Les dimanches de Ville d’Avray / Sundays and Cybele (1962) Serge Bourguignon

Les dimanches de Ville d'Avray (1962)
After killing a child on a routine bombing mission in Vietnam, Pierre suffers from delayed stress and partial amnesia. Returning to France, he lives like a vegetable until he meets a young girl who has been dumped by her father at a boarding school. Posing as her father, Pierre contrives to meet the girl every Sunday, to play with her and perhaps recover his memory. The innocent friendship is misread by nearly everyone, even people who know Pierre well.

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L’homme qui ment / The Man Who Lies (1968) Alain Robbe-Grillet

L'homme qui ment (1968)
This enigmatic, plodding story concerns a man who may or may not have betrayed a resistance fighter in his hometown during World War II. He has supposedly been shot down by the Nazis and wanders into town. Mourning the death of an unseen comrade, he is taken in by the family of the dead rebel. He engages in a superfluous affair and witnesses the lesbian relationship between the man’s sister and a female servant. When passions subside, the family has doubts about the reliability of the man’s …

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Sterne / Stars (1959) Konrad Wolf

Sterne (1959)
Bulgaria, 1943. A train carrying Greek Jews is bound for the Auschwitz extermination camp and stops over in a small town in southwest Bulgaria. The school is converted into camp. Passing by the barbed-wire fence, the the Nazi army sergeant Walter meets a young Jewess called Ruth and falls in love with her. His buddy, Lieutenant Kurt, who is in charge of the camp, has her brought to a party in the pub. There Walter has a chance to talk with her. Having grown indifferent to people suffering, he is now awakened to unsuspected emotions and experiences a change of heart. When he next meets the girl, Walter convinces her that Nazism and war. Her fate and love make anew man of him. He gives a package of medicine for the inmates of the camp to Petk, a Bulgarian antifascist worker, but the German find them and destroy them. Walter is making arrangements for Ruth’s escape. He asks Petko to hide her but it is too late. The train has left.

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The Tattered Dress (1957) Jack Arnold

The Tattered Dress (1957)
After a wild night, wealthy Michael Reston’s adulterous wife Charleen comes home with her ripe young body barely concealed by a dress in rags; murder results. Top defense lawyer J.G. Blane, whose own marriage exists in name only, arrives in Desert View, Nevada to find the townsfolk and politically powerful Sheriff Hoak distinctly hostile to the Restons. In due course, Blane discovers he’s been “taken for a ride,” and that quiet desert communities can be deadly…

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Naufragio / Shipwreck (1978) Jaime Humberto Hermosillo

Naufragio (1978)
One woman (Murguía) lives waiting for his son (Alonso) who is a sailor. She hasn’t seen him for years although he writes to her a lot. The woman shares the letters and her grief with a co-worker and friend (Rojo). This last woman begins to idealize her friend’s son. One day, the mother gets sick and falls into a coma. Her son arrives but she is unconscious. He has a brief but passionate affair with her mother’s friend and then disappears, as quickly as he came back from the sea.

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Pallieter (1976) Roland Verhavert

Pallieter (1976)
In this film version of the Dutch-language classic (‘heimat’-)novel by Flemish author Felix Timmermans, the title character is a city-boy from Lier who after recovering from a life-threatening disease changes his life completely and his name to the self-invented Pallieter (the Dutch language has adopted this as a noun for a “bon vivant”). He moves in with Charlote, a naive, caring relative in the country, where he starts frolicking, no longer caring for image, career or possessions, but concentrates on enjoying life -such as a draftee relative’s Brueghelian wedding- and finds love with Marieke. A dark story-line however is when projected work on the river in the name of economical progress threatens the rural landscape they have fallen in love with.

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The Last Flight (1931) William Dieterle

The Last Flight (1931)
Cary, Shep, Bill, and Francis are pilots who have just, and only just, survived the First World War. They linger in Europe in the aftermath, drinking and ostensibly having fun, but pessimistic and flip about their futures, as each feels himself somehow lost and dead inside as a result of the horrors he’s experienced. They encounter a beautiful and vivacious girl, Nikki, and adopt her, not romantically but as a sort of mascot and light around which they can hover in hopes of regaining a sense of warmth and life. Nikki does her best to reinvigorate her new friends, but despite the seeming lightheartedness of their escapades, the shadow of the war can never be dispelled.

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