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Michael Brakemeyer: “Paul Schrader's brave epic of his touted "man in a room" trilogy that includes past films "Taxi Driver" and "Light Sleeper". This is epic filmmaking.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Once again...KUBRICK. That's all you need to know to want this.”
Daring in its refusal to make the socialist leader into an easy martyr or hero, Che paints a vivid, naturalistic portrait of the man himself (Benicio del Toro), from his overthrow of the Batista dictatorship to his 1964 United Nations trip to the end of his short life.
The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker’s 1955 All That Heaven Allows.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Tati's masterpiece of silent comedy...with sound. Saw this for the first time on VHS, but letterboxed. Glorious set pieces with the bumbling Tati. ”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Bizarre and very entertaining. First saw it on IFC once and didn't realize I was watching a Steven Soderbergh film! Haven't seen it since.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Gripping, tense, and very important films. Particular favorite is "Ashes And Diamonds" since first laying eyes on it in college.”
Adapted from the controversial novel by Shintarô Ishihara, and critically savaged for its lurid portrayal of the postwar sexual revolution among Japan’s young and privileged, Crazed Fruit is an anarchic outcry against tradition and the older generation.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Wonderful dsytopian fantasy from Gilliam. Saw it twice on the big screen. Nothing like it anywhere else.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Z is what a political thriller is all about. Nothing comes close to its power and very truthful unfolding of events.”
Working outside the mainstream, the wildly prolific, visionary Stan Brakhage made more than 350 films over a half century. Challenging all taboos in his exploration of “birth, sex, death, and the search for God,” he turned his camera on explicit lovemaking, childbirth, even autopsy.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Mifune and Kurosawa were never better (except Seven Samuari, that is!). Funny, violent...look closely and see where Clint Eastwood came from...”
Maria is an entitled white woman living in Africa, unwilling to give up her family’s crumbling coffee plantation despite the civil war closing in on her. White Material is a gripping evocation of the death throes of European colonialism and a fascinating look at a woman lost in her own mind.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Surreal and very political, director Cox blends everything into his vision of madness and misguided destiny. Seen this dozens of times.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “I'm also in love with Jenny Agutter ever since watching her in this film in college. My first true experience with Roeg and what images he produces!”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Way too cool for mere words. See it to believe it.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Fassbinder and his unbelievable artistic drive is unmatched even today. So many gems in so short of a time. Sorely missed by us cinemaphiles.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Bresson and his complete control of story and film. An acquired taste, but so full of meaning and reflection when watching this.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “A must see for all film addicts. Herzog is a genius...especially for tolerating Kinski's tirades!”
Michael Brakemeyer: “What couldn't be filmed, was filmed magnificiently by John Huston. Almost a great film...”
In The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau utilizes the Orphic myth to explore the complex relationships between the artist and his creations, reality and the imagination.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Finally, someone who truly understood childhood and boldy put it to film. Not to be missed.”
Middle-aged Mr. Badii drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran, searching for someone to rescue or bury him, in Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s emotionally complex meditation on life and death.
The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring the inimitable Toshiro Mifune, was one of Japan’s most successful exports of the 1950s, a rousing, emotionally gripping tale of combat and self-discovery.
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time,
Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events. Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Nothing will ever replace seeing this on the big screen with big sound. This is Kurosawa's masterpiece and his lasting stamp on cinema.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Mishima was quoted as saying to the camerman to add more shadows...for the French love their shadows! A unique and prophetic film for writer Mishima.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “I'm still madly in love with Louise Brooks. She epitomizes everything in a woman. She doesn't deserve her fate in this film!”
In these four lacerating works of social consciousness—two prewar, two postwar—Mizoguchi introduces an array of compelling female protagonists, crushed or resilient, who are forced by their conditions and culture into compromising positions.
Michael Brakemeyer: “My first glimpse of poetry in film. Lovely and so full of beautiful images and ideas.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Very bleak and very funny in an odd sort of way. The acting is tremendous and Leigh's handling is at his best.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Need to have purely for the sake of Beatrice Dalle...enough said!”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Tati's gentle and hilarious film that is an absolute joy to watch over and over. Timeless comedy from a master.”
Norman Mailer is remembered for many things— his novels, his essays, his articles, his activism, his ego. one largely forgotten chapter of his life, however, is his late-sixties kamikaze-style plunge into making experimental films.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Out of his many films...I've come to absolutely love his version of "The Idiot". What a misunderstood and much maligned classic it is.”
The concluding chapter of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on contemporary malaise, L’eclisse tells the story of a young woman (Monica Vitti) who leaves one lover (Francisco Rabal) and drifts into a relationship with another (Alain Delon).
Michael Brakemeyer: “An absolutely angry film. Whatever happened to the director since this came out??”
Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork.
In his late color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returns to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career—the play between illusion and reality.
Often called the Godard of the East, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima was one of the most provocative film artists of the twentieth century, and his works challenged and shocked the cinematic world for decades.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Based on the beginning sequence of "Head" jumping from the bridge, this is a must have for fans of their music and end of the psychedelic 60's. ”
With the idiosyncratic American fable Harold and Maude, countercultural director Hal Ashby fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era.
Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property in Masaki Kobayashi’s fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system.
In 1971, self-styled dictator General Idi Amin Dada took control of Uganda; director Barbet Schroeder turns his cameras on the dynamic, charming, and appallingly dangerous tyrant.
Director Terry Gilliam and an all-star cast headlined by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro show no mercy in bringing Hunter S. Thompson’s excoriating dissection of the American way of life to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage.
Centered on the modern sensibilities of the younger generation, these delicate family dramas are marked by an exquisite formal elegance and emotional sensitivity about birth and death, love and marriage, and all the accompanying joys and loneliness.
A curious, compassionate storyteller who was fascinated by characters on the outskirts of society, Hiroshi Shimizu used his trademark graceful traveling shot to peek around the corners of contemporary Japan.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Malick...that's all you need to know.”
Jeremy Irons gives a tour-de-force performance as identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness in David Cronenberg’s chilling tale.
Robert Downey Sr. emerged as one of the most irreverent filmmakers of the New York underground of the sixties, taking no prisoners in his rough-and-tumble treatises on politics, race, and consumer culture.
Michael Brakemeyer: “Watched the entire series non-stop over a weekend with a friend and was amazed at the powerful audacity and very detailed look at life before WWII.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “It's certainly not the novel by any means (how could it?!), but a very clever study of Burroughs and his Tangiers experience. Uneven, near great.”
An aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunities with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all, in Yasujiro Ozu’s 1934 silent classic and his 1959 color remake.
Utilizing a new cameraman—the incomparable Sven Nykvist—Bergman unleashed Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence in rapid succession, exposing moviegoers worldwide to a new level of intellectual and emotional intensity.
Michael Brakemeyer: “This was the first film that truly made me want to be a film director. Wim Wenders is an exsistential genius and so underrated.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Totally love Bergman's look at his childhood experiences and how magic can appear as normal to any child. Wonderful and chilling.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “An emotional and very loving look at the autumn years in a couple's lives. Ranks up there with Kurosawa's "Ikiru" as a truly universal film.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Kubrick...all you need to know in order to see this.”
Michael Brakemeyer: “Fassbinder and science fiction? Match made in heaven with images of mirrors, distortions, and a future very much what we are living today. ”