More hidden treasures


A listful of movies, and we wish you happy hunting.

I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953).
Five young men in the seaside town of Rimini, doing their best not to grow up. This is a sublime piece of filmmaking, gentle and poetic, and I really don't understand how it became overshadowed by Fellini's later work.
-- Dave Vermillion

Jeanne Dielman
(Chantal Akerman, 1975).
This masterpiece has been called "a film about nothing," but few films are more absorbing. Essentially a portrait of three days in the life of the title character (Delphine Seyrig), Akerman uses real time extensively to immerse the audience in the day-to-day routine. By the time we become used to the routine, every small deviation from it becomes almost shocking, building up to a strangely shattering conclusion.
-- Paul B. Clark

The Secret of Roan Inish
(John Sayles, 1994).
A beautiful and charming film, set in Ireland, about a little girl who learns the amazing legends of her family.
-- Melissa B. Cummings

The Hitcher (Robert Harmon, 1986).
It's a rare thing to see a stalk and slash film with decent acting, let alone depth. There's a logic to the madness of the killer played by Rutger Hauer. He wants to be killed; he is on a rampage just to have someone stop him.
-- Mark Ashley

Dogfight (Nancy Savoca, 1991).
An unlikely romance develops between a marine (River Phoenix) and a coffee shop waitress (Lili Taylor). This is a film that strikes me as both cruel and tender. Taylor is lovely, as someone who is supposed to be "unattractive," but has a beautiful soul. When I watch her, I believe that Phoenix's character can see her beauty, despite his initial intentions. And I love the ending. Quiet, sad, and very moving.
-- Thea

La Otra Conquista
(Salvador Carrasco, 1998).
The epic that nobody saw, about the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, should have launched the carrer of the very talented Carrasco.
-- Sasha Stone

Howard Schumann
The Great Adventure
(Arne Sucksdorff, 1953)
Quince Tree of the Sun (Víctor Erice, 1992)
Wild Reeds
(André Téchiné, 1994)
(Gianni Amelio, 1994)
Home Before Dark
(Mervyn LeRoy, 1958)
Thor Klippert
Joe Versus the Volcano
(John Patrick Shanley, 1990)
The Sure Thing
(Rob Reiner, 1985)
(Joe Dante, 1985)
I Was an Adventuress
(Gregory Ratoff, 1940)
Colorado Territory
(Raoul Walsh, 1949)
Mark Ashley
The Andromeda Strain
(Robert Wise, 1971)
High Plains Drifter
(Clint Eastwood, 1971)
Drowning by Numbers
(Peter Greenaway, 1988)
The Hill
(Sidney Lumet, 1965)
Slap Shot
(George Roy Hill, 1977)
I Walk the Line (John Frankenheimer, 1970).
An odd little tale of a backwoods lawman, a family of moonshiners, and the teenaged girl in the middle. I say odd mainly because the upright lawman who lusts after the teen hottie and who is turned into a babbling shell of a man by her charms is played by...Gregory Peck. It's actually the most difficult thing about this movie, reconciling the image of Atticus Finch with the drooling schoolboy Peck's character devolves into herein. Tuesday Weld as the girl is just extraordinary, as she almost always was. What a shame her talents were not given more opportunity to shine. Frankenheimer catches real life here in the faces of locals in the Tennessee location. A minor work, but one that really caught my attention. Script by Alvin Sargent.
-- Jim Beaver
Urgh! A Music War (Derek Burbidge, 1981).
This concert film was made at just the right moment to catch the "new wave" music at its most interesting. Retaining influences from the punk movement that preceded it, and not yet having been co-opted by major label boredom, the bands represented here represent quite a wide net. The Dead Kennedys' political hardcore punk. Joan Jett's straightforward guitar rock with attitude. The standard new wave pop of Gary Numan, GoGos, and Devo. The oddball falsetto of Klaus Nomi. The gleeful juvenility of Surf Punks. Perhaps most important of all, the formative post-punk of Gang of Four, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Cramps. There are no interviews, slices of life, or other distractions. Whatever social comment is made here is done only through the songs and audience shots. Sadly unavailable for home viewing today, perhaps due to music rights issues.
-- Michael Buck
Don Larsson
Band of Outsiders
(Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)
Chimes at Midnight
(Orson Welles, 1965)
Life on a String
(Chen Kaige, 1991)
Samba Traoré
(Idrissa Ouedraogo, 1993)
(Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)
Paul B. Clark
The Mother and the Whore
(Jean Eustache, 1973)
Dead Man
(Jim Jarmusch, 1995)
(Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)
Come and See
(Elem Klimov, 1985)
O Lucky Man!
(Lindsay Anderson, 1973)
Jim Beaver
Under Fire
(Roger Spottiswoode, 1983)
Black Jesus
(Valerio Zurlini, 1968)
Souls at Sea
(Henry Hathaway, 1937)
(Mike Leigh, 1999)
Samurai Saga
(Hiroshi Inagaki, 1959)

A Brief Vacation
(Vittorio de Sica, 1973).
I've only seen this once, probably when it originally came out, but I've never forgotten it; I don't think it's ever been on video. A woman (Florinda Bolkan), living in squalor, working at a factory to support her unemployed husband and his family, contracts TB and is sent to a sanatorium in the Alps, where she experiences some of the happiest days of her life. The "vacation" is shot in color, the rest of her life in black & white.
-- George Davis

Butterflies Go From
Place to Place

(P. Padmarajan, 1983[?]).
Padmarajan is the only Indian filmmaker I know of that made films for a general audience about sexual dysfunction. This one is about a rich young man who buys sex for his friends so he can watch, but is helped to grow up by a modern, very un-Indian thinking prostitute with her own agenda. Unlike Indian exploitation films, Butterflies is serious and ultimately moving, and the partners these people end up with are sympathetic too.
- Carol Slingo

The Lonely Passion
of Judith Hearne
(Jack Clayton, 1987).
Maggie Smith is a desperately unhappy, self-deluding Irish spinster; Bob Hoskins bilks her. If you think Maggie Smith just plays scenery-eating character parts in films, go see this. If you think Maggie Smith's greatest triumph was in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, this is better. I think (fear) it's the best film ever made about loneliness.
-- Les Phillips

Seven Faces of Dr. Lao
(George Pal, 1964).
An old Chinese gentleman (Tony Randall) rides into the town of Abalone, Arizona, and changes it forever, as the citizens see themselves reflected in the mirror of Lao's mysterious circus of mythical beasts. This may be the best carny movie ever, directed by one of the old masters of cinematic fantasy.
-- Ron Leming

Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960).
One of Ray's most sensually beautiful films, about a young woman who is thrown into torment and confusion when she discovers that her father, a rich feudal landlord, believes her to be the reincarnation of the goddess Kali. A powerful portrayal of the consequences of religious fanatacism.
-- Howard Schumann

(Ray Enright & Busby Berkeley, 1934).
The fine 42nd Street gets all the attention when discussing Busby Berkeley. The story in Dames is just as thin, the songs are at least as memorable, the cast is largely the same, but Dames has more elaborate musical numbers, especially the title song and the hallucinatory "I Only Have Eyes For You."
-- Greg Sorenson

The Tall Guy (Mel Smith, 1989).
A delightful comedy starring Jeff Goldblum, with Emma Thompson in her first movie role. Goldblum's oddness is perfect for the character of the odd, unemployed American actor whose only chance for a break is the title role in the musical "Elephant!", based on the, um, cheerful story of Britain's most famous circus freak. It goes up from there.
-- Claudia Gabarain

Crooklyn (Spike Lee, 1994).
Lee's most lyrical and personal feature, co-written by his sister Joie and brother Cinque, unfolds like a Fellini memory film, but in warm primary colors, with a beautiful child performance by Zelda Harris at the center.
- Mark Netter

Voyage Surprise (Pierre Prévert, 1947).
A retired bus tour driver offers a "mystery tour" to an unsuspecting group of passengers. While the itinerary of a mystery tour is usually kept secret, in this case it is a surprise even to the driver. But along the way, chance encounters create new meetings, discoveries, loves, and growth - a metaphor of sorts for the ultimate "voyage surprise" - life itself.
-- Don Larsson

Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998).
The world is ending in about six hours. What would you do? Patrick (played by writer/director McKellar) plans to be alone, but he ends up spending time with people he didn't expect to. A wonderfully low-key Canadian film featuring Sandra Oh, Callum Keith Rennie, and the ubiquitous Sarah Polley. Suprisingly warm and funny for a film about the end of the world.
-- Lisa Larkin
terri mabry
Sunday in New York
(Peter Tewksbury, 1963)
Walk, Don't Run
(Charles Walters, 1966)
The Pajama Game
(George Abbott &
Stanley Donen, 1957)
The Trouble With Angels
(Ida Lupino, 1966)
Support Your Local Sheriff!
(Burt Kennedy, 1969)
Ed Owens
(John Carpenter, 1983)
Dark City
(Alex Proyas, 1998)
Dead Presidents
(Albert & Allen Hughes, 1995)
The Last Boy Scout
(Tony Scott, 1991)
Living Out Loud
(Richard LaGravenese, 1998)
Michael Buck
They Shoot Horses,
Don't They?

(Sydney Pollack, 1969)
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
(Bertrand Blier, 1978)
The Gang's All Here
(Busby Berkeley, 1943)
(Sidney Lumet, 1977)
Dead Alive
(Peter Jackson, 1992)
Will Penny (Tom Gries, 1968).
This was a real departure for Charlton Heston, who has said it is one of his favorite roles. He plays Will Penny, an aging, illiterate cowhand who finds himself relegated to riding line one Montana winter, looking for strays and squatters. He is a conscientious employee but also a decent man who, when he discovers Joan Hackett and her young son living in the cabin he is to occupy, cannot bring himself to throw them out into the cold. A loner with few human connections, unused to a woman like Hackett, he is at first remote and ill at ease in her company. However, as time passes, he finds himself drawn to her and the boy and begins cautiously to believe in something beyond his lonely existence. Will Penny is basically a character study, and Heston is outstanding in the role. Hackett is her usual luminous self, the boy is engaging and real, and Donald Pleasence, as the scarred, half-mad Preacher Quint, is scarifying. Good, maybe great, little film.
-- Marilyn Elliott
Some Kind of Wonderful (Howard Deutch, 1987).
Oh, stop rolling your eyes. I realize this is a John Hughes flick, but bear with me. Unlike previous Hughes movies, our story doesn't sell one idea and sell out for another, and it even presents a payoff for just being yourself. Imagine that. Added to the mix we get two leads, Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz, that truly have chemistry. Yes, of course it's a teen flick from the 80s, with all the attendant baggage of such, but it also has some stuff that other films of its genre lack: parents who aren't just foils for the kids, a sense of family, a faint but present subtlety in characterization, and one of the best last lines of the 80s.
-- terri mabry
A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974).
I saw this as part of a Cassavetes retrospective a few years ago, and I was an absolute wreck when it was over. Gena Rowlands plays a woman struggling not only with mental illness, but with a husband (Peter Falk) who might be just as crazy as she is, and a family who doesn't want to be troubled with her. The scene where she comes home to see her family for the first time after being institutionalized is as emotionally affecting as anything I've ever seen on film. It's a true feat of acting that Rowlands' behavior makes you cringe, even at the same time she makes you care for her all the more deeply.
-- Devin Rambo
La Terra Trema (Luchino Visconti, 1948).
The story of a young Sicilian fisherman (Antonio Arcidiacono) who decides to defy the bosses that keep the peasants in poverty while they grow rich, set against the background of the day-to-day life of a small village. Visconti used non-professional actors, speaking in their own dialect. He uses deep focus, direct sound, natural light. Each frame is composed for maximum effect. It's an epic of working class anguish, directed by an aristocrat. But then - the Italian production company slapped a narration on the film because they thought non-Sicilian audiences wouldn't understand it. Then when the film failed at the box office, they tried to make it shorter by cutting it. It still bombed. And yet, and remains one of the most beautiful, tragic, and profound works of art ever filmed, even with the narration and the cuts. It's as if the purity of Visconti's conception could not be spoiled by greed.
-- Chris Dashiell
Mark Netter
Death in the Garden
(Luis Buñuel, 1956)
One-Eyed Jacks
(Marlon Brando, 1961)
Fox and His Friends
(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975)
Four Friends
(Arthur Penn, 1981)
Time Stands Still
(Péter Gothár, 1981)
Bonnie Lee Howard
The Bad and the Beautiful
(Vincente Minnelli, 1952)
The Emerald Forest
(John Boorman, 1985)
In a Lonely Place
(Nicholas Ray, 1950)
Sherman's March
(Ross McElwee, 1986)
Whiskey Galore!
(Alexander Mackendrick, 1949)

Chris Dashiell
(Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1931)
No Regrets For Our Youth
(Akira Kurosawa, 1946)
The Cranes are Flying
(Mikhail Kalatazov, 1957)
The Fire Within
(Louis Malle, 1963)
(Yilmaz Guney &
Serif Goren, 1982)



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