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The French New Wave, that cinematic movement from the 1960s that essentially defined iconoclasm for film, has undoubtedly had its impact on nearly everything, from film to music to style. And given its indelible impact on cultural history, it’s one of the easiest artistic movements to pull from, as demonstrated from three key music videos inspired by, ripped off from, and celebrating the auteurs from Godard to Truffaut.
There’s a bit of irony and wordplay going on here. First, the band’s name is Nouvelle Vague, nodding to both the French New Wave and the New Wave in music during the 1980s. Then there’s the name of the album that the French cover band chose to use: Bande à Part, from the Jean-Luc Godard film of the same name. Then there’s the actual music video. Rather than go about “creating” a music video for their single, »
- Kyle Turner
In today's roundup of news and views, Grady Hendrix writes up a terrific appreciation of Kinji Fukasaku; Film Comment's pulled up from its archives remembrances of Luis Buñuel by Michel Piccoli, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Bulle Ogier and Franco Nero; Chris Marker is remembered on his birthday; in 1962, Studs Terkel interviewed Jacques Tati; Thom Andersen writes about Francesco Vezzoli; Nina Menkes reports on this year's Jerusalem Film Festival; Matt Zoller Seitz remembers James Shigeta; and more. » - David Hudson »
Exclusive: The Battle of Sevastopol among ten projects being presented next week.
Sergei Mokritsky’s biopic-war drama The Battle of Sevastopol (working title) is among ten projects being presented as ‘works in progress’ at next week’s Film Industry Office programme (July 14-17), taking place during the fifth Odessa International Film Festival (July 11-19).
The €3.6m Ukrainian-Russian co-production between Kiev-based Kinorob and Russia’s New People had been pitched during last year’s Industry Office programme in Odessa, and has been shooting in Kiev and Odessa after an initial shoot on the Crimea at the end of the last year.
The historical drama centres on the life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko who killed over 300 Nazis during the Second World War as a highly decorated sniper.
Yulia Peresild has been cast as Pavlichenko, who enjoyed a 16-year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt (played here by UK actress Joan Blackham) and inspired a song written by the legendary folk singer [link=nm »
- email@example.com (Martin Blaney)
The Shadow Knows: Oliveira’s latest a Stringent Meditation on Sacrifice
Inevitably, any discussion pertaining to recent work from Portuguese director Manoel de Oliviera will make mention of the fact that he’s currently the world’s oldest filmmaker at the age of 105. He shows little sign of slowing down, with a short film currently in development and another feature he’s currently trying to fund. After playing the festival circuit in 2012, his latest, Gebo and the Shadow, is an adaptation of a stage play by Raul Brandao, finally landing in theaters, though playing solely in one theater in New York City. It’s a pity it won’t have a wider platform, considering the film’s rather ascetic beauty as well as its bleak examination of poverty and familial sacrifices, made all the more accessible (at least compared to his last effort, 2010’s The Strange Case of Anjelica) with iconic actors like Michael Lonsdale, »
- Nicholas Bell
After finally securing 1961’s La Notte as part of the Criterion line-up, we’re treated to a new restoration and Blu-ray transfer of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, which originally graced the collection back in 2005. The final chapter of the unofficial “Incommunicability Trilogy,” it is, perhaps, the most ‘sex positive’ chapter of the erotomania that partially defines the crumbling of the troubling social orders at hand, and it certainly has a more vibrant energy than the previous films, beginning with 1960’s L’Avventura. As far as narrative goes, however, this may possibly be the most oblique of the three films, meandering through possibilities before delivering a confounding final seven minutes that are as strikingly at odds with the rest of the feature as well as confoundingly, maddeningly riveting.
A beautiful woman, Vittoria (Monica Vitti), tiredly pads back and forth in her lover’s (Fernando Rabal) apartment, a fan providing the »
- Nicholas Bell
Blu-ray Release Date: June 10, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
The Train stars Burt Lancaster (Sweet Smell of Success) as a workaday World War II-era French trainman charged with ensuring that a cargo of irreplaceable French art—the pride and heritage of his nation—is not allowed to leave France, despite the machinations of a Nazi officer (Paul Scofield, A Man for All Seasons) determined to steal these great works for Germany.
Sounds a bit Monuments Men-ish, doesn’t it?
Also starring Jeanne Moreau (La Notte) and Michel Simon (L’Atalante), and featuring compelling black-and-white cinematography by Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz and a thrilling score by Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia), The Train remains one of the icons of Sixties cinema. »
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $124.95
French director Jacques Demy launched his glorious feature filmmaking career in the Sixties, a decade of astonishing invention in his national cinema. He stood out from the crowd of his fellow New Wavers, however, by filtering his self-conscious formalism through deeply emotional storytelling. Fate and coincidence, doomed love, and storybook romance surface throughout his films, many of which are further united by the intersecting lives of characters who either appear or are referenced across titles.
Six of Demy’s films are collected in The Essential Jacques Demy. Ranging from musical to melodrama to fantasia, all are triumphs of visual and sound design, camera work, and music, and they are galvanized by the great stars of French cinema at their centers, including Anouk Aimée (8 1/2), Catherine Deneuve (Belle de Jour), and Jeanne Moreau (Jules and Jim).
The six works here, made »
Love triangles in cinema are as old as cinema itself, but most play out along a few generally similar lines. Few take a path so unique as the course taken in François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, a landmark of the French New Wave, a film that on one hand may seem like a light-hearted romance but on the other hand hits notes of great sadness and ugliness in the realism emblematic of the movement. My Jules and Jim Criterion Blu-ray review after the jump. Jules and Jim begins in pre-World War I Paris, when Austrian Jules (Oskar Werner) and Frenchman Jim (Henri Serre) meet and immediately bond over a shared love of art and women. The closest of friends, they share everything. Watching a slide-show, they both become entranced with the smile of a particular statue and subsequently seek out the statue itself, promising to take action if ever »
During his time as head of Screen One at the BBC, in 1991 I pitched Richard Broke a project called A Foreign Field, with an ageing cast that included Alec Guinness, Leo McKern, Lauren Bacall and Jeanne Moreau. "I'd better commission that now" said Richard, "or they'll all croak before we shoot it."
Throughout the production, in France and at Pinewood, Richard's impish humour and gossipy good fun sustained the whole cast and crew.
Continue reading »
- Martyn Auty
Estonian filmmaker Ilmar Raag comes to Tribeca with "I Won't Come Back," a drama about a woman on the run. Known for "Love is Blind" and "A Lady in Paris," Raag returns to Russia to create a work he promises is "something that would get your heart beating." Tell us about yourself? I probably did too many things before starting to make movies. I studied history, film economy, television in Estonia, in France and in the States. I worked as journalist and as television executive. It all took almost too long before I decided to do only things that I want to do. So, in a way, I started my life only in 2007 with the film "The Class". 5 years later I managed to release my second film "A Lady in Paris", shot in France with Jeanne Moreau. And only then I was ready for real adventures. Biggest challenge coming into the project? »
Memo: To George Clooney
Your Clooney movie machine is purring along smoothly, George, with “Gravity,” which you co-produced, poised to reap further largesse from the Oscars. You will shortly start “Tomorrowland,” a sci-fi megapic from director Brad Bird. And “Monuments Men” has opened to respectable numbers in the U.S., and aspires to stronger ones overseas.
But before we gloss over that last movie. … As a filmmaker who has feasted off worshipful reviews for most of your career, George, the critical whiplash that greeted “Monuments Men” surely took you by surprise. I hope so anyway, because this might be a good moment for you to reassess a key aspect of your filmmaking strategy.
The WWII-set film, which you wrote, directed and starred in, offers a compelling story, a noble message and an inspired cast. Trouble is, it’s a dark war movie haphazardly married to an unwieldy comedy caper. It »
- Peter Bart
In spanning eight decades, Marcel Ophuls’ filmed autobiography “Ain’t Misbehavin’” incorporates a wide array of approaches: nostalgia-filled interviews with celebrated contemporaries, whimsical excerpts from Hollywood films, samplings from his own and his father’s oeuvres, and jaunts to the sites of past traumas and triumphs. Ophuls obviously greatly relishes his role as cosmopolitan raconteur, but his spontaneous delivery can feel over-rehearsed, his focus erratic. Film buffs will doubtless appreciate his imaginative use of free-associative film clips and anecdotes about Preston Sturges, Marlene Dietrich and Francois Truffaut, but “Misbehavin’” ultimately seems too patchy to resonate with wider audiences.
Ophuls’ remembrance of his early life offers a nearly miraculous confluence of personal, cinematic and world history. As the son of famed German-Jewish director Max Ophuls, who left Germany for France and from there escaped to Hollywood, young Marcel found himself at the center of international film production as well as the Holocaust, »
- Ronnie Scheib
Dallas Buyers Club (15)
What McConaughey loses in body mass he gains in compassion in this drawn-from-real-life drama, which cleverly disguises its awards-friendliness beneath thespian commitment and non-issue-movie storytelling. Diagnosed with Aids in 1980s Texas, McConaughey's rodeo-loving electrician takes matters into his own hands and devises his own grey-market treatment programme for the ravaged gay community (in partnership with Leto's lovable transgender cohort, Rayon). The authorities don't approve; the Academy probably will.
The Invisible Woman (12A)
Working to Claire Tomalin's biography, Fiennes gives us a tale of two Dickenses: the charismatic literary celebrity and the self-absorbed love rat. But the passion of his secret affair with Jones's teenage actor is smothered by repression, »
- Steve Rose
Directed by François Truffaut
In François Truffaut’s debut feature, The 400 Blows, widely seen as the flagship production of the French Nouvelle Vague, or “New Wave,” he was able to convey a representation of youth in a very specific era and, at that time, in a very unique way. Autobiographical as the 1959 film was, it also featured a notable vitality and honesty, two traits that would distinguish several of these French films from the late 1950s and into the ’60s. While The 400 Blows was an earnest and refreshing portrayal of adolescence, in some ways, Truffaut’s 1962 feature, Jules and Jim, his third, feels even more youthful, in terms of stylistic daring and energetic exuberance. Though dealing with adults and serious adult situations, Jules and Jim exhibits a formal sense of unbridled glee, with brisk editing, amusing asides, »
- Jeremy Carr
Louis Malle's brash debut, now on rerelease, about a wealthy married woman who hatches a criminal plot is a brilliant, preposterous slice of noir suspense
Two years before Breathless, before Godard was talking about needing a girl and a gun, 26-year-old Louis Malle unveiled this brash debut: a brilliant, preposterous slice of noir-suspense realism and Highsmithian mistaken identity, imbued with the poetry of romantic despair, mostly voiced directly into the camera by Jeanne Moreau – a captivating kind of choric-fatale, with dark sensuous shadows under the eyes. She is a wealthy married woman, Mme Florence Cabala, who in this era when capital punishment (the "scaffold") was very much on France's statute book, hatches the imperfect crime with her lover, ex‑paratrooper Julien (Maurice Ronet). Chaotically, their paths cross with gamine florist's assistant, Véronique (Yori Bertin), and her teen boyfriend, Louis (Georges Poujouly). They are the younger generation, contemptuous of their »
- Peter Bradshaw
I don't remember the first time I watched Fran?ois Truffaut's Jules and Jim, but I remember appreciating it though not loving it. Watching it again on Criterion's new Blu-ray release (buy it here) I feel a greater level of respect, but the film almost feels clinical to me more than anything else. As Truffaut tells the story of a love triangle between Jules (Oskar Werner), Jim (Henri Serre) and the free-spirited Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) I couldn't help but feel that each scene is a masterclass in filmmaking, though almost to a fault. Frequently cited as one of the best films ever made, and I assume many would argue Truffaut's best film, though I'm sure admirers of The 400 Blows would beg to differ, Jules and Jim is an adaptation of Henri-Pierre Roche's novel, which Truffaut clearly adored as evidenced by the multitude of interview segments included on this disc. »
- Brad Brevet
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Based on a true story, "Dbc" stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a good old boy diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. He begins importing non-fda approved drugs into the Us to treat himself and begins selling them to other people living with HIV as part of a buyers club. Jared Leto plays his business partner and friend Rayon, a transgender woman who also has HIV.
Why We're In: Although "Dbc" has been criticized for some of its more liberal interpretation of the facts, strong performances have earned this movie six Oscar nominations.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Jules and Jim" (Criterion)
Why We're In: The movie »
- Jenni Miller
Directed by Louis Malle.
A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his adulterer, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.
The stuck-in-a-lift plot device grabs your attention. The opening action-sequence of Speed; Emilio Estevez’s short-lived role in Mission: Impossible and the Shyamalan-penned Devil. The claustrophobic, metallic space automatically creates a sense of urgency and tension. The silver-box, hanging by a taught, tight wire seems so fragile and yet it remains the spine of the modern skyscraper – who would walk up so many flights of stairs and remain, effortlessly cool?
- Gary Collinson
Rereleased this week, Louis Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold remains an enduring example of the invigorating cinema produced in France during the late 1950’s. A sophisticated noir, punctuated by a vivacious score courtesy of jazz legend Miles Davis, Lift to the Scaffold is teeming with the type of aesthetic and narrative innovations that would contribute to the future development of French cinema.
Ex-paratrooper Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) is seen leaving his office, not conventionally through the door, but instead out of the window. Dexterously clambering up the side of the building like a cat burglar, he breaks into the office of Carala (Jean Wall) his boss and the husband of his lover Florence (Jeanne Moreau). Julian kills him with little fuss and sets about making the incident look like a suicide. However, whilst clambering into his car he realizes he has left a rope dangling out of the window. »
- Patrick Gamble
Dallas Buyers Club Pretty solid week of new releases starting with one of the better films of 2013 and one we're sure to be talking about more leading up to the Oscars, Dallas Buyers Club featuring a pair of great performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto and a strong performance from Jennifer Garner as well.
About Time Richard Curtis' About Time is one of the year's better romantic comedies along with the likes of Best Man Holiday. I'm sure there was at least one more, but those are the two that come to mind and with the unlikely pairing of Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson the movie comes as a nice little surprise. Oh, and it has The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie. So, that's a little bonus.
- Brad Brevet
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