10 items from 2016
Mark, Aaron and Scott Nye kick off the first of a seven episode series about French cinema in the 1930s. We give an overview of the decade and some historical context, and discuss the French silent tradition and how that it transitioned to sound. We also get into detail about two important filmmakers, Jacques Feyder and Jean Vigo. Feyder was an important filmmaker in his time, but his works are not as prominent today, whereas Vigo was nearly forgotten in the 1930s and discovered after the war.
Episode Links & Notes
Special Guest: Scott Nye from CriterionCast and Battleship Pretension. You can follow him on Twitter.
3:15 – Dedication and Thanks
9:35 – Intro to French Film Series
28:15 – From Silent to Sound
46:30 – Jacques Feyder
1:13:30 – Jean Vigo
Criterion Collection: Poetic Realism Flicker Alley: The House of Mystery French Masterworks: Russian Émigrés in Paris 1923-1929 Flicker Alley: L’Inhumaine Flicker Alley »
- Aaron West
Frank Ocean: musician, visual-album releaser, list-making cinephile. Following on the heels of his latest album finally being made available to the eager public, Ocean has revealed his 100 favorite films. Originally posted on Genius, which has a breakdown of how movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Eyes Wide Shut” made their way into his lyrics (“I’m feeling like Stanley Kubrick, this is some visionary shit/Been tryna film pleasure with my eyes wide shut but it keeps on moving”), the list contains a mix of familiar favorites (“Annie Hall,” “The Royal Tenenbaums”) and comparatively obscure arthouse fare (“Woyzeck,” “Sonatine”). Avail yourself of all 100 below.
“The Last Laugh”
- Michael Nordine
After a few delays, Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange follow-up, Blond, has now arrived and, with it, not only an additional visual album, but Boys Don’t Cry, a magazine that only a select few were able to get their hands on. (Although, if you believe the artist’s mom, we can expect a wider release soon.) In between a personal statement about his new work and a Kanye West poem about McDonalds, Ocean also listed his favorite films of all-time and we have the full list today.
Clocking at 207.23 hours, as Ocean notes, his list includes classics from Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jean Cocteau, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Fritz Lang, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, Ridley Scott, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau, Luis Buñuel, and more.
As for some more recent titles, it looks like The Royal Tenenbaums »
- Jordan Raup
Every week, the CriticWire Survey asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday morning. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: This past weekend saw the release of “Lights Out,” which is based on a horrifying short film. Shorts can have tremendous value, though even the best of them tend to fly under the radar. What is your favorite short film, and why?
Miriam Bale (@mimbale), freelance
I count this Resnais film about plastics, “La chant de la styrene,” and an industrial film by Les Blank about factory farm chickens, “Chicken Real,” among the best films, and certainly best docs, I’ve seen. And the Safdies’ short “John’s Gone” is probably my favorite of their movies, if not their best. »
- David Ehrlich
Filmmaker and self-pronounced cinephile Jacob T. Swinney has a new video essay called 100 Years/100 Shots. The title’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s about the history of Tequila in the 21st century.
Swinney has chosen his most memorable shot from each year in the last 100 and placed them next to each other in chronological sequence. Not only does it fascinatingly chart the evolution of the medium, it also reaffirms why we devote so much of our spare time to the movies. See beneath the video embed below for the full list (in order) used.
100 Years/100 Shots from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.
Birth of a Nation
A Dog’s Life
The Passion of Joan of Arc
- Oli Davis
Madrid — Almost 33 years after his death, Spanish film legend Luis Buñuel is back again, this time as the leading character of an animated feature project, “Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas” (Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles), based on his filming the celebrated – and at its time controversial – 1932 documentary “Land Without Bread,” now reckoned one of his greatest films.
Shot in the Extremaduran mountains of Las Hurdes, “Land Without Bread” was a film which satisfied Buñuel’s left-wing convictions while he also found the ethos in one of the poorest parts of Europe, of surrealism, a credo which informed his whole career.
The toon film project, which also aims to portray Buñuel’s evolution as an artist, is produced by Manuel Cristobal at Sygnatia in partnership with Jose Fernandez de Vega’s animation studio Glow, and has been pre-bought by Spanish pubcaster Rtve.
- Emiliano De Pablos
The eyes aren’t just the windows to the soul; they’re the bearer of truth, and the messengers of feelings. It’s no wonder that any director looking for a thoughtful, scrupulous shot focuses there — whether it’s Quentin Tarantino portraying the anger and frustration The Bride (Uma Thurman) feels when she’s being buried alive by Budd (Michael Madsen) in “Kill Bill Vol. 2;” or the subject of a Pixies song, Luis Buñuel’s surrealist masterpiece “Un Chien Andalou.” Read More: The Essentials: Satyajit Ray’s ‘The Apu Trilogy’ Indian director Satyajit Ray used captivating glances to exude emotion in his epic coming-of-age “Apu Trilogy,” as well as in 1963’s “The Big City,” another coming-of-age film of sorts, but this time focusing on a married couple each with their own occupational difficulties. And this video essay from Fandor explores his technique. The entire film is told through the way »
- Samantha Vacca
Unreeling with near-cyclonic force in a nonlinear style, “Lantouri” marks another ambitious examination of the churning frustrations of Iran’s disenfranchised younger generation from multihyphenate Reza Dormishian (“I’m Not Angry”). At its most basic level, this social drama is about lex talionis, the “eye for an eye” retaliation justice permitted by Islamic law, but it also references a whirlwind of themes, including Iran’s human-rights violations, the struggle for women’s’ rights, corruption and a host of other contempo issues; meanwhile, on a meta level, it examines point of view and unreliable storytelling. While a must-see for those wanting to take the pulse of what’s happening in Iran, the film is a tough watch, signaling that fest play will likely trump sales.
Purporting to be an invesetigation of a shocking crime, “Lantouri” feels stylistically inspired by Godardian jump cuts, Tom Tykwer’s “Run Lola Run” photo montages, and Kamran Shirdel’s singular masterpiece, »
- Alissa Simon
Serial murder has rarely seemed a more melancholy calling than it does in “The Eyes of My Mother,” a short, decidedly unsweet and wholly startling vision from freshman writer-director Nicolas Pesce. Meshing an especially bloody strain of slasher pic with the most whispery of high-art sensibilities, this tale of a young Portuguese-American woman drawn — by way of misused heritage and scarring personal tragedy — into severely psychotic behavior reps an exquisite waking nightmare, its meticulous monochrome imagery caressing the eye even as the filmmaker brandishes a scalpel before it. A characteristically cold cut from the ever-exciting Borderline Films, this standout from Sundance’s Next program may, with its stretches of silent storytelling and fado-laced soundtrack, be a tad too lyrical for hard-horror fans, but a devoted cult audience awaits an adventurous distributor.
“Never go in the barn,” a woman solemnly warns her child midway through the film. It’s a line »
- Guy Lodge
We all have predisposed notions about the infamous “romantic comedy.” As with other genres, there’s a large subsection of offerings, giving it a bad name. But, for every tired, cliché-driven comedy, there is another impressive offering that redefines the genre, garners plenty of laughs, and tells an honest story about love and relationships, however warped they may be. In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at the fifty romantic comedy films that should be seen. These may not all be classic films, but they certainly put a stamp on the industry and the genre we affectionately call “rom-coms.”
#50. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Most of Wes Anderson’s films could be described as romantic comedies, but his 2012 effort stands out, as its central story focuses on young love and the need to find acceptance. In Anderson’s world, while quirks abound, true connections between characters are commonplace. With Moonrise Kingdom, »
- Joshua Gaul
10 items from 2016
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