Get ready for Wicked Weekends - available in the UK, US & Canada and featuring the very best titles from Arrow Video, Arrow Academy and Arrow TV on Apple TV!
Each Thursday,* we’ll reveal a new range of specially curated titles for you to discover, re-discover or simply enjoy watching. Running Thursday to Sunday, the selected films will be available for only £2.99 / $2.99. Stay Tuned!
Selected titles for November 26 – November 29:
La Chinoise (Drama, 1967).
Jean-Luc Godard’s ferocious run of ground breaking 1960s commercial features neared a terminus point as the filmmaker turned his gaze onto the nascent left-wing student organisations coalescing on university campuses across France and environs. The resulting film was his searing masterpiece La Chinoise — a mordant satire, pedagogical treatise, political tract, and pop-artwork-“plus blood” rolled into one.
It’s early ’67 and Radio Peking’s in the air for the Aden Arabie Cell, a Maoist collective holed up in a sprawling flat on Paris’s rue de Miromesnil — the newly purchased actual residence of Godard and then-wife and star Anne Wiazemsky. Véronique (Wiazemsky) and her comrades, including Jean-Pierre Léaud (The 400 Blows, Out 1) and Juliet Berto (Out 1, Céline and Julie Go Boating) lead a series of discussions and performative skits addressing matters of French colonialism, American imperialism, and the broader conflict raging in Vietnam. A meditation on the efficacy of violent protest and militant counteraction played out between Wiazemsky (conducted by Godard via radio-earpiece), and her then-tutor philosopher Francis Jeanson gives way to a plot to assassinate the Soviet minister of culture — a red-handed point of no going-back on the path to complete radicalisation.
A tour-de-force of the primary-palette images — the ‘household images,’ perhaps — of Godard’s early career, La Chinoise serves as both cautionary tale and early sign of fascination with the political currents that would soon lead to the next period of JLG’s life and work. — “The revolution is not a dinner-party.”
Smash Palace (Drama, 1981).
Premiering at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, Smash Palace was the second feature of Roger Donaldson following the success of Sleeping Dogs, a film which had heralded the arrival of the New Zealand New Wave.
Smash Palace concerns itself with the marriage of former racing driver Al (Bruno Lawrence, The Quiet Earth) and French-born Jacqui (Anna Jemison, Nomads). The pair had met when she nursed him back to health following a career-ending injury. They married, returned to Al’s native New Zealand to take over his late father’s wrecking yard business – the Smash Palace of the title – and had a child. But over time stagnation has set in, Jacqui’s resentment of Al has grown, and things are threatening to spill over…
Playing out as a darker, more haunting New Zealand variation on such US separation movies as Kramer vs. Kramer or Shoot the Moon, Smash Palace offers a brilliant, vivid messy portrait of masculinity in crisis, driven by Lawrence’s immense central performance – once again confirming his status as one of New Zealand’s finest actors.
Spotlight on a Murderer (Drama, 1961).
When the terminally ill Count Hervé de Kerloquen (Pierre Brasseur, Goto, Isle of Love) vanishes without trace, his heirs are told that they have to wait five years before he can be declared legally dead, forcing them to devise ways of paying for the upkeep of the vast family château in the meantime. While they set about transforming the place into an elaborate son et lumière tourist attraction, they are beset by a series of tragic accidents – if that’s really what they are…
The little-known third feature by the great French maverick Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face, Judex) is a delightfully playful romp through Agatha Christie territory, whose script (written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac of Les Diaboliques and Vertigo fame) is mischievously aware of the hoariest old murder-mystery clichés and gleefully exploits as many of them as possible.
They’re equally aware of the detective story’s antecedents in the Gothic novel, a connection that Franju is only too happy to emphasise visually at every opportunity thanks to his magnificent main location. A young Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, Amour) is amongst the Kerloquen heirs.
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* outside of promotion periods.