Films of 1959-60

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  • A Bout de Souffle. 1960. France. Directed by Jean-Luc Goddard, adapted from story by Francois Truffaut. Won two film awards in 1960. Not released outside France, Japan, Germany and Denmark until the next year. From IMDB: "A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him."

The Virgin Spring, 1960. Directed by Ingmar Bergman.

Pickpocket, 1959. Directed by Robert Bresson.

The Bad Sleep Well, 1960. Directed by Akira Kurosawa.

  • Cuba's greatest and best-known director, Tomas Gutierrez Alea fell in love with cinema at an early age, began as a documentarian much influenced by Italian neorealism, and fully came into his own as an artist during Fidel Castro's regime. Over the years, he has evinced a fondness for both historical and contemporary fables, invariably politically pointed and satirical, their flights into absurdity showing the influence of Luis Buñuel. An ardent supporter of the revolution which dispatched the despotic Fulgencio Batista and brought Castro to power, Alea has painted a more complex portrait of Cuba in his cinema than the rest of the world has generally been willing to conceive. The documentary impulse has remained, yet it is used to constantly scrutinize contemporary Cuba. Indeed, Alea has made some gutsy critiques of the socioeconomic and political realities of his land, as he ponders the persistence of a petty-bourgeois mentality in a society supposedly dedicated to the plight of the working poor.
  • His first feature, Historias de la revolución (1960), employs a neorealist style to present three dramatic sketches depicting the armed insurrection against Batista. Alea's relatively straightforward approach to film style, however, would change, altered not only through his appropriation of Hollywood and art cinema stylistics but also by his increasingly personal attempts at self-expression
  • (From IMDB)

  • Imitation of Life. 1959. United States. From IMDB: "A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white." See:
  • Laura Mulvey discusses this film in her recent book Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (Reaktion, 2006).

  • On the Beach. 1959. United States. Hollywood narrative of hope and despair during the last days of the human race after the nuclear holocaust of the Third World War. Directed by Stanley Kramer, with actors Ava Gardener, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. IMDB:
  • Released simultaneously in various major capital cities on December 17, 1959. This kind of release strategy was rare as far as I can tell, and was covered in the Milanese daily newspaper 'La Corriere della Sera.'
Italian version of poster

  • La Dolce Vita. Italy. Controversial and seminal film chronicles seven days in the life of a celebrity columnist in Rome. Deals with issues of domestic mores, urban life, Americanization, Hollywood star culture and paparazzi, the role of religion in modern life, the role of the artist/intellectual in modern life, suicide and miracles. Directed by Federico Fellini. Released in Italy in February, and across Europe during the summer of 1960. The film wasn't released until 1961 in North America. IMDB:
  • An excellent article was written by Alessia Ricciardi ( who is a film historian at UC Berkeley: Ricciardi, Alessia. “The Spleen of Rome: Mourning Modernism in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.” Modernism/Modernity. 7 2 (April 2000): 201-219.

  • The Beat Generation. USA. 1959. Mainstream film stereotypes beats. Crime drama I think. Amazing quote from the Youtube excerpt below. A friend asks 'Jakey' (a cop) what he thinks of the Beats. He replies:
"A bunch of phony, pseudo-intellectuals jumping on the gravy train of rebellion. I guess we've always had 'em. Fake bohemia. I dunno Jakey, maybe I'm getting old but... they bore me." That character leaves soon after to go bowling. There's also a great poetry reading by a Beat with a rat that's a treatise against parents. It starts "Dear Parents, we do not thank you..." Classic.

  • Sleeping Beauty is released by Disney.

  • The Tingler, USA, 1959. Directed by William Castle.

  • Psycho, USA, 1960. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock