I just sat back and took this one in. Took no notes, no screenshots.

Good movie, can’t remember much except that Sammo Hung plays one of the rival soldiers at the beginning, then reappears later as the powerful wizard LONG BROWS.

Celia’s beloved grandma just died, but she’s got the new neighbors next door to play with, and the eternal hope that she’ll get a pet rabbit. Unfortunately the neighbors are communists, and it’s Australia in the 1950’s during a myxomatosis outbreak (I’ve had the Radiohead song’s bassline in my head all week), so she’s constantly being warned against rabbits and commies.

Rabidly anti-commie dad (Nicholas Eadie of pre-fame Nicole Kidman miniseries Vietnam) chooses sides, and buys her a rabbit if she won’t play with the neighbors anymore, tells her they’re bad people. Cruelty abounds: the other kids hurt her rabbit, dad gets the neighbor fired. Her family’s cop friend John (Bill Zappa of The Road Warrior) straight-up kidnaps the rabbit, and after it dies in quarantine, Celia becomes the Joker. She shoots John to death while seeing visions of storybook monsters (major Heavenly Creatures parallels) and gets away with it, then fortunately doesn’t kill his daughter while staging mock gallows executions.

Harmless ritual:

Not so harmless:

Celia was Rebecca Smart, who debuted in Dusan Makavejev’s The Coca-Cola Kid. Turner later directed Sam Neill and pre-fame Russell Crowe, and remade Teorema starring Sandra Bernhard in the Stamp role(!!)

Found another movie from the director of the Maiku Hama series. Silent-ish – no sync dialogue or music score, but we hear sfx and voices on tape. A detective whose thing is that he’s always eating eggs (Shirô Sano of Violent Cop) takes on the case of a kidnapped daughter named Bellflower and is sent on the usual goose chase, but with riddles and gyroscopes. In the end the whole adventure and kidnapping was a ploy to complete a silent film fifty years in the making.

Played Critics Week at Venice along with Assayas’s debut. Relaxed pace and lack of dialogue makes it hazy and dreamy – per the title, it’s not one to watch late at night. Funny that a few hours after watching this, I read: “it made me wonder what it’d be like to see, for once, a cinephilic film that isn’t in any way about cinephilia.”

Great opening scene, Martin Landau at a diner, attacked by cook Donald Pleasence, but alas, it’s just a dream, and Pleasence ends up being the lax doctor in charge of the psychos, not a psycho himself. Nerdy Dr. Potter (Dwight Schultz, a Barbie movie voice actor) arrives to replace the retired Dr. Merton, but the psychos smell foul play and decide to kill the new guy and his family.

Bad guys:

Famous last words in a movie we know will involve a blackout: “the only thing that separates me from them is electricity,” and poor Brent Jennings (Ernie from Lodge 49) is the Black Guy Who Dies First. Three killers on the loose: Landau, Jack Palance, and big Erland van Lidth (The Running Man). A fourth killer hides behind shadows and masks, and is the writers’ most clever invention, appearing at the end as Friendly Interloper Tom (Phillip Clark of Death Scream), the devil in their midst.

Good guys:

In the movie’s most 1982 detail, the wife (Deborah Hedwall, recently in After Yang) and sister (Lee Taylor-Allan of sexy aerobics movie Pulsebeat) are arrested while protesting nuclear power, which is how their little girl ends up home alone letting killers into the house. Palance is top-billed so he gets to escape.

Square, uptight couple Paul [Bartel] and Mary [Woronov] have been saving money from their retail and nursing jobs to open an old-fashioned restaurant. Their realtor is coming over for dinner, but a swinger comes into their apartment by accident, Paul punches him and he dies. After a financial setback they realize they can get the money they need by attracting more swingers to their place, then killing and robbing them – “This city is full of rich perverts.”

They take pervert lessons from Doris The Dominatrix, and cut in Raoul the locksmith after realizing he’s a criminal, saving spare keys to apartments with new locks so he can rob them later. After Raoul seduces Mary, Paul follows him around and learns Raoul has been making even more money off the dead swingers, selling their bodies to a dog food company and their cars to a chop shop. Paul gets even and serves Raoul when the realtor comes over to make the deal for their new place.

Loan officer “Mr. Leech” (Buck Henry) getting fresh:

How is this movie so good? Obviously made by weirdos who chose to play the straight roles. Every normal-seeming person is a pervert in their spare time, and every professional pervert (like Doris The Dominatrix, and eventually Mary) is perfectly wholesome at home. Would make a good double bill with Parents.

José is a drug-addict filmmaker editing a vampire movie (Law of Desire star Eusebio Poncela). He meets Pedro, an extreme cinema obsessive (Will More of Dark Habits). The two are maybe not great for each other, or maybe that’s the drugs talking – movie jumps back in time to when Pedro was alive, while in the present tense, José gets high with Ana (All About My Mother star Cecilia Roth) and investigates letters, tapes and films sent to him.

José’s inspirational posters also include Viridiana wearing a Spider-Man mask.

Pedro is a super-creepy young man who only loves cinema and silly putty. He gets a stop-motion time-lapse gizmo and films himself sleeping, becoming obsessed with some hidden change that is happening. His camera apparently becomes sentient and starts killing people, beginning with Pedro’s large-eyed cousin Marta, while Pedro becomes hoarse-voiced, weak and withdrawn. José finally arrives, performs a blindfold ritual before the killer camera, and becomes pure cinema.

I prioritized watching this after Nick Pinkerton’s writeup – some of his best work.

Pedro’s address to José, dictated from the edge of oblivion in an unrecognizable rasp suggestive of lycanthropic transformation, structures what narrative Arrebato can be said to have … In Arrebato’s last act, which finds José totally absorbed in Pedro’s film and his strange quest, it becomes a movie about one run-down sybarite who’s coming apart at the seams bearing witness to the spectacle of another run-down sybarite who has come apart at the seams, both “reunited” on celluloid in the film’s inspired and singularly unnerving closing scene. If you watch the movie and aren’t keeping it together particularly well yourself – and who is these days? – this can all add up to a disquieting hall-of-mirrors effect.

Filmed in Rotterdam and Minnesota. Formerly known as the greatest concert movie ever made, Stop Making Sense has a new challenger.

“Sign” – Just dance and vocal over the tape until Prince stops whipping his guitar around and gets down to playing it, camera flying over the stage, the rest of the group arriving marching-band-style.

“Sunshine” – Sheila has so many drums… the risers are 6 feet high… this camerawork is too composed to be spontaneous.

“Corvette” – Prince is suddenly at a piano in a different outfit, or did he just lose the glasses and the lighting changed?

“Housequake” – Haha they cut Corvette short for this. Not a great song but everyone gets to sing and P does the splits.

“Slow Love” – Crooner P tears his shirt open, lighters in the crowd, the backup singers are doing a little relationship skit, the sax player is dressed like a monk.

“I Could Never” – Brass-heavy, this time the skit has dialogue, oh no, but otherwise this is pure fire, closes with a wandering guitar section.

“Hot Thing” – Definitely a costume change, more of a sexy dance routine to a drum machine beat than a song (that’s not a complaint). All the songs I skip on the album work great in the stage show. Some of the crowd has lost their shirts at this point.

“Now’s the Time” – A staged brawl while the band jazzes out.

“U Got the Look” – Just a music video, we’re not pretending this one is being played live. Opens with a complex montage, then P duets with some redhaired woman, neither of them have mics, everyone in the band is dancing.

“If I Was Your Girlfriend” – The band is sidelined, P in fur coat with wind machine, he has sex with a dancer.

“Forever In Your Life” – Costume change, now P looks like a train conductor. You can kinda hear the acoustic guitar, but mostly it’s voice and beats, and goes on forever like the title says.

“Beautiful Night” – Falsetto in police hat, P and Sheila swap jobs.

“The Cross” – Skits reprise over a stripped-down first half, going big at the end.

Sammo plays a thief and killer and master bullshitter. Terrific opening scene – he finds a field of dead soldiers and loots their bodies, but they were only playing dead for a military game, stand up and capture Sammo, take him back to base and humiliate him, then he blows them all up.

The point is supposed to be a train robbery, but nobody can stand still long enough to wait for the train; buildings are burned down and a bank is robbed before it even arrives. Too many characters and factions to keep track of. James Tien was in there somewhere, and Rosamund Kwan of the Once Upon a Time in China series, and Hwang Jang-Lee (the “dead” friend/villain of Game of Death II). Wong Fei-hung is in this, meets his rival Kien, both as little kids. People can’t stop jumping out of two-story buildings. Whenever the pace is less than frantic, he simply speeds up the film… this is cheating, but the result is absolutely thrilling, so I’ll allow it.

No revisionist western is complete without one of these:

The protestors and prostitutes team up against the patriarchy:

Opens with 80’s dance music… I’ve been thrown off by the music in my early-decade French films lately. Sabine is Béatrice Romand from Autumn Tale, and the good marriage is all in her head – her boyfriend is married to someone else, but she starts fantasizing and telling everyone she’s getting married. As soon as that proves impossible, she meets André Dussolier at a wedding, and gets ahead of herself again, quitting her job, believing that she’ll marry him and not have to work anymore, even though he keeps ditching her for work reasons. Good ending on a train, leaving the future open.

Dave Kehr:

The second installment of Eric Rohmer’s “Comedies and Proverbs” is, like The Aviator’s Wife, a study in destructive imagination and the limitations of personal perspectives — which is to say that the characters talk as much as they did in the “Six Moral Tales,” but no one really hears what they’re saying.

Romand got an award at Venice, where Wenders and Zanussi also took prizes. Her blonde painter friend is Arielle Dombasle, last seen as the “American” in Time Regained.