13 items from 2013
The director has never been short of opinions – so why has he become evasive when we catch up with him in Brooklyn?
With the interview over, Spike Lee finally opens up. For 40 minutes the film director has sat in a defensive crouch, with his arms folded and his legs crossed, parrying questions as though they were accusations. More evasive than abrasive, he insists that neither new technology, changes in his personal life or the way that he's perceived have any effect on him or his work. A couple of times he responds as though there was another interviewee in the room.
Asked a perfectly reasonable questions such as: "How does an independent filmmaker like yourself measure success?", he'd say: "It depends who you ask."
"Well I'm asking you," I keep pointing out, hoping, in vain, for a credible answer.
Lee is small, slender and stylish. He is dressed all in black – sneakers, »
- Gary Younge
The veteran actor who plays tyrannical president Coriolanus Snow in the blockbuster series talks about films as political activism – plus cinema villains and happy marriages
Donald Sutherland wants to stir revolt. A real revolt. A youth-led uprising against injustice that will overturn the Us as we know it and usher in a kinder, better way. "I hope that they will take action because it's getting drastic in this country." Drone strikes. Corporate tax dodging. Racism. The Keystone oil pipeline. Denying food stamps to "starving Americans". It's all going to pot. "It's not right. It's not right."
Millennials need awakening from slumber. "You know the young people of this society have not moved in the last 30 years." With the exception of Occupy, a minority movement, passivity reigns. "They have been consumed with telephones." The voice hardens. "Tweeting."
We are high up in a Four Seasons hotel overlooking Beverly Hills, sunlight glinting off mansions and boutiques below, »
- Rory Carroll
Italy leads the world of cinema in mourning a man whose films were a blend of reality, wit, fantasy and brazen self-indulgence
The renowned film director Federico Fellini died at midday yesterday, ending a 90-day struggle for health and later for life, and closing an era in both 20th century Italian culture and world cinema.
On the day after his 50th wedding anniversary, Fellini's heart finally gave way under the stress of a haemorrhage which had crippled his left side.
He died, aged 73, in the Umberto I Polyclinic hospital in Rome, although he first fell ill in his home town of Rimini on August 3. Fellini insisted on leaving the Rome hospital as late as October 17 for the evening to take his wife, Giulietta Masina, to dinner. He went into the coma soon afterwards.'Fifty years ago,' said Ms Masina, 'I realised that this was a man for me. »
- Ed Vulliamy
• Pope Francis film greenlit
After a hard day at the Vatican, the pontiff likes little better than watching films in which a resolute priest battles the Nazis and a circus strongman takes a waif as his slave. Or to put it another way, Pope Francis has revealed himself as a longtime fan of Italian neo-realist cinema.
In an interview with Rome's La Republicca newspaper, the Pope discussed his love of post-war Italian movies with veteran journalist Eugenio Scalfari. His favourites, he said, included Roberto Rossellini's landmark wartime drama Rome, Open City and Federico Fellini's operatic circus saga La Strada. Pope Francis also praised The Leopard, Luchino Visconti's 1963 epic about the Italian risorgimento, starring the Hollywood actor Burt Lancaster as the prince of Salina. »
- Xan Brooks
The pope depicts art as an enterprise as important as prayer. Does he see the church – or himself – reflected in his top picks?
The wide-ranging and audacious interview given by Pope Francis to 16 Jesuit journals worldwide is already making waves for its frank talk about social issues and its argument that the church should be a "home for all". But Francis's big interview has another important component: it features extensive discussion of culture, as it figures in Francis's own life and as a portal into Christian thought.
The first Jesuit pope turns out to be a voracious cultural aficionado – "a Jesuit must be creative," Francis says at one point – but do his literary and artistic inclinations reveal anything about his religious orientation? Well, there's no overarching link among the many cultural touchstones – art, music, literature, cinema – that Francis drawn on in the interview. That pluralism is in itself a statement, »
- Jason Farago
Italo helmer Marco Tullio Giordana (“The Best of Youth,” biopic “Pier Paolo Pasolini: An Italian Crime”) among other works, has been tapped to helm this extensive English-language reconstruction of Dino De Laurentiis’ career, which spans seven decades and combines both Italian and Hollywood movie lore.
The project comprises two separate, though closely related, works: a four-part English-language miniseries being presented to U.S. and international broadcasters, and also a feature for theatrical release.
First announced in the Italian press, the package is being shopped around to U.S. broadcasters, with talks now in advanced stages, Giordana told Variety.
“It will have a largely U.S. cast, but I would like an Italian actor to play the lead,” Giordana said.
Giordana added that “the film version is »
- Nick Vivarelli
Last week, Spike Lee shook up his sputtering Kickstarter campaign by uploading a handout he gives to all of his Nyu students on the first day of class. The list is the essential films that aspiring filmmakers must see. Just by looking at the comments on our article announcing the list, Lee's picks are of great interest to people. But what if you haven't seen some of the films? Luckily, many of them are available online. Here's a list of Spike Lee's best films for aspiring filmmakers that are currently available to stream for free or with a subscription: Free Crackle: "Bad Lieutenant," Abel Ferara (1992) YouTube: "Bad Lieutenant," Abel Ferara (1992) Hulu: "The Train," John Frankenheimer (1964) Subscription Hulu Plus: "Rashomon," Akira Kurosawa (1950) "Yojimbo," "Akira Kurosawa (1961) "La Strada," Federico Fellini (1954) "400 Blows," Francois Truffaut (1959) "Battle of Algiers," Gillo Pontecorvo (1966) "Breathless," Jean-Luc »
- Bryce J. Renninger
Call me crazy, but I feel a connection between Rota's themes for Fellini's films and the melodic styles of Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman. Granted, what each did once past their respective themes became wildly different, with Rota never abandoning harmony, Ornette twisting it in new directions, and Ayler abandoning it altogether, but before that happens, their themes share an effulgent earthiness and overflowing humanity. And who better to bring out the jazz side of that earthy humanity than the great recontextualizer Steve Bernstein and his longstanding quartet with Briggan Krauss (alto and baritone saxes), Tony Scherr (electric bass), and Kenny Wollesen (drums, gongs, log drum, waterphone, vibraphone).
Bernstein's slide trumpet in particular has the microtonal relationship with pitch that Ayler and Coleman each cherished to varying degrees, including a wide »
Criterion has posted Jane Campion's "Top 10" list, in which she ranks her favorite titles put out by the prestigious DVD and Blu-ray company. The list includes only nine films, but among them are Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt," Federico Fellini's "La Strada" and Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story." Full list below. Campion will receive the Carosse d'Or and head the Short Film and Cinefondation jury at Cannes later this week. The director's excellent mystery series, "Top of the Lake," which she co-wrote, produced and directed in part, recently concluded on the Sundance Channel. You can read Campion's comments on each film here. Campion's Top 9 for Criterion: 1. The Seven Samurai (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1954) 2. The Night Porter (dir. Liliana Cavani, 1974) 3. The Firemen's Ball (dir. Milos Forman, 1967) 4. That Obscure Object of Desire (dir. Luis Bunuel, 1977) 5. Contempt (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) 6. Tokyo Story (dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) 7. La Strada (dir. Federico Fellini, 1954) 8. Scenes from »
- Beth Hanna
Mk Raghavendra, in his column Minority View, writes about Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”
Paul Thomas Anderson is not an easy American filmmaker to characterize but his work is perhaps best understood as an American response to European art cinema of the post-war years. Classical Hollywood cinema or studio filmmaking from the 1920s onwards has insisted on a plot which is driven by individual motivation and, as David Bordwell notes, European art cinema from Neo-realism onwards positioned its narratives in opposition to Hollywood. It relied on looser causal linkages and with less dependence on the motivated individual.
European films ranging from Bergman’s Wild Strawberries (1957) and Fellini’s La Strada (1954) to Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) and Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) are about people who, rather than being goal-oriented, are either unable to act decisively or are reflecting on the results of the past actions. The two major principles »
- MK Raghavendra
Great news for cinephiles and wannabe cinephiles alike: From now until Feb. 18, every single one of the Criterion Collection’s streaming titles on Hulu is available to watch whether you’ve got a Hulu Plus account or not.
To clarify, this doesn’t mean that Criterion’s entire collection of some 910 films is streaming for free. But even if only a portion of that selection is available on Hulu, there are still tons of high-quality films to choose from — meaning that it’s fairly daunting even to figure out where to start. Thankfully, Criterion itself has a suggestion:
Wondering where to start? »
- Hillary Busis
Our daily January countdown of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made continues, with part eight out of 30. These are numbers 230-221.
228) Oliver (1968) Carol Reed British
223) Goodbye Mr. Chips (1937) Sam Woods British
222) The Last Picture Show (1971) Peter Bogdonovitch USA
Numbers 220-211 coming next.
film cultureClassicslist300 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Criterion has revealed the following piece of art revealing clues as to what they will be offering in 2013. Commenters have already clued in to a few of the more obvious titles such as Harold Lloyd's Safety Last!, Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone, David Lynch's Eraserhead and Delmer Daves's 3:10 to Yuma as well as speculation on titles such as Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai, Federico Fellini's La Strada, Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata, David Cronenberg's Scanners, Peter Brook's Lord of the Flies and Gabriel Axel's Babette's Feast. What titles do you see and what clues match your guesses? »
- Brad Brevet
13 items from 2013
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