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Noir as high school, high school as noir. The life or death impenetrable social horror of the hierarchies of jocks, babes, geeks and one cool loner get inverted through a prism of classic noir tropes: the femme fatale, the mysterious boss, the thug with a heart of gold and, of course, the letterman bully who rules the parking lot after study hall.
Snitching is one of the primal human impulses, and from early on it’s fraught with ambiguity. The same parent or teacher who punishes you for withholding guilty knowledge greets your offer to tell all by snapping, “No one likes a tattle-tale.” We make heroes of whistleblowers and undercover cops but despise stool pigeons and secret police.
Tsai Ming Liang’s The Wayward Cloud, if not one of the best undistributed films from 2005, is arguably one of the most provocative. The quasi-fantastic premise, relayed to us by TV news reports, immediately sets an off-kilter tone: Taiwan is in the midst of a stultifying drought while the price of watermelons has dropped drastically.
Larry Clark’s Wassup Rockers is more finger pointing than his other sympathetic, provocative, and exploitive portrayals of the insulated and often sociopathic worlds of teenagers.
This box set of two horror Sci-Fi double features (from the producers of Fiend Without a Face) allows genre fans to wax nostalgic not only for bygone matinee and drive-in fare, but also for the days when afternoon and late night television airtime was ruled by old B-movies. Dont let the exquisitely illustrated packaging fool you, these are not animated features, theyre good old-fashioned exploitation pictures. The replications of the lurid press art in the info-packed booklets display graphics that scream: SEE! BODY SNATCHERS! CRUEL BEAUTIES! BLOODCURDLING EXPERIMENTS! And the two horror features, Corridors of Blood and The Haunted Strangler, both starring the magnetic Boris Karloff, totally revel in sordid elements. For all their comic book exposition, they both set a chilling tone and compelling pace through inspired mise en scene and interesting story ideas.
Best known in America for his Three Colors Trilogy, Krystov Kieslowski won two awards at Cannes for his sumptuous 1991 film The Double Life of Veronique. He cast then-unknown Irene Jacob as the lead in his first film following his influential Decalogue series.
Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and its follow-up Sanjuro have proved to be two of the most iconic and influential samurai films.