3 items from 2012
At around the time that the Vicomte de Noailles was dabbling in film finance with Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet and Buñuel's L'Age d'Or, another aristocrat, the Belgian duke Henri D'Ursel, adopted a pseudonym to direct and star in La perle (1929), a short surrealist fantasia owing much to the twin influences of Murnau's Nosferatu and Feuillade's Les vampires.
It's a charming and elegant (and slightly sinister) piece. We're told that the surrealists admired Feuillade partly because they saw his serials without the intertitles, which had been lost, so the plotlines, already oneiric and chancy, became even more opaque, transforming from linear thrillers into a random series of outrages. D'Ursel, following Murnau's lead in The Last Laugh, has only one letter and no intertitles at all, leaving us to more or less invent our own narrative to make sense of the dreamy events he depicts.
This much is certain »
- David Cairns
In 127 Hours, James Franco hacked away at his arm. During Francophrenia, you might just wish he did the same to his head.
This is a shame, because this 70-minute documentary covering the star's return to the soap General Hospital, where he started out in 2009, begins as an impressive Fellini-esque dissection of American society, celebrity, and the at-times thin membranes separating an actor's public persona from the roles he plays and his inner self.
The film, however, degenerates into a masturbatory mockumentary which reveals that the co-directors -- Ian Olds and Franco himself -- have little vision, piddling wit, and negligible respect for their prospective audiences. Imagine David Lynch shooting his own colonoscopy, and you're halfway there.
This enterprise, a highlight of the Tribeca Film Festival, is accumulated from 40 hours of footage of rehearsals, backstory, fan interaction, and the actual shooting of an episode where the actor James Franco plays a disturbed character named "Franco, »
- Brandon Judell
London Comedy Film Festival
A quick burst of winter blues-banishing, with comedies old (1960s heist comedy Go To Blazes), new (a preview of the new Muppets movie) and both old and new (a "world premiere" read-through of The Day Off, a movie written for Tony Hancock by Galton and Simpson, which was never made). Guest of honour is Edgar Wright, who introduces a double bill: Shaun Of The Dead and Mike Leigh's Life Is Sweet, with guests and a Q&A; and there are discoveries to be made in anarchic French movie The Fairy and a secret new British comedy.
BFI Southbank, SE1, Thu to 29 Jan
Following the success of his spooky live soundtrack to Jean Cocteau's avant-garde 1932 film The Blood Of A Poet last year, the former Siouxsie And The Banshees bassist embarks on a tour with another freshly rescored classic. This »
- Steve Rose
3 items from 2012
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