Hidden Gems #3
Hidden Gem #30: Boy a.k.a. Shonen (1969, Japan)
Director: Nagisa Oshima
Based on a shocking, true story about parents who travel the country coercing their 10 year old to fake traffic accidents so that his mother-in-law can extort money from the unsuspecting motorists; this gem derives considerable emotional impact from the way our title character seeks refuge from his harsh reality by retreating into a fantasy world of space aliens who he imagines (oddly enough) care for and look after one another. (More here).
Hidden Gem #29: Wanda (1970, U.S.A.)
Director: Barbara Loden
Like The Night of the Hunter and One Eyed Jacks, this highly accomplished directorial "one off" by an acting talent concerns a mentally challenged drifter (played by the director) who finds a brief emotional connection to a criminal who callously uses her to assist him in a highly dangerous bank robbery. (More here).
Hidden Gem #28: Goodnight My Love (1972, U.S.A.)
Director: Peter Hyams
Richard Boone and Michael Dunn play down to their last dime private detective partners, the former a big, brutish soft-spoken guy, the latter a sharp witted dwarf in 1940's Los Angeles where film noir meets an even darker sense of humour in this highly atmospheric, engrossing and exceptionally well made for TV little gem.
Hidden Gem #27: The Aviator's Wife a.k.a. La femme de l'aviateur (1981, France)
Director: Eric Rohmer
While spying on his stand-offish girlfriend a young male student gets temporarily distracted by an even younger but more mature and socially aware female student in this spontaneous and enlightened offering from a masterful creator of subtly engaging manners.
Hidden Gem #26: El a.k.a. This Strange Passion (1953, Mexico)
Director: Luis Bunuel
Full of inspired and highly creative situations as a wealthy man's increasingly jealous determination to posses his new wife turns to madness in one of the great director's lesser known masterpieces that looks forward to the theme of "romantic" obsession in Vertigo from Alfred Hitchcock.
Hidden Gem #25: The Lacemaker a.k.a. La dentellière (1977, France/Switzerland/West Germany)
Director: Claude Goretta
A compelling romance develops between a very reserved but caring young woman and a middle-class intellectual, then tragically unravels when his overly-taxed mind simply cannot reconcile with her simple and beautiful heart.
Hidden Gem #24: Try and Get Me! a.k.a. The Sound of Fury (1950, U.S.A.)
Director: Cy Endfield
Brace yourself for a devastatingly confrontational first, second and final act knock-out culminating in this: the most horrifyingly honest and realistic depiction of the American dream transformed into an American nightmare the screen has ever produced and it's based on a true story. (See: Inspecting a Hidden Gem).
Hidden Gem #23: A Dirty Carnival a.k.a. Biyeolhan geori (2006, South Korea)
Director: Ha Yoo
A riveting gangster film that wisely focuses on its central character's quest to rise in his gang's hierarchy while improving his personal relationship with those closest to him which includes a fascinating "conflict of interest" sub-plot whereby our protagonist tries to help an aspiring film maker make his gangster film more realistic.
Hidden Gem #22: It All Starts Today a.k.a. Ça commence aujourd'hui (1999, France)
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
A kindergarten teacher in a poor coal-mining region of Northern France struggles valiantly to improve not only his community's welfare but his private life as well in this passionate and ultimately uplifting social drama which is due primarily to the children's heart warming resiliency brilliantly captured by one of France's most notable cinematic storytellers.
Hidden Gem #21: Across the Bridge (1957, U.K.)
Director: Ken Annakin
A terrific premise sets up this suspenseful "man on the run" thriller whereby our protagonist must change identities with a stranger on board a train in order to evade capture once arriving in Mexico... a plan that's complicated by a most ingenious story twist which also produces a profound character change during his already intriguing journey.