FITZCARRALDO
1982, Werner Herzog Film, 158 min, West Germany/Peru, Dir: Werner Herzog

Rubber baron and music fanatic Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski) journeys down the darkest byways of the Amazon to build an opera house at the rainforest’s heart. Like his title character, director Werner Herzog reaches an ambitious pinnacle of achievement here – the staggeringly impossible odds that seem to weigh against Fitzcarraldo ever reaching his goal were mirrored by Herzog’s own attempts to complete the film (which were chronicled in Les Blank’s astonishing documentary BURDEN OF DREAMS). Co-starring a ravishing Claudia Cardinale as Fitzcarraldo’s strong, outspoken paramour who believes in him. A must-see!


THE PROFESSIONALS
1966, Sony Repertory, 117 min, USA, Dir: Richard Brooks

Writer-director Richard Brooks earned a pair of Oscar nominations for this vastly underrated film. A Texas rancher enlists a team of mercenaries to rescue his wife, who has been kidnapped by a Mexican bandit. But the hired guns - Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode – soon learn that their employer hasn’t told them the whole story (the outstanding cast also includes Ralph Bellamy, Claudia Cardinale and Jack Palance). Beautifully shot by Conrad Hall, THE PROFESSIONALS is an irresistible mix of action, intrigue and humor that ranks among the very best Westerns of the 1960s.


8 1/2
OTTO E MEZZO
1963, Corinth Films, 144 min, Italy, Dir: Federico Fellini

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and arguably Fellini’s greatest masterpiece. The great Marcello Mastroianni stars as a very Fellini-like director trying to escape the self-made chaos of his artistic and personal lives at an Italian health spa, where he’s pursued by jealous mistresses, demanding producers and surreal fantasies of his own past, present and future. Co-starring Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk and Barbara Steele. In Italian with English subtitles.


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