19 items from 2015
(Ang Lee, 1992-94, Altitude, 15, DVD/Blu-ray)
Born into a middle-class Taiwanese family in 1954, Ang Lee studied Chinese classics locally, and film production in the Us. But he was nearly 40 and living as a house-husband in New York (his wife was a microbiologist) when winning a screenplay competition to encourage Taiwanese filmmakers led to the three successful movies that brought him international recognition. Nicknamed the “father knows best” trilogy and made in English and Mandarin, all three centre on cultural clashes involving the great Chinese actor, the dignified, charismatic Sihung Lung.
In the least well-known, Pushing Hands (1991), he’s an elderly survivor of the Cultural Revolution, a tai chi master living uneasily outside New York with his devoted son and his American daughter-in-law, an ambitious writer struggling with her second novel. Lung, who first teaches his particular form of defensive martial arts to young fellow immigrants (which provides a metaphor for »
- Philip French
Written by Seamus Kevin Fahey
Directed by Greg Beeman
Airs on Thursdays at 8 pm (Et) on NBC
Family is as important to the universe of Heroes as Primatech or people inexplicably coming back to life. The Petrellis and the Nakamuras and the Bennets and the Sureshs had grand lineages that went into controlling the evos, exploiting them, and understanding them. This focus grounds the series: We all have family and understand the various pains and strains that those relationships and exceptions generate in life. This also theoretically gives the show ample opportunity to mine and explore new conflicts. But as was seen ten or so years ago, only so many times can Heroes have Peter and Nathan stand at opposite ends of a crisis only to come together at the end, with one of them scarifying themselves, before the audience gets actively angry at the show. »
- Jj Perkins
Heroes Reborn, Season 1, Episode 1, “Brave New World”
Season 1, Episode 2, “Odessa”
Written by Tim Kring
Airs on Thursdays at 8 pm (Et) on NBC
Every new show has to work to sell the viewer on why it deserves to exist instead of, say, a new season of Hannibal. We are busy people with lives and limited time to commit to a series that is either going to bore us or break our hearts. In this era of Peak TV, Fomo is real and it is crippling. So networks have figured out that is easier to greenlight a nostalgia series (Twin Peaks, The X-Files, Fuller House) than a new series. It has a built in audience! It’ll automatically generate headlines! Though NBC appears to be making a similar decision with Heroes Reborn, deciding to bring back a series that many soured on »
- Jj Perkins
South Korea’s 20th Busan International Film Festival (Biff) has announced iconic Taiwanese actress and filmmaker Sylvia Chang will lead this year’s New Currents jury.
The Golden Bear-nominated 20 30 40, which Chang directed and acted in, screened in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema section in 2004.
Joining her on the jury: Indian director Anurag Kashyap, whose critically-acclaimed innovative works include Black Friday, Dev.D and Gangs of Wasseypur I & II; German actress Nastassja Kinski, whose films include Roman Polanski’s Tess and Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; Korean director Kim Tae-yong, whose films include Memento Mori, Family Ties and Late Autumn; and Village Voice chief film critic Stephanie Zacharek.
The jury will award $30,000 each to two films in the competition for new Asian directors.
Biff will run Oct 1-10 with the Asian Film Market running Oct 3-6 this year.
- email@example.com (Jean Noh)
The new issue of Screening the Past features articles on Béla Tarr's Damnation, Robert Altman, Barbara Stanwyck, Otto Preminger and costume designer Edith Head. Also in today's roundup: The films besides Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo that inform Christian Petzold's Phoenix; more discussion of David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour; Frederick Raphael's memoir; Jonathan Rosenbaum's conversation with Jim Jarmusch about Dead Man; Xavier Dolan on Tom at the Farm; Jacques Rivette revivals on both sides of the Atlantic; a Vittorio De Sica retrospective; Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story tops a list of the best of Asian cinema; and more. » - David Hudson »
The “Asian Cinema 100” initiative was a joint venture by the festival and the Busan Cinema Center. They called on the opinions of 73 prominent film professionals including film critics such as Jonathan Rosenbaum, Tony Rayns and Hasumi Shigehiko, as well as festival programmers, and film directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bong Joon-ho and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Each was asked to recommend his top 10 films. That resulted in 113 selections and 106 directors (including joint rankings) for the final 100 list.
The festival will screen the top 10 films (actually 11, including equally ranked titles) and also publish a book.
Busan said it will repeat the exercise every five years. »
- Patrick Frater
Jim Jarmusch, progenitor of quiet, low-key, talky indies you almost never see today (except from him), shares his ten favorite movies (hat tip: Open Culture). The iconic American indie still makes movies in black-and-white, which is reflected in his love of Ozu, Bresson, Griffith and most everybody on this list, a near-perfect menagerie of genres and styles, Euro art movies and American classics. 1. "L’Atalante" (1934, Jean Vigo) 2. "Tokyo Story" (1953, Yasujiro Ozu) 3. "They Live by Night" (1949, Nicholas Ray) 4. "Bob le Flambeur" (1955, Jean-Pierre Melville) 5. "Sunrise" (1927, F.W. Murnau) 6. "The Cameraman" (1928, Buster Keaton/Edward Sedgwick) 7. "Mouchette" (1967, Robert Bresson) 8. "Seven Samurai" (1954, Akira Kurosawa) 9. "Broken Blossoms" (1919, D.W. Griffith) 10. "Rome, Open City" (1945, Roberto Rossellini) Read More: Toh! Ranks the Films of Jim Jarmusch »
- Ryan Lattanzio
One can’t ignore a certain irony that Leo McCarey, director of one of the most irrefutably sorrowful motion pictures with 1937’s Make Way For Tomorrow, was actually well renowned for his comedic ventures, like that same year’s The Awful Truth or the most beloved of the Marx Brothers films with Duck Soup (1933). In the decades since its release, the film has recently come to be recognized for its influence on several filmmakers, including Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953) and Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange (2014). Filmed during the Great Depression, yet without specific references to the significant economic downturn, the film has a timeless resonance that feels particularly fitting for our contemporary existence.
Though not cemented in Western culture, there’s a particular tendency for this depiction to transpire within the landscape of white, capitalistic peoples and their insistence on stuffing their elders into nursing home facilities. The film »
- Nicholas Bell
'Fanny and Alexander' movie: Ingmar Bergman classic with Bertil Guve as Alexander Ekdahl 'Fanny and Alexander' movie review: Last Ingmar Bergman 'filmic film' Why Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander bears its appellation is a mystery – one of many in the director's final 'filmic film' – since the first titular character, Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) is at best a third- or fourth-level supporting character. In fact, in the three-hour theatrical version she is not even mentioned by name for nearly an hour into the film. Fanny and Alexander should have been called "Alexander and Fanny," or simply "Alexander," since it most closely follows two years – from 1907 to 1909 – in the life of young, handsome, brown-haired Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve), the original "boy who sees dead people." Better yet, it should have been called "The Ekdahls," for that whole family is central to the film, especially Fanny and Alexander's beautiful blonde mother Emilie, »
- Dan Schneider
Always a frontrunner for the Iff Panama’s inaugural Primera Mirada prize, where it has just won a cash second prize of $5,000, Ariel Escalante’s “The Sound of Things,” tough it still just in post-production, announces above all a filmmaker of studied style, an artist who uses image, pacing, a static camera to portray the feelings of a nurse who is unable to confront her deep grief at the death of her flat-mate, cousin and best-friend who committed suicide two months before. Unable to deal with her pain, Claudia retreats into the confines of emotionally aseptic routine, until she re-meets a former friend from happier times, who’s ill and needs her support.
A two-time best short winner at the Costa Rica Film Festival, Ariel Escalante worked as an editor on Canadian movie “El Huaso” and Costa Rica’s “Red Princesses,” which played at 2013’s Berlin Forum. Variety talked to »
- John Hopewell
The Palestinian film-maker is set to direct a new feature later this year or in the first half of 2016, marking his first film since 2009’s The Time That Remains.
“I’ve just finished the script,” Suleiman said of the as-yet-untitled work. He did not unveil the plot but noted “all of my films are to do with something personal.”
“It’s a voyage that will be crossing countries. It’s the first film I will do that doesn’t take Palestine as a microcosm of the world.”
Suleiman added the project could shoot in Europe, the Us or Palestine. Like all his work it will have “a brushstroke of the political time we live in.”
In an interview with Screen at the Doha Film Institute’s inaugural Qumra event where he serves as artistic advisor »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Wendy Mitchell)
Taking place at the Curzon Bloomsbury, which reopens on 27th March 2015, the Auteur Film Festival is set to be a week-long celebration of cinema’s greatest directors; and today the full-line-up for the festival has been announced. Tickets for the festival go on sale later today: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/auteurfilmfestival. Intros to the films will be announced in the next few weeks via http://twitter.com/CurzonBbury
A director is considered an Auteur when his or her individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film a recognisable, personal and unique stamp.
Through its history, the Bloomsbury cinema has been associated with director of singular vision, so it is fitting to reopen the doors with a festival dedicated to their work. The Auteur Film Festival is presented to acknowledge the diversity in world cinema, to celebrate the resurrection of a cultural institution, and reignite debate »
- Phil Wheat
Criterion has announced six new Blu-ray releases as part of its May line-up of the digitally remastered Criterion Collection. Two of the most notable releases are Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight and Bette Midler-starrer The Rose, which are scheduled for release on May 19th.
The full line-up, with technical specifications and artworks, are listed below:
Bette Midler exploded onto the screen with her take-no-prisoners performance in this quintessential film about fame and addiction from director Mark Rydell. Midler is the rock-and-roll singer Mary Rose Foster (known as the Rose to her legions of fans), whose romantic relationships and mental health are continuously imperiled by the demands of life on the road. Incisively scripted by Bo Goldman and beautifully shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (with assistance on the dazzling concert scenes by a host of other world-class cinematographers, including Conrad L. Hall, László Kovács, Owen Roizman, and Haskell Wexler), this »
- Scott J. Davis
The Criterion Collection refurbishes its previous release of Yasujiro Ozu’s 1962 swan song, An Autumn Afternoon for a new digital restoration Blu-ray transfer. The auteur, often described as the ‘most Japanese’ of directors, is a prominent cinematic figure (which explains his heavy presence in Criterion’s vault), ranking alongside the likes of Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi. Yet Ozu was a much more subtle, even methodical filmmaker in comparison, reveling in the depiction of everyday life acted out amongst traditional (some would say banal) activities, meant to reflect the changing cultural landscapes that often place its inhabitants at uncomfortable odds.
An aging widower, Shuhei Hiroyama (Chishu Ryu) lives with daughter Michiko (Shima Iwashita) and a younger son. Michiko tends to her father and brother, and it seems a happy existence for all, but now at the age of twenty-four, outsiders are beginning to question why her father hasn’t arranged for her to be married. »
- Nicholas Bell
Yasujiro Ozu‘s filmography was a blindspot for me personally until Landon and I explored the Sight & Sound Top 50 together. Falling in love with Tokyo Story was a key that unlocked a beautiful amount of movies hiding in plain sight. Not only is his name crossed off my list of shame, it’s been added to my list of favorite filmmakers. Now, video essayist kogonada has explored a singular focal point of the Japanese master’s work: the hallway. It’s a physical concept imbued naturally with the theme of “transition.” Passages can be ignored as background, shot poorly, or elevated as poetic examples that move us physically and emotionally from Point A to Point B. Ozu consistently achieved the latter, showing an obsession with passageways that kogonada captures with grace and simplicity. People are framed within frames gorgeously, and the juxtaposition of all of these scenes together acts like the cinematic version of lavender bath salts »
- Scott Beggs
Taiwan’s Hsiao-hsien Hou has often spoken of his admiration for Japanese master Yasujirō Ozu. In the 1993 documentary Talking with Ozu, attached to the Criterion edition of Tokyo Story and featuring such commentators as Claire Denis and Aki Kaurismäki, he compares the man’s work to that of a mathematician: one that observes and studies in a detached, clinical fashion. Often, returning to the same themes of generational conflict within the family unit, but doing so with a profound self-confidence that only lends such reiterations more weight. Hou goes on to state that, while he considers his own “observations and insight into the human condition” to be similarly objective, he really can’t compare. Yet, the similarities are very much evident. Indeed, few batted an eyelid when Ozu’s longtime employer Shochiku, upon commissioning a project for his centenary, chose not a Japanese but Taiwanese director to best capture the spirit of his films. »
- Nicholas Page
Setsuko Hara is one of the most recognizable Japanese actresses of all time. She's more commonly known to Western audiences as Yasujirô Ozu's muse; a muse so loyal that she allegedly quit acting after he passed away in 1963, becoming recluse even up to today (yes she's still alive). Which is unfortunate because three decades of her onscreen is not enough. Her more famous films, Tokyo Story and Late Spring, barely scratch the surface of her talent. But for now, with nine of her films streaming here, you have to time get acquainted, or reacquainted with her body work. Here are three reasons, as if you need them, to watch Setsuko Hara at her finest.>> - Alece Oxendine »
Goodbye South, Goodbye
Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Written by Chu T’ien-wen
Up until now, I’d never seen a film by Hou Hsiao-hsien, who is considered a true master of the cinematic arts. Despite his critical notoriety, Hou is not well-known in the United States where he has received frustratingly little distribution. Jonathan Rosenbaum, one of Hou’s most ardent supporters, wrote about this in a recent issue of Cinema Scope, lamenting that some of Hou’s best films are not available on DVD at all and the ones that are have abysmal transfers. The Puppetmaster(1993), which I planned on watching for this project, is only available in a pan-and-scan edition. I couldn’t bring myself to view it under such conditions, especially for my very first exposure to him. Instead, I opted for the film Cahiers du Cinema called one of the three best of the 90’s: Goodbye South, »
- Jae K. Renfrow
The Criterion Collection has morality and crime on the mind for their April releases. It's a month that may be short on show-stopping titles, but for anyone looking to dig deeper into the some of the most legendary filmmakers the form has ever seen, this will be a good time to drop some dollars. We'll start over on the Eclipse line, where Yasujiro Ozu has three of his crime flicks collected: "Walk Cheerfully," "That Night's Wife," and "Dragnet Girl." In addition to being a different flavor from his more well known works like "Tokyo Story" and "Late Spring," they are also silent, giving these dramas a different edge. One to seek out if you're feeling adventurous. Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre Melville, the master behind "Le Samourai," "Le Cercle Rouge," and "Bob Le Flambeur," will see his "Le Silence De La Mer" enter the Collection. It will come packaged with interviews and an essay, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
19 items from 2015
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