Movies watched from mid November to mid February (stills):
Bacchanales Sexuelles, 1974, Jean Rollin- Worst Rollin maybe (but it's barely even his). I'm a Rollin completist.
Swan Lake: The Zone, 1990, Yuri Ilyenko- A man escapes from a soviet prison (filmed where Sergei Paradjanov was imprisoned) and hides inside a crumbling sickle and hammer sculpture. All frost, fog and rust.
Hynningen, 1975, Werner Nekes- So perfect, the closest thing to ghosts on film.
Kaldalon, 1971, Dore O.- This too.
Route One/USA, 1989, Robert Kramer- Kramer condenses his trip down Route One from Maine to Florida to four hours of Americana mixed with loneliness, frustration and sometimes intense religiosity. Also some lovely people.
Spiritual Constructions, 1927, Oskar Fischinger- "How very strange, as if the world were drunk."
Mausoleum, 1983, Michael Dugan- I wish the whole movie was like the opening instead of just a boring '80s latex and slime possession film.
Séance on a Wet Afternoon, 1964, Bryan Forbes
A Voyage on the North Sea, 1973, Marcel Broodthaers- I usually love Broodthaers but this was just OK.
5 Dolls for an August Moon, 1970, Mario Bava- Alright but with an absolutely fantastic house (the clothes are pretty great too, bright patterned dresses and hot pants with a cape and tall boots).
Lapis, 1966, James Whitney- Hypnotic early computer animation.
The Boxer's Omen, 1983, Chih-Hung Kuei- Grass jelly guts.
Hapax Legomena III: Critical Mass, 1971, Hollis Frampton- A couple's argument is fragmented. Denied voyuerism.
Autumnal Equinox, 1974, Hollis Frampton- Slaughterhouse texture.
God's Country, 1985, Louis Malle-
1. Fantastic, like putting found photos in context. Kinder to its subjects than Route One USA, still similar but focuses one one town over such a large area.
2. It's so strange to see how young the girls are when they get married, the wedding scene has 17 year olds, still in high school. One woman says it's common for married parents to be 16, 17, 18 and 19. She was 27 and didn't want a marriage or offspring but still felt pressure from her parents and the town to find someone before it was "too late." A few years later and the young couples seem so trapped and drained.
3. Malle returns 5 years later for the last quarter of the film and you can really see the declining number of farmers in the region and what one farmer refers to as the end of farm life and culture.
4. A lot of contemporary American anxieties are present in 1980 too. A steadfast belief in the coming apocalypse, either religious or political (do any of you think that the dedication some people have to a nearing doomsday comes out of a discomfort with the idea of the world progressing or even just existing without them? That seemed to be the case here, a little bit), anxiety over the US losing power in the wider world while the government gains control domestically, etc. Several people (maybe less I watched this months ago) firmly held onto the idea that a break down in society was fast approaching and that their children were in imminent danger of violent riots and looting after economic collapse.
Sinfonía Erótica, 1980, Jesus Franco- A woman returns home from her stay in a mental hospital to find that her husband has been having an affair and is planning to drive her further into insanity. Gas-lighting and implying hysteria, pearly colours, a hedge maze, malaise.
Love Rites, 1987, Walerian Borowczyk- + Cults + soft focus + Marina Pierro - annoying dialogue
The Blonde Witch, 1956, André Michel
Green Snake, 1993, Tsui Hark- Gauzy and dreamy. Snakes take on human forms to live among people and fall in love.
The Wishing Tree, 1976, Tengiz Abuladze
The Perverse Countess, 1974, Jesus Franco- A wealthy couple that lives alone on an island hunt their guests in order to eat them later on (this is shown with the actors eating almost raw steak, so disgusting). Gorgeous setting and some striking images (Alice Arno with a giant bow and arrow in particular) but it lags and lacks the Franco magic that's in his much better work.
The Legend of Blood Castle, 1973, Jorge Grau- Visually lacklustre and uninteresting, although I liked that Erzebeth was more melancholy then straight evil, unlike her husband. Borowczyk's Bathory is my favourite, I wish that segment of Immoral Tales ended up a full length film instead of La Bete.
The Dove’s Lost Necklace, 1991, Nacer Khemir- Perfect, really.
Robinson’s Garden, 1987, Masashi Yamamoto- A girl chooses to slowly isolate herself in an abandoned factory. She grows vegetables and paints as her friends forget her and her life becomes a mixture of the past and a dream. Some really painful (good way) moments.
Betty Boop M.D., 1932, Dave Fleischer- Overly effective patent medicine leaves costumers with too much of what they wanted.
The Savage Hunt of King Stakh, 1979, Valeri Rubinchik- I actively try to watch movies from as many different places as possible, but it can be hard with all the hidden Slavic gems that exist.
Beautiful Mystery, 1983, Genji Nakamura- A gay pink film based on Yukio Mishima's coup attempt and his following suicide.
Wilczyca, 1983, Marek Piestrak- Misty castles, Julia's bloody fingers, eastern chill, lacy coffins, bleeding photos, ice mirages. Really beautiful. Poland is a mostly untapped resource for Eurohorror, which is a shame.
Film of Her, 1997, Bill Morrison- Awful story of a film librarian working to archive silent loops and clips in hopes of finding an actress from his youth. Comes across like a humourless American Experience parody with stock cartoon old man voice over.
Clonus, 1979, Robert S. Fiveson- Kill your clone and live forever.
Adelheid, 1970, František Vláčil
All My Life, 1966, Bruce Baillie- All of My Life is probably my favourite song by The Carpenters.
Light is Calling, 2004, Bill Morrison-
Sorrows, 1969, Gregory J. Markopoulos- Neuschwanstein castle dissolves and melts into itself.
The Princess and the Pea, 1976, Boris Rytsarev- How sweet can these fairy tale movies get? Not sugary, just warm and charming.
Blacker Than the Night, 1975, Carlos Enrique Taboada- Pretty standard cursed inheritance, shadowy old house, etc. Loved the scenes in the library though.
Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven, 1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder- Timely watching. Not sure which ending I like better.
I Am a Cat, 1975, Kon Ichikawa
The Cat, 1992, Lam Ngai Kai- Has a similar feeling to Nobuhiko Obayashi's movies, especially House and School in the Crosshairs (would make a good double feature with either of those). A cosmic cat has to save Earth from a fleshy, parasitic jellyfish kind of creature, also from space. Wonderfully fun.
Lawale, 1969, Dore O.- Dore transparent with her family, Dore writhing on her bed (Chorea/Hysteria).
The Dunwich Horror, 1970, Daniel Haller
To the Devil a Daughter, 1976, Peter Sykes- Good black masses but lacking atmosphere and with an unsatisfying ending.
Diabolically, Letizia, 1975, Salvatore Bugnatelli- When did films where a stranger arrives and seduces a whole family lose their popularity? You'd think the scenario is more plausible in the age of the internet, unless more people saw this than I thought and took it as a warning against taking distantly (by marriage) related girls into their homes because they started dabbling in witchcraft off at boarding school and are now out to avenge a dead parent.
Dream I: Matrix
Horrors of Malformed Men
The Uninvited (2003)- Saw this the first time when I was 13 (skipping school to go to the PIFF) and it's still one of the bleakest films I've seen. I had almost exactly remembered the scene where Yeon locks eyes with a woman as she jumps from the roof.
The Lickerish Quartet
Death Race 2000- Calamity Jane and Frankenstein have the best cars for sure.