10 items from 2017
Ben C Lucas’s innovative rumination on the pitfalls of technology has Hollywood appeal and features a darkly charismatic performance from Jessica De Gouw
It is not uncommon for films about drug users to contain closeup shots of pupils dilating. This is hardly surprising given closeups of eyes have long been fashionable in cinema; the famous opening of Luis Buñuel’s 1929 classic Un Chien Andalou comes to mind. And after a hit of the good stuff, eyeballs look fabulous on screen, as films like Requiem for a Dream remind us.
Australian writer/director Ben C Lucas’s sophomore feature, OtherLife, joins the crazy-eyed canon in its opening moments, peppered with near full-screen vision of a narcotic-infused peeper.
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- Luke Buckmaster
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Luis Buñuel's Viridiana (1961) is showing June 17 - July 17 and The Exterminating Angel (1962) is showing June 18 - July 18, 2017 in the United Kingdom.ViridianaIt’s impossible to avoid describing the films of Spanish director Luis Buñuel as “surreal,” and yet to do so is woefully insufficient. This is for two reasons. In the first place, Buñuel never made one kind of film. In the second place, even his strangest films deal with social reality.Early in his career Buñuel did associate himself with the Surrealist art movement. Among his first productions were the infamous Un chien Andalou (1929) and L'âge d'or (1930), experimental narratives co-written by Salvador Dali in which bizarre and violent psychosexual incidents connect via absurd dream logic. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Surrealists never meant “surreal” to act as a mere label for the uniquely strange. »
After four years Martin Scorsese is back with another six filmic gems from all corners of the Earth. Love struggles in the slums of Thailand and the economic boom town of Taipei; underdog heroes undertake troubled missions in Turkey and Kazakhstan, a Malay storyteller plays cinematic games with basic narrative, and a vintage Brazilian art film is pure visual poetry. They’ve all been rescued by the World Cinema Project.
Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 2
Blu-ray + DVD
The Criterion Collection 873-879
1931 – 2000 / Color + B&W / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date May 30, 2017 / 124.95
I readily confess that in my patchy history of film festival attendance, I gravitated not toward the really obscure foreign films, unless they promise to be as entertaining as things I’m more familiar with. Based on the results, one of »
- Glenn Erickson
You Axed for it, as Forry would say: the grade Z horror movie that launched a thousand bad puns is also an unbeatable party favorite. Idiotic island natives clash with condescending Anglo scientists, when a death curse initiates the hell- spawning of a horrifying, vengeance-seeking pagan demon-monster. Sounds great — but what we get is Tabonga, a walking rubber tree stump with knotholes for eyes and a permanent scowl on its teakwood face. The excellent, flawless scan allows us to appreciate the mighty Tabonga for what it is — absurd, lovable, awful.
1957 / B&W / 1:78 widescreen / 71 min. / Street Date April 25, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Cinematography: Brydon Baker
Film Editor: Jack Milner
Original Music: Darrell Calker
Produced by Jack Milner
Directed by Dan Milner
“You say Tomayto, »
- Glenn Erickson
Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel died in 1983, but his films continue to inspire many filmmakers today, including Woody Allen and David O. Russell. New York’s Metrograph theater is presenting a series of the surrealist filmmaker’s work from March 30 to April 6 entitled “Buñuel in France” that will feature five of his films. Buñuel directed 35 movies between 1929 and 1977.
Read More: Watch: Was Luis Buñuel a Fetishist? A Video Essay
Here are seven filmmakers who have listed a Buñuel film in their top 10 movies of all time.
Allen’s favorite Buñuel film is 1972’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” the famous comedy about six middle-class people attempting to have a meal together. Allen wore his inspiration on his shirt sleeve in his 2011 fantasty-comedy “Midnight in Paris,” casting the actor Adrien De Van to play Buñuel in a scene also featuring the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody) and visual »
- Graham Winfrey
An experimental film by an Irish playwright, shot in New York with a silent comedian at the twilight of his career? Samuel Beckett’s inquiry into the nature of movies (and existence?) befuddled viewers not versed in film theory; Ross Lipman’s retrospective documentary about its making asks all the questions and gets some good answers.
First there’s the film itself, called just Film from 1965. By that year our high school textbooks had already enshrined Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as a key item for introducing kids to modern theater, existentialism, etc. … the California school system was pretty progressive in those days. But Beckett had a yen to say something in the film medium, and his publisher Barney Rosset helped him put a movie together. The Milestone Cinematheque presents the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s restoration of Film on its own disc, accompanied by a videotaped TV production »
- Glenn Erickson
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 »
Author: Sean Wilson
Arriving on Blu-Ray and DVD on 13th February, provocative and gruesome horror We Are the Flesh is the latest movie from director Emiliano Rocha Minter. Engulfing viewers in a nightmarish and surreal world, whereby two siblings find themselves manipulated by a terrifying stranger, it’s controversial Mexican cinema in every sense of the word.
It also follows a proud tradition of rich, boundary-pushing cinema to have emerged from the country. To honour the film’s release, here are some of Mexico’s finest.
Un Chien Andalou (1929)
Few images are seared onto viewers’ minds as vividly as the eyeball being sliced in Luis Bunuel’s groundbreaking surrealist classic (in reality it was a cow’s eye, not a human’s). But in truth the Spanish filmmaker’s trendsetting collaboration with Salvador Dali is filled to the brim with all other manner of striking imagery that left a lasting »
- Sean Wilson
Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999) is a film whose memory has been all but condensed into a single image: a young Asian woman, soft-featured but wearing an unmistakably sinister side-long glance, holding up a syringe. This image was used for the film's promotional materials—posters, DVDs—and accompanied nearly every review and article written about the movie. Like the eyeball being prepped for slicing has for Un Chien Andalou, the image's ubiquity and the implications of the infamous scene have overshadowed the film itself. I gave real thought to using a different still for this article, but ultimately nothing else felt right. And would anyone even recognize it from another shot? For this edition of 10+ Years Later, I wanted to see if I could separate the film...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
“Rings,” the latest franchise horror sequel that has no organic reason to exist, opens on an airplane, where a dude asks the young woman seated next to him, “Did you ever hear about the videotape that kills you after you watch it?” By now, the most appropriate response to that question would be, “What’s a videotape?” Instead, she listens politely as he jabbers on about the tape and the phone call you get after you watch it, the one that says you have only seven days to live. He then explains that he’s five minutes away from powering through those seven days. Uh-oh! Moments later, his nose is bleeding, insects are buzzing, the black sludge is oozing from the bottom of the bathroom door, and — oh, yes! — the plane is crashing. (All that’s missing is a gremlin on the wing of the plane.) This is how you die in “Rings”: Decisively, »
- Owen Gleiberman
10 items from 2017
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