17 items from 2015
Spanish director José Luis Guerín is best known in the States for his pseudo-fictional love letter to women-watching In the City of Sylvia, but in fact is a prolific documentary filmmaker and has brought with him to Locarno the lovely and elegant pseudo-documentary L’Accademia delle Muse. Playful and clever as ever, Guerín has collaborated with Professor Raffaele Pinto and several actresses, perhaps students, to stage a false course in philology. The class, populated almost entirely by women, discusses the nature, influence and meaning of muses in poetry, and what starts as seemingly a documentary on this classroom, its teacher and a few select students, subtly evolves into a drama of words and unseen actions.The issues at stake as discourse in the class—what desire means, if it has to be sexual, the difference between a woman and a muse, how a lover influences the beloved and vice versa »
- Daniel Kasman
Cohen Media Group presents a double feature of two mid-period films from French auteur Alain Resnais, both significant titles overlooked on a resume of important and notable works. The first is 1983’s Love is a Bed of Roses, featuring revolving cast members who would frequent other titles from the director throughout the remainder of that decade, and also represents his first collaboration with actress/wife Sabine Azema, who would appear in nearly every one of his remaining film productions. The second is the superb 1984 film Love Unto Death, an existential portrait of love and death as fluid states of mind.
The playful Life is a Bed of Roses premiered at the Venice Film Festival and nabbed Cesar nominations for Azema as Best Supporting Actress and for production designer Jacques Saulnier. Penned by Jean Gruault (who wrote Resnais’ previous feature, 1980’s superior Mon Oncle D’Amerique), it’s a non-linear film divided into three distinct parts, »
- Nicholas Bell
This article by Fernando Ganzo is an excerpt from Capricci's monograph Sam Peckinpah, edited by Ganzo, which accompanies this year's retrospective at the Locarno Film Festival.Warren Oates in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. © Park Circus / MGM“Don’t ever ruin your career as a loser with a shitty success.”—Jorge OteizaThere is only one thing that can be said about a person as erratic, contradictory, mythomaniac, complex and profound as Sam Peckinpah: here is a director who was made in the image of his characters, those men who belong to a different era, born too late, in a world that opposed all freedom and eccentricity. We like to describe Peckinpah as one of the fathers of New Hollywood, of the baroque aesthetic of the 1970s, as someone who had a primordial and often regrettable influence on that particular style. This is not completely false. However, this »
I'm not interested in The Bible, I'm interested in death.
So, you think you're an art house movie buff? Good for you, buddy, because I don't know if I can handle it. My ambitions are entertainment with literacy with a wide definition for both. Alain Resnais is surely an opaque dividing line between my sort of dilettantism and the hard core, high art snob/hippie with Last Year at Marienbad (1961) being a classic example of unwatchable inner-rectal filmmaking to your mainstream audience. The Cohen Collection has put together two of his films, from the early 1980's, written by Jean Gruault, Life is a Bed of Roses (1983) and Love Unto Death (1984) one presumes because Criterion already has the rights to Last Year at Marienbad, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), and Night and Fog (1955). Still, given Resnais's stature in film history, he is criminally underrepresented in home video and these are odd enough to »
- Jason Ratigan
The Venice Film Festival has become one of the longest-running events on the festival circuit, its veteran status giving it a level of prestige that has only been heightened by the films that have screened at the event. Having first started in 1932, a number of movies that have gone on to be classics have won prizes at the festival, including Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito, and Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad. Interest in the festival’s lineup announcement has thus grown over the years, with many film fans curious to see what the organisers select to play at the event, due to its stature. The full lineup for the 2015 incarnation of the festival, the 72nd one in the festival’s history, has now been announced. The festival itself will run from September 2nd to the 12th, with a jury that includes Alfonso Cuarón, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, »
- Deepayan Sengupta
It didn't take long for Alain Robbe-Grillet to plunge into directing, after the success of his literary career (as doyen of the nouvelle roman) and his screenplay for Last Year at Marienbad. And it didn't take long after L'immortelle, his 1963 debut, for him to plunge into porn. Trans-Europ Express (1966) was banned in Britain, its scenes of s&m kink far too extreme for Anglo sensibilities at the time. We were still reeling from Jane Birkin's pubes. We weren't ready for chains and rape fantasies. Still aren't, probably.1968's The Man Who Lies again stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, but seems a step back from the extremes of the previous flick. There's little nudity, little sex. But the whole film is redolent of a ritualized, fetishized, sublimated sex, played out in non-sexual arenas.The film also has a lot in common with Marienbad, since it plays a constant game of "what is truth? »
- David Cairns
Written by Marguerite Duras
Directed by Alain Resnais
The first thing we see is a textured image of ash covered bodies. Indistinctly illuminated limbs are entwined in what appears to be a passionate embrace. Glistening particles of dust sprinkle down like snowfall. Then comes the dialogue. A woman recalls the devastating effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945. She says she saw it all. A man says she didn’t see a thing. “How could I not have seen it?” she questions. We see images of it, but some of it is staged, presented for the camera, possibly from her point of view. That is, if she’s telling the truth. There is a graphically unsettling montage of photographs, reconstructions, and Japanese films, all chronicling the attack; there is a morbid museum containing artifacts of that fateful day, haunting reminders of the physical and material destruction. »
- Jeremy Carr
Criterion digitally restores its previous edition of Alain Resnais’ landmark directorial debut, Hiroshima Mon Amour, a jagged cornerstone of the French New Wave, which forever associated the reluctant auteur with one of the most acclaimed cinematic movements to date. Roughly preceding the renowned debut of Jean-Luc Godard and released the same month as Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (they competed against one another at Cannes), Resnais’ contribution changed the way we regarded linear narrative and flashback sequences, and much like those iconic works of his peers, now bears several decades worth of critical acclaim on its shoulders. Tragic, moody and ultimately a poetic exchange of present interludes shattered by ghosts of the recent past, Resnais begins with motifs he would remain fascinated with throughout his career, the nature of remembrance and recollection, instances as shattered as the narrative chronologies in his films.
Fourteen years after the atomic bomb laid waste to Hiroshima, »
- Nicholas Bell
“He Said/She Said—Reflections On Love, Unreliable Memories, And The Atomic Bomb”
Director Alain Resnais achieved worldwide acclaim with his documentary short, Night and Fog (1955), which revealed to the world the true horrors of what went on in the Nazi concentration camps. For his first feature film, Resnais turned to fiction; and yet, he maintained a somewhat documentary approach in showing the world the true horrors of what occurred in Hiroshima, Japan when the first atomic bomb was dropped. Beyond that, Hiroshima mon amour (“Hiroshima, My Love”) is an art film that not only signaled the beginning of the French New Wave (although many film historians do not count it as an example of that movement), it also established Resnais’ singular, enigmatic and ambiguous style as an auteur. The director would go on to make even more thematically-mysterious pictures (namely Last Year at Marienbad) and become »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
In “The Great Beauty,” there’s a flashback in which a young Jep Gambardella recalls the promise of love — its loss, with the betrayal of youthful ideals, leads to Jep’s crushing self-contempt. It’s a tender moment in a film of deep cynicism, and now Paolo Sorrentino, with “Youth,” delivers his most tender film to date, an emotionally rich contemplation of life’s wisdom gained, lost and remembered — with cynicism harping from the sidelines, but as a wearied chord rather than a major motif. Set in a Swiss spa with two old friends — one a retired composer-conductor, the other an active helmer— “Youth” is less flashy than Sorrentino’s recent pics but no less beautiful. Shot in English, with leads Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel bringing lifetimes of depth to their roles, the film, which Fox Searchlight is releasing Stateside, could become Sorrentino’s biggest box office hit yet. »
- Jay Weissberg
Got your Summer film calendar planned yet? On Wednesday The Academy announced their May and June programs which will explore the past, present and especially the future of moviegoing, as the availability of a wide variety of platforms for viewing films alters the habits of today’s audiences.
“The New Audience: Moviegoing in a Connected World,” a live panel presentation on May 12, complements “This Is Widescreen,” an eight-week screening series beginning May 1 that illustrates one of the ways filmmakers more than a half-century ago responded to the competition of that era, television.
The New Audience: Moviegoing In A Connected World
Tuesday, May 12│7:30 P.M.│Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills
Moderator Krista Smith, Vanity Fair’s executive West Coast editor, will lead an onstage panel discussion of how filmmakers and studios seek to take advantage of the wide variety of viewing platforms available to contemporary audiences.
Scheduled guests include Walt »
- Michelle McCue
Although the programming of the Colcoa French Film Festival falls mainly in the hands of executive producer and artistic director Francois Truffart, he acknowledges that the annual event, now in its 19th year, would not be possible without the involvement of the Directors Guild of America, which physically hosts the festival at its headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and the Writers Guild of America West.
In 1995 the two guilds banded — along with the Motion Picture Assn. and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music, among others — to form the Franco-American Cultural Fund, which produces the festival. “All strategic decisions are made with the board — the DGA, the Wgaw and the Mpa together, so they are very much involved in the development of the festival,” Truffart says.
- Steve Chagollan
“I have never stayed so long anywhere,” says Delphine Seyrig’s “A” in Alain Resnais’s enigmatic 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad. She can’t recall meeting Giorgio Albertazzi’s “X” at the same château the previous year, but her words capture the film’s disorienting sense of time and place. X’s pursuit of A is a reminder that the…
The post The Beyond: Footprints on the Moon appeared first on Shock Till You Drop. »
- Samuel Zimmerman
If René Clément's short collaboration with Jacques Tati in 1936 has its later development in the surprising (and political) slapstick of Che gioia vivere (1962), his technical assistance to Jean Cocteau on Beauty and the Beast pays off more rapidly with Le château de verre (The Glass Castle, 1950), starring Cocteau's beautiful beast, Jean Marais, and ice queen monstré sacré Michelle Morgan. This one came highly recommended by Shadowplayer David Wingrove, who saw in its opening sequence a foreshadowing of Last Year at Marienbad's glacial surrealism—frozen figures, somnambulent dancers, palatial surroundings. In fact, the Clément film comes with le jazz hot, and the frozen figures aren't frozen, but there is certainly an air of decadent mystery, with Jean Servais as the chess-playing husband a passable progenitor of the Resnais movie's sepulchral M.But there's more! We begin with a disembodied voice (another Marienbad trope) and open in a fabulous grotto, »
- David Cairns
Life of Riley, 2014.
Directed by Alain Resnais.
George Riley is due to die, forcing his close friends, and ex-lovers, to reflect on their own lives as he comes to the end of his.
This is Alain Resnais’ final film. This is his third adaptation of an Alan Aykbourn play, a different era to his previous exploits within his six-decade canon. Director of art-house classics Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad, Resnais was often ambiguous with his intentions, merging dreams and reality, truth and fiction, throughout his stories. Life of Riley won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival (only one month before his death) “for a feature that opens new perspectives”, as it does again create conflict between stage and screen.
Of course, it’s slightly jarring when, fading into England (more specifically, »
- Simon Columb
Scott Foundas: Hi Peter. Well, we’ve officially reached the midpoint of the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, although the most hotly anticipated event in this cold, cold town is still another day away. I’m talking, of course, about the world premiere of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which isn’t the kind of movie one typically thinks of as festival fare, but which events like Berlin and Cannes need as a kind of palate cleanser from the steady parade of world-class arthouse cinema from countries like Iran, China and Chile. Those movies may get you lots of ink in Variety, but it’s only a “Fifty Shades” that can get your red carpet splattered all over the picture pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair.
- Scott Foundas and Peter Debruge
While 2014 saw the passing of (reluctant) New Wave icon Alain Resnais, there was an intense resurgence of interest in the directorial efforts of Last Year at Marienbad (1961) scribe Alain Robbe-Grillet. Grillet and Resnais would never collaborate again, but it left the screenwriter with his own directorial options, which he used to explore his abstract fetishes in a filmography that would span ten films, many of which never made it to the United States. Kino Lorber’s Redemption label resurrected five rare titles for Blu-ray over the past year, including his 1963 debut L’immortelle and New Wave classic Trans-Europ-Express (1967). But it would be Grillet’s eighth feature that would serve to be his most internationally renowned, the 1983 La Belle Captive, which chanteys its way into Blu-ray this month courtesy of Olive Films. No more cohesive than any of the other puzzling titles in his filmography, the stunning work from DoP Henri Alekan »
- Nicholas Bell
17 items from 2015
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