Most people who work for a company, regardless of its size, have probably attended an office party for the employees at a certain point. For some, the idea of socializing with co-workers outside of work is something to avoid if possible. For others, it is an opportunity to score points with the boss and maybe advance your career. Then there are employees who simply enjoy social gatherings where an open bar and free food is theirs for the taking. All of these personality types and more – the gossip, the prude, the party animal, etc. – are on display in The Invitation (French title: L’invitation, 1973), a comedy of manners by Swiss director Claude Goretta, in which the employees of a small firm gather at a country estate for an office party given by one of the most unlikely employees to host a soiree.
Swiss filmmaker Jean-Louis Roy only made two feature films and two made-for-TV movies during his lifetime but, on the basis of his debut feature L’inconnu de Shandigor (English title: The Unknown Man of Shandigor, 1967), he should be famous among cinephiles. The reason you probably haven’t heard of him is because The Unknown Man of Shandigor vanished after its premiere at Cannes in 1967 and never received a theatrical release in the U.S. Only in the past few years has the film resurfaced as a DVD-R from Sinister Cinema and most of those who have seen it have been delighted and amazed by this pop-art curio from the sixties.