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"The second-to-last interview that Pier Paolo Pasolini gave before he was murdered in 1975 (a case that still remains mysterious) and that was long believed lost has turned up," reports the New Yorker's Richard Brody. "Eric Loret and Robert Maggiori tell the story in Libération — Pasolini was introducing his work in Sweden, a round-table discussion was recorded for broadcast, then held, then lost, until his Swedish translator, Carl Henrik Svenstedt, recently found his personal recording of the talk. The Italian weekly L'Espresso has published a partial transcript of the discussion, along with the audio recording." And he's got excerpts. For example: "I consider consumerism to be a Fascism worse than the classical one, because clerical Fascism didn't really transform Italians, didn't enter into them. It was a totalitarian state but not a totalizing one."
In other news. "This month Offscreen groups together (four of the five) essays that attempt to illuminate »
by Vadim Rizov
A Separation literally makes the viewer judge its protagonists: in the opening scene, wife Simin (Leila Hatami) pleads for a divorce from husband Nader (Peyman Maadi). The Pov is the judge's, who skeptically asks why an Iranian woman would possibly want her daughter to grow up anywhere else. The offscreen interrogator/filmmaker is a familiar figure in Iranian cinema, with Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi often breaking the fourth walls in their films, often directly appearing (and/or heard off-camera) asking their characters questions. Kiarostami's seemingly given up on making films in Iran at all, while Panahi's imprisoned; for many, Iranian cinema's currently more associated right now with its absentees than actual films. But writer-director Asghar Farhadi's now completed five features, carefully disavowing any political intent in interviews. "There's a difference between intentions and message," a typical feint to The New York Times went. “My intention »
Though not as well known outside Iran as Abbas Kiarostami or Jafar Panahi, writer-director Asghar Farhadi has been steadily building an impressive cinematic resume since graduating from Tehran University in 1998 with a degree in dramatic arts. After a stint developing stage plays and TV series for Iran’s national broadcasting corporation, Farhadi co-scripted Ebrahim Hatamikia’s post-9/11 political farce Low Heights, about a desperate man who hijacks a plane carrying his wife and handicapped son. He then moved into the director’s chair with Dancing in the Dust and Beautiful City, a social-issue film concerning the archaic custom of “blood money” (under sharia, the relatives of a murdered Muslim can accept payment for legal vengeance in lieu of capital punishment for the perpetrator) that screened at Film Forum in 2006. Three years later, Farhadi won numerous awards, including the Silver Bear at the Berlinale, for About Elly, a tense, character-driven drama »
- Damon Smith
You’ve read our Top 10 Openings of 2011 and now we have the other side of the spectrum. Don’t you hate it when you walk out of the theater and just moments later you forget what happened? If this occurs during every film then I urge you to see a doctor, but most of the time it conveys how important an ending is. A great one can lead to endless discussion or can even make the preceding film just a touch better. Whether they are jarring, harmonious or anywhere in between, we’ve counted down our ten favorites of the year. Check them out below and of course, beware of spoilers.
Moments after Martin Scorsese and Ben Kingsley dropped a load of dust into the theater, we’re treated to a little coda for this incredible film. Scorsese indulges himself in another gorgeous, extended shot that sweetly »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
Ridhesh Sejpal, one of the two Indian filmmakers selected for the Asian Film Academy, alongside 16th Busan International Film Festival 2011 recounts his experiences…
A casual conversation over a cup of coffee with a fellow participant at Iffi 2010 made me aware about one of the best-kept secrets of Busan International Film Festival – The Asian Film Academy – one of the world’s biggest talent boot camp, which intends to foster young talent in Asia and create filmmakers network among the attendees.
Intrigued by what I heard about it, I quickly went through the website and was amazed to see world renowned directors such as Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), Im Kwontaek(Korea) and Kurosawa Kiyoshi(Japan) as Deans of the previous years. I was inspired to be part of the Afa.
The selection process was extremely meticulous with the first round – requiring credentials, a filmography, and an essay. Followed by the second round consisting »
- Ridhesh Sejpal
Kevin B Lee, editor of Fandor's Keyframe, has put Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy at the top of his list, and when he polled his contributors — quite a roster, too — and counted the number of mentions, Certified Copy came out on top again. Further Keyframe top tens: Michał Oleszczyk and Alejandro Adams.
Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive tops Matt Riviera's poll of Sydney film critics, and you can scan each of their ballots at A Life in Film. Drive's also scored with the Utah Film Critics, as Steve Montgomery reports at the Alt Film Guide. Peter Knegt for indieWIRE: "Tate Taylor's The Help and Dee Rees's Pariah were among the major winners at the Black Film Critics Circle's annual awards."
Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Sleeping Beauty Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks, was the Sydney Film Critics' choice for Best Film of 2011. In the United States, Drive was the top pick of the Utah Film Critics; elsewhere, most Us critics groups have gone for either Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist or Alexander Payne's The Descendants. A 2010 release (in the Us), Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan was the Sydney Critics' no. 2 movie. Natalie Portman stars as a disturbed ballerina who slowly loses her grip on reality. That was followed by two arthouse movies: Lars von Trier's Melancholia, which earned Kirsten Dunst the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, a transcendental family drama starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. The Tree of Life won this year's Palme d'Or in Cannes. »
- Steve Montgomery
She might have won her Oscar back in 1996 for her turn in Anthony Minghella's "The English Patient," but well over a decade later Juliette Binoche finds herself basking in the glow of a career all time high with acclaimed performances in a slew of art-house darlings, including Olivier Assayas' "Summer Hours," Hsiao-hsien Hou's remake "Flight of the Red Balloon," and now Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy," which won Binoche the Best Actress award at Cannes this year, and just wrapped playing at the New York Film Festival (Nyff) earlier this week. Honor Roll is a daily series for December that will feature new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-persons of some of the year's most notable cinematic voices. Today we're revisiting an interview we did with "Certified Copy" actress Juliette Binoche, who ranked among the best performances of the year in Indiewire's recent year-end poll of. »
- Ryan Adams
MTV has come up with its own list of the top ten movies of 2011, picking David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, as the very best film of the year — conveniently giving a potential box-office boost to the only movie on the list that has yet to open in North America. And you thought the latest Manoel de Oliveira effort would land in the top spot, huh? Silly you.
I should add that Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist isn't on the list. Or Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. Or Bennett Miller's Moneyball. Or even, Emma Stone and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's Bryce Dallas Howard notwithstanding, Tate Taylor's The Help. And I won't even bother mentioning Asghar Farhadi's A Separation or Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy. Oops! I just did. »
- Zac Gille
Slant's is, of course, the big list to appear since the last Briefing. From Nick Schager's introduction to the countdown of their collective top 25: "The auteurs had it in 2011, which delivered such a feast of fantastic domestic and international cinema that it's difficult to remember a year in which it was harder to compile a consensus Top 25. Nonetheless, best-of-year rankings wait for no critic, and our list is practically overflowing with films by young and old masters at the apex of their games, be it Terrence Malick's sumptuous spiritual odyssey The Tree of Life, Edward Yang's long-unreleased 1991 classic A Brighter Summer Day, or Abbas Kiarostami's formalist masterwork Certified Copy." Which lands at #1. At the House Next Door, you can scan the titles that came in between #26 and #50 as well as the individual ballots by Schager, Ed Gonzalez, Andrew Schenker, Jaime N Christley, Bill Weber, Jesse Cataldo, »
Countdown to Top Ten 2K11 is a column with one simple goal: to help you decide what films you need to see before making your end of the year top ten list. Each installment features my thoughts on a critically acclaimed 2011 movie, a sampling of other critics' reactions, the odds of the film making my own list, and the reasons why it might make yours.
Movie: "Certified Copy"
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Plot Synopsis: The author of a new book about the meaning and importance of authenticity in art (William Shimell) joins a fan (Juliette Binoche) for a tour of the Italian countryside. But their relationship might not be as simple or as casual as it first appears.
What the Critics Said: "[Like] a middle-aged 'Before Sunrise, »
- Matt Singer
Prepping today's Briefing, I realized that there's been such a deluge of year-end lists, awards and nominations for yet more awards that it's best to simply siphon them off into one entry.
The headliner today has to be the pair of "Best of 2011" lists from New York Times critics Manohla Dargis and Ao Scott. You'll find both lists rattled off in alphabetical order at the bottom of this page following a conversation of their favorites and of the state of cinema in general. Two snippets from that conversation, the first from Manohla Dargis:
In recent years smaller distributors and studio subsidiaries have become hip to the Oscar-driven seasons and adjusted accordingly. Now some of the best films turn up in the late winter, early spring. If you lived in New York between January and April, you could have seen Go Go Tales (Abel Ferrara); Cold Weather (Aaron Katz); Poetry (Lee Chang-dong »
Why Watch? Master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami delivered the Israeli/Palestinian problem as a schoolyard fight back in 1975, but its message and meaning still resonate today. Especially almost a year into the Arab Spring. Or, you know, for any situation where society clashes with society. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out Two Solutions For One Problem for yourself: Two Solutions For One Problem (1975) Trust us. You have time for more short films. »
- Cole Abaius
Two Films in Competition at Iffi 2011
Still from Nader and Simin
An art film is the result of filmmaking as a serious, independent undertaking aimed at a niche rather than mass market. Film scholars typically define ‘art films’ through those formal qualities that mark them as different from mainstream Hollywood films, which includes, among other things, a narrative dwelling upon the real problems of everyday life, an emphasis on the authorial expressivity of the director rather than generic convention and a focus on the subjectivity of the characters rather than on plot. If the art film finds it difficult to reach wide audiences, the place where it thrives is the international film festival in which films that rarely get public releases are shown to a discerning public. But the ‘discerning public’ at international film festivals may have actually helped create a new kind of cinema poorer in local significance, as »
- MK Raghvendra
San Francisco, the city that's launched a couple of dotcom booms and busts — home of Twitter, for heaven's sake — has a Critics Circle that did not live-tweet the results of their votes for all that's best in 2011, but rather, has made their announcement the old-fashioned way. They've posted it on a Web page. They've made up for it, though, with a pretty fine round of choices:
Best Picture: The Tree of Life.
In 1997 — three years before Yi Yi would introduce Edward Yang to most of those who know him at all, and ten years before Yang succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 59 — Barbara Scharres staged what was at the time a complete retrospective of his work in Chicago, prompting a pretty magnificent piece from Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Reader. He begins by imagining a "new kind of cinema" that would, as opposed to the predominant mode of proposing "various escapes from modern life," instead "lead us back into the modern world and teach us something about it." And in 1997, he was "discovering clues about this new kind of cinema in two very different places, chiefly through the films of Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf in Iran and Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang in Taiwan."
Needless to say, several intriguing paragraphs follow in which he compares and contrasts, pairs up »
ScreenDaily reports that cinema titan Abbas Kiarostami is finally rolling cameras on The End, his follow-up to this year’s acclaimed Certified Copy. First reported on in February, the film follows “the unusual relationship between a student, who works as prostitute on the side to pay for her studies, and a brilliant, elderly academic who is one her clients.”
Aoi Miyazaki was previously set to star as the student, Akiko; she’s since been replaced by Rin Takanashi. Tadashi Okuno has the role of the professor, labeled as “a man around 60 years old with verve, wit and intelligence, who can hold his own in most situations but is also capable of losing himself in a love affair with a much younger woman.”
French company MK2 and Japanese group Eurospace are producing the film, which has been called a “continuation” of Copy; how that actually applies probably won’t be clear »
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"[A]lmost as long as there's been a Hollywood in Los Angeles, there has been an off-Hollywood too, the provenance of those toiling at the edge and far outside the mainstream," writes Manohla Dargis in a historical overview for the New York Times. "It's possible to follow one thread in the off-Hollywood story, its histories, productions and personalities in Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945-1980, a six-month series coordinated by Filmforum, the longest-running avant-garde film organization in Los Angeles, and one of several moving-image programs in Pacific Standard Time. (Another, La Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, was coordinated by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where it runs until Dec 17.) An initiative of the Getty Institute, Pacific Standard Time is a sprawling collaboration of more than 60 Southern California cultural institutions that aims, as a Getty news release puts it, 'to tell the birth of the Los Angeles art scene »
"One of the most important Brazilian personalities to promote cultural resistance during the national dictatorship in the 60s and 70s, Leon Cakoff, founder of the São Paulo International Film Festival (Mostra Internacional de Cinema), died this Friday, October 14," the festival announces. "Since its first edition, Leon struggled against the censorship imposed by the Brazilian military government, bringing films into the country using the diplomatic luggage with the help from embassies and consulates. That's how the festival exhibited featured movies all the way from China, Cuba, Soviet Union, France and the farthest lands."
Cakoff was also a producer who put together the omnibus film Welcome to São Paulo, with short contributions by the likes of Caetano Veloso, Phillip Noyce, Maria de Medeiros, Daniela Thomas, Amos Gitai and Tsai Ming-liang. The 35th edition of the festival, running from this Friday through November 3, will premiere another, The Invisible World, featuring shorts by Manoel de Oliveira, »
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