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"A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence," winner of the Golden Lion at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and beloved by Darren Aronofsky and Alejandro González Iñárritu, has finally landed Us distribution. (Trailer below.) Master filmmaker Roy Andersson is Sweden's answer to Jacques Tati, a director who revels in arch, elaborate set pieces and thoughtfully choreographed absurdist comedy. "A Pigeon" rounds out a trilogy of films that started with "Songs from the Second Floor" and "You the Living." Here's the synopsis: "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" is comprised of darkly comic vignettes that are tied together through the misadventures of Sam and Jonathan, traveling salesmen peddling novelty items, in search of an a shop called “Party.” As they wander through the town, the scenarios that surround take the viewer on a trip that shows the beauty of single moments, the »
- Ryan Lattanzio
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
"Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season"
If you're not a fan of this sweetly silly animated series on the Cartoon Network, it's time you got acquainted with Finn and his canine pal Jake and their weird adventures in the Land of Ooo. Seriously, this is one of the coolest cartoons out there! Just ask Princess Bubblegum or adorable Marceline the Vampire Queen.
Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies is not your typical boarding school, but what would you expect from Ryan Murphy et al? Gabourey Sidibe, Emma Roberts, Taissa Farmiga, and Jamie Brewer play the newest arrivals at the Academy in New Orleans, led by the Academy's meek headmistress Cordelia Foxx. Jessica Lange appears as Fiona Goode, »
- Jenni Miller
Comprised of one dexterously choreographed set piece after another, "Playtime" is Jacques Tati's staggering, ambitious, hysterical and wondrous 1967 symphony of the city — and the most fun you'll have with Tati's Monsieur Hulot who, along with a gaggle of American tourists, finds himself lost in the crazy modern world of Paris. Well, the film will not only be seen newly restored this Fall in The Criterion Collection's The Complete Jacques Tati, on DVD and Blu-ray October 28, a 4K restoration of "Playtime" will also tour theaters. (The British Film Institute, for one, will host a Tati season in November.) Watch the 4K trailer below. Studio Canal will roll out "Playtime" in Europe in November. We should eventually expect to see this stateside, as we've seen restorations of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour" already this year. I was lucky enough to see "Playtime" in visually stunning 70mm a few years ago at the. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
"A hallucinatory comic vision." Love that quote. Whether or not you're familiar with Jacques Tati's films this is a must see trailer for a must see film. Tati's 1967 visual masterpiece Playtime was recently restored in 4K high definition (happening more and more often with classic films) and will be re-released this fall as part of BFI Southbank's Jacques Tati season in London. As explained by Empire: "intricate, incisive and inspirational, [Playtime is] a 70mm delight that was the much-loved director's most ambitious project, featuring a gigantic set built exactly to his instructions." You can read more about Playtime here. If the high def footage in this trailer is any indication, it's going to look magnificent on the big screen. Don't miss out. Here's the official 4K restoration trailer for Jacques Tati's Playtime, found on YouTube via Live for Films: Description from YouTube: Considered by many to be Jacques Tati's masterpiece, »
- Alex Billington
Criterion will be bringing The Complete Jacques Tati to DVD and Blu-ray on October 28, delivering Tati's six feature films -- Jour de fete, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, Mon oncle, PlayTime, Trafic and Parade -- as well as seven of his short films. Of that lot, PlayTime, the film many consider to be his masterpiece, has not only received a new 4K digital restoration, but it will be playing the BFI's Southbank as part of a wider Jacques Tati season in November. amz asin="B00LUSUWSQ" size="small"I reviewed the Criterion Blu-ray edition of PlayTime back in August 2009 and wrote of its plot: PlayTime follows Monsieur Hulot played by Tati himself as he makes his way from one setting to the next, but Hulot, this time, is not the main focus of attention. Instead, modern architecture is the theme as it dictates human behavior from straight lines in the film's early »
- Brad Brevet
If you’ve never seen Playtime, the movie that almost broke Jacques Tati, 2014 could be your year. A new seven-disc box set of Tati blu-rays hits the UK in July, and Criterion should have its own set for release soon in the Us. Along with the blu-rays comes a 4K restoration of Tati’s incredible film Playtime. I […]
- Russ Fischer
Directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick are notorious for the meticulous manner in which they constructed their films, shooting and reshooting to an incredible extent in order to get exactly what they wanted. But as demanding and thorough as they were, they pale in comparison to the precision of French filmmaker Jacques Tati. He only made a handful of films in his lifetime, with years separating each title as he tweaked and perfected them. His “Playtime,” is getting an official reissue, and there’s a new trailer to mark the occasion. Working from 1949 to 1974, Tati’s total feature output only consists of six movies—“Jour de Fete,” “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday,” “Mon Oncle,” “Trafic,” “Parade” and “Play Time.” Of these, many consider 1967’s “Playtime” to be his true masterpiece. After growing disillusioned with his signature Monsieur Hulot alter ego, nine years elapsed between this film and his previous effort, »
- Brent McKnight
We're mourning the loss of Peter von Bagh along with countless others in the world cinema community. Many are sharing past articles on or by von Bagh. Here's Jonathan Rosenbaum's piece on the man, and his extraordinary film Helsinki, Forever:
"We’ve met at various times in Paris, London, New York, Southern California, Chicago, Helsinki, Sodankylä, and Bologna — and probably in other places as well, although these are the ones I currently remember. The first times were in Paris in the early 1970s, when he looked me up, and it must have been either in San Diego in 1977 or 1978 or in Santa Barbara between 1983 and 1987 that he convinced me to buy a multiregional Vcr. Most likely it was the latter, where I was mainly bored out of my wits apart from my pastime of taping movies from cable TV, and Peter maintained that if we started swapping films through the mail, »
Exclusive: Event cinema specialist acquires classics distributor.
Event cinema specialist Arts Alliance has acquired Scottish-based classic film distributor Park Circus.
Park Circus, established in 2003, reps theatrical rights to more than 20,000 Us and international titles.
Arts Alliance’s event cinema output includes the Royal Opera House opera and ballet, theatre from Shakespeare’s Globe and a new series of original commissions focused on arts events, including the recent Matisse exhibition event from Tate Modern.
Next month it will distribute the anticipated One Direction – Where We Are concert into more than 3,000 screens worldwide.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
The good news: Jacques Tati's daring masterpiece PlayTime is being re-released on November 7 in the UK. The even better news: we have a brand-new poster to share with you in honour of this momentous occasion, and here it is for you below. Please accept 0 Empire points if you can spot Monsieur Hulot.Unloved on its initial release, now is the perfect time to rediscover the absurdity inherent in modern life, as seen through the eyes of both Monsieur Hulot and Monsieur Tati. Intricate, incisive and inspirational, it's a 70mm delight that was the much-loved director's most ambitious project, featuring a gigantic set built exactly to his instructions. Now it's been 4K-ified, in a way all the glass and concrete and joyful pratfalls have long demanded.The story, should you demand one, sees Monsieur Hulot taking on the tricky problems of finding and completing a job interview. A reimagined modernist »
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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (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
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