Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nostalgia Kinky Jumps a Whopping 37 Places in Wikio's Listings

I was thrilled and very surprised to see Nostalgia Kinky jumping 37 spots to slot number 60 on Wikio's ranking of top film blogs. Wikio's list is linked to the right via their rankings button.
Thanks to everyone who keeps visiting here and linking up to the is much appreciated and some new articles and pictures will be posted this week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

#24: Il Segreto

1990’s Il Segreto would mark the second and final time Nastassja would work with director Francesco Maselli. Unlike their first collaboration, L’Alba, Il Segreto is a much more traditional narrative film filled out by a large cast including Stafano Dionisi, Franco Citti and the always wonderful Chiara Caselli.
Unfortunately my copy of this very rare film (that, like L’Alba, has never had any sort of home video release that I can find record of) is of very poor quality and is in Italian only so I am unable to offer up any sort of real critique of it. I hope these exclusive screen shots will suffice for now, and I will give the film a proper look in the future if I can.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

#23: L'Alba (Dawn)

Francesco Maselli's A'Alba (Dawn) is a fascinating two character driven piece that I unfortunately can't offer a proper review to as I don't have an English language friendly version of it. I can however say that it is one of the most striking films starring Nastassja that I have seen as it is literally a production obsessed by her face. Featuring in nearly ever shot of its slim eighty minute running time, Nastassja's face is shot in some of the longest and most loving close ups of her career. It's as if Maselli had seen the famed close up of her in Paris, Texas and decided to make a feature around it.
The Roman born Maselli had been making movies since the forties in Italy and he shot both L'Alba and Il Segreto with Nastassja around his sixtieth birthday. He is still active to this day as he just recently co-directed a feature (Civico Zero) starring another one of cinema's most beautiful women, namely Ornella Muti.
I will offer up a proper review of this visually haunting film one day if I can get my hands on an English subtitled print. My apologies but I hope these exclusive screen shots from it will suffice for now.

Shooting Kinski: Pier Luigi Santi

Getting the opportunity to shoot Nastassja Kinski in some of the most striking and extreme close ups of her career in both L'Alba and Il Segreto, Pier Luigi Santi certainly delivered remarkably well on what were two obviously scaled by and intimate productions.
Santi had ironically just worked for Nastassja's father Klaus on his one film as a director, 1989's Paganini (a film which at one point Nastassja was rumored to be attached to), which gives L'Alba and Il Segreto a certain distinction in Nastassja's filmography.
Santi began his career as an assistant cameraman in the early sixties before graduating to cinematographer in the early seventies with director Bitto Albertini. Working sporadically in Italian film throughout the next two decades, Santi is probably best known for shooting lovely Gloria Guida in 1976's Au-Pair Girl as well as his work for Klaus in Paganini.
Santi's work with Nastassja is quite stunning, even in the poor quality copies I have, and viewing the films today he seems to have been a perfect choice for them.
Pier Luigi Santi's last feature was 2006 The Roots Of Evil and i have unfortunately been unable to find out any other biographical information on him.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nastassja On Ebay: Tazio Secchiaroli Photo

This auction has appeared featuring this lovely rare photo for those interested.
My apologies for the lack of updates this past week. I am planning some posts throughout the week and will catch up on replying to comments. Thanks for continuing to visit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nastassja on Ebay: Japanese Tess Photobook

There is a terrific looking Japanese photo book for Tess at eBay if anyone would like to give it a look. Some scans are offered and I wish I had the money right now to get it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lina Wertmuller, Rutger Hauer and Nastassja on On a Moonlit Night

Please visit this link to read a vintage article concerning On A Moonlit Night. Here you will find comments from Wertmuller, Hauer and even Nastassja herself on this challenging and little seen film.
Also Rutger Hauer's official site has some information on the film here.

22. On A Moonlit Night (1989)

A showcase for legendary actor Rutger Hauer, Italian director Lina Wertmuller’s In una notte di chiaro di luna (On a Moonlit Night, 1989) is a scathing black comedy centering on the very serious subject of the AIDS epidemic and societies fear of it in general.

The legendary Wertmuller had come to prominence in the seventies with a series of incredible films that mixed politics, sex and comedy to devastating effect with the most famous being 1974’s Swept Away. The talented Wertmuller began to fall from critical and popular grace by the early eighties and by the time of On A Moonlit Night she had trouble finding both financing and distribution…pity as it is quite a unique and at times an extraordinary film.

Hauer stars as John Knott, a reporter who has gone undercover as a man affected with the HIV virus to see how people are treated with the illness. When he finds out that he is in fact a carrier of the virus, his world slips quickly out of control. Serious stuff, but under Wertmuller’s tongue in cheek direction and script, On A Moonlit Night finds a successful balance between being overwhelmingly silly and incredibly solemn.

Nastassja has a fairly small, but memorable, role as the reporter Knott is in love with and plans to marry. As the blonde Joelle, Nastassja is extremely good at handling Wertmuller’s deliberate melodramatic dialogue and watching her with Hauer is fascinating stuff. Her character also undergoes a fascinating and devastating personal arc, marking On A Moonlit Night as one of the key performances of Nastassja’s career in this period.

The rest of the cast is made up of an incredibly varied number of international players, all of whom no doubt wanted to work with both Wertmuller and Hauer. Actors ranging from Peter O’Toole to Faye Dunaway to Dominique Sanda to Euro Horror favorite George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori) surround Hauer’s towering performance, and they all bring their own distinct brand of acting to the film.

While not at the level of her work in the seventies, Wertmuller’s film is quite a remarkable one at times that manages to satirize the fear and paranoia that seemed to hang over the mid to late eighties like an extremely dark cloud. Wertmuller is an obvious cinematic master and she directs the film with a very sure hand throughout, even though it is ultimately let down by a rather flat looking job of photography (courtesy of Carlo Tafani).

Like the best of her most scathing commentaries, On A Moonlit Night teeters on the line of being offensive in its at times irreverent attitude to the most serious of subjects. It is finally Wertmuller’s intelligence that characterizes the film though, which is ultimately a very humane and well done one.
The film’s intriguing score, credited to Avion Travel, Pino D’Angio and Italo Greco, is all over the place but is never less than effective. A Tom Waits song is also included to great effect, marking On A Moonlit Night as the second feature Nastassja worked on elevated by the music of Waits.

On A Moonlit Night premiered in Italy to mixed reactions in the fall of 1989. It played throughout Europe under a variety of titles but never achieved any real success. It remains unreleased in the United States and its rather politically incorrect handling of an extremely serious subject will probably keep it off Region 1DVD…pity, as it is a valuable film marked by an extraordinary performance from the great Rutger Hauer. My version comes from an unedited British TV broadcast around a decade or so ago, so please excuse the quality of the screencaps.