SIR ARNE’S TREASURE (Mauritz Stiller, Gustaf Molander, 1919)

Co-directed by Mauritz Stiller, who would assist Garbo to stardom, and Gustaf Molander, who would do the same for Ingrid Bergman, Herr Arnes Pengar is a classic of silent Swedish cinema. In the sixteenth century, three cutthroat Scottish mercenaries escape from their Swedish imprisonment and slaughter a prominent family in the countryside, including the vicar, […]

FAUST (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2011)

Unhappy people are dangerous, Russian writer-director Aleksandr Sokurov has opined, and Heinrich Faust, alchemist and dirt-poor scholar, is miserable. In his filthy quarters, Faust’s anticipation of Frankenstein hovers over the cadaver he is dissecting and ruminates about the soul he is unable to locate. Ostensibly, he is talking to his Igor-like laboratory-servant, but, solitudinous, he […]

HARPYA (Raoul Servais, 1979)

Sinister, frightening and fiercely beautiful, Harpya—that is to say, Harpy—fuses animation and live action in a surreal fable about the destructive nature of egoism, the tendency to experience life antisocially as a solitudinous dream. Nine minutes long, packed and precise, it won for Belgian writer-director Raoul Servais the Palme d’Or at Cannes as best short film. […]