Category Archives: Black and White

November (2007)

Director: Rainer Sarnet
Based on Rehepapp ehk  by Andrus Kivirähk
Starring: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser, Jette Loona Hermanis. Estonia. 1h 55m

I’d like to think that I don’t award too many 10/10’s although I am always searching for perfect films and I believe I have just found another one, possibly the one. There’s so much to fall in love with in Sarnet’s November, based on a deeply chrasamisc novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk who’s possibly one of the most influential folk writers since Estonia’s classical epic Kalevipoeg and is just as extraordinary.

The film starts out curiously, a cow skull mounted on farming tools is captured rolling and creaking across the landscape using a chain it steals a cow, by grabbing the beast and flying into the air like a folklore chopper, the mechanism lands with the cow, on a farm miles away across the forest, the owner coming out to retrieve the animal and kicks the machine away, but it talks to him, asking for more work so he gives it an impossible task and it explodes. This “thing” is a Kratt and you’ll see a lot of these throughout the movie, and you can see the Kratts screen test here (https://vimeo.com/66493993)  

The villagers find it hard to survive throughout the dark Estonian winters and often end up stealing from each other and the German nobility who are taking over their lands. In order to make a Kratt the villagers first have to go into the forest and make a pact with the devil written in blood in His book. Continue reading November (2007)

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A Field in England (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump

Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m

A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is,  after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write,  and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles,  and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley  who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!

But now he’s taking  an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source,  a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for,  they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley)  terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure,  while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)

Sanjuro (1962)

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Book: Shūgorō Yamamoto novel Hibi Heian
Starring: Toshiro Mifune,Tatsuya Nakadai,Keiju Kobayashi,Yūzō Kayama. Japan. 1h 95m

After the raging success of  Yojimbo, Akira Kurosawa, adapted Hibi Heian,  to incorporate the lead character and developed Sanjuro. A sort of pseudo sequel,  while carrying on all of the comedy antics from Yojimbo, this film only has one classic full on Samurai scene and it’s very end,   but it’s generally entertaining throughout, if only a little off key from the original.

A group of young Samurai,  gather together the temple to discuss the Lord Chamberlain who they believe is corrupt,  one of them tells the superintendent and he agrees to intervene and meet the secretly at the Shrine to discuss the problem.  A Ronin (Mifune)  emerges from another room where he’s been resting,  overhearing the Summarise discussing their plan, he suggests that it’s the Chamberlain who is  corrupted, they feel insulted by his claims but soon find themselves surrounded by the superintendent men proving that in fact the Ronin was correct. He persuades the men to hide while he goes out at face the  superintendent Men full on, in this altercation he manages to save the young gullible Samurai, a manager’s to win rust on both sides. Continue reading Sanjuro (1962)

Repulsion (1965)

Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. UK. 1h 45m

In Polanski’s highly thrilling black and white drama that kick started his tenant trilogy (which consists of  two other classic films  The Tenant (1976)  starring Polanski himself,  and the Cult classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968) ,  and this dark thriller, a young beautician drops deep in a claustrophobic insanity possibly spurred on by a suppressed family trauma as her feline sexuality sparks great interest from many suitors.

Repulsion is strangely enjoyable, and is a deep internal  nightmare that transpires through any age, and is easily relatable to. Adapted by Gérard Brach it is fantastically brought to life by Polanski and on a meager budget of £65,000, this debut  English film the budding director lost his footing at first, but as the dialogue vanishes he turns up the atmospherics and the results are quite dark and bold.

A beautiful timid girl Carole (Deneuve) is left alone in an apartment shared by her sister and her sisters husband, they are off to Europe for their holiday, leaving her some outstanding rent money for an angry landlord they skip town. Instantly the first cracks start to show in the relationship with her boyfriend  and soon she starts making mistakes at work. Very slowly we see the layers of Carole’s psyche peel away leaving a vulnerable kitten and murderous vixen.

It’s quite easy to write off Carole in the early throes of the films, you hardly notice the little mouse in contrast of her sisters sultry boldness overwhelms her and she spends a lot of the time hiding behind her bleached blonde 60’s bouffant hair, but as her character changes, she starts to give up the goods and her performance is tremendous, her charisma teamed with the reclusive scenes of the apartment and shocking effects persuades the

viewer to miss the realities of what’s going on. Blending themes from Dementia 13 (1963) and Persona (1966).

The ingenuity of the effects are really beautiful not only do you literally see the cracks appearing in Carole life but her fears are coming out of the walls and dark shadows of her apartment. Polanski plays the art house card now and again, there are silent shots of rotten vegetables and dirty plates that co exist with the knife wielding madwoman episodes, but

these are short and frantic, but cause as many ripples as any Hitchcock Psycho scene and emphasis her meltdown and the effects it’s having on the real world.

It’s hauntingly stark at times but a real tour de force once it gains momentum, the horrific faces of the returning couple finding their apartment in disarray reflects the faces of any avid viewer. It’s very unusual for this style of horror/ thriller to have a knife welding psychotic serial killer but with several hints at previous sexual abuse and possible incest it’s no real shocker that this girl is this fucked up.. Her next step would be Haute Tension (2003)

Rating 8/10

R: Haute Tension (2003) , Dementia 13 (1963), Persona (1966), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Tenant (1976)

L: Black and White Thrillers, Femme Fatals
5s : Roman Polanski

Post Discussion.

 

Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alive Roberts. Germany / Austria. 1h 49m

This iconic film is deeply based on Frank Wedekind’s play “Lulu”, and despite it not being popular at the time of release, it now remains; nearly 90 years after its release; one of Europe’s silent cinema’s crowning achievements. A catastrophic portrait of sexual obsession, that the American actress Louise Brooks provided an outstanding performance as the prostitute Lulu, a femme fatale who unleashes uncontrollable desires in the people around her. Continue reading Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Man Walking around the corner (1887)

 

This is the first ever film, 16 frames made by the LPCC Type-16 camera by the godfather of film, Louis Le Prince before his mysterious disappearance in 1890. You can find out more about the great man here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Le_Prince#Man_Walking_Around_a_Corner_(LPCC_Type-16). The film has been amaturely put together and if you’ll blink you’ll miss it! But it shows a man walking around the corner as advertised in the title.

It’s amazing just how far we’ve come…

 

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Day 8 – Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.

A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.

A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river,  where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)

Horror hotel / City of the Dead (1960)

horror-hotel-city-of-the-dead

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring : Christopher Lee, Venetia Stevenson, Dennis Lotis, Betta St. John, Dyall, Patricia Jessel. UK.  1h 16m.

This is how you make a decent horror movie, a decent time I’ve only 76 minutes it dives straight into the point, is filled with deep deathly atmospherics and has an intriguing and mysterious plot. Continue reading Horror hotel / City of the Dead (1960)

The End (2008)

theend

 

Director:Nicola Collins
Starring:Les Falco, Mickey Taheny, Danny Woollard. UK. 1m 21m

While recently trying to work out the criteria of distinguishing a documentary from something that is merely something shown on the TV rather than in the cinema, and putting it down to just how gripping they might be, I start reeling through a pantheon of documentary movies that I adore and one of the more difficult ones to find and the one I enjoyed the most is The End.

After twigging the 1 minute advert on an old DVD it had me hooked and yet I could never actually catch the title until I realised that the caption at the end of the preview wasn’t simply signifying the end of the advert but it was actually the title…*doh* after working out that little gem I was away to find a copy. Continue reading The End (2008)

Dementia 13 (1963)

DEMENTIA131Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring: William Campbell, Luana Anders, Bart Patton. USA. 1h 15m.

An early gem from a powerful director this early 60’s murderous thriller is both creepy and is it absorbing, it swings between being the supernatural and an episode of Columbo, an extremely dark and broody type of Columbo.. except columbo is more of a fastidious olde gent. So the film begins with a tragic accident that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the beautiful Louise (Luana Anders), her nasty partner  John Haloran (Peter Read) has a heart attack and drowns just after teasing her that if he dies she’ll not get any of his inheritance.. from the bottom of the river the creepy ghostly animated credits roll . Louise comes up with a cunning plan to pretend that John has been delayed then makes friends with his family in Ireland, especially his mother and try to weasel her way into some inheritance. To her luck the mother is currently going through a dramatic grieving process after losing her youngest daughter Kathleen to a tragic drowning accident, Louise devises another crafty plan to pretend that the girl is trying to contact her mother through her, so she collects some of her toys from the attic and aims to plant them in the pond where she drowned the aim is that they will surface at an opportune moment, but while planting the toys she notices movement in the underwater tomb and then she’s brutally murdered while trying to escape the water. Continue reading Dementia 13 (1963)