1-20 of 46 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
I’ve written a lot about the German designer Hans Hillmann in these pages and elsewhere, and the current exhibition running through September 27 at the Kemistry Gallery is a must-see if you’re in London (there are some great images of the exhibit here if you’re not), but I only recently came across the work of a peer and compatriot of Hillmann’s, Karl Oskar Blase. Born the same year as Hillmann, on March 24, 1925, and now in his late 80s, Blase was, like Hillmann, a professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Art director of the German design magazine Form, Blase designed every cover of the magazine from 1957 to 1968. He is also renowned as a designer of stamps.
Throughout the 1960s Blase also designed film posters for the revival house Atlas Films (as did Hillmann). His posters are mostly a »
- Adrian Curry
Nathaniel's adventures at Tiff. Day 2
Day 2 was just magical from start to finish with 3 great movies and 1 solid one. Two of the films you've already read about here in Sweden's stellar Oscar submission Force Majeure and Norway's Out of Nature about one man hiking around in the wilderness on a long weekend. I like to think of the latter as Norway's counterpart to Reese Witherspoon in Wild - which I'll be seeing soon - though I doubt Reese takes her clothes off for a wank and runs around starkers. Day 2 was something of a vignette day since I will remember it primarily as the day I saw Mike Leigh twice and hid from the rain with him (long story - save it for the podcast!), the day I scarfed down melted cheese sandwiches with Nick & Joe in an highly unglamorous take-out setting, and a day of not one but 2 great movies composed of vignettes. »
- NATHANIEL R
Throughout the 71st Venice Film Festival, which wrapped on Friday, the expectation was that the Golden Lion for best film would go to Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” starring Michael Keaton. But the jury headed by Alexandre Desplat did the unexpected and gave the Lion to another bird with a lofty title, Swedish director Roy Andersson’s wildly funny “Pigeon On a Branch Reflecting On Experience.” “Birdman” received no awards. A series of painterly, often inter-connected tableaux showing “what it’s like to be a human,” “Pigeon” is both philosophical and absurd, suggesting comedic influences ranging from Monty Python to Jacques Tati to Larry David, though in accepting the award, a reportedly emotional Andersson named the Italian neo-realist Vittorio De Sica as his primary influence. Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky was awarded the Silver Lion for best director for his “The Postman’s White Nights, »
- Tom Christie
Familiar Tune: Andersson Completes Trilogy With Enjoyable, Familiar Chapter
Prolific Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson tends to work infrequently, taking years, if not decades, between film projects. His loosely connected trilogy about human existence began with the 2001 film, Songs From the Second Floor and continued in 2007 with You, the Living. Now, he’s completed the triptych with A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, which is said to have been influenced by Dostoevsky. Pitch black humor abounds, as her the glib auteur’s usual modus operandi, though his latest doesn’t strike the same insistent bleakness as the trilogy’s initial chapter (if anything, watching these titles in reverse order seems more provocative). As dark comedy flows freely into nightmarish indictment of both humanity’s historical and modern lack of empathy for all creatures great and small, Andersson’s finger wagging veers strangely into preachy approximations at several points. »
- Nicholas Bell
Clichés and readymade expressions are ambushes on all sides. What can written language be when you cannot set yourself free from the heavy repertoire of images, comparisons and metaphors all languages make weigh upon you? How can one become a poet? Rémi just turned 18 and made a post-graduation decision. He wants to become a poet. In Sète, a harbour in the south west of France, famous for its cemetery where lies great French poet Paul Valéry, Rémi wanders with his notebook and a pen, looking for inspiration. "I have to write,"he says to himself. Where is inspiration to be found? Rémi tries the shopping list of the "sources of inspiration": wandering in nature, exploring nighttime, meditating upon the sea, picking words casually in vocabularies, having contacts with interesting fellow humans, and drinking. Vodka being an equally lethal substitute to Verlaine's absinthe.
In one tableau-like scene after another, Rémi »
- Marie-Pierre Duhamel
In a Venice Film Festival lineup full of cynicism, suicide and despair, who would expect the new Roy Andersson picture — “the final part of a trilogy on being a human being” — to be the most life-affirming? And yet, from its comic title to the wistful smile that accompanies its over-too-soon last shot, , perched at a comfortable enough distance from this coterie of sad sacks and lonelyhearts to recognize the humor in such painful subjects as mortality, aging, unpaid debts and unrequited love.
Just last year, Ethan Hawke was quoted as referring to “Before Sunrise” and its two sequels as “the lowest-grossing trilogy in the history of motion pictures.” But even he probably hasn’t bought tickets to Andersson’s incomparable triptych — rapturously received by critics, though audiences have proven all but allergic to the first two films, which have cleared barely $100,000 so far in the U.S. The result of »
- Peter Debruge
French director Sylvain Chomet has an incredible four Academy Award nominations to his name, renowned for his distinguishable, ingenious animations such as The Triplets of Belleville, and The Illusionist. He now returns with his very first live action feature with Attila Marcel, remaining faithful to his own brand, bringing that sense of enchantment and striking, vibrant visual experience to the viewer, as you feel that every single object, or colour implemented, has been done so meticulously, for a certain, desired effect.
Another similarity comes in the form of a silent protagonist, which had served Chomet’s preceding endeavour so well. This time the character is Paul (Guillaume Gouix), a piano virtuoso, who has never once spoken a word following the untimely, mysterious death of his parents when he was just a toddler. Now, living with his two eccentric aunts, he becomes spiritually entwined with his next door neighbour Madame Proust (Anne Le Ny), who, »
- Stefan Pape
Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
Touring festival to show Cannes titles and spotlight Resnais, Truffaut and Tati.
The touring French Film Festival UK (Nov 5 – Dec 4) will host Cannes titles including Mathieu Amalric’s The Blue Room (La Chambre Bleue), Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D trip Goodbye to Language (Adieu Au Langage), and Camera d’Or winner Party Girl, directed by Marie Amachoukeli.
The festival, which travels to cities between Inverness and London, will open with Belgian director Lucas Belvaux’s Not My Type (Pas mon genre), the cultural and social divide romantic comedy with Emilie Dequenne and Loïc Corbery.
There will be tributes to the late Alain Resnais, with screenings of a restored copy of his first feature Hiroshima Mon Amour and the director’s last film Life of Riley, as well as films from François Truffaut and Jacques Tati.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
After a new print screened at the 2014 City of Lights City of Angels Festival earlier this spring, Cohen Media Group has released a digitally remastered Blu-ray of Otar Iosseliani’s 1984 classic yet elusive title, Favorites of the Moon. Awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 41st Venice International Film Festival, the film, along with most of the Georgian filmmaker’s titles, have long been unavailable to U.S. audiences, a shame considering his prolific stature and important body of work that subversively undermines frameworks within the dominant culture he’s navigating as an exiled dissident.
Taking its title from Shakespeare’s Henry IV describing thieves, “Diana’s foresters, gentlemen of the shade, favorites of the moon,” Iosseliani expounds on the same motif, casting all of humanity in the shade of the moon, a symbol of disorder, chaos and unrest. In essence, the plot is a roundelay, utilizing a set of »
- Nicholas Bell
The Guardian has exclusively debuted a rare early short from comedy maestro Jacques Tati, 1947's "The School for Postmen." As usual, the French auteur writes, directs and stars in this witty 16-minute film brimming with the kind of subtly orchestrated slapstick that would come to define his career, from "M. Hulot's Holiday" to "Playtime." "School for Postmen," which is the precursor to Tati's 1949 debut feature "Jour du Fete," can also be seen in glorious Blu-ray on Criterion's heaven-sent Tati box set, which hits shelves October 28. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
I recently stumbled across the work of Tony Stella, an Italian illustrator who works in Milan and Berlin. Stella’s gorgeous designs, many of which were created as one-off posters for a Berlin cinema club in the 90s, reimagine the art-house cinema of the 50s and 60s with a rare lightness of touch. His poster for The 400 Blows is the only one I’ve seen that captures Antoine Doinel’s joie de vivre. I especially love his designs for Jacques Tati’s films, and he has also done superb posters for Tarkovsky and Jodorowsky, Shindo and Shinoda, Fellini and Fuller, and many more. And it’s not all canonical art-house classics, he also tackles contemporary works, like his striking design for the documentary 5 Broken Cameras.
Stella’s illustrative style—his seemingly effortless pen and ink sketches, his washes of watercolor and his brush-stroke lettering—harks back to an earlier age. »
- Adrian Curry
Watch the digital premiere of the French master comedian's 1947 short The School for Postmen (aka L'Ecole des Facteurs). Containing many of the same jokes and gags as Tati's debut feature Jour de Fête (which was released two years later) it features Tati as a lugubrious mailman undergoing training to improve the efficiency of the French postal service. The School for Postmen distils Tati's genius in embryonic form, and is available as part of The Essential Jacques Tati Collection on Blu-ray Continue reading »
- Guardian film
Written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami
To say that Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us is an unhurried film would be quite the understatement. This deliberately crafted and contemplative work, one of the great Iranian director’s finest films, moves at the pace of life. Not life as in the hustle and bustle or stolid banality of one’s everyday experiences, but life as in the gradual evolution of humankind’s basic existence. Reflecting the lives of those who inhabit the rural Kurdish village that serves as the film’s setting, The Wind Will Carry Us unfolds slowly and episodically, with its drama, or lack thereof, coming and going at a capricious moment’s notice.
Kiarostami begins the film as we follow a car driven by disembodied voices that bicker about directions and banter about the countryside. They drive and drive, along winding roads, »
- Jeremy Carr
In a Word: Pulchritude
Buried in Cannes’ most unassuming and roundly ignored sidebar, Acid (an acronym for what translates to “The Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema”), Ramon Zürcher’s Berlin-preemed debut The Strange Little Cat was among the most assured, original, and moving films to screen on the Croisette’s 2013 batch, a feat all the more remarkable in that the picture was made by a film student. The project is bound to carry some intrigue for anyone aware of the fact that the idea for the film originated from a seminar session conducted by Béla Tarr, yet the story behind that will have to be reserved for the film’s Q&A sessions, as the decidedly un-Tarr-esque film feels nothing like the Hungarian master’s cinema – nor that of pretty much anyone else.
Contained almost entirely in the domain of a cramped German apartment, the film could be »
- Blake Williams
Ramon Zürcher's ode to tension and release squeezes Jacques Tati-style preoccupations into the space of a tiny apartment. Compression and strain moves the one character apparently unbothered by any of it: the eponymous cat, an orange tabby who sleeps, paws and purrs his way around the domestic grind. In a way Ramon Zürcher positions the cat as the central figure of the film—not only the one which connects the others and stands outside their drama but also, in an important sense, the one whose perspective we’re encouraged to adopt. The Strange Little Cat has been described as the world seen through feline eyes, and that seems as good as description of what’s going on here as any: it accounts for how utterly strange even the most ordinary household objects and actions suddenly appear. Our rituals and social contracts are incomprehensible to our cats, who doubtless »
Written and directed by Jacques Demy
Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort is the Oscar-nominated follow-up to his immensely popular and successful The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), which with all of its dialogue sung was something of a reinvention of the movie musical, an almost experiential musical. Young Girls, on the other hand, is simply a great musical. To be sure, Umbrellas is an excellent film as well (see my take on it here), but while it surely resonates with its tale of love unhappily ever after, and it radiates in attractive Eastmancolor, it’s in some ways hampered by its own novelty. There is of course more to it than merely the fact that everyone sings everything, but to many it’s probably best known as the movie where everyone sings everything. Young Girls is more traditional in that it has dialogue »
- Jeremy Carr
In today's roundup of news and views, Grady Hendrix writes up a terrific appreciation of Kinji Fukasaku; Film Comment's pulled up from its archives remembrances of Luis Buñuel by Michel Piccoli, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Bulle Ogier and Franco Nero; Chris Marker is remembered on his birthday; in 1962, Studs Terkel interviewed Jacques Tati; Thom Andersen writes about Francesco Vezzoli; Nina Menkes reports on this year's Jerusalem Film Festival; Matt Zoller Seitz remembers James Shigeta; and more. » - David Hudson »
★★★★★Comprised of all six of the director's small but remarkable directorial output, The Essential Jacques Tati Collection is a lovingly crafted celebration of one of France's most beloved filmmakers, offering a timely reminder of just how influential he both was and continues to be. Perhaps more renowned for his cinematic, socially inept alter ego Monsieur Hulot - who he played to wide and memorable acclaim in four of his features, Tati was a particularly skilled filmmaker when it came to his deft mixing of perfectly choreographed physical comedy and themes regarding a Western fixation with consumerism and materialism, social class struggles and the (then) unsteady environment of modern society.
- CineVue UK
Just prior to its one week stint over at the FilmLinc in August, TheWrap reports that Fandor have put The Strange Little Cat in their sandbox. Ramon Zürcher’s dramedy has been a favorite of ours on the site — will receive a day & date release on August 1st.
Gist: Siblings Karin and Simon return home to visit their parents and younger sister and to help prepare dinner for their extended family. Events unfold leisurely, but with plenty of underlying and unstated tensions inevitable in a flat overstuffed with a mother, father, children, grandmother and cat. The eponymous ginger feline offers consolation and possibly the film’s point of view.
Worth Noting: The little 72 minute film that could moved from the Berlin Film Fest in 2013 to the Acid section in Cannes, then Tiff, AFI Film Fest and New Directors/New Films in 2014.
Do We Care?: Our Blake Williams found some »
- Eric Lavallee
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