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VanNorden05

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About VanNorden05

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  • Birthday April 3

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  1. If the three main ingredients of Italian Giallo are "style, sex, and savagery," then a lot of that is owed to the early works of Mario Bava, who is the perceived "godfather" of Italian horror. From "The Girl Who Knew Too Much" (1963) to "Kill Baby Kill" (1966), Bava helped create the template for the archetypal Giallo films of the 1970s, and none were more influential than "Blood and Black Lace" (1964) with its garish saturated colors, sleazy jazz score, ostentatious sets, and highly-stylized violence. When I first saw it, I thought "how can something so exquisite and colorful be so brutal a
  2. The thing that amazes me most about Rainer Werner Fassbinder was how immensely prolific he was throughout his tragically short life. He made 44 films in a 14-year period and was integral in every facet of their creation, or rather the principal "everything"––director, writer, editor, cinematographer, designer, and, in some cases, actor. He was a consummate workaholic who worked at an unhealthily rapid pace, sometimes simultaneously on films, which almost surely attributed to his premature death and addiction to drugs. Despite this high frequency, the quality of Fassbinder's work never wavered.
  3. The senseless and egregiously short-sighted demolition of the Richfield Tower has to rank among the greatest architectural losses in US history. Unfortunately, I was not alive when the building was standing, but, as a native Angeleno, it is impossible not to have come across it in books and pictures at some point. It even steals some of the show from Rod Taylor as his office backdrop in Antonioni's "Zabriskie Point." I know its ornate elevator doors are on display between the Twin Towers that replaced the original structure, which serves as a painful reminder of how much Los Angeles destroyed
  4. Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli played six roles, both male and female, in Sergei Parajanov's seminal masterwork, "The Color of Pomegranates" (1968), a visually dazzling and idiosyncratic portrait ostensibly about eighteenth-century Armenian poet Sayat-Nova.
  5. Marsha Hunt was interviewed by Eddie Mueller a few festivals ago at a screening for "Raw Deal" (1948). Unfortunately, I was one of many who missed the cutoff while standing in line. I was so disappointed, but that is kind of how it goes at the smaller multiplex theaters, especially when a bigtime guest is in appearance. This year I will make sure I do not miss out on seeing her.
  6. Milos Forman certainly had a penchant for satire and lighthearted insolence as evident in much of his early catalog, especially pre-Hollywood: "The Loves of a Blonde" (1965) and "The Fireman's Ball" (1967), both acerbic examinations of existing socialism in Czechoslovakia, immediately spring to mind. "Black Peter" (1964), another seminal work in the Czechoslovak New Wave, is one of the most unglamorous and honest depictions of youth ever captured on screen. These three films deserve mentioning right alongside "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and "Amadeus" (1984) or anything else Forman
  7. Helen had a fanatical stage mother and, by the time her career was waning and alcoholism consumed her life, her mother already abandoned her – something she never got over. She was particularly close with her brother, Lee, and her sister-in-law, Geraldine, and had lived with them throughout various points in the 1940s – 1950s. The sister-in-law was divorcing the brother around the time Helen had passed away and did not attend the funeral, but she claims it was a "beautiful funeral, with all the old-time theater and film people." Either way, contrary to what the sister-in-law says, it appears f
  8. Helen Chandler was as "gentle" in real-life as she appeared in the movies. She was always aimless and flighty, demure and delicate, winsome and sweet. Most people who knew her claimed she did not weigh an ounce over 100 pounds, nor did they believe she possessed a mean bone in her body. Darryl F. Zanuck once wrote to Jack L. Warner that she was a "sensational talent" and compared her to "a young Lilian Gish." Despite her demons, one will be hardpressed to find anything negative about her. Many of the characters she played had a child's honesty and an adult's sadness, and never were thos
  9. I always found it fascinating that Keaton was allegedly unimpressed with both Beckett and Alan Schneider during the making of this landmark experimental film about ideas of perception (or as Beckett himself said: “about a man trying to escape perception of all kinds"). Keaton felt that both Beckett and Schneider knew nothing about making movies, which, in a lot of ways, was true, as it was both their first forays (Beckett's first and last) into the cinematic medium. Beckett always admired Keaton's comic genius but might have been too "intellectual" about making movies for the two to hit it
  10. Well said! I cannot imagine a lover of cinema unacquainted with the quiet beauty and brilliant subtlety of Setsuko Hara. She always radiated warmth and brought an undeniable harmony to every work she graced. From the dozens of films she made, most notably with Kurosawa, Naruse, and, of course, Ozu, whom she was the favorite leading lady of, Hara was the perfect actress for post-WWII Japan: she was always feminine but strong, modest but willful, and traditional but modern. Novelist Shusaku Endo once wrote of Hara’s work: “We would sigh or let out a great breath from the depths of our hearts, fo
  11. Emmanuelle Riva was one of the supreme talents on both the screen and stage in France and Italy over the past half century. Such a shame it took the entire world to notice her until clear into her 80s, but better late than never, right? Beyond her unforgettable performance in Resnais' "Hiroshima mon amour" (1959), a seminal achievement of the Left Bank, Riva's haunting stillness graced the works of Melville, Franju, Pietrangeli, Garrel, Pontecorvo, Kieslowski––all the titans of international cinema. For those only acquainted with Riva's performance in "Hiroshima," check out "Therese Desqueyrou
  12. Hi whunt, Soul Jazz Records, a British music label, used to sell a Region 1 and 2 DVD of "Les Stances a Sophie" (1971) but is no longer in print on the label's website. Fortunately, however, more than a few exist on Ebay for purchase. As for the film, it is very representative of early 1970s French mainstream cinema, with its slight touch of Jean Eustache, but nowhere near as complex or emotional. Obviously, if not for the legendary score by The Art Ensemble of Chicago (who make a brief cameo), nobody would have much interest in seeing it, even if the film does have great style and two lum
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