(Luis Bunuel, France, 1972): To the perennial question of "Do I have to kill somebody to get served around here," Luis Bunuel, in his Oscar-winning art-house blockbuster The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, answers "Yup. And then some." Dinner, if and when it ever comes to Bunuel's sextette...

(The piece below was written for the Hollywood Suite website blog: https://hollywoodsuite.ca/connect/all-that-jazz/)   Imagine the pitch meeting for All That Jazz. “Okay Bob, what did you have in mind?” “It's a fictionalized autobiography of me, except I die in the end after open heart surgery.” “I thought you said it was a...

(Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1979): It begins almost as a joke. Three men, a Writer, a Professor and a hired guide known as the Stalker, enter a bar. They're downing a few final quaffs of courage before heading somewhere. We're not sure where this somewhere is at...

(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1974): Appearing almost exactly halfway through Rainer Werner Fassbinder's blistering forty-four title assault of a career -- he died in 1982 at age 37 -- this blunt yet forceful re-telling of Sirk's All that Heaven Allows begins under a winter-black Munich night sky...

Chantal Akerman, Belgium/France, 1975): The onset of madness measured in domestic increments, in which burned potatoes can assume the status of crisis, tricks can be turned while dinner is cooking, panic follows the discovery of somebody else sitting at your favourite café table, and a missing...

(Roman Polanski, USA/France, 1976): With the creative freedom earned by the box office and prestige success of Chinatown, Roman Polanski returned to France, a project -- Roland Topor's 1964 novel -- he'd been nursing for years, and the concept of the apartment as manifestation of creeping psychic...

(Shohei Imamura, Japan, 1979): The first murder committed by the main character in Shohei Imamura's potently disturbing Vengeance is Mine sets the tone for the rest of the movie, but that doesn't make the film either easier to take or even understand. After coldly bludgeoning a co-worker with...

(Samuel Fuller, USA, 1963): "What a tragedy," sighs the newspaper editor who'd previously endorsed his prize reporter's nutty decision to admit himself into a mental hospital -- under the guise of an incestuous fetishist -- in order to solve a murder. "An insane mute will win...

(Dario Argento, Italy, 1977): Giallo maestro and former Sergio Leone screenwriter Dario Argento's global reputation was forged here, in a movie about an American dance student (Jessica Harper) who arrives at a remote German academy presided over by Joan Bennett and Alida Valli and prone to...