10 items from 2014
‘Love Is Strange’ movie review: Gay romantic drama is ‘beautiful in every way’ (photo: John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in ‘Love Is Strange’) Love Is Strange is beautiful in every way that a film can be beautiful, and unabashedly so. Yet, despite its willingness to gild the lily for love of ethereal, aesthetic beauty in all its forms, it is a film that reaches for the truth — the deepest truths of what we often call “the human condition.” For all these reasons I love Ira Sachs’ movie as much as it wishes we would love each other. I love the artistry of it. I love what it has to say and that it’s something seldom said. I love that it is forgiving. Without hyperbole, I tell you that Love Is Strange is the stuff of Jean-Luc Godard (Notre Musique and In Praise of Love), Vittorio De Sica (Umberto D. »
- Tim Cogshell
As most of the world suffers through the sweltering heat of summer, we head to the bleak and wintry climes of Sweden for this month's Full Disclosure. Each month, we focus on a different filmmaking force of world cinema and tackle something from his catalogue for the very first time. Ingmar Bergman would have celebrated his 96th birthday this month, so what better time is there to better acquaint ourselves with this Scandinavian master of existential nihilism, whose classic offerings include The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring and so many more....
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What's on your cinematic mind? Discuss as I finish a few more Oscar charts.
Anyone know which Manhattan movie theater this is? I thought Film Forum at first but the building next to it looks wrong.
I woke up thinking about Ingmar Bergman movies because in Summer Wishes Winter Dreams (1973) Joanne Woodward and her mother Sylvia Sidney take in Wild Strawberries. Joanne immediately falls asleep which you should never do at great movies. Bad Joanne, bad! But how funny is it that one of the Oscar nominated films of 1973 has a Bergman scene in it in the same year that the Academy went wild for Cries and Whispers? And then I thought about how evil it was for me to program two awesome but gruellingly enigmatic movies in a row for Best Shot (Under the Skin then Cries & Whispers) but they are going to make such amazing 'hit me with your best shot' episodes. »
- NATHANIEL R
Over the past three months of Movie Poster of the Day, the two most popular posters by far were two beautiful (each in their own very distinct way) posters that I posted in memoriam of two dearly departed auteurs: Alan Resnais and Harold Ramis. And two other posters among the most popular (i.e. most liked or reblogged) were those posted in celebration of Philip Seymour Hoffman, including Chris Ware’s lovely 2007 design for The Savages, one of my favorite posters of last decade. So, if nothing else, Movie Poster of the Day has recorded the saddest losses of the year. (Not forgetting the adorable Swedish poster I posted for Shirley Temple which didn’t make the Top 20.)
I’m happy to see a number of new posters here: a very popular Dutch Wolf of Wall Street, »
- Adrian Curry
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona is probably the great Swedish filmmaker’s most perplexing and thought-provoking work; it’s certainly his most surreal. Unusual imagery and curious narrative developments aren’t necessarily foreign to the rest of his filmography, but they have never been as frequent as they are here, nor have they been as overtly inexplicable. (Even if their meanings remain unclear, at least the dream sequences in Wild Strawberries can be clearly identified as dreams; there is no such easy rationalization here.) With so much happening in this 1966 feature, so many levels of story and visual complexity, it’s little wonder that Persona has yielded a great deal of discussion and analysis. And subsequently, it’s little wonder that the newly released Blu-ray/DVD from the Criterion Collection is accompanied by an excellent gathering of supplemental material, enhancing an already fascinating film, »
- Jeremy Carr
It's hard to believe it has already been more than three years since I first saw Ingmar Bergman's Persona. The first Bergman film I saw was The Seventh Seal back in 2007 and I was immediately hooked. I quickly followed that up with Wild Strawberries and have since come to own many of the iconic Swedish director's films, and as much as I never believed anything he directed could effect me as much as Seventh Seal, Persona is a whole new level of filmmaking. I've been asked before if a film can still be enjoyable even if you don't entirely understand it. Persona is evidence that the answer is a resounding yes. The film came about after Bergman fell ill in 1959 as he was planning on beginning work on a film with Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson titled The Cannibals. That film never came to fruition. While recovering in the hospital, »
- Brad Brevet
Yesterday I stumbled on the following short film from Ridley Scott titled "Boy and Bicycle" of which he directed in 1962 while a student at the Royal College of Art in London. Shot over the course of six weeks, for ?65 (approx. $108 today) on 16mm and featuring his brother, the late Tony Scott, in the lead role, the short follows a young teen as he skips school. The film was shot in various locations in Hartlepool, North East England. The short would eventually be finished in 1965 when Scott secured financing from the British Film Institute and would then include theme music by James Bond composer John Barry. The short immediately caught my eye and after searching the Internet for commentary from others, most of which feel they see imagery they will later recognize in Scott's Alien, Blade Runner and Black Rain, I think the more obvious discussion points are visual comparisons to »
- Brad Brevet
Few films have ever been as dissected and analyze as Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona”, recently released on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time with new special features. It’s somewhat ironic that so many people have spent so much intellectual energy on a film that Bergman admits came to him at a point of low health almost in a dream. In fact, “Persona” somewhat becomes less interesting to me as it’s dissected, much like Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” or Malick’s “Tree of Life”. They are distinctly emotional, symbolic pieces and perhaps they should just be appreciated as such instead of such analysis of “what they mean.” However you choose to appreciate one of Bergman’s most influential films, you should do so with the Criterion edition from this day forward.
As for special features on this new edition, the two that are most powerful for me are »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
“You can’t understand until it happens to you.”
Roya, played by Mahnaz Afshar, listens to this line left on her answering machine repeatedly. It is a part of her husband, Ali’s, confession to his infidelity with one of Roya’s piano students, with whom he’s run off. Ali sees himself as a victim of his passion, but for Roya, it is one of many moments in which her emotions and how she feels them are constricted or reshaped by the people around her, both male and female. Snow On Pines is about her struggle to cope with those feelings on her own terms in a society where traditions dictate her every move. Though this story is colored by the Iranian experience, its ideological aspirations are universally recognizable and not limited to arbitrary borders. Roya’s conflict is seen all over the world, even in countries considered significantly »
- Jae K. Renfrow
One of my favorite Polish poster designers, or indeed favorite poster designer from any country, is Jerzy Flisak (1930-2008). Incredibly prolific—I’ve seen maybe 200 Flisak movie posters and he made many more during his 30 year career—Flisak started out as a satirical cartoonist. A cheerful, simple, almost childlike style is evident in much of his work, which tends towards the bright, bold and colorful, often peopled with rosy cheeked buxom ladies. Much of that work is terrific and quite well known—like his posters for The Fireman’s Ball and Paper Moon—but what draws me to Flisak is his work that pulls in the opposite direction: towards the more serious, abstract and monochrome. Before Flisak was a cartoonist he had studied architecture and there is a very strong sense of structure, space and form in his work. »
- Adrian Curry
10 items from 2014
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