The Travelling Players (1975)

‘The Travelling Players’, directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos in 1975, is an epic Greek historical drama following a troupe of actors as they perform a play through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The film moves from the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, through the Second World War and the occupation by the Nazis, to the post-war occupation…

Man of Marble (1976)

‘Man of Marble’, directed by Andrzej Wajda in 1976, is a Polish drama. Jerzy Radziwiłowicz plays  Mateusz Birkut, a bricklayer working on Nowa Huta, a socialist realist settlement near Kraków. When he breaks a record laying 30,000 bricks in one shift, Birkut becomes a socialist legend but rapidly loses faith in the system when he…

Elektra, My Love (1975)

‘Elektra, My Love’, directed by Miklós Jancsó in 1975, is a not a film on the list, but as Jancsó is rapidly turning into one of my favourite directors I had to watch it. The film follows the style of ‘Red Psalm’ from 1971, the action taking place entirely on the Puszta grasslands near Kunszentmiklós…

The Long Goodbye (1973)

“”Possession” is what you get in here now. Possession of noses, possession of gonads, possession of life. It’s a weird world. Listen, some day, some day, all the pigs are gonna be in here, and the people are gonna be out there.” ‘The Long Goodbye’, directed by Robert Altman in 1973, is an American neo-noir…

A Touch of Zen (1971)

‘A Touch of Zen’, directed by King Hu in 1971, is a Hong Kong and Taiwanese wuxia movie. Gu, a mild-mannered rural portrait painter in medieval China, is drawn into a plot of political intrigue and spiritual superheroes. This is a strange, rambling film with wild shifts in tone that, for someone not steeped in…

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

“In the mind of a true snob there are certain limited criteria to denote the value of human existence. Jimmie’s criteria were: home, hearth, wife, land. Those who possessed these had beatitude unchallengable. Other men had accidental, random life. Nothing better.” ‘The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith’, directed by Fred Schepisi in 1978 and based on…

Quadrophenia (1979)

“No, Kev, that’s it. Look, I don’t wanna be the same as everybody else. That’s why I’m a Mod, see? I mean, you gotta be somebody, ain’t ya, or you might as well jump in the sea and drown.” ‘Quadrophenia’, directed by Franc Roddam in 1979, is a British drama starring Phil Daniels as a…

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)

“Like you gonna have to kinda lay out, stretch out a little while, be real cool. Kinda lay dead. Ol’ Beetle’ll let you know what’s happenin’, what’s goin’ down. You don’t have to worry about nothin’. If you need anything, anything at all, brother, just keep the faith in Beetle, ol’ Beetle goin’ to bring…

The Towering Inferno (1974)

“When there’s a fire, I outrank everybody here. Now, one thing we don’t want is a panic. Now, I could tell them, but you ought to do it. Just make a nice cool announcement to all your guests and tell them the party’s being moved down below the fire floor. Right now.” ‘The Towering Inferno’,…

Morgiana (1972)

“Whatever we yell into this chasm will echo back to us, distorted and fragmented, and that will have to be our meaning” ‘Morgiana’, directed by Juraj Herz in 1972, is a Czech gothic horror movie starring Iva Janžurová in a dual role as twin sisters Klara and Viktoria. The film starts with the death of…

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

“I’m not taking him with me. I’m no good for him. I’m terrible with him. I have no patience. He’s better off without me.” ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’, directed by Robert Benton in 1979, is an American drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep as an estranged couple fighting over the custody of their seven year…

Shaft (1971)

“Don’t you try to bullshit me, boy. We’re all on the hustle. I sell broads and dope and numbers. You sell crap, and blue sky. It’s all the same game.” ‘Shaft’, directed by Gordon Parks in 1971, is an American drama and one of the films that launch the ‘blaxploitation’ genre in the 1970s. Richard…

Sholay (1975)

“You have a lot of strength left in your arms, don’t you? Remember what you said to me that day? ‘These aren’t arms, they’re your noose’. Look at you now, the noose has opened! You still have a lot of strength in your arms, don’t you? Give me your arms, Thakur.” ‘Sholay’, directed by Ramesh…

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

“I don’t know if you’d be particularly interested in hearing anything about me. My life, I mean… Most of it doesn’t add up to much that I could relate as a way of life that you’d approve of… I’d like to be able to tell you why, but I don’t really… I mean, I move…

The Tin Drum (1979)

“There once was a drummer. His name was Oskar. He lost his poor mama, who had eat to much fish. There was once a credulous people… who believed in Santa Claus. But Santa Claus was really… the gas man! There was once a toy merchant. His name was Sigismund Markus… and he sold tin drums…

Harold and Maude (1971)

“Well, if some people get upset because they feel they have a hold on some things, I’m merely acting as a gentle reminder: here today, gone tomorrow, so don’t get attached to things now. With that in mind, I’m not against collecting stuff.” ‘Harold and Maude’, directed by Hal Ashby in 1971, is a dark,…

Fox and his Friends (1975)

“There are drunks lying everywhere! The state should do something. It’s the same everywhere. In Helsinki recently, there were so many drunks lying around even though it’s hard to get alcohol in Finland.” ‘Fox and his Friends’, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1975, is a German drama starring the director as a naïve, semi-literate…

Sleeper (1973)

“This was Josef Stalin. He was a communist, I was not too crazy about him, had a bad moustache, lot of bad habits. This is Bela Lugosi. He was, he was the mayor of New York City for a while, you can see what it did to him there, you know. This is, uhm, this…

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

“Now, teddy. Teddy. Everything takes work. We’ll straighten it out. You know. You gotta work hard to be comfortable. Yeah, a lot of people kid themselves, you know. They-they know when they were born, they know where they’re goin’… they know whether they’re gonna go to heaven, whether they’re gonna go to hell. They think…

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…

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…

Murmur of the Heart (1971)

“Children, there’ll be no sermon today. The news from Dien Bien Phu is very troubling. The last survivors face hand-to-hand combat outnumbered ten to one. Let us pray for those heroes who’ve gained the world’s admiration in recent weeks and particularly for two of our students who enlisted, Francois Barsac and Pierre de Chambiges. We’ve…

Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)

“Heinrich: Is something wrong? Anna: We don’t love each other. Heinrich: I feel like I’ve known you forever. Anna: But that’s not true.” ‘Les Rendez-vous d’Anna’, directed by Chantal Akerman in 1978, is a Belgian movie tracing the journey of a lone film director as she promotes her movie across West Germany, Belgium and France….

Taxi Driver (1976)

“I’ll tell you why. I think you’re a lonely person. I drive by this place a lot and I see you here. I see a lot of people around you. And I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk. It means nothing. Then when I came inside and I met you,…

Parade (1974)

“It is when Tati is on screen that the film shines. He does a few pantomimes. My favourite was his attempt at boxing. His act is coordinated with the drummer to register the punches and the end of the round. It is short, but absolutely hilarious. Other acts are also good. The soccer goalie is…

Little Big Man (1970)

“Do you see this fine thing? Do you admire the humanity of it? Because the human beings, my son, they believe everything is alive. Not only man and animals. But also water, earth, stone. And also the things from them… like that hair. The man from whom this hair came, he’s bald on the other…

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

“No, I don’t want to be paid, I don’t need to be paid. Look, I’m here with my partner and nine other people, see. And we’re dying, man. You know? You’re going to see our brains on the sidewalk, they’re going to spill our guts out. Now are you going to show that on television?…

The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)

“It’s wrong to give all your love to only one person, Grandpa. If you don’t have potatoes, you eat turnips. When the turnips are gone, you eat gruel. But every girl loves her one and only. He goes to war; five months later he’s dead, and you mourn the rest of your life. Does that…

Stroszek (1977)

“We have a 10-80 out here, a truck on fire, we have a man on the lift. We are unable to find the switch to turn the lift off, can’t stop the dancing chickens. Send an electrician, we’re standing by.” ‘Stroszek’, directed by Werner Herzog in 1977, is a German drama focusing on the picaresque…

Amarcord (1973)

“In our town, the puffballs and spring arrive hand in hand. These are the sort of puffballs that drift around, soaring over the cemetery, where all rest in peace, soaring over the beachfront and over the Germans, newly arrived, who don’t feel the cold. Drifting, drifting… swirling… swirling… swirling… Drifting, drifting, drifting.” Federico Fellini’s ‘Amarcord’,…