Cat People (1942)

“You see, the Mameluks came to Serbia long ago and they made the people slaves. Well, at first, the people were good and worshipped God in a true Christian way. But, eh, little by little, the people changed. When King John drove out the Mameluks and came to our village, he found dreadful things. The…

The Great Beauty (2013)

“We’re all on the brink of despair, all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little… Don’t you agree?” ‘The Great Beauty’, directed by Paolo Sorrentino in 2013, is an Italian art-house drama set in contemporary Rome. The film focuses on the life of Jep Gambardella,…

Letter to Brezhnev (1985)

First published on ‘We Are Cult’ on the 23rd of April 2017 Letter to Brezhnev, directed by Chris Bernard in 1985, is a low-budget British movie set in Liverpool during a period in the city’s history when it was suffering from unemployment and Thatcherite ‘managed decline’. Alexandra Pigg and Margi Clarke play Elaine and Teresa, two…

Raging Bull (1980)

“Friends. They’re in a huddle. Big business meeting. By the pool, they sit around and talk. Big deals. They make sure she can hear. Big Man. Get the fuck outta here. Big shot. Get ’em all in a back room, smack ’em around, no more big shot, without his gun. They’re tough guys. They’re all…

La Dolce Vita (1960)

“You are the first woman on the first day of creation. You are mother, sister, lover, friend, angel, devil, earth, home.” ‘La Dolce Vita’, directed by Federico Fellini in 1960, is a long and rich film focusing on seven nights and mornings in the life of playboy journalist and wannabe novelist Marcello Rubini as he…

The Valley of the Bees (1967)

“Just like the comparisons to the classical art house cinema of Eisenstein, Bergman, Kirosawa and Bresson are easy to draw and even easier to see, to burden ‘The Valley of the Bees’ with such weighty labels is and political readings, in all honesty, rather unfair, since obviously more than capable of standing up and speaking…

The Innocent (1976)

First published on ‘We Are Cult’ on the 14th of April 2017 Luchino Visconti di Modrone’s directorial career was long, prestigious, and spanned not only decades of Italian history, but also a number of the major European film movements of the 20th century. He began working with Jean Renoir as an assistant director on movies…

Mouchette (1967)

“Bresson was one of a handful of directors whose very frames identified their author. Like Fellini, Hitchcock and Ozu, he had such a distinctive way of seeing that his films resembled no others. What you noticed was the extreme restraint of his actors (he preferred to call them “models”), and the way the action centred…

Breathless (1960)

“See? You said last night you couldn’t live without me, but you can. Romeo couldn’t live without Juliet, but you can.” ‘Breathess’, directed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1960, is a French crime thriller and one of the founding movies of the French New Wave. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays Michel Poiccard, a criminal in Marseille, obsessed with…

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

“Before I go, I just want you two to know something, alright? The supercop story… was working. Okay? It was working, and you guys just messed it up. Okay? I’m trying to figure you guys out, but I haven’t yet. But it’s cool. You fuck up a perfectly good lie.” ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, directed by…

Der letzte Mann (1924)

“Here he liberated the camera from gravity. There is a shot where the camera seems to float through the air, and it literally does; Freund had himself and the camera mounted on a swing, and Abel Gance borrowed the technique a few years later for his “Napoleon.” There are shots where superimposed images swim through…

Broadcast News (1987)

“He will be attractive! He’ll be nice and helpful. He’ll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He’ll never do an evil thing! He’ll never deliberately hurt a living thing… he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along…

Downfall (2004)

“All these horrors I’ve heard of during the Nuremberg process, these six million Jews, other thinking people or people of another race, who perished. That shocked me deeply. But I hadn’t made the connection with my past. I assured myself with the thought of not being personally guilty. And that I didn’t know anything about…

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

“Once, when all my shorts were at the laundry, I put on silk panties that belonged to my sister. Ah! Some funny sensation it gave me! From that day on I understood why they all crave it, why they never have enough. Because we men, we have pants on. But girls, with their short dresses,…

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

“So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!” ‘Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain’, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in 2001, is a French romantic…

The Killer (1989)

“He looks determined… without being ruthless. There’s something heroic about him. He doesn’t look like a killer. He comes across so calm… acts like he has a dream… eyes full of passion.” ‘The Killer’, directed by John Woo in 1989, is a Hong Kong action thriller. Chow Yun-fat plays Ah Jong,  an assassin recruited by…

Titanic (1997)

“It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was…” ‘Titanic’, directed in 1997 by James Cameron, is an American historical romance. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio…

Early Scorsese

First published on ‘We Are Cult’ on the 27th of March 2017 The BFI are releasing on DVD two early Martin Scorsese movies on the 27th of March: Who’s That Knocking at My Door from 1968 and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore from 1974. The two films are different, tonally, stylistically and in terms of…

Mildred Pierce (1945)

“With this money I can get away from you. From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear…

Gun Crazy (1950)

“Bart, I’ve been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I’m gonna start kicking back.” ‘Gun Crazy’, directed by Joseph H. Lewis (and partly written by Dalton Trumbo) in 1950, is an American film noir that draws on the same source material as the later ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. John Dall plays Bart Tare,…