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Related: 1995 - 1990s film
Films: The City of Lost Children (1995) - Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Safe (1995) - Todd Haynes [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Carol White (Julianne Moore) is a mousy housewife living the affluent life in the San Fernando Valley when, over the span of a few months, she begins to develop debilitating sensitivities to her environment. A permanent at the hair salon makes her nose bleed and her skin go bad, exhaust from a truck causes her to cough violently, she's allergic to the new couch, goes into seizures at the dry cleaner's. No one understands or credits her condition, least of all her husband or family physician. But the symptoms worsen, and Carol eventually discovers others who suffer from similar environmental illnesses. She checks into a desert spa that caters to those in her predicament, and the staff regales her with touchy-feely, infomercial-style affirmations. All of this could have been broad satire, but director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine) opts for a filming style that captures the empty elegance of Carol's passive lifestyle and looks on with clinical dispassion, so that you can hear the oppressive quiet surrounding her. It's positively eerie, so you know you're not watching just a worthy cause picture or movie of the week. Haynes has more ambition than that, even going so far as to insert a slight buzzing sound in the soundtrack to accentuate the unease. Fluorescent lights? Power lines? Who knows? Maybe it's safe to call it the ominous rumblings beneath the surface of Carol's life, from antiseptic affluence to septic isolation in the spa environment. A model of sustained tone, boasting one of the most remarkable performances by Julianne Moore, from a whole career of remarkable performances. --Jim Gay for amazon.com
La Haine (1995) - Mathieu Kassovitz
La Haine (1995) - Mathieu Kassovitz [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
La Haine ("Hate") is a French black-and-white film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, released in 1995. It is a dark urban thriller which has been called France's answer to Do the Right Thing. It explores themes of racism, violence and disaffected youth in modern suburban Paris. A riot has broken out in a slum, and been quelled by the police. The film depicts twenty-four hours of the lives of three teenage friends in that slum.
Plot and characters
Vinz, (Vincent Cassel) who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a thug, modeled after Robert DeNiro's "Travis Bickle" from Taxi Driver. Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), an Arab, is the trio's constantly-talking voice of reason. Hubert (Hubert Koundé), who is black, is a boxer, quietly pouring his energy into making something of himself and getting out of the ghetto. A friend of theirs has been beaten up in police custody. This sets off a series of events that take the three down a path of destruction. Vinz finds a policeman's gun, and vows that if their friend dies in police custody, he will kill a cop.
Impact of the film
Director Mathieu Kassovitz delivers a powerfully emotional comment on the state of French society and the problems caused by urban deprivation. "La Haine" features sterling perfomances by all three main actors, especially Cassel whose portrayal of Vinz launched him to stardom.
The film was a huge commercial success and provoked much debate in France over its unflinching presentation of urban violence; the then-prime minister Alain Juppé was reported to have arranged a special screening and ordered his entire cabinet to watch the film. Kassovitz won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996, as well as being nominated for the Palme d'Or; the film also picked up the César Award for Best Picture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Haine [Apr 2005]
see also: European cinema - Cinema of France
- Wild Side (1995-98) - Donald Cammell, Director's cut [1 DVD (PAL) Amazon UK] [Amazon US, studio's cut]
Originally filmed in 1995. Director Donald Cammell had his name removed as director. His Director's Cut, prepared by editor Frank Mazzola and featuring a new soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto, has been released in 1999 under the title "Donald Cammell's Wild Side". It's available on video/DVD in the UK.
- Underground (1995) - Emir Kusturica [Amazon US]
This sprawling, exhausting, deeply moving Palme d'Or winner represents the pinnacle of Serbian director Emir Kusturica's considerable abilities, and what is easily one of the best cinematic achievements of the 1990s. It encapsulates 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s. When we first meet Marko (Miki Manojlovic) and Blacky (Lazar Ristovski), it's hard to take these jokers seriously. All they want to do is party their lives away. But the Nazi shelling of Belgrade changes everything, and the resourceful duo comes up with an ingenious plan--one will stay aboveground while the other goes underground. The arrangement represents an ideal opportunity for all concerned: Blacky, his wife, and the rest of their friends and neighbors will be protected from the chaos going on above, while Marko and the lovely Natalija (Mira Sorvino look-alike Mirjana Jokovic) will sell the weapons they're making down below. Everyone will share in the profits.
But Marko commits the ultimate act of betrayal--against Blacky and the rest of his subterranean comrades. This sort of deception can only lead to tragedy, and Kusturica doesn't spare us the details. In fact, it's his eye for detail that makes Underground such a memorable experience--the perfect note his cast strikes between the extremes of physical comedy, passionate romance, and mortal pain, the insidiously infectious brass-heavy score and the strikingly colorful images.
Underground is basically a parable, and doesn't always adhere to the laws of physics. It isn't for the literal-minded, the impatient, or the partisan. It's loud, it's long, and it isn't for the easily offended. It may just also be one of the saddest movies ever made and stands as a fitting tribute to a country that exists only in the hearts and minds of its former residents. --Kathleen C. Fennessy, amazon.com
- Dead Man (1995) - Jim Jarmusch [1 DVD Amazon US]
This disappointment from Jim Jarmusch stars Johnny Depp in a mystery Western about a 19th-century accountant named William Blake, who spends his last coin getting to a hellish mud town in Texas and ends up penniless and doomstruck in the wilderness. A benevolent if goofy Native American (Gary Farmer) takes an interest in guiding Blake on a quest for identity in his earthly journey, but the film is really just a string of endless shtick about inbred woodsmen, dumb lawmen, and a trio of irritable killers. With Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Alfred Molina, and a noodling soundtrack by Neil Young. --Tom Keogh for amazon.com [very accomplished movie --jahsonic, Dec 2003]
- Denise Calls Up [Amazon US]
Never judge a book by it's cover-that's what you learn from watching this trendy little grinfest. Although it's quite brief and it's got a cast of unknowns-it succeeds. In my opinion, a movie is a winner if it delivers effects that it's genre promises. For example, a horror movie is good if it scares you-a drama is good if it makes you cry or at least grabs your full attention. This parody of human communications [telephone] IS funny, and it has the power to KEEP you staying in tune with the storyline. So many things happen in the characters' lives and we learn this by listening to dozens of brief phone conversations. With it's amusing subplots and charismatic characters, you will like this film. - Emily Price for amazon.com
- Frisk (1996) - Todd Verow [Amazon US]
Everyone whined when it came out - said it was gory and bloody and slapped the gay community in the face (um, didn't Cooper do that in writing it?) If you watched the movie you would note that there is very little blood shown in the movie - most of the 'violence' takes place in voice over's - two scenes offer 'gore' and not much at that. Changes made to the book are women added to the storyline, and its ending leaves you wondering if it was made up at all. The whole point of fiction is that it can be real - there is nothing wrong with crossing a few lines. It is hard to understand why the book gets consistent five star ratings while the movie gets such a low rating. It would appear that people like reading fiction about fiction. If nothing else watch a movie that makes you think you are seeing something you are not. Obviously if you watched the movie and were upset - really upset - then it did its job - it got a response out of you. How many movies can you say that about - certainly not Jeffrey or the Birdcage. --A viewer from NYC USA for amazon.com
- The Elegant Spanking (1995) - Maria Beatty
Not for the sexually squeamish, this black-and-white porn (for lack of a better word) film -- sort of a lesbian version of a Jean Genet scenario -- features performance artist Rosemary Delain as "The Mistress" who sexually dominates, humiliates and satiates her submissive maid Kitty (independent filmmaker Maria Beatty). A silent film accompanied by music by John Zorn, the sensual tale includes gentle spanking, graphic lovemaking and a memorable scene involving water sports (bedroom cocktails?) Not for straight men or the faint of heart.
- The Bridges of Madison County (1995) - Clint Eastwood [Amazon US]
Some called it a snooze-fest, while others tearfully clutched their Kleenex. In any case, Clint Eastwood was an unusual and (as it turned out) perceptive choice to direct and costar in this lush adaptation of Robert James Waller's phenomenally bestselling novel. Meryl Streep costars as Francesca, the lonely Iowa farmer's wife who is instantly attracted to Robert (Eastwood), the photographer from National Geographic who is in the area to photograph the bridges along Iowa's rural roadways. The two fall in love while Francesca's husband and children are away at a county fair, but the story's passion and lasting appeal derive from their decision to part forever after just a few brief days of intimate connection. Superbly acted with an emphasis on quiet, graceful moments of tender revelation, the film builds to a crescendo of powerful and conflicting emotions. Like David Lean's Brief Encounter (to which it bears marked similarities), The Bridges of Madison County is destined to become one of the classic movie love stories. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com
- The Celluloid Closet (1995) - Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein [Amazon US]
Author Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) wrote Lily Tomlin's narration for this superb documentary, based on a book by the late Vito Russo, about Hollywood's treatment of homosexual characters in the 20th century. Never pointing a finger at anyone in the film community, The Celluloid Closet presents clips from more than 100 mainstream features (including The Children's Hour, Advise and Consent, The Boys in the Band, and The Hunger) that speak loudly in their respective images of gays and lesbians. The film makes a persuasive case for patterns of sexual mythology in Hollywood, such as presenting homosexuals repeatedly as tragic, helpless figures redeemed only through death or as back-street monsters cavorting in the shadows. Things change, of course, and clips from more recent films by gay and lesbian filmmakers suggest a more vital, diverse, autobiographical approach. There are lots of great interviews with screenwriters (Gore Vidal), filmmakers (John Schlesinger), actors (Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg), and others to enunciate the major themes. --Tom Keogh
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