7 items from 2015
Karim Aïnouz's Playa del Futuro“Films are interesting when they’re specific.” So said Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz when asked why he explores identity—queer, national, gender, ethnic—in his films like Madame Satã and his most recent work, the sensuous Playa del Futuro. With his features being the focus of the International Film Festival Panama’s retrospective during its fourth edition, Aïnouz’s comment can also be extended to the fest’s (still evolving) mandate: an emphasis on—and bolstering of—the geographically specific cinemas in Central America. This idea of films defined by borders has increasingly gone out of vogue, as the nation state as it was defined in the 19th and 20th century has all but dissipated with increasing international co-financing and multi-national organizations not recognizing borders (let alone international labor laws). But as Aïnouz notes, this only makes festivals like Iffp more important: “It’s »
- Kiva Reardon
Bill Plympton is not a genius, or so he insists, although none of his thousands of fans would be shocked if a MacArthur "Genius Grant" came his way. This former contributor to Playboy, The New York Times, and MTV has been a cult cartoonist and animator now for over a quarter of century, garnering an Oscar nomination in 1987 for his short "Your Face."
"Your Face" showcases a middle-aged man in a business suit with a pencil moustache singing a love tune as his head constantly metamorphoses. His mouth first travels to his forehead, then all of his facial features somersault before his skull twists up like a corkscrew and breaks apart, then reunites. The Exorcist's Linda Blair would be jealous. These transmutations continue, all in vibrating lines, until the camera steps back and showcases the singer sitting in a chair on a barren Earth that eventually develops a mouth and swallows him up. »
- Brandon Judell
Panama – “I have to thank my wrinkles,” Geraldine Chaplin jokes in the lobby of the American Trade Hotel in Panama City as she prepares for the festival screening of the critically acclaimed “Sand Dollars” (“Dólares de Arena”). The film, which premiered in Toronto, has already won the hard-working actress, winkles and all, a number of awards including in Cairo, Chicago and Havana. Expect more to follow throughout the year.
Chaplin, who is making her second visit to the Panama Film Festival, is a big fan of film festivals in general and credits a festival for her involvement in “Sand Dollars.”
“I was at a festival, I think it was Lima, and I watched a film called ‘Jean Gentil’ that was directed by Laura Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas. I really liked the film, and it was a film that stuck in my head,” Chaplin explains. “I thought I would contact the »
- Christopher Pickard
World War II was the most-widespread and bloody war in history, with upwards of 85million fatalities between 1939 and 1945. Much is known about the key men involved in the war – including Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin – and about both the opposing Allied and Axis Powers.
In fact, the Second World War is one of the most-discussed and talked-about events in human history, with countless books, films and TV series about an event that directly affected the majority of the world’s population.
Yet, despite the wealth of information that is available on World War II and the various operations involved within it, some mysteries still remain a full seven decades after its conclusion.
The whereabouts of the “Führer Globe”, owned by Adolf Hitler and made famous by Charlie Chaplin in his 1940 film “The Great Dictator”, is unknown for example. Furthermore, what exactly were the mysterious UFOs that appeared during »
- Chris Waugh
Editor's Note: RogerEbert.com is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.
Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the »
- Roger Ebert
The Interview and the geopolitical crisis it caused is arguably the most important movie-related story of recent weeks.
The story device featured in The Interview, the idea of a film featuring the assassination of the current ruling leader, is nothing new, and in fact is seen through much of film’s history. In 1941 a German-in-exile Fritz Lang shown an unsuccessful attack on Adolf Hitler in Man Hunt (this story was also told in BBC’s Rogue Male from 1976 starring Peter O’Toole). The Shaw Brothers used the actual newsreel footage of Queen Elisabeth visiting Hong-Kong (then a British colony) in their 1976 martial arts flick A Queen’s Ransom (a.k.a. The International Assassin) starring post-James Bond George Lazenby as an Ira assassin and Angela Mao as a heroine trying to stop him. In fact, the Queen of England might be the most popular assassination target among actual world leaders »
- Jakub Mejer
30. Apollo 13 (1995)
Lost to: Braveheart
In 1995, director Ron Howard brought a true life story of hope in the face of peril and started sweeping up awards. He won the Directors Guild Award. He won the Producers Guild Award. He won the Screen Actors Guild Ensemble Award. He lost the Golden Globe Drama to “Sense and Sensibility,” though he was nominated. Nothing could beat “Apollo 13.” Oscar night came and the Academy decided to hand the award to Mel Gibson’s historical epic about William Wallace, whose only precursor award was a surprise directing win at the Golden Globes. I’m not saying “Apollo 13″ is a greater film than “Braveheart.” It’s just proof that even the mighty may fall if a charismatic actor/director is at the helm.
29. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Lost to: Titanic
- Joshua Gaul
7 items from 2015
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