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Goa, India — Vidhu Vinod Chopra, writer and producer of global hit “3 Idiots,” and arguably India’s most successful film maker, remains something of an angry young man.
“One of the reasons I became successful, was because I struggled so much with ‘Khamosh’,” he said, describing his 1985 film which has since become a classic, but which he had to self-release after being rejected by distributors.
Chopra was speaking Sunday during the Film Bazaar in Goa in a master class where he was interviewed by fellow film maker Sudhir Mishra.
Despite having promised not to, Chopra peppered his discourse with choice swearwords in English and Hindi, as he took sideswipes at film festivals (“I’m not a festivals kind of man”), digital cinema (“a little bit of laziness has crept in”) and a string of named and unnamed distributors and producers.
Despite also calling himself “not a likeable person,” and saying that »
- Patrick Frater
We've collected reviews of several books that'll be of interest to movie-lovers: Farran Smith Nehme's debut novel, Missing Reels; Nicholas Rombes's The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing ("Kafka directed by David Lynch doesn’t even come close," says 3:am); memories of Shirley Clarke; new biographies of Bob Hope and Robert De Niro; Tls on Marguerite Duras; Michael McGriff and J.M. Tyree's Our Secret Life in the Movies; Anjelica Huston's memoir; a coffee table book on Bettie Page; the Guardian on Akira Kurosawa; Patrick McGilligan on Nicholas Ray and more. » - David Hudson »
Back in August we speculated on whether Studio Ghibli, the legendary animation studio behind films like Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro, might be closing its doors due to financial difficulties. Now in an interview with the La Times, the studio’s most vaulted director Hayao Miyazaki has announced that Ghibli is in fact shuttering.
“At this point, we’re not making a new film. I think we will not be making any feature films to be shown in theaters. That was not my intention, though. All I did was announce that I would be retiring and not making any more features.” Miyazaki said, deepening the blow by reiterating that he would be retiring as well.
With that news, that officially makes The Wind Rises, released wide at the start of 2014 in the Us, is indeed Miyazaki’s last movie, and that Studio Ghibli’s When »
- Brian Welk
It's that time of year again and it's time to update the list for the second half of 2014 as Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and as impossible a task as it is to cut things down to just a few titles, I have done my best to break Criterion's titles down into a few categories. Hopefully those looking for box sets, specific directors or what I think are absolute musts will find this makes things a little bit easier. Let's get to it... First Picks I was given the Zatoichi collection for Christmas last year and being a collection that holds 25 films and another disc full of supplementary material it is the absolute definition of a must buy when it comes to the Criterion Collection. It is, once again, on sale for $112.49, half off the Msrp of $224.99, and worth every penny. I spent the entire year going through it. »
- Brad Brevet
Fans are getting very psyched up as the seventh Star Wars film comes closer and closer to its release date. But many of us get nervous thinking about the prequels and Jar Jar Binks. Can the new films avoid the mistakes of the prequels? Here are 7 things that the new Star Wars films need to remember.
Despite the recent tweet from Anthony Daniels where he says that the next Star Wars film will be the best one ever, even surpassing the series standard bearer Star Wars-Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, it’s hard to get the taste of the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones out of our collective mouths. No doubt many people are currently thinking, ‘I hope these new films don’t end up anything like those pitiful prequels’. Here are 7 things that the new Disney-owned series needs to do—or not do—in order »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
We all know that the Rotten Tomatoes rating system isn’t entirely reliable – as an aggregator website which decides whether or not a film is fresh or rotten based on general approval or otherwise by the critics, a film’s rating isn’t always a guarantee of its actual quality, and just as some great films can find themselves with a lower rating than they deserve, so too can average or even terrible movies come out as freshly rated.
With that said, if you take a look at those films which have been certified 100% fresh it’s clear that, for the most part, these are truly exceptional films. There are plenty of cinematic masterpieces represented, from Citizen Kane and The Godfather through to the arthouse cinema greats including Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai and Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Indeed, the vast majority of the titles »
- Andrew Dilks
August 6th and 9th, 1945 forever changed the course of history. When the first nuclear bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, World War II ended, but a new fear was born that dominated the thoughts of all men, women, and children for decades to come. The Cold War, atomic bomb testing, a cartoon turtle telling children to “duck and cover”, and this new technology that had the actual potential to literally end the world changed the perception of what was scary. Art reflects life, so cinema began to capitalize on these fears. Gone were the days of creepy castles, cobwebs, bats, vampires, werewolves, and the other iconic images that ruled genre cinema in film’s earliest decades. Science fiction was larger than ever and giant ants, giant octopi, terror from beyond the stars, and »
- Max Molinaro
One of the highlights of last month’s London Film Festival was the dark and funny Korean thriller, A Hard Day. The film will soon be screening at the London Korean Film Festival, and we got the opportunity to sit down with the film’s director, Kim Seong Hun. Here he discusses making the film and the possibility of an English language remake. You can find our 4 star review of this brilliantly twisted comedy here.
In the history of cinema, from Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog, Insomnia and the Christopher Nolan remake, and now A Hard Day, it seems as though cinema always wants to give a police officer a tough time. I was wondering how you went about creating your script.
To be honest the police itself wasn’t really the focus of my intentions or my purpose. I selected this job because fundamentally at the heart if every »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
Tokyo International Film Festival’s ‘Seven Samurai’ directors compared the restrictive studio-controlled filmmaking environment of modern-day Japan to the golden age of Akira Kurosawa at a talk event on Sunday.
For this year’s edition, the festival has selected seven directors, who have achieved a degree of international recognition, to promote Japanese cinema to the world. Three of the seven attended the talk event: Keishi Otomo, who has directed two hit films based on the Rurouni Kenshin manga series; Takashi Yamazaki, whose Parasyte is closing the festival; and Lee Sang-il, whose credits include the Japanese remake of Unforgiven.
The other four ‘Samurai’ are Takashi Miike (13 Assassins), Tetsuya Nakashima (Confessions), Eiichiro Hasumi (Umizaru series) and Daihachi Yoshida, whose Pale Moon is the only Japanese film in Tiff’s competition section. The event was followed by a screening of Kurosawa’s 1954 Seven Samurai.
Asked to compare filmmaking in Japan today to the era when Seven Samurai was made, the »
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
Tokyo – Considering that his “Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of the biggest commercial successes of the year, director James Gunn’s tributes to film festivals and Asian culture Friday were all the more touching.
“In a world where film has become something that is purely a commodity – because it costs so much to make a movie – it is great to have these pockets of culture around the world, of great film festivals, to have films acknowledged as something other than their money value,” he said.
Gunn was speaking at an event at the Tokyo International Film Festival, where he is president of the main competition jury. He was direct, smart and kooky throughout.
Earlier Gunn had spent several minutes with jurors Robert Luketic, John H. Lee and Eric Khoo trading names of moviemaking greats who had influenced their careers. Gunn picked Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and contemporary Japanese schlockmeister Miike Takashi. »
- Patrick Frater
With a focus on animation this year, the fest’s red carpet – changed back from the ecologically-themed green carpet of previous years – saw Japanese superhero Ultraman and other animation characters along with J-pop group Arashi, prime minister Shinzo Abe and Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn, who is heading the competition jury.
“I have three heroes and they’re all Japanese – Ultraman, Saber Rider and Akira Kurosawa,” said Gunn, declaring himself excited to be in Tokyo and at the festival, looking for unique films with “something specific to say”.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jean Noh)
Tokyo — The 27th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival kicked off on Thursday with a gala opening at the Roppongi Hills entertainment and shopping complex.
The red carpet was trod by nearly 370 fests guests and celebs, including Rie Miyazawa, star of the competition’s only Japanese pic, the Daihachi Yoshida embezzlement drama “Pale Moon,” and Miki Nakatani, serving as the fest’s “navigator,” or spokeswoman, though she is a major star in her own right. Getting by far the loudest screams from the crowd, however, was the five-member boy band Arashi, who made a surprise appearance as reps of the government’s “Cool Japan” initiative.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared on stage at the Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills main theater prior to world premiere screening of opening film “Big Hero 6.” Saying that he could feel by the “fever in the air” that the fest was beginning, he added, »
- Laura Prudom
Tokyo — The 27th running of the Tokyo International Film Festival got under way Thursday with pomp and circumstance – and just the right degree of levity.
The opening ceremony in the Roppongi Hills complex was attended by a Japanese princess, two ministers and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as a coterie of international guests.
In a speech without notes, Abe identified detailed elements of the festival program, pitched Tokyo as a gateway to Asian cinema, and personally welcomed U.S. animation icon John Lasseter. He also repeated the country’s ‘Cool Japan’ culture and tourism pitch and joshed with five part boy-band Arashi, who were dressed like the Pm in sharp, dark suits. “I hope some of their popularity rubs off on the government,” he said.
In a city they obviously admire, the directing and production team from opening film “Big Hero 6” gushed their thanks and wonderment at being part of the opening event. »
- Patrick Frater and Mark Schilling
The Usagi Yojimbo Saga: Volume 1
Writer, Art, and Letters: Stan Sakai
Series Editors: Michael Dooney and Jaime S. Rich
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is a series that works on multiple levels. It has the epic feel of a Japanese chanbara (sword fighting films), alongside moments of melodrama, in which the relationships of the characters are at the forefront. Sakai was born in Japan and emigrated to the United States, where his great comic Usagi Yojimbo would begin in 1984, continuing to this very day. Sakai incorporates many elements of his Japanese background by placing the main setting of the story within the Edo period of Japanese history. There is a lot of terminology used with certain aspects of this time, from the weapons, the clothing, to the social statuses. Sakai definitely does not shy away from the immense amount of research incorporated, really making Usagi Yojimbo »
- Anthony Spataro
Kyoto — Koji Yakusho was awarded the Toshiro Mifune Award at the closing ceremony of the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival, which unspooled Oct. 16-19 at locations around Japan’s ancient capital. Named in honor of the first Japanese actor to win worldwide recognition, the prize is awarded to Japanese actors considered to have international potential. Yakusho’s overseas credits include Rob Marshall’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel” (2006) and Francois Girard’s “Silk” (2007). Earlier, veteran cinematographer and director Daisaku Kimura received the Shozo Makino Award for filmmakers who have made outstanding contributions to Japanese cinema. Under the leadership of executive director Kazuyoshi Okuyama, a veteran producer who worked on Takeshi Kitano’s early films, and with the sponsorship of the giant Yoshimoto Kogyo talent agency, the fest has focused on spotting and nurturing new talent in a range of fields with its Creators Factory initiative, »
- Mark Schilling
Even before Naji Abu Nowar took home the director prize at the 2014 Venice Horizons section, his feature debut, “Theeb,” was one of the most talked-about films on the Lido. Born in Oxford and educated in Jordan and the U.K., Nowar has helped spotlight Jordan — not for outside crews seeking spectacular locations but for local talent telling local stories. “Theeb” is a stunning, intimate epic set in a Bedouin community during the Arab Revolt (the same period as “Lawrence of Arabia”), presenting a society on the cusp of change and tipping its hat to classic Westerns even in the way it toys with questions of moral absolutes.
Nowar is the latest recipient of Variety’s Arab Filmmaker of the Year award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
How does the label Arab filmmaker help you and how does it hold you back?
I’ve been half-half my whole life! In »
- Jay Weissberg
Macbeth was the first film Roman Polanski made following the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, and friends at the hands of the Manson family. At the time he'd been working on the sci-fi thriller The Day of the Dolphin, which would later be made by Mike Nichols. It was during a skiing trip arranged by Victor Lownes, a subsequent producer of the film, Polanski made the decision Macbeth would be his next film. It was a decision he made feeling his next film "should be something serious, not a comedy... something with some depth." Polanski would team with Kenneth Tynan to write the screenplay and, thanks to urging from Lownes, Hugh Hefner and Playboy would eventually serve as the film's producer after no one else would touch it. As Polanski notes in an included 60-minute documentary on this new Criterion Blu-ray release, to that point there had only been »
- Brad Brevet
Edited by Adam Cook
Above: there is no news this week more monumental than that of the return of Twin Peaks. In 2016, we'll have nine new episodes, all directed by David Lynch. The 72nd issue of Senses of Cinema is now online, and amidst a plethora of content, features an amazing dossier on "one of the true legends of Australian screen culture," John Flaus. Also included is a piece by Tony McKibbin on a new Alain Robbe-Grillet box set—and in Mubi Us, we're currently hosting a retrospective on the Robbe-Grillet featuring Trans-Europ-Express, L'immortelle, Eden and After, and Successive Slidings of Pleasure. Writing for Reverse Shot, Adam Nayman offers his two cents on Mia Hansen-Love's Eden:
From long credits to bullet time, here are a few techniques and film conventions we don't see in the movies these days...
Over more than a century, cinema has built up its own storytelling vocabulary. Thanks to generations of intelligent and groundbreaking filmmakers, movies contain a rich and complex set of editing, filming and framing techniques, most of them so firmly embedded in our subconscious that we don't even think about them while we're sitting in our local multiplex.
Inevitably, there are some aspects of filmmaking that have changed considerably over time. New ideas and conventions continuously float in, while old ones become over-used and phase out as a result. It's the latter we're focusing on here: the filmmaking conventions and techniques that are either becoming rare, or have vanished altogether. Bear in mind that some of the things below may suddenly come back into vogue very soon, while the »
American celebrities popped up in a lot of Japanese ads in the 1980s and the results were, well, see for yourself. In the first clip below, Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and American director Francis Ford Coppola look weary and vacant while peddling Suntory Reserve. The bizarre ad intercuts footage of the making of Kurosawa's 1980 epic "Kagemusha." And after a long day's shoot, Kurosawa impassively enjoys a glass of whiskey. Because "passion knows no limits." Coppola doesn't have much to do here. But events in his daughter Sofia's 2003 film "Lost in Translation" now come into sharp focus: that's the same whiskey brand that Bill Murray sells, blandly reciting "Suntory time!" while trying to keep a straight face. In the surreal second ad for a Japanese department store, Woody Allen awkwardly endures a strange sequence of calligraphy, acupuncture and whatever else. He looks sad and lost. It's not quite clear what this commercial is. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
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