Cohen: Great Directors - Volume 1 [4 Discs] [DVD]

This collection of films from great directors contains The Last of the Unjust directed by Claude Lanzmann, Capital directed by Costa-Gavras, Hangmen Also Die directed by Fritz Lang and Hail Mary directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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Overview

Synopsis

Hangmen Also Die!
Hangmen Also Die is set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation. Czech loyalist Brian Donlevy assassinates the vicious Gestapo leader Heydrich, then goes into hiding. The wounded patriot is sheltered by history professor Walter Brennan, who is already under surveillance by the Nazis thanks to his veiled classroom attacks on the Third Reich. Fifth columnist Gene Lockhart arranges for the professor and 400 other Prague citizens to be rounded up as hostages, to be killed if Heydrich's assassin is not revealed. Ultimately Lockhart himself is framed by the citizenry, giving the actor full scope to cringe and cower as only he could. Persuasively directed by Fritz Lang, Hangmen Also Die was based on a story by Lang and expatriate German playwright Bertold Brecht. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Hail Mary
Je vous salue Marie is Jean-Luc Godard's first sustained examination of modern spiritual life. This complex episodic film parallels the story of a contemporary Joseph (Theirry Rode) and Mary (Myriem Roussel) with that of a science class studying the origins of life on earth. Joseph is a cab driver and Mary plays on a woman's basketball team. A thuggish angel (Philippe Lacoste) tells Mary that she is with child. When she tells Joseph that she is pregnant, he accuses Mary of having cheated on him. The professor of the science class (Johan Leysen), who is having an affair with one of his students (Anne Gauthier), presents the theory that life came to earth from somewhere else in the universe. Godard organizes scenes from these two narratives into an essay about the relationship between the spirit and the body, and how being is born from nothingness. The film is filled with images of light cascading over the Swiss countryside. Godard often has his cinematographers Jean-Bernard Menoud and Jacques Firmann shoot directly into the sun and capture ravishing shots of pure luminosity. Je vous salue Marie is introduced by a short film by Godard's frequent directing partner Anne-Marie Miéville entitled Le Livre de Maire (The Book Of Mary), the story of a young girl named Marie whose parents separate. Miéville's film continues the philosophical reflection on children that she and Godard started in Numéro deux(Number Two). ~ Louis Schwartz, Rovi

Capital
The figurehead CEO of a powerful French bank contends with a ruthless hedge-fund manager while getting drawn into a scandalous affair in director Costa-Gavras' scathing exposé of the capitalist system. The CEO of Phenix Bank has suffered a massive heart attack. He needs to be replaced by someone who will bend to the Board of Directors' needs, and ambitious Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh) sees the job as a golden opportunity to advance his career. Meanwhile, hedge-fund boss Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne) uses his easy charm to try and manipulate the new CEO. But while Tourneuil remains determined to succeed on his own terms, a dalliance with stunning international supermodel Nassim (Liya Kebede) threatens to distract him from the dangers ahead. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

The Last of the Unjust
Claude Lanzmann returns to the subject of World War II and the Holocaust with his documentary The Last of the Unjust, in which he interviews Benjamin Murmelstein, a Jewish man who held a position of responsibility at Theresienstadt, considered by the Nazis to be the ideal death camp. Lanzmann visits key sites referenced in the film, as his subject discusses his complex feelings about what he was forced to endure and do during that period of history. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Brian Donlevy
    Brian Donlevy - Dr. Franz Svoboda
  • Walter Brennan
    Walter Brennan - Prof. Stephan Novotny
  • Anna Lee
    Anna Lee - Mascha Novotny
  • Gene Lockhart
    Gene Lockhart - Emil Cruka
  • Dennis O'Keefe
    Dennis O'Keefe - Jan Horek
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