The Bridge on the River Kwai

9 august 2009
 
 
 
The Bridge on the River Kwai opens in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in

Burma in 1943,
where a battle of wills rages between camp commander Colonel Saito (Sessue
Hayakawa) and newly arrived British colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness). Saito
insists that Nicholson order his men to build a bridge over the river Kwai,
which will be used to transport Japanese munitions. Nicholson refuses, despite
all the various "persuasive" devices at Saito’s disposal. Finally,
Nicholson agrees, not so much to cooperate with his captor as to provide a
morale-boosting project for the military engineers under his command. The
colonel will prove that, by building a better bridge than Saito’s men could
build, the British soldier is a superior being even when under the thumb of the
enemy. As the bridge goes up, Nicholson becomes obsessed with completing it to
perfection, eventually losing sight of the fact that it will benefit the
Japanese. Meanwhile, American POW Shears ( William Holden ), having escaped from
the camp, agrees to save himself from a court martial by leading a group of
British soldiers back to the camp to destroy Nicholson’s bridge. Upon his
return, Shears realizes that Nicholson’s mania to complete his project has
driven him mad. Filmed in

Ceylon,
Bridge on the River Kwai won
seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for the legendary
British filmmaker David Lean , and Best Actor for Guinness. It also won Best
Screenplay for Pierre Boulle, the author of the novel on which the film was
based, even though the actual writers were blacklisted writers Carl Foreman and
Michael Wilson, who were given their Oscars under the table.

 

Directed by:

David Lean

Writers:

Pierre Boulle

Starring:

William Holden

Alec Guinness

Country:

UK /

USA

Language:

English / Japanese/ Thai

Release Date:

2 October 1957  (

UK )

Genre:

POW Drama

Ensemble Film

War Drama


Casablanca

3 august 2009
 
 
 
One of the most beloved American films, this captivating
wartime adventure of romance and intrigue from director Michael Curtiz defies
standard categorization. Simply put, it is the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey
Bogart), a world-weary ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in

Casablanca during the
early part of WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, notably the
crafty Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick’s caf has become a haven for
refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them
to escape to

America.
One day, to Rick’s great surprise, he is approached by the famed rebel Victor
Laszlo ( Paul Henreid ) and his wife, Ilsa ( Ingrid Bergman ), Rick’s true love who
deserted him when the Nazis invaded

Paris.
She still wants Victor to escape to
America,
but now that she’s renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in

Casablanca. "You
must do the thinking for both of us," she says to Rick. He does, and his
plan brings the story to its satisfyingly logical, if not entirely happy,
conclusion.

 

Directed by:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein

Starring:

Humphrey Bogart

Ingrid Bergman

Country:

USA

Language:

English / French / German

Release Date:

23 January 1943 (

USA )

Genre:

Romantic Drama

War Romance


A Bout de Souffle

12 iulie 2009
 
 
 
The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard
and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless is story of the love between
Michel Poiccard, a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia
Franchini, an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the
boulevards of

Paris.
Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a dragnet. Breathless uses the famous techniques of
the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose
narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts,
deliberate "mismatches" between shots, and references to the history
of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film’s vigor comes from collisions
between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women
by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart’s clarinet
concerto and snippets of French pop radio. When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics
responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous
international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation.

 

Directed by:

Jean-Luc Godard

Writers:

Jean- Luc Godard

Starring:

Jean-Paul Belmondo

Jean Seberg

Country:

France

Language:

French / English

Release Date:

7 February 1961 (

USA )

Genre:

Crime Drama

Urban Drama

Psychological Drama


 


Bonnie and Clyde

6 iulie 2009
 
 
Producer/star Warren Beatty had to convince Warner
Bros. to finance this film, which went on to become the studio’s second-highest
grosser. It also caused major controversy by redefining violence in cinema and
casting its criminal protagonists as sympathetic anti-heroes. Based loosely on
the true exploits of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker during the 30s, the film
begins as Clyde (Beatty) tries to steal the car of Bonnie Parker (Faye
Dunaway)’s mother. Bonnie is excited by
Clyde’s
outlaw demeanor, and he further stimulates her by robbing a store in her presence.
Clyde steals a car, with Bonnie in tow, and
their legendary Crime spree begins. The two move from town to town, pulling off
small heists, until they join up with
Clyde’s
brother Buck (Gene Hackman), his shrill wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons), and a
slow-witted gas station attendant named C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard). The new
gang robs a bank and
Clyde is soon painted in
the press as a Depression-era Robin Hood when he allows one bank customer to
hold onto his money. Soon the police are on the gang’s trail and they are
constantly on the run, even kidnapping a Texas Ranger (Denver Pyle) and setting
him adrift on a raft, handcuffed, after he spits in Bonnie’s face when she
kisses him. That same ranger leads a later raid on the gang that leaves Buck dying,
Blanche captured, and both
Clyde and Bonnie
injured. The ever-loyal C.W. takes them to his father’s house. C.W.’s father
disaproves his son’s affiliation with gangsters and enters a plea bargain with
the Texas Rangers . A trap is set that ends in one of the bloodiest death scenes
in cinematic history. The film made stars out of Beatty and Dunaway, and it
also featured the screen debut of Gene Wilder as a mortician briefly captured
by the gang. Its portrayal of Bonnie and Clyde as rebels who empathized with
the poor working folks of the 1930s struck a chord with the counterculture of
the 1960s and helped generate a new, young audience for American movies that
carried over into

Hollywood’s
renewal of the 1970s. Its combination of sex and violence with dynamic stars,
social relevance, a traditional
Hollywood
genre, and an appeal to hip young audiences set the pace for many American
movies to come.

 

Directed by:

Arthur Penn

Writers:

David Newman

Starring:

Warren Beatty

Faye Dunaway

Gene Hackman

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1967 (

USA )

Genre:

Gangster Film

Crime Drama

Road Movie

 

 

Political Drama

5 iulie 2009

A type of drama that
often posits political commentary within larger, more conventional subgenres
such as historical epics, docudramas and thrillers. Other than featuring
protagonists caught in highly political settings — often involving issues such
as loyalty to country and set during moments of historical significance or
turbulence — this brand of film rarely contains repeated conventions, making
it more a film’s focus than a genre. In

America, the largest number of
these films fall into three groups. One involves examinations and/or moralizing
about government or government officials, usually with a negative slant (All the King’s Men,
Missing,
Born on the
Fourth of July
). Another blends with the biopic and inspects the
life and times of a famous political figure (Young Mr. Lincoln , Malcolm X, Michael Collins).
The third captures politics from the "Everyman" point of view,
looking at how politics affect average Americans (City of
Hope
,

Nashville , Medium Cool).
Internationally, especially in
Third World
countries, political dramas sometimes take on a greater meaning, as many
directors use them as motivational weapons to rally public support or disgust
around a crucial issue. Historically, many have been viewed equally as either
threatening propaganda or authentic truth. Memories of Underdevelopment from
Cuba, Official Story from
Argentina, Hidden Agenda from
Britain, In the Name of the Father from

Ireland are
just a handful of examples.


La Battaglia di Algeri

29 iunie 2009
 
 
 

This highly political film about the algerian
struggle for independence from

France
took "Best Film" honors at the 1966 Venice Film Festival. The
bulk of the Film… shot in flashback, presented as the memories of Ali (Brahim
Haggiag), a leading member of the Algerian front de Liberation Nationale (FLN),
when finally captured by the French in 1957. Three years earlier, Ali was a
petty thief who joined the secretive organization in order to help rid the
Casbah of vice associated with the colonial government. The film traces the
rebels’ struggle and the increasingly Extreme Measures taken by the French
government to quell what soon becomes a nationwide revolt. After the flashback,
Ali and the last of the FLN leaders are killed, and the film takes on a more
general focus, leading to the declaration of Algerian independence in 1962.
Director Gillo Pontecorvo’s careful re-creation of a complicated guerrilla
struggle presents a rather partisan view of some complex social and political
issues, which got the film banned in

France for many years. That should
not come as a surprise, for La Battaglia di
Algeri
was subsidized by the Algerian government and — with the
exception of Jean Martin and Tommaso Neri as French officers — the cast was
entirely Algerian as well. At least three versions exist, running 135, 125, and
120 minutes.


 

Directed by:

Gillo Pontecorvo

Writers:

Gillo Pontecorvo

Starring:

Brahim Hadjadj

Jean Martin

Yacef Saadi

Country:


Italy /

Algeria

Language:

Italian / French / English / Arabic

Release Date:

20 September 1967 (

USA )

Genre:

Docudrama

Political Drama


Les quatre cents coups

21 iunie 2009
 
 
 
For his feature-film debut, critic-turned-director
Franois Truffaut drew inspiration from his own troubled childhood. The 400 Blows stars Jean-Pierre Laud as
Antoine Doinel, Truffaut’s preteen alter ego. Misunderstood at home by his
parents and tormented in school by his insensitive teacher (Guy Decomble),
Antoine frequently runs away from both places. The boy finally quits school
after being accused of plagiarism by his teacher. He steals a typewriter from
his father (Albert Remy ) to finance his plans to leave home. The father angrily
turns Antoine over to the police, who lock the boy up with hardened criminals.
A psychiatrist at a delinquency center probes Antoine’s unhappiness, which he
reveals in a fragmented series of monologues. Originally intended as a
20-minute short, The 400 Blows
was expanded into a feature when Truffaut decided to elaborate on his
self-analysis. For the benefit of Truffaut’s fellow film buffs, The 400 Blows is full of brief references
to favorite directors, notably Truffaut’s then-idol Jean Vigo. The film won the
1959 Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival , even though
Truffaut had been declared persona non grata the year before for his
inflammatory comments about the festival’s commercialism.
 

Directed by:

Francois Truffaut

Writers:

Francois Truffaut

Starring:

Jean-Pierre Leaud

Claire Maurier

Albert Remy

Country:

France

Language:

French / English

Release Date:

16 November 1959 ( SUA )

Genre:

Childhood Drama

Coming-of-Age

Film a Clef


Sci-Fi Disaster Film

16 iunie 2009

A distant cousin to both the
future barbarians and natural horror subgenres, these movies involve the
aftermath of a biological or nuclear disaster. As the general population drops
like flies or is eradicated when symptoms of the disaster manifest themselves,
a handful of survivors must spirit themselves to safety or fight to battle the
disaster with all the might they can muster. Sometimes the disaster is natural
in origin, such as a virus or disease epidemic (Outbreak, The Andromeda
Strain
, Virus);
other times it is a man-made catastrophe such as pollution of the environment
or a nuclear explosion (The Quiet Earth,
The Day The Earth Caught Fire)
that bring about the maelstrom. Fueled by the anxiety of the atomic age and the
onslaught of viral epidemics such as AIDS, these pictures tend to be both
cautionary and sensationalistic in dealing with a world where science and
nature have spiraled out of control and gone awry.

 


The Thing

15 iunie 2009
 
 
 

John Carpenter ‘s The Thing is both a remake of Howard
Hawks’ 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation of the John W. Campbell
Jr. story "Who Goes There?" on which it was based. Carpenter’s film
is more faithful to

Campbell’s
story than Hawks’ version and also substantially more reliant on special
effects, provided in abundance by a team of over 40 technicians, including
veteran creature-effects artists Rob Bottin and Stan Winston. The film opens
enigmatically with a Siberian Husky running through the Antarctic tundra,
chased by two men in a helicopter firing at it from above. Even after the dog
finds shelter at an American research outpost, the men in the helicopter
(Norwegians from an outpost nearby) land and keep shooting. One of the
Norwegians drops a grenade and blows himself and the helicopter to pieces; the
other is shot dead in the snow by Garry (Donald Moffat), the American outpost
captain. American helicopter pilot MacReady ( Kurt Russell , fresh from Carpenter’s
Escape From New York) and camp
doctor Copper (Richard Dysart) fly off to find the Norwegian base and discover
some pretty strange goings-on. The base is in ruins, and the only occupants are
a man frozen to a chair (having cut his own throat) and the burned remains of
what could be one man or several men. In a side room, Copper and MacReady find
a coffin-like block of ice from which something has been recently cut. That
night at the American base, the Husky changes into the Thing, and the Americans
learn first-hand that the creature has the ability to mutate into anything it
kills. For the rest of the film the men fight a losing (and very gory) battle
against it, never knowing if one of their own dwindling number is the Thing in
disguise. Though resurrected as a cult favorite, The Thing failed at the box office during its initial run,
possibly because of its release just two weeks after Steven Spielberg ‘s warmly
received E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial.
Along with Ridley Scott ‘s futuristic Alien,
The Thing helped stimulate a
new wave of sci-fi horror films in which action and special effects wizardry
were often seen as ends in themselves.


 


 

Directed by:

John Carpenter

Writers:

John W. Campbell Jr.

Starring:

Kurt Russell

Wilford Brimley

T. K. Carter

Country:

USA

Language:

English / Norwegian

Release Date:

25 June 1982 (

USA )

Genre:

Creature Film

Alien Film

 


Alien Film

12 iunie 2009

A film depicting an alien
Invasion of earth — most often, the aliens are not friendly. "Watch the
skies!" became the familiar refrain of this subgenre of the science
fiction film in which alien visitors, usually hostile in nature, invade and/or
attack Earth. It’s up to the nation’s top scientists and the military to find
the aliens’ weak point, thus defeating them and rescuing mankind from
enslavement or extermination. This cycle of films reached its zenith of
popularity in the 1950s with such gems as Earth
vs. The Flying Saucers
, Invaders
From Mars
, War Of The Worlds,
and It Came From Outer Space.
In some instances, there were societal critiques lurking beneath these
"B"-movie texts, with the pro-pacifism message of The Day The Earth Stood Still and the
anti-McCarthyism of the original Invasion
Of The Body Snatchers
commenting on significant issues of the day
without addressing them outright and thus avoiding the wrath of the censors.
Later, films like Close Encounters Of The
Third Kind
, Starman,
and E.T. presented a kinder,
gentler alien who sought to study the ways of mankind as opposed to eliminating
them. In the 1990s, the alien invasion movie resurfaced with the blockbuster
extravaganzas of Independence Day ,
Mars Attacks!, and Men In Black paying homage to the
classics of the 1950s, updating them with big budgets and the latest in special
effects.


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