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Fanshawe61 (Japan)

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Bitter Moon [1992] [DVD]
Bitter Moon [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Coyote
Price: £7.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter revenge (spoiler), 9 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Bitter Moon [1992] [DVD] (DVD)
I've had a love-hate relationship with this Polanski for years. I could never quite make up my mind, but the fact that I have seen it quite a few times should count for something. I've now decided I REALLY like it. The bits I used to cringe at are actually quite funny and enjoyable and actually quite erotic (like Seigner pouring milk over her breasts) and all the SM stuff is laughable, but only because the characters in the end find it laughable. Coyote and Seigner's relationship really is a car-crash of a relationship and it has the commensurate attraction of such horrible events. There is a sort of patness to the way Hugh Grant and Kristen Scott Thomas's relationship is resolved, not to say melodrama in terms of the final scenes where Thomas and Seigner get it on and Coyote finally takes bitter revenge on Seigner (Mimi), but all this is preceded by an engrossing pattern of master/servant role-reversals very much in the tradition of the cyclical nature of life that Polanski has always been interested in. Coyote is brilliant as the writer manqué who one minute you hate and the next you pity. Seigner is a much better actress than I have given her credit for over the years, and she has a sense of humour behind the mask of her Parisian cool that is disarming. Bertolucci's The Conformist it isn't, nor is it of the stature of Repulsion, Cul de Sac, Rosemary's Baby, MacBeth, Chinatown, or The Tenant, but it does fit - if not slip - into Polanski's oeuvre. One other proof for me that it is a successful film is that I can never quite remember all the crazy plot machinations; every time I re-watch it, it surprises me.

Dance With A Stranger [DVD] [1985]
Dance With A Stranger [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Miranda Richardson
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £14.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger than fiction, 27 Dec 2009
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I like it as much now as when it first came out. A really beautifully directed and nuanced piece that deals with the true story of the last woman to be executed in Britain, with Miranda Richardson in a stunning performance as a lower-class girl on the make and Rupert Everett being totally convincing as an upper-class cad she falls for. For the evocation alone of grimy, washed-out 50s Britain it's excellent, but there's a true story of human passion and hopelessness here as well. My only gripe is that The Ruth Ellis Story is actually only a few pages of print, so I have no idea how that is marketed as a 'special feature'.

Onibaba [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1964]
Onibaba [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1964]
Dvd ~ Kei Sato
Offered by Classic Films Direct from A2B Media
Price: £10.45

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swamp love, 1 Sep 2009
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This is one of those classic Japanese films that I had managed to miss till now. To tell too much of the plot is to give it away, so I won't but it's a really well-told tale with fantastic photography and a cast of three central characters. The title translates as something like 'Devil Woman'. This MOC DVD has Alex Cox doeing a nice little intro (though I've yet to listen to the commentary), but what was obvious from the start is that for 1964 and in Japan at that there is a lot of nudity. Given the sweltering setting of the swamp where the main characters live and the indeterminate historical setting (it could be the Middle Ages, for all I know), it makes sense for them not to be covering themselves up all the time, so it's a breath of realistic fresh air for the period it was shot in. The performances from the two leads as the possessive, bitter mother-in-law (by turns hag-like and then very sexy) and the young daughter-in-law, are great. The only thing that nagged me: most of the scenes take place at night and some in a deep hole in the ground and even though you see a full moon in one shot, there's no way to explain how everything is lit half the time ... just dramatic license, I suppose. This would make an amazing double bill with Teshigahara's Woman of the Dunes or even Polanski's Knife in the Water.

The Cremator [1968] [DVD]
The Cremator [1968] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rudolf Hrusķnskż
Price: £7.74

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Lynchian, 25 Jan 2009
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This review is from: The Cremator [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Quite an amazing, chilling film, this, by Juraj Herz. A kind of allegory of Nazism, nominally set during the Second World War, though you never actually see any German soldiers or fighting, about an eccentric cremator (hypnotically played by Rudolf Hrusínskż) who gradually becomes more and more megalomaniacal as the story proceeds, shot with deliberately expressionist techniques. It convincingly shows how people were able to make themselves believe in ideas of superiority and racial purity. Of all the films I've seen that attempt to show the twisted logic that enabled anti-Semiticism to grow and become the monster it did, this is one of the most compelling. Echoes of Polanski's 'Repulsion' are hard to resist, as well as comparisons with David Lynch, who you might imagine being influenced by it ... The excellent U.K. DVD (Second Run) has a nice little intro by the Quay Brothers.

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