Thursday, July 05, 2012

Library Videos for July--Foreign Classics from the Criterion Collection

 400 Blows, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud. Directed by Francois Truffaut. (1959)  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F67F68 2009.
     The first of Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical films starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel, the film follows a neglected boy who skips school, tells a lie, runs away from home and lands in reform school.  Not a complex plot, yet the film is on virtually every list of top all-time films, because of the way it involves the viewer so completely in the boy’s life, without becoming maudlin or depressing. The plight of Doinel becomes all-important to the viewer, who rejoices in his path to adulthood.

La Strada, starring Giulietta Masina and Anthony Quinn. Directed by Fredrico Fellini.(1954.)  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F67S73 2003.
           La Strada,(the road) is a Fellini masterpiece revolving around an innocent young girl, sold by her mother to a traveling strongman named Zampano (Quinn).  Treated no better than a slave, she nonetheless falls in love with her companion until they fatefully join a small circus.  Masina gives one of the best film performances in history, endearing and affecting.  And Anthony Quinn is an incredible counterpoint as the brutal strongman with no control of his feelings.

The Seventh Seal, starring Max von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot and Gunnar Bjorkstrand.  Directed by Ingmar Bergman. (1958.) Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F67S47x1994.
      Von Sydow is magnificent as a Swedish knight , who returns home from ten years of fighting in the Crusades,to find the Plague ravaging towns and villages, religious fanaticism and terror all around.  Seeking the meaning of life, he challenges Death to a chess match.  Apocalyptic and allegorical, this is at the pinnacle of movie-making.

Browsing Area Books for July--Scandinavian Noir

  The Leopard by Jo Nesbø. Translated by Don Bartlett. Library Call Number: PT8951.24.E83 P3613 2012.
          Swedish Chief Inspector Harry Hole made a reputation for himself in capturing the serial killer called the Snowman, but now there is a new killer in the streets of Oslo. Called back from hiding in Hong Kong’s opium dens to see his dying father, he reluctantly agrees to investigate the murders of two young women.  It’s then the Inspector finds himself once again immersed in the evil he was trying so hard to forget.

The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Translated by Lisa Hartford.  Library Call Number: PT8176.1.D54K8513 2011.
 Carl Mørck is the only detective of three who survives a shooting; he blames himself for the deaths of the others.  He never pulled his weapon.  So he’s surprised to be promoted on his return to the force, put in charge of Section Q, the cold case files of the force.  The department has a staff of one, with offices in the basement.  Perhaps his superiors think he’ll be out of the way; if so, they’ve underestimated Mørck, who begins looking into the deaths of several young women and the five year-old disappearance of a politician, whose death may not be all that certain.

Copenhagen Noir, edited by Bo Tao Michaëlis. Translated by Mark Kline. Library Call Number: PT8024.E5C67 2011.
   For those who like their crime in smaller chunks, Michaëlis collects 14 stories of the best Danish crime writers into a book said by one reader to have a “…grim, uncomfortable power.”
     The disaffected, the greedy, the angry all show up here, with the stark noirish backgrounds of Denmark interchangeable with the dark seams of Los Angeles, Chicago or New York.