If you’ve read enough of my reviews then you probably know that while I tend to write about B-movies, Hallmark, Disney, and late night cable movies, I do reference a lot of other films. Recently Gary did a post on The Great Train Robbery that not only revolutionized cinema by simply cutting back to a previously used set, but also firmly established that we preferred narrative films over actualites/documentaries and the cinema of spectacle. Since people seemed to respond well to his post, I thought I would occasionally do a post like this where I take advantage of YouTube to share some great films that happen to be available at the time of posting. If they are not available anymore, then simply take them as recommendations. Maybe one day I will actually review these, or perhaps they may have already been reviewed here. I hope you enjoy these kinds of posts. If not, feel free to tell me.
Seven Beauties (1975, dir. Lina Wertmüller) – This is a classic of Italian cinema from the 1970s by director Lina Wertmüller. It’s about a man who fancies himself quite a ladies man and a stereotypical suave Italian gangster type. Things turn bad for him and it takes him as far as a concentration camp during WWII. This is an example of Italian Comedy which was a special genre of comedies made between roughly 1960-1980 in Italy. The defining characteristic would be their choice of material that would often be dark, non-PC, and almost feel out of place in a comedy. It’s one of my favorites of the genre with a great performance by Wertmüller’s De Niro, Giancarlo Giannini who people might know from Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008) among other films. This particular version is dubbed into English.
Storm Over Asia (1928, dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin) – Not all propaganda is bad filmmaking. Early Soviet Cinema was often loaded with propagandistic messages, but they were also very well made movies. Storm Over Asia is by director Vsevolod Pudovkin who also made such classics as Mother (1926) and The End of St. Petersburg (1927). This one uses a tale of a Mongolian who turns out to be a descendant of Genghis Khan to send its message. I love the end as he and his people cause such a storm with their horses that they are literally blowing over soldiers with the wind.
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, dir. Maya Deren) – When you move beyond mainstream films and start looking into more underground/experimental cinema, then certain names will pop up. Names like Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow. Maya Deren is one of these people. Meshes of the Afternoon is usually the first Maya Deren film introduced to people. You will find numerous versions of this film available. Not because the visuals are any different, but because the film was made with zero sound or musical accompaniment. This is one that is popular for people to add their own soundtrack to.
Max Havelaar (1976, dir. Fons Rademakers) – It’s sad, but to my knowledge most people only really know about one Dutch director. That being Paul Verhoeven. However, there are certainly many more out there. Fons Rademakers is probably not nearly as well known outside of Holland as Verhoeven even though his 1986 film The Assault won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Max Havelaar is his adaptation of the very important Dutch novel of the same name. After it’s publication it changed the nature of Dutch colonialism and has ramifications for the country beyond that as well. Keep your eyes peeled for Rutger Hauer before he became a star in the United States. Also, I suggest checking out more of Rademakers’ films. Especially one of my personal favorites called Als Twee Druppels Water (1963) AKA The Dark Room of Damocles.