Famed Hungarian film director, Miklós Jancsó, has died at age 92. Winner of Cannes in 1972 for Red Psalm/Még kér a nép[SLYT, NSFW], which deals with a doomed uprising of farm workers, he also directed The Round-Up/Szegénylegények [SLYT, entire film], widely regarded as the greatest Hungarian film of all time. Hughly influential, he made great use of the long take with Elektreia/Szerelmem, Elektra having just 12 shots in its 70 minutes. Béla Tarr, another exponent of the long-shot, called Jancsó the greatest Hungarian film director of all time. [more inside]
In 1941, the Nazis turned the the Czech fortress and town of Terezin into the ghetto of Theresienstadt. The ghetto was a transit center as well as a camp for high-profile people, and was turned into a "model Jewish settlement" in preparation for a Red Cross visit in 1944. The "embellishment" had the desired propaganda outcome - a "positive report." While researching Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last surviving member of the Jewish Council of the Elders in Theresienstadt. That footage is now in a new film, "The Last Of The Unjust." [more inside]
A secret asian man has spoofed his way into numerous VIP parties in Cannes pretending to be PSY of Gangnam Style fame. Now revealed as a French Korean adoptee living in Ireland, Denis Carré gave a short interview to GQ.
Once Upon A Time In America [auto-play audio] is the last of a string of films about the past and future of a country [Sergio Leone] knew first and best from the B-movies and yellowing paperbacks America sent abroad. For this 1984 swan song, Leone broke a directing hiatus that stretched back a decade, and turned away from Westerns toward another quintessentially American genre. His fantasia of gangland themes and images barely works by the standards of a gangster film, but succeeds brilliantly by those of epic poetry. - Keith Phipps [all links may contain spoilers] [more inside]
After much critical acclaim, the dramatic jury prize at Sundance, the Fipresci prize at Cannes, and a 'national critical response for the ages,' Louisiana-produced Beasts of the Southern Wild opened yesterday. [more inside]
The great Michael Haneke, director of disturbing gems such as Caché, Funny Games, and Funny Games, has won his second Palme d'Or at Cannes, for Amour.
Many films are called “classic,” but few qualify as turning points in the evolution of cinematic language, films that opened the way to a more mature art form. Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura is such a work. It divided film history into that which came before and that which was possible after its epochal appearance. It expanded our knowledge of what a film could be and do. It is more than a classic, it’s an historical milestone. ... Antonioni’s great achievement was to put the burden of narration almost entirely on the image itself, that is, on the characters’ actions and on the visual surface of their environment. He uses natural or manmade settings to evoke his characters’ state of mind, their emotions, their life circumstances. We learn more about them by watching what they do than by hearing what they say. We follow the story more by reading images than we do by listening to dialogue. The settings are not symbolic or metaphoric—they are extensions, manifestations, of the characters’ psyches. Physical landscape and mental landscape become one. - Gene Youngblood
The extended trailer for David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis has hit the internet.
"Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?" [Vimeo] During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders set up a static camera in room 666 of the Hotel Martinez and provided selected film directors (inc. Spielberg, Godard, Fassbinder & Herzog) a list of questions to answer concerning the future of cinema. Each director was given one 16 mm reel (approximately 11 minutes) to answer.
Carl Erik Rinsch‘s futuristic action thriller short The Gift. Other movies by Big Lazy Robot Studio. The Commercials of Carl Erik Rinsch. Also: The Hunt of the Unicorn.
35 days, 2822 miles through 9 states at a cost of $252.51 ($7.21 per day). George 'the Cyclist' Christensen spends a good part of each year bicycling through a different country and wild camping in places like Iceland, Turkey, China, the foot of Mt Fuji and around Lake Victoria; And writing about his travels on his blog from libraries and internet cafés. For the past eight years, too, he has also followed the Tour de France after first watching upwards of 70 films [in 12 days] at the Cannes Film Festival.
Seagull steals video camera (1m41s).
For Roger Ebert, it's a prayer that made him "more alert to the awe of existence." For Rober Koehler, it's a kitschy New Age con. For Richard Brody, it perfectly captures the essence of a generation by depicting a character thinking "back to the musings and fantasies of childhood, which are the product of a wondrous and fantastic view of science formed by popular-science books for children and by the commercial artists whose illustrations adorned them." For Stephanie Zacharek, it's "a gargantuan work of pretension." For Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, it's "a creation myth in the guise of a crypto-autobiography" that invents a universe of its own only to destroy it. For J. Hoberman, it's lifeless and dull, "essentially a religious work and, as such, may please the director's devotees, cultists, and apologists." It spent thirty years in development, three in editing and, yes, it contains dinosaurs. The Tree of Life, written and directed by famously reclusive Zoolander fan and "JD Salinger of American movies" Terrence Malick , won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Tomorrow, it comes out in the United States. [more inside]
Lost In The Garden of the World is a documentary shot at the 1975 Cannes film festival. It contains interviews with Paul Bartel, Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg, Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese and Dustin Hoffman.
Warning: Extremely disturbing material. Antichrist is Lars von Trier's (previously) latest film. It features graphic sex, masturbation, torture, and self-mutilation. The reaction to the self-proclaimed "best director in the world"'s new film has been mixed. Charlottle Gainsbourg won Best Actress at Cannes 2009, while the ecumenical jury gave the film a special "anti-award". The United States will get a cut version of the film, but it will be released in its original form in Britain. [more inside]
Not without some controversy, the advertising industry collectively patted itself on the back again while competing for lions at the Cannes Advertising Festival last week. All the winning commercials are now viewable on-line. The Cannes Fringe provided more insight, while others attempted to distill the festival's essence via text-mining; meantime, Cannes't had its ears to the ground. One of the few alternative events: The Coney Island Advertising Festival (which could presumably feature the best illegal advertising). My personal short-list among the winning films (all .mov's): Epuron - The Power of Wind ; Pot Noodle - Intro, Italy/Wales ; Altoids - Banana Hands Allen ; Axe 3 - Crashes ; Vaseline - Sea of Skin ; Big Yellow Storage - Tide ; Discovery Channel - In A Man's Life ; as well as the Grand Prix winner Dove - Evolution.
Joel and Ethan Coen rarely disappoint. Their new film, No Country for Old Men (based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy), is no exception. See also: Cannes.
Cannes Cyber Lions Winners: Come Clean and Super Bonder Instant win the Grand Prix, but that's old news on the blue.
In 30 years of going to Cannes, Roger Ebert has witnessed Francis Ford Coppola suffering from post-Apocolypse insanity and learned Jerry Lewis's secret for preventing riots--but the most interesting character he ever met there was a loudmouthed, fast-talking Texan named Silver Dollar Baxter with an uncanny gift for bluffing...
Festival de Cannes update: The new Michael Moore movie received a 18 minutes long standing ovation , a couple of days ago, which was already meaningful to him and his film crew. Tonight Moore also received the prestigious Palme D'Or prize, making sure the film will receive an adequate distribution in the United States. His speech was quite powerful, beginning with him visibly stunned, looking at Quentin Tarantino (who was in tears) in disbelief, saying “What have you done? I’m completely overwhelmed by this. Merci”.
Michael Moore Hates America is a new documentary looking to discredit filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11 is causing quite a stir at the Cannes Film Festival, where it has been met with rave reviews, and standing ovations lasting upwards of 20 minutes. With Moore's recent distribution problems with the film, a new project seeks to challenge Moore to distribute his film for free via the internet to prove that "the message is more important than the money," and to silence his critics, who contend that with the immense profits his controversial film is sure to garner, he is a "war profiteer" just like Halliburton.
When Vincent Gallo's "Brown Bunny" debuted at Cannes the fuvor over the sex scenes gave way to outright boos. In fact, the filmmaker later apologized for making the film. Or did he? Now, Gallo says the apology never happened and that Roger Ebert made it up. Ebert says he'll respond on-air on his next show.
Cannes film sickens audience It proved so shocking that 250 people walked out, some needing medical attention. Good lord.
Boycott France? An American Jewish Congress trade ad placed in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter compares anti-Semitic violence to that experienced during WWII. Some groups are also calling for a boycott of the Cannes Film Festival. Woody Allen doesn't agree. Can the actions of an idiotic minority really justify a boycott?