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Review. Pressed for Time—Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk"
22 July 2017 7:47 AM, PDT
Nowadays you can just get a ferry or the Eurostar and be there in a few relatively painless minutes, but had you hoped to cross the Strait of Dover from France to England in May 1940, you’d be in for some real hell. You might very well drown, or be crushed by the hull of a listing ship, or scorched alive by burning oil, or bombed, or shot. Or maybe all of these things at once, or in sequence. Worse still, you’d most likely have to do a lot of standing around and waiting for it beforehand. Back then, whatever side of history you were on, be it Axis or Allied, you’d still want to be on the English side of the Strait of Dover. Truly nobody wanted to cross the other way, from England to France. Yet many brave souls did so anyway, to rescue nearly 340,000 soldiers »
Saint Vitus Dance on "Black Sunday"
22 July 2017 5:22 AM, PDT
Self-portrait of Barbara Steele."I recognize the expression on fans," she says, her voice laced with irony."It's a kind of sexual melting." Barbara Steele would never admit that—from the denizens of mom's basement to intellectuals performing their cleverness—her screen-image reaches across decades to find acolytes. She has every right to doubt their sincerity, of course. Amid bouquets to the Goddess, less judicious fans apply "Scream Queen" like a brand to her flesh. If fans are also judges, then some perspective is in order. Let's remember that Barbara Steele (who screamed rarely in her films) was twenty-two when Mario Bava's Black Sunday first appeared in 1960. Yet there she was, a virtual child, realizing the ungovernable dream of surrealist impresario André Breton—she made him a prophet six years before his death: "Beauty will be Convulsive or will not be at all." That fanboys "melt" in the passive »
Movie Poster of the Week: Jean-Luc Godard’s “La chinoise”
21 July 2017 6:47 AM, PDT
“We must confront vague ideas with clear images” (“Il faut confronter les idées vagues avec des images claires”), reads a graffito on the wall of the bourgeois apartment that is the setting for La chinoise. Jean-Luc Godard’s explosive 14th feature film (one of no less than three Godard masterpieces that were released in 1967), which Pauline Kael called “ a speed-freak’s anticipatory vision of the political horrors to come,” is getting a 50th anniversary re-release at the Quad Cinema in New York.Is there any clearer image than that of Juliet Berto in red war paint, against a red wall, surrounded by a fort of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Books, pointing a machine gun at the camera? In 1964 Godard had famously said, quoting D.W. Griffith, that all filmgoers want is a girl and a gun. And that is what René Ferracci (1927-1982), the house designer of the Nouvelle Vague, »
Units of Measurement: "Eldorado Xxi"
20 July 2017 5:54 PM, PDT
Salomé Lamas's Eldorado Xxi (2016), which is receiving an exclusive global online premiere on Mubi, is showing from July 21 - August 20, 2017 as a Special Discovery. A version of this article originally appeared in Salomé Lamas: Parafiction (2016), published by Mousse Publishing, and appears thanks to the generosity of the publisher and original author.What can five shots hold? Two are enough to capture a landscape, an expanse of rock, ice, cloud, and snow so vast it feels like the frame can hardly contain it, like the lake, mountains, and sky stretch on forever. Everything appears frozen, immobile, devoid of life, it’s only when a bird flies overhead and the wind moves through the blackened reeds that it even becomes clear it’s not a photograph. There’s no sign of where the voice might be coming from, it can only have emerged from beneath the tundra, carried and amplified by the wind. »
Civic Duty: Close-Up on James N. Kienitz Wilkins' "Public Hearing"
20 July 2017 8:54 AM, PDT
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. James N. Kienitz Wilkins' Public Hearing (2012) is playing July 11 - August 10, 2017 on Mubi in most countries around the world.By now the influence of the Internet on contemporary film and video art has been long established and theorized. More often than not, discussions have centered around aesthetics concerns, be they theories of the low-resolution media (noting Hito Steyerl interest in "poor images") or the splintered nature of tabbed browsing. Less consideration has been placed on the banality that pervades much of the material we find (or perhaps pass over) online. With a number of projects in his increasingly broad body of work, Brooklyn-based artist James N. Kienitz Wilkins has examined the politics or poetics undergirding that which might immediately seem to be neutral and unremarkable, such as the coded racism of stock images in his film B-Roll with »
The Forgotten: Helmut Käutner's "The Glass of Water" (1960)
20 July 2017 4:19 AM, PDT
One of the many treats at this year's Il Cinema Ritrovato festival of restored or rediscovered films was a retrospective of the works of Helmut Käutner, who has been known and admired for a few select works but whose larger oeuvre is rarely screened. Curators Olaf Möller and Christoph Huber explained that this was partly because the German director's comedies often deal with German current affairs of the day in a way which makes them seem obscure even to modern German audiences. But one humorous movie proved timeless.Käutner began his career during WWII, but never seems to have been seriously tainted by associations with the Nazi regime. Indeed his great successes shot during wartime, Grosse Freiheit No. 7 (1944) and Under the Bridges (1946) apparently made the authorities uncomfortable: framed in a setting that's not-quite period and not-quite alternate reality, where the war simply does not exist, they seemed...a touch defeatist. »
Rushes. George A. Romero & Martin Landau, Choreographing Rape, Latest Trailers
19 July 2017 6:20 AM, PDT
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.NEWSOver the weekend we lost two greats: Filmmaker George A. Romero, best known for inventing the modern version of all things zombie, and actor Martin Landau. Patton Oswalt has pointed out that a 19-year-old Romero worked as a pageboy on North by Northwest, Landau's second movie.The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has again added more names to its membership, and this latest batch includes even more unexpected additions from the world of international art cinema, including directors Pedro Costa, Lav Diaz, Ann Hui, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Kira Muratova, Johnnie To and Athina Rachel Tsangari.Did you see that the lineup of the Locarno Film Festival has been announced? With a huge retrospective devoted to Cat People director Jacques Tourneur and a competition including new films by Wang Bing, F.J. Ossang, Ben Russell, »
"Twin Peaks," Episode 10 Recap: True Men
18 July 2017 2:15 PM, PDT
Twin Peaks Recap is a weekly column by Keith Uhlich covering David Lynch and Mark Frost's limited, 18-episode continuation of the Twin Peaks television series.It's worth quoting the latest (perhaps the last?) gnomic pronouncements from Margaret "The Log Lady" Lanterman (the late Catherine E. Coulson), speaking via phone to Deputy Sheriff Tommy "Hawk" Hill (Michael Horse), in full: "Hawk—electricity is humming. You hear it in the mountains and rivers. You see it dance among the seas and stars. And glowing around the moon. But in these days, the glow is dying. What will be in the darkness that remains? The Truman brothers are both true men. They are your brothers. And the others, the good ones, who have been with you. Now the circle is almost complete. Watch and listen to the dream of time and space. It all comes out now, flowing like a river. That which is and is not. »
The Vision for the Pingyao International Film Festival with Jia Zhangke
18 July 2017 5:37 AM, PDT
We spoke with festival directors Marco Mueller and Jia Zhangke regarding the creative vision of their forthcoming Pingyao International Film Festival. Jia shot parts of his films Platform (2000) and A Touch of Sin (2013) in the city of Pingyao, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. »
George A. Romero, 1940 - 2017
17 July 2017 5:37 AM, PDT
The great American director George A. Romero, best known for defining the modern genre of all things zombie, has died at the age of 77. We'll be a little less scared going to the movies now—but, worse, we'll be a little more certain stepping to the cinema's darkness that our own world, our society and politics, will no longer be challenged and questioned so astutely.As Ignatiy Vishnevetsky observed in our review of Romero's Survival of the Dead (2009):But of course "us" was always the problem, and the moral of Romero's zombie films remains: horrific situations are not as dangerous as desperate people, and desperation comes from a need to either regain or establish order. Meaning: the rules that give people a sense of security are the same ones that will destroy them. Meaning: the only inevitable factor is that society, as it exists, sets humanity up to fail. »