4 items from 2014
You have probably already heard about Only Lovers Left Alive, although it’s far easier to remember it as “the Tom Hiddleston/Tilda Swinton vampire movie.” It has been a long time in coming to the American market, slowly making the rounds of the festival circuit since it premiered at Cannes last year. Now, the film is finally getting a wide U.S. release, promoted by yet another dreamy, ethereal trailer.
Hiddleston and Swinton feature as centuries-old vampire lovers named Adam and Eve, now evolved to a state where they do not need to feast upon humans to acquire sustenance. Instead they seem to spend their time playing music, discussing literature, and enjoying each other’s company. A wrench may be thrown into the works, however, by the appearance of Adam’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska), a younger and obviously wilder creature whom Adam does not seem to be overly fond of. »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Maximilian Schell movie director (photo: Maximilian Schell and Maria Schell) (See previous post: “Maximilian Schell Dies: Best Actor Oscar Winner for ‘Judgment at Nuremberg.’”) Maximilian Schell’s first film as a director was the 1970 (dubbed) German-language release First Love / Erste Liebe, adapted from Igor Turgenev’s novella, and starring Englishman John Moulder-Brown, Frenchwoman Dominique Sanda, and Schell in this tale about a doomed love affair in Czarist Russia. Italian Valentina Cortese and British Marius Goring provided support. Directed by a former Best Actor Oscar winner, First Love, a movie that could just as easily have been dubbed into Swedish or Swahili (or English), ended up nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Three years later, nominated in that same category was Schell’s second feature film as a director, The Pedestrian / Der Fußgänger, in which a car accident forces a German businessman to delve deep into his past. »
- Andre Soares
By Mark Pinkert
There was an interesting phenomenon in film this year that deserves a second look: many of the most recognizably “American” films of 2013 were directed by foreigners and, of those films, two feature almost entirely foreign casts.
First, to be clear, when I say “American” films, I’m not referring to stories that simply take place here; rather, I’m looking at films that are germane to the American narrative, to our history and cultural zeitgeist–really, Americana as opposed to just American. Films like The Great Gatsby, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips–which bring to life classic American literature, histories, and recent events–are the best examples. (Gravity is a tough sell for this list, but does fit insofar as it deals with the space program, a prominent feature of 20th century, Cold War America.) The second criterion, then, is to have a foreign director, »
- Mark Pinkert
Directed by F.W. Murnau
William Fox had seen Faust, Nosferatu, and The Last Laugh, and on the basis of these German masterworks, he brought their creator, F.W. Murnau, to Hollywood. What he got was a truly distinct cinematic vision, which was what he had in mind: something to set a few Fox features apart from the other studios’ output. What he probably didn’t expect was just how much of that “artsy” European touch he was going to get with Murnau on contract. Were American audiences going to go for this type of movie, with its symbolism, melodious structure, and overtly self-conscious style? At any rate, Murnau’s first picture at Fox was one to remember. Sunrise, from 1927, is one of the greatest of all films. It is a touching, beautiful, and artistically accomplished movie, one of the best ever made, »
- Jeremy Carr
4 items from 2014
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