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‘Lady Macbeth’ Murders New Specialty Openers with Modest Box Office

16 July 2017 9:52 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Well-reviewed erotic period thriller “Lady Macbeth” (Roadside Attractions) led the new specialized limited lineup. But a below-$15,000 start at five major New York/Los Angeles theaters came in well below other stronger recent debuts.

With studio sequel “War for the Planet of the Apes” nabbing better-than-usual critical response (watch out for “Dunkirk” this week) and many popular films expanding, it’s getting tougher for even acclaimed new films to stand out.

Two top Sundance premieres — U.S. Narrative Competition title “To the Bone” and U.S. Documentary Audience Award winner “Chasing Coral” — both premiered on Netflix along with limited theatrical play. As usual for the company, the grosses went unreported.


Lady Macbeth (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Toronto 2016, Sundance 2017

$68,813 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $13,762

This low-budget 19th-century adultery drama’s roots are closer to “Madame Bovary” and “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” than Shakespeare. With its bodice-ripping appeal, »

- Tom Brueggemann

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MK2 Becomes Spain’s Third-Largest Exhibitor With New Theater Acquisition

10 July 2017 10:34 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris-based film group Mk2 is expanding its footprint in Spain with the acquisition of a 15-screen theater in Madrid, becoming the country’s third-largest exhibitor.

Following the acquisition of the cinema chain Cine/Sur in Andalusia in 2014, MK2 has acquired Cines Dreams Palacio de Hielo, Spain’s busiest theater with 930,000 tickets sold in 2016.

MK2, which was advised by the lawyers firm Perez-Llorca, now boasts 10 theaters with 128 screens and an estimated 5 million moviegoers in Spain.

The company has now 22 theaters in total across France and Spain. With 196 screens in total, MK2 attracts a cumulated 10 million moviegoers.

MK2’s Cine/Sur circuit hosts the Seville film festival, among other events.

Founded by Marin Karmitz in 1974, MK2 has pioneered the creation of arthouse cinemas boasting a diverse programming, as well as lifestyle and cultural components in France.

In recent years, MK2 has also been investing in virtual reality and launched Europe’s first permanent location-based Vr facility in Paris, adjacent »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Outsider Pictures Handling Sales on Small is Biutiful Title ‘1,200 Souls’ (Exclusive)

27 June 2017 5:50 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris — Paul Hudson’s L.A. based Outsider Pictures has boarded “1,200 Souls,” a fantasy thriller set in the high Pyrenees, and one of the highlights at the 10th Spain-Ile de France Small is Biutiful in Paris, a prestigious boutique Spain-France co-production forum which unspooled June 23.

Outsider Pictures is handling international sales rights on “1,200 Souls,” the latest movie from the Zaragoza-based producer-director tandem of Marta Cabrera and Pablo Aragues whose “Novatos,” also repped by Hudson, was a Netflix worldwide distribution pick-up.

In his first two features, Aragues tackled sects (“Vigilo el camino”) and hazing (“Novatos”). Backed by the Aragon Film Commission, “1,200 Souls” is set in a small town in the lap of the Pyrenees, to which a young woman, Carla, returns to scatter her mother’s ashes, only to be confronted by violence, deaths and the seemingly supernatural, such as spontaneous combustion.

A film about “a girl looking for her origins,” Cabrera told Variety, »

- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy

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All These Stories We Simply Can't Understand

20 June 2017 7:28 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Every so often, usually while walking around Toronto on a busy day, I'll be struck by the vividness and accuracy of Agnès Varda's singular portrayal of a day in the life (barely two hours, really, making it even more remarkable) spent in the various layers and spaces of the urban environment. I speak, of course, of Cléo from 5 to 7, Varda's 1962 classic and the first film of hers I fell in love with. In those instances, I'll find myself returning to the moments I've cherry-picked as my favorites over the years, skipping across the linear sequence of events that follow the titular singer (Corinne Marchand) across Paris as she waits for the results from a medical examination within the film's designated timeframe (minus half an hour, as the film famously ends at the ninety minute mark). More than for any other film, engaging in these mental replays feels very much like replaying the events of a day I had once experienced myself long ago—albeit one that I’ve been able to revisit and come to know nearly by heart, complete with all of my favorite moments and details waiting in their proper places, so often have I gone back to that June 21st in Paris, 1961.Varda has even made it relatively easy for anyone who wishes to explore and investigate to their heart's content the events of that fateful first day of summer from so long ago now, not only by making such a crisp cinematic itinerary of the various locations visited in the film itself, but also by helpfully providing a map in her book Varda par Agnès complete with a color-coded legend indicating the locations of key scenes from the film, practically inviting the reader to recreate Cléo’s journey for themselves on the streets of present-day Paris. At once attentive and relaxed in its tour of the city (mainly focused in the Left Bank), Cléo is ably conducted in a number of different registers: as an uncommonly lovely essay-poem on the ebb and flow of urban life, an at-times somber meditation on the precarious balance between life and death, and a revealing and honest study of female identity and the ways it is scrutinized and distorted in the public’s relentless gaze. In a feat of remarkable economy and resourcefulness, the film was shot in chronological order across a five-week period, beginning on the date of the story’s events, synchronized as closely as possible to the times in the day Cléo experiences them, in keeping with narrative fidelity and proper quality of light for each scene. Neatly arranged into thirteen chapters, each with its duration clearly stated so we can easily keep track in real time, Cléo’s lucid odyssey through the various public and private spaces that make up her day is observational cinema at its most fertile, free, and magically attuned to its subjects, partly the result of Varda and her team’s carefully planned and executed shoot, partly that of simply being in the right places at the right times.Together, the films of the French New Wave make up one of the most valuable and immersive audiovisual documents of a specific time and place in history—namely France in the late 1950s and early 1960s—that we have. This is especially true of the Paris-situated films, which create the alluring image of an interconnected network of overlapping stories concentrated in a single city. The sharing of certain actors, cinematographers, writers, composers, and other key artists and technicians across different films by different directors especially helped make the impression of one Paris holding an eclectic anthology of New Wave tales. This perception was further reinforced by the cheeky self-referential winks and nods that so many of the New Wave directors—Jean-Luc Godard in particular—lovingly included in their films as gestures of solidarity and support with their nouvelle vague comrades. This is why the eponymous hero of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur, noted by many as a crucial New Wave precursor, gets name-checked by Jean-Paul Belmondo in Godard’s Breathless, why Truffaut muses Marie Dubois and Jeanne Moreau both pop up in A Woman Is a Woman, with Moreau getting asked by Belmondo how Jules and Jim is coming along, and why Anna Karina’s Nana glimpses a giant poster for the same Truffaut film as she is being driven to her fate in the final moments of Vivre sa vie.Varda got in on the fun herself in Cléo from 5 to 7 not only by casting Michel Legrand, who provided the film with its robust score, as Cléo’s musical partner Bob (a part that gives the legendary composer a substantial amount of screen time and amply shows off his incandescent charm), but also by extending the invitation to Godard, Karina, Sami Frey, Eddie Constantine, Jean-Claude Brialy, producer Georges de Beauregard, and Alan Scott, who had appeared in Jacques Demy’s Lola. They all show up in Les fiancés du pont Macdonald, the silent comedy short-within-the-film that serves triple duty as a welcome diversion for our stressed heroine, a loving cinephilic tribute to the legacy of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, and an irresistible, bite-sized New Wave party. And yet I find Cléo to be perhaps the most enchanting of all the New Wave films not for the aesthetic commonalities and cleverly devised linkages that bind it to The 400 Blows, Breathless, Paris Belongs to Us, and its other cinematic brethren, but rather for the tapestry of curious details that root it in its specific time and place and entice on the power of their inherent uniqueness and beauty. “Here,” Varda seems to say as she follows Cléo across the city, “let’s have a look at these interesting people and places on this first day of summer here in Paris, and see what we can see after watching them for a while.” The film’s opening scene continues to extend this invitation as it draws us in closer. It shows us, through the sepia-hued Eastmancolor that deviates from the rest of the film’s silvery monochrome and the “God’s eye” overhead shots (long before Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson adopted the technique as their own), the cryptic spectacle of Tarot cards being shuffled, placed down, and turned over to reveal the story of Cléo’s potential fate before we’ve even gotten a chance to properly meet Cléo herself. The slightly macabre illustrations to which Varda and cinematographer Jean Rabier dedicate their tight close-ups and the elderly card reader’s accompanying explanations of their meanings lend an air of prophecy to the events to come while also fueling Cléo’s anxiety surrounding her fate (when pressed for a clearer forecast of the future through a palm reading, the reader’s evasive response is less than inspiring). This introduction effectively locks us into Cléo’s perspective, preparing us for the next hour and a half that we will spend quietly observing as, following her distraught exit from the reader’s apartment, she grapples with her fears and insecurities, contemplates and revises her appearance and the identity behind it (tellingly, we discover late in the film that Cléo's real name is Florence), and comes to terms with the ultimately fragile nature of her own mortality. In our allotted chunk of time with her, we see the pouty girl-child subtly shift and adjust her attitude, inching a little closer towards a place of earned maturity, grace, and acceptance regarding her fate, wherever it may take her.Along the way, the film seems to expand to take in as much of the people and places around Cléo as it can. Scene by scene, her Paris makes itself felt and known through key peripheral details: a pair of lovers having an argument in a café near where Cléo sits, listening in; the procession of uniformed officers on horseback heard clip-clopping through the street on the soundtrack and seen reflected in the array of mirrors placed throughout a hat shop; a spider web of shattered mirror and a cloth pressed against a bloody wound, indicating some incident that occurred just before Cléo happened along the scene of the confused aftermath. Other stimuli fill a dazzling program of serendipitous entertainments for us to take in one by one: whirlwind rides in two taxis and a bus, an intimate musical rehearsal in Cléo’s chic, kitten-filled apartment (with Legrand, no less, clearly having a great time, his nimble fingers releasing ecstatic bursts of notes and melodies from Cléo’s piano as if they were exotic birds), the aforementioned silent short, a sculpting studio (the space alive with the indescribably pleasant sound of chisels being tapped at different tempos through soft stone), a frog swallower, a burly street performer who wiggles an iron spike through his arm, and the soothing sights and sounds of the Parc de Montsouris, among a hundred other subtle and overt pleasures scattered throughout this gently orchestrated city symphony, a heap of specificities found and sorted into a chorus of universal experience.Very much in her own way, across a body of work informed by a boundless spirit of generosity, Agnès Varda has gone about carefully collecting and preserving a marvelously varied assortment of subjects throughout her busy life, shedding fresh light on some of the most unlikely (and overlooked) people and places in the world. She refers to her self-made approach to filmmaking as ciné-criture (her own version of Alexandre Astruc's caméra-stylo), which, as we’ve come to know it through Varda’s intensely personal works, is a little like cinema, a little like writing, and uses aspects of both media to make a compassionate, genuine, and wholly original film language. Just as Antoine (Antoine Bourseiller), the dreamy young man whom Cléo encounters in the Parc de Montsouris, translates the world around them into a stream of fanciful observations and flowery speech, so too does Varda, in allegiance with poetry, ditch any semblance of objectivity, going instead for presenting the world simply as she sees it, investing it with her own unmistakable blend of charm, warmth, eloquence, and empathy, all somehow executed with nary a shred of ego or preachiness.“All these stories we simply can’t understand!” randomly exclaims a café patron to her young companion at one point late in Cléo’s journey, perhaps suddenly becoming aware, as we gradually have, of the unfathomable multitude of trajectories that trace themselves across every city every day in a dense tangle of narrative strands. In picking up Cléo’s and diligently following it with her camera for an hour and a half, Varda draws our attention to all those other strands that make up the lives of other people, leading off into their own directions, fated to become entangled with others still. Wisely, deftly, one discovered strand at a time, she helps us better appreciate, again and again, the humble miracle of so many lives coursing and thriving alongside each other, each one special and strange, each rooted in its own distinct flavor of being-ness. Cléo from 5 to 7 in turn roots us in another person’s life for its short time span and ends up giving us a whole universe, casually overflowing with meaning, life, lives, and the myriad details that shape and define them. No, we can’t understand all the stories we come across in a day. But then again, sometimes we don’t really need to understand so much as simply see. See, and accept, and appreciate what is...and then move along to whatever’s next. »

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Review: ‘Lost in Paris’ is a Surreal, Whimsical Treat

15 June 2017 5:14 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

With a tip of the hat to Jacques Tati, Charlie Chaplin, and Jacques Demy, husband/wife team Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel’s Lost in Paris is a whimsical, almost silent comedy set on the streets and in the parks of Paris.

Several years ago Aunt Martha (one of the final roles from the late, great Emmanuelle Riva) departs from a snowy arctic Canadian outpost for sunnier Paris. Several years later she’s lived quite a life with a reputation around the neighborhood, and now the stubborn elderly Martha refuses to leave her apartment and move into a nursing home. She writes to the older Fiona (Gordon), now a librarian in a remote village that looks like it might house Santa’s workshop, and summons her on the adventure of a lifetime to Paris. The only problem is Fiona’s French is rusty, leading to many a misadventure when she »

- John Fink

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Cannes 2017: How My First Trip to the Festival Convinced Me That Movies Matter More Than Ever

30 May 2017 10:17 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

This is how a trip to Cannes begins: You get on a massive airliner from JFK to Nice, a red-eye flight on which dozens of the film industry’s most powerful people slingshot over the ocean while watching “Bridget Jones’ Baby” in monastic silence. When you land, touching down on a thin strip of concrete that juts out of a twinkling azure sea, the airport is so quiet and empty that you fear you’ve arrived a week too early by mistake.

Then you leave baggage claim and all hell breaks loose.

A Beautiful World

Stepping through the sliding doors and onto French soil, you’re immediately confronted by a human funnel of paparazzi, a hundred cameramen crawling over each other for a better look at who’s just arrived — it’s like if Fellini had directed “World War Z.” And yet, for all of the competition and clamor, the »

- David Ehrlich

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Cannes Film Review: ‘Visages Villages’

26 May 2017 2:27 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

There was once a time — it now sounds ageist and sexist — when something would get written off as “an old man’s movie.” That meant a film created by a director at an age where just watching it, you could feel a certain stiffness in the joints, a too-slowed-down-for-its-own-good pace, a nagging (as opposed to enlightening) stillness of gaze. Examples of old man’s movies would be Alain Resnais’ “Wild Grass,” Elia Kazan’s “The Last Tycoon,” and — to me, though many would consider this opinion blasphemous — Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran.” But has there ever been a director who gives the lie to the old-man’s-movie trope like Agnès Varda? She’s 88, and makes films like she’s 28. Her movies are the opposite of old wo(man’s) movies. They’re a tonic — just watching them makes you feel younger.

Her new one, “Visages Villages” (which does indeed take place in villages, »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Criterion Now – Episode 16 – August Announcements, Andrei Tarkovsky, Good Morning, Michael Haneke

23 May 2017 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Aaron and Mark Hurne get together to talk about August 2017 Announcements, Andrei Tarkovsky, Ozu’s Good Morning, Michael Haneke, Jean Luc Godard, Jacques Demy, and plenty of other topics.

Episode Notes

7:00 – August 2017 Announcements

33:30 – Good Morning & I Was Born, But

40:25 – Michael Haneke

43:30 – Alex Ross Perry

47:40 – Criterion Daily

51:30 – Short Takes (Lola, Vivre sa Vie)

1:00:00 – FilmStruck

Episode Links Making a Cover: Criterion’s Breaking Point Criterion Close-Up 19: A Conversation with Alex Cox Criterion – The Breaking Point Criterion – Meantime Criterion – Hopscotch Criterion – La Poison Criterion – Sid & Nancy FilmStruck – Coming Soon Movies Leaving FilmStruck Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Criterion Now: Twitter | Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter

Music for the show is from Fatboy Roberts’ Geek Remixed project. »

- Aaron West

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MK2 Films Acquires 20 Films by Late Iranian Master Abbas Kiarostami (Exclusive)

22 May 2017 10:37 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

French mini-major MK2 Films has acquired all rights to late Iranian film master Abbas Kiarostami’s first 20 movies.

Under the agreement – signed with the Institute Kanoon (Institut iranien pour le Développement Intellectuel des Enfants et des Adolescents), MK2 will restore the 20 films of Kiarostami in 4K. Among the acquired titles are “Where is My Friend’s Home,””And Life Goes On” and “The Traveler,” Kiarostami’s first feature film.

“And Life Goes On” complete the trilogy including “Where is My Friend’s House?” and “Through the Olive Trees,” both of which are already acquired by MK2.

Some of the acquired titles include films that mostly unknown, as well as 14 short- and medium-length films, notably his very first film, “The Bread and Alley,” which came out in 1970.

MK2 now owns nearly all of Kiarostami’s films. The French company already detained rights to Kiarostami’s more recent films, notably “Like Someone in Love, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Stephane Brize Reteams with Vincent Lindon, MK2, Nord-Ouest Films for ‘Un Autre Monde’

21 May 2017 2:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Stephane Brize, whose 2016 film “The Measure of a Man” competed at Cannes and earned its star Vincent Lindon a prize, is re-teaming with Lindon for “Un autre monde.”

MK2, which previously handled Brize’s “Une vie,” an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s classic novel, and “The Measure of a Man,” has acquired international sales on “Un autre monde.”

Christophe Rossignon and Philip Boeffard at Nord-Ouest Films are producing the film; it had produced “The Measure of a Man.”

“Un autre monde” stars Lindon as an union leader representing workers who are facing layoffs because their factory is closing. As the closing of the factory becomes more highly publicized, Lindon’s character quickly becomes a prominent figure in the media.

“The script of ‘Un autre monde’ is one of the most powerful I’ve read — it’s both political and humanistic in the subtle way that it portrays each side. »

- Elsa Keslassy

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La La Land; Manchester By the Sea; Graduation and more – review

14 May 2017 12:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Damien Chazelle’s sun-drenched musical is even lovelier on second viewing, while Casey Affleck’s janitor evokes Brando

Stunningly losing the best picture Oscar may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to La La Land (Lionsgate, 12), Damien Chazelle’s sun-bright, sour-sweet satsuma of a musical. Formally released from the prestige pressure bestowed by such a title, the film that inspired such a hysterical pre-Oscar backlash as to be labelled “fascist propaganda” in certain quarters of the internet can be cherished once more as the bijou beauty it is – a film out not to change the world, but to wistfully warm it up a little. Stylistically riffing on Jacques Demy and Stanley Donen with frisky magpie cheek, Chazelle’s picture is steeped in nostalgia, but not just of the gilded “they don’t make ’em like they used to” variety. Its simple, starry-eyed boy-meets-girl story deals in emotional nostalgia too, »

- Guy Lodge

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MK2 Acquires Worldwide Rights to Agnes Varda, Jacques Demy Films’ Library

12 May 2017 8:48 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

MK2 Films, one of France’s leading production, international sales and exhibition companies, has acquired worldwide rights to the library of films helmed by French New Wave icons Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy.

The deal, signed with the company founded by the Varda-Demy family, covers France and international, except for DVD and French theatrical distribution of Varda’s and Demy’s movies.

The library includes the pair’s features, shorts and documentaries, most of which have been restored and digitized. Varda’s most critically acclaimed films include “The Beaches of Agnes,” “Les glaneurs et la glaneuse” and “Cléo de 5 à 7.” Some of Demy’s best-known films are “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg,” which won Cannes’s Palme d’Or in 1964 and launched the acting career of Catherine Deneuve, and “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.”

Varda, who is still a prolific filmmaker, is presenting her latest documentary, “Visages Villages,” which she co-directed with French artist Jr, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek

5 May 2017 7:01 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Agnès Varda shooting “Lions Love (and Lies…)”: PhotoFest

Now is your chance to catch up on — or revisit — the works of Agnès Varda. Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek has announced an upcoming six-film series celebrating the acclaimed auteur’s work. Widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in modern French cinema, Varda briefly located to California in the late-1960s and 80s. It’s this time period that the film series, titled “Varda in California,” commemorates.

“Varda has often derived inspiration from her surroundings,” a press release from BAMcinématek notes. “Soaking in the people, landscapes, and politics of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area, Varda created films that reflect life in America as only an outsider (she) could see it. Eschewing the ever-present specter of Hollywood, Varda instead became fascinated by the political and social movements roiling the state’s sunny demeanor.”

Films screening include 1980’s “Mur Murs,” a documentary about murals in La and the artists who created them, and 1981’s “Documenteur,” a work of autobiographical fiction that centers on a French mother and son’s search to find a home in La.

“Varda in California” runs from May 31 to June 13. Check out the full schedule and synopses of the films below, courtesy of BAMcinématek. For more information and tickets, head over to BAMcinématek’s site.

Wed, May 31

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 1

4:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Fri, Jun 2

2pm: Model Shop4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sat, Jun 3

2pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sun, Jun 4

2pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Mon, Jun 5

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Tue, Jun 6

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Wed, Jun 7

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 8

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Fri, Jun 9

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Sat, Jun 10

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Model Shop

Sun, Jun 11

2pm: Model Shop

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Mon, Jun 12

8pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Tue, Jun 13

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Film Descriptions

*All films play multiple times throughout the series.*All films directed by Agnès Varda unless otherwise noted.

Black Panthers (1968) An unapologetically radical dispatch from the front lines of the Black Powermovement: Varda profiles members of the Black Panther Party as they fight for the freedom of imprisonedactivist Huey P. Newton. Dcp. 30min.

Documenteur (1981) With Sabine Mamou, Mathieu Demy, Tom Taplin. This moving work of autobiographical fiction follows a young French woman in Los Angeles as she copes with a recent breakup and wanders the city in search of a home for her and her son. Aptly subtitled “An Emotion Picture,” the mysterious, serenely melancholic Documenteur captures Varda’s ambivalent feelings about America. Dcp. 65min.

Lions Love (. . . And Lies) (1969) With Viva, James Rado, Gerome Ragni. This irresistibly kooky time capsule takes a bevy of 60s counterculture luminaries — Warhol superstar Viva, the creators of Hair, and filmmaker Shirley Clarke — and throws them together in a luxe Hollywood home. Madness ensues, as they make prank calls, “try out” parenting with a bunch of borrowed children, and revel in the joys of free love. It’s a wildly funny perspective on the hippy-dippy oddity of La as seen by Varda. Dcp. 90min.

Model Shop (1969) Dir. Jacques Demy. With Anouk Aimée, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay. Jacques Demy, along with his wife Varda, ventured to Hollywood for the one and only time in his career to make this tender, quintessentially La movie about the brief but momentous encounter between a failed architect (Lockwood) and a French erotica model (Aimée). It’s a gorgeous, pastel love letter to the “real” La — its sprawling freeways, parking lots, and seedy margins — far removed from the Dream Factory fantasy. Dcp.97min.

Mur Murs (1980) Varda takes her camera through the streets of late-70s Los Angeles to document the vibrant murals that cover the walls of the city and the artists who made them. Mur Murs is both an essential record of La’s street art and a lively celebration of the city’s diversity. Dcp. 80min.

Uncle Yanco (1967) Varda’s first American film — in which she journeys to meet a long lost bohemian relative living in Sausalito — is a freewheeling family affair that grooves on the good vibes of sun-kissed 60s California. Dcp. 18min.

Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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The Pied Piper | Blu-ray Review

2 May 2017 5:30 PM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

A forgotten oddity from the early 1970s is Jacques Demy’s English language mounting of The Pied Piper, a rather bleak but mostly unequivocal version of the famed Grimm Bros.

Continue reading »

- Nicholas Bell

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The Pied Piper | Blu-ray Review

2 May 2017 5:30 PM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

A forgotten oddity from the early 1970s is Jacques Demy’s English language mounting of The Pied Piper, a rather bleak but mostly unequivocal version of the famed Grimm Bros. fairy tale about a titular piper who infamously lured the children of Hamelin to their assumed deaths after being rebuffed by the townsfolk when he similarly rid the town of plague carrying rats.

Set in the 1300s of northern Germany, this UK production blends bits of Robert Browning’s famed poem of the legend into the film, but the end result is unusually straightforward and unfussy, considering Demy’s predilection for inventive, colorful musicals, such as the classic confections The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort. The stunt casting of Donovan as the piper generates a certain amount of interest, although he’s whittled down to a supporting character amongst a cast of master character actors like Donald Pleasence, John Hurt, Peter Vaughan, and child star Jack Wild.

Notably, The Pied Piper is one of the few Demy films not to be built around a strong, beautiful female lead, which may also explain why there’s no center point in the film. Cathryn Harrison (daughter of Rex, who starred in Louis Malle’s Black Moon) and a gone-to-seed Diana Dors (though not featured as memorably as her swarthy turn in Skolimowski’s Deep End) are the tiny flecks of feminine representation. It was also not Demy’s first English language production, as he’d made a sequel to his New Wave entry Lola (1961) with 1969’s Los Angeles set Model Shop. So what compelled him to make this departure, which premiered in-between two of his most whimsical Catherine Deneuve titles (Donkey Skin; A Slightly Pregnant Man) is perhaps the film’s greatest mystery.

Cultural familiarity with the material tends to work against our expectations. At best, Donovan is a mere supporting accent, popping up to supply mellow, anachronistic music at odd moments before the dramatic catalyst involving his ability to conjure rats with music arrives. Prior to his demeaning, Demy’s focus is mostly on the omnipotent and aggressive power of the corrupting church (Peter Vaughan’s Bishop) and Donald Pleasence’s greedy town leader, whose son (a sniveling John Hurt) is more intent on starting wars and making counterfeit gold to pay his gullible minions than stopping the encroaching plague. Taking the brunt of their violence is the Jewish alchemist, Melius (Michael Hordern), who is wise enough to know the rats have something to do with the spread of the disease. Demy uses his tragic demise to juxtapose the piper’s designs on the children.

While Hurt and Pleasance are entertaining as a toxic father and son, Demy seems estranged from anyone resembling a protagonist. Donovan is instantly forgettable, and the H.R. Pufnstuf and Oliver! child star Jack Wild gets upstaged by a wild mop of hair and a pronounced limp (which explains why he isn’t entranced along with the other children), and the film plays as if Donovan’s role might have been edited down in post. The script was the debut of screenwriters Andrew Birkin (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, 2006) and Mark Peploe (The Passenger, 1975; The Last Emperor, 1987) who would both go on to write a number of offbeat auteur entries.

Disc Review:

Kino Lorber releases this obscurity as part of their Studio Classics label, presented in 1.66:1. Picture and sound quality are serviceable, however, the title would have greatly benefitted from a restoration. Dp Peter Suschitzky’s frames rightly capture the period, including some awesomely creepy frescoes housing Pleasence and son, but the color sometimes seems faded or stripped from some sequences. Kino doesn’t include any extra features.

Final Thoughts:

More of a curio piece for fans of Demy, The Pied Piper mostly seems a missed opportunity of the creepy legend.

Film Review: ★★½/☆☆☆☆☆

Disc Review: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

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- Nicholas Bell

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The Young Girls of Rochefort

2 May 2017 10:53 AM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Perhaps motivated by the success of La La Land, Criterion has reissued two impressive Jacques Demy musicals as separate releases. This all-singing, all-dancing homage to candy-colored vintage Hollywood musicals is a captivating Franco-American hybrid that allows free rein to Demy’s marvelously positive romantic philosophy.

The Young Girls of Rochefort


The Criterion Collection 717

1967 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 125 min. / Les Demoiselles de Rochefort / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date April 11, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, Danielle Darrieux, George Chakiris, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin

Cinematography: Ghislain Cloquet

Production Designer: Bernard Evein

Film Editor: Jean Hamon

Original Music: Michel Legrand

Produced by Mag Bodard, Gilbert de Goldschmidt

Written and Directed by Jacques Demy


I was going to squeak by reviewing only Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but the interest in the new La La Land prompted some emails and messages that tell me a revisit of the charming »

- Glenn Erickson

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Wes Anderson’s Style: Watch 10 Iconic Movies That Influenced Him

26 April 2017 2:23 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Editor’s Note: This article is presented in partnership with FilmStruck. Developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection, FilmStruck features the largest streaming library of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films as well as extensive bonus content, filmmaker interviews and rare footage. Learn more here.

Wes Anderson has one of the most original voices of any filmmaker working today, but his movies are full of clues as to which directors have influenced him the most. From Orson Welles to François Truffaut to Federico Fellini, some of the most iconic filmmakers in the history of cinema have had a hand in inspiring Anderson’s distinctive style. Here are 10 films that had a lasting impact on the indie auteur.

The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942)

Orson Welles’ period drama about a wealthy family that loses its entire fortune at the turn of the 20th century »

- Graham Winfrey

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‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical

25 April 2017 1:34 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

If you kept up with reviews during “La La Land”’s theatrical run at the tail end of 2016, you probably ran into at least a few mentions of “The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg,” Jacques Demy‘s colorful 1964 romantic musical masterpiece. If you also keep up with The Criterion Collection, you know that “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” just hit home video via a pristine Criterion Blu-ray release this month.

Continue reading ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical at The Playlist. »

- Andrew Crump

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

14 April 2017 7:55 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Jacques Demy’s international breakthrough musical gives us Catherine Deneuve and wall-to-wall Michel Legrand pop-jazz — it’s a different animal than La La Land but they’re being compared anyway. The story of a romance without a happily-ever-after is doggedly naturalistic, despite visuals as bright and buoyant as an old MGM show.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg


The Criterion Collection 716

1964 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 92 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Les parapluies de Cherbourg / Street Date April 11, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner, Mireille Perrey, Jean Champion.

Cinematography: Jean Rabier

Production design:Bernard Evein

Film Editors: Anne-Marie Cotret, Monique Teisseire

Original Music: Michel Legrand

Produced by Mag Bodard

Written and Directed by Jacques Demy


What with all the hubbub about last year’s Oscar favorite La La Land, I wonder if Hollywood will be trotting out more retro-nostalgia, ‘let’s put on a show’ musical fantasy fare. »

- Glenn Erickson

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New to Streaming: ‘Toni Erdmann,’ ‘La La Land,’ ‘The Handmaiden,’ and More

14 April 2017 4:34 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)

The Handmaiden is pure cinema — a tender, moving, utterly believable love story. It’s also a tense, unsettling, erotic masterpiece. There’s a palpable exhilaration that comes from watching this latest film from Park Chan-wook. From its four central performances and twisty script to the cinematography of Chung Chung-hoon and feverish, haunting score by Cho Young-wuk, The Handmaiden is crafted to take your breath away. »

- The Film Stage

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