Into the weekend shorts.
"I first visited Kurdistan a year and a half ago, to film a documentary called Thank You for My Eyes
about the Iraqi constitutional referendum," writes Bill Cody
in the Stranger
. "Then, in May, a Kurdish filmmaker named Jano Rosebiani
sent me an email asking if I wanted to teach a filmmaking workshop in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Rosebiani won a director's prize at SIFF
in 2002 for his film Jiyan
.) The workshop - sponsored by Rosebiani's film company, Evini, and the Kurdish government - started in June. I said yes."
"Most of my colleagues consider Killer of Sheep
to be [Charles] Burnett
's greatest film to date, but I'm not so sure," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum
. Don't get him wrong: he's still giving the film the four-star "masterpiece" rating in his Chicago Reader
review. But: "My own favorite, which appeared on my last all-time ten-best list in Sight & Sound
, is When It Rains
(1995), a 13-minute short made for French TV. It has shown in Chicago more than once, but since it isn't on DVD or VHS, it's barely known. By the end of this year, when Milestone
finally brings out its long-promised Burnett box set, this extraordinary film celebrating both jazz and community, made as a kind of respite and liberation after Burnett finished directing The Glass Shield
for Miramax, will finally be available."
has a convoluted (but currently fashionable) multiple flashbacks-and-time lag structure, but does not devolve into a confusing mess, which is a huge relief," writes Kyu Hyun Kim
. Also at Koreanfilm.org
, Darcy Paquet
finds the North
Korean film A Schoolgirl's Diary
"eye-opening viewing in several respects."
's Opening Shots Project
picks up again with Andy Horbal
's take on the opening of Melville
's Army of Shadows
's 1947 Project
carries on being great, even without the snaps.
"Can't say I saw this coming," writes Todd Brown
. "[A]fter the international critical success of his Ten Canoes
- a film much loved by the Twitch
-y folk when it played the Toronto International Film Festival
- Rolf De Heer
has returned to give us Dr Plonk
, a comedy about the end of the world shot in the style of Buster Keaton
and Charlie Chaplin
. No kidding. Yeah, it's a total gimmick but it looks fantastic." Also at Twitch
: Blake Ethridge
talks with filmmaker and Blue Underground
prez Bill Lustig
, Boyd van Hoeij
previews The Last Legion
, "a completely fictional story set at the end of the Roman Empire [which] stars Colin Firth
, Aishwarya Rai
, Thomas Sangster
and Ben Kingsley
"Named after Alain Resnais
's essay film on the abandoned landscapes of postwar Auschwitz that bear silent witness to the tragedy of the Holocaust, Night and Fog in Japan
, Nagisa Oshima
's fictional deconstruction of the left movement in the aftermath of the ratification of the second US-Japan Security Treaty (Anpo
) in 1960 is also a caustic and pointed cultural interrogation into personal and collective accountability that, as implied by Resnais's film, have been (consciously) obscured by the fog of guilt and memory," writes acquarello
"[T]he Tokyo of Love & Pop
is devoid of teenage boys, leaving the girls alone in sea of older male predators," writes Filmbrain
. "It succeeds as a quasi-experimental work, but only just. However, if you're interested in learning a thing or two about the problems of contemporary Japanese youth, there are far better alternatives
, the "Czar of noir
," has just shot his first film in a while, a short called The Grand Inquisitor
, and Andy Spletzer
"A movie like Transylvania
is long overdue," argues Louise Doughty
. "From my experience of writing novels about Roma people and my own English Romany ancestry, I know the frustration of seeing works pigeonholed by their characters' ethnicity."
Also in the Guardian
"Filmed in and around Islamabad, Zibahkhana manages to include Pakistani rock music, hijras - transvestite eunuchs common in the subcontinent - as well as some pointed social criticism of contemporary Pakistani society. And a serial killer dressed in a burqua," writes Sarfraz Manzoor. "The film's director, Omar Ali Khan, was born in London and spent his childhood watching Hitchcock and Hammer horror films. It pays homage to 1970s slasher classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and Friday the 13th while remaining a defiantly Pakistani picture."
"The family memoir has come to be a staple of modern British publishing, and Sandhya Suri's gem of a film shows that the genre works on screen, too," begins Peter Bradshaw's review of I for India. "It is a cine-autobiography, a real-life family story, unassumingly told: funny, engaging and often very moving." More from Derek Malcolm in the Evening Standard.
Stuart Jeffries reports that Donal MacIntyre's documentary A Very British Gangster has become very, very big in France.
Kate Connolly reports that Paul Schrader will direct Jeff Goldblum in Adam Resurrected, "tells the story of Adam Stein, a Jewish-German clown who is forced to entertain inmates in a Nazi concentration camp." Yes, just like Jerry Lewis's infamous The Day the Clown Cried. At any rate, also in the cast: Willem Dafoe, Moritz Bleibtreu and Veronica Ferres. Oh, and this is a German-Israeli production.
"As actors and film crews working for Woody Allen clog up the already bustling streets of Barcelona this summer, the residents of this eastern Spanish city have begun to ask why their city hall is helping fund the director's next film," reports Giles Tremlett.
Simon Hattenstone talks with Bob Hoskins.
Gareth McLean meets Mary-Louise Parker.
David Thomson considers Woody Harrelson.
Plus, news of Andre Benjamin as Sammy Davis, Jr, Sam Raimi flirting with a 4th Spider-Man, Scarlett Johansson not playing Jenna Jameson - and a trailer for Beowulf. You know, the one written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, Dominic Keating, Alison Lohman and Robin Wright Penn.
Steven Shaviro on Guy Maddin: "Even in the earlier films, campy exaggeration and ludicrousness don't only work as modes of disavowal; they are also, in a strange way, direct enablers of emotion, in that they serve as a medium of expression for feelings that 'dare not speak their name.' But in Maddin's most recent work - Cowards Bend the Knee, and now, Brand Upon the Brain! - even a further transformation is at work. This has to do with modes of display, or of what I can only call (somewhat oxymoronically) a self-conscious obviousness."
Reviewing Sunshine, Geoff Manaugh asks, "Was there something about the premise itself - total absorption by a featureless, golden void - that forced [the filmmakers] to retreat, and to insert something that they and, they hoped, the audience could recognize?" More from Robert Cashill and Craig Phillips.
It's not just Le Doulos. Rialto Pictures has been rattling the New Republic's Stanley Kauffmann with its reissues for some time now: "Of course one cannot be surprised that the opinion of 1967 was not the opinion of 2007, but it is uncomfortable to realize that the earlier opinion has been on mental file for decades. Then a grim fact looms large: absolutely every opinion of earlier works that is stored in the noggin does not truly represent what the latter-day person thinks."
"Why does Buñuel's work endure?" asks Adrian Martin in the Australian. "In the 21st century, when MTV has exhaustively recycled the originally shocking opening of Un chien andalou - a razor slicing an eyeball - and the art-house scandals generated by Catherine Breillat (Romance) or Gaspar Noe (Irreversible) go far beyond any sexual scenario that Bunuel ever hinted at, shouldn't his films seem quaint, fussy, tame? Nothing could be further from the truth." Via Girish.
Dan Sallitt on Warren Sonbert's Carriage Trade: "The appeal of the film for me comes, not only from the beauty and serenity of the compositions, but also from the bit of mystery that comes from so many shots having a minute, self-sufficent quality of narrative representation."
Alex Ross dwells for a moment on "a minor footnote to the annals of Schoenbergiana": What did Irving Thalberg hear and when did he hear it?
In the New York Times:
"Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière, wrote more than 30 plays, every one of them a hundred times more witty and insightful than Molière, Laurent Tirard's new puffy-shirt-and-quill-pen movie," writes AO Scott. More from Anthony Lane in the New Yorker and Nick Pinkerton at indieWIRE, where Erica Abeel talks with Tirard.
Neil Genzlinger on Punk's Not Dead: A "segment in which punk types debate whether having their sound turn up in car commercials is a sign of selling out - a discussion mainstream rock beat to death years ago - makes them seem positively behind the curve. But the footage of first-wave punk rockers in action, shown alongside interviews with them today, is amusing in a bittersweet way."
Matt Zoller Seitz reviews No Reservations, the Hollywood remake of Mostly Martha: "What's unexpected and gratifying... is the film's enlightened attitude toward parenthood and work, which the movie's publicity campaign conspicuously glosses over, even though it's the story's driving force." More from Carina Chocano in the LAT and Stephanie Zacharek at Salon.
Jeannette Catsoulis: "In their no-frills documentary, Out of Status, Pia Sawhney and Sanjna N Singh examine the actions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service after 9/11 and the devastating repercussions for America's Muslims."
AO Scott: "Hot Rod might be called the poor man's Eagle vs Shark if Eagle vs Shark were not already the poor man's Napoleon Dynamite."
Charles Simic is the US's 15th poet laureate, reports Motoko Rich. "Simic is an inspired choice," blogs Dwight Garner. "His poems are cerebral, surreal and uncanny, yet they are defiantly plainspoken. They are not, most of them, beyond the grasp of non-subscribers to Poetry magazine. Read them, if you haven't."
"In [March of the Penguins], the filmmakers showed a simple story that left the indelible impression that the Arctic is not just a cute place for adorable creatures but also the heart of our planet's life force; in [Arctic Tale], audience members get told about the consequences of global warming in a Walt Disney dichotomy that sometimes condescends, even to its young audience," writes Justin Berton in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Damon Krukowski reviews "Jeroen Berkvens's impressionistic documentary," A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake: "Interviews with family and professional colleagues help fill out the story, but this remains a film about an enigma."
Also in the Boston Phoenix:
Gerald Peary on Ghosts of Cité Soleil, Time and: "Had Michael Wilmington, a long-time film critic at the Chicago Tribune, quit his job? 'Not exactly,' Wilmington told me on the phone..."
Nina MacLaughlin: "The Last Atomic Bomb shows that it could happen again and makes clear that it never, ever should."
Mark Pilington interviews Alejandro Jodorowsky for the Fortean Times. Thanks, Jerry, also for sending a pointer to Matthew Singer's story for the VC Reporter on tracking down the ghost of "Gaston Méliès, the older, less famous brother of pioneering French filmmaker Georges. Méliès was involved, one way or another, in the production of dozens of motion pictures beginning in 1903."
"Broken Blossoms is a film worthy of its great reputation," writes Daniel Garrett at the Compulsive Reader.
Claire Litton at PopMatters on The Passion of Joan of Arc: "While strong with French nationalistic sentiment, it was made by a Danish director and a German designer, but its powerful message speaks to people of all nations."
"Irvin Kershner is not a famous director, but you probably know at least a few of his films. He directed George C Scott in the minor 1967 hit, The Flim-Flam Man, Richard Harris in The Return of a Man called Horse (1976), Faye Dunaway in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Sean Connery in his return to the role of James Bond in Never Say Never Again (1983) and most famously, the cast of Star Wars in The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But most people have never heard of his best film." Jonathan Lapper on The Luck of Ginger Coffey.
"[San Francisco Bay Guardian] film critics Matt Sussman and Jason Shamai have a few things they wanna say about the new film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Let's listen in!"
"Again I must, against my natural instincts, join with the roaring crowd," sighs Michael Atkinson, "this time about Once, John Carney's tiny, modest little-Irish-movie-that-could, which thoroughly bewitched me with its simplicity, its grown-up assumptions about adult behavior and history, and most of all the music, which had a sincere, keening urgency to it that I'd never encountered in a musical before, or even rarely on Fordham's WFUV. It may be a film that's impossible to dislike, despite the fact that it's formally and visually the cruddiest movie released to American screens since Chuck & Buck."
"The space into which The Sopranos inducted us had the messy picaresque randomness of the real world, yet every detail - every tune heard in passing, every remark overheard at the next table, every artifact glimpsed in the background of a crowded room - glistened as if singled out with obsessive mindfulness," writes Geoffrey O'Brien in the New York Review of Books.
"What is of interest in [La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film] is [Mikel J Koven's] heory of vernacular cinema," writes Peter Nellhaus. "Koven discusses how many of the gialli were made to be shown in what were called terza visione (literally third vision) theaters. Playing to a primarily working class audience before television finally decimated the filmgoing habit, going to the neighborhood theater to get out of the house and socialize was more to the point than actually paying close attention to what was happening on the screen. Koven argues that what has been criticized as weak narratives is besides the point, and that the audience cares more about the set pieces, in this case the various acts of murder that take place on screen."
Michael Guillén talks with Brian Cassidy, Aaron Hillis and Jennifer Loeber about Fish Kill Flea.
James Mottram talks with Lauren Bacall for the Independent.
"David Shaw, a prolific writer from television's golden age who also wrote the film If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium and Broadway plays, has died. He was 90," reports Valerie J Nelson.
Also in the Los Angeles Times:
Gregg LaGambina profiles Julie Delpy.
John Horn traces the rough voyage of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.
"If the sons of famous men live under shadows of expectation, and expectations of failure, what about the son of a saint?" asks John Anderson. "In Gandhi My Father, theater director Feroz Abbas Khan explores the fate of Harilal Gandhi, offspring of the father of modern India - a man apparently too distracted by quasi-divinity and his nation's independence to spare praise or attention for his troubled son." More from Randeep Ramesh in the Guardian, Anthony Quinn in the Independent and Derek Malcolm in the Evening Standard.
"A minor effort in Aki Kaurismäki's filmography, Lights in the Dusk still manages to intoxicate," writes Kathy Fennessey at the Siffblog.
Recently in Slant:
Ed Gonzalez on Kamp Katrina, Cut Sleeve Boys, Bratz and If I Didn't Care. More on that one from Aaron Hillis in the Voice.
Nick Schager on Naming Number Two and Who's Your Caddy?
Rob Humanick on I Know Who Killed Me.
First up to bat as pinch hitters for the Reeler: IFC executive vice president and general manager Evan Shapiro and Pioneer Theater programmer Ray Privett.
Paul Matwychuk and Matthew Halliday "debate whether Christopher Walken is ruining his reputation as an actor by appearing in so many movies that require him to do nothing more than trot out his familiar 'Christopher Walken' routine."
At PopMatters, Patrick Schabe considers "Harry Potter's Place in Popular Culture."
Just out: Volume 8 of the Journal of Short Film.
Dennis Cozzalio and Jon Swift comment on that list: "The Online Film Community's Top 100 Movies."
The latest clip-laden ScreenGrab list: "The Greatest Running Scenes in Movie History," parts 1 and 2.
Adam Ross's interviewee this week: Emma.
"Mastered the Knee Plays recordings for a re-release this fall (October)," blogs David Byrne. "Last week we dug into the archives to see what was available as bonus tracks and unseen visual materials - there's a truckload of stuff. My hoarding pays off!" Excellent. At any rate, "Can there be such a thing as a narrative that emerges, by itself, from a seemingly random or chaotic structure or series of events?"
At the WSWS, Stefan Steinberg remembers playwright George Tabori, 1914 - 2007.
Online browsing tip. The work of Julia Fullerton-Batten. Via popnutten.
Online listening tips. Leonard Lopate talks with Considering Doris Day author Tom Santopietro; and Michael Moore.
Online viewing tip #1. Aegis Breakmix at DVblog.
Online viewing tip #2. Zeppelin vs Pterodactyls, via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.
Online viewing tip #3. Drawn!: "In this fantastic video, Steve Martin interviews one of my favourite cartoonists, Roz Chast. The two pore over her somewhat new collection, the mammoth hardcover Theories of Everything, which remains my favourite book I purchased in the last year."
Online viewing tips, round 1. Machine Child and City of Good, both via Anthony Kaufman at the Daily Reel.
Online viewing tips, round 2. "More than ten years' worth of reviews from Siskel & Ebert, beginning in 1985, are now available online," notes Vince Keenan.
Posted by dwhudson at August 3, 2007 4:40 PM