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Riding in Cars with Directors: Panahi’s Continued Cinema of Resistance
Sanctioned Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi’s Taxi took home the 2015 Berlin Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, is the third consecutive secret project from the filmmaker, still in the early stages of his twenty year ban from directing. The global cinematic audience has vehemently championed Panahi’s compromised works he’s valiantly managed to assemble and sneak out of the country, beginning with 2010’s angry This is Not a Film and the equally ruminative Closed Curtain in 2013.
Surprisingly, his latest projection is quite jovial by comparison, perhaps due to Panahi’s ability to adapt to these filmmaking prohibitions, replacing his standing prison with a mobile one this time around, roving around Iran within the confines and anonymity afforded transportation vehicles. Potentially inspired by fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who frequently films sequences in moving vehicles, including the entirety of his 2002 film Ten, »
- Nicholas Bell
James Quandt in the new issue of Artforum on Jafar Panahi's Taxi: "That the director of such teeming, expansive works as The Circle (2000) and Offside (2006) should find himself limited to the confines of a car may seem lamentable, but Taxi has illustrious cab-bound ancestors, most obviously Ten (2002) by Panahi’s mentor, Abbas Kiarostami, as well as Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth (1991). And with the intrepid Panahi in the driver’s seat as both novice cabbie and veteran filmmaker, spatial restrictions predictably provide ample opportunity for formal innovation." Also today: David Bordwell on Edmund Goulding's Nightmare Alley, La Furia Umana on Manoel de Oliveira—and more. » - David Hudson »
Read More: Berlin Review: Jafar Panahi's 'Taxi' is a Unique Cinematic Masterpiece Despite living in Tehran with a 20-year ban from filmmaking, Jafar Panahi continues to produce at a more prodigious rate than most other filmmakers. "Taxi," Panahi's third feature film since his arrest by the Iranian state, sees the defiant director posing as a humble cab driver. "Taxi" is a snapshot of modern Iran, filmed entirely with dashboard cameras. While Panahi's 2011 self-reflexive "This is Not a Film" was made under house arrest, "Taxi" depicts a more mobile and playful Panahi as he continues to creatively maneuver around his ban from filmmaking. Perhaps taking after his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Kiarostami, who has also explored the public/private space of the automobile in films like "Ten," Panahi appears set to once again blur the boundaries between what is real and what is staged in "Taxi." The humorous »
- Tarek Shoukri
Everywhere you look, filmmakers are talking about how they make films — from behind-the-scenes featurettes for each episode of a cable series to now-ubiquitous YouTube interviews with directors of even the most artless action movies. So perhaps it’s no wonder that the most august of fests, the 53rd New York Film Festival, is presenting documentaries on filmmakers Brian De Palma, Nora Ephron, Haskell Wexler, Robert Frank, Jia Zhang-ke and even one-time producer Ingrid Bergman. It’s a bigger reflexive lineup than at any Nyff in recent memory.
No film embodies this trend better than “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which examines the two legendary auteurs through interviews with Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Richard Linklater and other filmmakers. Yet in a strange twist, despite garnering acclaim in Cannes, Telluride and Toronto, it was overtly snubbed by Nyff’s director, Kent Jones — who also happens to be the director of “Hitchcock/Truffaut.”
As Jones wryly notes, »
- Gregg Goldstein
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Above: Xiao Kang, a new short film by Tsai Ming-liang starring Lee Kang-shen, made as a trailer for the 2015 Viennale.Fall festival season is about to begin, and our local favorite Mill Valley Film Festival (October 8 - 18) has revealed its lineup, which includes such Notebook favorites as 45 Years, The Assassin, and Taxi.Speaking of festivals, the New York Film Festival is set to begin this weekend, and Notebook contributor Ricky D'Ambrose is premiering a new short there.Above: terrific fan posters for films by Hong Sang-soo made by Choi jee-woong. (Coincidentally, in the Us we're currently showing Hong's In Another Country and The Day He Arrives.)We love it when A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis dig into the contemporary movie climate at the New York Times. And we love even »
Venice – U.S.-based Iranian auteur Amir Naderi (“The Runner”), who is a Venice fest aficionado, will shoot his first feature in Italian, titled “Mountain,” set in a semi-abandoned village at the foothills of an Alpine peak. It follows his Japan-set “The Cut,” and “Vegas: Based on a True Story,” in competition on the Lido in 2008.
“The Cut,” which was an homage to yakuza movies, opened the fest’s Horizons section in 2011. Nader was also in Venice last year with “Mise En scene: A Conversation with Arthur Penn,” which was in the fest’s classics section.
The highly symbolic “Mountain” is set centuries ago in a village under Mount Latemar, in Italy’s Alto Adige region, where a farmer and his wife struggle with the fact that the 2,500-meter tall peak keeps the sun from shining on their crops.
“The film is one hundred percent in Italian, though, like my other movies, »
- Nick Vivarelli
South Korea’s 20th Busan International Film Festival (Biff) has announced iconic Taiwanese actress and filmmaker Sylvia Chang will lead this year’s New Currents jury.
The Golden Bear-nominated 20 30 40, which Chang directed and acted in, screened in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema section in 2004.
Joining her on the jury: Indian director Anurag Kashyap, whose critically-acclaimed innovative works include Black Friday, Dev.D and Gangs of Wasseypur I & II; German actress Nastassja Kinski, whose films include Roman Polanski’s Tess and Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; Korean director Kim Tae-yong, whose films include Memento Mori, Family Ties and Late Autumn; and Village Voice chief film critic Stephanie Zacharek.
The jury will award $30,000 each to two films in the competition for new Asian directors.
Biff will run Oct 1-10 with the Asian Film Market running Oct 3-6 this year.
- email@example.com (Jean Noh)
The “Asian Cinema 100” initiative was a joint venture by the festival and the Busan Cinema Center. They called on the opinions of 73 prominent film professionals including film critics such as Jonathan Rosenbaum, Tony Rayns and Hasumi Shigehiko, as well as festival programmers, and film directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bong Joon-ho and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Each was asked to recommend his top 10 films. That resulted in 113 selections and 106 directors (including joint rankings) for the final 100 list.
The festival will screen the top 10 films (actually 11, including equally ranked titles) and also publish a book.
Busan said it will repeat the exercise every five years. »
- Patrick Frater
In the aftermath of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, the Zurich Film Festival will make Iran the guest country of its New World View section, which will spotlight the latest generation of Iranian filmmakers.
The nuclear deal was hammered out in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The Swiss fest will showcase a dozen new features and docus by young Iranian filmmakers, who “despite strict state controls and censorship” have taken it upon themselvs “to tackle and question in an intelligent and entertaining manner the burning topics and taboos occupying Iranian society today,” it said in a statement.
While Iranian cinema draws international attention largely due to established names like Abbas Kiarostami (“Taste of Cherry”), Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) and Jafar Panahi, who won this year’s Berlin fest top prize for “Taxi,” Zurich aims to provide a platform for emerging Iranian helmers.
This younger generation includes hot young auteur Shahram Mokri, »
- Nick Vivarelli
Festival to highlight features and docs from the new generation of Iranian filmmakers.
The 11th Zurich Film Festival (Sept 24 - Oct 4) has named Iran as the guest country in its New World View section.
The programme will contain around 12 new features and documentaries from the latest generation of Iranian filmmakers.
The New World View section will also include an Iranian short film block. Further details regarding the programme have yet to be announced.
Iran has garnered international attention through the work of auteurs including Palme d’Or winner Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) and Jafar Panahi, who won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale with Taxi.
Taking the lead from those masters - and in spite of strict state controls and censorship - the latest generation of Iranian filmmakers tackle taboos in their current society. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
With the continual rise of social networking and apps like Skype, what has become of the “long distance relationship”? At the click of a mouse or the touch of anyone’s iPhone screen, you can be in touch with a loved one in mere seconds. Gone are the days of waiting anxiously to receive a letter or even the short amount of time one would take to get an e-mail. What is the nature of the modern long distance relationship?
That’s the question that director Carlos Marques-Marcet tries to dig deeply into in his newest film, entitled 10,000 km. The film introduces us to a loving young couple, Alexandra and Sergi, in the midst of making love. They’ve decided to try and have a child, only to, in the same roughly 20 minute long opening take, discover that Alexandra has been offered a gig 10,000 km away in La. Both have been moonlighting as teachers, »
- Joshua Brunsting
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Above: Nastassja Kinski & Jean-Pierre Léaud are on the poster for the 2015 Venice Film Festival.At the New York Times, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis are in dialogue reflecting on feminism and summer movies.There's a new festival in the works from producer/distributor Karin Chien, critic/curator Shelly Kraicer, and filmmaker/anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki: "Cinema on the Edge! Bestof the Beijing Indie Film Festival." With the 2014 Biff thwarted, these three are essentially transposing the festival and its films to New York this summer. They've launched a Kickstarter to support the venture.Above: Lauren Bacall in a 1943 issue of Harper's Bazaar. Via bettybecallbeauty.Film Comment's latest issue is out, and much of it is available to read online, including Kent Jones on Horse Money, reports from Cannes and Tribeca, »
A furious slew of titles in the works would seem to prophesize a robust main competition slate for Cannes 2016. Though our initial list will eventually be pruned down as the year progresses (Berlin may snag something in here, especially if their 2016 lineup looks anything like their landmark selection from this past January), we’re confident that we will be seeing another round of heavy hitting auteurs unveiling their latest bits on the Croisette.
Absent from the main competition in 2015 were the Romanians (Muntean and Porumboiu were assigned to Un Certain Regard) and any trace of Latin filmmakers. The 2016 edition looks to make up for lost ground. For the Romanians, a couple heavy hitting titans from the New Wave will be ready. Cristi Puiu, who previously won Ucr in 2005 with The Death of Mr. Lazarescu should hopefully be getting a competition invite for Sierra Nevada. Meanwhile, previous Palme d’Or winner »
- Nicholas Bell
As anyone who reads this site probably knows, there's something infectious about seeing one's love of film. It's a little hard to explain, but simply watching one talking affectionately about how various strips of celluloid affected them over the years is a fantastic way to get the blood flowing and your fingers itching to type in Netflix in the next browser tab. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend you check out the Criterion Collection's closet visit series. Whether it's Robert Downey Sr. reminiscing about past conversations with Jack Nicholson, Rudy Wurlitzer and Robert Downey Jr. while looking at copies of Two-Lane Blacktop and Easy Rider, Guillermo Del Toro gushing over their various Blu-Rays, Nicolas Winding Refn getting his day made with a copy of William Cameron Menzies' Things to Come or Bill Hader deep admiration of Nobuhiko Obayashi's House, each of these videos are fun little »
- Will Ashton
At the moment, Michael Cera is in London kicking off a UK tour as part of Alden Penner's band, but before he went abroad to exercise his musical chops, the actor stopped by The Criterion Collection, dipped into its archives, and came up with some surprising selections. Read More: Review: 'Magic Magic' Starring Michael Cera, Juno Temple & Emily Browning The actor showed off his arthouse knowledge, selecting Yasujiro Ozu's "Good Morning," Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up," along with the Eclipse set "The Actuality Dramas Of Allan King" (the color design which Cera hilariously notes matches his shirt). But for his final pick, Cera opts for Sydney Pollack's classic "Tootsie." The actor has some pretty nice insights on all the titles, and it's worth spending a quick five minutes to check out the movies you might not expect Cera to champion. Watch below. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
It may seem unusual for a renowned film director to suddenly switch mediums and helm an opera, but such a thing has happened a number of times before: for example, Woody Allen has directed Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” for the Los Angeles Opera; legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has helmed Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” for the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Julie Taymor has directed Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as the Broadway musical adaptations of "The Lion King" and "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark"; Roman Polanski has helmed Verdi's “Rigoletto” for the Bavarian State Opera; William Friedkin has directed a version of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”; and Werner Herzog has helmed a number of Wagner productions including “Doktor Faust,” “The Flying Dutchman” and “Parsifal”. Read More: Terry Gilliam: My Life In Eight Movies Terry Gilliam is among this elite group, »
- Timothy Tau
"There was no better filmmaker working at the dawn of the twenty-first century than Abbas Kiarostami," argued Michael J. Anderson in 2009. Today, we celebrate the renowned Iranian filmmaker's 75th birthday by linking to a few essential essays, such as Michael Sicinski's on Certified Copy and Jonathan Rosenbaum's dialogue with Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa on Shirin, and flagging the new issue of the excellent magazine, Fireflies. We've got a snippet from an interview in which Kiarostami suggests that The Report, Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love might constitute a trilogy. Meantime, his next film will be out in 2016. » - David Hudson »
If you happened to attend this year’s Midnight Sun Film Festival in northern Finland — one of those bucket-list destinations for the handful of globe-trotting movie lovers who’ve heard of it — you might have allowed yourself to be hypnotized by all five-and-a-half hours of “From What Is Before,” Lav Diaz’s black-and-white historical epic about the collapse of a barrio in his native Philippines. Then again, you might have opted for the more manageable endurance test of “L’il Quinquin,” Bruno Dumont’s 197-minute comic miniseries about murder in a small French village, or perhaps sampled one of three two-hour installments of Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights,” a recent critical sensation at Cannes.
These are films that, if you give yourself over to their dense narratives and marathon running times, can dramatically alter how you experience the passage of time. As such, they made for ideal viewing at »
- Justin Chang
Earlier this year, Nandana Sen represented India on the International Jury of the Pune Film Festival; Nandana is now in Austria, serving on the World Feature Film Jury of the Innsbruck International Film Festival, the largest festival of the region. But being elected to film juries is not new to Nandana, who has previously served on prestigious juries such as the Roma Fiction Fest, and Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (along with Abbas Kiarostami, no less).
Coincidentally, the only Indian film selected by Innsbruck is Ketan Mehta’s recently released critical success Rang Rasiya, starring Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen, which earned the controversial actress a Kalakar Award for Best Actress. When asked why he selected Rang Rasiya, Festival Director Helmut Groschup responded, “Rang Rasiya is the best Indian film I saw in the last year. It opens our European eyes to Indian culture in a non-exotic way, and the »
- Press Releases
A former critic for The Playlist, Chris Bell fulfills the promise of the observant, patient lens he wielded in shorts such as Bridges with his feature length character study, The Winds That Scatter. Baring more in common with the films of the great Abbas Kiarostami than say your average Brooklyn-based filmmaker, The Winds That Scatter follows a Syrian immigrant named Ahmad as he moves from job to job in nondescript New Jersey. Primarily structured in long takes and slow-burning, affecting episodes, The Winds That Scatter will have its world premiere at the Northside Film Festival next Wednesday at UnionDocs. Filmmaker: You’ve spoken about wanting to create something […] »
- Sarah Salovaara
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