3 items from 2014
In its early going, the Marrakech Film Festival, founded in 2001, remained relatively distant from Morocco’s still-fragile domestic film industry.
But in the interim years, public funding for national films has increased tenfold; since mid-last-decade, Moroccan films have more than held their own at the domestic box office: In recent years, over half the top-10 films at the annual box office have been locally produced.
Morocco’s new filmmaking generation — including Nabil Ayouch, Leila Kilani, Narjiss Nejjar, Faouzi Bensaïdi and Nour-Eddine Lakhmari — have made the cut at prestigious film festivals. Ayouch’s latest, “Horses of God” was Morocco’s official foreign-language Oscar entry and received major backing from U.S. helmer Jonathan Demme.
As domestic films have grown in maturity, popularity and international appeal, the Marrakech Festival – one of the biggest cultural events in Africa and the Arab world – has also opened its doors to local films, including pics in Competition, »
- Martin Dale
The Gospel According to Pier: Ferrara Poetically Captures an Auteur’s Last Day on Earth
It appears that 2014 marks a resounding return for auteur Abel Ferrara, unleashing two new films comingled from actual noted events, both destined for diverse responses and uncompromising in their audacity. The first is, of course, the Strauss-Kahn film, Welcome to New York, which has already received a debilitated premiere after a botched release on the Cannes market (treated to an unwarranted, venomous response reeking of pretentious bias) and the Us distributor has come under direct fire from Ferrara for suggesting cuts—don’t listen to any of that drama and see it as soon as you’re able. The other title is Pasolini, reuniting Ferrara with Willem Dafoe to explore the last day in the life of the famed Italian auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini, who died on November 2, 1975, and whose murderer has never been found. »
- Nicholas Bell
But it’s doubtful whether he would have found much else to admire about “Pasolini,” Abel Ferrara’s confused collage of the poet-provocateur’s final days, despite Ferrara’s conceptually audacious intent to mirror the form of his unfinished, fragmented magnum opus, “Petrolio.” Even the stunt casting loses some of its sheen once the other actors open their mouths, since Ferrara surrounds Dafoe with a mostly Italian cast, relegating this fest-bait offering to ultra-niche status.
Though his influence on Hollywood was relatively negligible compared with that of his compatriots, Pier Paolo Pasolini remains the most important filmmaker Italy ever produced — a visionary who was only just beginning to test the boundaries of cinema when his life was brutally cut short. Debate still rages as to whether Pasolini, whose body was found crushed by the tires of his own car on a beach outside Rome in late 1975, was killed by a »
- Peter Debruge
3 items from 2014
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