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    18 years


Manon des sources

The Passion of Manon...
You lead a life that lets you wander through the hills, it's ten years later since the accident that killed, your fathers hopes and aspirations, fiddled by crooked relations, then finding out that all the town knew where to fill. By chance you find the place where water springs, and halt its flow as a down payment for their sins, all the time you're stalked and followed, by a founder of your sorrows, but there's another who is making your heart sing. It soon transpires that skulduggery was behind, the reasons for your father's death and daily grind, lives are lost but water flows, you accept what one proposed, as the past is laid to bear and truths unwind.

Still a wonderful piece of filmmaking with three great central performances.

Jean de Florette

The Passion of Jean...
There's a place on a hillside that's in demand, and there are those who will connive to get that land, with deceit, pretence and cunning, they will stop the water running, before they harvest their rewards and take command. But the incumbent is a dedicated soul, he has great dreams, ideas, a passion for his goal, toils away all through the days, tanks of water he conveys, alas the weather is not under his control. The spring was kind, and left the landscape verdant, now the summer's brought a drought that's long and fervent, a sirocco breathes the flames, growth and progress are all claimed, aspirations are curtailed, life becomes urgent.

Still a wonderful piece of filmmaking, as Cesar Soubeyran and his nephew Ugolin cheat, frustrate and foil Jean de Florette and his family out of their hopes and aspirations.

As bestas

The Camera Never Lies, Except...
There are those that will oppose new residents, especially if they cost them recompense, why should foreigners have a say, in how they live and work and play, as lifelong locals they are taking great offence.

Denis Ménochet is immense as the invasive species into Galicia who fails to support the locals, more especially two aggressive brothers in their desires for an escape from their unrewarding toil through the sale of their land to a wind turbine interest. The tension builds to an inevitable conclusion and leaves you questioning what you may have done in a similar scenario, from both perspectives, although you might hope the local constabulary had a little more backbone if you were in Antoine's position.


The Spy Who Loved Me...
Your father is a traitor and imprisoned, not long after you receive a new commission, to get access to a group, folks you'll really have to dupe, just like your dad, they're quite extreme, right wing conditioned. The recruiter is an agent known as Devlin, it's not long before your both getting new feelings, which are difficult to carry, when you're requested to marry, one of the men, the US has an interest in. At a party as the champagne starts to flow, you take the key and in the cellar you both go, where McGuffin is discovered, not long after you're less mothered, although she has one or two things she will bestow.

Cary Grant invariably plays himself with aplomb, or at least the same character he so often portrayed, but it's Ingrid Bergman who steals the show (once again), with a great performance as Alicia Huberman, in a film that intrigues but doesn't really achieve what you'd like it to.


Playing the Long Game...
A murder leads to leaving and new life, ten years later and you find yourself a wife, a man who lifts you off your feet, then takes you straight back to that street, and the house that's full of pain, riven with strife. You're imprisoned in the place in which you live, turns out that Gregory is controlling, coercive, as you start to lose your mind, there are things you lose, can't find, and your relationship's aggressive, combative. Brian Cameron takes an interest in your plight, as an officer of the law takes up your fight, investigates what's going on, if there's misdeed, any wrong, always under careful watch, of the gaslight.

Great performances all round.


Entrance, Enchant, Bewitch...
You've fallen for a man who's an impostor, although his memories of before he cannot foster, a psychologist by trade, you're intent to move the shade, and prevent John Ballantyne from getting loster. He disappears, you track him down and run away, to your mentor's house you find a place to stay, as together you decrypt, in abstract dreams you find transcript, then make your way to mountains where folk ski and sleigh. It soon transpires that there's skulduggery at work, you're new loves actions, can't possibly be shirked, a slippery slope is more inclined, riven with twisting, turning lines, a casual comment fills with light, removes the dark.

Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck enchant throughout.


Rick the Kasbah...
There's a bar is Casablanca called Rick's Café, it attracts the kind of crowd that's gone astray, people looking for escape, in a world knocked out of shape, Victor Laszlo, Ilsa Lund, have found their way. They're in search of documents to help them flea, from a war that's left so many refugee, in the gin joint ties rebind, as past loves are realigned, a pianist opens doors with a lost key. The owner of the bar is compromised, as he looks into the past through eyes that lied, a mercenary of sorts, takes advantage of imports, sneering, cynical, contemptuous and quite snide. It's a world that's built around a roulette table, where rewards can be significant, substantial, but the costs can be severe, without Américain Rick Blaine's ear, in this legendary and quite fabulous forties fable.

Citizen Kane

The Man Who Would Be King...
There's a man who had the world within his grip, he was the captain and director of his ship, built an empire through the news, no one challenged or refused, but such ego is quite blind to slips and trips. It all began when a young child was pulled away, from normality, from sanity, from his play; to become manipulator, fabricator, a dictator; and every day, people would pay, for what he'd spray. Without distractions he may well have been crowned king, taking everything and more that he could win, but the heart can override, lead to diatribe, broadside, and a palace becomes a prison, and he's locked in.

The Return of Doctor X

The Blood Doctor...
If you're container is filled up with blood type 1, there's a chance that you may be emptied and then gone, as it's required by a cadaver, to remain as life's gate crasher, although he's generally quite guarded and withdrawn (and quite pale and anaemic to boot and not particularly pleasant).

It's not the greatest rip off (in part) of a Mary Shelley classic you might be familiar with, and it's probably Bogart's worst film, certainly of the ones I've seen, although he does an admirable impression of Boris Karloff lite, which I'm sure he must have relished - I fancy Cagney had a good giggle too. The rest of the performances are as stereotyped for the time as any although, coming in at a smidgen over 1 hour, it won't leave you feeling or looking as jaded as the titular Doctor.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

The DNA of the Deviant...
There's a physician who is seeking to deduce, why villains, rogues and miscreants are induced, into a life of crime, breaking laws most of the time, has a theory that he's willing to enthuse. Before he does, he gathers data on the flawed, encouraging a gang to break the law, as they do he takes their pulse, monitors things from their skulls, all the time he's making notes of what he saw.

It's not the best but it's not the worst, entertaining in places but quite ridiculous in part, Edward G. Robinson is always entertaining and Humphry Bogart bides his time once again, waiting for the big one, although he reaches his nadir the following year with The Return of Doctor X!

The L-Shaped Room

The Lonely Room...
There's a room on the top floor where you are staying, it's partitioned from another where Johnny's laying, the bed is full of bugs, the landlady just shrugs, all in all the situation is dismaying. But that's the least of all the things that's on your mind, as you've got yourself in somewhat of a bind, after a fling with that man Terry, now you're growing like a berry, this is not the way your life had been designed.

An outstanding performance from Leslie Caron as Jane, a lost and lonely French young woman seeking sanctuary in a rundown rented London room after discovering she's pregnant. More than ably supported by Tom Bell as the love-struck youth with little to show for his troubles and Brock Peters as the friendly face next door, as their lives entwine and disconnect as the birth of the child approaches.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

The Schadenfreude Must Go On, and On, and On, and...
There's a dance that takes a while to complete, where desperate couples on the edge seek to compete, a depression era show, through the day and night they go, if you're not beat, can get some sleep, you'll find there's plenty food to eat. This marathon can take some time to dance, you'd be amazed at just how long you have to prance, we're talking months not weeks or days, sends your mind into a haze, and boils for your toils will have to lance.

I've lost track how many times I've watched this, Jane Fonda, Susannah York, in fact the whole cast is outstanding, while the story of the lengths people will go to during hard times is beyond belief, as is the pleasure the crowd gets from it.

Foxy Brown

The Voluptuous Vulpes...
Foxy Brown has seen her boyfriend taken out, a tip off from her brother there's no doubt, now revenge is on her mind, drug dealing villains she will find, along with others, they'll receive almighty clout - amongst other things.

Another absolutely wonderful Pam Grier performance, what's not to like about a black women dolling out justice with style, elegance and class against a load of craven drug pushers and peddlers. A little bit racy in places, certainly of its time, and wholly unrepresentative of reality, but it moves along at pace, there are some great fight scenes, and the leading lady keeps you glued to the screen throughout.


Nursing a Grudge...
Coffy has a sister who's addicted, receiving treatment as she's become quite afflicted, so she's taken up the fight, to remove all those who plight, those who peddle, push, promote, will be evicted.

A wonderful performance from Pam Grier who uses all of her assets (and some) as she takes revenge on those who inflict pain and misery through their drug dealing and deception. More than ably supported by Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui and Allan Arbus as those she seeks to rid; I only recently came across this 1973 classic and it's opened a door to the cult filmmaker that is Jack Hill, and the wonderful worlds that he conjured.

Cocaine Bear

Necessities of the Bear...
If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise, as mother bear's opened a bag of cocaine and is reaching for the skies, it's made her somewhat volatile and her temper wont abate, if she catches hold she will remould your limbs and amputate.

It's not the worst film about a drug addled bear high as a kite on cocaine that you'll come across, and it probably won't be the last, as variations on a theme are bound to come along in multiform. Quite often amusing, with various appendages and body parts being removed by claw and tooth, fine performances all round and it must have been a fun movie to direct and make.

Blue Jean

Thatcher's Britain...
There's a Section that's enacted to create, prejudice, intolerance and hate, treating people in a way, causing division, leaving no say, this is what Britain had come to in those days (although lift a few stones and you find it's not actually progressed that much since) - as Jean, a PE teacher, brilliantly performed by Rosy McEwen, struggles with her sexuality becoming known to her colleagues and her students, and the impact that might have on her career, especially as the teenage Lois has begun her journey of discovery and self-awareness. I thought Kerrie Harris put in a great performance as Jean's partner Viv too. Well worth watching, not only for the performances but as a reminder of a world that's not that long passed.

Finding Vivian Maier

Lost & Found...
A box is bought at auction and explored, turns out the last owner collected a large hoard, of film and negatives, you start to build a narrative, for your curiosity, you receive a great reward. The picture that develops is profound, the images you've captured just astound, the story that it tells, puts you right under its spell, as more canisters (amongst other things) appear, it's quite profound.

A brilliant piece of factual storytelling that reveals the story of a tough and eccentric spinster who spent her life taking some of the greatest pictures the world nearly never saw. I've lost track of how many times I've revisited this over the years and it remains a gem to be perpetually revisited.

A House Made of Splinters

Fractured Families...
Your parents prefer the bottle over you, like to drink themselves to death while they eschew, as you're a child you are then taken, left feeling totally forsaken, at a loss to know, what you are meant to do. At least the people at the house really do care, and all the other kids with which you have to share, but if those parents don't recover, no one comes along to foster, the orphanage, is where you'll find despair.

It's a heart-breaking film that shows us the journey of several children whose parents addiction has landed their offspring in a world they never would have expected, although far preferable to what must have been hell on earth before. Located in eastern Ukraine, the story is one that can be told the world over, sadly.


The Poisoned Pants...
There's a cage that holds a despot and he's rattled, as you've been shaking it he's become more embattled, so he's attacked your underwear, with an agent that's been smeared, it's left you rather weak and quite bedraggled. Time away is spent to aid recovery, this is when you make your big discovery, there are terrorists of the state, sanctioned assassins who orchestrate, removing those who might be called, adversary. Upon return you are arrested and imprisoned, the powers can't accept an opposition, a corrupt autocracy, will not let your speech be free, you will remain a detainee, without remission.

Fire of Love

Larva Lovers...
There are fuses where their length is undefined, ticking time bombs where the clock faces are blind, explosive discharge they pre-empt, as the earth expels ferment, red or grey, depending how the plates combined. These are landscapes where a couple used to graft, where they practiced, learned, and developed their Krafft, among the pyroclastic flows, volcanoes in their death throes, they enjoyed their time together, life was a blast.

A wonderful piece of filmmaking about an eccentric couple who found love among the volatile and explosive environments found in and around the those parts of the world where the planet vents its spleen.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

A Small Letter Load of b...
Poor Aubrey finds herself all compromised, as she appears in a film without surprise, with no twists or turns or shocks, you might as well turn back the clocks, then you can relive being fully traumatised; as the dialogue is bad and quite a chore, the storyline's all cobbled and a bore, Vinnie Jones would make it better, making it a mighty debtor, all in all this is the very bottom drawer, and will definitely not leave you wanting more, because it is so ridiculously poor, an overwhelming burden and eyesore, and will most likely go down in folklore, as one to abhor, and to ask poor Aubrey - what did you do this for?

The Day of the Jackal

The Silent Ricochet...
Disgruntled terrorists have struggled to remove, the President of whom they so severely disapprove, it's made them hunt for an assassin, who can give de Gaul a thrashing, as they prepare, and start to build their countermove. They've identified a man who has the tackle, a wily soul who's moniker's The Jackal, he's quite a connoisseur, has a range of nom de guerre, though he's somewhat short on ethics, laws and morals. Now the French authorities are on the trail, making connections to prevent, to thwart, derail; with Lebel investigating, it's captivating and pulsating, with great détente, bridges are built to halt, curtail.

It still grabs your attention today, especially as you imagine how this might play out in more modern times. Packed full of the stars from yesteryear, my only criticism is that it would have been better to have had French people speaking French in the French roles.

Brighton Rock

The Perilous Pier...
A two bit villain gets ideas above his station, more godson than godfather, an irritation, a vile and vicious type, although it's all gusto, teenage hype, his small mob predates the weak, provokes the fight. He's made some schoolboy errors he will regret, dug a hole and now he issues lots of threats, between a hard place and a rock, he needs to find a way to block, so he's not captured in the ever closing net. He takes advantage of the innocence of Rose, as she accepts the sham marriage that he's proposed, but Ida Arnold's on the case, she's got her sights on this scarred face, like a bloodhound on the scent, she will expose.

All That Breathes

Birds of a Feather...
There's a city where the birds fall from the sky, Black Kites are downed, it's not really clear why, the concentrations of pollution, adaptation, evolution, at least someone's around, to fix their wings and fly.

It's a steady meander, as we're introduced to three residents of Delhi and their mission to save the increasing number of birds that fall from the often polluted skies of the city, after surviving on the waste and refuse left to decay and decompose in a far from insubstantial landfill; with the mount they're estimated to consume on said landfill quite startling.

It's not polished by any means, what you see is what you get, three guys making the best use of the resources available to them to save the inelegance of a Black Kite down.


All the Fun of the Unfair...
The prison you call home has let you go, exchanging places with your wife to earn some dough, leaves her trapped and isolated, while you become more animated, and discover what deep down, you've always known; as you fall for dancer Biba who you're supporting, on the stage but after hours you are cavorting, in a world that can be rigid, you find yourself no longer frigid, then you misjudge the whole vibe, with your contorting.

It's a wonderful and brave piece of cinema that breaks boundaries by some measure (and quite rightly so), as Haider falls for the elegant transgender Biba, and his wife Mumtaz pays the penalty for his indiscretions.

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