AFONYA (Georgi Daneliya, 1975)

A Soviet tragicomedy written wonderfully well by Aleksandr Borodyanskiy and directed by Georgi Daneliya at a fast clip, at least in its urban phase, Afonya charts the slippage into regretfulness of an “indifferent,” self-absorbed 42-year-old plumber who drinks excessively, including on the job, and pursues one woman after another, without giving much thought to them. […]

GIORNI DI GLORIA (Giuseppe De Santis, Mario Serandrei, Luchino Visconti, Marcello Pagliero, 1945)

Dense and comprehensive, Days of Glory documents, through archival materials, partisan efforts against both Fascism and the German occupation in Italy, the liberation of northern Italy, and the trials of war criminals such as Pietro Caruso, the Fascist head of the Italian police. A film such as this is cumulative; we get a look at […]

ALICE, OR THE LAST ESCAPADE (Claude Chabrol, 1976)

“It’s useless to ask questions, for there are no answers.”  “You cannot escape your fate.”   Dedicated to Fritz Lang, who had died earlier that year, writer-director Claude Chabrol’s Alice ou la dernière fugue certainly expresses Lang’s fatalistic view of life. It is one of the most chilling and nightmarish films I have seen—and one […]