In Oostenrijk stierf acteur Helmut Berger.Continue reading
Tag Archives: European cinema
RIP Willy Kurant (1934 – 2021)
Willy Kurant was a Belgian cinematographer, famous for shooting films such as Trans-Europ-Express (1966), Man on Horseback (1969), Cannabis (1970) and Je t’aime moi non plus (1976).
RIP Philippe Nahon (1938 – 2020)
Philippe Nahon was a French actor known for his roles in French horror and thriller films.
Nahon was has been described as the fetish actor of maverick director Gaspar Noé, playing a nameless butcher in no less than three films: Carne, I Stand Alone, and Irréversible (cameo).
Above is the gimmicky “30 seconds to leave this film” scene from I Stand Alone (1988).
The film is especially bleak.
Not surprisingly, because it focuses on several pivotal days in the life of a butcher faced with abandonment, isolation, rejection and unemployment.
There was a time when I relished these kind of films. I remember seeing a trailer for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and absolutely wanting to see it.
The attraction for this fare has largely faded.
Nevertheless, watching scenes from I Stand Alone, one cannot help being immediately intrigued.
RIP Max von Sydow (1929 – 2020)
Max von Sydow was a Swedish-born actor famous for playing chess with death in the film The Seventh Seal (1957).
In my universe, he has a minor role in Death Watch (1980) a film which caught my attention at a young age. It tells the story of a woman with an incurable disease who will be filmed 24/7 until her death.
Its theme is still my theme: technology, reality television and its impact on society.
Von Sydow has but a minor part in this film.
Speaking of reality television. The most underrated film with reality television as a trope is Paul Bartel’s The Secret Cinema (1968).
RIP John Karlen (1933 – 2020)
John Karlen was an American actor. Outside of the United States, he was primarily known for his lead in the Belgian film Daughters of Darkness (1971), a lesbian vampire exploitation chic vehicle.
RIP Neda Arnerić (1953 – 2020)
Neda Arnerić was a Serbian actress.
In Shaft in Africa (1973) she is Jazar (above):
Jazar : How long is your phallus, Mr. Shaft?
Shaft : My what?
Jazar : Your cock?
Shaft : Baby, by now it shrunk down to 20 inches.
Arnerić was considered a sex symbol of Yugoslav cinema.
RIP Agnès Varda (1928 – 2019)
Agnès Varda was a Belgian-born French film director.
Her films were popular among critics and directors, giving her the status of a cult director.
This is perhaps not the best of times to rid the world of a minor misconception regarding the work of Varda, but it is what I must do after researching her oeuvre following her death.
Agnès Varda made one film about the Black Panther Party, just one. That film was Black Panthers (1968), a color film which can be viewed in its entirety at Archive.org.
Another film from that same year is called Huey! and is directed by a certain Sally Pugh. It can be seen in full on YouTube [below] and has nothing to do with Varda, although the general subject matter as well as some scenes overlap.
RIP Bruno Ganz (1941 – 2019)
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.
RIP Dušan Makavejev (1932 – 2019)
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
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 nor the Jekyll film. You can watch the Jekyll film over at YouTube 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 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 (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 (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.