A Case for a Rookie Hangman

Pavel Juráček was a key figure of the 1960s Czech New Wave whose work has been steadily re-evaluated in recent years. Although he directed only two features, he co-scripted some major films of the period, notably Karel Zeman’s A Jester’s Tale (1964) and Jindřich Polák’s Ikarie XB 1 (1963), and supported the work of Vera... Continue Reading →

Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz

Underappreciated Spanish director José Larraz made his first five films in Britain, and his best-known and most reputable, the psychological mystery Symptoms, even represented the UK at the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. The isolated mansion of Symptoms, where obsessive passions dangerously brew, the surrounding damp, leaf-littered woods and the murky river hiding buried secrets,... Continue Reading →

Films by Luigi Bazzoni

Despite creating one of the most wonderfully strange films of 1970s Italian cinema, Footprints (Le orme, 1975), director Luigi Bazzoni remains little known. His output may be scarce, five features concentrated over a 10-year period, but his intelligence and visual sophistication are unquestionable. Skirting the dominant genres of the time, two of his films are... Continue Reading →

Infernal Cheek: Henri-Georges Clouzot

It has been a long time coming, but the films made by French master director Henri-Georges Clouzot in the later part of his career are finally getting some attention. For decades, the general critical consensus has been that he made his best work in the 1940s-50s, with Le corbeau (1943), Quai des orfèvres (1947), Le... Continue Reading →

Films by Sergio Martino

Italian director Sergio Martino worked in a wide variety of film genres, starting with Mondo-type documentaries in the late 1960s, followed by the obligatory Western, before moving on to giallo, for which he is best known, and later, poliziottesco. The 1960s-70s were an ebullient time for the Italian film industry, which rapidly moved from one... Continue Reading →

A Sting in the Tale: Female Convict Scorpion

Mixing exploitation with politics and formal experimentation, the Female Prisoner Scorpion series created a mythical female avenger that fired off the imagination of 1970s Japanese audiences. It sparked numerous sequels, although none ever came close to the original three films, directed by Shunya Itô and starring Meiko Kaji. Adapted from T­ôru Shinohara’s violent manga, it... Continue Reading →

Black Lizard: Bodies of Artifice

The delirious adventures of a queer criminal as seen by Yukio Mishima and Kinji Fukasaku screens at the Etrange Festival in Paris on 13 September 2017. Footsteps echo in the dark. A hand knocks on a door. A flap is lifted, a pair of eyes peeks out, the door opens. Footsteps lead down a corridor... Continue Reading →

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Too often put in the same bag as the cynical, Hollywood-engineered wave of blaxploitation flicks it influenced, Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is pure, unadulterated ghetto anger that burns as fiercely now as when it was made over thirty years ago. Having started a filmmaking career in France with the support of Henri... Continue Reading →

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