Tag Archives: European cinema

RIP Bruno Ganz (1941 – 2019)

Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979

Bruno Ganz was was an internationally renowned Swiss actor.

He collaborated with filmmakers Werner Herzog (Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979), Éric Rohmer (The Marquise of O, 1976), Francis Ford Coppola (Youth Without Youth, 2007), Wim Wenders (The American Friend, 1977 and Wings of Desire, 1987) and Jonathan Demme (The Manchurian Candidate, 2004).

Ganz was internationally lauded for portraying Adolf Hitler in the film Downfall (2004).

For the occasion, I watched Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)of which the German version is online. Ganz plays Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula is played by a heavily breathing, almost panting Klaus Kinski.

Pay special attention to the beauty of Isabelle Adjani; the opening sequence of the Mummies of Guanajuato; the film score by Krautrock outfit Popol Vuh and Richard Wagner’s prelude to Das Rheingold, Charles Gounod’s “Sanctus” from Messe solennelle à Sainte Cécile and traditional Georgian folk song Tsintskaro; and the frantic mad scenes by Roland Topor.

The film is wonderful. It’s an hommage to the 1922 version by F. W. Murnau.

Here is the original film.

Nosferatu, 1922

RIP Dušan Makavejev (1932 – 2019)


(W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, 1971)

Following the news of the decease of Jonas Mekas earlier this week,
Dušan Makavejev , another icon of countercultural cinema dies.

Makavejev is one of those filmmakers of whom I’d like to see everything. I remember renting Sweet Movie (1975) on videotape with its episode of Viennese Actionism.

Makavejev is also the filmmaker who made a portrait of my hero Wilhelm Reich (W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, 1971) which I have never seen but which I am about to see in the YouTube version above. Quickly scrubbing through it, I noticed that the backdrop for the promotional poster of W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (A lady sticking her arm triumphantly through an empty picture frame, to her left stands a chair with a white rabbit on it. The backdrop is a striped wall) which is used on Film as a Subversive Art (1974) can be seen at 31:19.

Update: The YouTube version above appears to be uncensored, even the penis plaster caster scene is without the hippie-like flowers it usually comes with.

The cinema of Walerian Borowczyk and music of Bernard Parmegiani


De Natura Sonorum (1975) by Bernard Parmegiani


Sometimes I can’t even remember just how I stumbled upon something. Maybe it was a suggestion by YouTube that brought me into contact with Bernard Parmegiani maybe it was something I was reading. I just can’t trace it. However it may be, I stumbled upon Parmegiani simultaneously with his connection to Walerian Borowczyk. Parmegiani did the soundtrack for at least three of Borowczyk’s films: Les Jeux des Anges (1964), Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (1981) and Scherzo infernal(1984). I’d seen Scherzo before but I had not seen Les Jeux des Anges[1] nor the Jekyll film. You can watch the Jekyll film over at YouTube[2] in an English version with Dutch subtitles.

Neither had I seen that holy grail of transgressive cinema The Beast  (way up there with Le Sexe qui parle by Claude Mulot and The Image by Radley Metzger, both from the same year) which you can see here[3] in a dubbed Spanish version. An uncut version, it appears. You can read its British censorship history somewhere online, it’s extensive. Both Docteur Jekyll et les femmes and The Beast are obsessed with large beast-like phalli. In the case of Jekyll ripping open the abdomen of its victims, in the case of The Beast as seen in copulating horses (with gorgeous shots of dripping horse vulvae) and of a bear-like-constantly-ejaculating huge hammer-shaped penis raping and making love to Sirpa Lane.

As for Parmegiani’s art music. I listened numerous times to the incredible piece De Natura Sonorum[4] (1975) which is really remarkable at being soothing while appearing chaotic. I can’t get enough of it. Caribou mentions it in his Caribou 1000 and apparently it has been of some influence on Aphex Twin. From what I know of him, that may be true.

Finally, at 4:40 of Chants Magnétiques[5] (1974) you can hear ASMR bits. For those of you unfamiliar with ASMR, it stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR-sounds are sounds that give goose bumps and cold chills.

RIP Rita Renoir (1934 – 2016)

Via research on the King Mob Echo magazine, which led me to Chris Gray which led me to Conrad Rooks which led me to Chappaqua (in which Rita had a part), it has come to my attention that Rita Renoir has died.

Rita Renoir was a French exotic dancer, sex symbol, nobrow figure and actress.

Above you can see Rita Renoir performing a striptease to Serge Gainsbourg’s “Sois belle et tais-toi“, a song from the album Serge Gainsbourg N°2 (1960).

But…

The clip is actually from from Il mondo di notte numero 3 (1963), a typical mondo film, and the music is actually by Riz Ortolani. The scene is superb.

RIP José Ramón Larraz

RIP José Ramón Larraz  (1929 – 2013).

After the death of Jesús Franco earlier this year, fellow countryman Larraz was the last survivor of “sexual revolution“-era European exploitation cinema.

Now the two last two last survivors of that sensibility are Radley Metzger (born 1929) and Roger Corman (born 1926).

My first exposure to Larraz was the VHS cover of La visita del vicio (The Coming of Sin). For the infamous Pasiphae scene from La visita del vicio shot scroll to 15′:32”.

Video: Eurotika! Larraz episode (1992).

I’ve previously mentioned Larraz here: http://blog.jahsonic.com/daedalus-devised-a-hollow-wooden-cow/