Ironically, Juan Antonio Bardem (1922-2002) might be better known today as the uncle of actor Javier Bardem than as the master of sound and image that he is. Antifascist filmmakers who stuck around during Franco’s reign are often forgotten outside Spain — unlike Luis Buñuel, who came back just long enough to make a few films and then left again. A communist, Bardem stayed, struggled, and was jailed more than once; he was in prison when he won an award at Cannes for this creepy, claustrophobic 1955 melodrama. An adulterous couple (Alberto Closas and Lucia Bose) in a country-club milieu accidentally run over a cyclist and flee out of fear that their relationship will be revealed; their guilty paranoia opens many sores while awakening the man’s social conscience. As in Bardem’s still greater Calle Mayor (1956), Death of a Cyclist follows the antifascist strategy Henri-Georges Clouzot used in Le Corbeau for Vichy-era France, transposing the ugliness of power relations in a repressive society to the spheres of sex and gossip. In Spanish with subtitles. 99 min. a Wed 1/24, 5:30 PM, and Thu 1/25, 9:40 PM, Music Box.
Monthly Archives: April 2017
From the April 2017 Sight and Sound. — J.R.
FILM IS LIKE A BATTLEGROUND
Sam Fuller’s War Movies
By Marsha Gordon. Oxford University Press, 314 pp. £24.07, ISBN 9780190269753
Reviewed by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Some Samuel Fuller fans may find it surprising that
the two most substantial academic studies of him so
far have both been by women—Lisa Dombrowski’s 2008
The Films of Samuel Fuller: If You Die, I’ll Kill You! and
now Marsha Gordon’s more specialised volume. But for
anyone lucky enough to have known Fuller personally,
isn’t surprising at all. An unabashed feminist whose
feisty mother remained a key figure for him, Fuller
confounded macho stereotypes as much as those
associated with familiar ideological and Hollywood
patterns, even while remaining a feverish self-mythologizer.
Gordon’s principal strength is as a researcher, and her access to such items as Fuller’s letters home and diaries during his wartime service and some of his lesser-known publications, productions, and projects (such as a 1944 magazine story, an unsold 1959 TV pilot called Dogface with some striking anticipations of his White Dog, and his subsequent unrealized screenplay The Rifle) allows her to treat her elected subject with a great deal of thoroughness.… Read more »