LA CHINOISE (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

Five young militants spend the summer in a vacated bourgeois apartment studying and teaching Mao; two, Véronique and Guillaume (Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Léaud, both wonderful), are a couple. To teach Guillaume the concept of struggle on two fronts, Véronique translates its matter about class to terms of their relationship, announcing she now hates him and […]

TETSUO, THE IRON MAN (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Lost spiritual moorings have contributed to Japan’s gnawing sense of alienation, distress, discombobulation. Other contributors: regimented society; industrial and, later, technological obsessiveness; the terrible flux into which people’s lives were tossed when Japan reversed its policy of ensuring lifetime employment at a single company. Made in his twenties, Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo reflects Japan circa 1989 […]

ROTATION (Wolfgang Staudte, 1949)

From postwar East Germany, Wolfgang Staudte’s Rotation (a.k.a. Sowjetische Zone) begins by promising a masterpiece. Berlin is being bombed. There is no sound audible except for the sound of the bombing. Following grocery shopping, an elderly woman scurries home towards the lower lefthand corner of the screen. Before she disappears freely, from the ground the […]