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COMING SOON! NEW LAST WEEK! 2017 ARCHIVE! ALPHABETICAL CATALOG! CATALOG BY YEAR! BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS! GENERAL INFO! LINKS!

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1959

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THE 400 BLOWS (dir: Franois Truffaut, Not Rated) - Michelle says, "With Eric Rohmer having just passed on, Im thinking about French New Wave, its unmistakably modern tone and focus on vivid character details. Rohmer owes something to Truffaut, whose emotional portrait of the archetypal, abandoned Parisian boy, alienated from authority and wandering the city at will, is a love letter to his own boyhood. Jean-Pierre Laud reprised his role in Truffauts four follow-ups (ANTOINE AND COLETTE, STOLEN KISSES, BED AND BOARD, and LOVE ON THE RUN), but his nonconformity and candid maturity in this initial film reveal him not as a methodological actor so much as a naturally compelling on screen presence, like a younger, European version of Marlon Brando in THE WILD ONE."
THE HUMAN CONDITION (dir: Masaki Kobayashi, Not Rated) - Bart says, "At last, it's on DVD again! One of the most incredible movie-watching experiences of my life and I haven't been able to share it with anybody because it's been long out-of-print, and used copies were selling for multiple hundreds of dollars. Not that I'm going to have an easy time selling anyone on a 9 1/2 hour-long, 50 year-old foreign movie about a Japanese soldier in Manchuria fighting in a war he doesn't believe in. It's broken into 6 parts, so just think of it as a miniseries like BAND OF BROTHERS or something, and immerse yourself in a moving portrait of one man's gradual dehumanization in the face of unspeakable atrocities during everybody's favorite war. After seeing this movie, I assumed it must be unanimously considered one of the greatest films ever made, but evidently it's not very widely seen because I could find almost nothing written (in English) about it in those pre-internet days. Even renowned Japanese cinema scholar Donald Richie had no more than a couple of sentences about it in any of his books. But thanks to its Criterion Collection release, the world is finally going discover this lost masterpiece."
SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER (dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Not Rated) - Bart says, "Man, I love movies based on Tennessee Williams plays. A lot of it has to do with my obsession with movies that choose to deal with taboo subject matters (you know, for the time they were made), and then proceed to speak indirectly about that subject for the entire length of the movie until the characters are all worked up about it and shrieking at each other and the audience is never entirely sure what they're so upset about because the big issue is only ever referred to obliquely. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is likely the best and classiest of these adaptations, and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF I find the most endlessly watchable. But SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER takes the prize for the most entertainingly over-the-top adaptation of a Williams play. I haven't got the faintest idea what the thing is actually about, but it's got everything: cannibalism, attempted suicide, lobotomized crazies, Katherine Hepburn in one of her only villainous roles, Liz Taylor in a scandalous see-through bathing suit procuring men for her gay cousin, Montgomery Clift acting sympathetic. I can't think of any other movie where so much ludicrousness has been made so convincing by such amazing performances."
IL GENERALE DELLA ROVERE (dir: Roberto Rossellini, Not Rated) - Bart says, "It's weird finally seeing a movie that you've been reading about for years but have never been able to see. You already know the basic storyline and the elements that make it, reputedly, one of the best films ever made. As a result, you end up watching yourself watching the film as much as you do watching the film itself. 'Am I getting everything I should out of this film?' 'Is it really THAT good?' In the end, brushing aside any preconceived notions, I can say for sure that IL GENERALE... is a very great movie, and Vittorio De Sica's performance as a con man who exploits people's wartime tragedies in order to swindle them ranks as one a cinema's most fascinating."
RIO BRAVO (dir: Howard Hawks, Not Rated) Bart says, "There's really only one Western you ever need to see and it's RIO BRAVO because it's got it all: singing cowboys, unlikely heroes against insurmountable odds, Walter Brennan, you name it. This movie's so tapped into the essence of cinema that its basic plotline has been ripped off for literally hundreds of movies that followed - at least twice by John Carpenter (ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 & GHOSTS OF MARS) and twice by Howard Hawks himself (EL DORADO & RIO LOBO), not to mention NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, 300, THE MIST, ALIEN RAIDERS, etc."
ANATOMY OF A MURDER (dir: Otto Preminger, Not Rated)
BLACK ORPHEUS (dir: Marcel Camus, Not Rated)
FIRES ON THE PLAIN (dir: Kon Ichikawa, Not Rated)
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (dir: Alfred Hitchcock, Not Rated)
PICKPOCKET (dir: Robert Bresson, Not Rated)
PILLOW TALK (dir: Michael Gordon, Not Rated)
ROOM AT THE TOP (dir: Jack Clayton, Not Rated)
SOME LIKE IT HOT (dir: Billy Wilder, Not Rated)
THE WORLD OF APU (dir: Satyajit Ray, Not Rated)
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