Month: March 2009

the Boys from Brazil (Franklin Schaffner, 1978)

USA/UK, 125 min


Infamous Nazi Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck) has been secretly working for decades on a horrifying genetic experiment with devastating implications.  An aging but determined ‘Nazi hunter’ (Laurence Olivier) strives to put an end to the project. Featuring a very young Steve Guttenberg as “annoying Jew #1”.



I’m Not Scared (Gabriele Salvatores, 2003)

Io non ho paura
IT/SP/USA, 108 min



This acclaimed mystery is set during the late 1970s in a small Italian village when a 10-year-old boy’s idyllic world is about to be shattered by his discovery of an unspeakable crime.


Momma Don’t Allow (Reisz/Richardson, 1956)

UK, 22 min


dance, teddy boy, dance…
don’t worry; that duck’s ass
at the back of your head
looks mighty fine


well, obviously i’ve been on  a free cinema kick for the last few days. i recommend all these films as great context to anyone interested in brit cinema, especially fans of the british new wave and/or the “angry young man” and kitchen sink realism dramas from that period.

this entry is by karel reisz (director of saturday night & sunday morning, producer of anderson’s this sporting life) and tony richardson (look back in anger, a taste of honey, the loneliness of the long distance runner).


the film depicts an evening at a jazz club, but the directors designed it to give a sense of narrative. like the others i’ve seen thus far, it has great music. this time it’s from a live jazz band.  (see full synopsis from screenonline at the end of this entry.)

while it lacks the sense of spontaneity of the last two i watched (several parts are obviously highly staged), it does have the advantage of exploring its subjects – youngish members of the working class and the emerging youth culture – in more depth, and with far more affection than o dreamland or nice time.

it’s of particular interest for its fantastic footage of kids dancin’ up a storm (wish i knew what little trot they’re doing), youth fashion, and for featuring an awkward mixing of proles and middle class brits.


(where and when did these kids used to learn their dance steps? did they need to be taught, or did they learn by example? whose example? argh. also, if anyone knows of a doc that depicts these lads actually putting the brilliantine [or whatever] in their hair… hook me up)



Nice Time (Goretta/Tanner, 1957)

UK, 17 min


Goretta and Tanner’s inimitable souvenir of Piccadilly Circus is what Jean Vigo described as a ‘point de vue documentaire’. The directors thread together the disparate sounds and images of a Saturday night out as the crowds gather around Eros.  bfi


another superb serving from the free cinema movement. fucking nectar. i will continue seeking these docs out with wild fervor.


from screenonline:

In September 1956, two young Swiss film enthusiasts, Claude Goretta and Alain Tanner applied for a grant from the British Film Institute to finance a film about London’s Piccadilly on Saturday night. Both in their mid-twenties, they were working at the BFI, where they had met Lindsay Anderson and the other Free Cinema members, as well film critics like Derek Prouse and John Berger, who offered encouragement and support.

At the BFI they also discovered the work of film-makers like Jean Vigo, a major influence. But it was the success of the…


Man Bites Dog (Rémy Belvaux/et al., 1992)

AKA Man Bites Dog: It Happened in Your Neighborhood
C’est arrivé près de chez vous

BE, 95 min


this was on “the list” for so long i had forgotten the premise entirely (ideal circumstances for watching almost any film).  hilarity.

i’ve uploaded the perfect taste – the film’s opening moments: here.

reel :: imdb