10 items from 2017
British broadcaster ITV is in advanced negotiations to acquire a majority stake in Cattleya, the Italian film and TV production company behind internationally successful TV dramas such as Sky Italia’s “Gomorrah” and Netflix’s upcoming “Suburra” (pictured), sources say.
The move is in line with ITV’s aggressive expansion into international production and its stated mergers and acquisitions strategy. Italy is one market in which the British TV giant hasn’t yet made any acquisitions.
French media investment consortium Mediawan had also been pursuing Cattleya, but those talks broke off several months ago, sources say.
ITV and Cattleya declined to comment. Sources say the deal is expected to close by September.
Cattleya, which does both film and television, is Italy’s top indie production shingle. The company more than doubled its revenues to $82 million in 2015, the last year for which its results have been disclosed.
- Nick Vivarelli and Stewart Clarke
Review by Roger Carpenter
The spaghetti western subgenre is littered with series-headlining characters like Sabata, Sartana, and Ringo. But for sheer popularity as well as film volume, no one beats Django.
Director Sergio Corbucci introduced Django to an international audience in 1966. Starring Franco Nero as the titular character, the film was so immensely popular across the globe that it spawned at least 60 unofficial sequels with titles like Django the Bastard, Viva! Django, Django Kill…If You Live Shoot!, Django Kills Softly, and literally dozens of others. There was even a comedy western entitled Nude Django. The name continues to live on with Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012), which not only sports the original “Django” theme song but also a small part for Django himself, Franco Nero, as a bettor during a Mandingo fight.
The Italians are famous for jumping onto any cinematic bandwagon, »
- Movie Geeks
The classical western exists as an ideal sandbox for stories of heroism, in which white hats can immediately separate our protagonists from the black-hatted antagonists. Occasionally, though, we have a revisionist western that questions and defies the well-trodden patriarchal confines of the genre, as if looking at an old image from a tilted perspective and finding something new.
Sometimes, the characters don’t fit into the dusty old boxes occupied by so many western heroes and heroines. The hero robs and kills to stay alive, frightened and overwhelmed by this strange, new frontier. Other times, the stereotypical Western landscape disappears, blanketed in snow. Horses drive their hooves through ice-covered puddles. Wind screams past bone-thin trees — manifest destiny frozen over, encasing the American dream in ice.
In the case of Sofia Coppola’s newest, The Beguiled, gender and power roles reverse: an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) turns up at a girl’s school, an arrival which breeds intense sexual tension and rivalry among the women (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning). According to our review, the movie is “primarily based on the 1966 book by Thomas Cullinan,” and “appears, at first glance, to be a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 film adaptation rather than any sort of new reading of the original text. Coppola, of course, is far too clever for that.”
In celebration of The Beguiled, we’ve decided to take a look at the finest examples of the revisionist western. Enjoy, and please include your own favorites in the comments.
Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) idolized the legendary outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt), growing up hearing campfire stories about the man. Ford loved James so much that he eventually willed himself into the man’s life story. You cannot tell James’s story without also telling Ford’s. These two tragic lives are irrevocably linked by Ford’s betrayal. The film’s dryly antiseptic voiceover narration confides that Ford grew to regret his violent ways. The same goes for James, who at one point beats a child and then weeps into his horse’s neck, unable to live with his own deeds. While James’ propensity for violence is a deeply cut character flaw, Pitt plays the outlaw like an emotionally wounded teenager. His jovial sense of humor cloaks a vindictive and self-loathing interior. Whether Jesse James hurts himself or someone else, there is always a witness looking on with wide eyes. After James’ murder, Ford became a celebrity, touring the country reenacting the shooting. But Ford gained his prominence by killing a beloved folk hero. And so, one day, a man named Edward Kelly walked into Ford’s saloon with a shotgun and took revenge for James’s murder. Unlike the aftermath of Ford’s deed, people leapt to Kelly’s defense, collecting over 7000 signatures for a petition, leading to his pardon. America hated Robert Ford because he killed Jesse James. They loved Edward Kelly because he killed Robert Ford.
Robert Altman’s largely forgotten and often funny western about egotistical showman Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman) treats its lead without respect, eagerly mocking him at every opportunity. Known across America as they best tracker of man and animals alive, Cody runs Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, a rodeo-like performance of cowboy-feats, ranging from simple rope tricks to the trick-shots of the legendary Annie Oakley. However, Cody is a fraud, a walking accumulation of lies and tall-tales. When Cody gets the chance to hire Chief Sitting Bull, the man who defeated General Custer at Little Big Horn, he’s thrilled, until Sitting Bull refuses to participate in his offensive show. Contrasted with phony Buffalo Bill Cody, Sitting Bull drips with dignified authenticity, totally uninterested in living up to the ignorant public’s racist image of his people. While the manufactured “reality” of Cody’s shows gets applause from white audiences, the stoic realness of Sitting Bull initially receives jeers, until something occurs to the crowd: this isn’t showmanship; this is the real thing. Later, when Cody and his gang form a posse, he hastily removes his show attire and searches through his wardrobe, cursing: “Where’s my real jacket?” So utterly consumed by his own public image, Cody can no longer locate his true self. Altman’s film is a rare western with a lead character who never succeeds, changes, or learns from his mistakes, always remaining a hopelessly pompous horse’s ass.
As we meet the legendary Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) he’s scoping out a bank, recently renovated to include heavy iron bars over every window and bolted-locks on every door. He asks the guard what happened to the old bank, which displayed such architectural beauty. “People kept robbing it,” the guard says. “Small price to pay for beauty,” Butch replies. It’s a running theme in revisionist westerns to reveal the truth behind the legend. The changing times had rendered bandits on horseback obsolete. But Butch Cassidy and his partner, the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) didn’t see the end coming until the future was already upon them. After barely evading a super-posse (to use a term coined by screenwriter William Goldman) led by a ruthless bounty hunter, they escape to Bolivia with Etta (Katherine Ross) Sundance’s girl, where their criminal ways are similarly received. What began as a vacation away from their troubles slowly becomes a permanent getaway run, sowing seeds of inevitable tragedy. Etta sees what Butch and Sundance cannot: the end. “We’re not going home anymore, are we?” Etta tearfully asks Sundance, informing him that she has no plans to stick around to watch them die. George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a tearful celebration of a pair of old dogs too foolish to learn new tricks.
Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)
The gorgeous and haunting Dead Man opens with a soot-faced Crispin Glover trilling as he points out the window of a train: “They’re shooting buffalo,” he cries. “Government said, it killed a million of them last year alone.” The American machine greedily consumes the landscape, leaving smoldering devastation in its path, while a stone-faced accountant named William Blake (Johnny Depp) travels to the hellish town of Machine, where he’s promised a job. Unfortunately, there’s no job at the end of the line for this seemingly educated man, blissfully unaware of his namesake, the poet William Blake. After taking a bullet to the chest, Blake wanders this dying western landscape as if in a dream, guided by Nobody (Gary Farmer) a Native American raised in England after getting kidnapped and paraded around as a sideshow attraction for whites. At one point, Blake stumbles upon three hunters by a camp fire, one of which, played by Iggy Pop, wears a muddy dress and bonnet like a twisted schoolmarm. Writer-director Jim Jarmusch’s twist on the western (accompanied by Robby Müller’s flawless cinematography) hums with textured period detail and vivid costume design, the accumulation of which achieves an eerily stylized tone.
The spirit of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is in the sequence scored by Jim Croce’s “I’ve Got a Name.” Django (Jamie Foxx), now a free man, removes the old saddle from his horse’s back, a saddle originally procured by a white slaver, the animal’s previous owner. He then mounts in its place, his own saddle personalized with an embroidered D. His freedom is still new and unfamiliar but, Django is more than willing to grasp those reigns. What works best about the film is how Tarantino’s screenplay embraces the politics of the Antebellum South in a fashion carefully ignored by every other western of its time. The dialogue, Tarantino’s most applauded talent, wheels a careful turn between a sly comedy-of-manners and a bluntly provocative historical indictment, always landing on a shameless exploitation cinema influenced need for violent catharsis. Tarantino’s channeling of Spaghetti Western violence, with the gore cranked up to a level far beyond that of even Sergio Corbucci’s bloodiest work, delivers tenfold on that catharsis, splattering the pristine white walls of Candyland plantation bright red.
Dripping with transgressive and bizarre imagery, El Topo embraces every taboo imaginable with a breathless zeal. Existing somewhere between Midnight Movie oddity and art-house epic, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s second feature envisions the west as an unknowable landscape, dotted with peculiar and grotesque characters, such as a legless gunfighter who rides around on the back of an armless man. Describing the film in narrative terms, beat by beat, would be pointless, although we follow a rider in black, the titular El Topo (which means The Mole) who crosses the desert with a naked boy on the saddle. Though we spend more time with El Topo, his son is the heart of the film, this warped and subversive pseudo-fable exploring the cyclical nature of life. Jodorowsky’s painterly eye for composition lends individual shots with arresting and breathtaking resonance. With less than subtle biblical imagery scattered throughout, including a marvelous sequence involving a religion based around the game of Russian Roulette, Jodorowsky’s film feels at times like a twisted celebration of mysticism, sampling notes from Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s ending, a chaotic, dream-like burst of violence, adds a scathing gut-punch to an already overwhelming experience. There is no other western quite like El Topo, to say the least.
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- Tony Hinds
Italian actor Franco Nero wants to reprise his role as the coffin-dragging gunfighter made famous in Sergio Corbucci's original 1966 spaghetti Western, Django. Django Lives! will be directed by Pandorum's Christian Alvart from a screenplay by legendary writer/director John Sayles (Lone Star, Battle Beyond the Stars). Myriad Pictures will handle international sales and present the project at Cannes next week, reports Screen Daily Django Lives! will catch up with the titular character in California in 1914, where he will encounter white supremacists. "Having Christian direct Sayles's powerful screenplay is a dream come true," said Nero. "Even Christian's third son is named Django. It was meant to be." Syrreal Entertainment's Sigi Kamml, Josef Brandmaier and Alvart will produce the film alongside Fast Draw Films' Carolyn Pfeiffer, Louis...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
Myriad will handle international sales and introduce the project to buyers in Cannes next week.
Django Lives! will star Nero as a drifter in California in 1914 who encounters White Supremacists.
“I’m excited and honored to be a part of this great project that will update us on one of the greatest archetype characters of movie history,” Alvart said.
“Having Christian direct Sayles’s powerful screenplay is a dream come true,” Nero, who appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 western Django Unchained, said. “Even Christian’s third son is named Django. It was meant to be.”
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
When Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Western Django became an international hit, it kicked off one of the more surprisingly enduring series in the history of movies, though to call it a “series” is a bit misleading. In keeping with Italian cinema practices of the day, the movie spawned not only official and semi-official sequels but dozens of unsanctioned off-shoots — in some cases Westerns that had been made with no connection to Django whatsoever but which worked the name into their titles in the hope of making a quick buck. Over time the name Django became less a reference to the […] »
- Jim Hemphill
If you’re looking for something related to Sergio Corbucci or Quentin Tarantino, one will have to keep searching. Rather, Django tells the story of famous musician Django Reinhardt as he flees from a German-occupied Paris in 1943. Premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival as its opener, the first trailer has now landed for Etienne Comar‘s drama starring Reda Kateb (A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) ahead of a release in France this spring.
We said in our review, “this drama about an artist who – at first – ignores the rise of far-right fascism in Europe (“who I play to is of no concern” Reinhardt argues) proves, by its close, an effective warning of the troubles of collaborationists and appeasers to society’s malignant forces. While it’s narratively unadventurous and its characters are undeveloped, this debut by French director Étienne Comar does have the ring of prescience, and is all the better for it. »
- Jordan Raup
Étienne Comar's (co-screenwriter of Xavier Beauvois' Of Gods And Men, producer of Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu) directorial debut, Django, starring Reda Kateb and Cécile de France with Alex Brendemühl (who is also in Nicole Garcia's Mal De Pierres), was the opening night film of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York.
Django (not to be confused with Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which starred Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, or Franco Nero's Django films) is based on the novel by Alexis Salatko, with a score by longtime Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis, costumes by Pascaline Chavanne, and shot by Christophe Beaucarne on the life of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
Étienne brought up Madeline Fontaine, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Author: Zehra Phelan
In 2015, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel stuck two fingers up at the film industry with the Paolo Sorrentino directed Youth. It proved to the whole industry just because you’ve reached a certain age doesn’t mean you’ve lost your talent or appeal to the movie going public. In fact over the last few years we have seen actors such as Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro all prove they are all digging their heels in and not going anywhere.
Now it’s time for the ladies to get in on the act with Golden Globe-winner Dame Joan Collins – who we last saw make an appearance in last year’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – Oscar nominee Pauline Collins (The Last Dragon Slayer, Albert Nobbs) and Italian heartthrob Franco Nero (Django, Django Unchained) all starring in the upcoming feel-good comedy, The Time of Their Lives »
- Zehra Phelan
Joan Collins stars in a British comedy about a former Hollywood sex siren who is stuck in a retirement home, but when her ex-lover dies she breaks out and heads for France to be at the funeral, along with the unhappily married Pauline Collins. Franco Nero, of 1966 cult western Django renown, is along for the ride as a wealthy Italian recluse. Directed by Roger Goldby, The Time of Their Lives is released in the UK on 10 March
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- Guardian Staff
10 items from 2017
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