Sam Fuller, Seijun Suzuki and More: My Films of the Week #21

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week. (Also, Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!)

 

Rosetta
dir. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
1999, France/Belgium

A young woman desperately looks for a job, while tending to her alcoholic mother with whom she lives in a trailer park. A focused portrait of modern times’ desperation, at times particularly cold and brutal.

 

Pickup on South Street
dir. Samuel Fuller
1953, USA

A stylized, Cold War spy thriller populated by streetwise cops, petty thieves and prostitutes. A gritty and intense second-generation noir signed by Samuel Fuller.

 

The Kidnapping
dir. Dimitri Kirsanoff
1934, France/Switzerland

An exploration of the futility of revenge and the dangers of cultural intolerance, set in the Swiss Alps. A lesser-known, yet noteworthy feature by Ménilmontant director Dimitri Kirsanoff, complete with innovative cinematography, and starring the elusive Dita Parlo.

 

Blast from the Past
dir. Hugh Wilson
1999, USA

Upbeat comedy-drama about a man in his mid-’30s who leaves the bomb shelter where he was born and grew up for the first time in search of food and a woman. There’s definitely an interesting movie in there somewhere and it’s disheartening to see filmmaker and producers uninterested in bringing it to the fore.

 

The Hands of Orlac
dir. Edmond T. Gréville
1960, France/UK

After a hand transplant, an acclaimed pianist begins to nurture violent thoughts. Despite its star power, with Mel Ferrer and Christopher Lee in French-speaking roles, this is a lifeless thriller best left undiscovered.

 

American Murder: The Family Next Door
dir. Jenny Popplewell
2020, USA

Typical underwhelming Netflix true-crime documentary with lazy, prominent use of archive and primary material. Feels more exploitative than communicative.

 

Everything Goes Wrong
dir. Seijun Suzuki
1960, Japan

A quasi-choral film about youth culture in Japan and its link to petty crimes. Rather than being a morality play, Seijun Suzuki’s feature is a stylized and fascinating descent into a post-war underworld, exploring such themes as the mortification of women and ideological conflicts between generations.

 

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