The Devil's Playground (Fred Schepisi) *** - A group of boys in a seminary school as well as their teachers and superior struggle with sexual awakening and worldly desires. I thought it was going to be darker than it ended up being. Though it has serious undertones and themes, there are moments of humor and light-heartedness in it as well. It avoids being too sensationalistic and handles its very sensitive themes very tastefully and intelligently without hitting you over the head with it so much. Great performances too.
The Letter Never Sent (Mikhail
Kalatozov) ***1/2 - Four geologists trying to find diamonds in the
Siberian tundra get themselves into a life-or-death situation in a
forest fire. Like in the other films of his that I've seen, director
Mikhail Kalatozov once again demonstrates that he is a real cinematic
master. This survival film features some stunning on-location work,
jaw-droppingly gorgeous cinematography and inventive use of editing and
dissolves. Beyond that, the compelling survival story still shines
The Music Room (Satyajit Ray)
**** - An aristocratic landlord hanging on to his old way of life
re-opens his Music Room for one last moment of glory. This is my first
non-Apu Satyajit Ray film and it's a great one. It really is a sad,
melancholy film but also oddly life-affirming in its own strange way.
It's also filled with wonderful, exciting and beautiful visuals of a
lifestyle people outside of India and outside of that particular society