and emphasizing the claustrophobia of the set, to enhance a mother’s obsession for her son within a family dynamic of resentment and betrayal. Yvonne de Bray is formidable as the Intimidating, spoiled matriarch, and Jean Marais coils into her lap … More Les Parents Terribles

Black Venus (2010)

Black Venus (2010) Yahima Torres deliveres a stunningly brooding performance as the abused and exploited “Venus Hottentot” in this film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. Based on the real life of Sarah Baartman, Sawtche was bought from an Afrikaner farmer to nurse the children of a Dutch doctor who, seeing the body of his servant as … More Black Venus (2010)

The Fabulous Baron Munchausen [aka Baron Prášil ] (1961)

The Fabulous Baron Munchausen [aka Baron Prášil ] (1961) Czechoslovakian animator Karel Zeman combines live action with puppets and animation to create a highly stylized picture about the outrageous lies of Baron Munchausen. Influenced by the engravings of Gustave Doré, in the tradition of Ray Harryhausen, Zeman’s fantasy world revels in a childlike delight and … More The Fabulous Baron Munchausen [aka Baron Prášil ] (1961)

L’Immortelle (1963)

L’Immortelle (1963) Alain Robbe-Grillet wrote and directed this black and white cubist narrative about an unidentified traveler from France who meets and then searches for a woman who disappears in Istanbul. Lovely travelogue sequences glide by to Turkish music, as, from the rubble of exotic romance, variations on narrative tropes assemble and reassemble themselves. Istanbul … More L’Immortelle (1963)

Cronos (1993)

Cronos (1993) Guillermo del Toro’s first gothic masterpiece studies the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter through a surreal allegory about immortality and the limits of life on earth. Federico Luppi gives a stunning performance as the elderly antiques dealer who discovers a treasure that rejuvenates his blood and turns him younger. But there … More Cronos (1993)