FANDOR’S CRITERION PICKS FOR MARCH
MARCH 17-28: THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
- Carnival in Flanders (1935, Director Jacques Feyder): A small village in Flanders puts on a carnival to avoid the brutal consequences of the Spanish occupation.
- Ivan the Terrible (1944, DirectorSergei Eisenstein): As Ivan ascends to lead Russia, the Boyars are determined to disrupt his rule. Ivan’s relationship with his friends Fyodor Kolychev and Andrei Kurbsky becomes more complicated as well. One departs for sanctity of religious servitude while the other attempts to seduce the tsar’s wife.
- Ivan the Terrible II: The Boyars’ Plot (1958, Director Sergei Eisenstein): In the second part of IVAN THE TERRIBLE, things become considerably more complicated. The tsar attempts to foil the efforts of the Boyars to disrupt his rule but things are never quite what they seem.
- Jubilee (1978, Director Derek Jarman): When Queen Elizabeth I asks her court alchemist to show her England in the future, she’s transported four hundred years to a post-apocalyptic wasteland of roving girl gangs, an all-powerful media mogul, fascistic police, scattered filth and twisted sex.
- Seven Samurai (1954, Director Akiro Kurosawa): One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, SEVEN SAMURAI tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits.
- Ugetsu (1953, Director Kenji Mizoguchi): “Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And UGETSU, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director’s supreme achievement.
- Onibaba (1964, Director Kaneto Shindo): Driven by primal emotions, dark eroticism, a frenzied score by Hikaru Hayashi and stunning images both lyrical and macabre, Kaneto Shindo’s chilling folktale ONIBABA is a singular cinematic experience.
- The Private Life of Henry VIII (1953, Director Alexander Korda): Alexander Korda’s first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant peek into the boudoirs of the infamous king and his six wives.
MARCH 24 – APRIL 4: ASSASSINS
- Death Shadows (1986, Director Hideo Gosha): After their executions are faked by the authorities, three criminals are forced to become assassins under the command of the Shogun.
- Assassin (1964, Director Masahiro Shinoda): Masahiro Shinoda’s ASSASSIN was the director’s first period film, but it is hardly set in the “safety” of a past era, as its story, of a masterless samurai making his way amid the chaotic aftermath of Commodore Perry’s forcible contact with Japan in 1853, seems to resonate clearly in Japan’s post-World War II era.
- L’assassin habite au 21 (1942, Director Henri-Georges Clouzot): Inspector “Wens” Vorobechik and his aspiring actress girlfriend search for a serial killer who leaves mysterious calling cards.
- Tokyo Drifter (1966, Director Seijun Suzuki): In this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Tetsu’s attempt to go straight is thwarted when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang.
- A Colt is My Passport (1967, Director Takashi Nomura): One of Japanese cinema’s supreme emulations of American noir, Takashi Nomura’s A COLT IS MY PASSPORT is a down-and-dirty but gorgeously photographed yakuza film starring Joe Shishido as a hard-boiled hit man caught between rival gangs.
- The American Soldier (1970, Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder): Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s experimental noir is a subversive, self-reflexive gangster movie full of unexpected asides and stylistic flourishes, and features an audaciously bonkers final shot and memorable turns from many of the director’s rotating gallery of players.
- Man Bites Dog (1992, Directors Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoît Poelvoorde): Controversial winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, MAN BITES DOG stunned audiences worldwide with its unflinching imagery and biting satire of media violence.
- Branded to Kill (1967, Director Seijun Suzuki): BRANDED TO KILL tells the ecstatically bent story of a yakuza assassin with a fetish for sniffing steamed rice (the chipmunk-cheeked superstar Joe Shishido) who botches a job and ends up a target himself.
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