The European Masterpieces Part 4: Closely Watched Trains (1966 Jiří Menzel)

Background In 1993, Czechoslovakia dissolved into two independent states: Czech Republic (made up of the Bohemia and Moravia regions) and Slovakia. The 20th Century up until that point had been a turbulent time for the former country. After World War I, it gained independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and grew into a socially and economically … Continue reading The European Masterpieces Part 4: Closely Watched Trains (1966 Jiří Menzel)

Akira Kurosawa – A Master of Film Part 3: Dersu Uzala and the Russian Wilderness

Foreword by Robin Stevens Akira Kurosawa (黒沢 明 1910 – 1998) was a master of film craft, and one of the greatest directors of all time. He grew up in Tokyo, watching silent films from around the world and going to see traditional and modern Japanese theatre. He became a painter, and in his 20s … Continue reading Akira Kurosawa – A Master of Film Part 3: Dersu Uzala and the Russian Wilderness

Akira Kurosawa – A Master of Film Part 2: The Humanity of the Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa (黒沢 明 1910 – 1998) was a master of film craft, and one of the greatest directors of all time. He grew up in Tokyo, watching silent films from around the world and going to see traditional and modern Japanese theatre. He became a painter, and in his 20s got into script writing, editing and … Continue reading Akira Kurosawa – A Master of Film Part 2: The Humanity of the Seven Samurai

The European Masterpieces Part 3: Ashes and Diamonds (1958 Andrzei Wajda)

Andrzej Wajda’s masterpiece Ashes and Diamonds is set in a small provincial Polish town during early May 1945. Specifically on the day that Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied forces. Here, we find a snapshot of Polish exiles and Soviet army occupants confronting the dawn of a new Poland. The events of the film are … Continue reading The European Masterpieces Part 3: Ashes and Diamonds (1958 Andrzei Wajda)

The European Masterpieces Part 2: L’Avventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse

When examining the history of cinema and its road to where it is now, it can sometimes be illuminated by focusing on the huge role that Italy has played in it. Since the astonishingly filmed epic, Cabiria by Giovanni Pastrone from 1914, which Scorsese cites as one of the most important early films of cinema, … Continue reading The European Masterpieces Part 2: L’Avventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse

The European Masterpieces Part 1: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

It was in the wee hours of St Stephen’s Day (the day after Christmas) about 12 years ago that I first watched Claude Berri’s 1986 film Jean de Florette. I remember it was really flipping cold outside and some snow, I think, may have fallen that day. So suffice to say that watching a sun-drenched … Continue reading The European Masterpieces Part 1: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources