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It’d be reasonable to say that writer and director Kevin Smith has had a more vocal and sometimes uneasy relationship with film critics than most filmmakers over the past five or ten years.
Infamously, he voiced his discontent with critics after the less than stellar response to his studio comedy, Cop Out. Back in 2010, he wrote on his Twitter feed that "from now on, any flick I'm ever involved with, I conduct screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week".
There were interesting points in this (many of which were lost in the internet mass of noise that followed), and in an indirect way, it all seemed to build towards Smith's impressive horror Red State, »
Be forewarned, this article contains spoilers.
100% original Polish mermaid musical, "The Lure" directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska in the Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Section is Agnieszka’s first film and is an accomplished, multi layered send-up of a pair of mermaid sisters.
More siren-like than the little mermaid we know and love, the film is reminiscent of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid and Le Motte Fouque’s Ondine. Two mermaid sisters play out the dark and light side of the archetypical mythological creatures. Marta Mazurek plays Silver, the Ondine character who gives up her life for love of a mortal while Golden, played by the alluring Michalina Olszańska plays the dark side of the siren who devours men. Both play off each other in a beautiful and, at the same time, horrific way.
It will be interesting to see how they play together - again - in the upcoming Berlinale Panorama Opening Night Film, “I, Olga Hepnarova”. This Czech, Polish, French, Slovakian coproduction shows a young woman from what was then Czechoslovakia who has drifted into the restricted circumstances from which she tries to escape with a disastrous act of liberation. She is ultimately subjected to the death penalty which was in place there until 1989. (Btw, two other films make the death penalty their main topic at the Panorama: “Shepherds and Butchers” from South Africa and the Brazilian documentary “Curumim”.)
Kinga Prajs, Andrzej Konopka, and Jakub Gierszal also star and bring their own special qualities to the screen. Jakub Gierszal, the young hearthrob, was also in the Sundance Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic winner “Morris from America”, Wolfe Releasing’s “The Suicide Room” and the Polish pick for Oscar nomination in 2010 “All That I Love”.
All the characters have changeable personalities which shift through the various events of the story and which keep the audience just enough off-balance to perplex and beguile them.
In all, this is a very sexy, seductive quasi-comedy which does not hesitate to add a little Brian de Palma “Sisters” or David Cronenberg-esque “Crash” and “Dead Ringers” elements to make the horror more shocking-bizarre than shocking-scary.
Director Agnieszka Smoczynska said that the film was finished in September and they sent it to Sundance who responded immediately and asked that they not send it to any other festivals.
“It was life-changing.”
What was your inspiration?
Agnieszka Smoczynska: My mom ran such a restaurant as in the movie. I found a writer who said, ‘let’s make a film with musicians because his parents used to play music in such a restaurant where they danced during the Communist times. Growing up in such a place: is is too close, there’s too much drama, too much alcohol. Rather than make the stories so personal the writer said ‘let’s put on masks’, and so we made the mermaids. I loved mermaids. I knew of Homer’s mermaids, the sirens. It is a type of genre.
How did you make the film?
Agnieszka Smoczynska: The process of making the movie was interesting. We started with a treatment and worked with music, musicians and a choreographer to create the first draft.
Then we gave it to the sound designer and he wrote a sound script, like a score, and he put in music, some songs. Some went into the movie and some went out. Each character has their own song which creates a diverse array.
Dancing was also very specific in Poland and behind the Iron Curtain. There were very special shows, with a magician, music, acts, dancing. People came to the place every weekend. It was all very 80s.
The set design was also very 80s but there were modern elements and lots of my own memories of colors. Outside of the restaurants, there was no color. Everything was all very gray…until the 90s.
It was also important for us not to put too much politics. As a child I did not know about such things and so the mermaids do not know such things.
How did you fund the film?
Agnieszka Smoczynska: A good thing for Poland is that the Polish Film Institute gives almost 100% of the budget. 85 to 90% of the budget is given to first time filmmakers. Polish TV also shows the movies and there is guaranteed Polish distribution.
The story was so crazy that every producer said no one outside of Poland would understand it. Only National Company, a 60-year-old traditional studio believed in it because the head of the company likes dancing so much.
Agnieszka Smoczyńska is a graduate of the University of Silesia’s Krzysztof Kieślowski Faculty of Radio and Television in directing, the Wajda School, and the University of Wroclaw in culture studies. She received the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Scholarship and won the My Talent for Poland program and Golden Pen award, granted by the President of Poland. Her short films “Kapelusz”, “3 Love”, and “Aria Diva” have won awards at film festivals around the world. »
- Sydney Levine
Struggling with not only his sexuality but also his identity as a young Korean-American, the closeted son of immigrant parents turns to Los Angeles’ cruisy Korean sauna scene in hopes of answering where he belongs in “Spa Night.” While his parents enjoy body scrubs and shaved ice, 18-year-old David Cho (Joe Seo) seeks forbidden thrills amid the steam — although first-time writer-director Andrew Ahn has approached the subject tastefully enough that middle-aged women (identifying with his exasperated mother, stuck trying to do right by both her drunkard husband and distracted son) may actually get more out of the movie than gay audiences.
Shot on real Koreatown locations — and featuring mostly Korean dialogue — the low-key exercise represents a valuable cultural artifact, despite its limited commercial prospects: Located just under Hollywood’s nose, it depicts one of Los Angeles’ most vibrant immigrant communities, taking place in the Korean restaurants, churches, karaoke bars and, »
- Peter Debruge
Mad as Hell: Campos Paints a Moving, Psychological Portrait of Sensational Subject
For his third and most psychologically complex feature to date, Antonio Campos presents a series of instances leading up to the tragic death of news journalist Christine Chubbuck, a Floridian woman who infamously committed suicide on live television in 1974. The incident was partially the inspiration for the classic 1976 film Network, but the Chubbuck tragedy eventually became a journalistic case study, eventually a footnote in the passing decades, eclipsed by more sensational, more horrific examples of the increasingly lurid direction of news media. Instead of capitalizing on Chubbuck’s inevitable demise, Campos and screenwriter Craig Shilowich (the producer making his screenwriting debut), craft an expertly moderated character study for Christine, studiously and painstakingly portrayed by Rebecca Hall in what surely stands as her most accomplished screen performance to date.
In 1974 Sarasota, Florida, 29-year-old news reporter Christine Chubbuck (Hall »
- Nicholas Bell
Shock talks to iconic actress Barbara Crampton about her role in the film Sun Choke. Lady Barbara Crampton, she who came of age cheating on Craig Wasson in Brian DePalma’s Body Double, being sexually assaulted by a severed head in Stuart Gordon’s still astonishing 1985 classic Re-animator, and later, as an intellectual turned leather clad…
- Chris Alexander
Rachel McAdams earned the first Oscar nomination of her career last week for her role as a Boston Globe reporter in director Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama, Spotlight. The 37-year-old actress has had an interesting career, flirting with bonafide movie star status but never quite reaching the heights of box office draws such as Scarlett Johansson.
Still, her resume is littered with collaborations with big-name stars and respected directors. Often seen as a rom-com or love story drama star, looking back at McAdams roster of films shows that the actress has had a much more diverse career then the public perception would imply.
Now, dead-center in a best supporting actress race with no clear front runner, in which Kate Winslet has won the Golden Globe for Steve Jobs while Swedish breakout Alicia Vikander took home the Critics’ Choice Award for The Danish Girl, McAdams may »
- Patrick Shanley
★☆☆☆☆ Cole (Zac Efron) keeps a poster of Al Pacino in Scarface on a wall in his San Fernando Valley bungalow, a pad he shares with his bros. Ever since Brian De Palma's 1983 gangster flick emerged with renewed vigour in the early 21st century, as a figure of cultural inspiration, Tony Montana has become the patron saint of the American Dream. Only, Cole sees a flaw in the poster's motto - "The World is Yours" - and it chides with his egalitarian bro-spirit. He crosses out the Y, so that it reads 'The World is Ours.'
- CineVue UK
The film industry’s failure to represent people of colour runs far deeper than #OscarsSoWhite. Can a Bechdel test for race help persuade Hollywood to rethink? Plus: from ‘the magical negro’ to ‘the sassy confidante’ – the complete guide to tired racial stereotypes
Most kids watch a lot of TV. But if – like us – you grew up in Khartoum, Sudan, and there wasn’t so much as a park or playground as an alternative – TV and film was your only outlet. While the temperature outside was 40C and homework was neglected, we would watch films. Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Brian De Palma, Woody Allen and the Coen brothers were favourites. We rooted for Duckie in Pretty in Pink, hid behind the sofa during Jaws, were baffled by Blue Velvet, and learned about love wandering the streets of Vienna with Jesse and Céline in Before Sunrise.
All of these films we love to this day, »
- Nadia Latif and Leila Latif
With a legacy of iconic work, there isn’t a composer today that has left as much of an impact as Ennio Morricone. The Italian maestro defined the sound of the western with his work on Sergio Leone classics, collaborated with such great directors as Terrence Malick, Gillo Pontecorvo, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Carpenter, Brian De Palma, and most recently, delivered an excellent score for Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight.
He’s now rightfully the subject of a new feature-length documentary titled The Glance of Music, which is directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, a collaborator with Morricone since Cinema Paradiso. Today brings the fairly lengthly first trailer for the film, which finds Morricone sharing a Leone anecdote and dropping some brilliant insights, notably, “A film is what we see or hear but music represents the unsaid and the unseen.”
Said to be “coming soon,” check out the trailer below, along with »
- Jordan Raup
Kicking off with a special screening of The Forest with star Natalie Dormer in attendance, and finishing in racy rock-fuelled style with Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy, the UK’s favourite horror fantasy event returns to Glasgow Film Festival with another stellar line-up to shock, chill and thrill. A record thirteen films will screen from Thursday 25th February to Saturday 27th February, alongside a selection of unmissable shorts, guest director Q & A’s, great give-aways and a sneak preview of Paul Hyett’s Heretiks, with the popular director in attendance.
The line-up starts at 9pm on Thurs 25 Feb with the UK Premiere of The Forest starring Natalie Dormer searching for her twin sister in Japan’s most haunted location, the fabled Sea of Trees. The ‘Game of Thrones’ star is making her first appearance at Glasgow Film Festival and is thrilled to be headlining this gala event the »
- Phil Wheat
Rome – Italy on Monday cheered Ennio Morricone’s Golden Globe victory for composing the original score for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” which marks the maestro’s first original score for a Tarantino pic, and his first for a Western in decades.
“Maestro Morricone, always a certainty. A source of pride for Italy,” tweeted Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.
Culture Czar Dario Franceschini praised Morricone as a “giant who has made Italian music and movies great all over the world,” also in a tweet.
Morricone, who is 87, has more than 500 movie credits to this name including scores for Sergio Leone’s so-called “Dollars Trilogy” – “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West,” ” Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables,” Barry Levinson’s “Bugsby,” and Roland Joffe’s “The Mission,” are among other standouts, »
- Nick Vivarelli
Cinema suffered a cataclysmic loss this past Monday when one of the greatest cinematographers of our time, Vilmos Zsigmond, passed away. With a decade-spanning career and collaborations with directors from Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg, and Brian De Palma, Zsigmond’s legend will certainly live on, and he’ll continue to inspire generations of cinephiles and newbies alike. Read More: R.I.P Vilmos Zsigmond (1930-2016) Zsigmond’s contributions to such a variety of filmmaking secure his unparalleled place in history; he was truly a master of shadow and light. In this new video essay by Brad Jones, Zsigmond’s beauteous gift is paramount, and through seamless and clean shots, the beholder is overcome by his talent. Whether it’s the juxtapositional light adorning Warren Beatty’s face in “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” Richard Dreyfuss’ illuminating out-of-this-world experiences in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” or John Travolta and Nancy Allen meandering in the. »
- Samantha Vacca
Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who won an Oscar for his work on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, died on New Year's Day at his home in Big Sur, California at the age of 85. The legendary collaborator with Robert Altman (McCabe And Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye), Brian De Palma (Blow Out. Obsession, The Bonfire Of The Vanities) and Woody Allen (Cassandra’s Dream, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Melinda And Melinda), also received Oscar nominations for Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, Mark Rydell's The River and De Palma's The Black Dahlia. The Cannes Film Festival in 2014 presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Robert Altman. Brian De Palma. Steven Spielberg. Woody Allen. Michael Cimino. George Miller. John Boorman. Legendary filmmakers, each and every one of them, but they’re all united by more than a shared mastery of the cinematic form. They all worked with legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, a crucial figure of the American New Wave of the 1970s whose […]
The post Legendary Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond Dead at 85 appeared first on /Film. »
- Jacob Hall
Read More: Rip Legendary Master of Light Vilmos Zsigmond As much as Brian De Palma, Michael Cimino, Steven Spielberg and Robert Altman helped to challenge the studio system and bring about the rise of New Hollywood cinema in the 1970s, their work would be nothing without the extraordinary visual eye of Vilmos Zsigmond. The cinematographer, known as the "Master of Light," passed away New Year's Day at the age of 85, leaving behind a vast collection of impressive 35mm photography in some of the most iconic films ever made. In an era in which the director became the authorial cinematic voice, Zsigmond's work was a constant reminder of the vitality of the Dp. With tributes and retrospectives pouring in from around the Internet celebrating the late Zsigmond, we thought we'd honor his legendary career in the most appropriate way possible: By letting his images do all the work. Below are 9 essential shots from Zsigmond's. »
- Zack Sharf
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2015?Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2015—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2015 to create a unique double feature.All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2015 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
Hollywood studios have good reason to be grateful to repressive European governments for having provided them with refugee film-makers who made hugely significant contributions to the American film industry. The cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who has died aged 85, arrived in the Us in 1956, having fled his native Hungary as Russian tanks put down the Hungarian revolution. Over the next few decades, he became associated with many leading American directors, notably Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, Michael Cimino and Woody Allen.
Zsigmond, who won an Oscar for his work on Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), was responsible for the distinctive look of many of the best Hollywood movies of the 1970s, starting with Altman’s McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971). Using the wide-screen Panavision image (before screens got narrower to accommodate »
- Ronald Bergan
Updated With Statement from Cinematographers Guild president 11:31 Am and 7:15 Pm: Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, winner of an Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, has died. The Hungarian-born Zsigmond was 85 and passed away New Year’s Day. Zsigmond was also Oscar nominated for Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, Mark Rydell’s The River and Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia. He rose to fame with a string of iconic 1970s movies including Robert… »
Vilmos Zsigmond, one of Hollywood’s greatest cinematographers, died on New Year’s Day at the age of 85. Ironically, his death came less than a week after the death of Haskell Wexler, another great cinematographer of the 1970s. (Check out the memorable Budapest episode of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" which focused on Zsigmond and his 1956 escape after the Soviet invasion with canisters of film under his arm.) Credit for good films is usually given to the director and then to the actors. Yet Zsigmond’s stamp on Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” and “Heaven’s Gate,” on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” for which he won his only Academy Award, on Brian De Palma’s “Obsession” and “Bonfire of the Vanities,” and, most clearly on Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” is unmistakable. Asked what makes good cinema by Filmmaker magazine two years »
- Aljean Harmetz
Oscar-winning cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond, who worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Deer Hunter, among others, died Jan. 1 at 85, his business partner Yuri Neyman confirmed. Zsigmond's five-decade career included work on Deliverance, Blow Out, The Ghost and the Darkness and The Long Goodbye. He won an Academy Award for Close Encounters and was nominated for his work in The Deer Hunter, The River and The Black Dahlia. More recently, Zsigmond shot a number of episodes of Mindy Kaling's sitcom The Mindy Project. In 2003, he was ranked among the 10 most influential cinematographers in film history in a »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
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