Screenshots: A Feast of Eastern European Scares


It’s horror movie season, regardless I find the prospect of watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies much more terrifying. Perhaps the most interesting local show for this Halloween plate is (of course) the Roxie Theater. This weekend they are launching a series of ‘Eastern European nightmares’ titled’ Don’t open it! with a 4K restoration of the French co-production shot in Berlin by Polish director Andrzej Zulawski Possession. It’s kind of a divorce drama, in which Sam Neill is grieved that the woman he’s estranged from (Isabelle Adjani) seems to be having affairs not only with another man, but also with… well, something that doesn’t. definitely isn’t a man, or even a human, period.

When it premiered in Cannes in 1981, Possession left most critics appalled, then managed to get banned in several countries. The 1983 US release lasted nearly an hour, not only removing content, but blurring the timeline and adding effects to create a demented abstraction from the already insane original. (Actually, I like both versions.) The Roxie will show the director’s full original vision, which is relatively cohesive, but remains a one-of-a-kind emotional (and fantasy) extremity exercise, even within the film. eccentric work by Zulawski. The engagement of the actors in this furious mad nightmare remains impressive; if you saw Possession many times or wish you had never had, it’s an experience not easily forgotten.

Possession starts on Friday 15th and is currently scheduled to play until at least October 25th. (It also opens in other theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse.) Additional titles in the “Don’t Open It!” the series will mainly be broadcast individually: the 2015 Polish feature film by Agnieszka Smoczynska The lure (Wednesday 20 only), a disco-rock-opera musical about the bloody showbiz career of two cannibalistic sirens; a newly restored feel of Nosferatu the vampire (Fri / 22), Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake of Carl Dreyer’s silent classic; Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi’s strange disgusting fantasy in 2006 Taxidermy (also Fri / 22); B&W 1969 by Juraj Herz The Cremator (Fri / 29), a chilling historical fiction that was one of the last gasps of the Czech New Wave; and the 1979 Soviet masterpiece by Andrei Tarkovsky Stalker (Sat / 30-Sun / 31), a metaphysical adventure tinged with science fiction through landscapes of the mind.

Not included in the series but definitely appealing to a similar sensibility is Ivan Zulueta Arrebato, a 1979 Spanish feature film that is horrified that Radley Metzger’s far more astute quartet ‘The Lickerish Quartet’ was in sexploitation a decade earlier – an elaborate intellectual game of reality and illusion playing with patterns of kind of “low end”. A trash-thriller director (Eusebio Poncela) living with his actress-girlfriend (Cecilia Roth) is contacted by a fan and distant acquaintance (Will More), who wants to share material with him. But this gift turns out to be fatal … even if it is confusing.

It’s a somewhat confusing budget maze with horror elements almost underground. Is his vampirism a reality or a metaphor for drug addiction? For the artistic approach? This is allegedly Pedro Almodovar’s favorite movie – the three main actors (who are very good) then worked with him. I found him more impenetrable than intriguing, and while his resourcefulness can be admired under the circumstances, there’s no doubt that Zulueta’s tight budget had to work. Yet, it’s always impressive when someone comes out with something so experimental under the guise of a commercial product. 4K restoration of Arrebato (aka Rapture) plays the Roxie Mon / 18 only.

As Possession, other films recently arriving this weekend involve dysfunctional or threatened marriages in some way:

Mass
No marriage should have to put up with the strain on the protagonists of this feature debut as writer-director Fran Kranz, an actor probably best known to the general public for playing the stoner in Cabin in the woods a decade ago. In fact, one of the two couples here has broken up, while the other is clearly on some sort of exertion autopilot. The reason they met in a room in the basement of a church, as arranged by some sort of official reconciliation advisor (Michelle N. Carter), is not explained until about 35 minutes after the start of the meeting. this drama of nearly two hours. Then, finally, the thing they all politely avoid: Some time ago the son of Linda (Ann Dowd) and Richard (Reed Birney) killed Gail (Martha Plimpton) and Jay’s son (Jason Issacs), along with other students, before committing suicide in a high school shootout.

This extremely sensitive meeting, which takes place as a result of extensive media coverage, finger points and litigation, is designed to hopefully achieve a mutual “cure”. But of course, it’s not that simple. And when discussing the trauma that plagued them all (including the surviving children of both couples), the painful questions must be asked: Why did this happen? And why did no one, especially the criminal’s parents, prevent this in some way?

Raw and straightforward, the Mass could easily have been performed as a play, although it is mostly set in one room, it manages not to sound overly theatrical or even claustrophobic. Kranz has four excellent actors who rarely get those kind of heavy lead roles. They get the most out of it, without any semblance of price-bait. Other films have dealt with similar subjects, often in a more sensational or heartbreaking way. Mass does not offer easy answers, nor the emotional release that melodramatically contrived blame would allow. But it does allow these characters to credibly navigate agonies that are both opposing and inextricably linked, showing us what unites them as well-meaning and grieving parents, as well as the inability to ever truly “come to terms” with them. a tragedy of this nature. Mass opens Friday the 15th in theaters across the region.

Luzzu
A man who has never left his native Mediterranean island, Jesmark (Jesmark Scicluna) is a Maltese fisherman who makes a living the same way his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, even in using their same brightly colored wooden boat called a luzzu. But regarding the baby health news that his wife Denise (Michela Farrugia) recently brought, highlights how close this ancient profession is to “the end of the line.”

The catches are reduced to almost nothing; regulations are stifling; local buyers are picky skinflints. The boat is in need of expensive repairs and infant care, things that will not happen with Jesmark’s or his wife’s income as a waitress. Accepting help from one’s in-laws also means accepting their disapproving inferences. Should he follow the lead of other natives and agree to an EU buyout, giving up his fishing rights in perpetuity to earn money and help preserve aquatic life? These are nasty options, but so do the illegal black market work that Jesmark is temporarily pursuing to save time. If he doesn’t find a longer-term solution, his marriage itself could go from the endangered list to extinction.

Alex Camilleri’s film, a neorealistic affair with non-professional actors in certain roles (including the handsome first Scicluna, essentially playing himself), chronicles a dying lifestyle – a way of life that existed unchanged for centuries, but that climate change and other factors are now grinding to a halt. While picturesque, this Sundance award winner is one of those tight-knit films, from Bicycle thieves To 99 homes and Uncut gems, in which escalating financial desperation creates as much suspense as the usual fictional serial killer. There is a quietly moving cumulative impact – and besides, how often will you see a film in Maltese? Luzzu opens Fri / 15 in theaters, including the Orinda.

Bergman Island
The English-language feature film by French actress-turned-writer-director Mia Hansen-Love has Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps as director husband and wife writer who have accepted an artist residency on the Swedish island of Faro. This is where Ingmar Bergman lived the last decades of his life, and also shot some of his films (including Scenes from a wedding). From now on, it is especially devoted to tourists worshiping this god of cinema, to the chagrin of permanent residents.

As the duo engage in such sightseeing activities and interact with other celluloid pilgrims and professional torch keepers, Chris de Krieps struggles with a storyline set here. As she describes to Roth’s Tony, we see him portrayed by Mia Wasikowska as another director-in-the-movie-on-the-movie, and Anders Danielsen Lie (from the Joachim Trier films) as the ex-lover who ‘she gathered. too late, when they both settled into other relationships.

Bergman Island is “interesting”. But it’s also the kind of navel-gazing exercise that has no real meaning, no real understanding of life outside of that experienced by artists like Hansen-Love herself – a pretty rarefied sphere. We don’t even learn much about the central marital relationship, beyond a hint that these characters get along better when their child is present as a tampon. Moreover, several years after his international breakthrough in the Paul Thomas Anderson film Phantom wire, I still don’t understand Krieps: she’s not convincing enough to build a movie, and sometimes she’s horrible (like in the recent M. Night Shamalayan mess Old). Such a vague movie really needs an anchor performance, and it just helps it drift out to sea. Bergman’s Island opens Friday the 15th in theaters, including the Embarcadero, and is available in VOD from October 22.


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