RED ANGEL (Yasuzo Masumura, 1966)

“The last vestiges of my professional pride made me go through the motions.” Dr. Okabe, in 1939 a battlefront surgeon during the Sino-Japanese War, who has been reduced to an amputator, says this. In an appalling scene, after sawing off the leg of a soldier who hasn’t the benefit of anesthesia, Okabe proceeds: “Now the […]

THE WEDDING (Andrzej Wajda, 1972)

Wesele, from Stanisław Wyspiański’s play, takes place around 1900. Wyspiański himself was in attendance at the actual event; the bridegroom was a friend of his, painter Lucjan Rydel. The major topic of conversation at the wedding celebration in Andrzej Wajda’s film, following, I presume, Wyspiański’s play, is Polish history: a century of division and oppression […]

L’ENFER (Claude Chabrol, 1994)

Claude Chabrol’s L’enfer—Hell—is closer to the harsh brilliance of his black-and-white Les bonnes femmes (1960) than to the restraint and refinement of most of his other work in color. Chabrol revised a sixties script by Henri-Georges Clouzot that a heart attack prevented Clouzot from filming. Chabrol has imaginatively transformed what was likely, originally, misogynistic material. […]