Keeping my appointment with ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973)

“Do sit down, Sergeant. Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent.” ‘The Wicker Man’, directed by Robin Hardy in 1973, is strange, subversive, creepy and just a little bit perverted. The plot is simple: a policeman, Sergeant Howie, is lured to a Scottish island called Summerisle to solve the case of a…

Tristana (1970)

“It’s good to have dreams, even if they’re frightening… The dead don’t dream.” ‘Tristana’, directed by Luis Buñuel in 1970, is a Spanish movie based on a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, but with Buñuel’s characteristic alterations and flourishes. The plot focuses on a triangular relationship between Tristana, played by Catherine Deneuve, Don Lope, her…

The Pied Piper (1972)

“Gentled by the lilting musical contribution of Donovan (who plays the Piper), Demy’s film isn’t quite so harsh as the Grimms’ version but, if it pulls some of its punches, they are felt nonetheless.” ‘The Pied Piper’, directed in 1972 by Jacques Demy, is a colourful, stylised retelling of the fairy-tale that features a host…

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

“I felt nothing for him anymore. Far from it, it got worse. When we ate together his chewing… it was like an explosion. When he swallowed my gorge rose. The way he cut meat, held his cigarette, his whiskey glass… it all seemed so absurd, so affected. I was ashamed for him because I imagined…

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)

“Paris is small for great passion like us.” ‘Les Demoiselles de Rochefort’, directed by Jacques Demy in 1967, is a romantic musical set in a French southwestern seaside town. Two sisters are looking for love and, through a series of musical interludes, they encounter a host of suitors including an American played by Gene Kelly….

The Saragossa Manuscript parts 1 and 2 (1965)

“We are like blind men lost in the streets of a big city. The streets lead to a goal, but we often return to the same places to get to where we want to be. I can see a few little streets here which, as it is now, are going nowhere. New combinations have to…

Léon (1994)

“You’re not going to lose me. You’ve given me a taste for life. I wanna be happy. Sleep in a bed, have roots. And you’ll never be alone again, Mathilda. Please, go now, baby, go. Calm down, I’ll meet you at Tony’s in an hour, I love you, now go, go now.” ‘Léon’, directed by…

Hamlet (1996)

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” ‘Hamlet’, directed by Kenneth Branagh in 1996, is a sumptuous and complete adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. It’s not the most interesting version, in many ways Olivier’s 1948 movie is more inventive with dark, labyrinthine sets and roaming cameras mirroring the…

L’Argent (1983)

“Wait. Everyone will be happy soon. I won’t wait around for that. Believe me, it will bore us stupid. I want happiness now, on my terms.” ‘L’Argent’, the last film directed by Robert Bresson in 1983, is as elegant and deceptively simple as his 1960s movies. Thematically its closest relation is ‘Pickpocket’: in ‘L’Argent’ we…

Profondo Rosso (1975)

“I can feel death in this room! I feel a presence, a twisted mind sending me thoughts! Perverted, murderous thoughts… Go away! You have killed! And you will kill again!” ‘Profondo Rosso’, directed by Dario Argento in 1975, is an Italian serial killer thriller, part of the giallo genre, with inventive shocks, a surprisingly tight…

Hugo (2011)

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means…

All the President’s Men (1976)

“It was a Haldeman operation. The whole business was run by Haldeman, the money, everything. It won’t be easy getting at him, he was insulated, you’ll have to find out how. Mitchell started doing covert stuff before anyone else, the list is longer than anyone can imagine… it involves the entire U.S. Intelligence Community. FBI……