Lisa And The Devil (Lisa e il diavolo) (1973)

MARIO BAVA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  Italy/West Germany/Spain/USA, 1973.  Leone International.  Screenplay by Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone.  Cinematography by Cecilio Paniagua.  Produced by Alfredo Leone.  Music by Carlo Savina.  Production Design by Nedo Azzini.  Film Editing by Carlo Reali.   Elke Sommer is terrific as a tourist visiting Spain who is distracted from her walking tour after seeing a fresco depicting the…

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Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

TERENCE DAVIES Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  United Kingdom/West Germany, 1988.  British Film Institute, Channel Four Films, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.  Screenplay by Terence Davies.  Cinematography by William Diver, Patrick Duval.  Produced by Jennifer Howarth.  Production Design by Jocelyn James, Miki Van Zwanenberg.  Costume Design by Monica Howe.  Film Editing by William Diver.  Toronto International Film Festival 1988. Terence Davies follows three celebrated shorts that touched…

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Daguerréotypes (1976)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  West Germany/France, 1976.  Ciné Tamaris, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Nurith Aviv, William Lubtchansky.  Film Editing by Andree Choty, Gordon Swire.   Filmmaker Agnes Varda was inspired by a storefront on the Rue Daguerre, where her studio is still located, whose window hadn’t changed its products…

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Francesco

BB.5 (out of 5) Liliana Cavani films a story focused on St. Francis of Assissi for the second time in her career, this time landing somewhere between Jesus of Nazareth and The Last Temptation of Christ in the Religious Films As Stories of Real People genre.  It’s nowhere near as controversial as Scorsese’s epic, though that film’s fresh notoriety would…

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Fedora (1978)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  France/West Germany, 1978.  Bavaria Atelier, Lorimar, NF Geria Filmgesellshaft GmbH, Societe Francaise de Production.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, based on a story by Tom Tryon.  Cinematography by Gerry Fisher.  Produced by Billy Wilder.  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by Alexandre Trauner.  Costume Design by Charlotte Flemming.  Film Editing by Stefan Arnsten, Fredric Steinkamp.   Penultimate…

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Baron Blood (Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga)

BB.5 (out of 5) Antonio Cantafora shows up in Austria to find out more about his family background, particularly interested in the legend of his horrible ancestor known as “Baron Blood” thanks to the horrible murders he committed in his dark and mysterious castle.  That property is now a historic site curated by the beautiful Elke…

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The Marquise Of O (Die Marquise von O…)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A minor masterpiece from Eric Rohmer, probably the best of all his period pieces.  It’s about a beautiful, titled widow whose father’s citadel is raided and she is set upon by soldiers before being saved from being raped by a Russian soldier.  He falls madly in love with her and begs her to…

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The Lickerish Quartet

BB (out of 5) In a giant, remote Italian villa, a middle-aged couple watch an erotic film with their son before the wife decides she’s had enough and wants to go out.  They head to a nearby carnival, where they see a stunt woman in a motorcycle spectacle who closely resembles the star of the porn they just…

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What? (Che?)

BB (out of 5) Roman Polanski was so certain that this film would be the definitive moment of his career that he kept turning down Robert Evans’ request that he direct Chinatown to focus on completing it.   Evans eventually convinced him to take on the Robert Towne script by promising to pay Polanski a salary…

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Ludwig

BBB (out of 5) The life of the Bavarian prince who died at 40 after barely twenty years on the throne is covered in this four hour period epic by Luchino Visconti, the film he has making when he had the stroke that would contribute to his death four years later. Helmut Berger in capes is a…

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The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (L’Uccello Dalle Piume di Cristallo)

BBBB (out of 5) An American writer visiting Rome walks by an art gallery and witnesses a woman being stabbed, blocked from helping her by giant glass doors (in one of the film’s many ingenious sequences) but at least scaring the would-be murderer off and saving the woman from death. The crime is part of…

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State Of Siege

BBBB (out of 5) An American official (Yves Montand) is kidnapped by political insurgents in Uruguay, interrogated for what they suspect is his involvement in aiding the government’s suppression of the people through violence and torture. Montand insists that he is simply an employee of the US Agency for International Development and that his appearances…

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