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  • Liquid Dreams

    Liquid Dreams

    A brilliant weirdo sci-fi erotic thriller about a woman who goes to work in a futuristic building encompassing all manner of sex work: a taxi dancehall, a stripclub, a porno television studio, and one-on-one “ritual” sessions with top clients. Videodrome is a common point of comparison due to the presence of a hallucinatory video signal, which mostly seems like an excuse for director Mark Manos (who primarily worked as an editor) to show off his avant-garde chops in mini experimental…

  • Cries of Pleasure

    Cries of Pleasure

    A minimalist dreamscape of Franco obsessions: voyeurism, sadism, insanity, and the pressure cooker scenario of a group of people stuck together in a house for an extended period of time. Stephen Thrower cites the film’s debt to Hitchcock's Rope because of its long takes, which serve to further the oneiric quality of the film through the use pans and zooms (of course) that Franco uses in lieu of cutting. I was also reminded of Diabolique, in which the story revolves…

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  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★

    Hooptober 4.0
    Country 3/6: Finland

    While it’s from Finland and not Sweden, this film reminded me a lot of Bergman films from the late 40s and early 50s, especially the comedies. A group of upper-class archeologists and explorers sit around making jokes about sex that inadvertently reveal their various hangups and sexual dysfunctions: one guy is in love with another’s wife, one is impotent, etc. So despite the light tone, there is a disturbing sexuality lurking beneath the surface.

    This…

  • So Big!

    So Big!

    ★★★★½

    Movies like this are why I love the pre-code era so much—not just because of the permissiveness or lack of moralizing, but also the ramshackle approach to plot construction in early 1930s films. This film skips around time—we get snapshots of Stanwyck’s life as a little girl, a young schoolteacher, a married farmer’s wife, and then a widowed farmer with a grown son. The film resembles nothing less than an Ozu film in its approach to plot events: significant events…