Thursday 31 May 2018

More German and French fantasy - 14

Spermula (1976) - Foggy French space-softcore-porn, 1930s themed, like an erotic melding of Star Maidens and Flambards. The English dub is a sci-fi comedy, but the original French version is an arty, up its arse, baffling bit of erotic art, all soft focus pans of girls. Udo Kier pops up. There's a dancing dwarf and a priest.

Ubit Drakona (1988) - Arthurian Mosfilm coproduction. A pseudo-modern apocalyptic setting - somewhat Gilliamesque dystopia, complete with tatty revue show. Features a scene where a bloke is stabbed with a fork up his penis, and then kissed by his torturer (Oleg Yankovsky, Stapleton in the Soviet Hound of the Baskervilles, and the baddie in Mute Witness). The dragon is a sort of plane - steaming, covered with fur. The  hero (a mix of B.A. Robertson, Michael Palin and Bryan Brown) fights it in a hot air balloon. Overlong but visually appealing. these Russian films can be enjoyable once you get past the inevitable alienating quality. Featuring cast from the Soviet Ten Little Indians and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Traumstadt (1973) - Overlong Teutonic arthouse dystopian grotesquery with To The Devil A Daughter's Eva Maria Meineke as "Mrs. Lampenbogen".  Lots of flannel-slapping. Agitprop nonsense.

Perinbaba (1985) - Czech-Italian-German fairytale coproduced by RAI and ZDF. If one has ever wanted to see Giulietta Masina bouncing on a feather trampoline as a fairy godmother, then here. Expensive but twee, caught between two schools - the post-Neverending Story school of Euro-fantasy and the older Tales from Europe model.

Frau Holle (1961) - Colourful yet anodyne European fairytale, made by people who worked more in TV.

Hercules In The Haunted World (1961)  - It's a piece of rubbish but it may be Bava's best looking film - even frame is pulp magazine cover painting gorgeousness. And Christopher Lee is not dubbed.

And now onto the French stuff...

Gwen Le Livre de Sable (1985) - Gaumont-produced animated surrealism - attractive but slow, even at an hour, doesn't go anywhere, desert and suburbia collide but it at times looks a bit Bleep and Booster, i.e. not very animated.

Bunker Palace Hotel (1989) - Grim and rainy dystopia, directed by Enki Bilal, the master of grim and rainy dystopian comics. It feels too literally adapted from a comic source. Humourless, gruff, and samey, in its sometimes stunning but at the same time, curiously bland industrial imagery. Features Jean Louis Trintignant, Carole Bouquet, and Mira Furlan, off Babylon 5.

The Suns of Easter Island (1972) - Directed by Pierre Kast and starring Alexandra Stewart and Mario Bava starlet-turned-Brazilian telenovela actress Norma Bengell, a dull documentary-like take on Easter Island. A last minute jaunt into surrealism fails to save it.

The Time to Die (1969) - French video-thriller with Anna Karina, Jean Rochefort and Bruno "the one true Maigret" Cremer. An artsy but rather basic thriller - revolving around the exciting and dangerous possibilities of videotape. It's a bit Brian Clemens' Thriller. And it seemingly references the Prisoner, by having Rover appear at the end. It's that sort of nonsense.

Chronopolis (1984) - Not really a film, an hour of animated robots doing things. Michael Lonsdale supplies the sporadic narration.

The Aquanauts (1979) - Soviet undersea adventure from Gorky Film Studio. Nice soundtrack and sets, but it feels a little dull, considering its plot about a telepathic manta ray.

The Big Bang (1987) - Released by Entertainment video in the UK, blessed with one of the last scores by the great Roy Budd,  an at times visually appealing but mostly horribly ugly and grotesquely ribald sex-cartoon, when this sort of thing was rare. Even at an hour, it wears you down.

Automat na prání (1968) - CFF-esque Czech kids' film, kids in a spaceship making wishes essentially, a pleasingly Eastern Bloc retro-futurist-tastic, but the story gets nonsensical involving a wish to go to prison or something, and a skeleton prosecutor.

Looking through lists of German fantasy films, and they're all either New German Cinema pretention, the odd ZDF coproduction like 1987's Malian myth Yeelen or Tales from Europe-type fairytale/family packages. French sci-fi is almost ashamed of being sci-fi.,1990-12-31&genres=sci_fi&countries=fr&page=2&ref_=adv_nxt

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