1968: 4 movies

posted 2015 January 29

Fando y Lis
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Written by Fernando Arrabal and Alejandro Jodorowsky
Produced by Juan López Moctezuma and Roberto Viskin
Cinematography by Rafael Corkidi and Antonio Reynoso
Editing by Fernando Suarez
Music by Hector Morely and Pepe Ávila
Starring Diana Mariscal and Sergio Kleiner

   A love story of the most original order. This movie goes into the depths of a man and a woman's path towards each other and then with each other in the quest of complete and perfect union. Along the way, the stresses, temptations, and monotony tugs at their bond, bringing out unbelievable cruelty from the man towards the woman. But if we are ever to rid the world of misogyny, it takes bold explorations like this into the heart of it to understand the gulf between lovers.
   The style is completely surreal, taking the helm from Bunuel, Salvador Dali, Maya Deren, and Gavaldon. The movie does not borrow from these geniuses, but its permission from them to feel free to tell a story as honestly and completely as possible. It is a success for Jodorowsky not because it is weird, but because it feels so personal.
   The title translates from Spanish to "Fando and Lis".

Hell in the Pacific
Directed by John Boorman
Written by Alexander Jacobs and Eric Bercovici
Produced by Reuben Bercovitch
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography by Conrad L. Hall
Editing by Thomas Stanford
Art direction by Anthony Pratt and Masao Yamazaki
Set decor by Makoto Kikuchi
Starring Lee Marvin and Toshirô Mifune

   Great movie that knocks out of the water all the so many movies like it, all the "friends or enemies struggle to survive on and escape from a deserted island". Only two actors are in this movie, which is pretty interesting, but what makes it most spell-binding is that they don't understand each other's languages. In fact, they are soldiers of opposing armies. Who wins, whether both, either, or neither survives, and what they learn from each other, if anything, is the substance of the movie. Suspenseful, funny, sad, uplifting, and tragic. Kind of helps to look down on the conflicts that we think are so important. One of the all-time greats because it doesn't rely on dialogue, despite an arguably weak ending. Epic performances, great all around production, and the cinematography is as gorgeous as it is amazingly complex.

Toby Dammit
Directed by Federico Fellini
Written by Federico Fellini and Bernardino Zapponi
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno
Editing by Ruggero Mastroianni
Production design and Costumes by Piero Tosi
Art direction by Fabrizio Clerici
Music by Nino Rota
Starring Terrence Stamp

   Spooky, comic, and cool! The premise of the movie is a treat for fans of Fellini's 8 1/2, because it's a similar theme except done in color and with Terrence Stamp in place of Marcello Mastrioanni. The result is a gothic take on the loneliness of a famous actor, with a streak of wild unpredictability courtesy of Stamp. Features some of the most alluring colors and creepy-fashionable sets. The stunning cinematography tells a story all by itself, starting off with red smoky scene, shifting to the blinding white lights of purgatory, and ending with a liberating night scene through the windshield of a raging Ferrari. Fantastic!
   Terrence Stamp gives a rivetingly feral lead performance. The speed with which the story develops and conveys the macabre setting, proves again why Fellini is a genuine master of the craft. The title is a reference to the main character in Edgar Allen Poe's story "Never Bet the Devil Your Head".

Produced, directed, edited, and recorded
by John Whitney Sr.
Music by Balachander

   This is a movie by the same guy who gave us the analog computer credits to Hitchcock's Vertigo. But for this project, Whitney teamed up with IBM, a programmer, to create an abstract journey of the mind and senses around Balachander's amazing seven-minute solo. Colors and shapes swirl, rotate, and are superimposed on each other in varying speeds to dazzle the imagination.
   There may be a few points where some contemporary viewers will wonder how this is better than staring at a screensaver. What kept me watching was the early date, which predates screensavers, the killer soundtrack, and the fact that it was all human-generated. In other words, Whitney decidedly orchestrated the images, and they move soulfully.

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