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The great film historian Kevin Brownlow, who has devoted large sections of his life to restoring Abel Gance's 1927 epic Napoleon, takes a dim view of this one. And indeed Austerlitz, a.k.a. The Battle of Austerlitz, has several strikes against it, belongs to several categories of film maudit all at once. It's a late film by a seventy-one-year-old director whose best work, by universal consensus, was in the silent era; it's a kind of belated sequel, the further adventures of Napoleon Bonaparte; it's a Salkind production.Incidentally, viewing the lavish sets for this movie, we can see how the Salkinds, those roving multinational mountebanks, ran up the unpaid studio bills in Yugoslavia which kept Orson Welles from building the elaborate vanishing sets he had planned for The Trial (starting realistic, it would have ended up playing in a featureless void), necessitating the repurposing of a disused Parisian railway station. »
Only French films compete for that country’s top César award. The Genies recognize Canadian movies, the Goyas spotlight Spanish cinema, and the Lolas celebrate German film. But at the American Academy’s annual kudosfest, all countries are eligible for best picture — and have been since the beginning.
Still, unless you count British movies (13 of which have taken home best picture Oscars), foreign cinema seldom competes for the top prize (only eight have been nominated, dating back to Jean Renoir’s “The Grand Illusion” in 1939). And yet, as distribution evolved and domestic audiences’ tastes expanded to support the release of international films on U.S. screens, the Academy created a special category to recognize non-English-speaking cinema.
2016 marks 60 years since the launch of the foreign-language Oscar category. Over the past six decades, the honorees have, quite literally, ranged from A (“A Man and a Woman,” “Amarcord,” “Amour”) to “Z” (Costa-Gavras’ intense »
- Peter Debruge
The 4th edition of Festival Lumière, which harbors the first and only classic film market in the world, included a round-table on “Heritage films: promotion, marketing, communication – what means, what challenges?” moderated by film executive and journalist, Anthony Bobeau.
The round-table encompassed various topics, including “Distribution of Heritage Films,” with Malavida’s Anne-Laure Brénéol and MK2 Films’ Victoire Thévenin; “Communication, Media Relations and Print Press,” with Gaumont’s Ariane Toscan du Plantier and Studio Ciné Live’s Thomas Baurez.
Anthony Bobeau started by emphasizing the growth of classic films in the European market, citing the example of France, where 126 classic films were released in 2014, 140 films in 2015 and forecast to attain a record level in 2016.
He added that whereas in the 1980s, certain classic films could secure 100,000 or 150,000 spectators in France, the classic film market is now smaller but can still generate significant admissions.
In 2015 the biggest re-release of a classic »
- Martin Dale
Lyon, France — Walt Disney’s “Alice Comedies,” a series of cartoons made before Disney went to Hollywood, have been freshly restored and re-packaged for global distribution by France’s Malavida Films, one of the specialty cinema companies announcing their 2017 lineups at Lyon’s Lumière festival vintage cinema market.
Disney made the silent shorts starting in 1923 when he was still a struggling cartoon filmmaker in Kansas City. They feature a young girl named Alice, originally played by Virginia Davis, who interacts with animated characters. Local company Laugh-o-gram Films produced them and subsequently went bust. Now they are in the public domain.
“These are the only films in the Disney catalogue that are not copyrighted,” said Malavida co-chief Lionel Ithurralde.
Malavida is a niche vintage arthouse movies outfit whose upcoming French releases include several works by British director Derek Jarman, including his 1976 drama “Sebastiane,” the first film ever shot in Latin.
- Nick Vivarelli
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Mubi is playing General Della Rovere (1959) in the United States September 1 - 30, 2016.For a time, it seemed Roberto Rossellini was ready to leave behind the devastation of World War II, a milieu he as much as anyone helped to indelibly commit to cinematic memory with his Neorealist masterworks. While a traumatized psyche remained in films that followed his trilogy of Rome, Open City (1945), Paisan (1946), and Germany Year Zero (1948), it was revealed via a more subtle manifestation of conflict related angst. Rossellini had moved beyond explicit depictions of the war and its aftermath, even while lingering psychological effects still abound (see his collaborations with Ingrid Bergman). This would change in 1959, with the release of General Della Rovere, Rossellini's first full-fledged wartime film in more than 10 years. While not of the caliber of these earlier titles (not really even in »
Paul Greengrass has spent the past twenty-plus years crafting lean, energetic action films such as his Bourne entries — a franchise he returns to this Friday with Jason Bourne — and equally taut docudramas such as Captain Philips and United 93. His staging and editing of action has become a seminal staple of modern cinema, though it has proven hard to properly imitate as the coherence he often achieves is lost on his imitators. His films explore national paranoia and wounded heroes (often Matt Damon), while his style focuses on kinetic, intimate, and spur-of-the-moment action and storytelling.
Thanks to BFI‘s most recent Sight & Sound poll, Greengrass has compiled a list of his ten favorite films, many of which globe trot outside of the U.S. to everywhere from France (Godard), to Japan (Kurosawa), and Russia (Eisenstein), among others. There’s a clear connective thread between the French New Wave style of »
- Mike Mazzanti
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Movie Science of the Day: How much alcohol would Captain America have to get drunk? Kyle Hill tells us in the new episode of Because Science: Theme Song Cover of the Day: If you don't like the new Ghostbusters theme song, maybe you'd rather the reboot went with an a capella cover of the 1984 version like this: Cosplay of the Day: Also the song parody of the day, here is a music video for some cosplayers' Suicide Squad version of Arianna Grande's "Dangerous Woman." See more photos and info about the Harley Quinn cosplayer at Fashionably Geek. Vintage Image of the Day: Vittorio De Sica, who was born on...
- Christopher Campbell
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
A lost Marx Brothers musical has found its way back on stage, The New Yorker reports.
Watch a video on Pedro Almodóvar‘s obsession with the color red:
Vox‘s Aja Romano on the strange story of how a machine was trained to “watch” Blade Runner:
Broad’s goal was to apply “deep learning” — a fundamental piece of artificial intelligence that uses algorithmic machine learning — to video; he wanted to discover what kinds of creations a »
- The Film Stage
That naughty boy Federico Fellini goes all out with this essay-hallucination about women, a surreal odyssey that hurls Marcello Mastroianni into a world in which women are no longer putting up with male nonsense. It's an honest (if still somewhat sexist) effort by an artist acknowledging illusions and pleasures that he knows are infantile. City of Women Blu-ray Cohen Media Group 1980 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 139 min. / La cittá delle donne / Street Date May 31, 2016 / 39.98 Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Iole Silvani, Donatella Damiani, Ettore Manni, Fiammetta Baralla, Catherine Carrel, Rose Alba. Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno Film Editor Ruggero Mastroianni Original Music Luis Bacalov Written by Brunello Rondi, Bernardino Zapponi, Federico Fellini Produced by Franco Rossellini, Renzo Rossellini, Daniel Toscan du Plantier Directed by Federico Fellini
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
- Glenn Erickson
The British director Ken Loach will be 80 years old in June, and he has worked in film and television for more than 50 of those years, but with his bone-deep empathy for the desperate and the downtrodden, you may feel that he was almost put on earth to make a dramatic feature about the current economic moment. “I, Daniel Blake” is one of Loach’s finest films, a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity that goes right back to the plainspoken purity of Vittorio De Sica. The tale of Daniel Blake (Dave Johns), a 59-year-old carpenter from Newcastle, who is fighting to hold on to his welfare benefits, even though his heart condition forbids him from working, is one that’s sure to resonate across national borders, because it’s about something so much larger than bureaucratic cruelty (although it is very much about »
- Owen Gleiberman
With editors and cinematographers chiming in on the best examples of their craft in cinema history, it’s now time for directors to have a say. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America, they’ve conducted a poll for their members when it comes to the 80 greatest directorial achievements in feature films since the organization’s founding in 1936. With 2,189 members participating, the top pick went to Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather, one of three films from the director making the top 10.
Even with films from nonmembers being eligible, the male-dominated, America-centric choices are a bit shameful (Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director on the list, and the first foreign film doesn’t show up until number 26), but not necessarily surprising when one looks at the make-up of its membership. As with any list, there’s bound to be disagreements (Birdman besting The Bicycle Thief, »
- Jordan Raup
A lot of water, legal and otherwise, has passed under the bridge since Paul Reubens last donned the signature crisply tailored gray suit and red bow tie of his indisputably great comic creation, Pee-wee Herman, for a feature-length comedy. His previous Pee-wee feature, Big Top Pee-wee, debuted during the summer of 1988, 28 years ago, and that picture was hardly anyone’s idea of a worthy follow-up to the delirious and hilarious Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)-- it certainly wasn’t one I held too dear. When I saw Pwba the night it opened, I was actually admonished by fellow audience members and even the management of a Medford, Oregon movie theater for my hysterics. But though I approached the Big Top three years later with much eagerness, I left it feeling that Pee-wee had somehow ended up getting twisted into a formula that traded that gray suit in for something more akin to a straitjacket. »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Vittorio De Sica is widely regarded as a master in the realm of world cinema. As one of the Italian neorealism forerunners (in company with Roberto Rossellini and Luchino Visconti), De Sica concentrated on films that told stories about real people on real locations. He was fantastic at casting ordinary citizens for his lead roles --- particularly for his film Bicycle Thieves, which was recently been released via the Criterion Collection. The plot is simple: Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), a father in depressed, post-wwii Rome finally gets a job, which is everything, but he needs his bicyle. In order to provide for his family, he must get his bicycle back from the pawn broker, and to do that, his wife Maria (Lianella Carell) must pawn...
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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
The American Dreamer (L.M. Kit Carson and Lawrence Schiller)
It’s easy to map out the Dennis Hopper trajectory: mid-50’s/ -60’s classical Hollywood bit player to ’70s weirdo maverick to ’90s Hollywood-blockbuster villain — or even, in more succinct terms, hippie to Bush-voting Republican. Yet even if a morphing figure, there is a tendency to zero in on the brief iconoclast period: the counter-culture icon who, »
- TFS Staff
Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award–winning Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema. In poverty-stricken postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation for his desperate family when his bicycle, which he needs for work, is stolen. With his young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. »
- TFS Staff
Merle Oberon movies: Mysterious star of British and American cinema. Merle Oberon on TCM: Donning men's clothes in 'A Song to Remember,' fighting hiccups in 'That Uncertain Feeling' Merle Oberon is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of March 2016. The good news: the exquisite (and mysterious) Oberon, whose ancestry has been a matter of conjecture for decades, makes any movie worth a look. The bad news: TCM isn't offering any Oberon premieres despite the fact that a number of the actress' films – e.g., Temptation, Night in Paradise, Pardon My French, Interval – can be tough to find. This evening, March 18, TCM will be showing six Merle Oberon movies released during the first half of the 1940s. Never a top box office draw in the United States, Oberon was an important international star all the same, having worked with many of the top actors and filmmakers of the studio era. »
- Andre Soares
★★★★☆ 1960 was a memorable year for Italian cinema. It saw the releases of several major films: Federico Fellini's legendary La Dolce Vita; the first instalment of Michelangelo Antonioni's trilogy of decadence, L'Avventura; Vittorio de Sica's Two Women, for which Sophia Loren won her Best Actress Oscar. Another of the major success stories of the year was a film by Luchino Visconti, a director spoken of far less often than his illustrious contemporaries. Rocco and His Brothers is a novelistic tragedy on an epic melodramatic scale. A social drama about mass internal migration during the economic boom, it serves as a crushing indictment of traditional forms of masculinity. Alain Delon stars as the charismatic and dutiful Rocco, though it would be difficult to tell from the opening third.
- CineVue UK
For a man who created forward-thinking, boundary-pushing cinema embraced by small, devoted sects of cinephiles, Andrzej Żuławski‘s Sight & Sound list of favorite films is, in so many words, surprisingly traditional. Few would look upon it and say it contains a single bad film on it, but those who’ve experienced his work might expect something other than Amarcord; maybe, in its place, an underground Eastern European horror film that’s gained no real cachet since the Soviet Union’s collapse.
That isn’t to suggest something inexplicable, however. The Gold Rush‘s fall-down comedy could be detected in some of Possession‘s more emphatic moments of physical exhaustion, and, while we’re at it, visual connections between On the Silver Globe and 2001‘s horror-ish stretches aren’t so out-of-bounds. So while this selection may not open your eyes once more to cinema’s many reaches, one might use it »
- Nick Newman
Let's give a cheer for the lowly sword 'n' sandal epic. This persecution and torture spectacle also takes in the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. The impressively mounted Italian-Spanish production stars Rhonda Fleming, Fernando Rey, Wandisa Guida, and as the slimy villain, none other than Serge Gainsbourg. Revolt of the Slaves MGM Limited Edition Collection 1960 / Color / 2:35 enhanced widescreen (Totalscope) / 103 min. / La rivolta degli schiavi / Street Date February 16, 2016 / available through Screen Archives Entertainment / 19.98 Starring Rhonda Fleming, Lang Jeffries, Darío Moreno, Ettore Manni, Wandisa Guida, Gino Cervi, Fernando Rey, Serge Gainsbourg, José Nieto, Benno Hoffmann, Rainer Penkert, Antonio Casas, Vanoye Aikens, Dolores Francine, Burt Nelson, Julio Peña . Cinematography Cecilio Paniagua Film Editor Eraldo Da Roma Original Music Angelo Francesco Lavagnino Written by Stefano Strucchi, Duccio Tessari, Daniel Mainwearing from the novel 'Fabiola' by Nicholas Patrick Wiseman Produced by Paolo Moffa Directed by Nunzio Malasomma
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Make all »
- Glenn Erickson
Inspired by Vittorio De Sica's 1948 drama "The Bicycle Thief," director Donald Mugisha's "The Boda Boda Thieves" gives a vivid look into the life of a Ugandan teen on a mission to save his family's livelihood. Produced through the Pan-African filmmaking collective Yes! That's Us Films, the feature recently screened at the Seattle International Film Festival. On paper, the stories for this film and De Sica's are similar – the fate of a poor family hinges on the father's bicycle business, and when his bike is stolen it throws their world into chaos. Here, the patriarch Goodman runs a boda boda (motorbike taxi) business while his wife breaks rocks for a »
- Jai Tiggett
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