Funeral Parade of Roses (Japan – 1969 – 4K Restoration)



Apparently acknowledged by Stanley Kubrick as an influence on A Clockwork Orange, Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017)’s Japanese cult film, Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), is released theatrically in a brand new 4K restoration.

Shot in glorious black and White, Funeral Parade of Roses follows the adventures of Eddie, a popular transgender figure active at nightclub Genet,  in the infamous Shinjuku district.  Eddie befriend a group of young revolutionaries, artists and filmmakers during a period of social unrest.

A personal rendering of the Oedipus myth (one sequence features the Japanese poster to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex),  Funeral Parade of Roses has much to do with avant-garde and contemporary art in portraying the subculture of 1969 Tokyo, especially Shinjuku. It uses constant fractured narrative (Matsumoto was Continue reading

The Postman’s White Nights (Konchalovsky, 2014)



Words like banal, uneventful and repetitive are normally viewed as having negative connotations. However, in Andrei Konchalovsky’s The Postman’s White Nights, they describe a life most modern iPhone and Android addicts wouldn’t understand. There are no game consoles; no fidget spinners. On these small Russian islands, one would be hard pressed to find a vehicle other than a fishing boat. Life by Kenozero Lake has its own rhythm and routine. As much as there are mundane daily tasks, there are also warm camaraderie and a familiarity between neighbors and colleagues that modern society lacks.

The region’s postman (Aleksey Tryapitsyn) deals with personal demons (or, more specifically, a mysterious grey cat) as he tends to his daily chores. Not only does he deliver mail to the villagers, but also checks in on them and brings them groceries. He even temporarily adopts a young boy to keep him entertained and enriched. Otherwise what would the child do all day while his mother takes secret lovers in the back room of their house? Possibly the best parts of The Postman are the Continue reading

Powidoki / Afterimage (Poland, 2016)



Powidoki (Afterimage, 2016), master filmmaker Andrzej Wajda’s final film, his testament, is about another master, Polish Avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski. It could be seen as part of a cycle of late Wajda, or post Oscar recognition films (he was honored for his career spanning five decades – at that point – in 2000), historical Films, like Katyn (2007) and Walesa (2013), to rectify some facts and thoughts about Poland history.

Wajda and co-screenwriter Andrzej Mularczyk concentrate on Strzeminski postwar World War 2 period when he was a teacher at Łódź School of Plastic Arts and design. It’s the beginning of the taking over by the communists and his liberal views and style get him in trouble. He will never recover.

The tone is set Continue reading

LUMIÈRE! Cannes spiritual leader’s masterclass



It was just a question of time in this digital restoration era for brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière, credited with the invention of Cinema as we know it, to be introduced properly to a 21st century audience.

Launched today (for Montrealers it’s at Centre PHI, January 26-27-28), LUMIÈRE! Offers a selection of more than a hundred shorts produced by the brothers and their affiliates between 1895 and 1905. It is all beautifully edited together and commented, in the fashion of a DVD audio commentary (or a Masterclass) by Cannes Film Festival Godfather himself, Thierry Frémaux. And we have to admit he is making an offer film buffs can’t refuse.

LUMIÈRE! is not only an essential homage. It introduces Continue reading

Classics : The Emigrants (Utvandrarna) – Sweden – 1971 – 191Mins



A Family saga of 19th century European settlers trying to make it to America, Jan Troell’s The Emigrants (1971) begins in rural Sweden. Life in poverty becomes so unbearable for a group of farmers they decide to go on the perilous trip at sea, by which way many won’t even reach the new world, in pursuing the American dream. Various obstacles, hostile environment are the theatre displaying their vulnerability, often leading to disillusion, with sudden death as the everlasting fear of God is lurking in every corner even in the new land.

Released in America, in a truncated version, missing almost an hour (only the 191 minutes version should be considered for viewing or reviewing), the film earned five Oscars nominations including a rare foray, for a film shot in another language then English, into the Best picture category, loosing to F. F. Coppola’s The Godfather.

Uninhibited, the director confronts the shadow of country fellow filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The director hired three star veterans of the master’s filmography, Continue reading