Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2016 - Jeffery Berg ""

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Film Discoveries of 2016 - Jeffery Berg

Jeffery is a longtime contributor here at RPS and also runs his lovely blog JDB Records:
Check out his 2015-2012 film Discoveries here:
and look for him on twitter here:
1. PEPPERMINT FRAPPÉ (1967, Carlos Saura) / CRÍA CUERVOS... (1976, Carlos Saura)
These are the first films I’ve seen by Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura and I found both to be fantastic.

Twisty with Vertigo influences, Peppermint Frappé follows a radiologist (José Luis López Vázquez) obsessed with a mysterious blonde (Geraldine Chaplin). The film is intoxicating with pops of color (that bright green drink!) and also deeply melancholic—especially scenes set at an abandoned spa.
Amazon Button (via
Cría cuervos (“Raise ravens”) is one of Saura’s most famous and acclaimed movies. Like Peppermint, it moves between a sense of “reality” and illusion with political allegory. A both edgy and tenderly filmed tale of a young girl (Ana Torrent) haunted by the death of her parents and also uncertain about how they died, Cría cuervos explores memory and also the darkness and powerlessness of childhood. Pop ditty “Porque te vas" by Jeanette is particularly memorable.
Amazon Button (via

2. BLOW OUT (1981, Brian De Palma)
I finally got to De Palma’s taut, near-masterpiece with John Travolta as sound designer for B-movies (loved the American International posters at his workplace!) who stumbles upon an assassination discussion in the owl-hooting dark. Tense and enjoyable with killer cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and Pino Donaggio’s swirling score.
Amazon Button (via

3. RASHOMON (1950, Akira Kurosawa)
Well-known, highly-praised Kurosawa picture uses alternating points-of-view of a man’s murder and his wife’s rape. Influential but still unique in its way of storytelling to this day, Rashomon offers so many striking and haunting scenes (including the torrents of rain in the opening) to ponder over.
Amazon Button (via

4. SIDEWALK STORIES (1989, Charles Lane)
Silent, very effective homage to Chaplin’s The Kid, Lane plays a down-and-out sidewalk artist who takes a little girl (an adorable Nicole Alysia) under his wing after the death of her father. This is a great New York picture—I recognized much of its setting—shot in wintry black & white that ends with a damning commentary on homelessness.
Amazon Button (via

5. A VERY NATURAL THING (1974, Christopher Larkin)
I had never heard of A Very Natural Thing before and was surprised how excellent this early cinematic portrait of a gay relationship was. The movie, with its Love Story-esque moments, seems to come from a place of wanting mainstream acceptance. The actors, mostly unknown, are solid and the footage of a Gay Pride parade in NYC and interviews of some of the participants is fascinating.
Amazon Button (via

6. REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE (1967, John Huston)
A dynamite ensemble charges this steamy Carson McCullers melodrama with Brando as a pent-up Major with his eye on handsome Private (Robert Forester). The strained marriage between Brando and Liz Taylor is played with sparks-fly tension and the photography by Aldo Tonti adds to the eerie, southern gothic feel.
Amazon Button (via

7. FAREWELL, MY LOVELY (1976, Dick Richards)
In this Raymond Chandler adaptation—a 70s picture stylized in the noir-aesthetics of the 1940s— Robert Mitchum is perfection as private eye Philip Marlowe hired to search for a woman named Velma. An enjoyable watch with great supporting turns—especially Charlotte Rampling and Sylvia Miles (Oscar-nominated). David Shire provides the evocative jazz score.
Amazon Button (via

8. CUTTER’S WAY (1981, Ivan Passer)
Not a perfect movie, but the characters and the rich, California atmosphere of Cutter’s Way really stuck with me. A twisty and bizarre mystery with a unique trio (played with gusto by Jeff Bridges, John Heard and Lisa Eichhorn) trying to uncover a murder. 80s noir with the personal traumas of the Vietnam era is deeply rendered. Eichhorn, in particular, delivers a stunning, raw performance.
Amazon Button (via

9. SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1972, Theodore Gershuny)
I was spooked by the opening shots of a man on fire in the snow in this creepy, miniscule budgeted Christmas Eve-set horror film about a rural estate which used to be an asylum. The dark, chilly, Oyster Bay, Long Island location adds to the scariness. There are certain movies where the film itself feels haunted, this is one of them.
Amazon Button (via

10. THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH (1964, Del Tenney)
Z-grade mash-up of Beach Blanket Bingo and Creature from the Black Lagoon, with monsters (men in elaborate rubber suits with lots of hot dogs (?) in their mouths) emerging from the ocean to slay beach town (filmed in Connecticut). Mindless camp.
Amazon Button (via

No comments: