4 items from 2014
We French pride ourselves at being great at many things: Cooking elaborate meals, cultivating ridiculously expensive wine, making love while speaking with a thick accent English-speakers find inexplicably sexy, for example. But if there’s one aspect of French culture that’s particularly brag-worthy, it’s our films.
From the invention of the cinematograph by the Lumière Brothers to the New Wave, French cinema has established itself as one of the most revered in the world, perhaps second only to Hollywood in its influence over the rest of the world. Most filmgoers have seen or at least heard of such landmark works as Breathless, The 400 Blows, Grand Illusion or La Femme Nikita. As such, this list will focus on French films that, due to lack of media coverage, poor international distribution or their own unconventional nature, are not as well-known as the aforementioned ones but are just »
- Thomas Ricard
The Oscar-winning director of 12 Years a Slave has pushed back the boundaries of film because of the fearlessness that comes with a background in art
When the director Steve McQueen was an art student learning basic film-making skills at Goldsmiths College, London, he joked he was already aiming for the time when his name would eclipse that of his glamorous namesake, star of The Great Escape and Bullitt. "One day," he told his tutor, Professor Will Brooker, "when people talk about Steve McQueen, I am going to be the first person they think of."
Now, with an Oscar for his film 12 Years a Slave, the transition from Turner prizewinning artist to celebrated director has been made in style. It is a path to cinematography also taken by the British artist Sam Taylor-Wood, nominated for a Turner prize in 1998 and now editing her high-profile film of the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. »
- Vanessa Thorpe
Roberto Rossellini's Rome is dazed, disoriented and at the mercy of Nazis in this classic of neorealism
The Rome of Rossellini's film (now on rerelease) has a dazed, disoriented, stateless look – like the Vienna of Carol Reed's The Third Man or the studio-created Casablanca in Michael Curtiz's movie. The action is set over the winter of 1943-44: it is an "open" city because this was the wartime status conferred on it: in return for a cessation of bombing, the authorities would abandon its military defence. This was a concession to the Allies: but Rossellini's irony is that Rome is "open" to Italy's occupier, Germany, as the capital of northern Italy's new Nazi puppet-state, the so-called Salò Republic (which inspired Pier Pasolini's film Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom).
The former stronghold of empire is unprotected, open to the forces of history – and to a new kind of film-maker. »
What makes a brilliant script? Is it quotable lines? Is it nuanced dialogue? Or is it just the ability to move the story along and not get in the way? When looking back through the history of screenwriting, there are plenty of iconic films based on previous work; the Writer’s Guild of America voted Casablanca the greatest screenplay of all time, but it’s adapted. So, what is the most important piece of film writing ever written directly for the screen? This list will shift from American to international, conventional to unconventional. Most importantly, these are the scripts that demonstrate how “screenwriting from scratch” is done.
courtesy of amazon.com
50. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Written by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Empty salons. Corridors. Salons. Doors. Doors. Salons. Empty chairs, deep armchairs, thick carpets. Heavy hangings. Stairs, steps. Steps, one after the other. Glass objects, objects still intact, empty glasses. A glass that falls, »
- Joshua Gaul
4 items from 2014
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