1945. RAF pilot Peter Carter is returning home after a mission when his plane is shot down over the Channel. The next day he awakens on a beach, surprised he isn’t dead. The problem is that the Angel of Death lost him in the fog. One of Powell&Pressburger’s most amazing fantasies, which takes place in the sky (in b/w) and on Earth (in color), it is dominated by the power of love and science, rational and surreal, with brilliant dialogue, extraordinary effects, and irresistible tempo and irony.
In a world devastated by plague and war, a knight who has lost his faith plays chess with death, until a family of acrobats reconciles him with life. Shot in metaphysical black and white, full of symbolism and pictorial and sculptural impressions, Bergman depicts his Middle Ages, a mirror image of the barbarianism of present times. The result is a biblical-philosophical drama, a filmic allegory which is still unique in film history.
To save her father, a beautiful girl offers herself to the Beast, half man and half monster. She learns to love him, perceiving his gentle soul beneath his horrible aspect. Part theatre and cinema, part magic and fantasy, this is Cocteau’s recipe for the marvelous: a barrage of visionary feats which call on the spectators’ complicity, tickling their childlike need for illusion. The Beast Jean Marais was Cocteau’s favorite.
The story of Dr. Feelgood, one of the most explosive rock bands of the ‘70s. From a town in Essex dominated by the petrochemical industry, Dr. Feelgood came to London with a rawboned and minimal music, so different from contemporary British rock, with its tinsel and strobe lights. Temple’s movie is the final chapter of a trilogy about English musical culture of the 1970s, an ideal prequel to the documentaries dedicated to the Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer.
The life of the poet Sayat Nova, who lived during the Armenian Renaissance, from his childhood until he entered a monastery. A film made of fixed shots to be contemplated, “canvases” which don’t narrate but rather weave hidden threads which drag the viewer into their dazzling beauty, above and beyond symbolisms and liturgies. For the spectator, it is an experience of the purely-visible. The extreme hermeticism of the film created problems with the Soviet authorities.
Six years after Oil City Confidential, Temple turns his attention once more to Dr. Feelgood’s guitarist, Wilko Johnson, and his battle against what seemed incurable cancer. Johnson reacted to this harsh diagnosis with unexpected, euphoric vitality; he refused therapy and set off on a series of goodbye tours. With its cinephile quotes and blues-rock riffs, The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson is a musical exorcism which, through music and laughter, mocks the inexorability of death.