7 items from 2014
10. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Directed by: Max Ophuls
To be honest, the relationship at the center of “Letter from an Unknown Woman” barely even exists. It’s more of a longing from one side than the other. But the ways Ophuls structures the film qualifies it for this list. For the run of the story, we hear a voiceover, explaining the moments in these two characters’ lives. Lisa (Joan Fontaine) is a teenager who becomes obsessed with a pianist who lives in her building named Stefan (Louis Jordan). She only meets him once, but maintains her love for him. After her mother announces they will be moving, Lisa runs away, but sees Stefan with another woman. Lisa becomes a respectable woman and is proposed to by a young, family-focused military officer, whom she turns down, still in love with Stefan, a man she has barely met. Years later, she »
- Joshua Gaul
First Best Actor Oscar winner Emil Jannings and first Best Actress Oscar winner Janet Gaynor on TCM (photo: Emil Jannings in 'The Last Command') First Best Actor Academy Award winner Emil Jannings in The Last Command, first Best Actress Academy Award winner Janet Gaynor in Sunrise, and sisters Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge are a few of the silent era performers featured this evening on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its Silent Monday presentations. Starting at 5 p.m. Pt / 8 p.m. Et on November 17, 2014, get ready to check out several of the biggest movie stars of the 1920s. Following the Jean Negulesco-directed 1943 musical short Hit Parade of the Gay Nineties -- believe me, even the most rabid anti-gay bigot will be able to enjoy this one -- TCM will be showing Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command (1928) one of the two movies that earned »
- Andre Soares
To mark the release of A Promise on 4th August, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on DVD.
Set in Germany at the outbreak of World War I, A Promise centres on Charlotte Hoffmeister (Rebecca Hall) a married woman who falls in love with Friedrich Zeitz (Richard Madden), a protégé of her husband Karl Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman).
Bound by duty and divided by the impending war, the young lovers pledge their devotion to each other in spite of what their future holds.
A passionate and romantic drama about forbidden love, A Promise marks the English language debut of acclaimed French director, Patrice Leconte and is based on the classic novel ‘Journey into the Past’ by Austrian author Stefan Zwieg (famed for the film adaptations of Letter From An Unknown Woman and The Grand Budapest Hotel).
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I went to a recent screening of “Letter From an Unknown Woman” at Moma with a friend and fellow Max Ophuls devotee. As always, I was delighted and swept away by Ophuls’ complex love stories and equally complex camera moves. After the film, we discussed what we believed to be a fear, among many (not all) contemporary American directors, of moving the camera in favor of conventional coverage of a scene (Wide shot, Medium shot, Close Up, Close Up and figuring out the pacing in the edit). Of the film elements filed under cinematography, I believe camera movement is the strongest indicator of my director’s voice. Certainly lighting plays an important factor in »
- Cybel Martin
How do you get to the Grand Budapest Hotel? To be sure you will not find it on Trip Advisor, or on any maps of the region. Ditto the kingdom of Zubrowka, within whose borders it purportedly lies. But if you first travel to that beleaguered republic of Tomainia, where the dictator Adenoid Hynkel is on the rise to power, then cross over to nearby Bandrika, where visiting ladies are wont to vanish, and finally detour through Marshovia, whose king is known for his attraction to merry widows, you’ll be near enough to smell the artisanal confections of Mendel’s, official supplier of baked goods to the Grand Budapest and all of its denizens.
Of course, the true provenance of this extraordinary establishment is the expansive imagination of Wes Anderson, above flanked by “Grand Budapest Hotel” cast members Tony Revolori and Bill Murray, who has set his eighth feature »
- Scott Foundas
Whatever the patchiness of the rest of its lineup, the Berlin film festival tends to start off with a bang, and this year is no exception: the world premiere of the new film from Wes Anderson, that master of archly sculpted dialogue and meticulous, retrofitted design. The arrival of The Grand Budapest Hotel is particularly appropriate, for this is the moment in the Anderson oeuvre when he turns to consider all things Mitteleuropäische – refracted, as a closing credit tells us, through the work of the prolific Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.
Zweig specialised in novellas – Letter from an Unknown Woman, Fear, The Royal Game – normally designed to illuminate some plangent melodrama in interwar Vienna. Without being a direct adaptation of anything specific, The Grand Budapest Hotel distils many of the story's elements. »
- Andrew Pulver
One of the more frequent accusations leveled at Wes Anderson — that he’s a filmmaker who favors style over substance — will ring even hollower than usual after “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a captivating 1930s-set caper whose innumerable surface pleasures might just seduce you into overlooking its sly intelligence and depth of feeling. As intricately layered as a Dobos torte and nearly as rich, this twisty tale of murder, theft, conspiracy and unlikely friendship finds its maker in an unusually ambitious and expansive mood — still arranging his characters in detail-perfect dioramas, to be sure, but with a bracing awareness of the fascism, war and decay about to encroach upon their lovingly hand-crafted world. The result is no musty nostalgia trip but rather a vibrant and imaginative evocation of a bygone era, with a brilliant lead performance from Ralph Fiennes that lends Anderson’s latest exercise in artifice a genuine soul.
From a creative standpoint, »
- Justin Chang
7 items from 2014
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