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    ‘The Tenant’ is a psychological puzzle

    The Tenant Directed by Roman Polanski France, 1976 Featuring Roman Polanski’s last major appearance in one of his own films, The Tenant completes the director’s look at paranoid city life, begun  with 1965’s Repulsion. Polanski plays Trelkovsky, a shy man who becomes convinced that his neighbors are scheming to drive him to suicide. Like Rosemary’s […] More

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    ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ is a classic of unseen dread

    Featuring a closely-coiffed Mia Farrow as the soft-spoken, childlike Rosemary Woodhouse, potential mother to the devil; John Cassavetes, post-Shadows, and just about to truly kick off his great directorial run; and the inimitable Ruth Gordan as a sort of Grace Zabriskie-precursor: the creepy neighbor next door, heavily made-up and eerily meddlesome, Rosemary’s Baby picks up the paranoid thread of 1965’s Repulsion. The film also anticipates the similarly – though more political – claustrophobic suspicion of Alan Pakula’s 1970’s films. More

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    The Past, Present, and Future of Real-Time Films Part One

    What do film directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Agnès Varda, Robert Wise, Fred Zinnemann, Luis Buñuel, Alain Resnais, Roman Polanski, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, Louis Malle, Richard Linklater, Tom Tykwer, Alexander Sokurov, Paul Greengrass, Song Il-Gon, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro Iñárritu have in common? More specifically, what type of film have they directed, setting them […] More

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    ‘Venus in Fur’ is a luxurious treat

    What is art if not an artist’s fiction translated into reality? A fiction wrought from fear, self-loathing and prejudice that escapes the confines of a sonnet and burrows its way into the collective consciousness. Now it is reality. Now it has power. Now it’s an idea, and ideas are poisonous. Rather than dispelling the poisonous reality, Polanski’s Venus in Fur toys with the delicate fiction lying beneath. It’s a study in role-playing, where the players and creators are equally baffled by the game. More importantly, this is the intensely personal work of an artist who understands that only by blurring the lines between fiction and reality can he approach what Herzog calls, “the ecstatic truth.” More

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    The Definitive War Movies: 40-31

    I promise – it wasn’t my plan to have seven of the ten films on this portion of the list focus on World War II. But, if we look back at the biggest international conflicts of all time, World War II is the one that provides the most opportunity. It’s a chance for a number […] More

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    The Definitive Kubrickian Films: 20-11

    My first real attempt at understanding the brilliance that was Stanley Kubrick came in my freshman year of college, when I wrote a research paper on 2001: A Space Odyssey for an English class. After all that work, I only received a B and found myself more confused than ever. But there it was – […] More

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    New on Video: ‘Tess’

    The imagery of “Tess” is what strikes first and leaves the greatest impression, and it was undoubtedly with this in mind that Criterion pulled out all the stops with this release. More

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    The Art of Witchcraft

      With the eve when the veils between worlds is at its thinnest around the corner, it’s difficult not to think of the day’s most prominently featured figure: the witch. Below is an essential viewing list, ranging in genre and targeted age group, of filmic work that showcase witches (loosely defined for our purposes) and […] More

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    Images from Polanski’s ‘Venus in Furs’

    Sundance Selects has picked up the U.S. rights to Venus in Furs (La Vénus à la fourrure), a French drama directed by Roman Polanski and starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric. The film premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and is an adaptation of a play by David Ives […] More

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    ‘Chinatown’ is neo-noir at its best

    Film noir comes full circle in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974). Thirty years before its release, crime dramas saw the birth of a fundamental character – the noir hero. From Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler, The Maltese Falcon (1941) to The Big Sleep (1946), the noir hero inhabits a world of hopelessness and dark tragedy. The Maltese Falcon saw Humphrey Bogart’s inaugural portrayal of this amoral anti-hero and began film noir as we know it. More

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