7 items from 2015
Part of our continuing partnership with the online film journal cléo, which guest programs a film to watch on Mubi in the United States. In conjunction, we'll be hosting an exclusive article by one of their contributors. This month Mallory Andrews writes on Cecil B. DeMille's Joan the Woman (1916), now showing through December 15, 2015.It’s a bit of a shame that Cecil B. DeMille’s two-hour 1916 silent film will likely always be overshadowed by Carl Theodor Dreyer’s indelible The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). The universal praise for Dreyer’s intimate take on La Pucelle is well-earned and full of images that remain some of the most moving uses of close-ups in cinema. By contrast, Joan the Woman (being a typical DeMille joint) is concerned more with epic, operatic imagery. The climactic Battle of Orleans is teeming with detail, an elaborate scope that pushes at the boundaries of the square Academy ratio frame, »
- Mallory Andrews
Despite the pronounced pedigree of its origins, Ken Russell’s glorious 1971 film The Devils is still mysteriously unavailable in the United States. An infamously plagued reception continues to usurp deserved attention away from its subversive content, though a growing legion of champions within the critical arena which had once sacrilegiously abandoned it has resulted in its growing recuperation.
Based, very loosely on a 1952 novel by literary giant Aldous Huxley depicting the downfall of 17th century French priest Urbain Grandier, it relates an incidence of hysteria and mob mentality run amok in the totalitarian paradigm of the Catholic Church. Russell, his project backed by none other than Warner Bros. studio itself, crafted an off-putting extravaganza of a film (shall we say, making Huxley’s text more Grandier) depicting events decried as pure blasphemy.
Wit unabashedly blunt sexual »
- Nicholas Bell
On Halloween, the tradition is to indulge in films replete with monsters, zombies, and creatures that go bump in the night. But those types of films don’t always provide the psychological terror cineastes may be craving. International and alternative cinema has always been willing to tread where conventional genre cinema dares not be it in films with strong themes, abrasive tones, or emotional depravity. Halloween can be a time not just to indulge in slimy viscera, but in the general suffering of humanity. These are eleven films whose punishment of the viewer with intense emotions and ideas make them not unlike horror films.
The original king of despair, Carl Dreyer didn’t just gravitate toward miserable material, he embraced it with a technique so perfected, it felt predestined. In The Passion of Joan of Arc, a film consisting almost solely of close-ups, »
- Shane Ramirez
"The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of "luxury," the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater's pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognise, but never surely to call it a luxury." —Henry James, from The Preface to The Wings of the Dove (1909) "[The critic’s] choice of best salami is a picture backed by studio build-up, agreement amongst his colleagues, a layout in Life mag (which makes it officially reasonable for an American award), and a list of ingredients that anyone’s unsophisticated aunt in Oakland can spot as comprising a distinguished film. This prize picture, »
- Greg Gerke
★★★★☆ Carl Theodor Dreyer may be the titan of Danish of cinema but for a whole host of international cineastes, knowledge of his films doesn't stretch far beyond the likes of The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Vampyr (1932) and Ordet (1955). Indeed, in an essay that accompanies the British Film Institute's fantastic new Blu-ray box set, the Carl Theodor Dreyer Collection, Casper Tybjerg suggests that many people are more familiar with the great director's name than much of his work. That can be remedied, of course. The BFI's new high definition-only release includes four features, half a dozen shorts and a wealth of additional material to fill in any gaps.
- CineVue UK
Something of his sad freedom
As he rode the tumbril
Should come to me, driving,
Saying the names
Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,
Watching the pointing hands
Of country people,
Not knowing their tongue.
Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.
—Seamus Heaney, The Tollund Man
It ended, like all journeys do, in Solitude, a long way from any cinema. Solitude—or rather Zolitūde, in Latvian—is a suburb of Riga, four miles as the crow flies from the fancy Scandi-Gothic-Art Nouveau city centre; six miles on foot if the pedestrian avoids diversions. But by the time I reached Solitude on that cold December Saturday afternoon, however, my inadvertent divagations must have pushed the total to the ten-mile mark. I'd looked at maps prior to departing from my hotel, of course but deliberately didn't bring one along (not a fan); I don't »
- Neil Young
Criterion has revealed their latest New Year's teaser art, hinting at what's to come in 2015 and the boys at the CriterionCast have offered up several ideas as to what each clue is hinting at, but for me the most interesting is at the very top. We have two suns and a moon... Could this actually be a hint that Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight are coming to the collection in 2015c The CriterionCast guesses do believe the two suns hint at the first two Before films, but they speculate the moon rising tease hints at Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom... Hmmmmmmmmm. Other possibilities the CriterionCast gang speculates includes Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day, Two Days, One Night, Terrence Malick's The New World, David Cronenberg's The Brood, Speedy, Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Abel Gance's Napoleon, Inside Llewyn Davis, A Master Builder, »
- Brad Brevet
7 items from 2015
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