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With the end of the Telluride Film Festival, we’ve received our first sneak peak at some of the movies bound to keep generating buzz throughout this year’s awards season. Although the Venice Film Festival takes place on a much larger scale at the same time, the more intimate Telluride setting provides a focused window into a handful of new films that arrive there expectations.
And this year, no film benefited from that boost more than Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” which easily topped IndieWire’s survey of favorite films from critics and journalists attending this year’s gathering. The longtime Telluride staffer’s second feature (following 2008’s “Medicine For Melancholy”) was produced by A24 and Plan B, which gave the movie strong momentum that reached fruition as soon as the film screened to great acclaim. Among the 17 critics and reporters who voted in this year’s poll, eight singled out »
- Eric Kohn
Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” has landed on the Lido as the 73rd Venice Film Festival is officially underway. The film has dazzled critics and made an undeniable splash as an awards season prospect, creatively dabbling in the musical genre to tell a story of dreamers dreaming and the electricity that comes from chasing what makes you happy.
The DNA of those thematic strokes can be found in the original songs crafted for the film, six in all, which carry the viewer through the journey of jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone). The film’s composer, Justin Hurwitz, spoke exclusively to Variety about the process as he and Chazelle sought to turn something traditional and classic on its ear.
Light spoilers follow…
- Kristopher Tapley
The first time I heard the name Damien Chazelle, it was at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker Jason Reitman was there as the producer of an under-the-radar short film called “Whiplash,” starring J.K. Simmons as a gnarly band instructor. “This kid is talented,” Reitman said of the film’s young director. I blew it off.
A year later, the feature version of “Whiplash” exploded out of Sundance and then everyone knew the name Damien Chazelle. By the time the awards season rolled around, his tight little potboiler about a battle of wills between a drummer and his instructor was a Cinderella possibility in the Oscar race. But no one expected it to walk away with three Academy Awards until it did exactly that.
- Kristopher Tapley
Coming off the promise of the Oscar-winning Whiplash, it will be no surprise that writer-director Damien Chazelle is a talented filmmaker, but that movie did not prepare me for the experience of seeing La La Land, his homage to the great screen musicals of French director Jacques Demy as well as MGM’s golden era. But this is too smart a movie maker to just do a simple tribute to a bygone era. His film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is a gorgeous romantic fever dream… »
It’s been decades since a studio produced the kind of colorful musical fantasy that “La La Land” so affectionately salutes, but writer-director Damien Chazelle is the guy for the job. Before his breakout drama “Whiplash,” Chazelle made the 2009 microbudget “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” a gentle, scrappy, song-and-dance tale of an aspiring jazz trumpeter and the woman who falls for him. That movie now looks like the dry run for this grander spectacle, his third feature — another story about singing, dancing lovers struggling with modern concerns. Carved from the legacies of Vincente Minnelli, Jacques Demy, and so many others, “La La Land” is magically in tune with its reference points even as falls a few notes short of their greatness.
No matter how obvious its antecedents, “La La Land” makes it clear that this film is a serious upgrade. As the opening black-and-white Cinemascope screen opens up to glorious color, »
- Eric Kohn
There was a moment back in the 1970s, sometime before “Grease” came out, when the image of people bursting into song and dance in the middle of a motion picture wasn’t simply corny and antiquated; it had come to seem downright strange. Not any more. Our era is immersed in retro musical culture, and it has been for a while — from the visionary postmodern pop swoon of “Moulin Rouge!” to the online resurgence of music video to the high-camp a cappella sincerity of “Glee” and the “Pitch Perfect” films. So what does it take to make a musical today look unabashedly exotic?
Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” which opened the Venice Film Festival on a voluptuous high note of retro glamour and style, is the most audacious big-screen musical in a long time, and — irony of ironies — that’s because it’s the most traditional. In his splashy, »
- Owen Gleiberman
Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Brokeback Mountain - The Ice Storm - Eat Drink Man Woman and Lust, Caution producer, James Schamus, becomes a director to take on Philip Roth's Indignation, starring Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon with Linda Emond and Danny Burstein (Justin Bateman's The Family Fang), Ben Rosenfield and Pico Alexander (Jc Chandor's A Most Violent Year), Noah Robbins, Philip Ettinger, and August: Osage County playwright Tracy Letts.
Lyrics to Jay Wadley's Is It Love, sung by Jane Monheit, Jacques Demy's Umbrellas Of Cherbourg wallpaper, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and a Caspar David Friedrich image appeared in my conversation with James Schamus.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Imagine if Gaspar Noé and (the late) Andrzej Zulawski collaborated on a remake of “The Little Mermaid” and you’ll have a faint idea of what to expect from Agnieszka Smoczynska’s “The Lure,” a wonderfully demented new musical that bridges the gap between Hans Christian Andersen and Nine Inch Nails.
The fun begins in Communist-era Poland, where a mopey young musician named Mietek (Jakub Gierszal) stands by the waters of Warsaw and strums a folksy lament. If Mietek doesn’t seem all that surprised when two comely sea sirens pop their heads out of the surf and sing a reply (promising not to eat him, natch), perhaps that’s because he’s a little tipsy — given the strange energy that pumps through Smoczynska’s film from start to finish, it won’t be long before you know just how he feels.
Their names are Golden (Michalina Olszanska) and Silver »
- David Ehrlich
By Todd Garbarini
The Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Los Angeles will be presenting a 55th anniversary screening of Robert Wise’s Oscar-winning 1961 musical West Side Story. The 152-minute film will be screened on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm. Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn and Rita Moreno, the screening is scheduled to precede appearances by George Chakiris who played Bernardo and Russ Tamblyn who played Riff.
From the press release:
Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit: laemmle.com/ac.
West Side Story (1961)
55th Anniversary Screening
One of the most honored and commercially successful of all movie musicals, West Side Story earned a near-record 10 Academy Awards in 1961.The film version of the groundbreaking stage musical that re-imagined Romeo and Juliet in contemporary New York City retained and deepened the play’s emotional impact by bringing together a show business all-star team. The show’s director and choreographer, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Paris — Legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve will receive the 8th Lumière Award at France’s 2016 Lumière Grand Lyon Film Festival, a unique event which focuses near totally on film classics.
Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar and Martin Scorsese figure among past recipients of the Lumière Award. They all travelled to Lyon to pick up the award, granted by Lyon’s Institut Lumière, run by French director Bertrand Tavernier and Cannes head Thierry Fremaux.
“This year’s Lumière Award goes to Catherine Deneuve for what she is, has done, says, acts, sings and delights from time immemorial and forever,” the Institut Lumière said Monday in a press statement.
“The face of French cinema,” according to Scorsese, Deneuve’s career is remarkable for its longevity, great films, the directors she has worked with, and the contrasting facets of a figure which confounds easy categorisation.
Deneuve began making films before France’s Nouvelle Vague, »
- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy
Above: 1929 Swedish poster for The Hound Of The Baskervilles (Richard Oswald, Germany, 1929). Designer uncredited.It’s time once again for my countdown of the most popular (the most “liked” and “reblogged”) posters on my Movie Poster of the Day Tumblr over the past three months. The most popular by far, and deservedly so, was this extraordinary 1920s Swedish poster for an adaptation of Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, which looks like some modern Mondo marvel. I had never seen it before it showed up on Heritage Auctions in March, where it sold for over $5000 (a steal). I’m not sure how Heritage dated the poster or divined which version of Hound of the Baskervilles this was for, since there are no acting or directing credits on the poster. They claim it for Richard Oswald’s 1929 German version though IMDb has a variant of the poster attached to a 1914 German adaptation. »
Arnaud Desplechin, César Best Director for My Golden Days and Cannes jury member along with Valeria Golino, Donald Sutherland, Katayoon Shahabi, Mads Mikkelsen, Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Paradis, László Nemes, headed by George Miller, has announced that Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel will star in his next film, Les Fantomes D’Ismaël.
Garrel's Two Friends (Les Deux Amis), written with Métamorphoses director Christophe Honoré, stars Golshifteh Farahani (of Asghar Farhadi's About Elly), Vincent Macaigne (Mia Hansen-Løve's Eden) and Garrel. The director is also featured in Maiwenn's My King (Mon Roi) with Emmanuelle Bercot, Isild Le Besco and Vincent Cassel.
Both films had their World Premieres at last year's Cannes Film Festival and screened at »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
For Jean-Paul Rappeneau, the Los Angeles-based Colcoa film festival offers a sort of reverse homecoming — one in which the French director, best known for directing Gerard Depardieu in “Cyrano de Bergerac,” brings his childhood home to California audiences.
With “Families,” Rappeneau reconstructs the impressive mansion in Auxerre, Burgundy, where he spent the first 17 years of his life. “Oddly enough, it didn’t belong to us” the director explains over a cup of coffee in Paris. “That house was sort of my mother’s dream. She dreamed of a life that she hadn’t led, in Paris or in the films of Jacques Demy, and my father, who was a man from the country who had become an engineer, rented it to satisfy her.”
Rappeneau has just returned from Moscow, where audiences made the connection between “Families” — in which a businessman (Mathieu Amalric) revisits the family estate, tied up in litigation after the patriarch’s death, »
- Peter Debruge
Following two acclaimed documentaries about the Indonesian genocide, The Act Of Killing and The Look Of Silence, BAFTA-winner Joshua Oppenheimer is developing two narrative features, including a musical inspired by Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days.
Speaking to Screen at Qumra, where he is one of the Doha Film Institute event’s five Masters, Oppenheimer revealed he plans to write and direct both narrative projects, which will come after his third feature documentary.
The director is a lover of screen musicals and intends to push the boundaries and conventions of the genre as he has done with his documentaries. “It’s a form of cinema that is honest about its own sentimentality,” he said.
Happy Days is about a middle-aged married woman buried up to her waist »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Mueller)
One of the best double features you could treat yourself to this year would be a back-to-back viewing of two Agnes Varda films starring Jane Birkin, rescued from obscurity in 2015 thanks to Cinelicious Pics. Both released originally in 1988, the imaginary bio-pic Jane B. Par Agnes V. and the provocative fictional narrative Kung-Fu Master! are available on a lovingly restored disc set (as the playful Venn diagram cover art implies, the titles are more inextricably connected than initially seems apparent). Both titles received a theatrical release at New York’s Lincoln Center, followed by a VOD release.
Jane B. Par Agnes V.
A playful exploration of the multi-faceted actress, singer, and icon Jane Birkin as she balances career choices and motherhood long after the initial scandals that brought her international attention. Filmed in tandem with their other collaboration, the fictional narrative Kung Fu Master!, both titles were released theatrically in 1988 when »
- Nicholas Bell
Cinematographer who for many years was Claude Chabrol’s ‘third eye’
There is no cinematographer in the history of cinema who worked so consistently for so long with the same director as Jean Rabier, who has died aged 88. To achieve this record, Rabier worked on more than 40 films with Claude Chabrol, and that was more than three-quarters of his entire output.
Yet he will perhaps be remembered most for the two films he shot for Jacques Demy – Bay of Angels (La Baie des Anges, 1963) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, 1964) – and the two for Demy’s wife, Agnès Varda: Cléo from Five to Seven (Cléo de 5 à 7, 1961), and Happiness (Le Bonheur, 1965).
Continue reading »
- Ronald Bergan
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.NEWSThai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose brilliant Cemetery of Splendor will be released in the Us this spring, has revealed a new installation work, Home Movie, made for Sydney's 2016 Biennale. According to his website, "an exhibition space hosts a cave-like ritual where people gather to simply take in the light": "In this home-cave, the heat is both comfortable and threatening. A fireball is an organic-like machine with phantom fans to blow away the heat and, at the same time, rouse the fire, which is impossible to put out even in dreams."This season seems to be one of cinema masters passing. In addition to the directors who've died over the last month, we've lost two great cinematographers this week. First, Douglas Slocombe, who shot the first three Indian Jones films, »
The legendary filmmaker has passed away at the age of 87. Here is the Notebook's coverage of Jacques Rivette, over the years:David Phelps on Céline and Julie Go BoatingDaniel Kasman on Don't Touch the Axe, Around a Small Mountain, DuelleGlenn Kenny on Joan the Maid, La religieuseMiriam Bale on Le pont du NordIgnatiy Vishnevetsky on Paris Belongs to UsTed Fendt on Paris s'en vaCristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin on Out 1 Jonathan Rosenbaum & Kevin B. Lee on Out 1Chris Luscri on Out 1Covadonga G. Lahera & Joel Bocko on Out 1Christopher Small on The Duchess of Langeais, Joan the Maid, Paris Belongs to Us, L'amour fou, Duelle, The Story of Mary and Julien, Céline and Julie Go BoatingAdrian Curry on the posters of Jacques RivetteCarlo Chatrian on (Three Reasons For) Remembering Jacques Rivette »
If I could properly describe the experience of discovering Jacques Rivette‘s films, I’d compare it to entering a room — a big one; sometimes a very big one — in which a conspiratorial game of deception and obfuscation is already underway between a group of handsome men and beautiful women. (Mostly the latter; sometimes only the latter.) While most directors ask you to sit and observe, you’re here invited to nestle somewhere between spectator and active participant, a patron whose close observation compensates for (or enhances) the fact that the plot doesn’t make total sense and associations between players requires some inference. By the time it ends, you’ll (ideally) come away with, if nothing else, the sense that something thoroughly, almost aggressively different has taken place — a mix of “well, what happened there?” with the desire to enter once more. And then again, and then again, and then again. »
- Nick Newman
Eric Lavallee: Name me three of your favorite “2015 discoveries”.
Lavallee: What was the first gist of an idea that you thought of before crystallizing this into what would become your first feature?
Britto: The very first germ of an idea was “what if Sans Soleil was actually kind of like a thriller?” And then it sort of snowballed from there.
Lavallee: Could you briefly talk about the visual style of the film – what were you and Eric aiming for?
Britto: We wanted something that was digital and real and fun. We wanted it to look authentic and feel dynamic.
- Eric Lavallee
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