9 items from 2013
Russian cinematographer whose work with the director Andrei Tarkovsky produced poetic and powerful films
It is sometimes difficult to assess how and how much directors of photography contribute to films. However, nobody watching Andrei Tarkovsky's visual masterpieces Andrei Rublev (1966) and Solaris (1972) could fail to be struck by the remarkable cinematography of Vadim Yusov, who has died aged 84.
Yusov was Tarkovsky's favourite cinematographer, having shot four of the director's eight films, from the medium-length The Steamroller and the Violin (1961) to Solaris. Yusov also shot four features for Sergei Bondarchuk, another great of Russian cinema.
Tarkovsky's films are some of the most personal, poetic and powerful statements to have come out of eastern Europe. In contrast, Bondarchuk's films, while also imbued with a rich pictorial sense, have an objective, epic grandeur. "Tarkovsky and Bondarchuk were worlds apart," declared Yusov. "It was my job to enter both their worlds."
Yusov's relationship with the two directors also differed. »
- Ronald Bergan
Criterion has just posted a short video featuring Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) in their DVD/Blu-ray closet picking up and talking about a few titles. He begins with Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood (read my review here), but then makes sure to mention Stalker is his favorite from the famous Russian helmer. No surprise there, I even mentioned Refn when I wrote about Stalker recently. He takes a peek at Quadrophenia, Bigger than Life, Something Wild, The Great Dictator, Insignificance, Repo Man, Things to Come and finally, Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, which is when he tells a story of having dinner with the Kazan when he was 24-years-old in Stockholm and asked him what advice he'd give a young filmmaker. Kazan told him, "My advice to you is do it your way." Watch the full video directly below. »
- Brad Brevet
"I think the point about Marketa Lazarova is that when you first see it you're confused, and by that I mean you know that the whole story of what you're looking at is obscured, but it's still there, but you have to look hard." Peter Hames (film historian) Quick, name a Czechoslovakian film or film director... I would expect most of you are either drawing a blank or shouting out Milos Forman. The reason I ask is because on the back of Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Marketa Lazarova it reads, "In its native land, Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarova has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made; for many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation." I can't speak to the first part of that statement as I believe this was the first, bonafide Czech film I've ever seen, but the second rings true. When it comes to Czech cinema, »
- Brad Brevet
I recently reviewed the Criterion Blu-ray for Andrei Tarkovsky's debut feature Ivan's Childhood. It was the third film from the Russian director I'd seen, following Solaris and his final film The Sacrifice, and of the three it was probably my favorite and certainly the most approachable and easily digestible. In that review I noted the Ingmar Bergman quote discussing Ivan's Childhood of which he said, "My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease." Video editor and cinema lover Nelson Carvajal (whose work I've featured before) used a different Bergman quote to introduce the following Tarkovsky retrospective he posted today: "The one who invented a new language, »
- Brad Brevet
Moviefone's New Release Pick of the Week "Pina" (Criterion Collection) What's It About? Director Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas," "Wings of Desire") tells the story of Pina Bausch, an acclaimed German dance choreographer and instructor who passed away just days before the start of the planned documentary; Wenders films her most celebrated works on the streets of Germany and on a stage filled with waterfalls, sand and the wild elements of earth. And he shot it all in 3D. See It Because: "Pina" eschews the characteristics of a regular documentary and being able to witness her creativity in action -- with genuinely hypnotic 3D technology -- is the best tribute possible to a unique artistic identity. Lastly, It's a German 3D dance film. If you're not at least enticed on a visual level, we're not sure what to tell you. New on DVD & Blu-ray "Death Race 3: Inferno" What's It About? »
- Eric Larnick
Andrei Tarkovsky doesn't exactly have the largest filmography, but it's a well respected one that I am only beginning to explore. I've seen Solaris and his final film The Sacrifice, but haven't yet taken the time to explore such highly regarded films as Andrei Rublev and Stalker. With so few feature films to his credit, you'd think it would be easy to see them all, but considering the two I just mentioned clock in at over 160 minutes each (205 for Rublev) I want to be sure I watch them uninterrupted once I give them the chance. This brings me to Criterion's latest Blu-ray presentation of Tarkovsky's feature film debut, Ivan's Childhood, and while watching, three things came immediately to mind, 1.) Ingmar Bergman, 2.) Robert Rossellini's Germany Year Zero and 3.) the mixture of religious imagery and destruction as seen in Ashes and Diamonds. When it comes to Bergman, the visual comparisons are obvious, »
- Brad Brevet
End of Watch End of Watch made my Top Ten Movies of 2012 so of course I'm going to recommend it. I haven't yet listened to writer/director David Ayer's audio commentary, but I'm looking forward to it as Blu-ray.com's review makes it sound incredibly informative: Writer/director David Ayer offers a scene by scene breakdown of End of Watch, discussing the authenticity of the film at great length, touching on the decision to avoid including a single corrupt cop, providing insight into development and implementation of the multi-camera narrative, and spending plenty of time on everything from the script to the performances to the Pov shifts between the police officers and the gangsters.
Ivan's Childhood (Criterion Collection) I have a review of this one in the works and it should be finished by this afternoon. That said, I will tell you I really liked this film and liked »
- Brad Brevet
Busy week of movie and TV watching for me beyond seeing Mama (read my review here) and The Last Stand (read my review here) in theaters. I watched Criterion's new Blu-ray for Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood, which I really liked and am already halfway done with my review and will have finished by Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how long it takes me to finish writing up the 2012 RopeofSilicon Awards. If you're not familiar with what the RopeofSilicon Awards are, this will be the fifth year I've declared my own selection of awards and you can see the previous four years right here. This year I am also going to bring back the vote for the best film of 2012 as I did in 2010 and 2009 and neglected to do last year. Here were the results from 2010 and 2009: 2009 2010 Inglourious Basterds Avatar Up Star Trek The Hurt Locker Up In the Air »
- Brad Brevet
Along with providing a level of public service by preserving older and contemporary films judged to be culturally significant, Criterion Collection offer cinephiles the world over a chance to purchase copies of said films that might otherwise be unavailable for purchase. This month Criterion Collection has something of a first on its hands with its release of its first 3D release ever, but if you've ever seen Wim Wenders's Pina, you'd know there was no other way it could be relevant: it's easily the best use of 3D employed in a film to date, and will likely stand as such for a while. Additionally, this month sees the Blu-ray release of the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much, Volker Schlondorff's The Tin Drum, Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop, and Andrei Tarkovsky's debut film Ivan's Childhood.
For full details on each release, read on.
Read more. »
- Lex Walker
9 items from 2013
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