Triumph des Willens / Triumph of the Will (1935) Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Max Amann, Documentary, History, War

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Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) is a filmed record of the 1934 Nazi Party Convention, in Nuremberg. No, it is more than just a record: it is an exultation of Adolf Hitler, who from the moment his plane descends from Valhalla-like clouds is visually characterized as a God on Earth. The “Jewish question” is disposed of with a few fleeting closeups; filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl prefers to concentrate on cheering crowds, precision marching, military bands, and Hitler’s climactic speech, all orchestrated, choreographed and illuminated on a scale that makes Griffith and DeMille look like poverty-row directors. It has been alleged that the climactic rally, “spontaneous” Sieg-Heils and all, was pre-planned according to Riefenstahl’s specifications, the better to take full advantage of its cinematic potential. Allegedly, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels resented the presence and intrusion of a woman director, but finally had to admit that her images, achieved through the use of 30 cameras and 120 assistants, were worth a thousand speeches. Possibly the most powerful propaganda film ever made, Triumph of the Will is also, in retrospect, one of the most horrifying.

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Please Believe Me (1950) Norman Taurog, Deborah Kerr, Robert Walker, Mark Stevens, Comedy, Romance

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Alison Kirbe of London, receives a telegram from Texas, that she has inherited a livestock ranch. It is plastered throughout the London newspapers that Alison has become a rich heiress, and is sailing to the United Slates alone to claim her inheritance. Or so she thinks. Three men, Terence Keath, Jeremy Tayler, and Jeremy’s lawyer, Matthew Kinston take an interest in Alison, after reading about her in the papers. They all board the ship hoping to become involved with her, but, all for different reasons. Terence, is a gambler and wants to marry a rich women to pay his debts. Jeremy, a multi-millionaire wants a wife, and Matthew wants to protect Jeremy’s fortune, for he belives Alison is actually running a scam. All aboard!

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Der Kulterer (1974) Vojtech Jasný, Helmut Qualtinger, Andreas Altmann, Harry Hornisch, Drama

Der Kulterer (1974)
Vojtech Jasnys film of the same name Thomas Bernhard story from 1962, the gritty chronicle of a “damaged life”. An aging inmate, respected as a writer of small pieces of prose in prison, afraid to be “nothing in the wild exposure of dismissing one”. The detention center is for the Kulterer to the free space in which he, “Heaven and Hell” learns to understand as components of a rational system world and “God’s World” for the first time. During wear the other prisoners to the system succeeds in Kulterer to make the workplace of his stay in prison, a place of self-realization: He begins at night in the dark to write little stories that half come him in a dream and he continues to spin awake.

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La bûche / Season’s Beatings (1999) Danièle Thompson, Sabine Azéma, Emmanuelle Béart, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Comedy, Drama

La buche (1999)
Christmas, family, and infidelity. Yvette’s husband has died, and her grown daughters join her at the grave: Sonia, wealthy, bourgeois, and generous; Louba, living with their dad Stanislas, singing at a Russian restaurant, penniless, the mistress for the past 12 years of a man who will never leave his wife; Milla, the youngest, acerbic, lonesome. Christmas was when they learned their parents were divorcing 25 years ago. Over the next few days, yuletide depression, Louba’s pregnancy, Sonia’s crumbling marriage, Stanislas’s overtures to Yvette, and Milla’s attraction to the man who’s her father’s rent-free lodger lead each one to re-examine self, family, and hopes. Is renewal possible?

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