Friday, November 9, 2012

A Snake of June (2002)

Rokugatsu no hebi is a japanese movie directed by Shinya Tsukamoto. His seventh film, it is notable for its striking monochrome blue cinematography tinted in post production. It won the Kinematrix Film Award and the San Marco Special Jury Award at the Venice Film Festival.

Shinya Tsukamoto's films have always focused on the family unit, or more precisely on the unity between couples. Most of the attention for his work has concentrated understandably but somewhat disproportionately on the sci-fi / cyberpunk elements, the theme of bodily mutation, and the similarities with the works of Davids Cronenberg and Lynch. Although these are certainly major factors, at heart Tsukamoto's films consistently deal with relationships and the influences that threaten them.

Rarely was this more apparent than in A Snake of June, which recycles the love triangle premise of his earlier films Gemini and Tokyo Fist, but dispenses with the horror/fantasy overtones of the former and the bloodspurting brutality of the latter. This is the story of a couple first and foremost, not a genre film that happens to have a couple as its subject. The couple in question are Rinko (stage actress Asuka Kurosawa) and Shigehiko (novelist Yuji Kotari), whose physical mismatch (she a lithe beauty, he an overweight, balding, obsessive-compulsive neurotic) is reflected in the complete lack of intimacy between them. They connect as human beings, but they live more like friends than as lovers and lead nearly independent lives. Both seem comfortable with this coexistence, but the desires that lurk beneath its surface are brought out with the introduction of a third element into the equation. When Rinko receives a package of candid photographs of herself masturbating and the sender (played by Tsukamoto himself) contacts her with the threat of exposing them to her husband, she submits herself to the anonymous voyeur's sexual games. If she wishes to get hold of all the negatives and prints, Rinko is to comply with a set of assignments that place her constantly on the borderline between humiliation and pleasure - the voyeur knows exactly what Rinko's personal erotic fantasies are and makes her act them out one by one.

Despite doing away with the genre-based surface that has been the most eye-catching element of the director's previous work, stylistically this is instantly recognisable as a Tsukamoto film. Shot in blue-tinted monochrome, the images are as beautiful and the photography and editing as intense as any of his earlier efforts. Although he places more emphasis than ever on the human form as is - untainted by mutation or mutilation - the director does occasionally add some of his beloved biomechanical imagery. Though seemingly at odds with the realistic tone of the film, these moments this time round have a more symbolic function, serving as the visualisation of the characters' emotions. These fantasy scenes, only two in number, are both experienced by Shigehiko, whose obsession allows for such delusions: his discovery of a huge glob of filth in the sink (an exaggerated, almost mutant version of what most of us hesitantly scrape from the drain on occasion) is what forms the catalyst for these nightmarish visions. With its focus on human beings and organic life (also present in the incessant downpour that forms the backdrop to Rinko's sexual reawakening - see our interview with the director for more on the function of rain in the film), rather than machinery and physical deformations, A Snake of June might well be the thematic culmination of all of Tsukamoto's past work. For the same reason it might also prove to be the most accessible point of entry for the uninitiated, illustrating that an artist doesn't necessarily have to compromise his message in order to communicate with a larger audience.

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ot torrent

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Company of Wolves (1984)

Made at a time when the British were coming (alledgedly), the intervening years have not been kind to Company Of Wolves. It still looks gorgeous, and has a worryingly attractive young female lead in Sarah Patterson, but the idea of taking old fairy tales and goreing them up seems... well... a bit passe, really.

The story (such that it is - the film is really an excuse for a series of setpieces loosely based on the short stories of Angela Carter) concerns a girl who has shut herself in her bedroom, put on her sister's make-up and fallen asleep. She then dreams that her annoying sister has been killed by wolves in a Grimm Fairy Tales forest setting, and the rest of the film shows the results of the not-real tragedy.

All very odd, made odder by of having the girl wake up and fall asleep again, making things change and jarring the plot into dream-like incoherence.

"So if you should spy on a naked man in the wood, run as if the Devil himself were after you!
Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet!"
At points she's listening to granny (Angela Lansbury) telling fairy stories and warning of men who are "hairy on the inside" and whose eyebrows meet in the middle, then she's telling tales of her own to her mourning mother. Meanwhile dad (the always-confused David "From Beyond The Grave" Warner) is busy hoping to hunt down the guilty wolf.

Unfortunately, for a film which glories in its werewolf transformations, the effects aren't really up to much. They're not a patch on American Werewolf In London (which predates it by a good three years) and they look distinctly plasticky.

One man rips his face off to bring the wolf out, another has the wolf in him burst out through his mouth. And in the most famous sequence, a bunch of Regency revellers have their party cut short when a pregnant redhead turns them all into confused-looking Alsations (hairy knockers ahoy!).

We're also denied the pleasure of seeing Angela Lansbury getting torn to shreds by a wolf - when it's her turn to bite the dust, she turns into a porcelain doll, T'pau video-style. Well, it was the mid 80s, I suppose.

The sexual imagery is also layed on with a trowel - Rosaleen (Patterson) experiments with make-up (much like Anna in the similar but better Paperhouse) as she turns into a woman, and of course she paints her lips big and red. The giant mushrooms peppered about the set are ridiculously phallic, and despite granny's warnings not to "stray from the path", she does so - with devastating results. That'll teach her.

Everyone concerned with making Company Of Wolves seemed to think they were making high art, but to modern audiences it's just not that clever.

Download links:

Pass: foxnet

or torrent

A bag full of symbolic folklore about werewolves, or, rather, their sexual connotation. Granny tells her granddaughter Rosaleen strange, disturbing tales about innocent maidens falling in love with handsome, heavily eyebrowed strangers with a smoldering look in their eyes; about sudden disappearances of spouses when the moon is round & the wolves are howling in the woods; about babies found inside stork eggs, in a stork nest high up a tree; etc., etc. Of course the story of Little Red Ridinghood is also present, with a very handsome he-wolf! (And of course this he-wolf consumes Grandmother, but 'consumes' Little Red Ridinghood). All the stories are somehow reducible to loss of innocence, and fear of/hunger for (a newly acquired sense of) sexuality; their Freudian character is mirrored in their dreamlike shapes. This movie is not really a horror movie; it's more a multiple tale about growing up into adolescence.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Persona (1966)

Persona is a film by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, released in 1966, and starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. Bergman held this film to be one of his most important; in his book Images, he writes: "Today I feel that in Persona—and later in Cries and Whispers—I had gone as far as I could go. And that in these two instances when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover." He also said that

At some time or other, I said that Persona saved my life—that is no exaggeration. If I had not found the strength to make that film, I would probably have been all washed up. One significant point: for the first time I did not care in the least whether the result would be a commercial success...

Bergman wrote Persona during nine weeks while recovering from pneumonia. During filming Bergman wanted to call the film A Bit of Cinematography. His producer suggested something more accessible and the title of the film was changed. Persona is a minimalist film: although five actors appear onscreen, Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann are the only ones to appear for more than a minute, and Elisabet Vogler (Ullmann's character) speaks only fourteen words in the film. There are no dressing-props; only items the characters use are shown onscreen. The imagery is dominated by extreme contrast, with the cottage scenes being drenched by intense sunlight that washes the image out in a white glare, and the actors wearing solid black costumes, simple hairstyles, and no make-up.

Persona is considered one of the major works of the 20th century by essayists and critics such as Susan Sontag, who referred to it as Bergman's masterpiece. Other critics have described it as "one of this century’s great works of art". In Sight and Sound’s 1972 poll of the ten greatest films of all time, Persona was ranked at number five.

Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part01
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part02
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part03
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part04
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part05
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part06
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part07
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part08
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part09
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part10
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part11
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part12
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part13
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part14
Ingmar Bergman - Persona Part15



Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Taxidermia (2006)

Taxidermia” is Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi’s follow up to his acclaimed “Hukkle”, and is another film obsessed with the act of eating and consumption, here taken to disgustingly literal extremes. Inspired by the short stories of Lajos Parti Nagy, the film is a non-stop assault on the senses and stomach which has invited comparisons with the works of Luis Bunuel, mainly due to the director’s use of repellently surreal imagery.

The film follows three generations of men, beginning with an unfortunate soldier called Vendel serving a cruel lieutenant at a remote military outpost in Hungary during the Second World War. Forced to live in a freezing shack, he develops an unhealthy sexual obsession for his superior’s wife and daughter which leads to tragic and revolting consequences. The result is the birth of his son Kalman, who grows up to become one of the country’s top speed eaters, entering competitions organised by the communist regime. Although hugely overweight, he finds love with an equally large lady, though has to contend for her affections with an ambitious fellow ‘athlete’. The final section follows his son Lajos, a thin wiry man who looks after his now morbidly obese father while carrying out his trade as a taxidermist and raising monstrously large cats.

Download links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 English Subtitle

or torrent

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dark Side of the Rainbow

Dark Side of the Rainbow (also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd) refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd music album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title and the film's song "Over the Rainbow". Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.

In August 1995, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette published the first mainstream media article about the "synchronicity", citing Soon afterward, several fans began creating websites in which they touted the experience and tried to comprehensively catalogue the corresponding moments. A second wave of awareness began in April 1997 when Boston radio DJ George Taylor Morris discussed Dark Side of the Rainbow on the air, leading to further mainstream media articles and a segment on MTV news.

In July 2000, the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired a version of Oz with the Dark Side album as an alternate soundtrack. Turner Entertainment has owned the rights to the film since 1986.

Fans have compiled more than one hundred moments of perceived interplay between the film and album, including further links that occur if the album is repeated through the entire film. Examples include music changes at dramatic moments, and thematic alignment such as the scarecrow dance during "Brain Damage". This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events "seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality."Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind's tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that do not fit. Psychologists refer to this tendency as apophenia. Under this theory, a Dark Side of the Rainbow enthusiast will focus on matching moments while ignoring the greater number of instances where the film and the album do not correspond. Another theory suggests the correspondence may have been assisted by the synaesthetic effects of narcotics taken by those who then chose to enjoy the album and the film together (that is to say, the only reason they think the two match is because they're under the influence of drugs).

Download links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 or TORRENT