Documenteur (1981)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA/France, 1981.  Ciné Tamaris.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Nurith Aviv, Affonso Beato, Bob Carr.  Music by Georges Delerue.  Film Editing by Bob Gould, Sabine Mamou.  Toronto International Film Festival 1981.   Agnes Varda followed the shooting of her excellent documentary Mur Murs with this intelligent and absorbing fictional film.  It’s about a recently divorced French woman who…

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Mur Murs (1981)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  France/USA, 1981.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Nurith Aviv.  Film Editing by Bob Gould, Sabine Mamou.  Toronto International Film Festival 1981.   This scintillating collection of eye popping images was made during Agnes Varda’s years working in California.  She invites us to share her fascination with mural art in Los Angeles, traveling to various landmarks in…

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Only When I Laugh

BBBB (out of 5) Stunning characterizations highlight this excellent drama, one of the richest examples of Neil Simon’s writing ever adapted to the screen. Marsha Mason is fantastic as a Broadway actress who has just been released from twelve weeks of drying out in rehab, determined to face the world without alcohol, hoping to put her…

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Cutter’s Way

BBBB (out of 5) Exceptional, moody thriller that plays like James Ellroy. While leaving a bar one night, Jeff Bridges witnesses someone throwing something in the trash which turns out to be the body of a young woman. A few days later, while watching a parade with his war veteran best friend (John Heard), Bridges espies…

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Montenegro

BBBB (out of 5) This film is enjoyable right from the opening credits, with the beautiful ‘Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ being sung by Marianne Faithful as the titles roll. After that we’re treated to a one-of-a-kind experience, the oddest black comedy (based on a true story no less) about an exasperated American housewife (Susan Anspach)…

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Chariots Of Fire

BBBB (out of 5) Inspirational, touching tale of underdog glory that managed to win Oscar’s heart (in a surprise victory at the 1981 Academy Awards) and enchant audiences for years (the score is still one of the most recognized instrumental movie themes ever heard). Consider that it also features a lead character who runs in a…

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Blood Wedding (Bodas De Sangre)

BB.5 (out of 5) The famous play by Federico Garcia Lorca is taken by Carlos Saura and set to flamenco music with almost successful results. The complex play, essentially about two lovers during the Spanish Civil War who are unable to be together because of various circumstances, has been pared down to a minimal performance…

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Killer Of Sheep

BBB.5 (out of 5) Milestone in independent filmmaking that has recently been restored and rediscovered, this early feature by Charles Burnett was the beginning of a very successful career.  Its loose plot is about a family in Los Angeles whose father is a worker at a sheep slaughterhouse. His life is a forward-marching drill of…

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Diva

BBBB (out of 5) Highly inventive thriller mixes media and genres with beautiful results. A famous opera diva is known around the world for her gorgeous voice and for the fact that she refuses to ever commit her talent to a recording (she feels it deadens the artistic quality). A young motorcycle courier secretly tapes…

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Man Of Iron (Czlowiek z Zelaza)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Fascinating political film from the great Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda that deservedly won top honours at the Cannes Film Festival of 1981.  Jerzy Radziwilowicz is riveting as an alcoholic journalist in 1980 Warsaw who is assigned by the Party to cover a shipyard strike in Gdansk. He focuses on a worker whose…

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