Tag Archives: cinema

RIP Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019)

Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019) was an American film director and choreographer best-known for Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

We remember him fondly for directing Bedazzled, an updated version of the Faust legend set in 1967.

Dudley Moore plays a lonely young man whose unrequited love of his co-worker drives him to attempt suicide. Just then the devil (Peter Cook) appears and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul.

The film’s fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s is smart and well-executed.

Love it.

RIP Jorge Grau (1930 – 2018)

Jorge Grau was a Spanish film director who worked in the age of the sexual revolution which came late in Spain because of censorship in Francoist Spain.

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
The Bloody Countess

To the illustrious history of Spanish horror film, Grau contributed The Bloody Countess (1973) and Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974), the first film on Elizabeth Báthory, the second on zombies.

To the not so illustrious history of Spanish erotica, he contributed the film La trastienda, the first Spanish film to feature full frontal nudity. The film touches upon sexual repression and Opus Dei.

Cantudo sings “Desnudame”, in the background are excerpts from “La trastienda’

 María José Cantudo was the actress who was first seen nude on Spanish cinema screens in La trastienda. While researching Grau, it also came to my attention that Cantudo recorded a song called “Desnuda me”, Spanish for “Unrobe me”.

In the part on Spanish horror of the documentary Eurotika!, Jorge Grau is featured on 18:50 [above].

I shop therefore I am

It makes little sense to talk about consumerism since consumerism is a pejorative (a third of the -isms are) and implies anti-consumerism.

So all talk of consumerism is talk of anti-consumerism.

Which brings me to the film above, which I suspect to feature strains of anti-consumerism. I speak of a Russian film about the Paris Commune which was titled The New Babylon.

I once[1] posted a lovely still of this film of a woman with a gun and a mannequin.

The New Babylon of the title of this film refers (I just learned) to a shopping mall, with the same title.

Shopping malls are paradises of consumerism.

The earliest shopping malls were arcades, admirably staged by Walter Benjamin in the Arcades Project and exemplified by The Crystal PalaceWindow shopping without getting wet! A feast of artificialitySociety of the spectacle!

I shop therefore I am.

A full version of The New Babylon is now on YouTube (above).

A milestone in the history of subversion

Discovering Amos Vogel‘s Film as a Subversive Art (1974) was a blast and leafing through the book today still is a thrill (see for example a still I posted on my new NSFW tumblr blog). The book is a milestone in the history of subversion.

Now online is Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (UK, 2003) , a documentary about Amos Vogel (1921 – 2012) and the film society Cinema 16.