Volere Volare
(1991)

The idea was born after the worldwide success of “Who Framed
Roger Rabbit.” The plot is insanely unconventional; he plays a timid cartoon
sound, while his brother and partner prefers to take on the voice of erotic
productions, summoning women who are wonderful for the work that is performed
in the best “acting method of Lee Strasberg.”

Angela Finocchiaro plays an exotic prostitute who takes care
of the theatrical satisfaction of her clients, each one more crazy than the
other; a sex artist, in the literal definition of the term. The gradual
transformation of the sleep sound into a cartoon, a feature that guarantees
hilarious scenes, and symbolizes his fear of the possibility of sensual contact
with the opposite sex, a concept that falls like a glove in the absurd tone of
the script.

Contrary to her ambitious friend who prioritizes wealthy
clients, Martina (Finocchiaro) sees her work as a socially relevant mission,
since it allows the insane to go beyond her psychopathy, in various levels of
dangerousness, in a harmless way for society, an element that it humanizes her
greatly.

It’s fascinating to make the traditional happy ending an
uncompromising embrace in the surreal, with its fun surrender to the
possibilities of sex with the cartoon, rather than the obvious narrative path
of solving the bizarre problem. A comedy that would never be released these
days, it’s a breath of fresh air in a genre that’s usually a slave to
repetition.

The Green Ray (1986)

Seldom has loneliness been so well portrayed than by the
Seventh Art. Delphine (Marie Rivière, who is also in charge of the screenplay)
realizes that it is time to relax on her vacation, but she is definitely not
eager to confront herself away from the routine and ritualistic pursuits of her
job as a secretary. She cannot keep up with the boys for fear of giving.

By looking away from her reflection in the mirror and trying
to find a meaning for its existence in the external world, the girl does not
see the various flirtations she attracts, believing herself to be increasingly
uninteresting. Unlike the usual protagonists of the director, she speaks little
and clumsily, because (as she says) she has problems expressing herself. The
act requires surrender, the “lowering of shields”; in short, everything she
fears.

By staying aloof from all social conventions, it becomes a
pure element, which does not feel adapted to the corrupt world in which it
believes to be inserted. It is not by coincidence that, in the end, it reveals
the book that she spent the entire movie reading was “The Idiot” by Dostoevsky.

Delphine only intends to modify its “modus operandi” when
finding Lena, an uninhibited Swedish girl, its perfect antithesis. The genius
of the script insinuates itself at this point, when we begin to question
whether we really want to see the protagonist finding a boyfriend. Is not it
right that we should twist her out of apathy and impose herself in life as a
human being? As we direct our desire to meet the comfortable satisfaction of a
social ritual with any stranger, are we not disrespecting her as a woman? Do we
want Delphine to become Lena?

In the brilliant third act, we began to understand the
protagonist’s point of view, her aversion to the limiting roles that society
imposes on women. And then, in a touch of pure sensibility, Rohmer makes us
admire the meteorological phenomenon of the “green ray” on the horizon, which,
at the moment (in the eyes of the writer Julio Verne), causes the person to
magically see their feelings and those of others. She then, as she had not done
before, smiles with the naturalness of a child who sees the world for the first
time.

The Condemned of Altona (1962)

Industrialist Albrecht Von Gerlach discovers that he is
close to death and names his son Werner (Robert Wagner) as his successor;
Johanna (Sophia Loren), his wife and actress involved in a work of Brecht
against Nazism, discovers the secrets of the family.

Unjustly little known, including among fans of Vittorio De
Sica, although he received for it the “David di Donatello” award for Best
Director. Adapted from the penultimate piece of Jean-Paul Sartre (quite
faithfully, except for the option of including outside scenes, outside the
confinement), unique in that he directly addresses Nazism in a clever and
daring criticism. Sophia Loren, Fredric March and Maximilian Schell act boldly
in roles that completely ran away from what the public was accustomed to,
ensuring a still more somber mood to the project.

It recalls, in tone and complexity, the works of Polish
writer Günther Grass, among them, the most famous: “The Drum.” The idea behind
a young Nazi who is kept, years after the end of the war, imprisoned in an
attic by his father, without any communication with the outside world, so that
he does not perceive reality, causes shivers just thinking about it. The
excellent ending, which I will not reveal, contains one of the strongest cinematic
images of that decade.

The Eighth Day (1996)

The impact of the tenderness of the young man with Down
syndrome, Belgian Pascal Duquenne, on the hard bark of bitterness of the
impeccable Daniel Auteuil, who perceives his family to be more and more
distant, in the beautiful moment where the boy tries to block the tears of his
friend as he built a smile with his fingers on his face. Their reunion in the
rain, the reassurance of friendship, after a cruel attempt at forced
detachment.

The compulsive worker who, through this relationship, learns
to be a better father to his daughters. The deceased mother who, to the sound
of her idol in music, appears to affectionately comfort the young man’s
anguish. And these scenes, which could easily fall into exaggerated finesse,
are magnified by the sensitive way director Jaco Van Dormael chooses to be
content with minimalism, with the protagonist having a clear, emotionally
independent attitude, dispensing with the compassion of others.

The plot addresses the young man’s desire, hospitalized in a
specialized hospital since his mother’s death, to return home. He is a burden
too heavy for his family members, who are selfish people and who do not want to
face the visually different reflection in this disturbing mirror, as studied by
the French psychoanalyst Pierre Fédida, characters that symbolize the way a
large part of society views the disabled, the apparent lack of interest in the
necessary social inclusion.

This rejection that speaks directly to the disorienting
clash of the different in contact with the image that represents the initial
formation of the unconscious “I”, or in the words of the French psychoanalyst
Jacques Lacan, that ideal “I” in which we recognize, in reality, a wrong view
that does not correspond to the fragmented body we experience. The boy’s quest,
in this charming road movie, for the concept of “going home,” reflects the
exhaustion of hope in this narcissistic society. The purity of it, in the end,
sacrificed as atonement for the sins of the world.

The Killing Machine (1975)

When talking about Sonny Chiba, many remember his work in
the trilogy “The Street Fighter,” but I consider that his best moment, as a
martial artist and actor, a rare opportunity that he had to build several
layers upon, is in this little known pearl, directed by Japanese director
Norifumi Suzuki, with a screenplay by Isao Matsumoto, which approaches the real
life of Doshin So, founder of Shorinji Kempo, from his traumatic childhood,
through the time he was a soldier in the final period of World War II until he
became a master. Chiba was his apprentice, so you can imagine the emotion he
felt in defending the character on the big screen.

The tone is heavy, tuned in the tragic dramatic tuning fork,
reflected in the way martial technique is used, with brutality and generous
doses of gore, dominating by rotational wrist locks, the honoree’s specialty.
The castration scene of the rapist is remarkable and cinematographically
powerful, but what remains after the session is not the strings of struggle. I
do not remember another film of the genre that works so effectively on the
question of the importance of the martial arts discipline as an inspiring and
transforming force in the lives of young people, helping to overcome obstacles
and form noble characters.

The Loot (1980)

A highly creative independent production that made the
industry turn its eyes toward its director, Eric Tsang, who received warm
praise from various martial artists of the day, such as Jackie Chan, who
invited him to direct with him “Armor of God” released in 1986. Just because
the plot does not involve a revenge affair, it already deserves honorable
mention, but the structure adopted from Agatha Christie-style police novels,
combined with the comic sense that follows efficient, guarantee high quality
entertainment, even for those who does not appreciate the genre.

I consider this to be the best moment for David Chiang as an
actor, playing a bounty hunter / researcher who goes into a dispute with
another mercenary (Norman Chu) for a common purpose: to find the enigmatic
jewel thief and killer known as “Spider.” It is interesting to note that the
script becomes even more interesting in revisions, but the revelation of the
mystery does not weaken the experience.

The last 20 minutes are, without exaggeration, brilliant
stunting with technical class and timing, with the confrontation between
Chiang, Chu and Phillip Ko, with the first using the monkey wrist strategy,
inserting a hilarious touch, the dread shake. And in conclusion, a brave
debauch with a dramatic visual cliché used in the productions of the Shaw
Brothers studios.

The Betrayal (1966)

Director Tokuzo Tanaka had no appreciation for the thematic
grandiosity of Kurosawa, or interest in the philosophical ramblings of Ozu,
being closer to the kind of approach Mizoguchi and Kobayashi took. As the
assistant director for Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, he drank from the best possible
sources in his area, using his technique in favor of chambaras made by Daiei
studio. He is known only to those most dedicated fans of the genre for his work
on the Zatoichi series, but his undisputed masterpiece is “The Betrayal,” a
remake of “Orochi,” directed by Buntaro Futagawa in 1925.

Seiji Hoshikawa’s screenplay is a frantic rhythm, with the
first two acts dedicated to the meticulous development of the characters and
their motivations worked in long dialogues, with the action reserved for the
climax. Intense action scenes that prepare for the final battle, praised fairly
as one of the longest and most brutal in the genre, where we watch the
character played by Raizo Ichikawa, an honorable samurai who is unjustly
accused of a crime, fighting alone against more than two hundred warriors.

And if the plot avoids to deepen, for example, the
friendship that forms between the exiled samurai and the thief who stole his
wallet, it compensates for one of the most shocking moments, not only of the
chambaras, but of the action movie genre as a whole: the time when the hero,
exhausted in the long final combat, must force his fingers to release the tsuka
/ handle of his broken sword, so that the confrontation can continue.

It is distressing to see the body go beyond the limits; it
becomes dehydrated, it seeks to quench its thirst between an elusive and
another. It is not only a struggle, it is loaded with symbolism, the epiphanic
transformation of someone who is aware that he has lost everything, moved only
by his character.

Almost Human (1974)

Umberto Lenzi’s masterpiece: “Milano Odia: La Polizia non
Può Sparare” is a classic poliziotteschi that I consider superior to his most
celebrated work “Roma a Mano Armata,” released two years later. The script is
by Ernesto Gastaldi, who last year wrote Tonino Valerii’s unforgettable “My
Name Is Nobody,” working on the idea of Sergio Leone, and years later he would
help Sergio Martino in the great giallo “Torso.”

Cuban man Tomás Milián, at his best, plays a mediocre and
insecure thug who finds, in the possibility of kidnapping a young daughter of
high society, the chance to prove himself competent. And to make matters worse,
his intention is clear from the start: he wants to get the ransom money and
kill the girl. It is not only for the money; his war is personal against the
system that, in his distorted mind, elects the lucky and the unlucky ones.

For him, the police class is weak, easily corruptible,
limited to following the law. Sadistic, even the comrades question this radical
position, with the awareness that they themselves can become targets of their
anger. He just did not expect to find in his way the most hardline inspector in
town, played by Henry Silva and his face cut to chisel, someone who discovers
that the only way to win the case is to become crazier than the thug, the cool
moorings.

The tone is heavy, the level of violence is high, the script
makes no concessions, following the line of Michael Desire’s “Desire to Kill,”
released that same year. And it is worth emphasizing the spectacular soundtrack
of the master Ennio Morricone. Great work that deserves greater recognition.

Raquel’s Shoeshiner (1957)

In the mold of his most famous admirer, Charles Chaplin,
Mario Moreno was able to balance the laughter with tenderness very well, as in
this one, which is one of his best films. Although, as something usual in his
filmography, many jokes get lost in translation, like the joke in the title,
involving the work of Maurice Ravel and the activity of the protagonist, a
Bolivian trambiqueiro (shoe) that falls in love with a teacher, played by
Manola Saavedra; it is impossible not to be enchanted by the improvisations of
the actor. When Cantinflas releases his nonsensical, famous “cantinflear” machine
gun, you need to direct your attention to the interlocutor, who strives not to
ruin the footage by smiling out of time.

In his first color work, shortly after winning international
fame and the prestige of the critics with the award-winning “Around the World
in 80 Days,” the Mexican filmmaker proves to be at the peak of his inspiration,
especially in the hilarious first hour, where we witness an uplifting history
lesson he provides to a foreigner, and to display, in a state of complete
sobriety, all the discretion and elegance that should be the standard at
funeral ceremonies.

It shows that what really matters is to console the
beautiful widow and offer a friendly shoulder to all the women present in the
ritual. And, of course, being such a worthy man, he was left with the
responsibility of taking care of the dead son of the deceased compadre, a
laborer who, as Cantinflas explained, went to heaven after quitting the
asphalt, having fallen from the building where he worked.

The most famous scene, his boldness as a dancer, is very
nice, but the moment that remains in my mind is the silent reality shock of the
character, after the sad farewell of the child, clinging to the colored ball as
symbol of gratitude for the company of the boy, who fought so hard to be able
to pay.

Cantinflas is carried by the emotion transmitted in his
eyes, a scene that refers us to the payment of the treatment of the blind
florist of Chaplin in “City Lights.” Like the English wanderer, the Mexican
peladito learns that kindness is a noble act that does not demand reward, does
not need recognition, it is only the feeling of happiness that happens to tear,
the verification of the genuine affectionate intention of those who the offers.

Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

This is one of those films that, two minutes after the end,
while still recovering from the impact, you feel like cheering up. Lucius
Fulci, a notorious director, managed to create a brave single treatise on
thorny topics such as prejudice, pedophilia, hypocrisy, superstition and
religion, without fear of controversy.

I will avoid revealing much about the plot, which is a
tremendous disservice, especially in this case. In a village dominated by
mysticism, children are murdered, leading the policemen to a voodoo witch
played by Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan. The script opens the range of
possibilities, showing that all are suspicious, since there is no sign of any
sense of morality or ethics in the attitudes of the residents.

Even the children, who end up being victims, are presented
practicing acts of sadism without any trace of empathy. The only one who is
pure and well-meaning is the priest. One of the characters, played by the
beautiful Barbara Bouchet, is a drug addict who seeks rehabilitation, a daring
young woman who seems to have a fixation on insinuating herself sexually for
the boys of the region.

What is most interesting is how history subverts any
expectation, including, visually, a characteristic symbolized in one of the
most interesting scenes in the history of giallo; truly unforgettable, a brutal
lynching accompanied on the soundtrack by the exotic programming of a radio
station, in its dramatic summit the beautiful composition of Riz Ortolani:
“Quei giorni insieme a te,” sung by Ornella Vanoni. The impressive sequence
gains even more epic and poetic airs under review, knowing the outcome of the
plot.

* Link para a postagem original no “Taste of Cinema”:http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2018/10-masterpieces-of-world-cinema-you-should-not-miss-part-3/

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