European Cinema : What European films did you see? March / April 2016

What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hello European Cinema board. Please feel free to post on this thread about any movies, documentaries, animations, short subject films (etc.) that you've been watching. It would be great to hear everyone's thoughts.


Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,I hope you month has kick off well,and I wrapped up Feb by watching my 4th Sergio Martino film:

Mozart Is A Murderer.8/10

Stuck with a pretty small budget,director Sergio Martino & cinematographer Bruno Cascio are sadly unable to brighten up the low resolution digital video format,which gives the title a grainy flatness which stops the murder set pieces from sparkling across the screen.Despite being placed on a flat landscape,Martino and Cascio stab the Giallo with bursts of stylisation,as a mysterious strangers elegant killings lead to Commissario Antonio Maccari fearing that his Film Noir past has returned.

Composing the mystery in a music school,the screenplay by Martino & Contaldo wonderfully blends playful Slasher teens with dour Film Noir.Unlocking the risqué activates of the school,the writers stick to a surprisingly accurate code of conduct for the cops and psychologist trying to unmask the killer. Peeling open the tragedy of Maccari's past,the writers make Maccari a rogue Film Noir loner who has to locate gaps in the rulebooks in order to stop the killer from unleashing a Giallo score.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi morrison. Hope you're enjoying the weekend.

I'm a fan of Sergio Martino who did some great work in the 1970s. I've not seen this late addition to his impressive ouvre. Thanks very much for the review.

Sergio Martino.

Hi Petro,with Mozart I was actually caught by surprise due to finding Martino to be hit & miss.I was also wondering about what your top Martino movies are?,with mine being:

1:Strange Vice-

The first Martino film which really clicked with me,thanks to Martino mixing startling moments of style (such as the eye-catching dreams) with a gripping twisting & turning Giallo plot.



Whilst the film gets stuck with a Giallo mystery that is far too dry,Martino gets into the swing of things with an enjoyable final 30 min run,and also making Tina Aumont and Suzy Kendall look dazzling.


Re: Sergio Martino.

Hi morrison. I like both those Martino gialli from the '70s that you mention, and 'All The Colors Of The Dark' (1972) is interesting too. But 'Torso' is my favourite of his movies I've seen.

I've not seen 'The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail' (1971) or 'Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have the Key' (1972), both of which are highly regarded among horror fans.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,I hope you are having a good weekend,and that with the film being on iPlayer until Sunday at 2am,I finally watched the far better than expected Secrets In Their Eyes (2009):


Switching between the 70's and late 90's,co-writer/(along with Eduardo Sacheri) editor/director Juan José Campanella fogs Esposito memories with crumbling yellows and greens,which along with stylishly revealing the fading clarity of memory,also dipping the title into grime covered Film Noir,where the curling wallpaper is being pasted with decay.Shining light over the clear memories of Esposito & Hastings in the present, Campanella & cinematographer Félix Monti pull open the corruption and identity of the killer with crystallised vision,from a dazzling tracking shot (which took 9 days to shoot!) locating the murderer,to murky,tightly held low-lit shots exposing the Film Noir world being soaked with corruption.

Taking place just as the 1974-1983 Process of National Reorganization/"Social Cleansing" began (which led an est 7000- 30,000 people being killed)the screenplay by Campanella and Sacheri brilliantly cast shadows of fear and dread across the film,as Esposito, Hastings and Morales find themselves in a stark Neo-Noir landscape,where double-dealing cops and death squads try to keep their dealings underground.Based on Sacheri's pulp novel,the writers thread the horrific history of Argentina with a thrilling Film Noir atmosphere,which spills across the title as Esposito makes a pledge to catch the killer.Keeping the mystery bubbling away,the writers place each piece of the mystery down with coiled tension,which is gradually released in order to unveil deliciously macabre eyes.

Standing firm over the passage of time,the elegant Soledad Villamil gives a graceful performance as Hastings,with Villamil keeping Hastings level-headed whilst playfully developing a closeness with Esposito.Taking a close look at all the clues, Ricardo Darín gives a superb performance as Esposito,thanks to Darín digging into the thought process of Esposito looks for the secret in their eyes.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Weekend's not too shabby, morrison. I'm having a great deal of fun.

'The Secret In Their Eyes' sounds like a super movie (very high imdb user rating too!). Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Looks like a Hollywood remake might be on the cards.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Czech film directed by Věra Chytilová. Dědictví aneb Kurvahošigutntag AKA, The Inheritance or *beep* (1992).
A hilarious satirical comedy film, a cult classic in its homeland. The setting is a transitional time for the Czech Republic and people. Nostalgia for the humane aspects of the old guard confront the realities in the “new age” of ruthless capitalism, where people have been commoditized and everything relies on money.... 8/10

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

That's an interesting review to read, planetx. I adore Vera Chytilova's early work I've seen - but I really, really didn't like her later comedy 'Traps' (1998) which was released to dvd by Second Run. I like to think I'd enjoy this one more but it seems she became incredibly angry and embittered as she grew old.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

I like to think I'd enjoy this one more but it seems she became incredibly angry and embittered as she grew old.

Chytilová once described herself as a control freak, “An overheated kettle that you can’t turn down”... and you couldn't, she directed her last film at 77 years of age.

Dědictví... has a completely different tone, it is light and free-spirited satire with a cross section of likeable quirky characters.
Traps certainly in comparison is dark black comedy that bristles with angry undertones, I like it also very much.

Excited for the forthcoming arrival of two early 60's films from Chytilová
Something Different (O nĕčem jiném) and A Bagful of Fleas (Pytel blech) just released from Second Run UK.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

I've ordered a copy of the new Chytilova double-bill from Second Run too. Looking forward to giving them a watch.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'Lassie' (2005 - Charles Sturridge)

Hairy collie dog Lassie adventures up to Scotland but England's always calling.

'Lassie' is based on a novel by Eric Knight. The popular canine character Lassie has recently been hailed by the powerful political 'Brexit' lobby as being a 'Best of British' phenom reserved for patriots. This particular filmic adaptation of Knight's dog tales comes from leading London theatre director Charles Sturridge who's assembled an all-star line-up led by Peter O'Toole, Samantha Morton and John Lynch. Peter Dinklage really struggles to hold down an accent as an Irish gypsy with a dog of his own but Lassie comes to his rescue.

'Giulietta Masina : The Power Of A Smile' (2006, Documentary, Giulietta Masina: La Forza di un Sorriso - Sandro Lai)

A vision of post-war Italy during the age of neorealist cinema which plants the seeds for a new mode of surrealistic cinema to flower.

This is a nice documentary (co-produced by Argentina & Italy) that weaves together numerous interviews with actress Giulietta Masina to form its centrepiece. Masina came to prominence in the films of Alberto Lattuada, Roberto Rosselini and lifelong admirer Federico Fellini whom she later married. Fellini was a cartoonist who saw characters in Masina he wished to animate and he loved to draw her in different ways. Masina was a creative force in Italian theatre who could sing, dance and play guitar, a Pisces born on February 22nd (same birthday as Luis Bunuel, Miou Miou & Jonathan Demme). She discusses her passion for the mechanics of making art and what it was like to work with some of her favourite collaborators.

'The Other Boleyn Girl' (2008 - Justin Chadwick)

Sisters Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) and Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) compete for the affections of prize royal hunk Henry Tudor (Eric Bana).

Justin Chadwick's lavish redux of a popular Tudor tale is adapted from a hotly disputed text by Philippa Gregory. 'The Other Boleyn Girl' is an ornate and lustrous spectacle showcasing superb work from Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman, two of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful hotties on the face of the earth. As a decorative wonder with a story to tell this movie scores a bullseye. It may be historically inaccurate.

'Leap Year' (2010 - Anand Tucker)

Anna (Amy Adams) travels to Ireland to fulfil a leap year tradition by proposing to her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) but testy hunk Declan (Matthew Goode) threatens to scupper her plans.

This formulaic romcom may have been sponsored by the Irish tourist board as it's photographed in some stunning rural retreats. Amy Adams appears typically alluring within these picturesque locales but she's given nothing of substance to work with.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Perto,it looks like you have had a number of very good viewings,with The Other Boleyn Girl being a film that I've been meaning to see for a good while,since a family friend highly praised it. Before I forget (again!) I remember you mentioning about being interested in seeing some of Brie Larson's films.Taking a look at her credits,I have found out that Larson stars in a film with Rooney Mara:Tanner Hall-

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

I do look forward to seeing Brie Larson, Academy Award winner. I like Rooney Mara so that's a film I'd give a go if it was playing on tv. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Yugoslavian film Rondo (1966) Croatian director Zvonimir Berković.

Rondo is a musical form with a recurring leading theme that alternates with one or more variations or contrasting themes, called episodes, digressions or couplets.

Berković was also a musician, in this his first feature as director he uses musical form as a source for the narrative structure, Mozart's Rondo in A Minor KV 511, is played throughout, there is a great jazz variation a real treat.

The psychological drama, triangle plays out between the three protagonists over chess games repeated every Sunday afternoon. Variations and digressions occur with each session profoundly impacting the interrelationships of the characters, Relja Bašić – Fedja his partner Milena Dravić – Neda and Stevo Žigon – Mladen
Set in the comfortable surrounds of a middle class environment Rondo breaks from the past traditions of Yugoslav film making and is considered a modernist classic and now regarded as one of the best Croatian films.

Jess Franco.

Hi Petro,on Monday I got an E-Mail from Ebay saying that I had a £10 voucher to use.Due to currently being gripped by the 4th season of Game of Thrones and catching up with the superb Nordic Noir series Trapped on iPlayer,I originally planned to pick up a HBO or Nordic box set.Taking a look at this board,I suddenly remembered your Jess Franco post from a while ago,which reminded me of the Franco book that I've been meaning to get for ages.

Getting the book for £15 instead of £25,I've got to say "Wow!",what an extraordinary book,with Thrower feeling every inch of the lavish book with fascinating details on Jess Franco.With finally getting hold of the book,I decided to celebrate by watching a "new" Uncle Jess movie:

Sexy Sisters 6/10

Backed by a slick Jazz score from Walter Baumgartner,director Uncle Jess & cinematographer Peter Baumgartner bathe the title in groovy hues,as shimmering shadows are cast across to give a fractured view of the sisters relationship.Covering the walls with eye-catching paintings of cats,Uncle Jess unleashes his famous zoom-in button to cross sexploitation with late 70's "happenings",as steamy sex scenes are blended with psychedelic flashbacks to Milicent's childhood.

Whilst the movie does focus on the flesh of its stars,the screenplay by Erwin C. Dietrich does help to keep Jess on track,due to the mind games and "troubled" relationship that Edna has with Milicent being gradually revealed with each sexual encounter.Reuniting with Jess,the very pretty Pamela Stanford gives a mischievous lip-curling performance as Edna von Stein,as Uncle Jess meets his sexy sisters.

Games Of Thrones

Hi morrision. I still need to find time to start watching 'The Americans' again but the one show I have followed in the last few years is 'Game Of Thrones'. I have season 5 on dvd pre-order at Amazon but I've already watched it on Sky. It's a gripping series and I can't wait for the new series that's being previewed at the moment.

It's great you picked up that impressive Stephen Thrower book at a discount price. 'Sexy Sisters' is okay but not one of my favourite Jess Franco movies. Thanks for the review.

Re: Games Of Thrones

Hi Petro,with the Thrower book I suspect that it will be the definitive take on Franco,with the 5 years Thrower spent researching giving the book a real eye for detail.After hearing about the oop version,I'm looking forward to seeing what Thrower's revamped Fulci book is like:

Re: Games Of Thrones

Hi morrison. I'm hopeful to pick up a copy of his book on Lucio Fulci too.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'Satyricon' (1969, Fellini-Satyricon - Federico Fellini)

Interlocking mythical tales are told in Ancient Rome.

I saw 'Satyricon' many years ago and found it a tough watch; watching it now, I feel much the same. It's an impressive work based on a book by Petronius that was written in 61 A.D. Among filmmmaker Federico Fellini's collections of grotesques, the decadent Romans rolled back on their haunches in 'Satyricon' may well be the ghastliest, though it'd be hard to beat Donald Sutherland's mechanical bull and seedy clientele from 'Casanova' (1976) in this regard. What impresses me about 'Satyricon' is it's so effective as ancient theatre. But it's a tough watch for me, a film I may watch again in another twenty years time.

'City Of Women' (1980, La città delle donne - Federico Fellini)

Businessman Snaporaz (Marcello Mastroianni) infiltrates a feminist body where a radical terrorist cell is being grown to humiliate and castrate men.

Back in the 1980s, film director Federico Fellini felt that his ferocious feminist fantasy 'City Of Women' had been somewhat misunderstood and misrepresented following its release. Fellini had read various texts and studies before consulting with leading feminist theorists and intellectuals who were then invited to co-operate and contribute to the production. He also carried out plenty of research before shooting started from a script by Brunello Rondi that was based upon an original story outline by Fellini and Bernardino Zapponi. There are some children who behave badly in Fellini's nostalgia pieces 'Roma' (1972) and 'Amarcord' (1973), but the punkette joyriders in 'City Of Women' indicate a terrifying future for males in which women will tease and torture them by playing on their fears and exploiting their basic needs and desires. Like much of Fellini's output, the technical aspects of 'City Of Women' are quite stunning, from Dante Ferretti's extraordinary sets to Giuseppe Rotunno's rolling camera, and there's a gorgeous jazz score composed by the Argentinian Luis Bacalov who adds a dash of disco funk. This galvanising, late-period masterwork from Fellini has some strange musical numbers and show-stopping set-pieces but it's also one of his most challenging and provocative artistic statements. Fellini maintained that there was no judgement of the feminist army as he simply recorded real life conversations between militant women as if shooting a documentary.

"I am not a pessimist and I don't want to be one, but my preference is for those who suffer most, who are the victims of evil, injustice, and deceit."

- Federico Fellini

'Faberge : A Life Of Its Own' (2014, Documentary - Patrick Mark)

A chronological account of how the Faberge brand was developed in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

The Faberge Company of Saint Petersburg managed to endure during times of economic hardship thanks to the custom of the royal court, creating dazzling ornaments and jewellery items for them that were reflective of the rainbow hues and pastel skylines that illuminated the city's grand architecture. The original colour palette and Peter Carl Faberge's astounding designs drew inspiration from countries far and wide, ranging from France and Italy in Europe, to Thailand and Japan in Asia - though the Faberge workforce were predominantly Scandinavian due to Carl Faberge's wishes. This excellent documentary benefits from having unprecedented access to the private collections of wealthy Faberge collectors, which in turn ensures that a first-rate line-up of historians, intellectuals, jewellery makers and art scholars is always on hand to shed light upon piece after piece. The Faberge factory was said to exist outside of the grinding poverty felt by Russians at large, but Carl Faberge was actually a pioneer in the use of cost-cutting techniques and restricted valuables, crafting countless accoutrements that were carefully sculpted by hand (few things suggest a secret lovers' tryst like a Faberge dress accessory) as well as an awe-inspiring range of decorative pieces that were drawn from aspects of nature in addition to love. In observing the depth and breadth of their ouvre, it becomes clear they had a sense of humour too.

'Painting The Johnsons' (2015, Documentary - Rupert Edwards)

A study of oil painter Charlotte Johnson Wahl whose work is on exhibition in London.

'Painting The Johnsons' is a solid portrait of an artist preparing for the first public exhibition of her work. Charlotte Johnson Wahl has suffered with Parkinson's Disease for thirty years, anxiety and depression since childhood. Her paintings are big, bold, and project a likeness of her subjects well. In 'Painting The Johnsons', Johnson Wahl is joined by her famous family who serve as frequent subjects and some of them model for a family portrait. Mayor of London turned 'Brexit' spokesman Boris Johnson is her son, dishonest Daily Mail journalist Rachel Johnson is her daughter. Her paintings aren't to my taste, but to be fair, I'm not much into this kind of portraiture.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Thanks for the recommendation of Exit (2006) Morrison. That was a fun thriller.

Some others I saw this month so far:

The Hunters (1996)
A very enjoyable crime thriller from Sweden about a cop from Stockholm returning to his home town to join a very quiet police force. Although the police are ignoring the poaching going on in the town the newbie cop isn't letting it slide. Well acted (Especially from Rolf Lassgard) with some glorious scenery shots. It was so popular they made a sequel and as soon as I watch it (will be soon, as I have it in a pile of other Nordic thrillers) I will post my thoughts.

Mr Holmes 2015
A British (joint US) film about the retirement of Sherlock Holmes. The story was pretty interesting and decent, and Ian McKellen was superb (should have had an Oscar nod for this), but it was destroyed by some very bad accents from the two supporting actors. Maybe it isn't so off putting to people who are not familiar with a Sussex accent, but it distracted me beyond belief. I don't care that accents are not perfect, and I don't find it distracting when say Americans put on a generic British accent and slip a bit. But, as this was set in very early 1900's and they (tell? I presume they have voice coaches) the actors to put on specific accents which are clearly out of place, it throws you out of the film. Why was Laura Linney attempting a West Country accent? As far as the viewer is concerned she was born and raised in the place setting which was around Beachy Head in East Sussex (to those not familiar with UK geography and accents, it is like having a movie set in Philadelphia and the person who was born and raised there had a strong Texan accent) And why was the son who was poor and bought up on a farm in the middle of the East Sussex countryside using an accent posher than Ian McKellan? Cor Blimey Mary Poppins

The Silence 2010
A very good German crime thriller about the murder of an eleven year old girl and another almost exactly the same 23 years later. Ulrich Thomson was absolutely superb in this role, so much so, he made me pay attention and feel every emotion he went through as an accessory to murder.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Pending,it is good to hear that you enjoyed Exit,and I also want to say thank you for highlighting The Hunters,which sounds like a Swedish Thriller that was 10 years ahead of the curve.After missing out on the screenings of The Killing,The Bridge and about 20 other similar shows,I have been catching up on the 8 ep run of the Icelandic TV Series Trapped on BBC iPlayer.With you being a fan of Nordic thrillers,this tough,gripping,self-contained series is one that I highly recommend,with the DVD being on pre-order from Arrow:

For a review,I feel that this piece does well at summing things up,whilst not giving much of the plot away:

Trapped – the Icelandic thriller that's the unexpected TV hit of the year so far
It’s Agatha Christie meets Nordic noir ... claustrophobic, horrifically intense and set in a landscape that humans cannot possibly take on and win

The first Icelandic drama ever acquired by the BBC, Trapped has become the sleeper hit of the winter, with over a million addicted fans desperately awaiting the finale on Saturday. It has all the tropes you would cross your mittened fingers for from a Nordic noir. There are bleak skies and brooding landscapes; a head-scratchingly unusual murder; a charismatic, if troubled, lead detective, and a storyline with more (pickled) red herrings than you could shake a loaf of rye bread at. Plus woollens! So many woollens. When a pair of Nigerian sisters turn up off the ferry, victims of human trafficking, police officer Hinrika can hardly wait to get them into some patterned knits that would turn Sarah Lund mad with envy.

But Trapped is far from just a box-ticker. It doesn’t feel for one second as if it’s going through the well-oiled noirish motions. Take the credits. As the music of Jóhann Jóhannsson (who composed the Golden Globe-winning score for The Theory of Everything) swoops over epic images of vast glaciers, wide plains and a frothing sea, interspersed with uncomfortable close-ups of the bloodshot eyeballs and grubby fingernails of a corpse, you know this show intends to soar.

Set in the tiny Icelandic fishing town of Seyðisfjörður, there’s something a little bit Fargo about the parochial policing set-up – here are a group of well-meaning coppers who never have their Thermos flasks far from hand; who pass incoming calls to colleagues if they’re too invested in a game of computer chess. And, as with Fargo’s Kansas City gang who enter centre stage and guns blazing, this small port town has a storm a-brewing – metaphorically and meteorologically.

In Seyðisfjörður, it doesn’t rain it blizzards. As the ferry from Denmark arrives over the fjord, a mutilated torso gets caught in a nearby trawler’s net. From this point on, the sleepy town is shaken, and we descend into a world of human trafficking, murder, domestic violence and political corruption. And tentacles of the past – the framing tale of the death of Dagný in a fire, from which boyfriend Hjörtur fails to save her, still wreaks havoc on the community – are bound to intertwine with this more recent drama.

Local police chief and great big bear-man Andri (played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, apparently now a heart-throb in Iceland) weathers the choppy waters as best he can, with his own family drama unfolding – his not-quite-ex-wife is visiting with her new partner, and his father-in-law, a still grieving and bitter father to fire victim Dagný, continues to struggle with his loss. Ólafsson plays Andri with great subtlety, especially for a man who rouses himself by rubbing snow in his big bristly beard. What’s wrong with a coffee? And why won’t he ever do up his coat? Even in an Arctic blizzard, with mini icicles growing from his facial hair, he seems relatively laissez-faire about zipping up. The female characters are less well fleshed out, but there’s certainly something about police officer, Hinrika, played by Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir – I’m hoping her character will develop further in the finale.

Trapped has its feet firmly on the hard ground: the financial crisis of 2008 is still felt, and there’s a possible deal on the table from China to turn this sleepy corner of east Iceland into a major port, lying as it does in a new east-west shipping corridor. It’s against this businesslike backdrop that noir can shine (see The Killing season two for another great example). Plus, this storyline also gives us Seyðisfjörður’s answer to to the recent Boris Johnson/Stanley Johnson Brexit kerfuffle, when harbourmaster Sigurður Gudmundsson’s warning that “one man can ruin this for the rest of us” is met by his father’s “I’ll volunteer to be that man”.

As Sam Wollaston attests in his review, there’s something distinctly Icelandic about Trapped, and it really sets itself apart from those shows based in and around Copenhagen and Malmö (and the bridge connecting the two). In part, that’s down to the hulking presence of nature. This is the kind of nature that inspires cathedrals, dwarfs human beings. It’s the kind that humans cannot take on and win – as we see with poor old Guðmundur’s “controlled” avalanche that is anything but. (When did we ever have an avalanche in a noir?!)

The other thing that makes Trapped different from other Nordic noirs: the brilliantly intense claustrophobia, brought about by the hyperbolic levels of snow (which also gives us one of the greatest chase scenes ever – a camper van through feet-deep snow, followed by two huffing, puffing men – Andri and the Lithuanian human trafficker – practically crawling through the stuff).

The residents of the town, along with the passengers from the ferry, are well and truly stuck. The blizzard has made the road over the mountains impassable and all planes are grounded, meaning the police team from Reykjavík (including the moustachioed Tausti, played by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson of Fortitude fame) don’t stand a chance. And a Danish court order, plus pack ice in the fjord, means that the ferry, captained by a very sinister version of Nanna Birk Larsen’s dad (from season one of The Killing), is also trapped.

Director and creator Baltasar Kormákur has called the show “a mix of Nordic noir and Agatha Christie” – and it definitely comes with a timebomb feeling of dread. “I wanted to remind the audience that we are on the outskirts of the inhabitable world,” he says – the producer of Everest, this is obviously something of a personal interest. And it’s on these fringes that he’s found ripe terrain for a noir with a polar twist. If you haven’t been watching thus far, don some long johns and get with the programme.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Sounds great, thanks. I hadn't heard of it before. Actually I am almost through season 4 of House of Cards and was looking to start a new series so the timing is perfect. Thanks again.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'The Perfume Of The Lady In Black' (1974, Il profumo della signora in nero - Francesco Barilli)

Industrial scientist Silvia Hacherman (Mimsy Farmer) oversees chemical experiments in a factory laboratory with a clear and logical mind. Silvia has an interest in geology which is piqued when some mystical academics from Africa arrive on a business trip to Italy. Silvia's brain sinks fast like a stone, falling deep inside a childhood nightmare. Weighted down by the saturated sediments of a traumatic incident dredged up from her past, is Silvia still the rock her colleagues can depend on?

'The Perfume Of The Lady In Black' is a compelling giallo mystery co-scripted by anthropologist Massimo D'Avack with painter Francesco Barilli who directs proceedings with a steady and delicate hand. It's an adult fairy tale that leans heavily upon the childrens' stories of Lewis Carroll, animated by an excellent central performance from Mimsy Farmer as the sceptical scientist who finds herself wading knee-deep through a psychosexual netherworld. Barilli's sedate visual style, coupled with Farmer's intelligent underplaying of the proverbial Alice, help to keep a tight lid on some dark Freudian subtext found bubbling beneath the surface. What eventually blows the lid off is Nicola Piovani's exceptional soundtrack which has a bit of everything; a haunting central motif, a string chorus swelling with emotion, and a cacophonous concluding chapter that amplifies the horrific nature of Silvia's increasingly disturbed series of damaged multi-climaxes.

'Waves Of Lust' (1975, Una ondata di piacere - Ruggero Deodato)

George (John Steiner) and his girlfriend Silvia (Elizabeth Turner) toy with Irem (Al Cliver) and his new friend Barbara (Silvia Dionisio) aboard a yacht.

'Waves Of Lust' is a family affair for director Ruggero Deodato, starring his wife Silvia Dionisio, featuring his son Saverio Deodato, and using costumes from Giovanna Deodato. At the halfway point exactly, the story by horror master Lamberto Bava and underwater camera specialist Gianlorenzo Battaglia comes to fruition with a spectacular five minute diving sequence that's the first of three. The rest of the picture is an erotic power game and an entertaining one at that. There's an edge to this melodrama that's sharpened by a fine cast who are able to keep the viewer guessing.

'Young, Violent, Dangerous' (1976, Liberi armati pericolosi - Romolo Guerrieri)

A trio of reckless criminals go on a rampage.

'Young, Violent, Dangerous' is a politically charged entry in the poliziotteschi cycle in which the Police Commissioner (Tomas Milian) works with petty thief Lea (Eleonora Giorgi) to bring three arrogant young murderers to justice. Fernando Di Leo helped develop this project for Romolo Guerrieri to direct, but despite the talent involved it meanders and lacks focus. The robbers Luigi 'Luis' Morandi (Max Delys), Mario 'Blondie' Farra (Stefano Patrizi) and Giovanni 'Mean Joe' Etrusco (Benjamin Lev) are annoying dolts and their immature antics are given too much screen time. The killing spree is ridiculous and consists mainly of hopelessly one-sided gunfights, the didactic script exhibits a tendency towards speechifying and gives a frowning Tomas Milian little to do (beyond smoking cigarettes), and the movie fails resolutely to convince as social drama because the criminal element is just too silly to support the solemn tone. Having said all that, it is enjoyable.

'Small Cuts' (2003, Petites coupures - Pascal Bonitzer)

Left-wing journalist Bruno (Daniel Auteuil) heads to a small town near Grenoble to help his uncle Gerard (Jean Yanne) get re-elected as Mayor.

It'd be simple to describe 'Small Cuts' as a film about a man of principle learning to give back to women but it's also a film about women succumbing to the charismatic ego inflamed by regular conquest. Writer-director Pascal Bonitzer has crafted a comedy of small pleasures derived from the poetic fantasies of Eric Rohmer, Francois Truffaut and his mentor Jacques Rivette. Daniel Auteuil is absolutely hilarious as the disillusioned intellectual who somehow falls into the arms of every woman he meets and it's impeccably performed by all, with Kristin Scott Thomas as chic fancy Beatrice, Pascal Bussieres as casual opportunist Mathilde, Ludivine Sagnier as clingy teenager Nathalie, Catherine Mouchet as battle-hardened beauty Anne, Bettina Kee as redoubtable flirt Laure, and Emmanuelle Devos as Bruno's resigned wife Gaelle. The polite framing of cinematographer William Lubtchansky was designed with ballet in mind and there is a light flow to the action as it unfolds on screen. 'Small Cuts' is slight and reprehensible yet funny and engaging.

'A Secret' (2007, Un secret - Claude Miller)

A Jewish family are torn apart by the on-set of the 2nd World War.

'A Secret' is an adaptation of a novel by Philippe Grimbert that's said to be made up of dominant prose built with little use for dialogue, which translates to on-screen narration and stylish nostalgia pieces in the hands of filmmaker Claude Miller. The story spans half a century and Miller sculpts some enchanting evocations of different time periods. Julie Depardieu and Ludivine Sagnier are terrific, as is Cecile De France in the performance of her career. The narrative ambles a little too much for my liking but it's the smaller, quieter moments that shine through. 'A Secret' gradually reveals itself to be an attentive outing for a great storyteller with powerful moments interspersed throughout.

'The Great Beauty' (2013, La grande bellezza - Paolo Sorrentino)

Society journo Jep 'The Pep' Gambardella (Toni Servillo) is a salty seduction artist beloved by the nightlife participants of Rome. Now at retirement age, Jep contemplates his storied career and looks back on a life worth living.

'The Great Beauty' is essentially a hyperactive gala tribute to 'La Dolce Vita' (1960), but with a sly dollop of 'Miranda' (1985) and a sprinkling of 'Cinema Paradiso' (1985), and while it's big, bold and brassy enough to stand tall among such exalted company, it comes packing empty balls. I like the dominant tracking shots assembled through confident edits, and there's an abundance of them in 'The Great Beauty', but these loud, excessive stylings become overwhelming when stretched out at length, urging overkill. For such a long movie it's oddly disconcerting and the humour is crushed under the weight of its quirk overload. I feel it's easy to see why someone may fall for the gaudy charms of this strutting cinematic peacock; for me, there's a good movie buried somewhere inside but it's been stuffed with excessive baggage.

'The Zorbas' (2014, Documentary - DJ Carolinas)

Sampling sessions get underway in a home studio using the music of Greek film composer Mikis Theodorakis.

This is a pleasant mini-documentary about brothers from South Carolina who now live in North Carolina. Their musical idol is superstar Kanye West, a master in the techniques of sampling. The boys' mother is Greek so they were exposed to the wonders of Greek music growing up. The title refers to the theme from Mihalis Kakogiannis' tragedy 'Zorba The Greek' (1964).

Friends Forever ~ Kim Kardashian & Kanye West

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,I hope that you have a good Easter,and that after pushing back a second viewing for a while,I finally got round to seeing the very good British Comedy Operation Bullshine again:


For one of the biggest hits at the UK box office in 1959,Network aim for approval from the top brass,with the clear audio being joined by a clean transfer which brings out the shine of the military green.

Following on the war path of the surprise success of Carry on Sergeant from the previous year,the screenplay by co-writer/(along with Anne Burnaby & Rupert Lang)director Gilbert Gunn trims most of the raunchy elements for playful,snappy wordplay,as Brown and Betty try to keep their relationship under guard.Joined by a wonderfully brittle Dora Bryan and a jumpy Peter Jones, Donald Sinden and Barbara Murray give very good performances as Gordon and Betty Brown,thanks to Sinden's attempts to be a straight-lace gentlemen solider being undone by the sharp eyes Murray gives Betty,as the women shine in their operation.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi morrison. I am having a nice Easter break away from work. How about you?

I've not seen 'Operation Bullshine', thanks for the review. I have seen and enjoyed Michael Winner's British comedy 'Bullseye!' (1990) though.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'A Message From Mars' (1915 - Wallett Waller)

The Messenger Ramiel (Holman Clark) arrives from the planet Mars to show a selfish Earthling the error of his ways.

This staunch Dickensian thoroughbred is supposedly the first feature-length science-fiction film made in the U K. Like so much of the country's early cinematic output, it's hampered by a stubborn adherence to shooting the action with a static lens that's permanently fixed around eye-level. Scenes of ineptly staged amateur dramatics allow spacemen to don cloaks, corsets and tights but the Martian element is negligible at best. 'A Message From Mars' is just an old-fashioned wallow in common sense and morality but it does have a great open-air Punch & Judy show co-starring a clowning dog.

'La Petite Lily' (1927, La p'tite Lili - Alberto Cavalcanti)

Orphan girl Lili (Catherine Hessling) is confined to the hell of Paris' backstreets when she is led into a world of prostitution.

'La Petite Lily' is an astonishing short film from director Alberto Cavalcanti that relies upon a neat stylistic trick. It's largely shot using a net effect across the lens - perhaps achieved with some kind of heavy filter - and which adds to the sense of shame and concealment the story invites to ponder. Catherine Hessling is sensational as Lili in this biting satire of city life that's based upon a song credited to Gravel & Benesch (possibly pseudonyms for avant-garde composers Yves De La Casiniere & Darius Milhaud). The penultimate title card uses a musical stave to hang its hat.

'Melody In May' (1936 - Ben Holmes)

Ruth Etting finds herself stranded in Middletown following a recording session.

Ruth Etting sings one of my favourite songs in this enjoyable small town short about youthful romance : the wonderful 'It Had To Be You'.

'Blithe Spirit' (1945 - David Lean)

Spirited medium Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) drags Elvira Condomine (Kay Hammond) back from the afterlife but problems arise when she sees her husband Charles (Rex Harrison) is now living happily with new wife Ruth (Constance Cummings).

'Blithe Spirit' is a highly literate farce based on a play by Noel Coward. The plot revolves around four characters with a screw loose, though each one believes it's the others who are out of their minds. 'Blithe Spirit' has an array of eye-catching moments to off-set the dialogue, ranging from a ground-shaking seance to a poltergeist happening, so there's nary a dull a moment. Ronald Neame's dandy Technicolor delusions shine a light on some dazzling green ghosts who are halfway between the Wicked Witch of the West and Grotbags. But behind all of these ghastly goings-on, 'Blithe Spirit' is a perfectly pleasant domestic horror set within a spacious country house where Charles learns to juggle the needs of three demanding women. The lead quartet flourish under the guidance of director David Lean.

'Cross-Roads' (1955 - John Fitchen)

Kensington girl Betty (Mercy Haystead) picks up handsome hitch-hiker Harry Benton (Christopher Lee) on his way to see leading Mayfair impresario Bernard Maskell (Ferdy Mayne) who's busy trying out new secretary Mary Freeman (Beryl Nesbitt) for a special role.

'Cross-Roads' is an entertaining short with a supernatural twist. Photographic tricks add a layer of spookiness (S.D. Onions was on the camera crew), the cast is strong, and the script deals with difficult subjects like rape, incest, sexual harassment in London, and casting couch assignments in the capital. The final twist is a doozy.

'The Job' (1961, Il posto - Ermanno Olmi)

Domenico Cantoni (Sandro Panseri) and Antonietta 'Magali' Masetti (Loredana Detto) undergo a stringent application process in the hope of joining a large corporate enterprise in Milan.

'The Job' filters the long shadow of corporatisation through a magnifying glass to reveal a palpitating heart behind the approved face of a successful business enterprise. Entrepreneurial spirit is bound by number-crunching, freedom of thought constricted by pressurised time, routine is reinforced by the pyramid power structure, and energy is compressed to enable the worker has only the requisite legroom required to function. The role of the lowly office worker is laid out as a legitimate administrative concern in this autobiographical account of a young man's entry into responsible tax-paying society. It's a great movie.

'The Glitterball' (1977 - Harley Cokeliss)

Children aid a tiny silver alien ball attempting to get back to its mothership.

'The Glitterball' is a science-fiction fantasy shot in the beautiful English county of Hertfordshire, home of Elstree Film Studios. The story is said to have inspired 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' (1982), the spherical alien brings 'Phantasm' (1979) to mind, and Harry Robinson's electronic score leans forward enough to enter the following decade. American director Harley Cokeliss would return to the U K to make one of the great low budget horrors of the 1980s, 'Dream Demon' (1988). 'The Glitterball' is a family film that's funny and imaginative.

'The Tree Of Wooden Clogs' (1978, L'albero degli zoccoli - Ermanno Olmi)

In 1898 in Lombardia, the penniless Batisti (Luigi Ornaghi) enacts a punishment as members of the peasant community place their faith in God.

'The Tree Of Wooden Clogs' is an intimate epic about faith, humanity and life's eternal struggle to break free. It's an incredible artistic achievement in its every detail. My thanks to Al Pacino for recommending this Italian masterpiece.

'Dirty Love : The Love Games - Intrigue' (1989, Casa di piacere - Alex Damiano)

Working girl Eva (Valentine Demy) inherits a country estate following the death of a wealthy client. She invites several young drifters to stay at her new villa on the proviso that they work as handymen but when she regales them with stories from her past their jealousy mounts. Has the free-spirited Eva put a target on her own head?

'Dirty Love : The Love Games - Intrigue' is a lush melodrama based on the novel 'The Sofa : A Moral Tale' by Julyot De Crebillon. Valentine Demy stars as femme fatale Eva whose deadly power games come to threaten everything she has worked so hard to obtain. Filmed with stunning colour templates in ornate interiors, this opulent chamber piece is one of the most striking Italian films of the 1980s. The dark script is playful yet challenging, like Eva herself, and the romantic musical backdrop is granted a myriad of styles by composer Paolo Rustichelli. There's also live music and picturesque locations to enjoy in this gem from Alex Damiano.

'Pervirella' (1997 - Alex Chandon)

Superheroine Pervirella (Emily Booth) travels the globe in search of the elexir of life.

Alex Chandon's first collaboration with U K horror icon Emily Booth is a wacky live-action comic strip inspired by the likes of 'Sweet Gwendoline', 'Barbarella', 'Modesty Blaise' and 'Vampirella'. It's shot on grainy 16mm film using models, miniature sets and video projections. It's an impressive technical feat on a small budget with a star-making turn from Booth. The beach band is Thee Headcoats.

'Fellini And The Satyricon' (2003, Fellini Satyricon - Diego DiReglia)

Examining the political satire 'Satyricon' (1969) and its impact upon the career of director Federico Fellini.

Federico Fellini's decision to helm the historical drama 'Satyricon' was considered to be an act of artistic suicide by some and a brave move by others. Documentarian Diego DiReglia puts forward both views before reaching his own conclusion.

"How are we to interpret Petronius' purposes in writing the 'Satyricon'? Hopes of guidance from Greek fiction which might set the novel within a recognizable genre have as yet proved largely illusory. Recent discoveries of papyri have established that Greek novels with bawdy content, set out in the Menippean "melange" of prose and verse favored by Petronius, did exist. The fragments indicate that there may have been Greek comic romances which are mirrored by the "internal" sequences in the 'Satyricon'. What makes Petronius' novel distinctively different is the injection of the Roman satirical element, with its parade of contemporary Italian figures derisively presented."

- P G Walsh, 'Introducing Petronius'

'She made this claim repeatedly, and then with great apprehension she crept into the chamber, and took a box from the casket. First I hugged and kissed it, and prayed that it would bring me happy flying hours. Then I hastily tore off all my clothes, dipped my hands eagerly into the box, drew out a good quantity of the ointment, and rubbed all my limbs with it. I then flapped my arms up and down, imitating the movements of a bird. But no down and no sign of feathers appeared. Instead, the hair on my body was becoming coarse bristles, and my tender skin was hardening into hide. There were no longer five fingers at the extremities of my hands, for each was compressed into one hoof. From the base of my spine protruded an enormous tail. My face became misshapen, my mouth widened, my nostrils flared open, my lips became pendulous, and my ears huge and bristly. The sole consolation I could see in this wretched transformation was the swelling of my p*n*s - though now I could not embrace Photis.
As I helplessly surveyed the entire length of my body, and came to the realization that I was not a bird but an ass, I tried to complain at what Photis had done to me. But I was now deprived of the human faculties of gesture and speech; all I could do by way of silent reproach was to droop my lower lip, and with tearful eyes give her a sidelong look. As soon as she saw what I had become, she beat her brow with remorseful hands and cried: "That's the end of poor me! In my panic and haste I made a mistake; those look-alike boxes deceived me. But the saving grace is that the remedy for this transformation is quite easy and available. Just chew some roses, and you will stop being an ass and at once become my Lucius again. I only wish that I had plaited some garlands this evening as I usually do, and then you would not have had the inconvenience of even one night's delay. But as soon as dawn breaks, the remedy will be set before you with all speed".
She kept wailing on like this. Though I was now a perfect ass, a Lucius-turned beast, I still preserved my human faculties, and I gave long and serious thought to whether I should end the life of that most nefarious and abominable woman by kicking her repeatedly with my hooves and by tearing her apart with my teeth.'

- Excerpt from 'The Golden Ass' by Apuleius

'Night Train To Lisbon' (2013 - Bille August)

Schoolteacher Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons) recovers an old book from Portugal near his workplace in Bern, Switzerland. Inside the book he finds an unused train ticket to Lisbon so he sets off on a quest to uncover the truth behind the text.

Bille August's mystery 'Night Train To Munich' is based on a bestselling novel by Swiss writer Pascal Mercier. It's mostly set in the historical city of Lisbon where Gregorius goes from place to place conducting interviews. I think the big problem with this film is the dual casting as almost all the actors match up poorly, causing the period footage to come across like a completely different story; examples of this rift are Charlotte Rampling & Beatriz Batarda, Tom Courtenay & Marco D'Almeida, Lena Olin & Melanie Laurent, Christopher Lee & Filipe Vargas, Bruno Ganz & August Diehl, Jane Thorne & Ana Lucia Palminha. To make matters worse, the pace is plodding and the revelations announce themselves, while the linear narrative cancels out the chance of a surprise. I think it's worth seeing for the fine performances of Jeremy Irons and Martina Gedeck who provide the present day story's only real constants, but unfortunately, I don't think much else works.

'Girl In A Band: Tales From The Rock 'N' Roll Front Line' (2015, Documentary - Dione Newton)

Music journalist Kate Mossman takes a tour through the back pages of female rock history.

"What's this? Girls with guitars? I bet you that never works out."

- John Lennon addresses the Liverbirds backstage

I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary in which Kate Mossman treks across a rolling canvas of colourful women. There's a myth that states that women in rock bands have invariably stolen the limelight away from erstwhile male colleagues before going it alone, but it's just another myth propagated by lazy rock critics. Most musicians care only about one thing : can you play? Men embrace the sexual side of rock n roll just like women, but there may well be a case to be made that they sometimes move to a different rhythm? Regardless, in some cases, bands require less posturing and more action. There are interviews with legendary session bassist Carol Kaye, the Liverbirds, June Millington of Fanny, Elkie Brooks of Vinegar Joe, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, Lita Ford of the Runaways, Pauline Murray of Penetration, Viv Albertine of the Slits, Brix Smith of The Fall, Gillian Gilbert of New Order, Kim McAuliffe of Girlschool, Josephine Wiggs of Perfect Disaster, Miki Berenyi of Lush, Kelley Deal of the Breeders and Jehnny Beth of Savages. Mossman has also recorded an interview suite for radio, with female rock writers and journalists from the 1960s, entitled 'The Women Who Wrote Rock'.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,after saving it for a holiday viewing,I finally watched an infamous British Film Noir:

The Long Dark Hall 8/10

Whilst looking for details on Rex Harrison's 1978 Bollywood movie Shalimar (!) I found out about a weird sounding Film Noir that Harrison made with his wife,which was "inspired" by the suicide of Harrison's lover Carole Landis (with Harrison being the last person to see Landis,leading to question on the "suicide" verdict.)Gathering up titles to watch over the Easter holiday,I decided that it was time to walk down the hall.

Going down a hall of murder for the opening, directors Reginald Beck and Anthony Bushell cake the Film Noir in a grubby atmosphere,as the directors and cinematographer Wilkie Cooper (who also worked on Hitchcock's Stage Fright) linger in the alleyways and dig into the dirt,and pull the rough-edge murder scenes out of the deep mud- drenched low-lights across the screen.Entering the courtroom,the directors impressively keep the Noir mood flowing across the room with stylish overlapping images which put the decayed Film Noir loner in the same position as the law.

Pulled down the hall of Edgar Lustgarten's novel,the screenplay by Nunnally Johnson & W.E. Fairchild criss-crosses faded British Film Noir memories with a surgery moral message (with capital punishment still taking place in the UK at the time.) Whilst "the message" does clean up the Film Noir grit,the writers wonderfully grind Groome's down in reaching the light,by keeping Mary as a rigid statue,whilst Arthur caves into his shattered Film Noir memory.

Appearing to "go method" in her performance,Rex Harrison's wife Lilli Palmer gives a very good performance as Mary Groome,by giving Mary a rock solid belief in her Arthur's innocence,which withstands everything thrown at it.Calling this his worst movie (!),Rex Harrison gives an excellent performance as Arthur Groome,thanks to Harrison tearing Arthur's upper class English gentlemen charms into brittle Film Noir shreds,as Arthur finds himself in the long dark hall.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'Lunch Hour' (1961 - James Hill)

A single girl (Shirley Anne Field) enters into a relationship with a married man (Robert Stephens). She is an art student working as a designer at a textile factory. He is a senior executive overseeing the work of factory girls.

This is one strange movie, which is probably to be expected from the director James Hill who always seems keen to provoke interest. It's about a disintegrating relationship and it makes for uncomfortable viewing. Shirley Anne Field, who knows a thing or two about the textile industry coming from Lancashire, is excellent as the temperamental designer who may have a screw loose.

'A Bag Of Fleas' (1962, Pytel blech - Vera Chytilova)

A passive observation of dormitory life for factory girls in Nachod, an industrial town in Czech Republic.

'A Bag Of Fleas' has been defined as a documentary, but similar to Milos Forman's talent competition 'Audition' (1964), it's a piece of ingenious staging. Simply put, this fascinating look at female assembly workers in the textile industry is a masterpiece of short subject film-making that's dizzying in effect. The technical acumen required to pull something like this off is startling in its scope, with overlapping dialogues brought to the fore brilliantly. Like 'Audition', 'A Bag Of Fleas' feels as fresh, daring and innovative as anything being made in Europe today.

'Something Different' (1963, O necem jinem - Vera Chytilova)

Housewife Vera (Vera Uzelacova) struggles with domestic life. Gymnast Eva (Eva Bosakova) trains for competitive selection.

'Something Different' is the quirky debut feature from director Vera Chytilova. It runs two parallel narratives side by side, about women establishing routine and discipline, one for family and the other for country. The intense training program undertaken by Eva is filmed in the style of cinema verite whereas Vera's battles as a mother are shot from within cupboards, atop tables and beneath the kitchen sink. It's a compelling social experiment that's acutely observed. The soundtrack is enlivened considerably by some supersonic scat singing from jazz soloist Eva Olmerova who was just coming back from a lengthy performance ban.

'The Woman In The Fifth' (2011, La femme du Vème - Pawel Pawlikowski)

Literature professor turned novelist Tom Ricks (Ethan Hawke) moves to Paris to be closer to his estranged wife Nathalie (Delphine Chuillot) and his daughter Chloe (Julie Papillon). With no job and no money to speak of, Tom accepts a charitable offer from bar owner Mr Sezer (Samir Guesmi).

I enjoy plenty of movies I find confusing in places, but the psychological thriller 'The Woman In The Fifth' feels completely confused. It's based on a novel by Douglas Kennedy and concerns an American writer whose life is directed down several different pathways. Ricks has a pre-existing reality with his family in Paris, a hyperreality invited upon him by his new landlord and friendly waitress Ania (Joanna Kulig), and a spiritual reality introduced to him by bohemian translator Margit Kadare (Kristin Scott Thomas). None if it really makes sense and these different realities never come together, so I'm not sure what's left to speak of. Perhaps 'The Woman In The Fifth' fell apart in the cutting room as the denouement is disappointingly anti-climactic. I think it's moderately effective as a mood-piece but it could, and surely should, have amounted to so much more. The soundtrack includes the heartbreaking ballad 'Tomaszow' by Ewa Demarczyk.

'Ida' (2013 - Pawel Pawlikowski)

Eighteen year-old novice Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is sent from the convent to see her aunt Judge Wanda Gruz (Agata Kulesza) who informs her of her true identity : Jewish orphan Ida Lebenstein, born in Piaski.

'Ida' is in stark contrast to the other film I watched from director Pawel Pawlikowski. It's a simple story that's well told, dealing with the effects of the holocaust. Anna undertakes a voyage of self-discovery, contemplating her fate in relation to the tragic history of her family, something not lost on her aunt who is a senior law official. 'Ida' is realised across the vast expanse of Poland though mainly in the city of Lodz. The sparsely written screenplay by Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz maintains a safe distance from the material and deals instead with routine and fact. Despite the harrowing subject matter, I wasn't moved as much by 'Ida' as I thought I'd be, perhaps because I found it overly referential of the masters of the Polish Film School whose films were more aggressive and confrontational. I do feel its heart is in the right place and I'm glad I saw it but it just feels very distanced to me. Joanna Kunig sings on the soundtrack which includes a cover of Adriano Celentano's pop hit '24 Mila Baci' which was co-written by Lucio Fulci and Piero Vivarelli.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,thank you for bringing Amy Berg's Joplin doc to attention,with Berg having gone quiet after the court case on Bryan Singer was dropped.After hearing about the TV show Horrible Histories,I watched the film version and found it far better than expected:


Following Shakespeare round London in a great tracking shot which breaths in the muck covering London,director Richard Bracewell and cinematographer Laurie Rose cast an enchanting atmosphere,by giving the title a sweet quirky appearance,where all of the historical figures look like they have one foot in a fantasy world. Splinting by its 90 minute running time,the superb screenplay by Laurence Rickard & Ben Willbond release the Barb's sonnet at lightning speed.

Joyfully playing around with historical facts, (a ghost Christopher Marlowe!) Rickard and Willbond thread witty wordplay with cheerfully silly visual puns and catchy songs.Whilst the jokes bounce across the screen,the writers keep the footlights lit with a slick plot which links Shakespeare plays with masters of disguise and assassination attempts.Leaping to the big screen,the ensemble cast each give superb performances.Each taking on multiple roles,the cast give each part a unique quality,from Simon Farnaby making the Earl of Croydon desperate to be a socialite,to Mathew Baynton making "Bill" (who is pals with "Chris" Christopher Marlowe!) a wide-eyed fool,as Bill discovers the horrible histories.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

You know, I honestly didn't know the background with Amy Berg. I watched this documentary premiering on the U K satellite-cable channel Sky Arts simply because I always watch docs on Janis - in fact I saw a better one recently, with stronger focus on the work of Big Brother And The Holding Company. But this was one was okay even though I didn't hear anything new.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Trapped (2015 Mini-Series)
Massive thanks to Morrison Dylan! This Icelandic crime thriller mini-series was awesome. It twisted and turned and was thoroughly enjoyable. It seemed to slip a little every now and then but only with a little continuity problems. The chemistry between Bárður (Hinrika's Husband) and Joy was fabulous and they should have repeated this tension between Andri and his ex (which they did until they slept together which was a wtf moment. I actually felt sorry for Sigvaldi who didn't deserve it and made me dislike Agnes immensely. However that said, I am definitely going to watch series two when it comes out. Þorsteinn Gunnarsson did a wonderful job as Agnes's father, every time he was on the screen I was glued. I have seen Ólafur Darri Ólafsson in a few movies and I think he is a very good actor and carried the series well.

Suffragette (2015)
I enjoyed this UK film quite a lot. It did have some scripting issues (being very heavy handed and in some instances turned some characters into caricatures) but Carey Mulligan and Brendan Gleeson's acting made up for it. It is worth a watch for them alone.

The Saboteurs (or The Heavy Water War: Stopping Hitler's Atomic Bomb - 2015 Mini-Series)
Wow, this Norweign 6 part mini-series is fabulous. For the first 3 episodes it moves slowly setting up the story but episode 4 was some of the best TV I have seen. The tension throughout had me on the edge of my seat for the entire 45 minutes, and from then on I binged the last two episodes immediately after. It did have some slight problems and I am not sure I can put my finger on it exactly. I don't know whether there were too many characters in the series for you to truly care for them and what happens to them or whether it was an acting problem or a scripting problem, but Band of Brothers was only 4 episodes more and you bonded with each and every character there. I did find though there was a lack of chemistry between Christoph Bach (who plays Werner Heisenberg) and Peri Baumeister (his wife) and every scene they shared felt false. However the chemistry between Dennis Storhøi (Erik Henriksen, the fictional factory director) and Maibritt Saerens (his wife) was magnificent even if Maibritt's character (fictional) and storyline was stereotyped. If you don't know this factual event (as I didn't) don't look into it before you watch it and it will keep you not knowing the outcome. The cinematography was awesome, especially episode 4 and 5 and the skiing stunts were amazing.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Pending,I first want to say thanks for your very good review of Suffragette,which I've been meaning to view for a while,but have been a bit put off by how heavy handed it looks.Getting to the main event,I've got to say that I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed Trapped!

One of the things that I really liked was how the first 5 eps focused on building up the slow-burn small town atmosphere,with the intimate setting making the comments about how "the crash" had effected the town really hit home.I was also wondering about what your favourite scenes were from the series? Along with the Giallo-style murder scene,my favourite moment was when Andri found the key/lock,due to the makers avoiding exposition,and instead relying on the viewer to have kept up with everything in order to feel the full impact.

On a Scandi Crime note,since Trapped has finished,the BBC has started airing a new 10 ep series called Follow The Money.Whilst it lacks the slow-burn mood of Trapped,the first 2 eps have made up for it thanks to being very stylish,having a unique murder case (a wind turbine!) and also offering a very Film Noir look at how business leaders will use everything (including murder) to crush their workers.

The first 4 eps can be found streamed on iPlayer:

Teaser trailer:

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Dylan, thanks for that. Will try and look into it but am really busy for next month or so. I have stuck it on a watch list.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Professor. I'd like to see 'Suffragette' so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I saw Anna Friel on a U K chat show this weekend and she said she's a massive fan of Scandinavian crime television. Her new show she's promoting is from Swedish writer Hans Rosenfeldt, creative mind behind 'The Bridge'. It's called 'Marcella'.


Hi Petro,thanks for pointing me (and Pending) to Marcella,which from the extended trailer ( looks like it has a good Scandi crime sweater on,and from the news today also appears to have its eyes on the international market:

Re: Marcella.

Hi morrison. Did you get a chance to see the first episode of 'Marcella'? If so, how was it?

I didn't watch it as I don't watch much drama on tv, but I like Anna Friel for her movie work.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

That looks good. Have stuck it on my watch list. Thanks a lot!

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hope you enjoy it. Anna Friel's a fine actress so it's good she's keeping busy.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

I saw this trailer of "Vally of Love" and it looks very appealing. That's in my bucket list.

Krakatit (1948)

Hi Petro,for April I've decided to set myself a challenge to watch/review one Czech film a day.To start off the challenge,I deiced to watch the Sci-Fi Noir

Krakatit (1948)


Set alight the year The Communist People's Militias group grabbed control of the country in a coup d'état,co-writer/(along with bother Jaroslav) director Otakar Vávra bleeds blistering Sci-Fi,Film Noir paranoia from Karel Capek, (who was the first person to use the word "robot")over a chilling Cold War canvas.Keeping the movie's feet on the ground by avoiding any flamboyant elements in the Sci-Fi machinery,the Vávra's smartly use the new technology to give Prokop a slippery menace,due to the satellite tracking and Prokop's own explosive creation being dangerous machines which everyone is out of their depth in using.

Striking a note of hope over the early Cold War tension not heating up,the Vávra's burn any sign of light to the ground. Pinning Prokop down in his bed,the Vávra's unmask a nightmare fever dream,where Prokop find every attempt he makes to keep the Krakatit out of reach to lead him down a rotting Film Noir path covered in sharp tooth Femme Fatale and backstabbing friends after his deadly creation. Clouding Prokop's memories,director Otakar Vávra and cinematographer Václav Hanus soak the Sci-Fi in a wonderful uneasy mood,where ultra- stylised reflecting mirrors and fractured shadows make Prokop doubt the ground he walks on. Striking Jirí Srnka's thunderous score over the credits, Vávra cuts into Prokop's Film Noir paranoia with a ruthless intensity,by crossing tightly coiled tracking shots of Prokop going down burnt-up Film Noir streets with fiery whip-pans that capture the murderous force of Prokop's powder.

Getting out of the submarine she was held in for Rene Clement's The Damned from the previous year,the gorgeous Florence Marly gives an incredible performance as Princess Wilhelmina Hagen. Initially looking regal,Marly rips the royal shine up to expose a viper Femme Fatle, who slithers in the shadows to kill every Film Noir loner in her sights. Hit with a torn lip, Karel Höger gives an excellent Film Noir loner performance as Prokop,thanks to Höger displaying Prokop's desperation in making everyone aware of the danger,but being unable to stop the Krakatit from being lit.

Re: Krakatit (1948)

Hi there MDF.... I was very surprised to see your mention of Krakatit because only two days ago I ordered a copy from the States!... among my last weeks orders was also a Karel Zeman three disc set with Vynález zkázy The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne (1958) and Cesta do pravěku Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)...I really like the original outer space film Ikarie XB-1 (1963).
Happy Czech viewing

Re: Krakatit (1948)

Hi morrison. Thanks for posting these reviews of Czech & Slovak sci-fi. As you mention, there's a rich tradition, as with Poland. The visionary writer Karel Capek won the Nobel Prize.

Czech Sci-Fi: I Killed Einstein,Gentlemen (1970)

Hi Petro,after staring in the late 40's,I decided for my second Czech Sci-Fi flick to go to the late 60's/early 70's.


Jumping between 2000 and the early 1900's,co-writer/(along with Josef Nesvadba & Milos Macourek) director Oldrich Lipský and cinematographer Ivan Slapeta swing into pure late 60's kitsch,where sexy disco girls are joined by blaring reds and a time machine that looks like a lava lamp.Sending Moore and his team to meet Einstein, Lipský gives the historical scenes a wonderfully off-centre, Czech New Wave atmosphere,by making Moore's modern machines (including a selfie stick!) blend into the high society,chandelier life sty that Einstein is surrounded in.

Getting into the futuristic swing of things,the screenplay by Nesvadba/ Macourek and Lipský finely balance time travel Sci-Fi action with earthy period Comedy.Whilst the movie is largely delivered in a light handed manner,the writers do cut some excellent allegorical cuts into the title,which starts from off the cuff comments on Czechoslovakia never having any chance of becoming a self-governing state, (the movie was shot just after the Prague Spring of 1968) to the eerie full circle twist ending.

Looking alluring in bra and panties,the cute Jana Brejchová gives a playful performance as Moore team member Gwen Williamsová,with Brejchová giving Williamsová a delicate lightness which allows her to outwit Moore and Einstein.Joined by Lipský's brother Lubomír, Jirí Sovák gives an excellent performance as Professor David Moore,thanks to Sovák hilariously cracking Moore's mind up,as Moore sets his sights on killing Albert Einstein.

Re: Czech Sci-Fi: I Killed Einstein,Gentlemen (1970)

Hi morrison. I've seen this one. Fun movie!

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

'L'Amore' (1948, Amore - Roberto Rossellini)

Two women appear destined to carry the touch of absent men with them forever.

'L'Amore is a two-part anthology. The first part is based on a play by Jean Cocteau that was met with outrage when first performed in France. 'A Human Voice' is pitched somewhere between a soliloquy, a monologue and a confession. It's a titanic two-hander between Anna Magnani and a telephone that's performed as one act. In a fierce portrayal of a woman scorned, Magnani breaks down before our disbelieving eyes.
Part two is 'The Miracle' which casts Anna 'La Nanna' Magnani as the lusty Nannina. Magnani was one of Italy's beloved music hall comediennes and this is the side of her we see in 'The Miracle'. Magnani is violated on a mound by Federico Fellini who is masquerading as Saint Joseph at the peak of his testosterone hunk days. Magnani describes the experience of quivering before the great man's ravenous gaze as "heaven on earth" which sent the Catholic Church into a state of apoplexy. The story by Fellini was inspired by Russian literature.

'The Flowers Of St. Francis' (1950, Francesco, giullare di Dio - Roberto Rossellini)

St Francis of Assisi (Nazario Gerardi) leads the Franciscan Order of monks through a series of challenges.

"Paisa is the founding epic of the New Italy, like the Aeneid was for the Roman Empire."

- Tag Gallagher, 'Rossellini ~ Into The Future'

'The Flowers Of St. Francis' is a rendering of the struggles of Saint Francis and his followers around the beginnings of the 13th century, told through a series of sketches and vignettes. Having completed the three films that would come to be known as the 'War Trilogy' - 'Rome, Open City' (1945), 'Paisan' (1946) & 'Germany Year Zero' (1948) - director Roberto Rosselini set out to fashion a historical work entrenched within the philosophy of Franciscanism which rejected solemnity. This transcendent spiritual was an influence on Pier Paolo Pasolini's 'The Gospel According To Matthew' (1964), Franco Zeffirelli's 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon' (1972), Norman Jewison's 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (1973) and Martin Scorsese's 'The Last Temptation Of Christ' (1988).

'I sing of arms and the man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the land of Troy and came to Italy to the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at the hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno. Great too were his sufferings in war before he could find his city and carry his gods into Latium. This was the beginnings of the Latin race, the Alban fathers and the high walls of Rome. Tell me, Muse, the causes of her anger. How did he violate the will of the Queen of the Gods? What was his offence? Why did she drive a man famous for his piety to such endless hardship and such suffering? Can there be so much anger in the hearts of the heavenly gods?'

- Excerpt from 'The Aeneid' by Virgil

'CHORUS : How sweet for those in pain, that others also suffer!
What pleasure is the nation's loud lamenting!
Grief and tears bite more gently
when misery finds company.
Pain is cruel: always, always,
pain seeks many victims,
happy not to be alone.
Nobody resists the painful fate
shared by everyone.
People will not think themselves unhappy, though they are,
if nobody is happy.
Eliminate the rich, and the landed gentry,
with their estates ploughed by a hundred oxen.
Poor people will no longer feel oppressed.
All wretchedness is relative.
How sweet for someone in the midst of ruin
to look around and see no happy face.
If your boat sets out to sea alone
and you are washed naked into the harbour,
you moan and complain of your fate.
It is easier to bear the storms of fortune
if you see a thousand other ships
drowned in the waves and the beaches
strewn with wrecked ships, while the violent wind
keeps back the swelling waves of the sea.'

- Excerpt from 'Trojan Women' by Seneca

'Let's Wash Our Brains : Ro.Go.Pa.G.' (1963, RoGoPaG - Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti, Pier Paolo Pasolini & Roberto Rossellini)

Bitter businessman Joe (Bruce Balaban) stews in his own juices at the thought of pretty stewardess Anna Maria (Rosanna Schiaffino) flying free; a paranoid man of logic (Jean-Marc Bory) plummets down a well of post-nuclear depression when free spirit Alessandra (Alexandra Stewart) accepts a course of what appears to be state-sponsored medication; a sexy diva (Laura Betti) dances like Federico Fellini in her matching bra and knickers for a semi-naked male film crew controlled by dominant marxist The Director (Orson Welles); a suave connoisseur (Ugo Tognazzi) becomes consumed by the idea of purchasing life at the top end while educating his busy wife (Lisa Gastoni) on matters regarding the economic miracle.

This provocative portmanteau was conceived to be a designated entry into the swinging era by producer Alfredo Bini. I found it to be one of the funniest anthologies I've seen from the 1960s. All four segments are well directed and entertaining in their own way. Comedy was riding high in Italy with confidence having been restored so filmmakers across the globe began expressing an interest in working for the rebuilt national film industry. Old master Roberto Rosselini leads the way for three young turks to follow, setting a gold standard that demands they bring their 'A' game to the table.

'Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion' (1970, Le foto proibite di una signora per bene - Luciano Ercoli)

Minou (Dagmar Lassander) has her character severely tested following a violent assault.

Like giallo specialist Sergio Martino, Luciano Ercoli was a producer from Rome who turned his hand to directing with spectacular results, achieving considerable success at the box-office with a string of genre entries in the 1970s. Both men established themselves as proponents of crime horror with a psychological slant so it's perhaps not surprising that they chose to craft mysteries with a sly psychedelic edge. Martino worked repeatedly with Queen Of Horror Edwige Fenech, whilst Ercoli was busy casting Nieves Navarro in all his gialli.
'Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion' is classical crime storytelling at its finest. Ercoli ensures that every demand made by Ernesto Gastaldi's screenplay is met. Elegant compositions and a finely tuned atmosphere make this old school mystery thriller a constant pleasure, as does the understated musical accompaniment from composer Ennio Morricone. 'Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion' should keep you guessing right up until the fateful final reel.

'Lokis' (1970, Lokis. Rekopis profesora Wittembacha - Janusz Majewski)

A German pastor (Edmund Fetting) aboard a train attends to the carriage of Catherine Duchess of Pacow (Zofia Mrozowska), her niece Julia Dowgiallo (Malgorzata Braunek) and their governess Pamela Leemon (Hanna Stankowna). The ladies are returning from London to Vilnius where the minister plans to research Lithuanian folklore.

'Lokis' is based on a novella by French fantasist Prosper Merimee, the same story that inspired Walerian Borowczyk to write 'The Beast' (1975). The mystical lokis curse depicted here concerns a human bear, allowing director Janusz Majewski to revel in the joys and sorrows of rural tradition and gypsy folklore. One beguiling aspect of 'Lokis' is the interchangeable gestures revealed by formality and festivity, whether it's gypsies in formation stood singing in the snow for nature's blessing, or women from the village in matching dresses swirling continuously having been emboldened by the colours of courtship. Composer Wojciech Kilar's inventive folk arrangements capture the essence of fairy tales and house the sounds of nightmares. Hanna Stankowna would build upon her role in 'Lokis' for Marek Piestrak's gothic horror 'She-Wolf' (1983) which invokes the romantic longing of Hammer horror.

'Death Walks On High Heels' (1971, La morte cammina con i tacchi alti - Luciano Ercoli)

Exotic dancer Nicole Rochard (Nieves Navarro) finds her movements are coming under close scrutiny following a violent attack connected to a family affair.

Director Luciano Ercoli's giallo 'Death Walks On High Heels' is an entertaining tale of lust, blackmail and intrigue. Ercoli's strict adherence to following his writers' intentions, and a strong sense of framing, result in a fine example of conventional storytelling in which lines are blurred but never crossed. 'Death Walks On High Heels' is relatively light on characterisation for a giallo penned by Ernesto Gastaldi (with an assist from Mahnahen Velasco) but makes up for this with stylish set-pieces, attractive locations and a diverse array of musical cues from composer Stelvio Cipriani.

'Death Walks At Midnight' (1972, La morte accarezza a mezzanotte - Luciano Ercoli)

Glamour model Valentina (Nieves Navarro) convinces herself she's witnessed a murder while tripping out on synthetic designer drug HDS which leads to complications when she comes to report the crime to the authorities.

'Death Walks At Midnight' is a fun giallo that was originally designed by Sergio Corbucci to be a loose update of 'The Girl Who Knew Too Much' (1963). It does feel familiar, drawing ideas from crime classics like Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' (1954) and Dario Argento's 'The Bird With The Crystal Plumage' (1970), and it revels in the satirical merriment and light-hearted "battle of the sexes" banter that both Hitchcock and Argento brought to the screen with unfettered joy. Nieves Navarro delivers her third emphatic giallo turn under the composed direction of Luciano Ercoli but the ambitious script feels muddled and incomplete (a number of different writers worked on it). There's an exciting musical score from composer Gianni Ferrio, the hallucinogenics add some spice, and Simon Andreu once again proves to be a reliable foil for the ladies. I don't think it's as effective as Ercoli's other gialli I've seen, but I found it enjoyable.

'Angel In The Wardrobe' (1987, Aniol w szafie - Stanislaw Rozewicz)

Concerned sound mixer Jan (Jerzy Trela) reaches out to colleagues on a film set as his odd relationship with actress Marzena (Danuta Kowalska) comes apart at the seams.

'Angel In The Wardrobe' is an unusual mystery that carries a decidedly sinister edge. Jerzy Trela stars as a disturbed sound recording technician whose work may be connected to unclear visions he's been experiencing of a strange incident out in the woods. There are some cryptic clues to decipher in this complex drama which is constructed like a crossword puzzle, using disconnected scenes and dialogues in place of bridges made from random words.
Director Stanislaw Rozewicz was renowned for his many war pictures and worked as an assistant to Jan Rybkowski in his formative years. If you're only familiar with Rozewicz's work in combat zones, 'Angel In The Wardrobe' might seem like a radical departure. I think it does for film production process what his behind-the-scenes, theatre-based pictures 'The Wicket Gate' (1974) and 'Woman In The Hat' (1985) did for the ritual of rehearsal. Having said that, 'Angel In The Wardrobe' carries a darker subtext that seems to realign it with Rozewicz's work within the realm of international war. The tone of the film is temperamental and the actions oblique. Cameraman Jerzy Wojcik's intelligent visual design reacts to a series of visitations indicating the trauma behind Jan's emotional crisis, a melange of moments and memories organised with confident methodology.

'Umberto Lenzi : Architect, Artist, Anarchist' (1991, Documentary - Andrea Rosani)

A humorous look at the ongoing trials and tribulations of anarchist horror filmmaker Umberto Lenzi as he seeks funding for his latest project.

"Catholicism is by vocation a scandalous religion."

- Jacques Rivette

This mini-documentary is interesting because it looks at Umberto Lenzi the writer. Like his friend Lucio Fulci who worked on countless film scripts during his career, Lenzi is a superb technician and a highly accomplished (and imaginative) writer. He worked as a journalist when he was younger and he's written several books. It is true, however, that he's long suffered with a reputation for being crazy and this has followed him around like a raincloud; even Fulci, the notorious eccentric of Italian cinema, once said "Umberto is an artist, but certifiable insane".

'The gods above grant every wickedness to her at her first
utterance of prayer: they dread to hear a second spell.
Souls living, still in charge of their own limbs,
she has buried in the tomb and, while the Fates yet owe them years,
unwillingly death steals on; funerals she has brought back from the grave,
reversing the procession; corpses have escaped from death.
Smoking ashes of the young and blazing bones
she grabs from the middle of the pyre and even the torch
held by the parents; she gathers fragments of the funeral
bier which fly about in black smoke, and clothes
crumbling into cinders, and ashes with the smell of limbs.
But when dead bodies are preserved in stone, which draws the inmost
moisture off, and once the marrow's fluid is absorbed and they
grow hard,
then greedily she vents her rage on the entire corpse:
she sinks her hands into the eyes, she gleefully digs out
the cold eyeballs and gnaws the pallid nails
on withered hand. With her own mouth she burst
the noose and knots of the criminal, mangled bodies as they hung,
scraped clean the crosses, torn at guts beaten
by the rains, at marrows exposed and baked by the sun.
She has stolen the iron driven into hands, the black and putrid
liquid trickling through the limbs and the congealed slime
and, if muscle resisted her bite, she has tugged with all her weight.
And if any corpse lies on the naked earth, she camps
before the beasts and birds come; she does not want to tear
the limbs with knife of her own hands, but awaits
the bites of wolves, to grab the bodies from their dry throats.
Nor do her hands refrain from murder, if she needs
some living blood which first bursts out when throat is slit
and if her funeral feast demands still-quivering organs.'

- Excerpt from 'Civil War' by Lucan

'I Am Love' (2009, Io sono l'amore - Luca Guadagnino)

Wealthy exemplar industrial wife Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton) parties with the elite but her way of seduction is to lay like a snake in the grass. With many toned and muscular young men to choose from, Recchi sets her sights on several up and comers who show promise.

Luca Guadagnino's stately drama 'I Am Love' is a handsome tribute to lost love, lesbian love, free love and the freedom with which to love. It was a labour of love for leading lady Tilda Swinton who reportedly worked for eleven years as producer to put this story up on screen. From Moscow to Milan to London, Recchi swells with heartache, but Swinton barely finds time to crack a smile. The influence of Luchino Visconti is evident during scenes of luxury and lovemaking but 'I Am Love' is a bona fide tragedy.
Now engaged in a strong artistic union, Swinton and Guagagnino are preparing for the long-awaited reimagining of Dario Argento's supernatural shocker 'Suspiria' (1977). The good news is that Dakota Johnson's also along for the ride.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,I've first got to say that it looks like you had some fantastic viewings this.Whilst I've had my eyes on the set for a while,your reviews gave me the final push to order Arrow's Death Walks set.Since spotting the movie on iPlayer after seeing De Palma's Passion,your review makes I am Love something that I'll make sure to see before it goes.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi morrison. I hope you enjoy the work of Luciano Ercoli. 'Death Walks On High Heels' would certainly would rank among my favourite new viewings of 2016 so far. I like 'Forbidden Photos' too, excellent giallo mystery. But 'Death Walks At Midnight' I didn't find quite so compelling (still enjoyable though).

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi Petro,thanks to talking to a friend/DVD seller (who is a big Czech movie fan) I found out about what is possibly the only Czech Comic-Book flick:

Who Wants To Kill Jessie?


Whilst the decision to shoot in b & w does drain the paternal juicy pulp colours away,co-writer/(along with Milos Macourek) director Václav Vorlícek still draws an extravagantly zany piece of Sci-Fi Comic- Book pop-art.Filling the screen with speech bubbles, Vorlícek & cinematographer Jan Nemecek display a sharp sense of style as quirky sound effects,and off-centre superhero appearances (including Superman!) give the title a delightfully playful mood. Painting the Comic-Book panels on the screen, Vorlícek pushes the 4th wall down with a mischievous atmosphere which fires sped-up film speeds and pop-out special effects into the latest issue.

Largely keeping away from being overly serious,the screenplay by Vorlícek and Macourek does spin a sharp satirical sidebar over how the attempted suppression of peoples thoughts can lead to them being unleashed in unexpected directions.Lapping up the spirit of 50's Sci-Fi,the writers wonderfully mix B-Movie,white coat wearing scientists with vivid Comic-Book 60's cool,as Ruzenka desperately tries to get Jindrich's creations off her page. Pushing him out of his comfort zone, Jirí Sovák gives a terrific performance as Doc. Jindrich Beránek,thanks to Sovák striking Jindrich with a delightfully nervous reaction over seeing his dreams come to life.Wrapped in a head- turning dress,the cute Olga Schoberová gives an excellent performance as Jessie.Given a minimal amount of dialogue, Schoberová superbly uses her expressive face to reveal Jessie's happiness round Ruzenka,and her annoyance around the scientist,as Jindrich discovers who wants to kill Jessie.

Re: What European films did you see? March / April 2016

Hi morrison. I have 'Who Wants To Kill Jessie' on dvd. It's a fun comic book experiment with a pop art sensibility. A bit hit and miss, quirky as you say, but unusual and enjoyable.