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• Xan Brooks liveblogs the ceremony
• Full list of winners as they're announced
The Oscars failed to paid tribute to Alain Resnais, the celebrated French director of Night and Fog and Hiroshima Mon Amour, who died today. Perhaps because of the late-breaking nature of his death, they did not include Resnais in the traditional In Memoriam section to the film-maker.
Resnais was never nominated for an Oscar, though he did receive a string of awards from major international film festivals, including a lifetime achievement award from Cannes in 2009. His feature debut, Hiroshima Mon Amour, was a key early entry in the French new wave, competing at the 1959 Cannes film festival against the likes of François Truffaut's The 400 Blows and Jack Clayton's Room at the Top »
- Andrew Pulver
Alain Resnais, who has died aged 91, was a director of elegance and distinction who, despite generally working from the screenplays of other writers, established an auteurist reputation. His films were singular, instantly recognisable by their style as well as through recurring themes and preoccupations. Primary concerns were war, sexual relationships and the more abstract notions of memory and time. His characters were invariably adult (children were excluded as having no detailed past) middle-class professionals. His style was complex, notably in the editing and often – though not always – dominated by tracking shots and multilayered sound.
He surrounded himself with actors, musicians and writers of enormous talent and the result was a somewhat elitist body of work with little concern for realism or the socially or intellectually deprived. Even overtly political works, Night and Fog, »
- Brian Baxter
One of the most critically-aclaimed French helmers of all time, Resnais directed such arthouse masterpieces as “Hiroshima Mon Amour,”a flagship pic of the New Wave, which earned writer Marguerite Duras an Oscar nom for original screenplay in 1961, and “Last Year at Marienbad,” a major influence on such directors as David Lynch.
Resnais, who began his career with a number of art documentaries and then broke through with the gripping 1955 “Night and Fog,” about the Jewish Holocaust in WWII, was one of the more intellectually rigorous members of the new wave of filmmakers who overturned the French film industry in the late ’50s.
The French cinema world is mourning Resnais today as critics, industryites, festivals’ toppers and fans pay him homage.
- Elsa Keslassy
History suggests that it took about six hours for Mt. Vesuvius to bury Pompeii in a thick coat of lava and ash. It took most critics even less time to bury “Pompeii” the movie in volcanic invective, resulting in a woeful 28% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an only slightly more encouraging 41 on Metacritic. Meanwhile, the vox populi has spoken, leading to a dismal $10 million opening weekend (against a reported $100 million budget). But look closer and, like those flailing limbs jutting out from the real Pompeii’s petrified in-situ corpses, a few persuasive dissenters can be heard amid the dismissive din. They douse the violent inferno with enthusiastic praise for the movie’s action sequences, for its use of 3D, and above all for its director, Paul W.S. Anderson. And they are not wrong to do so. Welcome to the cult of the vulgar auteur.
Of course, one can scarcely »
- Scott Foundas
Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless gave France’s nascent La nouvelle vague a solid international underpinning and it has remained a vibrant, stylish and entertaining influence on filmmakers for 54 years. Largely improvised and capriciously photographed, Breathless tore away the final threads that bound films to novels – and the formal elements of novels – leaving each medium a little freer to reach their own respective potentials. The narrative of Breathless, and unlike some later Godard films it does have one, is not dispensed through written dialogue designed to advance plot points but rather a capturing of fleeting ideas and quickly dissolving moments in time. Like life itself, some of these moments are big and important while others simply banal markers on the timeline of existence. Breathless gives equal dramatic weight to the climactic and the mundane, throwing a greasy yet elegant monkey wrench into 1960‘s accepted orthodoxy of what a movie was supposed to be. »
- David Anderson
Classe Tous Risques, 1960.
Directed by Claude Sautet.
On the run with two small children, how long can criminal Abel Davos outrun those in pursuit and his destiny?
The same year cinema was left Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard's revolutionary tour de force, its star Jean-Paul Belmondo found himself yet again on the wrong side of the law in Claude Sautet's Classe Tous Risques; this time swapping the pursuit of Jean Seberg for Sandra Milo.
Sautet’s Classe Tous Risques' ageing protagonist features shades of Jean Gabin and Roger Duchesne in Jacque Becker's Pas au Grisbi and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur - two seminal French gangster films of the 1950s.
- Gary Collinson
Documentary maker who battled sexism in the film industry of postwar Britain and went on to work in continuity
The pioneering film-maker Kay Mander, who has died aged 98, was a member of the British documentary movement and began directing during the second world war, making training films and social documentaries for the Ministry of Information. In 1944, she established her own production company, Basic Films, and like many of her male contemporaries attempted to break into feature films after the war. But she struggled to find directing jobs and spent the rest of her long career in continuity.
Born in Hull, east Yorkshire, Mander grew up in Paris, later boarding at Queenwood ladies' college, in Eastbourne, East Sussex. After leaving school, she moved to Berlin, where her father was employed as an accountant. While working as a receptionist at an international film congress in 1935, she met British film-makers who suggested she »
- Sarah Easen
For the first time a daily matinee of a classic film will accompany the new films shown in competition at the upcoming City Of Lights, City Of Angels: A Week Of French Film Premieres In Hollywood.
Classic film screenings include restored versions of Jean Cocteau’s Beauty And The Beast, René Clément’s Purple Noon, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s L’Assassin Habitue Au 21 and Otar Iosseliani’s Favourites Of The Moon.
The 18th edition of the festival will run at the Directors Guild Of America headquarters from April 21-28. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Paris– L.A.-based Colcoa (City of Lights, City of Angels) festival will turn the spotlight on Cedric Klapisch, the popular French helmer of “Auberge Espagnole” and more recently “Chinese Puzzle” with Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou and Cecile de France.
Succeeding to Bertrand Blier, Alain Resnais and Costa Gavras, among other famed French directors, Klapisch will be the Focus on Filmmaker honoree of the 18th edition. He will be on hand to present his 2002 hit dramedy “L’Auberge Espagnole” followed by the premiere of his latest pic, the New York-set pic “Chinese Puzzle,” ahead of its U.S. release which will be handled by Cohen Media Group in May. Klapisch will also meet the audience for a Happy Hour Talk panel discussing his work.
- Elsa Keslassy
In spanning eight decades, Marcel Ophuls’ filmed autobiography “Ain’t Misbehavin’” incorporates a wide array of approaches: nostalgia-filled interviews with celebrated contemporaries, whimsical excerpts from Hollywood films, samplings from his own and his father’s oeuvres, and jaunts to the sites of past traumas and triumphs. Ophuls obviously greatly relishes his role as cosmopolitan raconteur, but his spontaneous delivery can feel over-rehearsed, his focus erratic. Film buffs will doubtless appreciate his imaginative use of free-associative film clips and anecdotes about Preston Sturges, Marlene Dietrich and Francois Truffaut, but “Misbehavin’” ultimately seems too patchy to resonate with wider audiences.
Ophuls’ remembrance of his early life offers a nearly miraculous confluence of personal, cinematic and world history. As the son of famed German-Jewish director Max Ophuls, who left Germany for France and from there escaped to Hollywood, young Marcel found himself at the center of international film production as well as the Holocaust, »
- Ronnie Scheib
In part two of our conversation, Kent Jones and I continue with questions of memory and justice and discuss the connective tissue of World War II in Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian with Claude Lanzmann's The Last of the Unjust and Shoah, Stanley Kubrick's unfinished Aryan Papers, Kristina Söderbaum, Thomas and Veit Harlan and the positioning of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.
In part one we discussed the loops to Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, the place of the American landscape, why Sam Shepard's mystical west is radically different from what is shown in Arnaud Desplechin's Jimmy P. and how the relationship of cinema and psychoanalysis falls flat - from Alfred Hitchcock to Robert Bresson and François Truffaut. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
This week I caught three movies in theaters, two I've already reviewed -- The Lego Movie and The Monuments Men -- and the other is Winter's Tale, which I don't think I'm able to review just yet, but I will say I was expecting something terrible and that's not what I got... I'll say more next week when it hits theaters. At home I watched Francois Truffaut's Jules and Jim on Criterion Blu-ray, which I reviewed and only two people, sadly commented... Hopefully more people come to the table with thoughts and opinions when I review Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent this coming week. I watched the new Criterion Blu-ray this week as well. Also, I finally saw Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight, which played Sundance and Cannes in '96 before being released in the States in '97, the same year Anderson's Boogie Nights was released. In fact, »
- Brad Brevet
Directed by François Truffaut
In François Truffaut’s debut feature, The 400 Blows, widely seen as the flagship production of the French Nouvelle Vague, or “New Wave,” he was able to convey a representation of youth in a very specific era and, at that time, in a very unique way. Autobiographical as the 1959 film was, it also featured a notable vitality and honesty, two traits that would distinguish several of these French films from the late 1950s and into the ’60s. While The 400 Blows was an earnest and refreshing portrayal of adolescence, in some ways, Truffaut’s 1962 feature, Jules and Jim, his third, feels even more youthful, in terms of stylistic daring and energetic exuberance. Though dealing with adults and serious adult situations, Jules and Jim exhibits a formal sense of unbridled glee, with brisk editing, amusing asides, »
- Jeremy Carr
This week sees Francois Truffaut's seminal love-triangle "Jules Et Jim," one of the French filmmaker's best-loved and most seminal works, get an upgrade to Blu-Ray on the The Criterion Collection. And with New York City's Film Forum staging a significant retrospective of his work beginning in March, and "The 400 Blows" also being reissued on Criterion in April, it feels like the perfect opportunity to do something we've been dying to do for ages: put the spotlight on the filmmaker's work. Truffaut went from runaway schoolboy to bad-boy Cahiers du cinema critic to wildly acclaimed filmmaker before the age of 27, and sadly, passed away of a brain tumor aged only 52, and the result is that his career can sometimes seem like a brief, if brilliant one, especially in contrast to that of friend and colleague Jean Luc-Godard, who's still working today. But Truffaut packed a lot into his quarter-century of work, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Based on a true story, "Dbc" stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a good old boy diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. He begins importing non-fda approved drugs into the Us to treat himself and begins selling them to other people living with HIV as part of a buyers club. Jared Leto plays his business partner and friend Rayon, a transgender woman who also has HIV.
Why We're In: Although "Dbc" has been criticized for some of its more liberal interpretation of the facts, strong performances have earned this movie six Oscar nominations.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Jules and Jim" (Criterion)
Why We're In: The movie »
- Jenni Miller
Dallas Buyers Club Pretty solid week of new releases starting with one of the better films of 2013 and one we're sure to be talking about more leading up to the Oscars, Dallas Buyers Club featuring a pair of great performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto and a strong performance from Jennifer Garner as well.
About Time Richard Curtis' About Time is one of the year's better romantic comedies along with the likes of Best Man Holiday. I'm sure there was at least one more, but those are the two that come to mind and with the unlikely pairing of Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson the movie comes as a nice little surprise. Oh, and it has The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie. So, that's a little bonus.
- Brad Brevet
If you’re both passionate and knowledgable about cinema, chances are that you’re a film buff. Film buffs are, generally speaking, the proud know-it-alls of the movie-going world – happy to correct you when you confuse Ingrid Bergman and Ingmar Bergman, or when you casually announce that Forrest Gump is “a great film.”
For those people who look upon film buffs with a certain dissatisfaction, wondering what led them onto a path of great obnoxiousness, try to reserve your judgement for a little longer, will you? We may throw around big words like “Sergei Eisenstein” and insist that you get aquatinted with the works of François Truffaut before you even dare to have an opinion about movie-making in general… but being a film buff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, it’s way more difficult than you probably think. Because it’s not »
I can give you another life.
Before the New Wave, there were French film institutions like Jean Renoir and René Clair. They began with the silent era and continued on to direct, at least in Renoir's case, what are widely held to be some of the best films of all time. Then came the French New Wave and the critic-filmmakers François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard who pushed back against the institution--too frivolous, too much fantasy, cliché. Beauty of the Devil (1950), made in the Autumn of Clair's career, would have been a film everyone knew if it were made in English (and/or color). It is charming, fantastic, and a classic in every way. It is the story of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil.
- Jason Ratigan
In advance of the Sundance Film Festival 2014, we sent out a questionnaire to filmmakers with films in competition asking them a variety of questions about their projects. We also asked them if any films inspire them. They cited classic documentaries including "The Civil War" and "Grey Gardens," as well as films by David Lynch, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Stanley Kubrick, Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, Francois Truffaut, Wim Wenders, Robert Altman, Terry Gilliam, Ingmar Bergman and The Coen Brothers. Several films show up as influences more than once, including "The 400 Blows," "The Graduate" and, oddly enough, "The Bad News Bears." Here are the filmmakers' responses (slightly edited, in some cases, for length): A.J. Edwards ("The Better Angels"): The work of Terry Malick, to whom I owe so much. Sergeant York, Mrs. Miniver, How Green Was My Valley, Pather Panchali, The 400 Blows, The Wild Child, Kes, Ken Burns' The Civil War. »
- Paula Bernstein
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 8, 2014
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
The unforgettable 1959 debut feature by François Truffaut (Jules and Jim), The 400 Blows is a wrenchingly personal coming-of-age drama that introduced the character that would become the director’s lifelong cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud, La Vie de Boheme).
With the utmost sensitivity, The 400 Blows dramatizes the trials of Truffaut’s own difficult childhood, characterized by aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime.
The 400 Blows marks its maker’s official transition from influential critic to one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs, and is considered one of the first true works of the French New Wave.
Presented in French with English subtitles, Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo edition of the film contains the following features:
• High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Two audio commentaries, »
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