Thelma Schoonmaker interview: editing Silence, Scorsese, Michael Powell

Ryan Lambie Dec 23, 2016

Editor Thelma Schoonmaker talks to us about Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, taking risks in filmmaking and lots more...

Name a great Scorsese movie, and it’ll almost certainly have been edited by Thelma Schoonmaker. From 1980 onwards, the pair have been inseparable, with Schoonmaker cutting such classics as Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, After Hours, Goodfellas, Casino and Gangs Of New York. Scorsese’s latest film is Silence, a powerful, heartfelt period piece about the limits of faith. Starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as a pair of Jesuit priests who witness the torture and execution of Christians in 17th century Japan, the movie is a stark tonal contrast to The Wolf Of Wall Street, Scorsese’s wilfully gaudy, giddy account of drug-addled millionaire corporate crook Jordan Belfort.

See related John Carney interview: Sing Street, X-Men, Hitchcock & more Den Of Geek films of the year:
See full article at Den of Geek »

Scott Reviews Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera and Other Works [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray]

These were only meant to be seen once. These explosive, unwieldy, nearly unprecedented and almost peerless essay films, densely packed with images so resonant they have been studied for nearly one hundred years, were only meant to be seen once. This observation comes from Adrian Martin on the excellent commentary track accompanying Man with a Movie Camera (1929), easily Dziga Vertov’s most important film. The other four films on the set were produced contemporaneously – Kino-Eye in 1924, Kino-Pravda #21 in 1925, Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass in 1931, and Three Songs About Lenin in 1934. The latter two are sound films. The silent films – Movie Camera, Kino-Eye, and Kino-Pravda #21 feature musical accompaniment, none more accomplished than Alloy Orchestra’s landmark work.

For viewers in my generation, and I would imagine for a great many older than I, Alloy Orchestra’s score for Man with a Movie Camera is as important a component to the film as anything else.
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Criterion Collection: The French Lieutenant’s Woman | Blu-ray Review

In the decades since its premiere, The French Lieutenant’s Woman is now most commonly discussed for its placement in the extensive awards resume of its star Meryl Streep, since it was her follow-up to her Best Supporting Actress win for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer and would serve as netting her first nomination in a leading category (it’s also interesting to note Streep won the Golden Globe but ultimately, perhaps ironically, lost to Katharine Hepburn, the iconic performer who previously held the most nominations record). But at the time of its release, the final product was the result of a decade long ordeal, seeing many auteurs, actors, and screenwriters attempting to adapt the notoriously ‘unfilmable’ 1969 novel by John Fowles, an experiment in form termed “post-modern historical fiction.” Directed by Karel Reisz, the Czech-born British auteur a British New Wave progenitor of the realist strain of filmmaking, it remains one of his most prolific works.
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The Criterion Collection announces August line-up

The Criterion Collection has announced its new line-up for August, with some more classic films being added to the collection. On August 4th Jules Dassin’s Night and the City is released, followed on August 11th by Karel Reisz’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman starring Meryl Streep, and on August 18th Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill starring Michael Caine and François Truffaut’s Day for Night. Finally on August 25th the Dardenne Brothers superb Two Days, One Night starring Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard.

You can check out the full press release details below, as well as the artwork for each release.

Night and the City

Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler. But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances,
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New on Video: ‘The River’

The River

Written by Rumer Godden and Jean Renoir

Directed by Jean Renoir

France/India/USA, 1951

As the camera looks down upon an ornamental design created from rice powder and water, the narrator (voiced by June Hillman), who speaks throughout the film, welcomes us to the world of The River. This is Bengal, “where the story really happened,” and this is Harriet speaking, reflecting back on her life at a very confusing and significant time. For all intents and purposes, The River is primarily her story. And in this, the film is an intimately personal cinematic memoir. But The River is also something else. In its depiction of the “river people” who inhabit this region of India, the film also takes on an ethnographic appeal, capturing the “flavor” of the setting and its inhabitants.

Guiding this journey is the great French director Jean Renoir, fresh off a tumultuous sojourn in Hollywood,
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The Criterion Collection announces April releases

Criterion has announced five titles for Blu-ray release in April, which are sure to get film lovers on both sides of the pond excited.

On April 14th, it will release Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels (1941) and Carol ReedOdd Man Out (1947).

On April 21, it will release Jean Renoir’s The River (1951). And on April 28th, it will release Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le silence de la mer (1949) and Peter YatesThe Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973).

All details of each release, as well as the artworks are below, and all available to pre-order over at

Sullivan’s Travels

Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Branagh, Amini among Guiding Lights mentors

  • ScreenDaily
Branagh, Amini among Guiding Lights mentors
UK mentor scheme received seventeen applications for each place.

Actor-director Kenneth Branagh and writer-director Hossein Amini are among mentors for training programme Guiding Lights, run by Brighton-based cultural agency Lighthouse.

The 15 mentees include directors, writers, producers and, for the first time, exhibitors, as a result of a new partnership with Film Hub South East, part of the BFI Film Audience Network.

They will receive nine months of personal mentoring.

This year there were seventeen applications for each place on the scheme, which requires candidates to demonstrate experience in their field and their potential for the future.

The scheme began in 2006 and is sponsored by Creative Skillset and Studiocanal. Previous years’ mentors include Danny Boyle, Abi Morgan, Lone Scherfig and Julian Fellowes.

Kevin Macdonald, director of The Last King of Scotland, is taking part for the third time this year. He said: “What I really love about [Guiding Lights] is that I learn as much – maybe more – from the mentee
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Letters: Powell, Pressburger and the 'failure' that was A Canterbury Tale

Xan Brooks's account of his emotional engagement with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (A pilgrim's progress, Review, 10 August) captures beautifully what many feel about this evocative film. Unfortunately, he plays down two important elements that make the film what it is. Most important is the contribution of Pressburger, who was much more than Powell's "regular collaborator", but a full partner in all departments except directing on this and 16 other features.

Having organised the first full retrospective of their work for the BFI, I can testify that they considered the film a "failure", but were gratified when the BBC's restoration of the truncated original premiered to acclaim at the Nft in 1978. Emeric later introduced the film at MoMA in New York and spoke about trying to create the conditions for "magic" to happen on screen – his contribution shouldn't be downgraded. The other vital ingredient was the non-professional Sgt John Sweet,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Criterion Collection: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp | Blu-ray Review

Before the legendary British filmmaking duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger lensed the classics The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus or A Matter of Life & Death, they raised quite a stir with their life long tale of an aging army officer, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The directors were working as hired guns on British war propaganda films in the midst of World War II when they started work on the picture. Featuring the well-known British cartoon icon created by David Low, Colonel Blimp was a satirical symbol of low brow soldiery and politics of the time, and when Powell and Pressburger decided to recast the character as Clive Candy, placed by the amorphous Roger Livesey, and have him befriend a German soldier, a sworn enemy of the state at the time, British officials, including Winston Churchill himself, were outraged and tried desperately to dissuade the film’s completion.
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The Terry Gilliam Retrospective Part 5: Breaking the Rules

Paul Risker continues his Terry Gilliam retrospective....

Close to a quarter of a century on, the Munchausen disaster still echoes as one of film’s great fiascos. It would forever taint the reputation of Terry Gilliam, though it was Gilliam himself who revealed years later to Ian Christie that any suggestion of a reputation came as quite the surprise. The sins of this filmmaker however would be revisited upon the film, the reputation of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen forever tainted in the cinema’s social consciousness.

Compared to the conclusion of the ‘Battle of Brazil’ the Munchausen experience was a decidedly different conclusion for Gilliam. The maxim “winning the battle; losing the war” is perhaps the most fitting choice of words to apply to Gilliam’s career when reflecting upon the back-to-back fiascos of the years 1985-1988.

The Gilliam who emerged from the Munchausen disaster was a defeated filmmaker,
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The Man in the White Suit

(Alexander Mackendrick, 1951, Studiocanal, U)

Last September marked the centenary of the birth of Alexander Mackendrick (1912-93). Born in the States, raised in Scotland, he was, with Richard Hamer, one of the two truly great products of Ealing Studios. Their output was small (each made made five movies under Michael Balcon's aegis), but distinguished and distinctive and always digging beneath Ealing's cosy Little England ethos. Oscar-nominated for its screenplay (by Mackendrick, his brother-in-law the playwright Roger MacDougall and John Dighton, Hamer's collaborator on Kind Hearts and Coronets), The Man in the White Suit is arguably Mackendrick's most trenchant comedy.

It stars Alec Guinness as Sidney Stratton, a dreamily eccentric inventor who develops an artificial fibre that's indestructible and resistant to dirt. Apparently a boon to humanity, this fabric spreads alarm in a Lancashire mill town whose prosperity the invention threatens. Management and workers unite against the starry-eyed idealist Stratton, who
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Turning The Page: Framing Film by Steven Allen and Laura Hubner

Assembling a series of essays from various writers co-editors Steven Allen and Laura Hubner put forth the argument that movies are a visual art like painting, graphic design and photography.  The introduction for Framing Film: Cinema and the Visual Arts published by Intellect Books states, "This book charts the intricate and diverse intersections between cinema and the visual arts and considers the cinematic experience as a discourse with adjacent art forms and graphic designs."

Included among the four parts labelled, Intertextual Relays of Art and Design, Movement and Stasis, Paintings, Artists and Film and Evocative Frames are still images as well as writings that talk about a diverse selection of topics.  The opening piece Crafting Worlds: The Changing Role of the Production Designer by Ian Christie explores the origins and the evolution of the cinematic profession responsible for building and manipulating already existing physical structures to suit the artistic needs of the filmmaker.
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The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock at the BFI: 10 of his lesser-known gems

Everyone knows the classic Hitchcocks: Psycho, The Birds, The Lady Vanishes. But the summer-long retrospective also includes wonderful films you may not have heard much about; here's 10 often-overlooked Hitchcocks you won't want to miss

Born in Leytonstone, east London, but destined to be the toast of Hollywood, Alfred Hitchcock learned the business of film-making in London, not La. The business at that time was silent cinema, and the young Hitchcock had a full apprenticeship.

He spent years at Gainsborough Pictures in Islington, north London (or Famous Players-Lasky as it was when he arrived) crafting caption cards, editing scripts and designing sets before he was given the chance to direct his own films. His early features are far more accomplished, and more personal, than many a director's debut. And if you're familiar with his famous sound movies, you'll find much in them that prefigures his most celebrated suspense-filled sequences.

The British
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Il Cinema Ritrovato 2012 #2

The problem with writing daily updates for a film festival such as Il Cinema Ritrovato is that you never find time to do it! The screenings start from 9 in the morning and continue ceaselessly till the evening, and then you can go for the outdoor projection which starts at 10 pm, and if it is something like the restored version of Roman Polanski's Tess, then the end of screening would be on the following day.

To begin, let’s start with a cinephile, rather than the films: Olaf Möller is a hard-to-miss cinephile who dresses in black (but his beard distinguished him from Johnny Cash), and when he talks about Mosfilm director, Ivan Pyr’ev whose retrospective Möller curated, it looks as if he discovered Solomon's mines. Olaf’s aim is to go beyond the officially acknowledged names in the Soviet Union cinema. In the technical mastery of Pyr’ev,
See full article at MUBI »

Letters: Cameramen framed

Charlie Brooker is certainly right that we remember eras in cinematic style (What is the difference between The Hobbit and the news? Not as much as there should be, G2, 30 April), and he could even push this back to the frozen monochrome of Victorian photography. But why does he have to spoil it by blaming the hand-cranked cameras of the 1920s for speeded-up footage from that period? Many cameras – though not all – were hand-cranked, and deliberately at different rates, and what they filmed was shown at different speeds too, until the talkies imposed a standard projection rate of 24 frames per second. When we see speeded-up footage today, this is because whoever transferred it couldn't be bothered to adjust the transfer rate – or thought it looked quaint not to. And when Brooker evokes "lush Eastmancolor", I suspect he means late Technicolor, which was certainly lush compared with its cheaper replacement that
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Five things we learned from the British silent film festival

Funny faces to lost gems, war horses to strange censorship, silent film is a wondrous way to immerse oneself in history

A trip to the British silent film festival is a unique opportunity to wallow in some unfamiliar waters. Four days immersed in silent cinema is time spent in the company of many films that have been forgotten or misremembered, films that have only been seen before by archivists and researchers, and that may never get a public airing again. Some of these films are great, but even those that aren't are fascinating, as cinema history, and as a glimpse of what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago.

1. "They didn't need dialogue, they had faces"

We're all familiar with Gloria Swanson's famous line in Sunset Boulevard, but she was talking about the blandly beautiful people of Hollywood. The faces of British silent cinema may not be attached to famous names,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Daily Briefing. Pasolini's "Gospel"

  • MUBI
"In 1962 Pier Paolo Pasolini received a suspended sentence for his allegedly blasphemous contribution to the portmanteau film Rogopag, a brilliant sketch satirizing biblical movies," writes Philip French in his brief review of the new Masters of Cinema release of The Gospel According to St Matthew in today's Observer. "Two years later the gay, Marxist atheist showed the world how a life of Christ should be made, and it is a magnificent achievement, far superior to Scorsese's or Gibson's films."

David Jenkins in Little White Lies: "Essentially a 'straight' retelling of the life of Christ (who is played with fervent intensity by Enrique Irazoqui), which, on its surface, seldom editorializes or strays towards controversy, the film was fully embraced by the religious community to the extent that a colorized version was made to capitalize on the Bible belt buck. General familiarity of with the text makes this one of Pasolini's most easily approachable films,
See full article at MUBI »

Nicol Williamson obituary

Actor whose unpredictability never undermined his electrifying talent

Nicol Williamson, whose death of oesophageal cancer at the age of 73 has been announced, was arguably the most electrifying actor of his generation, but one whose career flickered and faded like a faulty light fitting. Tall and wiry, with a rasping scowl of a voice, a battered baby face and a mop of unruly curls, he was the best modern Hamlet since John Gielgud, and certainly the angriest, though he scuppered his own performance at the Round House, north London, in 1969, by apologising to the audience and walking off the stage. The experience was recycled in a 1991 Broadway comedy called I Hate Hamlet, in which he proved his point and fell out badly with his co-star.

Williamson's greatest performance was as the dissolute and disintegrating lawyer Bill Maitland in John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence at the Royal Court theatre in 1964. It was
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Nicol Williamson obituary

Actor whose unpredictability never undermined his electrifying talent

Nicol Williamson, whose death of oesophageal cancer at the age of 73 has been announced, was arguably the most electrifying actor of his generation, but one whose career flickered and faded like a faulty light fitting. Tall and wiry, with a rasping scowl of a voice, a battered baby face and a mop of unruly curls, he was the best modern Hamlet since John Gielgud, and certainly the angriest, though he scuppered his own performance at the Round House, north London, in 1969, by apologising to the audience and walking off the stage. The experience was recycled in a 1991 Broadway comedy called I Hate Hamlet, in which he proved his point and fell out badly with his co-star.

Williamson's greatest performance was as the dissolute and disintegrating lawyer Bill Maitland in John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence at the Royal Court theatre in 1964. It was
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: David Lean Directs Noël Coward

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: March 27, 2012

Price: DVD $79.95, Blu-ray $99.95

Studio: Criterion

Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson embark on a Brief Encounter.

In the 1940s, playwright Noël Coward (Design for Living) and filmmaker David Lean (Doctor Zhivago) worked together in one of cinema’s greatest writer-director collaborations, celebrated in the four-film Blu-ray and DVD collection David Lean Directs Noël Coward.

Beginning with the 1942 wartime military drama movie In Which We Serve, Coward and Lean embarked on a series of literate, socially engaged and undeniably entertaining movies that ranged from domestic epic (This Happy Breed) to whimsical comedy (Blithe Spirit) to poignant romance (Brief Encounter).

Here’s a brief run-down on each of the classic British films in the David Lean Directs Noël Coward DVD and Blu-ray collection, all of which created a lasting testament to Coward’s legacy and introduced Lean’s talents to the world:

In Which We Serve (1942)

This action
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