Dementia 13 (1963) is a horror movie produced by Roger Corman.
A man with a portable radio walks into a pier and then into a row-boat.
His attractive wife Louise follows him. She wants to pressure his elderly mother to
change her will, that currently is in the name of a mysterious Kathleen, and leave him more money. The man, John, has barely time to tell her
that if he dies before his mother she is no longer a member of the family
(and therefore entitled to nothing) that he has a heart attack and dies.
She realizes that her only hope is to hide his death and dumps the body in
the lake. She then writes a letter to John's mother in John's name, that he
has to travel and that Louise will come to stay at the family's castle.
The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Kathleen, John's sister who
drowned as a child.
In the meantime, one of John's brothers, Billy, picks up another visitor, Kane,
another attractive blonde, at the airport. Kane is the fiance of the other
brother, Richard, a sculptor. They are all coming to the castle
for the yearly memorial for Kathleen.
There is tension among the members of the family. The mother dislikes Kane.
Richard is hostile to Louise, perhaps guessing her motives. A flashback
shows that Billy was playing and fighting with Kathleen when she drowned.
The scheming Louise realizes that the mother's obsession for Kathleen borders
on dementia and decides to take advantage of it. She insinuates that the
girl might be trying to reach out to her mother. At night Louise takes some
of Kathleen's toys and takes them to the pond where she drowned. Then she
takes her clothes off and dives into the pond to tie them to the bottom
(presumably expecting them to eventually float back up as a message from
Kathleen to her mother). However, she is shocked to find the dead girl's
body that the bottom of the pond, and a little shrine around it. She screams
and swims back up. But there is a man with an axe waiting for her, and he
coldly murders her without saying a word. The following day nobody can explain
Louise's disappearance. The matriarch demands to see her to continue their
conversation about Kathleen. During breakfast by the pond the whole family
witnesses the miracle: Kathleen's toys pop up from the bottom of the pond.
The family doctor smells foul play, but the mother faints.
At night a poacher is hiding by the pond, waiting for his prey. Instead
he uncovers the corpse of Kathleen, that someone has pulled out of the pond.
And someone beheads the poacher with an axe.
The mother walks to a wooden hut outside the castle that contains some
of Kathleen's things. She finds the corpse of the girl. While she is talking
to her, the axe man tries to kill her. She manages to run away but collapses
before she can reach the castle. They find her dead holding in her hand
a precious crown that used to belong to Kathleen.
The family doctor, determined to find a rational explanation for both
disappearances (Louise) and appearances (the toys),
has the pond drained. At the bottom they find that someone has built a stone
tomb with the words "forgive me, Kathleen". The corpse that Louise saw, though,
Kane follows Richard inside an underground tunnel to a sculptor's studio
with plenty of marble statues. She doesn't notice a marble statue of
Kathleen lying dead.
The doctor interrogates both brothers and elicits from the younger, Billy,
memories of Richard trying to throw him in the pond. Billy also knows what
happened to Louise, but says it with a riddle in a trance.
At the wedding of Kane and Richard the doctor warns the bride that she might
be in danger. The doctor deciphers Billy's riddle and finds Louise's corpse
hanging from a hook in a cellar used to refrigerate meat. He also finds
Kathleen's corpse lying on the ground and carries it out.
He then puts it in a place where it can be found and watches from behind
a tree. Richard and Kane are shocked. Kane walks towards the corpse, but
Billy jumps out with an axe and tries to kill her. The doctor shoots and kills
Billy. Then he explains that the corpse is nothing but a giant doll built
by Billy to exorcise the guilt of having accidentally caused Kathleen's death.
You're a Big Boy Now (1966),
based on David Benedictus's book,
is an experimental comedy, not particularly
funny and not particularly experimental.
Bernard is am awkward boy, employed as a librarian in the library that his
father manages. His father is ashamed of his ineptitude and decides to send
him to live by himself. His protective mother is terrified at the
idea that he will be all alone and pays the landlady (who keeps a chicken as
a pet) to inform her if he
is visited by girls. Instead, he spends the first night alone exploring the
red-light district. His tie gets stuck into a machine that projects the act
of a stripper and he is rescued by a girl who works in his father's office, Amy,
a good girl who used to be very ugly in school.
One day, while chasing a kite that flew away
in the park, he sees Barbara, a sexy girl. And he sees her again, dancing in
a restaurant where he's dining with Amy. Amy tries to take his virginity, but
the landlady's chicken attacks her and his parents get informed of the mischief.
His still obsessed with Barbara.
Barbara's fictionalized biography is told by a dwarf (sort of a French novel
a` la Marquis De Sade). Bernard writes her a letter, and she writes back
inviting him to her dressing room after the show. She succeeds in taking
his virginity but he is deeply disappointed by the experience (by his failure
Her landlady walks immediately to his father to denounce his sleepless night.
Amy also learns about his night and confronts him at the library.
And she also has news for him: his father made a pass at her.
He's indifferent to everybody now. He's more preoccupied with Barbara's job,
which he now hates: everybody watches her underwear while she's dancing in
The landlady kicks him out, disgusted by his lifestyle (and perhaps resentful
that he doesn't care about her loneliness), so Bernard moves in with the
go-go dancer, who is hysterical because he can't perform his sexual duties.
Both his mother and Amy are looking for him (his mom convinced that Amy
is the seductress).
Bernard finds Barbara in bed with his best friend and colleague at the
library, packs his things and moves out.
Both mom and Amy ask his father for help. Just then Bernard shows up,
and announces that he wants to leave town.
Barbara and the landlady show up to further confuse the situation.
Bernard, disgusted, steals the precious Gutenberg Bible of his father and
runs away, chased by everybody through the streets of the city.
Barbara captures him and becomes a hero. Amy rescues Bernard from jail.
Amy and Bernard walk away happy together.
Finian's Rainbow (1968) is an adaptation of a 1947 stage musical (starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark).
The Rain People (1969) is a road movie of sorts,
a feminist counterpart to Easy Rider.
Natalie is a young traditional housewife. One night she cannot sleep next to
her husband. She wakes up,
gets dressed and drives away. She stops at her parents'
house to explain that she needs to be free for a while. At a gas station
she calls her husband Vinny
to tell him that she loves him but that she needs to get away from him.
She also tells him that she is pregnant.
She talks about herself in third person ("she is pregnant").
She takes a hotel room. She has no luggage.
She remembers her happy marriage, when she was still in love.
After resting a bit, she keeps driving.
She picks up a hitch-hiker, Killer (James Caan). It turns out he is a former
college student who got injured playing a violent sport. His mind doesn't work well
anymore. She flirts with him, ecstatic that he is so obedient (probably in
contrast with her husband). He tells her of his accident and how he ended up
raking leaves on campus and how eventually they gave him money to leave.
Now he has a lot of money but no place to go.
Natalie drives him to the house of a former girlfriend, who cruelly does not
want to have anything to do with him. He was hoping to get a job from her
father but the girl coldly tells her father that Killer is retarded and can
only rake leaves. Natalie, disgusted, drives Killer away, but then realizes that
she cannot take care of the boy. She tells him to go back to his mother but
Killer says that his mother died. She is desperate: she can hardly take care
of herself and now she also has to take care of a retarded boy. She picked
him up hoping in something exciting and instead she got stuck with someone
who needs help.
She calls her husband and humbly confesses that she is a bad housewife, that
she hates to take care of her husband. She wants to get an abortion.
She tries to help the boy find a job and a place to stay.
She realizes that everybody wants to steal his money but she cannot waste any
more time after him and leaves. She is driving too fast and is stopped by
a cop, Gordon (Robert Duvall). He gives her a speeding ticket but is intrigued
that a married woman would be driving alone so far from home. After a stop
at a cafe, he escorts her back to the town to pay the ticket. On the
way he behaves like a clown and an acrobat on the motorcycle.
She takes him to the place where she left Killer. Killer has gone mad and
his employer wants Gordon to arrest him. Killer was merely venting his anger
because Natalie abandoned him. Natalie begs the cop not to arrest him, but
the employer refuses to return most of Killer's money. The cop learns from
Killer that Natalie ran away from her husband and makes a pass at her.
She starts driving away with Killer, but then Killer disrupts a telephone
conversation with her husband, and she decides to dump the idiot and return
to the cop.
Gordon and Natalie start making love in his trailer, but his wild daughter
interrupts them. The child knows all about sex and talks like a trucker.
Her father kicks her out in her pyjama and then resumes the seduction of
Natalie. His wife and a child died in the fire that burned down their house.
Outside the wild girl befriends Killer, who has somehow found his way to the
trailer park. She gives the idiot a tour of the trailer park and tells him
how she spies on her dad when she comes home with a hooker and she has to
stay outside for a couple of hours.
Inside Natalie is letting Gordon make love to her but then suddenly realizes
that Gordon is making love to his wife, not to her. Natalie gets up and wants
to leave, but Gordon gets violent. Killer breaks the door and jumps on Gordon.
Nothing can stop a furious Killer who keeps beating the cop, with flashes
of his old games. The little girl grabs her dad's gun and shoots Killer.
Natalie cries and drags the dead body towards her car, promising she will
take care of him.
The Godfather (1972)
Un uomo onesto, immigrato italiano che si e` fatto strada lavorando duro,
va a chiedere giustizia al boss mafioso Don Vito Corleone, noto come Godfather
(il padrino). Due mascalzoni hanno
tentato di violentare sua figlia e l'hanno picchiata brutalmente. Il tribunale
li ha condannati ma li ha lasciati andare subito. Lui vuole che Corleone li
faccia uccidere. Ma Corleone e` risentito che lui non abbia mai coltivato
la sua amicizia e venga adesso a "comprare" un favore invece che a offrirgli
la sua amicizia. Alla fine l'onest'uomo capisce e gli bacia la mano.
E` il giorno del matrimonio della figlia di Corleone. E` una festa tradizionale,
con musiche e balli all'antica. Anche nel giorno di festa nell'ufficio
di Corleone sfilano i questuanti, tutti alla ricerca di un favore.
Vito Corleone rappresenta no soltanto la gang ma anche la famiglia.
Al tempo stesso dietro la facciata bonaria e patriarcale si cela un grottesco
livello di violenza. Quando un produttore rifiuta di aiutare un amico del Don,
gli infilano nel letto la testa del suo cavallo preferito.
Una famiglia rivale, capeggiata da Sollozzo, propone ai Corleone di entrare
nel business della droga, ma Vito e suo figlio Sonny (James Caan), che e` anche
l'erede designato, tenteggiano. I sicari di Sollozzo decidono di fare senza
di loro e sparano a Vito, che viene ricoverato in fin di vita.
L'invulnerabilita` dei Corleone e` infranta.
Il pacifico mondo di ricatti e patti sprofonda in una specie di guerra fredda.
Mentre il patriarca e` fra la vita e la morte, Sonny organizza la rappresaglia.
L'altro figlio, Michael (Al Pacino), e` un giovane onesto che si e` sempre
tenuto alla larga dalla malavita e la cui ragazza e` una maestrina per bene.
Coincidenza vuole che Michael vada a trovare il padre in ospedale
proprio la sera che Sollazzo ha progettato di farlo strangolare. Michael
intuisce che qualcosa non va, fa spostare il padre in un'altra stanza, e
in tal modo lo salva. Un poliziotto corrotto quasi lo arresta, ma gli uomini
dei Corleone arrivano in massa.
Michael decide di far la sua parte. Il padre, che non ha ripreso coscienza,
sorride dal letto d'ospedale. Michael escogita un piano per ammazzare
tanto il poliziotto corrotto quanto Sollazzo: finge di voler far la pace e
chiede un incontro; sapendo che lui non e` un gangster, si limitano a
perquisirlo e non si preoccupano troppo; ma un'arma e` stata nascosta nei bagni
e Michael nel mezzo della cena va a prenderla e li uccide entrambi.
La morte del poliziotto scatena pero` l'ira della polizia, che finisce per
incidere sull'attivita` dei Corleone. La polizia da` una caccia spietata
all'assassino del poliziotto. I Corleone non hanno scelta: mandano Michael
a nascondersi in Sicilia, protetto questa volta non da gangster ma da picciotti.
Nel piccolo paese Michael scopre i rituali tradizionali, all'antica, del popolo
siciliano. Si innamora di una bella ragazza e ottiene l'approvazione del
padre a corteggiarla. Il matrimonio e` questione di giorni.
Intanto Sonny casca in un agguato (complice il cognato Carlo, che picchia
la moglie dopo che Sonny lo aveva messo in guardia) e viene massacrato.
A consolare il vecchio Corleone e` rimasto soltanto l'avvocato di famiglia, Tom.
Corleone piange, ma non compie il
passo logico di assumersi la responsabilita` per questa catena di sparatorie
che ha minato la pace della sua famiglia.
La notizia arriva in Sicilia. Dicono a Michael che non e` piu` al sicuro neppure
li`, che deve andarsene al piu` presto in un'altra zona della Sicilia. Stanno
facendo i bagagli quando un ragazzo mette una bomba nell'auto e l'auto salta
in aria con la moglie. Michael intuisce cosa sta per accadere ma non fa in
tempo a intervenire.
Vito Corleone, ancora convalescente, decide di mettere fine alla guerra fra le famiglie. Convoca
un meeting generale di tutte le famiglie e offre il ramo d'ulivo all'arcinemico
che gli ha ucciso il figlio. Gli impongono di accettare il traffico di
narcotici e di proteggere le altre famiglie. Lui accetta.
Michael torna in America e chiede subito alla vecchia ragazza, che per un anno
non ha saputo nulla di lui, di sposarlo, promettendole che il business di suo
padre diventera` legale nel giro di pochi anni.
E` anche quello un rituale: un uomo potente deve avere una moglie rispettabile,
che sappia crescere i figli e tenere la casa.
Michael e` in realta` il nuovo boss. Suo padre e` nulla piu` che un pensionato
Michael prende in pugno la situazione con l'autorita` di un veterano.
Decide di spostare il business da New York a Las Vegas, convinto che il futuro
stia nel gioco d'azzardo, e mette persino in pensione l'avvocato fidato.
L'attore di Hollywood che deve tutto al "padrino" accetta di essere l'attrazione
del nuovo casino. Michael vuole il casino di un potente di Las Vegas, presso
cui lavora il fratello debole, Freddy, ma si sente trattare come un pezzente
e medita la rivincita.
Vito, vistosamente invecchiato, stramazza al suolo mentre sta giocando nell'orto
con il figlio di Michael, Anthony. Il funerale e` imponente.
Ma Michael capisce che la morte del vecchio patriarca segna anche la fine della
tregua con le altre famiglie.
Michael presenzia come padrino al battesimo del nipote, figlio della sorella
e di Carlo. Durante il battesimo i suoi uomini uccidono tutti i capi rivali.
I gesti del battesimo sono intervallati con gli omicidi.
Alla fine del battesimo Michael va a fare i conti con Carlo. Sospettando che sia
stato complice nell'assassinio del fratello, lo fa confessore promettendogli
l'incolumita`. Appena lui confessa, lo fa strangolare davanti ai suoi occhi,
poche ore dopo aver fatto da padrino a suo figlio.
La sorella fa una scenata e gli sputa in faccia. Sua moglie e` li` e gli chiede
se e` vero che ha fatto uccidere il cognato. Michael la guarda negli occhi e
risponde di no.
Adesso Michael e` il capo incontrastato della malavita.
Michael si rivela un boss ben peggiore del padre, un mostro senza cuore che
vive di menzogne laddove il padre viveva di parole d'onore.
Il senso dell'onore e il principio del rispetto per la famiglia sono scomparsi.
E` rimasto soltanto il freddo calcolo e la crudelta`.
The Godfather II (1974)
La seconda parte torna indietro nel tempo. Si apre in Sicilia e mostra come
l'intera famiglia di Vito Corleone fosse stata massacrata dal boss rivale.
Sua madre ando` a supplicare il boss di salvare lui, Vito, bambino muto, ma
il boss non si piego`: uccise lei e poi fece dare una caccia spietata a lui.
Lui venne salvato dai parenti, fatto sgusciare fuori dal paese sottotempo,
e imbarcato per l'America.
Poi il racconto salta mezzo secolo e passa alla prima comunione di suo nipote.
La festa in riva al lago e` gigantesca. I Corleone si sono ormai trasferiti
in pianta stabile in Nevada e Michael medita di espandere il suo controllo
dei casino di Las Vegas. Alla festa un senatore non meno corrotto di lui gli
offre il controllo di quattro casino in cambio di una cifra spropositata e lo
umilia confessandogli il suo disprezzo per gli immigranti disonesti come i
Corleone. La festa continua nel lusso piu` barocco. Un senso di imponente
decadenza sovrasta la reggia dei Corleone. Michael smaltisce i suoi doveri di
nuovo patriarca, ora trattando il matrimonio della cognata ora minacciando
un parente, Frankie, che potrebbe ostacolare i suoi affari con un ebreo, Roth.
Nottetempo qualcuno tenta di assassinare Michael. Michael va a dare la
buonanotte a suo figlio Anthony.
L'azione si sposta di nuovo a New York all'inizio del secolo. Vito (DeNiro)
e` ormai un giovanotto, cresciuto nel quartiere degli immigrati.
Innamorato di un'attricetta di teatro, assiste impotente alla prepotenza del
brutale Fanucci che minaccia di sfregiarla se il padre negoziante non paga
la tangente. Fanucci tiene in pugni l'intero quartiere.
Vito e` garzone in una drogheria, ma il padrone deve licenziarlo per far posto
al nipote di Fanucci. E` felicemente sposato e vive con grande semplicita`
e umilta` in un piccolo appartamento. Trova un altro lavoro.
Michael intuisce che l'attentato e` stato organizzato da Roth, ma deve aver
avuto un complice all'interno della famiglia Corleone. E Michael vuole
scoprire il traditore (e` suo fratello Fredo).
Michael chiede aiuto a Frankie, che vive a New York nella casa paterna.
Frankie, convinto che Michael voglia tradirlo, va a cercare un accordo con
i rivali, ma viene quasi ucciso da questi e scampa soltanto
per una coincidenza.
Michael e` a Cuba con Roth, suo socio nell'impresa di controllare il gioco
d'azzardo a Cuba. Michael si fa portare una valigia di soldi dal fratello
Fredo e gli chiede aiuto nello sgominare Roth.
E` la notte di capodanno. Mentre Michael festeggia fra la folla, Roth e`
ricoverato in ospedale. Michael manda il suo fedele sicario a ucciderlo,
ma i soldati arrivano in tempo e lo uccidono. Nel frattempo Michael dice a
Fredo di sapere che e` lui il traditore. Le sirene danno l'allarme che i
ribelli stanno attaccando. Michael fugge e invita Fredo a scappare con
lui, ma Fredo non si fida e si nasconde fra la folla. Tornato a casa,
Michael apprende che Roth e` scampato e che la moglie ha perso il figlio
che stava aspettando.
Chiede notizie di Fredo, ma nessuno sa dove sia. Al suo fianco c'e` soltanto
Flashback. Vito ha un altro lavoro, e non tollera l'idea che Fanucci si
arricchisca alle spalle degli italiani che lavorano e in particolare dei
suoi amici. Durante la festa del santo patrono, Vito uccide il temuto Fanucci.
Si apre un processo contro la famiglia Corleone, grazie ad alcuni gangster che
hanno deciso di confessare: fra essi Frankie.
Michael, sempre piu` solo, va dalla madre a chiedere conforto, a tentare
di resuscitare il mito di suo padre.
Fredo gli spiega perche' lo ha tradito: perche' per tutta la vita lui, il
figlio maggiore, lo ha dovuto servire. Ma Michael non ascolta: lo disconosce
e mette alla porta.
Vito e` diventato un eroe per aver liberato il quartiere dell'odiato despota.
E da eroe diventa anche re: anche i piu` prepotenti tremano appena scoprono
di chi si tratta.
Al processo contro Michael un colpo di scena: Frankie, chiamato al banco degli
imputati, nega tutto cio` che ha confessato alla polizia.
Ma questa vittoria gli costa cara: la moglie decide di lasciarlo.
Lui tenta di fermarla, ma lei gli confessa che non perse il
bambino: lo fece abortire perche' non voleva piu` figli di lui. Il loro
primogenito Anthony non e` normale, e lei considera responsabile lui, ma lui,
ancora una volta, non ascolta.
Michael la mette alla porta e naturalmente non le lascia portare via i figli.
Flashback. Vito e` tornato in Sicilia e per prima cosa e` andato a compiere
la sua vendetta privata contro l'uomo che uccise i suoi genitori.
Muore la madre di Michael e Fredo. Michael rifiuta di incontrare Fredo al
funerale. La sorella Connie, che lo ha sempre odiato, lo implora di perdonare
Fredo e, in lacrime, si offre di prendere il posto della madre al suo fianco.
Michael va ad abbracciare Fredo davanti a tutti. Fredo e Connie si stabiliscono
alla villa sul lago e si prendono cura dei figli di Michael, visto che loro non
ne hanno e alla madre dei bambini sono consentite soltanto brevi visite.
Michael e` deciso ad eliminare Roth. Michael si oppone perche' e` un grosso
rischio e non e` neppure molto utile alla loro causa. Michael lo maltratta,
benche' Tom sia sempre stato fedele alla famiglia.
Tom va a tranquillizzare Frankie, che e` in prigione e sta per essere liberato.
Fredo va a pescare all'alba nel mezzo del lago. La fortezza sul lago e` avvolta
in una luce cupa.
Roth rientra negli USA dopo essersi rifugiato per un po' in Israele e aver
tentato invano di trovare asilo in altri paesi, e, benche' protetto dalla
polizia, viene ucciso da un sicario di Michael.
Frankie viene ucciso nella vasca da bagno.
Fredo viene ucciso nella barca.
Michael e` seduto in salotto, e si prende la testa fra le mani.
Flashback. Fredo, Sonny e Michael sono grandi. Michael e` il bravo ragazzo,
annuncia che si e` arruolato nei marine. Fredo e` mansueto e insicuro.
Sonny e` gia` il piu` aggressivo (quasi prende a pugni Michael).
Michael e` ancora seduto in salotto: ricorda e guarda nel nulla.
Ha ucciso tutti. Adesso e` davvero solo.
L'intreccio di presente e passato e` condotto attraverso flashback di
un'austera eleganza. Il film vive anche di un'accurata ricerca etnica:
paesi siciliani, feste patronali, matrimoni, battesimi, l'intero patrimonio
folkloristico degli immigrati italiani diventa una metafora su cui si
appoggiano tutte le altre metafore (della famiglia, del potere, della
corruzione, della solitudine).
Nel constrato fra Vito e Michael si avverte il cambiamento dei valori morali,
e in particolare della famiglia.
La rievocazione delle due epoche (l'inizio del secolo e gli anni '50) e dei
due ambienti (i poveri immigrati siciliani e gli affluenti criminali
americani) e` impeccabile, quasi oleografica.
Il film si trasforma poco alla volta in una meditazione sulla solitudine.
If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian texts, please contact me.
The Conversation (1974) is an existential thriller that borrows from
Antonini's Blow-up and Brian De Palma's Blow Out, but also
from some of Scorsese's urban dramas of loneliness.
An intricate story is the pretext for painting a devastated moral landscape
and filling it with an unbearable sense of paranoia.
The protagonist's neurosis is initially only unpleasant, but then it becomes
a metaphor for the tragedy of the individual in the urban society, ever more
alienated and isolated.
At the same time, paradoxically, technology makes it possible that
nobody is ever truly alone, that someone is always watching.
While Harry (Hackman) is walking around a shopping area,
a hitman aims at a couple. We hear their voices distorted by an electronic
device. Microphones are sending their voices to a van where
Stan, an associate of
Harry, is taping them. Their movements are followed by another associate.
The "hitman" is actually just another associate and the "gun" is nothing but
a long-distance microphone.
Harry's job is spying on other people.
Harry is jealous of his privacy and has virtually isolated himself from the
rest of society. But in his apartment he enjoys playing the saxophone to
old jazz records.
His apartment is also his studio. Harry works some magic on the tapes and
reconstructs the "conversation", totally indifferent to the content.
Harry is so paranoid about secrecy that he doesn't want the landlady to have
a key to his apartment and always makes phone calls from telephone booths.
He calls the mysterious customer who has hired him to record a
conversation between his wife and another man.
Harry is an amoral, no-scruple, surveillance specialist who would work for
anybody to spy on anybody.
Then Harry meets his girlfriend, but his paranoia makes it
impossible to have a normal relationship with her.
On the way back home in the subway, he thinks about the two lovers.
The following day he is in the high-rise office building where the mysterious
customer (the Director) works.
Harry wants to deliver the package personally but instead he
has to deal with an intermediary, who gives him the money and warns him against
getting too curious about the tapes. Harry refuses to surrender the tapes and
leaves in a hurry. In the elevator Harry meets first the man and then the
woman he had taped.
Back in the studio, Harry listens and re-listens to the tape to find out what
the conversation was about.
Using the most advanced techniques, he manages to hear what was not obvious
on the tape.
He hears that they make an appointment to meet in a hotel.
He hears that they suspect someone could kill them.
Harry preaches that one in his line of business should never get personal,
but he is shaken.
Harry goes to church to confess to a priest.
Years before, he had been involved in another case that resulted
in some death, and is afraid that he may involuntarily be hurting someone again.
At a convention of surveillance systems, he meets one of his famous competitors,
He also meets Stan, who has left him after Harry snapped at him for asking
too many questions about the tapes.
Harry tells Stan that he thinks someone is following him.
It is the mediator, who tells him the Director will accept the tapes in person.
After the convetion,
Harry, Stan, Bernie and some other friends have a little party in the studio
Harry has another conversation with his girlfriend. The friends pay tribute
to Harry, who is the master of recording people. Bernie knows that three
people were killed after he showed taped them. Harry snaps again when
Stan turns on the tapes. Stan boasts of the way they taped them: that was also
a masterpiece of an operation.
Bernie plays a joke on him, though: he has recorded the conversation he has
just had outside with his girlfriend. Harry snaps again and kicks everybody
Harry keeps thinking about the two appointments: the one he has with the
customer and the one the lovers have made. The latter is two hours after
his. By turning in the tapes, will he give the Director the weapon to kill
the lovers? His girlfriend puts him to sleep, but he has a Freudian nightmare
in which he talks to the ghost of the Director's wife about his own childhood.
The following day he calls the Director's man. He doesn't find him and, as
usual, refuses to leave them his own phone number. Minutes later the
Director's man calls: they have his super-secret phone number.
They have the tapes and invite him to their office to collect the money.
When Harry arrives, they are listening to the tapes. Harry counts his money
while the Director is paying no attention to him.
Harry can't resist and takes a room at the same hotel where the lovers are
meeting. He manages to send a microphone into their bathroom and overhears
trouble. Harry walks outside on the balcony and sees a man killing a woman.
Harry walks back hysterical, turns on the tv and covers his ears.
When he recovers, Harry breaks into the lover's room: it has been tidied up
as if nobody had been there. There is nothing to make one suspect of a murder.
Except that, when Harry flushes the toilet, a stain of blood appears.
Harry breaks all the rules and takes the bus back to the Director's building.
But the usual man blocks him and physically removes him from the building.
Outside, Harry sees the wife in a limo. The following day, the newspaper
carries the news that an executive has died in a car crash: he was the
Harry runs to see what is going on in the building and sees both
the wife and her lover in the hall crowded with reporters.
He realizes that, contrary to what he feared, the couple killed the Director
in the hotel room.
Back at home, he receives a threatening call, and realizes that they have
bugged his apartment. No matter how thoroughly he searches, he can't find
the microphone that they planted. He basically destroys all of his furniture,
and then even the walls and the floor. When nothing is left intact, Harry
picks up his saxophone and plays alone in the ruins.
Inspired by Conrad's novel "Heart Of Darkness", Apocalypse Now (1979) is
more than a war movie.
The protagonist is insane, but his folly is the logic of horror and terror, the logic of war. He seems to come out of a Greek tragedy.
Helicopters flying low over the jungle, bushes on fires.
A man (Sheen) lying down under a fan, smokes a cigarette.
The noise of the helicopters fades into the noise of the fan and viceversa.
The man is a captain who is waiting for a mission in Saigon and
keeps dreaming of the jungle while drinking heavily.
Without warning he gets assigned to a new mission, escorted to an airfied
and flown into action.
Sheen has been selected because he once
carried out an assassination for the secret services.
The army wants him to carry out another one: a renagade
colonel who operates in Cambodia (Brando). Sheen's mission is to follow
his trail in the jungle of Cambodia, find him and kill him. The mission
is top secret and he can use any means.
Sheen travels on a boat up the river in the company of a few eccentric soldiers
(including a surfer and a rock and roll fan). They reach the
theater of a massacre, under another whirlwind of helicopters.
As the helicopters approach in formation, peasants run away and get ready
to defened their village. The helicopters charge and destroy. Then they
land and the jet fighters finish the job. The boat has been airlifted.
Sheen and his men can resume the journey up the river.
During the trip Sheen keeps wondering what the renegade colonel saw in the
jungle that made him, an official groomed in the best schools for high office,
They reach an American camp. At night the soldiers gather for a show:
a helicopter unloads two centerfold babes who dance on a stage.
To kill time, Sheen's boat races with other boats.
Sheen keeps studying the renegade's dossier and learns that he ordered the
murder of friendly Vietnamese officials.
The army couldn't bring back into the fold: the colonel simply disappeared.
From his letters he learns of a strong, righteous personality.
This only deepends the mystery.
One day they meet a boat of peasants. As the Vietnamese move suspiciously,
of the man loses control and fires on them. It turns out they had nothing to
hide, but a puppy. The woman is still alive and one of Sheen's man would like
to take her to the camp. Sheen coldly shoots her: the orders are not to stop.
The boat reaches an American camp under attack. The soldiers are panicking
and Sheen can't get any useful information from them.
The boat resumes its trip. Sheen keeps reading the dossier and learns that
he is not the first to be sent after Brando. The previous "executioner"
deserted and join the colonel.
The boat is ambushed and one of Sheen's men dies.
The boat cruises enveloped in thick fog and Sheen can feel Brando's presence.
Another man is killed when the boat is attacked with spears.
The boat keeps advancing in a more and more surreal landscape. The suspense
is increasing. A city in the jungle soars in front of them.
They are met by an army of canoes. Hundreds of people
(white people) stand up on the canoes and stare at the boat.
Sheen is greeted by an American photographer who tells him about the colonel's
religion. The colonel has started a cult and those are all his people.
The staircase by the river bank is littered with dead bodies
and surveilled by armed men. A trail leads to a temple.
Sheen recognizes the agent who was sent before him on the same mission.
He seems to be hypnotized. There is evidence that the colonel has gone insane,
that everybody has gone insane. Sheen is captured, rolled in mud, and finally
led to Brando's presence. A few words and then he is tied to a post.
At night, Brando walks into Sheen's hut, covered with mud, and throws into his
lap the severed head of one of his men.
Sheen is given freedom in the village. Brando delivers
a deranged soliloquy in the shade. He worships horror.
During a religious cerimony, while the people of the village are celebrating
in front of the temple, slaughtering cows for the gods,
Sheen walks behind Brando and slaughters him.
As he walks outside, the people of Brando get on their knees.
They all walk him to the boat. And Sheen leaves on the boat (taking with him
the agent who had preceded him).
One from the Heart (1982) is another musical, probably his best foray in the genre.
The Outsiders (1983) is an adaptation of S. E. Hinton's
novel (1967) and
Rumble Fish (1983)
is an adaptation of another Hinton novel (1975).
The latter is the better of the two.
The Cotton Club (1984) is a historical movie before it is a gangster
movie. The reconstruction of the roaring years is impeccable.
And it is a musical in the tradition of the very 1930s that it evokes, as
music is co-protagonist of the story.
The story alternates with musical numbers.
The Cotton Club is the night club where a serious trumpet player performs.
The audience is made by the high society of the slums, by the powerful gangsters
and pimps of the city.
Coppola directs it in a surreal, oniric, almost psychedelic way, indulging
in Kafkian atmospheres, in decadent and sophisticated scenes. The
melancholy, anemic jazz of the musical soundtrack underscores the sense of
decay, alienation, disorientation, depravation.
Everything turns at the slow, mellow, languid pace of the jazz music of the
One night the musician saves a gangster's life and the gangster
hires him. At the same time, the musician's brother enrolls himself in the gang.
The owner of the club throws a party (filmed with a stylized, baroque touch).
The goal is to convince the gangster and his rival to make peace, but the plan
backfires as the two gangsters quarrel and the rival is cut apart.
The trumpet player falls in love with a girl, but he loathes her after he
finds out that she's the gangster's girl.
All the time,
the show goes on at the Cotton Club: sensual, elegant, malicious shows
play continuously in front of the crowd of celebrities.
A black tap dancer
is in love with a white dancer, who is the girl of a rich attorney: she returns
his feelings, but, ambitious and with no scruples, cold and sarcastic,
ignores his romanticism and his offers of marriage.
His brother abandons him when, in order to please her, he decides to start a
solo career. A racist bodyguard beats him and humiliates him.
The gangster hires the trumpet player to entertain his girl, but he offends her
in public. They argue all the time but they are falling madly in love.
Finally, they make love.
While the gangsters kill scores of people (images of shootings superimposed
over a jazz singer), the musician moves to Hollywood and becomes an actor.
His specialty is gangster movies.
The Great Depression destroys his career. The musician returns to New York,
to the club that the gangster bought for his girl and where the white dancer now
The gangster argues with the musician's brother over money.
Then the gangster has to witness a musical duet
between the trumpet player and his girl full of offensive innuendos.
The tap dancer finds the white dancer but they have the usual problems.
However, the tap dancer makes peace with his brother.
The gangster orders the execution of a man who works for the musician's brother.
The latter takes immediate revenge and kills the killer (can't help killing also
three children who were passing by).
The gangster's men are after him: he kidnaps the faithful (and gigantic)
assistant of the owner and asks for a ransom.
In the meantime, the tap dancing brothers reunite on stage.
The musician volunteers to bring his brother the ransom, but
shortly thereafter his brother is killed by the gangsters.
Two years later the Cotton Club is throwing another big party for a crowd of
celebrities. Between the musical numbers the mob plots.
Lucky Luciano and the owner plan to get rid of the gangster, who has become
a dangerous liability.
Backstage the black guys take revenge over the racist bodyguard who has
always harrassed them.
The gangster quarrels with his jealous wife and his girl, disgusted,
leaves with the trumpet player, half arguing and half flirting as usual.
The trumpet player performs on stage.
Then the gangster, jealous and furious, threatens the girl and the musician
finds the courage to confront him. The gangster pulls out the revolver and
starts shooting, but is kicked out of the club.
The tempo is set by faster and faster tap dancing.
The gangster is plotting revenge, but is instead killed by Luciano's men
(superimposed to the tap dancer's breathtaking rhythm).
The audience hails the tap dancer.
Musical numbers keep playing on stage, loud music drives the action.
The girl, who doesn't know that her husband is dead, leaves the musician.
Another show starts on top of the action, the audience clapping and laughing.
The show continues at the station where the trumpet player is about the leave.
At the train, she is waiting for him.
More dancing, more clapping.
The owner decides to retire, he can sense that an era has finished.
The plot is poor and quite stereotyped. This is mainly an orgy of jazz.
A sense of moral emptiness pervades these meaningless lives, that are
condemned, doomed from the beginning. Most of these lives are bought and
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Daniele Perri |
Ispirato da "Cuore di tenebra" di Conrad, Apocalypse Now (1979) è più di un film di guerra.
Elicotteri che volano basso sopra la giungla, alberi in fuoco. Un uomo (Sheen), sdraiato sotto un ventilatore, fuma una sigaretta. Il rumore degli elicotteri svanisce nel rumore del ventilatore e viceversa.
L’uomo è un capitano che sta aspettando una missione a Saigon e continua a sognare la giungla mentre beve abbondantemente. Senza avvertimento viene assegnato ad una nuova missione, scortato al campo di volo e trasportato in aereo per entrare in azione. Sheen è stato selezionato perché una volta ha ucciso per i servizi segreti. L’esercito vuole che lui uccida un altro uomo: un colonnello rinnegato che opera in Cambogia (Brando). La missione di Sheen è di seguirne le tracce nella giungla della Cambogia, di trovarlo ed ucciderlo. La missione è top secret e può usare tutti i mezzi.
Sheen viaggia su una barca sul fiume in compagnia di alcuni soldati eccentrici (compresi un surfista e un fanatico di rock and roll). Raggiungono il teatro di un massacro, sotto un altro turbinio degli elicotteri.
Mentre gli elicotteri si avvicinano in formazione, i contadini scappano via e si preparano a difendere il loro villaggio. Gli elicotteri attaccano e distruggono. Quindi atterrano ed i combattenti finiscono il lavoro. La barca viene aviotrasportata. Sheen ed i suoi uomini possono riprendere il viaggio sul fiume.
Durante il viaggio Sheen continua a domandarsi che cosa il colonnello rinnegato abbia visto nella giungla per indurlo a disertare, lui, un ufficiale che ha frequentato brillantemente le migliori scuole per l’alto comando.
Raggiungono un accampamento americano. Di notte i soldati si radunano per uno show: un elicottero trasporta due ragazze di Playboy che ballano sul palco. Per ammazzare il tempo, la barca di Sheen fa a gara con altre barche.
Sheen continua a studiare il dossier del rinnegato e scopre che egli ha ordinato l’omicidio dei funzionari vietnamiti vicini agli americani. L’esercito non ha potuto riportarlo nei ranghi: il colonnello è semplicemente sparito. Dalle sue lettere scopre una personalità forte e retta. Il mistero dipende solo da questo.
Un giorno vengono a contatto con una barca di contadini. Ad un movimento sospetto di un vietnamita, un uomo perde il controllo e spara su di loro. Si scopre che non avevano niente da nascondere, solo un cucciolo. Una donna è ancora viva ed uno degli uomini di Sheeen vorrebbe riportarla all’accampamento. Sheen le spara freddamente: gli ordini sono di non fermarsi.
La barca raggiunge un accampamento americano sotto attacco. I soldati sono presi dal panico e Sheen non può ottenere alcune informazioni utili da loro. La barca riprende il suo viaggio. Sheen continua a leggere il dossier e scopre che non è il primo ad essere stato mandato dopo Brando. Il precedente agente ha disertato e si è unito al colonnello.
La barca è vittima di un’imboscata ed uno degli uomini di Sheen muore. La barca prosegue avvolta da una spessa nebbia e Sheen può avvertire la presenza di Brando. Un altro uomo è ucciso quando la barca è attaccata da lance.
La barca continua ad avanzare in un paesaggio sempre più surreale. Aumenta la suspense. Una città nella giungla si eleva davanti a loro. Sono avvicinati da un esercito di canoe. Centinaia di persone (bianchi) si alzano in piedi sulle canoe e osservano la barca. Sheen è accolto da un fotografo americano che gli parla della religione del colonnello. Il colonnello ha fondato un culto e quella è tutta la sua gente.
La scala presso la riva del fiume è ingombrata da cadaveri e sorvegliata da un uomo armato. Un sentiero conduce ad un tempio.
Sheen riconosce l’agente inviato prima di lui per la stessa missione. Sembra ipnotizzato. E’ evidente che il colonnello è impazzito, che tutti sono impazziti. Sheen viene catturato, coperto di fango e infine condotto da Brando. Poche parole e viene legato ad un palo. Di notte, Brando cammina nella capanna di Sheen, coperto di fango e gli lancia addosso la testa mozzata di uno degli uomini di Sheen.
A Sheen viene concessa la libertà di muoversi nel villaggio. Brando fa un delirante soliloquio nell’oscurità. Venera l’orrore.
Durante una cerimonia religiosa, mentre la gente del villaggio sta celebrando i riti davanti al tempio, massacrando delle mucche per gli dei, Sheen cammina dietro Brando e lo massacra.
Mentre cammina all’esterno, la gente di Brando si inginocchia. Tutti camminano con lui verso barca. E Sheen se ne va sulla barca (prendendo con sé l’agente che lo aveva preceduto).
Brando è pazzo, ma la sua pazzia è la logica dell’orrore e del terrore, la logica della guerra. Brando sembra uscito da una tragedia greca.
Gardens of Stone (1987) is a mediocre military drama.
Tucker (1988) is a biopic.
The Godfather III (1990) completa la trilogia.
Il film ha ancora la carica epica dei precedenti e un grande studio di
carattere nella figura del protagonista, e innumerevoli studi d'ambiente,
ma tende a ripetere all'infinito i temi del precedente.
Vincent e` l'animale della giungla, cresciuto nella giungla che ne capisce
i meccanismi. Michael ha perso quell'istinto, e` diventato un animale
domestico, e non vuole piu` tornare nella giungla. Il film e` incentrato
su questo conflitto.
Michael Corleone vive a New York, potente e temuto, ma anche solo,
abbandonato dalla moglie e dai suoi figli, ossessionato dai ricordi.
Colto da crisi mistica, decide di riavvicinarsi alla chiesa e consegna
al cardinale con gran pompa un'ingente somma per i poveri (in cambio di
un'onoreficenza vaticana). Alla stessa festa
sua figlia Maria ritrova il cugino Vincent (figlia bastardo del fratello
di Michael) che non vedeva da bambina,
e Michael rivede sua moglie per la prima volta in otto anni.
Suo figlio Anthony ha deciso di lasciare l'universita` e darsi alla musica.
Vincent e` lavora per Joe, il boss che ha ereditato l'impero dei Corleone,
ma lo odia perche' costituisce una minaccia per Michael e chiede a Michael
il permesso di ucciderlo. Michael non vuole piu` saperne di malavita, ma
due sgherri di Joe cercano di uccidere Vincent e Vincent uccide loro.
Michael e` costretto a prenderlo al suo servizio e Vincent diventa la sua
guardia del corpo personale.
Il senso della famiglia e` ancora fortissimo, rappresentato dalle innumerevoli
scene in cui si mangia. Michael ha assimilato quel senso in maniera quasi
genetica. Tutti i Godfather sono innanzitutto tragedie shakespeariane
di tradimenti familiari.
Intanto Michael compra dalla chiesa la maggioranza azionaria di una societa`
europea, una societa` che non sembra molto piu` pulita del suo vecchio giro
d'affari, ma che gli consente di riabilitare il suo nome. Si attira l'odio
degli ex amici rifiutando di farli entrare nella societa`. Per giunta il
Papa muore prima che l'accordo possa essere firmato e gli altri membri
della societa` ne approfittano per scatenare un intrigo contro Michael.
Michael convoca una riunione di tutti i boss mafiosi e concede loro un
ingente pagamento per ringraziarli di tutti gli anni di lavoro insieme, ma
al tempo stesso per liberarsi sempre da quelle imbarazzanti alleanze.
Joe, umiliato di fronte a tutti, lo minaccia e se ne va sbattendo la porta.
Pochi minuti dopo un elicottero si abbassa sul tetto e i killer cominciano
a mitragliare i commensali. Vincent riesce a salvare Michael per miracolo.
Nel locale rimangono i cadaveri di decine di persone.
Michael viene colpito da diabete e entra in coma.
Vincent prende l'iniziativa e uccide Joe durante l'annuale processione
cattolica di Little Italy. Appena si riprende, Michael va su tutte le furie,
perche' gli eventi lo stanno di nuovo trascinando nella malavita.
Michael tenta di spiegare a Vincent come vede il mondo.
Michael rivede in
Vincent il padre di Vincent, suo fratello, e il suo triste destino.
Michael intuisce che entrambi i problemi (l'ordine del massacro e le
esitazioni della societa`) hanno origine in Italia e si reca
prima in Sicilia a parlare con i boss mafiosi e poi a Roma a discutere con
i potenti della chiesa.
Vincent sta anche seducendo sua figlia, Mary, e Michael mette
invano in guardia la figlia e minaccia invano Vincent. Vincent ha capito che,
morto Michael, la figlia ereditera` tutto l'impero.
Michael e` sempre piu` malinconico: ogni mossa per districarsi dal male lo
immerge ancor piu` nel male.
Se non altro la malattia lo ha riavvicinato alla moglie, che lo raggiunge
in Italia. Michael si gode la vacanza con la moglie, ma l'ennesimo regolamento
di conti convince la donna che la catena di omicidi non finira` mai.
Per giunta l'elezione del nuovo Papa causa un terremoto negli ambienti corrotti
della finanza vaticana. Michael diventa un personaggio pericoloso anche per la
Vincent comunica a Michael di aver scoperto che il potere politico ha deciso
di eliminarlo. Vincent chiede a Michael di dargli il potere di preservare
la famiglia Corleone. Michael glielo concede, deciso a ritirarsi, ma gli chiede
in cambio di rinunciare a Mary. Gli amici rendono omaggio al nuovo boss dei
Gli eventi precipitano durante una serata all'opera.
Un potente di Roma ha ordinato l'esecuzione di Michael e il killer si sta
appostando di fronte al palco dove siedono Michael e sua moglie.
Michael si salva per caso da quel killer, perche' Vincent lo chiama fuori
per comunicargli che la chiesa a Roma sta tramando contro il nuovo Papa.
Il Papa infatti viene trovato misteriosamente morto. Pochi minuti dopo
il cardinale amico di Michael viene assassinato.
In un palco vicino Vincent fa avvelenare il falso amico di Michael che si era
alleato ai suoi nemici. In citta` un sicario di Vincent
pugnala il potente politico che ha ordinato l'attentato contro Michael.
Tutto succede mentre Michael sta guardando l'opera. All'uscita viene fermato
dalla figlia, furibonda perche' Vincent le ha comunicato che non possono
piu` vedersi, e di quell'attimo approfitta un altro killer per sparargli.
Michael viene soltanto ferito, ma Mary riceve un proiettile in pieno petto.
Per ironia della sorte, a morire e` proprio Mary, che Michael voleva
tenere lontano dalle sparatorie.
Michael finisce i suoi giorni solo, vecchio e fragile, ossessionato dai
ricordi strazianti della sua vita, nella villa di Sicilia, finche' un giorno
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) is yet another film on Dracula,
redeemed by Michael Ballhaus's photography, but largely irrelevant.
The film wasn't much of an artistic achievement but it marked the transition
of the horror genre from B-series to mainstream, and it was ultimately a tribute
to horror movies rather than an attempt at reinventing the horror movie, perhaps
also hinting at the fact that "horror" is the self-referential genre par excellence.
Coppola pays tribute to Murnau's version (1922) and Tod Browning's version (1931) at the same time that he turns the story into an exhilarating parade of
opulent visual compositions.
This also has the effect of glorifying the world of vampires: the heroine
is liberated by Dracula from a boring life of repressed sex and transported
into a fairyland of wild passion.
In the end, it feels like an erotic dream, not a gruesome thriller.
The real obsession is not the vampire's obsession with the naive heroine but
Coppola's obsession for the history of cinema and how cinema reflects society's moral values. Coppola lives after the sexual revolution, when virginity is almost
ridiculed, and in the middle of the AIDS and drug epidemics. Murnau and Browning
lived in the age when Christianity was universally accepted as a dogma and was to be defended from heretic and demonic attacks. Coppola lives in the age in which Christianity is attacked by the intellectual elite while heretics (if not even demons) are revering as original thinkers.
Vlad Dracula defeats the Muslim invaders in his native Transylvania but they take revenge by letting
his devout wife Elisabeta believe that he died: she kills herself in
desperation. Dracula gets angry at God and stabs a stone crucifix with his
sword and then drinks the blood that flows out of it.
Four centuries later in London a young clerk, Jonathan, is assigned an important
contract: Dracula of Transylvanian wants to buy a number of houses in London.
Jonathan is dispatched to Transylvania to sign the contract with the count.
He is replacing a colleague, Renfield, who mysteriously failed in the mission.
Jonathan leaves behind his beautiful fiance Mina, who moves in with
her rich friend Lucy in her grand mansion.
After a long trip, Jonathan arrives at Dracula's castle in the middle of the night, welcomed by a pack of wolves. Dracula is a very old man wrapped in a red
Jonathan and Dracula sign the contract after dinner.
After noticing the portrait of Jonathan's fiance Mina,
who looks very much like Elisabeta (both are played by the same actress),
Dracula invites Jonathan to stay a month with him.
Meanwhile, Mina spends her spare time typing her diary on a new invention,
the typewriter, mocked by her friend Lucy who is instead busy flirting with
several bachelors at once.
A psychologist is studying the case of Jonathan's colleage Renfield, who has
gone mad, eats insects, tries to bite people, and awaits the arrival of his "master".
At the castle Jonathan has an hallucination: three sexy women surround him
and seduce him, and later Dracula gives them a baby to eat alive.
While Jonathan is kept in this kind of captivity, Dracula arranges for a ship
to carry 50 boxes of dirt to London.
Meanwhile, Lucy accepts the proposal of one of the bachelors, Arthur,
preferring him to her devout doctor Jack.
The ship arrives but the crew is all dead,
killed by a monster. The same monster appears in Lucy's garden and seduces
Lucy and bites her on the neck: Mina finds her exhausted as if she just had sex.
A wolf escapes from the zoo.
A young man, identical to the original Dracula, emerges from one of the boxes.
Dressed like a gentleman, he follows Mina and finds an excuse to talk to her.
She is initially annoyed but eventually accepts his company and he introduces
himself as prince Vlad. They attend a performance of a new invention, cinema.
The escaped wolf enters the theater, causing panic, but prince Vlad easily
tames the wolf like a pet.
Lucy, meanwhile, has fallen sick. Jack, doctor and former suitor, visits her
and is puzzled by her state of insanity: she behaves like a woman who is
having an orgasm. Jack doesn't see the bites on the neck. He decides to
summon his former teacher, a famous professor. He receives the telegram while
he is demonstrating the behavior of bats in an auditorium.
At the castle John is still being raped by Dracula's brides, who also drink his
blood to make him too weak to escape. Nonetheless, he plans to escape.
The scientist arrives and notices the bites on Lucy's neck. He determines that
she is dying and needs an immediate transfusion of blood. Her fiance Arthur
offers his own blood. The scientist explains to his former student Jack and to
Arthur that she has experienced the loss of a lot of blood: some creature
has been sucking her blood.
Mina is having dinner with prince Vlad, and she is moved to tear by the story
of Elisabeta, feeling it in her heart even before he tells it.
Jonathan escapes and finds refuge in a convent. The nuns write to Mina that
she has to take the first ship, join Jonathan and marry him.
Mina communicates the happy news to Lucy, who gives her a ring as her wedding
gift but is then shaken by demonic fits and tries to bite her fiance Arthur.
Mina also writes a farewell letter to the prince who tried to seduce her.
The prince, furious, turns into a wolf that enters the palace and mauls Lucy
to death while the wedding is being place in Transylvania.
The scientist has consulted a book on vampyres and has no doubt about what
is going on: he tells Jack and Arthur that they must cut Lucy's head and
heart. At night, they enter the crypt where her coffin is kept and open it:
there is nothing inside. Then they see Lucy walking into the crypt carrying
a little child, her meal. They attack her and the scientist pushes her into
the coffin by keeping a crucufix in front of her. Once she is asleep
in the coffin, they hammer a stick in her heart and severe her head.
The scientist then leads them in the night to destroy all the boxes shipped
Jonathan and Mina return to London together, but Mina still thinks of her
sweet prince. The scientists tells them what is going on and Jonathan joins
the posse while Mina sleeps alone in the mental asylum: Renfield warns her
that the master is coming for her, and is later killed by a green fluid.
The same fluid enters Mina's bedroom and materializes in prince Vlad.
The prince confesses that he is not alive: that he is lifeless and soulless,
that he is Dracula.
Mina can't resist the appeal though, remembering her previous life as Elisabeta, and offers herself to him.
He makes a cut on his chest and she drinks his blood, becoming his slave
The scientist, Jonathan, Arthur and Jack arrive and chase Dracula out by
showing him a crucifix.
Mina, however, is turning into a vampyre.
The scientist hypnotizes her so that she will lead them to Dracula.
Thus they learn that Dracula is on a ship bound back to Transylvania.
They all take a train to intercept Dracula before he can reach the castle.
The scientist has no doubt that they need to destroy Dracula in order to
save Mina's life.
Dracula, however, is always a step ahead of them and manages to reach Transylvania.
Jonathan, Jack and Arthur chase his carriage, led by the three brides, while
the scientist and Mina travel directly to the castle.
The three brides possess Mina and she offers her body to the scientist in order
to bite him, but he resists and later beheads the three brides.
Dracula reaches the castle pursued by Jonathan and the others who want to kill him. Jonathan and the others wound Dracula,
but Mina grabs a gun and allows the dying Dracula, who
now returned to be the young prince, to withdraw with her.
Dracula begs Mina to finish his eternal agony and she stabs him in the heart,
killing him for good, and then cuts his head.
Jack (1996) is a terrible comedy for Robin Williams.
The Rainmaker (1997) is an adaptation of
John Grisham's best-selling novel (1995).
After a ten-year hiatus, Coppola directed another adaptation,
but a much better one,
Youth Without Youth (2007), a metaphysical thriller from
Mircea Eliade's novel (1976).
For this film set between 1938 and 1955, Coppola indulges in a visual style that mimics the Hollywood styles of the 1930s and 1950s.
The theme of the scholar who dies alone and nameless without finishing his life's work, refusing a Faust-ian contract, is powerful, but
the dialogue between the self and its double is rather weak, and the plot involving the idealized woman is only partially interesting (when it is not too melodramatic). The historical background is stereotypical and predictable (the Nazis are thrown in as the bad guys like in any spy thriller of the 1940s).
An old man, Dominic, wakes up after a nightmare.
He is worried that he'll never manage to finish his book and sobs thinking
that he will die alone.
It is Christmas Eve and he walks out in his pyjama like a madman mumbling
that he will open the blue envelope in Romania on Easter.
It's now Easter, on the eve of World War II, in Romania and he is struck by lightning. Horribly burned, and completely bandaged, he is hospitalized in Romania and communicates via squeezing the hand of the Romanian doctor, Roman Stanciulescu.
He slowly manages to tell the doctor that he is 70 years old and has no family.
The nurses who take care of him, however, notice that his body looks younger. Meanwhile we see a flashback in which a 26-year-old man tells a beautiful woman, Laura, that he is a failure. He talks about his meeting with a French orientalist who told him to study Chinese, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Japanese. He studied only Chinese and wanted to become a great orientalist.
Back to the present, the doctor is amazed that Dominic not only survived the
lightning without getting paralyzed, blind or mute, but even seems to be recovering at record speed: X-rays reveal that a new set of teeth is growing below the ones destroyed by the lightning.
Dominc begins to speak, and his first words are: "blue envelope".
A flashback shows young Dominic telling his professor that he is writing a colossal book on
the origins of language and of human consciousness, and then shows how Laura
decided to break up with him.
A fully recovered, and much younger, Dominic tells the doctor that his name is
Dominic Matei and he owns a library of some 8,000 volumes. Dominic confesses
that he came to Romania with the intention of committing suicide, with a blue
envelope full of strychnine. He looks so handsome that a young nurse falls in love with him. Dominic moves to the doctor's own studio. The doctor asks him to
write down everything he remembers, and even provides Dominic with an early tape recorder. He is now a wildly interesting scientific case: a man who became younger thanks to lightning.
Dominic also remembers that Laura married someone else and a year later she died in childbirth.
The secret services, that work for the Nazis (Germany has invaded Romania), become interested in Dominic's case. They deploy a spy, a sexy young lady who seduces him and records all their
conversations. Dominic can answer questions in every possible language.
Dominic starts talking to himself, or, better, to his double, realizing that
the enormous concentration of electricity amplified his mental faculties
while creating a double. Hitler is personally interested in the experiments of
a German doctor, Josef Rudolf, who
believes that electrocution can produce a new mutation of the human species.
The German police demands that the doctor
relinquishes all the documents about Dominic's case and Dominic himself.
The doctor advises Dominic to flee Romania.
He reaches neutral Switzerland and loses contact with the good doctor.
Dominic is working on his book while changing hotel all the time, afraid of being discovered by the Nazis, hiding under the name of William Pedersen.
He discovers a new superpower: he can read books simply by staring at the cover.
He meditates that he is a mutant, a superhuman.
He makes money by using his superpowers to gamble in casinos.
One day he is approached by a US undercover agent who offers him protection
but Dominic declines. Then the sexy German woman (the spy) approaches him and announces that
a famous gerontologist wants to talk to him. This
doctor Monroe knows that he is Dominic and knows what the Romanian doctor
discovered about his miraculous rejuvination.
Dominic pretends not to understand what he's talking about.
Monroe also tells him that Stanciulescu died in a plane crash.
At night Hitler's doctor Rudolf in person shows up, begging Dominic to help
the Nazis create the superhuman. The German woman warns Dominic against Rudolf.
Rudolf shoots her dead. Dominic then summons his psychic superpowers and forces
Rudolf to point the gun to himself and kill himself.
It is now 1955.
Dominic decides to stop recording his memoirs in English and invents his own
artificial language. He is now taping knowledge that only an advanced computer
will be able to decipher, so these are messages to future generations.
He is convinced that a nuclear holocaust is coming and that his memoirs will
revitalize the human race.
He is still lives in Switzerland under the false name of Martin Audricourt.
Later, Dominic is walking on a mountain road when he encounters two young women tourists driving up the same road. One of the two women, Veronica, looks like the reincarnation of his lost Laura. Minutes later a violent thunderstorm hits the mountain. Later, the two women are missing. Dominic looks for them.
One is dead, Veronica is alive and is chanting in Sanskrit. Dominic responds
also in Sanskrit. Veronica, who appears mad, is taken to a hospital.
The police identifies her as a 25-year-old schoolteacher.
Dominic visits her at the hospital and they converse in Sanskrit.
She now believes she is Rupini, living in northeastern India fourteen centuries earlier, and a disciple of the philosopher Chandrakirti.
Dominic persuades the hospital doctors to invite an Italian orientalist,
Giuseppe Tucci, who discusses Hindu philosophy with her.
The scholar is so impressed by her belief that she is Rupini that he decided
to fund a trip to the caves where she claims to have retired to meditate.
Dominic is invited to travel with them.
Veronica/Rupini is taken there in a state of trance and left alone with
a local boddhisatva. She sleepwalks to the cave, which is blocked by boulders, and then collapses.
The Italian orientalist is excited to have discovered the lost cave.
When she finally awakes, Veronica doesn't speak Sanskrit anymore.
She becomes a celebrity in India as the reincarnation of Rupini, constantly
followed by paparazzi and interviewed on television programs.
Dominic becomes her protector and they become lovers.
Dominic persuades Veronica to flee to Malta, where nobody knows them.
Their romantic holiday is interrupted when one night Veronica in her sleep starts speaking in an ancient language that Dominic does not understand.
Dominic tapes her and later, re-listening to her voice, he tells her that
she is traveling back in time, and now she reincarnates an Egyptian. He hopes
she'll take him back to pre-history, to the origins of language, the subject of
his neverending book. She is happy to be useful to his project.
He confesses that he is now 88 years old.
Dominic's double explains to him that the paramediumistic ecstasies are exhausting her.
Dominic enjoys that every night she speaks older and older languages, but her
health deteriorates. A doctor tells Dominic that she looks like a much older woman.
Dominic's double informs Dominic that in one more regression she'll reach the
proto-language and he'll have completed his life's work on the origin of language; but she is getting older and older.
Dominic decides to leave her.
Dominic returns to Romania, to the town where he lived. He is a legend, but he
returns under his false name. The cafe' where he
used to be hang out has become a national monument.
At night he has a conversation with his double: his double predicts that humankind will self-drstroy in a nuclear holocaust and a new species will be born,
the species to which Dominic belongs.
Dominic, angry, smashes the mirror in which the double appears.
In his hotel room Dominic stares at pictures of his youth in his album of photographs.
He walks to the old cafe' and dreams of meeting his old friends before the war.
He knows he is dreaming. His teeth ache and he has to run out. He spits the teeth while it starts snowing.
The hotel staff is worried that he's not coming back.
They call the cafe' and are told that he was alone and then left
without saying a word.
In the morning he is found at the bottom of a staircase covered with snow.
They find his passport that says his name is Martin Audricourt.
Tetro (2009), his first original screenplay since The Conversation, is a charming family drama filmed in black-and-white photography,
but a bit overlong, mostly implausible (what does the protagonist lives on?) and with a weak ending.
(The film opens in black and white).
A sailor, Bennie, gets off the bus in the middle of the night and walks to the home of his brother Angie.
Miranda, his sister of law, opens the door and welcomes him, but his brother
Angie refuses to come out of his bedroom: he severed all ties with his family
when Bennie was only a child.
Bennie is an 18-year-old waiter on a cruise ship.
Miranda lets him sleep on a couch. Bennie reads a letter that he has saved
all those years and cries. It's Angie's farewell letter in which Angie promised
to come back.
In the morning Angie comes out of his bedroom, limping: He has a cast on one leg because of a bus accident. He is not friendly to Bennie.
Bennie ran away, following Angie's example, and decided to travel, like Angie.
Bennie's ship is stranded for a few days.
Angie rudely hints that Bennie should sleep on the ship.
It's Miranda who asks Bennie to stay at their place.
Angie then goes for a walk with Bennie and rudely explains that he is no longer
Angie: he is "Tetro". They sit at a cafe and he tells the waitress that Bennie is a friend, not his brother. "Tetro" tells Bennie that he doesn't want anyone to know much about his past. In fact, he never told Miranda who their father is.
Later Bennie is informed by Miranda that Angie survived
four accidents and in his fifth Agie's mother died.
She knows that they are step-brothers, from different mothers. Bennie's mother
has been in a coma for nine years.
Tetro and Bennie sit at the cafe again. The owners,
Jose and Ana, have an argument.
Ana destroys Jose's expensive jacket and guitar in front of them.
Jose is starting a theater business with his friend Abelardo, staging "Fausta", a drama in verse.
Tetro and Bennie hardly talk, but we learn that Bennie is still a virgin.
Later, the doctor removes Tetro's cast. Bennie asks Tetro if he's writing.
Tetro says that he was writing a story of two brothers who are great musicians,
and the younger becomes a star and is not grateful to the older brother who
taught him. It's the story of their father (the younger brother) and their
Bennie has to pull words out of Tetro's mouth. Tetro hates to talk about their family.
Bennie knows that Angie's mother was a famous singer and learns that Tetro was driving the car when she died.
Miranda tells Bennie how she met the introverted Tetro, who had so much hatred
for his abusive father. She describes Tetro as "a
genius without accomplishments".
A brief flashback (in color) shows the car accident (Angie's mother is singing opera).
Alone at home, Bennie searches Angie's room and founds a pistol and
handwritten pages about an episode in the lives of his father and uncle Alfie.
Alfie was producing a "Rigoletto", Angie's father thought it would be a failure
and asked Alfie to produce it under a different name, not their last name
Ana breaks up with Jose, who has an affair with the actress Josefina, and leaves Tetro their dog Problema.
Angie and Bennie visit the cemetery and stop by the tomb of the
first Tetrocini, an Italian immigrant who came to Argentina in 1901.
Bennie tells Angie that he followed in his footsteps in just about everything.
A flashback (in color) shows them in a movie theater watching an adaptation of
Offenbach's opera "Tales of Hoffman".
Angie/Tetro and Miranda celebrate Bennie's birthday at Jose's cafe with Jose
and his lover Josefina.
Josefina introduces Bennie to her 18-year-old niece Maria-Luisa, and
they briefly meet Jose's friend Abelardo, who is in town hoping that
his "Fausta" will be accepted at the Festival Patagonia.
Tetro volunteers as the projectionist at a performance of "Fausta" which
features Abelardo himself as a drag queen and Josefina as a stripper.
The audience laughs. Tetro shouts insults. Abelardo interrupts the show
to throw a chair to Tetro.
And then everybody freezes when a woman wearing a fur walks in: she is
Alone, a famous literary critic who runs the Festival Patagonia.
Tetro himself is petrified. Miranda explains to Bennie that Alone used to be
Tetro's mentor before they fell out, and she doesn't know why that happened.
The play resumes.
Back home, Bennie gives Miranda a CD of classical music and Miranda discovers
that Bennie's and Tetro's father is
Carlo Tetrocini, one of the world's great symphony conductors.
Miranda is shocked because Tetro always told her that their father was a
failed writer and that they lived in poverty.
The CD's liner notes also mention that his
wife Angela was killed in a car accident, and that he
remarried several times.
Tetro gets furious at Bennie for telling Miranda about their father.
A flashback in color shows us Angie telling his father that he wants to study philosophy instead of medicine and wants to become a novelist.
Bennie finds a tape of Angie's last phone conversation with their sister in which he bids her goodbye. A flashback (in color) shows us their father wishing
Angie good luck as he leaves for a writing sabbatical and giving him money, and Angie walking away simply saying that he will write about "this" (about Carlo himself).
Miranda catches Bennie reading Tetro's manuscript that talks about Carlo and
his brother Alfie. Some of it is written backwards and in code.
The ship is ready to sail. It is Bennie's last day with Tetro and Miranda.
Bennie takes the dog Problema out for a walk and gets hit by a motorcycle.
Tetro walks downstairs as Miranda gets into the ambulance with Bennie.
Seeing his brother lying on the ground brings back the memory of his own
car accident in which his mother died (again, a flashback in color).
Tetro visits Bennie at the hospital and is suddenly brotherly. Bennie missed
his ship and Tetro welcomes him to stay longer.
Tetro and Miranda are having sex when they receive a call from New York:
Bennie's and Angie's father Carlo has had a stroke and air tickets have been
arranged for them.
Miranda secretly smuggles Tetro's notes to Bennie at the hospital, so Bennie
can continue to decipher and transcribe them (it's written in the military
school code that Bennie knows). Bennie reads (and we see the flashback in color)
that one day Angie introduced his girlfriend Naomi, an aspiring dancer, to
to his father, and his father seduced her. Angie never forgave his father.
Angie/Tetro is now so friendly to Bennie that he surprises him with an unannounced visit at the hospital and... catches Bennie reading his own notes.
Furious that Bennie would steal his private stuff, Tetro leaves the room screaming "Angie is dead".
When Bennie is dismissed from the hospital (with a cast and needing crutches),
he is not welcome in Angie's house anymore and moves in with Abelardo, who has a large house.
Bennie continues to transcribe Angie's notes and is almost done: the only
thing that is missing is the ending, and that's because Angie never wrote an ending.
Abelardo realizes that this the mysterious story that nobody has ever seen,
but pretends he doesn't know and simply offers to intercede with
Alone to get it accepted for the festival.
It gets produced as a play written by Bennie. When Tetro learns about this,
he angrily confronts Bennie calling him a thief, but Bennie points out that
Angie wasn't doing anything with it and never wrote the ending: Bennie wrote
the ending. Alone loves the play, and Bennie told her the truth: it is Tetro's story. Everybody congratulates Tetro but he walks out furious.
Josefina, Maria-Luisa, Miranda, Tetro, and Bennie get in a car and drive
to snowy Patagonia.
New York keeps calling that the old man's conditions are critical.
One night they stop at a hotel and Tetro disappears.
In another room,
Josefina and Maria-Luisa are conspiring to take Bennie's virginity.
Tetro doesn't show up at the festival's fashionable opening night.
Then he shows up outside and calls Bennie out. Bennie tells Angie the ending
that he wrote: that Angie kills his father. But Angie tells him that it's
the wrong ending: Angie is his (Bennie's) father! Naomi was his mother
and she committed suicide after telling Angie the truth.
We see a flashback in color of a ballet by the beach.
Angie offers Bennie an axe to kill him, to kill his father.
Meanwhile, inside the theater the actors have performed the play and they
get a standing ovation. Bennie and Angie can hear it from outside.
Alone walks outside to declare Tetro the winner of the competition but Tetro
tells her that he doesn't care for her opinion. Just then Miranda receives
the news that his father died. The body is shipped back to Argentina for
the funeral. At the imposing funeral (with a symphony orchestra and a choir) Tetro shows up only to take his father's baton from the casket and hand it to uncle Alfie.
A drunk Bennie shouts the truth to the whole family, insults the dead man (technically, his grandfather) and walks outside into evening traffic like waiting to be killed by a car. Angie/Tetro runs to save him and finally hugs him like a father hugs a son.
Twixt (2011) is a horror film, partially in 3D.