The Discreet Bourgeois

Possessed by an urgency to make sure all this stuff I love doesn't just disappear


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. The Murderer Lives at Number 21  (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
  2. Cries and Whispers  (Ingmar Bergman)
  3. Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural  (Richard Blackburn)
  4. All About Eve  (Joseph Mankiewicz)
  5. Busses Roar  (D.Ross Lederman)
  6. The Cranes are Flying  (Mikhail Kalatozov)
  7. Early Spring  (Yasujiro Ozu)
  8. The Horn Blows at Midnight  (Raoul Walsh)
  9. Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
  10. Kurotokage  (Umetsugu Inoue)

 

I remembered Lemora from happy days back in the late 70s when one of the local NYC television stations would show somewhat recent horror films late on Saturday night. My neighbors and I would get together and watch such treats as Shock Waves, with its underwater Nazis, and Death Dream with an oddly behaving soldier returning from Vietnam, who of course turns out to be a zombie – this was unusual at the time as Zombies had not yet become a cottage industry.

Lemora was one of these films that I remembered most effectively but least clearly.  I jumped at the chance for a second viewing when Turner Classic Movies showed it last month. As with so many cult things, quality is quite beside the point. The movie was obviously made on a miniscule budget, a lot of the savings coming from a distinct lack of good lighting such that it is often hard to see just what is going on.  But the film is fascinating in its scattershot attempt to deal with all sorts of taboo topics. Lesbian vampires, child sexuality, religious hypocrisy – its ambitions are all over the place and by the end quite diffuse.  But for sheer unsettling, creepiness Lemora delivers better than most of its contemporaries.  Has anyone else seen it?

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