Bildnis einer Trinkerin [Ticket of No Return] (1979)

Bildnis einer Trinkerin [literally: Portrait of a Drinker]
Director: Ulrike Ottinger
Writer: Ulrike Ottinger
Cast: Tabea Blumenschein, Lutze, Magdalena Montezuma, Orpha Termin, Monika von Cube, Paul Glauer, Nina Hagen, Günter Meisner, Kurt Raab, Volker Spengler, Eddie Constantine
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 1.6.2020

A young woman, the drinker (Tabea Blumenschein) buys a ticket to go to Berlin where she plans to drink as much as she can, whereever she can. At the same time as her, Soziale Frage (“social question”) (Magdalena Montezuma), Exakte Statistik (“exact statistics”) (Orpha Termin) and Gesunder Menschenverstand (“good judgment”) (Monika von Cube) arrive in Berlin for a conference. Their paths keep crossing with the drinker as she makes her way through the bars, accompanied by the homeless woman (Lutze), also a drinker, she befriended.

Bildnis einer Trinkerin is a strange film. Visually impressive, it remains on the level of metaphor rather than storytelling, making it rife for interpretation rather than more straightforward understanding. I really enjoyed going on that journey.

The film poster showing the protagonist (Tabea Blumenschein) walking through a hallway underground in an extravagant, futuristic dress.
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Elvis (1979)

Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Anthony Lawrence
Cast: Kurt RussellRonnie McDowell, Shelley Winters, Bing Russell, Robert Gray, Season Hubley, Pat Hingle, Melody Anderson, Ed Begley Jr., James Canning, Charles Cyphers
Seen on: 22.5.2016
[During the Carpenter retrospective, they did show Elvis as well, but unfortunately, they were only able to get a print of the German version that was cut from a length of 160 minutes down to a sleek 100 minutes. And since Maynard does own the DVD with the entire film in English, we decided to do a private screening instead – so that’s the version I saw.]

Elvis (Kurt Russell, with Ronnie McDowell singing) dreams of becoming a musician. Born in poor circumstances and without connections, he doesn’t stand that much of a chance. But when he goes to record a song for his mother (Shelley Winters), the studio is impressed by his voice, hearing the gospel background he comes from (and that comes without him being black). From there, his rise is quick and very high, but it does come with its dark sides as well.

The film was made only very shortly after Elvis’ death and it shows in its unfiltered adoration of Elvis that doesn’t really dare to go near the darker chapters of his biography – like the drug use. That means that the film becomes overly sweet and remains oddly flat in places. Nevertheless it wins with the amazing performance by Kurt Russell and Ronnie McDowell’s great singing.

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Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, James McCausland
Cast: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward
Seen on: 15.5.2015

Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is part of what remains of the police force, mostly busy with hunting down gang violence. After the gang led by Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) kills his partner Jim Goose (Steve Bisley), Max decides that he has to get out of there. So he packs his wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) and their little kid and they try to get away from their routines. But Toecutter, his gang and the violence they bring are not that easily left behind.

I loved pretty much everything about Mad Max, in particular the way the movie methodically dismantles all the “lone wolf”-cop clichés. Even though that meant that the film ends on one of hell of a sad note.



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When a Stranger Calls (1979)

When a Stranger Calls
Director: Fred Walton
Writer: Fred Walton, Steve Feke
Cast: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Tony Beckley, Colleen Dewhurst

Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) babysits the Mandrakis’ kids when she starts receiving weird phone calls asking her to check on the kids. Instead Jill calls the police which saves her life and leads to the arrest of the psychopathic Curt Duncan (Tony Beckley). But seven years later, Duncan escapes. John Clifford (Charles Durning), the police officer turned PI who arrested him, goes on the hunt.

I didn’t really like the rather disjointed structure of the film (or John Clifford), but several parts of this movie were absolutely brilliant.

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Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
[I am sure that I already saw this film, probably about 10, 15 years ago or so, but I really couldn’t remember a damn thing about it, so I’m not labeling this as a re-watch.]

The crew of the Nostromo – a commercial mining ship – are woken from hypersleep in the middle of their journey after the ship received a distress call from a planet they were passing. They land to investigate. While Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and Kane (John Hurt) head out on the surface, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers that the distress call was actually a warning. But by then Kane already stumbled on a nest of alien eggs…

I loved Alien. It’s a tense, scary, exciting film that has an absolutely outstanding main character in Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. It’s simply a must-see.

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Sexual aberration – sesso perverso (1979)

[The final film of the /slash Filmfestival‘s special European evening.]

Sexual aberration (in German, it has the wonderful title “Libidomania”) is a movie by Bruno Mattei.

It’s a kind of mockumentary, mixing archive footage from actual documentaries with scenes from erotic films and passages from more or less scientific books about human sexuality to create a map of various perversions, fetishes and generally unconventional sexual practices.

Libidomania [it is the better title, so I’m using it from now on :)] can not be taken seriously – and should not be taken seriously, either. It’s sleazy and very, very trashy. At the same time, it’s also incredibly entertaining. I have yet to see a movie that makes me go “What the Fuck” more often – and I’ve already seen Beastly. In short, it’s brilliant.

[Slight NSFW-ness after the jump.]

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Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro [Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro] (1979)

[In September, there was a Miyazaki festival in Vienna. This is the first movie I’m going to review from that festival. They had planned to show Ponyo as the highlight at the end but becaue of some contractual problems, they didn’t, unfortunately.]

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro is Hayao Miyazaki‘s first feature film.

Lupin is a master thief. When he hears of a batch of excellently forged money, he travels to Cagliostro where he gets more than he bargained for: Not only does he have to save a girl, but also has to solve a riddle that goes back five hundred years.

Lupin III is not at all like Miyazaki’s later films. It’s quite clear that it’s not based on his original material and it’s still stuck way more in the general Anime conventions than his later work. Still it’s funny and entertaining.


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