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The new issue of Artforum features Hito Steyerl and Laura Poitras in conversation, J. Hoberman on Jack Smith and Amy Taubin on Crystal Moselle's The Wolfpack. Also in today's roundup: Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme discuss Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case; Jonathan Rosenbaum on Abbas Kiarostami; Adrian Martin on horror; Alyssa Rosenberg on The Wire and Baltimore; Geoffrey O'Brien on Jean-Pierre Melville's Le silence de la mer; Thomas Vinterberg on taking Ingmar Bergman's advice; Ian Tan on Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light and Carl Theodor Dreyer's Ordet; Erich Kuersten on John Carpenter's Escape from New York, Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine twenty years on—and more. » - David Hudson »
[Editor's Note: This interview was originally published last October. "Clouds of Sils Maria" opens this Friday, April 10 in select theaters.] Juliette Binoche, also known as La Binoche, is one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation. The first actress to win the Triple Crown (Best Actress awards at Cannes, Venice, and Berlin), she's appeared in some of the most widely-praised films of the last several decades, and worked with directors such as Leos Carax, Abbas Kiarostami, Jean-Luc Godard, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, among others. This year, she appears in four of vastly different films: "Words and Pictures," "Godzilla," "Clouds of Sils Maria," and "1,000 Times Good Night." We sat down to speak with the beloved actress about her acting philosophy and the unreliability of the internet. "1,000 Times Good Night," which marks her latest release, opens in select theaters and is available on video on demand platforms on »
- Greg Cwik
Mohammad Rasoulof, maker of The White Meadows and Manuscripts Don't Burn, is the very model of the filmmaker as defiant activist, an Iranian artist who confronts injustice and repression through his cinema knowing full well the consequences of such an act. In the 1990s, when Iranian cinema first broke out of film festivals and museum programs and started appearing in arthouses, filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi worked within the severe government-imposed limitations on subject matter (everything from politics to physical contact between the sexes) by focusing on films about children and rural life. Other filmmakers hid messages and social commentary in genre trappings and metaphor.>> - Sean Axmaker »
The real magic of the I for Iran series in Toronto lies in curation: the talent they have recruited to present and contextualize the various films screened is a testament to their commitment to offering the best possible cinematic experience. More so than not, each film is accompanied by a presenter – a variety of filmmakers, writers and scholars – who offer invaluable insight and context. While this has always been the case, the I for Iran series has been particularly rich.
Presenting the opening screening was Roya Akbari, who participated with Abbas Kiarostami on the film Ten and is a filmmaker in her own right. Her poetic short Only Image Remains was the opening film of the series, and featured her own reminiscence as well as interviews with many top Iranian filmmakers. This set the tone for presenters like Shahram Tabe, Hamid Naficy, Amir Soltani and, perhaps most notably, acclaimed Iranian »
- Justine Smith
Spaces Between: Green’s Controlled, Heavily Stylized Metaphor
Eugène Green is an American born filmmaker who has been steadily making foreign films over the past decade or so, more often than not in French. With his fifth feature, La Sapienza (Italian for ‘the wisdom’), Green provides a playful experiment of heavily stylized tone, focusing intently on specific, purposeful compositions that lends the film a rather off-putting dramatic pallor, especially for those seeking to emotionally engage with the material. Even as it explores certain ideas pertaining to the relationships between people, their past and present, and the distance between time, memory, and themselves, the film’s rigid artificiality often works staunchly against its overall effectiveness.
Frustrated architect Alexandre (Fabrizio Rongione) decides to take his wife Alienor (Christelle Prot) on a trip with him to Italy where he plans to research 17th century architect Francesco Borromini. It’s apparent that their relationship has become a stagnant union, »
- Nicholas Bell
Style-Over-Substance in a Fancy Baroque Package
French “artiste” Eugène Green’s latest work is further evidence that his overriding career trajectory of indulgent reminiscence, has a deliberately staged, minimalist, ultimately alienating style that reflects only the most superficial aspects of the values and artistic sensibilities it emulates. La Sapienza is a testament to the male ego—a vanity piece—that idealizes the past and eschews the present to justify a projected ideology that purports the value of chasing dreams and attempting to recreate the past as a way of coping with the fear of death and ideas of legacy.
The premise is simple. Alexandre Schmid (Fabrizio Borromini), an aging architect aiding urban sprawl by designing box city housing complexes that serve commerce over culture, decides to embark on a research expedition to Tinico, Switzerland, the birthplace of Francesco Borromini, a renowned 17th Century architect. His quest, as defined by the »
- Robert Bell
As the I for Iran series has taken the Tiff Lightbox by storm, with several sold out screenings and great press coverage, Sound on Sight has taken a moment to ask some questions on what has brought the series to Toronto and the greater impacts of Iranian cinema are within an increasingly globalized world.
Brad Deane, who is the Senior Manager, Film Programmes at Tiff, and the programmer for the series at Tiff Cinematheque.
Amir Soltani, a Toronto-based film critic and contributor to The Film Experience and Movie Mezzanine, who also writes and co-hosts a podcast about Iranian films at Hello Cinema. Amir Soltani will be introducing Hamoun, Dariush Mehrjui’s incisive, ironic, and finally dreamlike study of middle-class Iranian life, on Saturday, March 28 at 3:45pm.
Check out the rest of the series schedule Here
What has brought the I for Iran series from Fribourg International Film Festival to Toronto? »
Read More: SXSW: Complete List of Winners at the 2015 Film Awards In advance of this year's SXSW Film Festival, Indiewire sent out a questionnaire to the filmmakers taking their work to Austin. Below you'll find some of the inspirations for the competing films, both narrative and documentary. Here are the filmmakers' responses: Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti ("A Woman Like Me"): We were inspired by a wide range of movies: "All That Jazz," Agnes Varda's "The Beaches of Agnes," "Symbiopsychotaxiplasm," "Day For Night," "The Wizard of Oz," "Blue Vinyl," "Reds," Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up…." Alison Bagnall ("Funny Bunny"): I don't know if certain films inspire me anymore, though Jerry Schatzberg's "Scarecrow" is always an inspiration. Certain directors inspire me. The usual European suspects; Polanski, Pasolini, Fassbinder-but now it's »
- David Ballard
Written and Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Jean-Luc Godard is attributed with a quote from one of his films, “Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” Film is made to suspend your disbelief, and yet in your mind, a part of you is accepting what you’re seeing to be true.
In Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 film Close-Up, a man named Hossain Sobzian is arrested for impersonating an Iranian filmmaker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and convincing the Ahankhah family into accepting him into their home, loaning him money, and believing they would become part of his next film. He is soon found out to be a phony, and during Sobzian’s trial, the judge asks him just how far he intended to take this act: “As far as they were prepared to go.”
Close-Up is a movie about a fraud, as it is a documentary based on actual events in »
- Brian Welk
With the world’s most prestigious film festival just around the corner, cineastes have been lasciviously salivating about what’s going to show up at Cannes, with wish lists appearing almost immediately after Berlin (a fest that had one of their most impressive line-ups ever) announced their awards. The remainder of the 2015 fest circuit looks to be a plentiful, diverse porridge, with many of the world’s most renowned auteurs’ sporting brand new titles. While many prognosticators will be sharing the same lists, more or less, hopes are incredibly high for a handful of sure bets, and a gaggle of hopefuls. The main competition always seems easier to postulate, though Thierry Fremaux always throws a few curves, (After the Battle in 2012, The Hunt in 2013 or last year’s Timbuktu, which won the Cesar for Best Picture recently, are a couple ready examples of under-the-radar titles).
Italy seems primed for saturation at the fest. »
- Nicholas Bell
Kicking off the I for Iran: A History of Iranian Cinema by Its Creators on March 5th is a short film program introduced by Roya Akbari, an actress from Kiarostami’s acclaimed film Ten. A filmmaker in her own right, her poetic short Only Image Remains headlines the day’s programming and initiates a month long series on Iranian cinema. Over the course of the month a variety of films that have helped define Iranian cinema will be screened, many of which are rarely seen due to rigorous domestic censorship and poor international distribution.
The series originated last year during the Fribourg International Film Festival 2014 after Artistic Director Thierry Jobin invited 14 contemporary Iranian filmmakers including Asghar Farhadi, Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof , and Mohsen Makhmalbaf to select their favourite films from the entire history of Iranian cinema. Fribourg sought to present as many of these films as possible at the festival, »
- Justine Smith
Abderrahmane Sissako The director of one of the most acclaimed films in last year’s Cannes Film Festival Competition Abderrahmane Sissako who made Oscar-nominated Timbuktu, returns to the Croisette this May (13 to 24) for the 68th edition as president of the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury.
The Mauritanian director follows in the wake of illustrious predecessors in the role among them Abbas Kiarostami, Jane Campion, Michel Gondry, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Martin Scorsese. The juries judge students films and shorts.
Born in Mauritania but brought up in Mali he trained in filmmaking in the Soviet Union. His films cross cultures and continents. Timbuktu represented a cry from the heart for the country of his childhood in West Africa and was perfectly balanced between hope and despair. His work has been acclaimed for its humanism and social consciousness, exploring the complex relations between North and South as well as the fate of his. »
- Richard Mowe
Abderrahmane Sissako's pastoral political drama "Timbuktu" is among the five films vying for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this weekend. In May, the director will head up the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury at the 68th Cannes Film Festival (May 13-24). The Mauritania-born Sissako follows in the footsteps of inimitable directors Abbas Kiarostami, Jane Campion, Michel Gondry, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Martin Scorsese, and more, who've held this post. Raised in Mali and trained in filmmaking in the Soviet Union, Abderrahmane Sissako's films explore the complex relations between North and South as well as the fate of a much-beleaguered Africa. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Paris– Abderrahmane Sissako, whose latest film “Timbuktu” played in competition at Cannes last year and nommed for a foreign-language Oscar, is set to return to the croisette to preside the Cinfondation and Short Films jury.
“I would never want to make a film that somebody else could make, and I want to see films that I would never make,” said the African director. “What’s important to me is the cinema of anonymity – addressing the conflicts but above all the suffering endured by anonymous people – empowering them and making them visible, testifying to their courage and their beauty. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Oscar-nominated Abderrahmane Sissako named president of the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury.
Abderrahmane Sissako, who was in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival with Timbuktu, is to return for the 68th edition of the festival (May 13-24) as the president of the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury.
Born in Mauritania but brought up in Mali and trained in filmmaking in the Soviet Union – at the Moscow Vgik – Sissako’s films explore the complex relations between North and South of Africa.
The Game, directed by Sissako during his final year at film school, was presented at Cannes Critics’ Week in 1991, followed two years later by the medium-length Octobre, at Un Certain Regard.
Life on Earth and Waiting for Happiness, both featured in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 1998 and Un Certain Regard in 2002.
Bamako, a political »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
I absolutely find that my ideas develop as I'm writing rather than before. In fact, this is what inspired me to start writing about film over ten years ago: in the moment, spoken out loud, I still haven't fully processed my thoughts and feelings. Or, perhaps more precisely, I can't find the words until I'm writing. What I fear—in fact I know—is that despite being able to write better than I speak about film, I think even the writings, the words, don't quite capture the thought or sensation. It stands for something close, but not quite.
With that in mind, there's no better film to begin the festival with, no more evocative way to inaugurate 11 days of movies than with The Forbidden Room. Canadian director Guy Maddin and co-director Evan Johnson have made a feverish collage of false extracts from old movies, a half forgotten, groggily recalled, »
- Daniel Kasman
Can a filmmaker under house arrest make any more defiant a gesture than by directing a bonafide road movie? Such is the question implicitly posed by “Taxi,” the third surreptitious film a clef directed by Iran’s Jafar Panahi since his 2010 conviction on charges of conspiring to create anti-Islamic propaganda. For an exceptionally lithe, inventive 80 minutes (staged in simulated real time), Panahi himself drives a taxi through the busy streets of Tehran, picking up various passengers who serve as conduits for a provocative discussion of Iranian social mores and the art of cinematic storytelling. Although there’s nothing terribly new to what Panahi is saying or how he goes about saying it, the fact that he’s able to say it at all is no small feat: a victory that should ensure “Taxi” makes many more stops around the world before returning to the garage.
When an artist in any »
- Scott Foundas
Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy »
- Steve Montgomery
Iranian writer-director Reza Mirkarimi’s Today, Iran’s Oscar submission, has been screening at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) this week.
Speaking at Iffr (Jan 21-Feb 1), Mirkarimi gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the Iranian film industry.
Under President Hassan Rouhani, he said, the filmmakers have been allowed to re-establish “The House Of Cinema,” the syndicate/guild to which almost every Iranian filmmaker and technician belongs. This is the non-governmental institution that defends filmmakers’ rights.
The syndicate was closed in 2011 when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still in power but was re-opened under Rouhani in 2013. Meanwhile, Iranian directors are finding it easier to get their movies into cinemas - not least because of the lack of Hollywood competition.
“There is a supportive politics in Iranian cinema which does not allow American movies to be shown in the theatres,” he said. “The cinemas work for Iranian movie makers. Art movies have more opportunity to be shown.”
The director »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
The Killers Inside Me: The Mo Bros’ International Serial Spree
Directing duo Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, better known as the Mo Brothers, team for the slice and dice serial killer thriller Killers, which should at least get credit for being a bit more psychologically advanced than one might otherwise assume. Produced by a variety of notables, including Gareth Evans and Sion Sono (you’d be forgiven if the hyper-choreographed bits of bloody violence didn’t remind you several times of either of those more infamous, stylized directors) and with its two leads hailing from The Raid 2, there’s certainly a core audience for this type of material from which the Mo Brothers do not deviate, though its violence as mindset motif seems to prize subtexts we often find swimming in the carnage of Sono’s films. Women, as are often the case in these hyperviolent explorations of the devious masculine id, »
- Nicholas Bell
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