19 items from 2015
Very few movements in film history have been as rewarding, and yet as undervalued among film fans, as that of the New German Cinema. With names like Rainer Werner Fassbinder now beginning to be muttered in broad collections of film fans, the world of German filmmaking that came to light in the late 1960s has birthed some of the greatest auteurs of its generation, even a handful that are still turning out some of their best work. Most notably filmmakers like Werner Herzog have transitioned from this movement into worlds that they themselves have broken the ground on.
Same could be said for one Wim Wenders.
Best known for masterpieces like Wings Of Desire and Paris, Texas, the filmmaker is to this day pushing the boundaries of what cinema can do. With 3D films like Pina and his startlingly poignant Salt Of The Earth, Wenders has had a more than productive career spanning 5 decades, »
- Joshua Brunsting
August 25 will be a big night for Academy board members: That’s when they select 2015 recipients of the Governors Awards.
According to the website, AMPAS encourages members of the Academy to weigh in. They didn’t say anything about non-members, but why not? Movie fans have strong ideas too.
So here are some proposals: Michael Apted, whose range includes the “Seven Up!” docus to “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Tsui Hark, a key figure in Asia’s action films; Richard Lester, the influential director; documaker extraordinaire Frederick Wiseman; and actress-director Jeanne Moreau. Incredibly, none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. And how about activist Rob Reiner for the Hersholt?
Variety exec editor Steven Gaydos also offers some stellar names for consideration: Gilles Jacob, who led the Cannes Fest for decades; producer-casting pro Fred Roos, whose groundbreaking credits include “The Godfather” and “American Graffiti”; Brit filmmaker Ken Loach; American actress Gena Rowlands »
- Tim Gray
Despite it being the directorial debut of five times Oscar nominated cinematographer William A. Fraker, 1970’s revisionist Western Monte Walsh isn’t as well remembered as it possibly should be. Prizing characterization over narrative and ignoring the usual set of genre highlights until its third act, it’s a mellow, melancholy bit of nostalgia about the last days of the Old West. Sporting a handsome cast and imbued with the right touch of technical appropriations, it’s a rather humble offering following on the footsteps of iconic juggernauts of the genre, like True Grit or The Wild Bunch, both of which premiered the year prior. Awards glory and controversial depictions of violence launched those films into the zeitgeist, but Fraker’s has remained an obscure item rooted in realistic, low key tendencies.
- Nicholas Bell
(Orson Welles, 1965; Mr Bongo Films, PG)
Throughout his life, Orson Welles was fascinated by Shakespeare – studying and editing the texts (usually pretty drastically), directing them and performing them on the stage and in the cinema. His third and final Shakespeare film, Chimes at Midnight, was the completion of a project first embarked on when a schoolboy in 1930 as Five Kings, a conflation of plays about the Wars of the Roses. It was eventually shot over a year in Spain with money conned out of a Spanish producer, who believed that Welles was simultaneously directing on the same sets and location the Shakespearean Chimes at Midnight (a potentially unprofitable venture) and a new version of Stevenson’s Treasure Island (a far more commercial prospect) with himself as Long John Silver. In fact, not a foot of the adventure movie was made, though Welles did play Long John in 1972 in a rarely seen Spanish-Italian production. »
- Philip French
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Suzanne Flon, Michel Simon, Wolfgang Preiss, Albert Rémy, Charles Millot, Richard Münch, Jacques Marin, Paul Bonifas, Jean Bouchaud, Donald O’Brien, Jean-Pierre Zola, Arthur Brauss | Written by Franklin Coen, Frank Davis | Directed by John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn (uncredited)
What is more precious, art or human life? Your first reaction is probably to say human life and that would be the most logical answer, but for cultural worth the answer may not be so easy. During World War 2 precious works of art were stolen and still to this day are found and become big news. Arrow Academy’s latest Burt Lancaster release The Train creates a story loosely based on real life events, looking at the protection of French masterpieces, and the human cost of war.
In 1944 during the last gasps of Germany’s occupation of France, art lover and fanatical Nazi Colonel »
- Paul Metcalf
For anyone who says Orson Welles made one good movie and never did again, you are a horribly misinformed person. Welles was a genius, pushing what the medium could do with nearly every film he made. One of these gems has been criminally under seen, mainly due to the fact it is extremely difficult to find. This is his ode to one of William Shakespeare's greatest creations, Falstaff. The film: Chimes at Midnight. It will be screening across the world throughout the month of May in theaters. You can look here to see if it is playing near you. Thankfully, it is playing here in Austin. Following those screenings, Chimes at Midnight will hit DVD and Blu-ray on June 29. I, for one, am extremely excited about this, though, the home release seems to be only for the UK... for now... Hopefully Kino, Olive, Cohen or Criterion will pick it up for a U. »
- Mike Shutt
Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson on the Oscars' Red Carpet Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson at the Academy Awards Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson are seen above arriving at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony, held on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 95-year-old Wallach had received an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November 2010. See also: "Doris Day Inexplicably Snubbed by Academy," "Maureen O'Hara Honorary Oscar," "Honorary Oscars: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo Among Rare Women Recipients," and "Hayao Miyazaki Getting Honorary Oscar." Delayed film debut The Actors Studio-trained Eli Wallach was to have made his film debut in Fred Zinnemann's Academy Award-winning 1953 blockbuster From Here to Eternity. Ultimately, however, Frank Sinatra – then a has-been following a string of box office duds – was cast for a pittance, getting beaten to a pulp by a pre-stardom Ernest Borgnine. For his bloodied efforts, Sinatra went on »
- D. Zhea
Manoel de Oliveira, the oldest living active filmmaker, with a career that spanned nine decades from the silent era to the present, has died. He was 106. News of Oliveira’s death was confirmed on the website for the city of Porto, Portugal, where the director was born in 1908.
As impressive as his longevity was, Oliveira is most highly regarded as the dean of Portuguese cinema and the filmmaker most responsible for heightening the prestige of his country’s film culture on the world stage.
His work drew considerable accolades — he received no fewer than 12 career achievement prizes from major film festivals, including a career Venice Golden Lion and a special jury prize (for 1991’s “The Divine Comedy”) as well as a Cannes jury prize for his 1999 film “The Letter” — but distribution of Oliveira’s films, especially in the U.S., was relatively limited given his well-honed practice of adapting highly literary texts, »
- Robert Koehler
Spring in New York comes alive with Haute Couture on Film featuring the work of Hubert de Givenchy in Stanley Donen's Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson, presented by Eye For Film's Anne-Katrin Titze on April 7.
See creations by Pierre Cardin in Jacques Demy's Bay Of Angels (La Baie Des Anges) with Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann, Paul Guers and Henri Nassiet. Emanuel Ungaro made the clothes for Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes' Gloria with Julie Carmen and Buck Henry. Coco Chanel in Jean Renoir's The Rules Of The Game (La Règle Du Jeu) dressed Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély and Odette Talazac. Be dazzled by Christian Dior in Jean Negulesco's How To Marry A Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall. Yves Saint Laurent's »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret. The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to »
- Andre Soares
Lea Seydoux is having a pretty good time right now, hanging out with James Bond in the new movie Spectre. But before we have a chance to see her running around next to Daniel Craig, we can see her in Benoît Jacquot’s new adaptation of the Octave Mirbeau novel, The Diary of a Chambermaid.
The film features Seydoux as the titular chambermaid Celestine, who joins a new household and becomes the object of lust for her older employer…much to the chagrin of her mistress. The maid is aware of the seductive power she wields, but winds up caught in the power struggles going on within the marriage and the household.
The Diary of a Chambermaid has already seen two adaptations, one by French auteur Jean Renoir, and the other by master surrealist Luis Bunuel. The latter is among the better known of the two, taking the novel’s themes of sex, »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Nearly two decades into a career that has since spanned nearly seven, Jeanne Moreau had already worked under the direction of Godard, Malle, Welles, Antonioni, Demy, Ophüls, Frankenheimer and Buñuel, among others, by the time she collaborated again with François Truffaut, who had previously helped make her a star with Jules and Jim. Their third collaboration (the first being 400 Blows), The Bride Wore Black, a psycho-thriller inspired by the work of his hero Alfred Hitchcock again put her in the spotlight, this time as a vengeful seductress to which Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman’s Bride of Kill Bill is much indebted to (though the homage crazed auteur claims to have never seen the film). With incredible bipolar turns, Moreau plays Julie Kohler, a widow on a mission to take revenge on the five men (including Claude Rich, Michel Bouquet, Michael Lonsdale, Daniel Boulanger and Charles Denner) responsible for the death of her husband. »
- Jordan M. Smith
There are 195 individuals nominated for Oscar this year. And when the winners are named Feb. 22, they will become part of film history, joining such greats as Billy Wilder, Ingrid Bergman, Ben Hecht and Walt Disney.
But 80% of the contenders will go home empty-handed. However, there is good news: They are in good company as well.
Here is a sampling of nominees that didn’t win: “Citizen Kane,” “Chinatown” and “Star Wars”; directors Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman; writers Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett, John Steinbeck, Graham Greene, Harold Pinter and David Mamet; actors Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Blvd.”; Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; and Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
They managed to do Ok, though.
- Tim Gray
Sold by Elle Driver, “Diary” is directed by Benoit Jacquot (Farewell, My Queen”). Deal was negotiated by Cmg senior VP John Kochman and Elle Driver co-founder Adeline Fontan Tessaur. Pic is set for a late 2015 U.S. theatrical release.
Set in the French provinces in the early part of the last century, “Diary” stars Seydoux as Celestine, an ambitious new chambermaid at the Lanlaire household who rebuffs her master’s advances, endures the authoritarian Madame Lanlaire, and falls for an enigmatic gardener, Joseph (Vincent Lindon, “Bastards,” “The School of Flesh”).
- John Hopewell
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
Luis Buñuel movies on TCM tonight (photo: Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle de Jour') The city of Paris and iconoclastic writer-director Luis Buñuel are Turner Classic Movies' themes today and later this evening. TCM's focus on Luis Buñuel is particularly welcome, as he remains one of the most daring and most challenging filmmakers since the invention of film. Luis Buñuel is so remarkable, in fact, that you won't find any Hollywood hipster paying homage to him in his/her movies. Nor will you hear his name mentioned at the Academy Awards – no matter the Academy in question. And rest assured that most film critics working today have never even heard of him, let alone seen any of his movies. So, nowadays Luis Buñuel is un-hip, un-cool, and unfashionable. He's also unquestionably brilliant. These days everyone is worried about freedom of expression. The clash of civilizations. The West vs. The Other. »
- Andre Soares
Paris– Benoit Jacquot, a French New Wave-inspired director whose career spans nearly forty years, returned to the forefront of the international film scene with Lea Seydoux starrer “Farewell, My Queen,” a critical hit that competed at Berlin in 2012 and earned 10 Cesar (France’s Oscar equivalent) nominations. This year, Jacquot will be back at the fest with “Diary of a Chambermaid,” another period drama toplining rising French star Seydoux and repped by Elle Driver in international markets. Addressing social and political themes that are still relevant today, the film follows a young and ambitious woman who worked as a chambermaid for wealthy families at the turn of the 20th century. An adaptation of Octave Mirbeau’s novel, “Chambermaid” is produced by Jean-Pierre Guerin’s new Jpg Prods. and Kristina Larsen at Les Films du Lendemain. The novel has already been brought to the bigscreen in 1946, with Jean Renoir’s Hollywood-set English-language makeover, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Riding high after the tremendous success of his 1969 hit "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," Paul Mazursky kicked off the ’70s with this self-indulgent ode to his own creative block. Not coincidentally, Alex concerns the travails of a director trying to top his last hit. Felliniesque in the worst way (even though the great director cameos), the film nevertheless features a stellar cast including Donald Sutherland, Jeanne Moreau and a special appearance by Larry Edmund’s Bookshop. »
- Trailers From Hell
Journal d’une femme de chambre
French auteur Benoit Jacquot tends to get overlooked, though his recent international success with Berlin premiered Farewell, My Queen (2012) seems to have boosted his status, even though he’s been making excellent films since the 1970s and used to serve as Assistant Director to Margeurite Duras (India Song; Nathalie Granger). He’s worked several times with Isabelle Huppert (The School of Flesh; Keep It Quiet; False Servant; Villa Amalia) and Isild Le Besco (A Tout de Suite; Deep in the Woods), and generally tends to favor female perspectives. His latest, 3 Hearts, competed in Venice and starred Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Chiara Mastroianni. We’re thrilled to see he’s following in the footsteps of Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel with an update of Octave Mirabeau’s Diary of a Chambermaid, reuniting him with the exciting Lea Seydoux, »
- Nicholas Bell
19 items from 2015
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