"... we are sweeping everything under the carpet, but the oddness is cropping up all over the place. And then, the carpet starts to move…".
, "le manipulateur" who introduced his latest film, Caché
, at Cannes with a half-amused “I wish you a disturbing evening
”, is the proponent of a "cinema of disturbance
". A cinema of loving self-mutilation
, where time is non-linear
and everything happens in long take shots
; in Haneke's world, guilt destroys lives decades after the original sin
. All his male characters are "Georges" and his female characters are either "Evas" or "Annas", "because I lack fantasy
". Unsurprisingly, he is a Bresson and Tarkovsky fan
. He'll direct "Don Giovanni" at the Paris Opera in early 2006
: "In 20 years of working in the theater, I only staged one comedy, and that was my single failure".
posted by matteo
on Nov 18, 2005 -
The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life"
", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov
's 'Men of Power' tetralogy
after the gloom of Moloch (1999)
, about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus
, focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Sep 13, 2005 -
"I am an American, so that is why I make films about America.
America is sitting on our world, I am making films that have to do with America (because) 60% of my life is America. So I am in fact an American, but I can't go there to vote, I can't change anything. We are a nation under influence and under a very bad influence… because Mr. Bush is an asshole and doing very idiotic things."
Lars Von Trier introduces his new film
at the Cannes Film Festival
picks up where «Dogville
» left off, with the character originated by Nicole Kidman -- now played by Bryce Dallas Howard -- stumbling
onto a plantation that time forgot, where slavery
still operates in the 1930s. The film (5 MB .pdf file, official pressbook)
ends, as Dogville did, with David Bowie’s Young Americans played over a photomontage of images that range from a Ku Klux Klan meeting to the Rodney King beating, George Bush at prayer and Martin Luther King at his final rest, American soldiers in Vietnam and the Gulf, the Twin Towers. More inside.
posted by matteo
on May 16, 2005 -
I don't know what "independent film" means. At a time when the Weinsteins are trying to extricate themselves from Disney
, it seems an appropriate question to ask. There are Indie films (non-industry money) that are
supposed to imitate fancy hollywood films, there are new studios being opened outside of LA by Wealthy Christians in Denver hoping to convert through CS Lewis movies
and there are Garden State
, Lost in Translation
, Eternal Sunshine
etc. which are like other Hollywood films: have stars, and studio money but are marketed as "Independent Films." What makes these independent? Finally, and seemingly too infrequently, there are privately financed and self-distributed unusual films like
which despite their obvious merits
and the critic's adoration
are presumably ignored by the studios, blasted by the brain-numbing EW
and distributed instead by the two young first-time filmmakers
Why can't we see more non-hollywood and non-hollywood espousing independent ART on the screen? Why do we let every other multi-million dollar romantic comedy be sold to us as "indy" just because it has a quirky soundtrack or aesthetic sensibility. What can we do about it? I'm going to the movies. You?
posted by tallbuildings
on Apr 15, 2005 -
Better known for their modernist take on contemporary furniture design, Minneapolis furniture studio Blu Dot has just introduced a series of film shorts entitled Blu Dot Shorts.
Their first short film, Seven Twenty
(embedded Quicktime warning), was directed by Christopher Arcella
(Flash warning). While is is not earth shattering conceptually, it is a jaunty and fun little piece of cinema.
posted by ScottUltra
on Apr 6, 2005 -
Eastwood wins. Clint Eastwood
got the double dipper tonight with Best Pic and Director. Not that Scorsese isn't badly due one, but the fact is, The Aviator is not one of Marty's top five films, while Million Dollar Babies is top five among Eastwood's pics. It's that simple.
My thought: I think this film and Mystic River proves, once and for all and without argument, that Eastwood is among the top American directors ever, up there with Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, and the others. (He's actually better than Allen). I think all of the critics like Pauline Kael who dissed Clint without thinking over the years have to eat it and eat it hard.
posted by Leege
on Feb 27, 2005 -
Ten best film list a critique of the U.S?
The venerable [some say notorious] French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema
unveiled their ten best films of 2004
Other than their list typically leaning toward films by auteurs
- such as Ingmar Bergman
and Hou Hsiao-hsien
] - they also included The Village
by M. Night Shyamalan. With that choice are they rewarding the artistic merits of the film [which most critics view
as minimal] or are they making a statement about The United States? In short do they view the U.S. like the characters in the film - an isolated bunch of paranoid [Puritan] villagers living and acting off of their fears? Or is there some other reason they would choose the film as one of the year's best?
posted by Rashomon
on Feb 24, 2005 -
As a perennial outsider
at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie
captures the joyous freedom
of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom
, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.
Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books
, on Japanese movies
, history and fashion
, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004
is a monument to the pleasures of displacement
. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 9, 2004 -
Detailing the impossible. Louis Feuillade
made more than 800 films
covering almost every contemporary genre
: historical drama, comedy, realist drama, melodrama, religious films. However, he was most famous, or infamous, for his crime serials: Fantômas
(1913-14), Les Vampires
, Judex (1916), La Nouvelle Mission de Judex (1917), Tih-Minh
(1918) and Barrabas (1919).
Critics panned his crime films
, often savagely, because the preoccupation of French critics and film-makers in the 1910s and 20s was to elevate cinema -– and, ironically, back then the French saw their own films as lacking the artistry and sophistication of American ones, by Griffith or DeMille – to the level of art. It was years before Feuillade's films
escaped the label of aesthetic backwardness. Now, critics have realized
that what Feuillade has done is to offer us an alternative cinematic mode to Griffiths', one that continues in updated variants throughout cinema. It is predicated on a principle of uncertainty, that questions our understanding of the real. It is as fluid and elusive
a tradition as a cat burglar
, dressed in black on a night-time rooftop
posted by matteo
on Nov 8, 2004 -
It all comes down do one question: Must France stay in Algeria? “If the answer is yes,” he says, “then you must accept the consequences.” Gillo Pontecorvo
's "The Battle of Algiers
", now out
on a Criterion dvd
, is a film of quiet
power. The mix of subjective and documentary techniques
holds the viewer's trust so authoritatively that many scenes come close to sneaking out of the mental "movies I saw" box to mix with the viewer's own memories. No matter how complicated or fragmented the action becomes, Pontecorvo gets the pace, tone and rhythm exactly right, filling the screen with eloquent details.
(Last year, Pontecorvo's masterpiece was discussed here, too. More inside)
posted by matteo
on Nov 3, 2004 -
Join Uncle Ben and the Rice family as they come to terms with the True Meaning of Christmas in Christmas Lights in Pilaf
. [.mp4 video] Warning: This trailer makes little to no sense.
posted by sciurus
on Oct 7, 2004 -
Blood doesn't politely trickle in Takashi Miike
: it gushes out
in (warning: NSFW, graphic) improbable fountains
, painting walls
and filling up small cars. His
trademark point-of-view shots are taken from places other directors
wouldn't dream of: the bottom of a dirty toilet bowl (as a man falls into it after being killed); within the ear canal (as it is pierced by a metal spike); even from inside a character's vagina. He has depicted
incest, drug abuse
, teenage prostitution, violence against women
and children and small dogs
, and necrophilia -- and that was just in one film, Visitor Q
, his take on Pasolini
Miike has just introduced his latest movie, Izo
, at the Venice Film Festival (.pdf file)
Miike is less sure about why Americans are now embracing Japanese horror films. His country's horror genre is influenced by "kwaidan
," traditional Japanese ghost stories
that feature revenge and malice: "The stories always have the 'hatedness.' You always bring the feelings of hate [that] you don't see in American cinema". What freaks him out the most, however, is the everyday automobile accident
. "Even in a film, I can't bear to watch it -- it's so much (about) how people are weak, to be just crushed with a car. It makes me feel really depressed".
posted by matteo
on Sep 22, 2004 -
it's a tool to help people decide what movies to go see or rent. The interface is simple and is growing on me, the url is hard to share by word of mouth, and it integrates with netfilx. [by and via dack
posted by jonah
on Aug 9, 2004 -
Just in time, you’ve found me just in time. Richard Linklater
, like Wong
, is a lyrical and elegiac filmmaker. In many of his films, as in many of Wong's (and as in Ming-liang Tsai
's What Time Is It There?
), the subject is time
-- the romance and poetry
of moments ticking by
, the wonder and anguish of living through and then remembering an hour or a day.
In 1995 Linklater made Before Sunrise
, the story of the chance encounter of two strangers
(an American young man and a French young woman) on a European train and their sleepless night in Vienna. Now ten years have passed, and they meet again in Paris
: they -- and the audience -- only have 80 minutes to make up for the time they lost, Before Sunset
. Linklater's new film, shot in uncut Steadycam takes (the longest clocks in at 11 minutes)
, in a sense is about how we create selves just by talking. But it’s also about how we become prisoners of time
Towards the end
of the movie, Celine
, sitting in the backseat of a car with Jesse
, starts to caress his head while he isn't looking, then suddenly pulls back, and that simple curtailed gesture carries in it a sense of tragedy, the consequence of the weight of time
... (more inside, with Nina Simone)
posted by matteo
on Jul 20, 2004 -
The poet of nightfall
Twentyfive years ago, film
director Nicholas Ray
died in New York. Like Jacques Tati
and Samuel Fuller
, Ray did a lot of living
before he ever got around to filmmaking
: he was of part of Frank Lloyd Wright
Fellowship, a devotee of southern folk music
, an avant-garde theatre director. He had made Rebel Without a Cause
and survived James Dean
, and the title of the film seemed to dramatise his terrible, self-destructive battles with Hollywood. His films (They Live By Night
, In a Lonely Place
, On Dangerous Ground
, Johnny Guitar
, The Savage Innocents
, King of Kings
) were in love with imprisoned life
, but the dark edge of mourning was always there, too. He was idolised by the young Cahiers
critics who would become the directors of the New Wave. François Truffaut
once noted: "There are no Ray films that do not have a scene at the close of day
; he is the poet of nightfall, and of course everything is permitted in Hollywood except poetry." Contrasting Ray and Howard Hawks, he added: "But anyone who rejects either should never go to the movies again, never see any more films". Jean-Luc Godard
offered another sweeping panegyric: "There was theatre (Griffith
), poetry (Murnau
), painting (Rossellini
), dance (Eisenstein
), music (Renoir
). Henceforth there is cinema. And cinema is Nicholas Ray
. These days, lucky Chicagoans
can admire one of Ray's greatest works, Bitter Victory
-- the film about the dangerous games men play with macho self-images... (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Jun 18, 2004 -
that Michael Moore's upcoming film "Fahrenheit 9/11" was given an 'R' rating today by the MPAA. The same MPAA that says violence
is much more acceptable than sex. The same MPAA that has close ties
to the FCC, running roughshod over First Ammendment freedoms. The same MPAA headed by Jack Valenti who played himself in Freakazoid!
a cooky cartoon about superheroes that save Washington D.C. Email him if you disagree at email@example.com or call the MPAA 818-995-6600 x396.
posted by heyadam
on Jun 14, 2004 -
Keep your hands off!
Warner Bros. distributes military-style night vision goggles to cinemas around Britain in order to scotch bootleg copies. "The staff have all been trained to use the glasses and are patrolling the cinema every 15 to 20 minutes."
The company is determined to fight back
after a deluge of poor-quality copies of the first two Harry Potter movies hit the black market.
posted by tcp
on Jun 7, 2004 -
TCM is playing tribute this month to Archie Leach, better known to the world as Cary Grant
. The range of films, the types of roles, the co-stars. Makes you long for another era of american film-making. Of interest to you architect
types might be Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House
of 1948, with the fabulous Myrna Loy - whose 1947 film The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer partly occupies that special message place on my answering machine. Grant's films with Hitchcock - especially North by Northwest with its great fake FLW house and fantastic Saul Bass titles - Cukor, and Hawks are well worth searching out. Don't miss his final role - Walk Don't Run - a film set at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and itself a remake of The More the Merrier of 1943. Who said that Hollywood couldn't do remakes?
One of the most interesting items to come out of the TCM documentary is Cary's embracing LSD in the early pre-illegal tests of it.
posted by grimley
on Jun 1, 2004 -
These are the first words Charles Bukowski
speaks in John Dullaghan'
about the poet
, famous for his writing
and infamous for his drinking
. The audience member might respond, "To hear your story, Hank
, that's what I want."
The movie opens
with friends (Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Bono) and colleagues and lovers and fans recounting the myth
; theirs are stories of blades pulled on the maitre d' of the swanky Polo Lounge
in Beverly Hills, of dangling dicks revealed in public, of a drunk
who'd just as soon crack his bottle over your head than share its contents. (more inside)
posted by matteo
on May 28, 2004 -