8 items from 2016
“I feel like I’m dreaming,” says young Dasy to her sister Viola over halfway into “Indivisible”, and it’s a sentiment likely to be echoed by audiences. A subtle, appealing and slightly unreal Neopolitan fable that unfolds with the often brutal logic of a fairytale, Edoardo De Angelis’s conjoined-twins drama has the feel of updated folklore — a Brothers Grimm classic, perhaps — relocated to contemporary Italy. While hardly a picture with blockbuster pretensions, a modest post-festival life on the arthouse circuit seems entirely possible, since despite its neo-gothic trappings the narrative is at heart warm and accessible.
Dasy and Viola (presumably named for real-life English conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, who were exploited by various handlers and went on to appear in Tod Browning’s 1932 classic “Freaks”) are played by debut performers Angela and Marianna Fontana. The young actors are identical twins: Unlike their onscreen characters, they are not conjoined, »
- Catherine Bray
Lyon, France — Walt Disney’s “Alice Comedies,” a series of cartoons made before Disney went to Hollywood, have been freshly restored and re-packaged for global distribution by France’s Malavida Films, one of the specialty cinema companies announcing their 2017 lineups at Lyon’s Lumière festival vintage cinema market.
Disney made the silent shorts starting in 1923 when he was still a struggling cartoon filmmaker in Kansas City. They feature a young girl named Alice, originally played by Virginia Davis, who interacts with animated characters. Local company Laugh-o-gram Films produced them and subsequently went bust. Now they are in the public domain.
“These are the only films in the Disney catalogue that are not copyrighted,” said Malavida co-chief Lionel Ithurralde.
Malavida is a niche vintage arthouse movies outfit whose upcoming French releases include several works by British director Derek Jarman, including his 1976 drama “Sebastiane,” the first film ever shot in Latin.
- Nick Vivarelli
Dasy and Viola are teenage siblings who’re joined at the hip. And no, that’s not a metaphor. From Stuck on You all the way back to Todd Browning’s classic Freaks, conjoined twins have long proved fertile ground for cinema. Edoardo De Angelis’ Indivisible joins them, taking us on a subtly surreal tour of Italy’s grimy industrial south: a grimy land of burning trash and abandoned warehouses, populated by a gallery of grotesques eager to get their claws into Dasy and Viola (Angela and Marianna Fontana).
Blessed with both beauty and perfect harmony, the twins are breadwinners for their extended family – available to hire for children’s parties, weddings, baptisms and so on. Scumbag father Peppe (Massimiliano Rossi) is their Svengali, providing them with a songbook full of treacly pop songs, most of which are about the importance of unity and/or female submission.
Also on board »
- David James
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then Guillermo del Toro’s new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is sure to please viewers with an eye for the macabre. Titled “Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters,” the show runs from August 1 until November 27, and will travel to co-organizing museums in Minneapolis and Ontario next year. Containing almost 600 eerie objects from the filmmaker’s private collection — including sculptures, paintings, costumes and books — the exhibition reflects his lifelong obsession with monsters.
“You can see my movies over and over again, and you will see that I adore monsters. I absolutely love them,” del Toro said at Saturday’s preview, adding “I think humans are pretty repulsive!”
Though he doesn’t consider himself a horror filmmaker these days, del Toro’s Lacma exhibit is filled with the type of ghoulish artifacts most often associated with a Fangoria convention. »
- Matthew Chernov
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
Watch a clip from Quentin Tarantino‘s commencement speech at AFI this year:
At BFI, Pedro Almodóvar on 13 great Spanish films that inspired him, and watch a video on his use of circles:
Blancanieves is one of the peaks in recent Spanish cinema, but had the bad luck to be released a year after The Artist (2011), a silent film that triumphed the world over. Pablo Berger had in fact decided years earlier to film his personal take on the Brothers Grimm fairytale as a black-and-white silent; the result is heartrendingly beautiful. »
- The Film Stage
Brian De Palma‘s shocking exploitation gut-punch, Sisters, is a perfectly orchestrated exercise in style, a staging of some of the finest suspense sequences since Alfred Hitchcock was above ground. Channeling the Master of Suspense’s gleeful enjoyment of audience manipulation, De Palma remarkably employs a trashy genre aesthetic to satirically explore issues of race and social alienation. It’s a film about outsiders — a starkly disturbing reminder that looks and appearances can be dangerously deceiving — that’s nevertheless less interested in soap-box statements than inducing audiences to squeal and squirm. Grim in its contemporary relevance, De Palma and co-writer Louisa Rose‘s political satire is ever-present but far from overt, quietly bubbling in the background. This is a film in which police officers respond to learning of the stabbing of an African-American man by hatefully grumbling, “Those people are always stabbing each other.”
The film’s opening scene launches »
- Tony Hinds
The continued adventures of Duane Bradley and his sinister twin brother are getting the high-def treatment, as Synapse Films announced that they will release Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3: The Progeny on respective Blu-rays this August:
1982’s Basket Case introduced horror fans to Duane Bradley and his twin brother Belial, and a new horror classic was born. They also introduced the world to Frank Henenlotter, the uniquely crazed talent who would later give us Brain Damage and Frankenhooker. In 1990 and ‘91, Henenlotter and star Kevin Van Hentenryck returned for two even more demented sequels, both coming to Blu-ray from Synapse Films this August, each at the low price of $19.95!
- Derek Anderson
Attention classic movie freaks – Set your DVR for this Monday!!!!
Tod Browning (1880-1962) was a pioneering director who helped establish the horror film genre. Born in Louisville Kentucky, Browning ran away to join the circus at an early age which influenced his later career in Hollywood and echoes of those years can be found in many of his films. Though best known as the director of the first sound version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi in 1931, Browning made his mark on cinema in the silent era with his extraordinary 10-film collaboration with actor Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’. Despite the success of Dracula, and the boost it gave his career, Browning’s chief interest continued to lie not in films dealing with the supernatural but in films that dealt with the grotesque and strange, earning him the reputation as “the Edgar Allan Poe of the cinema”. Browning »
- Tom Stockman
8 items from 2016
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