7 items from 2013
The pope depicts art as an enterprise as important as prayer. Does he see the church – or himself – reflected in his top picks?
The wide-ranging and audacious interview given by Pope Francis to 16 Jesuit journals worldwide is already making waves for its frank talk about social issues and its argument that the church should be a "home for all". But Francis's big interview has another important component: it features extensive discussion of culture, as it figures in Francis's own life and as a portal into Christian thought.
The first Jesuit pope turns out to be a voracious cultural aficionado – "a Jesuit must be creative," Francis says at one point – but do his literary and artistic inclinations reveal anything about his religious orientation? Well, there's no overarching link among the many cultural touchstones – art, music, literature, cinema – that Francis drawn on in the interview. That pluralism is in itself a statement, »
- Jason Farago
A weird yet welcome sideshow oddity on the stage of international art cinema, “Sadourni’s Butterflies” blends black-and-white lensing, a lovestruck circus dwarf and Jorge Luis Borges’ literary influence into an attraction nonpareil among celluloid storytellers. Nearly a dozen years in the making, Argentine director Dario Nardi’s visual-driven, not-quite-silent feature debut most closely resembles the work of Guy Madden, tipping its hat to the ghosts of German expressionism even as it forges a path all its own. Though certain frames prove unforgettable, the logic required to make sense of them in sequence too easily eludes, ultimately pegging the pic for niche appreciation.
For those confused by the film’s title, Sadourni is the name of a dwarf (Cristian Medrano) obsessed with transforming himself, a trait he shares with nearly all the characters with whom he interacts. He wants to be taller, naturally, after having been cuckolded in his previous »
- Peter Debruge
It says a lot about Philip French that after 50 years as the Observer's film critic – five decades in which he has watched more than 2,500 movies, written six books on the subject and received an OBE for his services to film – he is nervous enough about this interview to have researched his answers in advance.
When I arrive at his house in Tufnell Park, north London, I find French poring over a thick reference book at the kitchen table. A cup of coffee is left to cool as he thumbs through the relevant footnotes, anxious to get the facts absolutely right. He will turn 80 in a couple of weeks and says that he occasionally struggles to remember names of directors or actors. »
- Elizabeth Day
Author credits Star Trek, 'over-active imagination' as a child and science fiction as springs for bestselling book
Pulitzer prize-winning author Junot Díaz has laid bare the inspirations behind parts of his celebrated 2008 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in a series of annotations to the text posted on a social media site that lets rap, rock and poetry fans share their passions.
The site, Rapgenius.com, taps into fans' enduring thirst for knowledge about the inspirations of their creative heroes, and enables users to post song lyrics, poems or passages of prose and to "collaboratively annotate" them.
Díaz's prize-winning novel follows the life of Oscar de León, a boy growing up as a Dominican immigrant in New Jersey who is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels, and is also falling in love. Diaz took to Rapgenius.com to share the backstory to one of the book's footnotes, »
- Liz Bury
Madrid — “Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box,” “A Gun in Each Hand” and “Inevitable” proved standouts at this week’s Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings, Spain’s biggest annual film market for Spanish films whose industry announcements this year confirmed an ongoing revolution in the way films are getting made in the still crisis-wracked country.
A Victorian-England young-teen fantasy adventure co-produced by the U.K.’s Entertainment Motion Pics and Spain’s Arcadia Motion Pics, “Mariah Mundi” was by far the biggest of titles screening at Madrid de Cine in budget and cast, lead by Michael Sheen (“Midnight in Paris”), Sam Neill (“The Tudors”) and Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”).
Most of the world was pre-sold on “Mariah,” with a U.S. sale now in the offing, Dreamcatchers’ partner Marina Fuentes told Variety.
Produced by Marta Esteban’s Impossible Films, sold by The Match Factory and a breakout art-house hit in Spain, »
- John Hopewell and Emiliano De Pablos
Madrid — Santiago Palavecino, one of the leading young lights of Argentina’s building auteur genre scene, is prepping romantic psychological thriller “Hijo unico” (Only Child), his follow-up to “Some Girls,” which was well received last week at the Cannes festival’s first ever pix-in-post showcase, Bal Goes To Cannes.
Written by Palavecino and “Some Girls’” producer Fernando Manero, “Child” turns on a film director who suffers a writer’s block until he meets a foreign woman and, inspired, makes one of his best films ever.
They marry, have a child, who, years later, begins to behave strangely, or so his mother thinks, repeating events from the film or from the director’s hidden past.
Palavecino, Manero and Agustina Costa, both producers on “Girls,” will produce “Child.” It will be set on the Pampa, the vast plains outside Buenos Aires, where they meet the sea.
The writers will finish a treatment by late July. »
- John Hopewell
For a writer who specialises in drawing inspiration from the details of real life – who employs the known facts of recent history, utilises sharp biographical research, and explores the machinations of complex, identifiable institutions as source material – Aaron Sorkin somehow manages to write truly beautiful dreams.
In The West WingSorkin presented an image of a sitting American administration filled with honourable, hardworking, ferociously intelligent people, all fuelled by a longing to leave the future world a better place than the one into which they were elected. His fictional government was overstuffed – on both sides of the partisan divide – with people who faithfully believed in serving their constituents to the best of their ability; people who used integrity, compromise, and reasoned debate as the cornerstones of their decision making process. In The Social Network, a screenplay for which he won an academy award, he made even the most emotionally stunted and »
7 items from 2013
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