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In David Cronenberg’s world, sex hurts so good; it’s innately disgusting and primeval but at the same time beautiful and becoming. (Kind of like sex in the real world, when you think about it.) Bodies degenerate and mental states corrode under the influence of lust, and yet something new is engendered by the collision of bodies, bodily fluids, the ripping of flesh and the mangling of organs. Through the carrion of ugly comes the attractive flesh, the new flesh. Videodrome, as Jonathan Lethem once quipped, remains Cronenberg’s most penetrative film; he creates a world at once rooted in modernity circa 1983–a world afraid of the advent of television usurping our humanity, over-stimulated times ushering in the end times–and existing in a timeless, placeless vacuum. It’s vast and claustrophobic, prescient and paranoid, of the same lineage as early James Cameron »
- Greg Cwik
Filmmaker Adam Bardach attended the 30th edition of Warsaw International Festival to premiere his new documentary Dancing Before the Enemy: How a Teenage Boy Fooled Nazis and Lived. The film is a portrait of his father, Gene Gutowski, who survived the Holocaust in Poland and went on to have a successful career in Hollywood, most notably as Roman Polanski's producer. Bardach has made a very personal monument to his father capturing the difficult times under the Nazi occupation in Poland when many of his family members perished in death camps. Gutowski recounts the struggle to survive and the complicated path to the liberty. Bardach revisits painful memories and places in Poland following his father while he provides eye-witness testimony of horrors from the wartime era....
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
It may be more true in horror than in any other genre that certain subgenres ebb and flow in popularity over time. Vampires were hot in the mid-’90s when you had Interview with the Vampire, From Dusk Till Dawn, Blade and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then, vampires sat out of popular discourse for the next ten years or so, until the double whammy of Twilight and True Blood hitting in 2008, causing a tidal wave of vampiric fiction from the arty (Only Lovers Left Alive, Byzantium) to the schlocky (Dracula Untold, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) that hasn’t slowed down since.
Witches are now in the middle of an uncertain period, neither in ebb or flow. When Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages was released in 1922, witchcraft and the occult were still deeply feared in modern society. In the decades that followed, interest waned and they became more »
- Jake Pitre
L.M. Kit Carson, the Texan film legend best known for David Holzman's Diary, has passed away at the age of 73. For Filmmaker Magazine, Vadim Rizov gathers some valuable insight from Fabrice Aragno, the cinematographer of Jean-Luc Godard's Adieu au langage. Eric Hynes provides an excellent and authentic New Yorker take on Gangs of New York for Reverse Shot's Martin Scorsese Symposium. Above: we're disappointed to hear that Paul Schrader's latest film has been essentially taken out of his hands—in response the filmmaker has disowned the picture. For Film Comment, Violet Lucca interviews Ruben Östlund about his acclaimed film, Force majeure:
"Lucca: Like your previous work, Force Majeure is intended to foster a philosophical debate about what human behavior means or implies. Do you envision that being more of an internal process, or do you want people to talk it out?
ÖStlund: Yeah, in a group. »
While it went home empty handed after competing in Cannes, and was released in dozens of territories before Sundance Selects dropped the title onto the market this past April, Venus In Fur did manage to rack up seven Cesar award nominates back home and netted Roman Polanski the Best Director prize. Dark, playful, and featuring a dizzying performance from Emmanuelle Seigner, the title is destined to be one of the year’s most overlooked gems.
The once quite reticent Polanski quickly returned with yet another adaptation of a popular Broadway play. Working from the same stage title, this followed his 2011 star studded Carnage. Say what you will, but Polanski, who often tends to favor claustrophobic chamber pieces, excels with chatty subversiveness, and detractors of the sometimes forced Carnage should revel in this latest effort, a dark labyrinth of comedic mind games that does with words what something like Lady from Shanghai does with mirrors. »
- Nicholas Bell
Directed by Roman Polanski
United States, 1968
Roman Polanski’s first foray into real, genre horror is a classic of mostly unseen dread.
Featuring a closely-coiffed Mia Farrow as the soft-spoken, childlike Rosemary Woodhouse, potential mother to the devil; John Cassavetes, post-Shadows, and just about to truly kick off his great directorial run; and the inimitable Ruth Gordan as a sort of Grace Zabriskie-precursor: the creepy neighbor next door, heavily made-up and eerily meddlesome, Rosemary’s Baby picks up the paranoid thread of 1965’s Repulsion. The film also anticipates the similarly – though more political – claustrophobic suspicion of Alan Pakula’s 1970’s films.
Like Repulsion Polanski puts a slender, nymph-like female at the center of the narrative, though Rosemary is endowed with more power than Catherine Deneuve’s Carol. Unlike his earlier film, Polanski externalizes the baleful forces and makes them realer. The strength of Rosemary’s »
- Neal Dhand
After Bosnian director Danis Tanović’s (Tiger), it’s Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic who will film his next feature in India. Paskaljevic, who is heading the India Gold jury at 16th Mumbai Film Festival, announced his latest Dev Bhoomi starring Victor Banerjee on Sunday.
Dev Bhoomi will be the first ever Indo-Serbian co-production.
The film explores the homecoming of a 65 year old man, Rahul, who, when he discovers he is going blind, decides to return from England to his village in Garhwal, in India, to take one last look at the world he ran away from, 40 years ago. Produced by Milan Markovic, the film will be entirely shot in Uttarakhand in March-April 2015. The director with his team has been travelling to Dehradun and nearby places in Uttarakhand for scouting locations.
Goran said in a press conference: “Dev Bhoomi is a story of simple dramatic structure, tense inside, without a lot of external effects, »
Produced by Milan Markovic, the film will be entirely shot in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand in March-April 2015. Serbia’s Nova Film will co-produce with India’s Shinar Entertainment and the UK’s H.W. Buffalo & Co.
The story follows a 65-year-old man, Rahul, who decides to return from England to his village in Garhwal, Uttarakhand when he discovers he is going blind, to take one last look at the world he left 40 years ago.
Paskaljevic is currently serving on the India Gold jury of the on-going Mumbai Film Festival. His credits include Cabaret Balkan (1998), Honeymoons (2009) and When Day Breaks (2012).
“Dev Bhoomi »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
It felt like I watched a lot this week, primarily because I spent a lot of time exploring not only the movies, but special features on three Criterion Blu-rays. I already posted my reviews for Roman Polanski's Macbeth (read my review here) and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (read my review here) and just last night I watched Shohei Imamura's Vengeance is Mine as well as the 1999 interview with Imamura. As I'm sure you all know, exploring the features on a Criterion release can take some time, almost always more time than watching the movie itself. I'll have my review of Vengeance is Mine this coming week. The only other movie I watched this last week, and another movie I'll have a review of this coming week, is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman, which did gangbusters this weekend in limited release and I'm really interested in reading some of »
- Brad Brevet
Departure Day: When it comes to TV, is closure important?
If you happen to follow a decent number of TV critics on Twitter, you may have noticed a minor eruption of late. A schism has emerged, prompted by accounts like The Cancellation Bear, which concerns itself solely with the topic of whether or not series are likely to survive based on current ratings patterns. That may sound perfectly innocent on its own, but quite a few admirers have expressed the notion that they refuse to dive into a series if they get the sense that it will come to a premature end, thereby robbing them of closure. This idea has, naturally, left many critics incensed: isn’t TV a medium founded on chaos, on the thrill of working within limitations and at the whims of fickle audiences? Moreover, isn’t it silly to always want tidy resolution in the context »
The Digital Era: Real-time Films From 2000 To Today
40 years before, in 1960, lighter cameras enabled a cinéma vérité-flavored revolution in street realism. By 2000, new digital cameras suggested a whole new set of promises, including telling stories that would have been unimaginable within minimum budgets for features even ten years before. In 2000, film purists warned that digital still didn’t look as good as celluloid, but that didn’t stop at least three innovative filmmakers from boldly going where no filmmaker had gone before. Mike Figgis’ Timecode (2000) was the first star-supported (Salma Hayek, Stellan Skarsgard, Holly Hunter, among many others) single-shot project since Rope, underlining that earlier film’s timelessness. If Run Lola Run could do one story three times, then Timecode would do three or four stories one time: the movie is four separate ninety-minute shots shown all at the same time, each in one quadrant of the screen. Where do you look? »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
What do film directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Agnès Varda, Robert Wise, Fred Zinnemann, Luis Buñuel, Alain Resnais, Roman Polanski, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, Louis Malle, Richard Linklater, Tom Tykwer, Alexander Sokurov, Paul Greengrass, Song Il-Gon, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro Iñárritu have in common? More specifically, what type of film have they directed, setting them apart from fewer than 50 of their filmmaking peers? Sorry, “comedy” or “drama” isn’t right. If you’ve looked at this article’s headline, you’ve probably already guessed that the answer is that they’ve all made “real-time” films, or films that seemed to take about as long as their running time.
The real-time film has long been a sub-genre without much critical attention, but the time of the real-time film has come. Cuarón’s Gravity (2013), which was shot and edited so as to seem like a real-time film, floated away with the most 2014 Oscars, »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
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
The French equivalent of theatrical turkey is "turnip," and the French-language musical adaptation of Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, staged by the maestro himself and called Dance of the Vampires (Le Bal des Vampires), is an enormous, all-singing, all-dancing turnip, a toothless musical in which the only moving parts belong to the gigantic rotating and sliding sets. Inexplicably a hit production in Mitteleuropa, this musical was originally written in German by Michael Kunze and features music by Jim Steinman, the man behind Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler. His bombastic work for these crooners often creeps into
- Boyd van Hoeij
X-Men: Days of Future Past It's interesting to me in that I consider X-Men: Days of Future Past one of the best movies of 2014 and the second best blockbuster of the summer behind Edge of Tomorrow and yet I have little to no interest in seeing it again. I've seen plenty of trailers as of late promoting today's release of the DVD and Blu-ray and each time I remember enjoying the movie, but a feeling of meh when it comes to watching it again comes over me. Nevertheless, I can still I say I felt it was a good movie... that one time I saw it.
Fargo Season One Here's a show I need to get back to and finish. Everyone I've talked to and seen comment online has enjoyed it and having already watched three of the ten episodes it only makes sense I finish it.
Venus in Fur »
- Brad Brevet
Knife in the Water
Directed by Roman Polanski
Certainly a stretch to categorize as horror, Roman Polanski’s debut feature anticipates the creeping dread and tense blocking that will characterize his later, truer films of the genre.
Husband and wife Andrzej (Leon Niemczyk) and Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka) pick up a young hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz) on their way to a sailing outing. The young man joins them on the water and tensions rise among the three as the men jockey for power.
Coming after a number of murky, eerie shorts – including 1957’s grim A Murder – Knife in Water is Lifeboat meets Dead Calm but with Polanski’s signature brooding unease rather than overt, textbook suspense or violence. Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Tenant make up the director’s “Apartment Trilogy,” and though Knife in Water is almost exclusively on open water it may as well mark the beginning of a “Claustrophobia Quadrilogy. »
- Neal Dhand
In theaters this week I caught Dracula Untold (my review here) and Fury (review coming tomorrow) while at home I ended up watching about 45 minutes or so of Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, All Quiet on the Western Front and about 30 minutes of Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Roman Polanski's Macbeth as I'm hoping to catch up on my Criterion reviews this week. I also have Criterion's Vengeance is Mine and the upcoming La Dolce Vita to take in and for those of you that were around for my first Best Movies entry, you already know how much I love "the sweet life". So let's hear from you, what did you watch this weekendc »
- Brad Brevet
Austin Film Society continues their "Art Horror" series this month at the Marchesa with a 35mm print of Masaki Kobayashi's 1964 ghost story anthology, Kwaidan. Tonight's screening is actually a Free Member Friday event, so if you're an Afs member you won't have to pay a dime for this horror classic. It will also screen again on Sunday at noon. Also on Sunday, you can check out the 2013 documentary The Sarnos: A Life In Dirty Movies, which examines the life and career of sexploitation director Joe Sarno and his wife Peggy. It will be paired with Joe's 1966 feature Moonlighting Wives on Sunday evening.
There is a lot of rep activity at Alamo Drafthouse theaters this week and we'll start off by looking at what is going down at the Ritz. You can catch Guys And Dolls in 35mm for "Broadway Brunch" on Saturday and Sunday, and Kubrick's big-screen classic 2001: »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Few directors have touched the level of quality achieved by Roman Polanski in the last half-century of cinema, In spite of his, shall we say, tainted reputation. The man whose life was marred by a childhood spent in Nazi-occupied Poland, the murder of his wife Sharon Tate and his notorious rape case and subsequent exile has also given us some of the most memorable films of all time, including “Knife in the Water,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “Chinatown" among others. One of Polanski’s most overlooked and visually ravishing pictures is his adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth.” The film —an uncharacteristically violent and grim period piece— was released in the aftermath of his wife’s gruesome murder and has since been lovingly restored by the great folks at Criterion, who have also commissioned stellar releases of many of Polanski’s cruel, darkly amusing early films (“Cul de Sac,” “Repulsion »
- Nicholas Laskin
Former ICM chief Jeff Berg launched Resolution less than two years ago on the heels of his bitter breakup from ICM, the agency where he spent nearly 40 years until finding himself on the losing end of a power struggle with Chris Silbermann. His failed attempt to maintain his status as a top Hollywood power broker eerily echoes Michael Ovitz’s rise and quick fall with Artists Management Group more than a decade ago.
Berg founded Resolution as a talent and literary agency in early 2013 with much fanfare. He chose luxurious offices in a ritzy Century City building and went on a hiring spree of veteran film, TV and music agents at eyebrow-raising salaries — some at $1 million annually. On Monday, Berg informed the staff–which numbers between 40 and 50 — that »
- Dave McNary and Justin Kroll
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