9 items from 2017
'Amazing Tales from the Archives': Pioneering female documentarian Aloha Wanderwell Baker remembered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival – along with the largely forgotten sound-on-cylinder technology and the Jean Desmet Collection. 'Amazing Tales from the Archives': San Francisco Silent Film Festival & the 'sound-on-cylinder' system Fans of the earliest sound films would have enjoyed the first presentation at the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held June 1–4: “Amazing Tales from the Archives,” during which Library of Congress' Nitrate Film Vault Manager George Willeman used a wealth of enjoyable film clips to examine the Thomas Edison Kinetophone process. In the years 1913–1914, long before The Jazz Singer and Warner Bros.' sound-on-disc technology, the sound-on-cylinder system invaded the nascent film industry with a collection of “talkies.” The sound was scratchy and muffled, but “recognizable.” Notably, this system focused on dialogue, rather than music or sound effects. As with the making of other recordings at the time, the »
- Danny Fortune
Whether you already consider yourself an expert on French cinema or are just beginning to explore all the country has to offer, director Bertrand Tavernier’s more-than-three-hour “My Journey Through French Cinema” provides an essential tour through the films that shaped him as a cinephile and storyteller. Clearly modeled after Martin Scorsese’s own made-for-tv journey through American Movies, this incredibly personal and occasionally idiosyncratic labor of love hails from one of the country’s leading experts on the medium, combining a wide-ranging survey with insights that only Tavernier could provide.
A celebrated helmer in his own right, Tavernier counts such masterworks as “A Sunday in the Country” and “Coup de torchon” among his credits. But the director’s contributions to the medium are hardly limited to his own filmography. Like so many French directors of his generation, Tavernier started out as a film critic, studying and championing the work of the era’s leading auteurs. His »
- Peter Debruge
Containing multitudes is a time-honored cinematic tradition.
Sure, featuring a single actor as more than one character in your movie smells a bit like a gimmick—but at the end of the day, it’s an efficient and often effective means of showcasing the versatility of a performer. And that can hardly be faulted. We caught a whiff of it with Split this year, though McAvoy might be disqualified for being a Legion of One rather than a cast with a shared face. Personally, I had no idea the trend cast such a wide-reaching historical net — I’d stupidly assumed it was something made possible by the advent of modern makeup and digital tech. Again, stupidly.
Be it gimmick or something more nuanced (or both!) — it’s particularly fascinating that it has such a long standing history as a marketing device. Film quality aside, the main draw is often the performative tour-de-force itself. Some »
- Meg Shields
France’s newest science-fiction series “Missions” has landed at MipTV looking to secure distribution across the planet… and perhaps beyond, via Ab International Distribution. A Critics Jury Award at MipDrama Screenings on Sunday will further that objective.
Produced by Empreinte Digitale, experts in all things nerd in France since their 2007 documentary “Suck My Geek,” “Missions” will take off this June on France’s Ocs satellite networks.
The series format is unconventional for modern science-fiction while the style and themes couldn’t be more en vogue. “Missions” will broadcast 10 episodes, each only 26 minutes long in contrast to the one-hour format that is common among science-fiction shows today. Series creators Henri Debeurme, Julien Lacombe, and Ami Cohen, have constructed a low-fi series that fits right into the modern zeitgeist of programs such as “Black Mirror” or “Orphan Black” with believable technologies and a representation of humanity’s problems that will feel familiar and relatable to viewers.
- Jamie Lang
France has a rich history of horror. There’s the sadomasochistic novels of the Marquis de Sade as well as the blood and guts of Grand Guignol theatre. In cinema, the horror lineage runs deep. There’s Georges Méliès’ shorts and trick films (The Haunted Castle , The Four Troublesome Heads ); the eye-slicing of Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel’s Un chien andalou (1929); Georges Franju’s nauseating documentary on slaughterhouses, Blood of the Beasts (1949), as well as his clinical and poetic Eyes Without a Face (1960); there’s Henri-Georges Clouzot’s nasty Diabolique (1955); and the rotting poetry of Jean Rollin’s collective work. Flash forward a few decades, to the mid-1990s and 2000s, where we find the intense and brutal "New French Extremity" films by Philippe Grandrieux, Bruno Dumont, Gaspar Noé, Marina de Van, and others. And there are the genre filmmakers creating work around the same time as the more »
If you ask most people familiar with the history of film to name some of the early trailblazers, you’re bound to hear Georges Méliès and the Lumière Brothers quite a few times. As for Alice Guy-Blaché? Well, even if she is mentioned, her name will reoccur far less than her male contemporaries, despite the fact that she is just as influential, if not more so.
Read More: 18 Films Made by Women, Starring Women, That We Absolutely Love
An informative new video essay from Catherine Stratton has been released via Fandor to celebrate Women’s History Month, and it walks viewers through the history of Alice Guy-Blaché’s essential contributions to film. Her 1896 film “The Cabbage Fairy” is largely credited as one of the first narrative features ever made, produced and shot at a time when filmmakers like the Lumière Brothers were simply capturing scenes of every day life.
Between 1896 and 1920, Guy-Blaché wrote, »
- Zack Sharf
“Nothing in the world is irreversible, not even capitalism.”—Fidel CastroTen years in the making, almost forty in clandestine obscurity, Fernando Birri's Org (1967-1978) had almost disappeared after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and resurfaced for the first time, in its legitimate and restored form, at this year's Berlinale where it was screened in Forum. A hallucinatory deluge of colors, sounds and syncopated reveries, Org is an onomatopoeic film where the aesthetic and political tensions of a decade coalesce into an unresolved crucible of psychedelic militancy. The cinema of Dziga Vertov and Guy Debord is projected through the canvases of Roy Lichtenstein, social realism is supplanted by a third worldly modernism. Of the many semiotic victims strewn along the film's path is the convulsive plot which remains illegible throughout and yet alludes to an archetypal structure that is undermined at its very basis. The festival helpfully described »
Adaptation and evolution are essential tools needed for any art to survive through time. Though, during its infantile existence from 1895-1915, innovators had been highly ambitious in the technical quality of filmmaking (i.e. Dw Griffith, Edwin Porter), their expression of fantasy (i.e. Georges Méliès) and the investigation into the psychological realism of the human condition (i.e. Yevgeni Bauer, Yakov Protazanov). Though there already had been many major movements in art from antiquity till the present, film was still a young process where much exploration hadn't yet occured. It was only relatively recently that photography was no longer just a tool to produce the sharpest images, but as an expression of artistic merit. Peter Emerson published Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art in 1890, which served...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
Georges Méliès’ Le Manoir Du Diable signified the dawn of the horror film. A lost film, Esmeralda (1905), the first adaptation of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is the offical second installment in the genre. It was created by founding French director Alice Guy-Blaché at the dawn of the 20th Century, who would aid in revolutionizing the art as Gaumont's leading director, and one of the first experimenters with color and special effects in the medium. Her work was succeeded by another adaptation of Hugo's novel in 1911, with an ambitious version by Albert Capellani, another lost film. Though such powerful filmmakers were behind the first explorations into the horror genre on screen (followed by J. Searle Dawley's Frankenstein), it would not be until the early 1920s that horror would even...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
9 items from 2017
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