NOSFERATU, THE VAMPYRE
1979, 107 min, Dir: Werner Herzog

An homage to Murnau’s 1922 classic, Herzog’s NOSFERATU achieves its own hypnotic power by evoking a romantic past of waterfalls and mist-filled valleys, and through the eerie sensuality of Klaus Kinski’s performance. Like Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo, Kinski’s Nosferatu is driven by the need for an unknowable spiritual ecstasy - in this case, Isabelle Adjani’s ethereal Lucy. With Bruno Ganz.


THE DRIVER
1978, 20th Century Fox, 90 min, USA, Dir: Walter Hill

Criminally underrated and overlooked upon its initial release Walter Hill’s auto-noir, THE DRIVER, has justifiably built a cult following over the past decade from filmmakers, cinephiles and academics alike. Created in homage to Jean-Pierre Melville and Euro crime cinema, Hill pits existential getaway driver Ryan O’Neal against pit-bull detective Bruce Dern for a cat-and-mouse pursuit across the wasted underbelly of ’70s Los Angeles.

THE DRIVER is lean, mean and underpinned by a masterful cast that delivers sardonic wit and bitter brilliance on par with the very best film noir. Making her Hollywood debut, Isabelle Adjani has never been cooler in this twilight world where names are eschewed for actions. Where Hill most notably deviates from his peers and predecessors are the truly electric chase sequences. Breathless even by today’s standards, Hill repeatedly throws the viewer against his bumpers as he perilously races across LA’s unforgiving asphalt – an astonishing accomplishment considering the now-antiquated state of cars in 1978.

An influence on almost every heist film that followed, THE DRIVER represents a highlight of Hill’s stellar career and a stone cold, tough-as-nails masterpiece.


SUBWAY
1985, Gaumont, 104 min, France, Dir: Luc Besson

Director Luc Besson’s second film and first bona fide hit is a delicious neo-noir, live-action comic book, a hymn to the new-wave rhythms of nocturnal street life and private romantic fantasies. Inhabitant of the Paris subway and wannabe rocker Fred (Christopher Lambert) falls for Helena (Isabelle Adjani) after first trying to blackmail her. A rogue’s gallery of colorful suburban dwellers comprises Fred’s neighbors. With Richard Bohringer, Jean-Hugues Anglade. In French with English subtitles.


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