Robert Enrico’s Chickamauga

Written by Joe D on November 13th, 2017

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Everyone has seen an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the short film by Robert Enrico based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce. It was even shown on The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling. But did you now it was only one chapter in a trilogy feature film by the great Robert Enrico? Here is a dupey looking copy of the first chapter Chickamauga, another story by Bierce about a particularly vicious Civil War battle at that Indian named location. It’s great, the production value of all the soldiers in the woods, the creative use of sound, the mood, all amazing. Europeans were fascinated by the American Civil War. It was the first modern war that used rifles, cannon’s, primitive machine guns on such a large scale. German officers came and toured the battle sites in preparation for their own warmaking. Enrico was obsessed with America of the 1800’s, he did a film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Pit and The Pendulum that is worth checking out. Much truer to the story than Roger Corman’s Vincent Price vehicle, which I must say I greatly enjoyed as a kid.

Manson Family Vacation

Written by Joe D on October 19th, 2017

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Here is an excellent film that polarizes people in an unconventional way. Some people are repulsed by Charlie Manson, others are fascinated by the story of the Family. It is compelling stuff, the murder of a Movie Star, almost a ritual sacrafice. Manson preached love, environment, fair treatment of animals but he also brainwashed seemingly normal young people into committing heinous acts of murder. A very strange compelling case, hence the 60,000 pieces of mail Manson gets every year in prison. There is an interesting documentary on Manson called Manson but get the early one if you can the new one has a lot of horrible voice over. Anyway Manson Family Vacation deals with Manson peripharelly , although there is footage of him in the movie. It’s about two brothers and their strained relationship. I don’t want to go into too much detail, watch the movie, but the writing and acting are top notch. This is a funny film but funny in an intelligent, thought provoking way which I really like. And you can stream it on Netflix! So Bravo everyone involved with this film, great job. I understand this was made on weekends so everyone could keep their day jobs. That’s an admirable love of filmmaking.

David Lynch on Surrealist Cinema

Written by Joe D on October 8th, 2017

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Here’s a British Film Show called Arena. David Lynch is the host and he discusses Surrealist Films and the influence they had on him. Bad quality tape but a great show.

Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire

Written by Joe D on October 3rd, 2017

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Hear Kubrick talk about and put down his first film. Then watch it for yourself and make up your own mind.
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Deadline U.S.A.

Written by Joe D on September 17th, 2017

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Here is one of the all time great newspaper movies. With Bogey, Ethel Barrymore and Kim Hunter. Written and Directed by Richard Brooks, based on the demise of The New York Sun, a paper that folded in 1931. I think it’s very relevant these days with all the attacks on the press and newspapers shutting down. We need newspapers and reporters to keep letting us know about all the crimes and corruption that infects our cities and government. And now you can watch it on YouTube.

Fellini directs Juliet Of The Spirits

Written by Joe D on August 31st, 2017

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This is amazing footage of a maestro at work on his first film in color. I have seen this footage in color, I’ll try to find it again. The thing that gets me is when you watch the film, everything is so beautiful. The house, the lawn, the sangria, but when you watch this behind the scenes footage it all looks like it’s made of cardboard, ready to fall apart, it has none of the richness the camera gives it. This is the power of Cinema.

Happy Birthday Mario Bava

Written by Joe D on August 2nd, 2017

July 30 is Bava’s birthday so to celebrate here’s a link to a film
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Antonioni shorts

Written by Joe D on April 15th, 2017

antonioni.jpgHow did the great Michelangelo Antonioni get started one might ask? He was a painter and had written film criticism. After the war he got a chance to make some short documentaries. Already you can see his talent for capturing atmospheric images, the importance of the settings he places his characters in, see the artist finding his palette, his voice, his vision. Here for your viewing pleasure are two of his documentaries. Gente del Po, a film about the inhabitants of an area in Italy, centering on the Po river and N.U. about the street sweepers of Roma. Enjoy!

Mario Bava’s Planet of The Vampires or Terrore Nello Spazio

Written by Joe D on February 19th, 2017

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Here is a Hi Def copy of Bava’s amazing movie. He was able to accomplish so much with so little, the style and atmosphere are outstanding. Harken back to an innocent time when filmmaking was fun and there was an audience for cool movies like this. Bring back the Drive-In Theater!

Jean-Pierre Melville, Paul Meurisse, Lino Ventura - Interview - Le Deuxieme Souffle

Written by Joe D on February 3rd, 2017

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Here’s a great interview with Mellville, Ventura and Meurisse as they made Le Deuxieme Souffle. I think Melville was difficult to work with, suing everyone including his own actors! You can pick up on the subtext in the actors interviews. From what I hear Ventura and Melville would not even speak to each other on Army Of Shadows. But he was a great filmmaker.

Blow Up 50 years later

Written by Joe D on January 9th, 2017

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I first saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up many years ago. I liked it for it’s imagery, the sexy photography, the swinging London scene it took place in, seeing Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck playing with the Yardbirds, probably the same reasons that made it Antonioni’s biggest box office hit. I just rewatched it and I have a different take on it now. It seems like a quantum detective story. Quantum physics tells us that what we see and perceive as solid matter is really just a bunch of organized energy fields, things are mainly composed of space, in that light watch our protagonist of Blow Up. David Hemmings portrays a successful photographer. When we meet him he’s a Materialist, always trying to buy things, like the antique shop or his neighbors latest painting. He tells his editor he wishes he had piles of money. “Why?” “To be Free.” “Like him” says the editor pointing to a photo of a bum that Hemmings just snapped. The editor also advises Hemmings that he should look at photography like a detective in a story, “always looking for Clues.” This proves to be a prophetic statement and starts our photographer on his trip down the Rabbit Hole. Hemmings shoots some stills in a nearby park, in a beautifully photographed sequence, he follows a couple that are frolicking and kissing , the British overcast skies make for incredibly rich color and texture. Antonioni must have been ecstatic , he was a fanatic for color, paining buildings or environments to suit he is needs.
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The photographs he takes become the clue his editor spoke of and by blowing up and carefully examining them he discovers a murder was committed.
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He blows up the image of the dead man that it becomes an abstract collection of dots and blotches, very similar to his neighbors abstract painting so comments his neighbors girlfriend on seeing it.
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His marginal morality does not compel him to call the police, instead he thinks these images will be a great ending to his new book. He goes to the park and finds the body but is spooked by a sound and heads back home, when he gets there all the images and negatives are gone, except the extreme blow up that looks like a Jackson Pollack painting. He goes out to meet his agent, sees the girl from the park and tries to follow her, like a detective in a movie. This brings him to the Ricky Tick club where the Yardbirds perform.
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He manages to catch Jeff Becks guitar neck when Beck having stomped his guitar to bits tosses it into the crowd, causing a mad scramble as they all try to grab it. Hemmings wins out and runs out of the club only to discard the neck like so much trash. After finding his agent at a party, getting loaded and passing out, he awakens the next day returns to the park but he’s too late, the body is gone. He sees a group of Mimes playing tennis without a ball or racquets, al the Mimes watching follow the imaginary ball with their eyes as its batted back and forth.
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Hemming watches amused but when the ball is hit over the fence near him and the Mime playing looks to him beseechingly to retrieve it, Hemmings does so, picking up the invisible ball and throwing it back. Then he too tracks the back and forth movement with his eyes and we hear on the soundtrack the sound of a tennis ball being hit and returned. Has he learned a lesson in the Non-Materiality of the Universe or succumbed from the peer pressure of all the watching Mimes to see the ball that isn’t there. I believe the former because after a few moments he shakes his head, retrieves his camera and then vanishes himself as the words THE END appear.
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It’s an amazing comment on perceived reality, also perhaps a comment on Art, Critiscim, peoples response to anything new. They can’t see it until someone explains it to them. Supposedly when Columbus’ ships anchored off the coast of the new world, the natives could not see them as they were so foreign to their experience, days later a sham explained to the tribe that they were there and what they were and then they were visible.
Come to think of it I heard somewhere that Antonioni was a tennis pro before he became a filmmaker. Just think of all that time he had his eye on the ball, how important that fuzzy sphere was to him, how much effort and concentration he put into that. For him to make the climax of his film, the moment where the protagonist changes his point of view a tennis game speaks volumes.

Truffaut documentary

Written by Joe D on October 23rd, 2016

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Here is a very thorough documentary on Francois Truffaut, it tells all, how he got his start in film, etc. Produced by Eyes On Film it’s worth checking out.