17 items from 2013
Liv Ullmann is warm and charming, the kind of person you'd want to have coffee with. Her easy charisma, not to mention her coruscating azure eyes, make her an ideal interview subject.
She is just that in Liv & Ingmar: Painfully Connected, reflecting with brutal honesty on her tempestuous relationship with director, partner, and soulmate Ingmar Bergman, or as she calls him, Pingmar.
Recalling a conversation on the set of Persona, the duo's first collaboration, Ullmann divulges how Bergman took her aside and branded the two "painfully connected," a portentous label that stuck throughout their 50-year history. She speaks candidly about their seesaw relationship, never shying away from details about his emotional abuse or the forced isolation she endured on t »
It was day one of trying on her new brown locks as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, a role that could come to define up-and-coming actress Dakota Johnson. The 24-year-old daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson was approaching her first photo shoot and interview for EW’s cover story in a very relaxed manner: joking with her future on-screen boyfriend Jamie Dornan; snapping photos for author El James who was visiting the set, and trying to stay away from the tempting desserts that filled the craft services table.
The actress did acknowledge that it was a bit »
- Nicole Sperling
Directed by Georges Franju
France and Italy, 1960
The idea of what a quintessential French horror film might be, especially in the middle of the last century, would be a conflicting concept, the French being culturally revered as the custodians of the high-brow, the poetically human, and the avant-garde (we even import the word in its French form); horror is a genre maintained to provoke the base and primal, better left to B-movie thrills. Enter Georges Franju, a co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, to helm Eyes Without a Face, a work to arrive with scorn from both French and Anglophone audiences as it had not been crafted to either of their palettes, but rather an amalgamation of tastes and something completely new.
When Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) identifies the body of his daughter Christiane »
- Zach Lewis
When I really began digging into classic cinema, one of the films I started with was Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, and it wasn't that long ago. According to Netflix, I returned the disc on January 8, 2008 after returning Bergman's Wild Strawberries about a month earlier (I wrote about them both briefly right here). I'd actually received both discs at the same time, but kept Seventh Seal a little longer because it had so truly captured my imagination. I've written about it a few times since, including a review of the Criterion Blu-ray a little over four years ago. I've found Bergman's work captivating ever since, several as a result of the Criterion Collection including reviewing Smiles of a Summer Night, Summer Interlude and Summer with Monica, Fanny and Alexander and The Magician along with my discovery of Persona two years ago, whose two-shot imagery is repeated in a highly »
- Brad Brevet
Kristen Stewart: ‘Sils Maria’ set photos Kristen Stewart co-stars opposite Oscar winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, the upcoming Carrie remake) in Olivier Assayas’ Sils Maria, a psychological drama currently being filmed in Germany and Switzerland. A Kristen Stewart fan site on Twitter has posted a series of images showing Stewart, wearing a jacket and glasses, on the Sils Maria set. Warning: Be extremely careful when visiting the photo site where the Kristen Stewart images are stored. I’ve removed the link from this post because twice when clicking on the images, popups attempted to install phishing software. (Now, please scroll down to check out the "full-body" shot of the bespectacled Kristen Stewart in Sils Maria.) Set in the Swiss area known as Sils Maria, writer-director Olivier Assayas’ movie tells the story of a middle-aged former stage star, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche, in a »
- Andre Soares
Two of the 20th Century’s best actresses team up – or square off, to be more precise – in Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata from 1978. This simple, austere production peels away every layer of a tortured mother/daughter relationship, revealing decades of toxic damage deep within. The film presents an uncomfortably frank appraisal of one family’s stark dysfunction, and the bonds of codependency that ensure a continuing spiral of guilt. And after the wreckage is thoroughly surveyed and assessed, most viewers will recognize scattered bits of their own lives amid the emotional debris.
Here we meet Eva (Liv Ullmann), a mousey preacher’s wife in the rural south of Norway. She spends her quiet days performing musical selections for her husband’s church and dusting the tidy parsonage they call home. One morning Eva composes a letter to her mother Charlotte, a globetrotting concert pianist, inviting her for a visit. »
- David Anderson
Entrusted with delivering both an eight-hour TV miniseries and a feature film in “1864,” the most expensive Danish production ever, one can forgive director Ole Bornedal for wishing at the time that he were on an island in the Baltic Sea.
The scale of the enterprise was daunting. Major battle sequences in the film, about the war between Denmark and Prussia in 1864, required 270 extras, who, all told, clocked 18,000 hours on set. One day, a downpour caused some walls on the set to collapse. On the day that Variety visited the shoot in the Czech Republic, the heat caused a score of extras and crew members to faint.
“The logistics of doing war movies, with so many hundreds of extras, is difficult and sometimes nerve-racking,” Bornedal says, suddenly longing for the smaller, inward-looking films of fellow Scandi filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. “Bergman called in Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson to film on his island, »
- Leo Barraclough
After watching John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966) for the first time with this Criterion Blu-ray, I couldn't help but think of several previous Criterion Blu-ray titles that came to mind. Films such as Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success, Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly. You could even through in the feel of a Samuel Fuller film and even a little of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. For anyone that knows these films, that's pretty high praise and while Seconds may be better than a couple and below the others, the mere fact this film put me in the mood and mindset to even consider the comparisons is enough for me to say you really ought to give this one a look. Based on the novel by David Ely, I can't remember if Seconds ever gives us a definitive date in which it's set, but suffice »
- Brad Brevet
Women in Film: Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, and dozens of movie actresses in curious morphing montage A few dozen top international female movie stars, most of them Hollywood celebrities, are seen in the Women in Film morphing montage below created by Philip Scott Johnson. The faces belong to actresses from the 1910s to the early 21st century. (Image: The ‘Daughter’ of Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner — who sort of looks like a cross between Eleanor Parker and Cyd Charisse as well — in the Women in Film morphing montage.) Just as interesting as trying to identify each of the famous faces is stopping the video while the morphing is going on, so you get Daughter of Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner, or Daughter of Audrey Hepburn and Dorothy Dandridge, or Daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer and Sigourney Weaver. Some of those Daughters are quite pretty; others look like they’ve just landed on this planet. »
- Andre Soares
Riffing on Terek Puckett’s terrific list of director/actor collaborations, I wanted to look at some of those equally impressive leading ladies who served as muses for their directors. I strived to look for collaborations that may not have been as obviously canonical, but whose effects on cinema were no less compelling. Categorizing a film’s lead is potentially tricky, but one of the criteria I always use is Anthony Hopkins’s performance in Silence of the Lambs, a film in which he is considered a lead but appears only briefly; his character is an integral part of the story.
The criteria for this article is as follows: The director & actor team must have worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in a minimum of 2 must-see films.
One of the primary trends for the frequency of collaboration is the »
- John Oursler
As I sat in the dark, surrounded by four projectors displaying synched clips from Ingmar Bergman's oeuvre, I felt both overwhelmed and relaxed, viscerally excited and deeply contemplative. In 15 minutes the installation managed to have the same effect as a good Bergman film. Created for the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, but now on display in the newly renovated Bergman Center on the Swedish island of Fårö, "Lanterna Magica" intends to distill Bergman's style and its development into 15 minutes of screen time spread over four simultaneously projected screens. But it actually forces the viewer to confront Bergman's legacy and examine its relevance. For the past 10 years, Fårö has hosted a week each summer to do just that, by celebrating the life, legacy and work of its most famous inhabitant. The director not only built his home on a remote spot on the island; he used it as the filming location »
- Ari Gunnar Thorsteinsson
Produced fifty-six years ago, Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries remains a venerable warhorse in the hallowed halls of Arthouse. But unlike this reviewer, who shares a similar vintage, the film shows no loss of vitality or any sign of imminent creakiness. Despite its strengths, Wild Strawberries often gets a bit lost within the contrasty folds of Bergman’s legendary filmography. Sight and Sound’s vaunted list of The Greatest Films of All Time pegs Wild Strawberries at sixty-three; not exactly a diss but way far behind Persona. The film doesn’t even appear on Roger Ebert’s lengthy List of Great Movies, although the late critic partially compensated by including Bergman’s equally underrated Winter Light.
The inherent silliness of film ranking aside, Wild Strawberries is a stunning cinematic experience. Filled with mystical beauty and chewy philosophical constructs in a tidy, perfectly tailored ninety-two minute package, the film is a »
- David Anderson
Kristen Stewart News: Camp X-Ray and Sils Maria movie projects Kristen Stewart is back with no less than two projects to be filmed this summer, according to Deadline.com. The website asserts that Stewart "has committed" — that should mean signed contracts — to star in newcomer writer-director Peter Sattler’s political drama Camp X-Ray and in director Olivier Assayas’ psychological drama Sils Maria, co-starring Juliette Binoche and Chloë Grace Moretz. (Photo: Kristen Stewart.) Kristen Stewart takes the road to Guantanamo Camp X-Ray will have Kristen Stewart as a young woman who, as per the Deadline synopsis, escapes from her small town by joining the military. But instead of being sent to Iraq "as she hoped" (is she insane?), the soldier ends up in Guantanamo, the American concentration camp that remains open despite myriad promises about its imminent closure. At Guantanamo, the young soldier "is met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge. »
- Andre Soares
The director Ingmar Bergman shot his masterpieces Persona and Through a Glass Darkly and several other films in and around his house on Fårö, an island off the coast of Sweden. In Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's moody What Richard Did, a family beach house on the coast of Dublin strongly evokes Bergman's beloved home, one of many elements that makes the film feel like a Bergman homage without earning the clunky label "Bergmanesque." Based on Kevin Power's novel Bad Day in Blackrock, the film follows Dublin teenager Richard (Jack Reynor, giving a performance worth savoring before he stars in Transformers 4) as his soul unravels after he does something very bad in a moment of pas »
Screenwriting isn’t quite as hard as novel writing or literary writing of any kind, but it is still a difficult thing. Forming a character and its words is a most disagreeable endeavour – imagine what Tolstoy went through – but there are some people who have gone a long way in making screenwriting as important as the film itself – almost. The script is as we know a blueprint for what could be a great thing. There are thousands of screenwriters but only a few who have gone on to utter greatness but in my mind there is only one who has never failed, and he ranks at number 1 on this list. That person’s films are so enjoyable that even the bad ones are fun to watch.
Considering a small list like this means considering an awful lot of people and making it a small list – 5 points – makes it that much »
- Quinn Steers
Jessica Chastain is set to star in the title role of "Miss Julie" in Liv Ullmann's film adaptation of August Strindberg's classic play about a young upper-class woman who finds herself attracted to a senior servant. Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton are attached to co-star. Chastain has already had a big start to 2013: she's Oscar-nominated for her role in Kathryn Bigelow's controversial "Zero Dark Thirty" and recently commanded the two top box office spots with that film and horror title "Mama." She is also currently on Broadway in "The Heiress." In the pipeline for Farrell are FilmDistrict's "Dead Man Down," Warner Bros.' "A Winter's Tale" and Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks." Ullmann, best known as Ingmar Bergman's muse in films such as "Persona," "Cries and Whispers" and mini-series "Scenes From a Marriage," has directed before, albeit »
- Beth Hanna
“Qu’est-ce que c’est ‘cougar’?”
French director Anne Fontaine wasn’t familiar with the English term for mature women who prefer much younger men — nor was she aware of the Saturday Night Live sketch, “Motherlover” – but with Two Mothers, she’s melting the snow at the Sundance Film Festival with a love story — “Not a sex story,” she says — about two Australian best friends who fall hard for each other’s teenage sons and form an unconventional quartet.
- Jeff Labrecque
17 items from 2013
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