Roman Polanski

10 Avant-Garde, Psychosexual Stories on Film

Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland returns to cinemas this weekend with another film featuring a tormented protagonist — this time centered on “two classic nesting conflicts of intimacy — between the needs of the self and the needs of partners, and between the potential liberations and constrictions of erotic fantasy.” In The Duke of Burgundy, “Strickland brings to life the appeals of a sexual fantasy as well as its potentially attending traps of detachment,” Slant writes. Two women test the limits of their sexual relationship, set in Strickland’s dreamy world that references the Euro sexploitation films of the 1960s and ‘70s. It has all the makings of a great psychosexual drama. We explore similarly sculpted films, below. … Read More

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The 10 Best International Films of 2014

In surveying some of the best foreign-language films of the year, it’s become clear that many have common themes. Some are about the primacy of family and crises in masculinity, while others center on rehabilitating the past and finding spiritual meaning in the secular world. But all of these films follow characters whose basic needs — familial and romantic stability, sexual fulfillment, and creative expression — question just how progressive modern society really is. Here are ten essential international films from the past… Read More

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10 Fascinating Films Set in a Single Location

Sisters are reunited at a secluded estate in the woods in Mona Fastvold’s brooding, restrained study of family dysfunction in The Sleepwalker. “The unplanned sibling visit turns into a socially awkward weekend getaway. There’s table banter and after-dinner dancing (to instrumental Yo La Tengo) in the vast, lamp-lit parlor,” writes Jordan Hoffman for The Guardian. “These scenes glide along, evolving into near surrealism once our characters turn in for the night and succumb to the titular somnambulism.” Relying on emotional performances, the remote house serves as the movie’s primary location — a striking manifestation of the sisters’ “self-contained universe” — where the dark family history unravels. We look at other films that find their inspiration from single locations, reflecting the interior world of their characters. … Read More

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The 10 Best Faithful Shakespeare Adaptations on Film

This week, Roman Polanski’s scorching 1971 adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth makes its Blu-ray debut (thanks, once again, to the fine folks at the Criterion Collection). It’s a terrific movie; and noteworthy as being a Shakespeare adaptation that is mostly done “straight” — i.e., basically as written, rather than relocated to outer space or a high school or the mob underworld or anything crazy like that. In fact, it seems more difficult to just do the play, without all the bells and whistles. Here are a few savvy filmmakers who’ve pulled it off. … Read More

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The 10 Best Movies of 2014 So Far

The film calendar is so awards-driven, so targeted specifically towards the fall festivals and (heavy sigh) Oscar season, that it’s easy to presume little of note hits theaters in the first half of the year; it’s for Liam Neeson action movies and flicks that got bumped from their holiday slots because they weren’t good enough (hey there, Jack Ryan reboot). But rounding up the best titles from the year’s first six months actually yields a more eclectic and unpredictable selection, with genre titles, documentaries, indies, and oddities making up a rich and varied half-year at the… Read More

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Character Actor Eli Wallach Dies at 98

Eli Wallach, the gifted and prolific character actor who livened up the films of Sergio Leone, Elia Kazan, John… Read More

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A Brief Survey of BDSM on the Big Screen

This weekend, Roman Polanski’s reimagining of David Ives’ play, inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s erotic novella Venus in Furs, arrives in theaters. In Polanski’s Venus in Fur, Emmanuelle Seigner (Polanski’s wife, in a casting choice ripe for interpretation) takes on the adapted role of the book’s cruel Wanda von Dunajew. Mathieu Amalric co-stars as a writer-director staging a modern-day production of Sacher-Masoch’s work who becomes obsessed with Seigner’s character, reminiscent of the enslaved Severin in the 1870 novel. Slant’s review reveals that the film is reminiscent of the director’s early work, featuring a “specific nexus of humor and horror, a sense that fleetingly returns here, in a film that feels maniacally inspired by the joys of perversity.” We felt compelled to explore other films that delve into the psychosexual realm of power exchange relationships — cinema that examines gender and cultural dynamics, sexual politics, or exists for pure titillation. … Read More

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10 Mystery Movies That Will Blow Your Mind

Forty years ago this week, Jack Nicholson redefined cool, Faye Dunaway redefined icy, and director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne redefined film noir with the masterful detective thriller Chinatown. It isn’t just that the period drama boasts terrific performances, crackerjack cinematography, and all the period bells and whistles; it’s also a mighty good mystery, offering twists and turns that blindside the first-time viewer. And isn’t that what really great mystery movies are all… Read More

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Photos of 20 Directors Working on Their First Feature Films

Every great filmmaker had to start somewhere. The Tumblr Cinephilia and Beyond shared some photos from the set of George Lucas’ directorial debut, the dystopian THX 1138, depicting a frightening future in which human emotions are suppressed through mandatory drugs and people are controlled by an android police force. The images inspired us to search for other snapshots of young filmmakers — from Stanley Kubrick to Sofia Coppola to Spike Lee — working intently on their debut features.… Read More

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