Crazed Fruit

Imagine if a 20 year old Donald Trump had written a book about how bad the kids are. Or Marine Le Pen. Or Nigel Farage, etc. etc. you get the idea.

Crazed Fruit is based on a book by Shintaro Ishihara, a right wing populist politician with some pretty terrible opinions as well as delusions -- he once said that if he'd continued directing films (and he's only directed one full length) he'd be at least better than Kurosawa. He didn't even direct this movie -- though from certain set stories it seems he wished he had -- an honor that instead fell to Ko Nakahira. Nakahira, with great help from cinematographer Shigeyoshi Mine and first time composer Toru Takemitsu, produces a visually and aurally great film and I regret that we won't see more from him, but it's pretty hard to get beyond the politics of the film, the author behind it, and the cultural movement it kicked off.

Oh, and subscribe on iTunes! And/or support us on Patreon? Or check us out on Facebook.

Elena and Her Men

So producer Louis Wipf says to Jean Renoir, "Hey, Jean Renoir, you wanna make a movie with Ingrid Bergman?"

And Jean Renoir says, "Boy do I!"

Then he sat around for a bit and tried out a few ideas that either he or Wipf or Bergman didn't really like before settling on a fictionalized version of the life of General Georges Boulanger, though not fictionalized enough that Bergman was playing the general.

Anyway, Elena and Her Men (1956) brings the Stage and Spectacle boxset to a close with little stage but a whole lot of spectacle, and is our favorite of the three.

Bob le flambeur

Jean-Pierre Melville is called Melville because he really liked Moby Dick and apparently the French Resistance just let you pick your own codename because anti-fascism.

His 1956 film Bob le Flambeur is a French gangster film that is often called a precursor to the French New Wave, but Pat and I aren't buying it. It's a mediocre genre film in a genre of which we've seen better examples. Commentary suggests that Melville is masterful in this particular type of film. I look forward to seeing more from him, then, but this doesn't connect.

And God Created Woman

This week we're watching Roger Vadim's 1956 And God Created Woman, a festival of slut-shaming and misogyny that launched the career of Vadim's then wife, Brigitte Bardot. Other than that it's not a very noteworthy film, though I can't say I dislike it as a whole. It's actually an interesting companion piece to Chasing Amy, in that the female lead isn't given the treatment she deserves and the male leads are dumb and learn dumb lessons. At least Kevin Smith seems to have been trying to change: Alyssa walks away from her mistreatment, Juliette just gets "sense" beat into her. One gets the feeling that Vadim was just trying to use Bardot for his own purposes even while making a film where everyone else is just using her for their own purposes. Bardot ultimately turned that around and became famous using her sexuality to her own advantages (even if she's ultimately used her fame for some pretty terrible things.)

Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island

Well, Donovan Hill finishes off Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy with us as we discuss the 1956 end to the saga: Duel at Ganryu Island. It's not quite as action oriented as the other two films, but it does a lot to tie up loose ends and put a cap on the story.

Hopefully Donovan will be back, it was pretty fun having him on.

But I don't think we'll convince him or anyone else to join us next week.