9 items from 2013
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As our showcase of early horror classics continues, we move out of the silent era and into the early 1930s for this German/French production from legendary filmmaker Carl Theodor Dryer. A Danish director best known for his 1928 classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, Dreyer caught major critical backlash for his follow-up Vampyr (also his first sound film), due to its unconventional story structure and abstract, dreamlike visuals. Thankfully, Vampyr went on to become a cult classic, which is still being screened today; one of the coolest of these revivals took place last October at San Francisco's Silent Movie Theatre, with a new live score composed by Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees and featuring FEARnet fave artist Jill Tracy (read more about it in this interview). Loosely based on two short stories by J. Sheridan Le Fanu – whose writings have inspired many iconic horror films – Vampyr follows »
- Gregory Burkart
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Toronto Silent Film Festival got off to an impressive start at Innis Hall on Thursday night, as a packed room experienced the inspired fusion of two complementary works of art, created 85 years apart. One of the most exciting things about silent films is their tantalizingly protean quality, thanks to the conditions under which they were produced. What might once have been considered a weakness (especially from the point of view of an autocratic auteur intent upon controlling every aspect of the production) has now become a source of strength. Because they rely upon the kindness of musical strangers in order to come fully into being, silent films have an open-endedness to them which makes them infinitely more available (at least in some ways) to contemporary audiences than classic films made »
- David Fiore
Odd List Aliya Whiteley Feb 19, 2013
Covering 85 years of cinema, Aliya provides her pick of 25 stylish, must-see French movies...
I’m going to kick this off in best New-Wave style by pointing out that we should be praising each great director’s body of work rather than showcasing favourite movies in a list format; after all, France came up with the concept of the auteur filmmaker, stamping their personality on a film, using the camera to portray their version of the world.
Yeah, well, personality is everything. So here’s a highly personal choice, arranged in chronological order, of 25 of the most individualistic French films. They may be long or short, old or new, but they all have one thing in common – they’ve got directorial style. And by that I don’t mean their shoes match their handbags.
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928)
There are no stirring battle scenes, »
(Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1928, Eureka!, PG)
One of three silent movies featured in Sight & Sound's latest poll of the 10 greatest pictures of all time, The Passion of Joan of Arc was made in France by the Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer. To play the 19-year-old "Maid", he chose the 35-year-old Renée Falconetti, a French stage star specialising in light comedy. In keeping with his devotion to realism and austerity, his screenplay was based largely on a contemporary transcript of Joan's trial for heresy that concluded with her execution in 1431.
Carefully framed in claustrophobic settings, the picture is most notable for its close-ups, though Dreyer insisted on a whole town being built to represent medieval Rouen. This was Falconetti's only major film and over a period of a year under Dreyer's direction (a combination of cruelty and patience), her extraordinarily expressive face made for one of the greatest, most harrowing screen performances. »
- Philip French
Running from February 14th to the 24th, the 2013 installment of the increasingly popular Glasgow Film Festival marks its ninth incarnation. Advertised as a festival “for the people”, Gff tends to stray from the red carpet approach and curation-heavy feel of its local(-ish) cousin, June’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, though it does have various themed strands and a few UK and European premieres. Mainly, it is a chance for Scottish audiences to get an advanced look at some incoming 2013 highlights, as well as acclaimed festival fare both with and without planned UK distribution.
Befitting of the Valentine’s Day launch, the festival’s opening gala screening is the UK premiere of French romantic comedy Populaire. Directed by Régis Roinsard, the late 1950s-set film stars Romain Duris, Déborah François and Bérénice Bejo. Closing the festival is the European premiere of Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing. Shot »
- Josh Slater-Williams
What is the very best way to use of the close-up? Is it best to save close-ups for the emotional arcs of a film, or to introduce a character? Can too many close-ups leave audiences feeling claustrophobic, and can too few prevent us from properly identifying with characters? Much has been made of Tom Hooper’s controversial use of the close-up for Les Miserables. The lack of critical consent over the film’s close-ups could be a major reason why Hooper has been on few shortlists for directing awards, even as the film garners attention fin other categories. Hooper’s use of the close-up perhaps reaches its apex early on, in an extended shot of Anne Hathaway as Fantine singing “I Dreamed a Dream,” a sequence that has been generally celebrated as the film’s strongest moment and ostensibly ensured Hathaway’s lock for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But Hooper’s isn’t the first filmmaker »
- Landon Palmer
Our daily countdown continues, with part 17 out of 30 in our list of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made. These are numbers 140-131.
138) Dreams (1990) Akira Kurasawa Japan
132) The Man Who Shot Libery Valance (1962) John Ford USA
Numbers 130-121 coming next...
film cultureClassicslist300 »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
Sundance Film Festival kicks off out in Park City today, bringing some of the year’s most anticipated independent films to the big screen. Following shortly after will be the Berlinale next month, and SXSW in March, which has just debuted a very promising initial line-up. And now the first big film festival on our shores, the Glasgow Film Festival, has announced its line-up, and it is absolutely exceptional.
And closing the festival will be Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, the great writer-director’s contemporary adaptation of the classic Shakespeare play. Similarly seeing its UK premiere, the film stars an ensemble that will please all Whedon fans, led by Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, with fine support from Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, »
- Kenji Lloyd
9 items from 2013
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