9 items from 2017
Streaming might represent the future of film, but that future doesn’t have to come at the expense of its past. Netflix, however, doesn’t seem to care. A platform so monolithic that it’s become synonymous with streaming itself, Netflix may offer a seemingly bottomless library of content, but their “classic movies” section contains a whopping 42 titles, and one of them is “The Parent Trap.” No disrespect to “The Parent Trap” — a movie so good that it was rendered obsolete by a remake starring Lindsay Lohan — but it’s not exactly “Citizen Kane.” Hell, it’s not even “Citizen Ruth.” It feels like these films were left here by accident, like someone came by to clear out space for a new season of “Fuller House” and this random selection of stuff is just what fell through the cracks.
Physical media and repertory screenings are still the best options for cinephiles, »
- David Ehrlich
The world as we know it has nearly caught up to the one Ridley Scott imagined when he directed the 2019-set “Blade Runner,” and yet, for all the influence the dystopian cult favorite has had on other sci-fi movies, Scott’s vision of Los Angeles still looks as mind-blowingly futuristic now as it did in 1982. That may well explain why its sequel, the Denis Villeneuve-directed “Blade Runner 2049,” doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the world in which it takes place, but instead is free to delve deep into the existential concerns suggested by the earlier film, as screenwriters Hampton Fancher (who also co-wrote the original) and Michael Green raise evocative questions about human-android relations and the nuances that will one day be used to tell them apart.
- Peter Debruge
New digital restorations are the main attractions for four titles that will be arriving via the Criterion Collection in November 2017. Le Samourai is the one that caught my eye first. Jean-Pierre Melville's work has been influential upon more than generation of filmmakers fascinated by the crime genre, and his 1967 drama is visually striking and emotionally chilly; Alain Delon stars. It will be presented in a new high-definition digital restoration. Desert Hearts is a profoundly affecting love story. Groundbreaking in 1985 for its frank depiction of the attraction between two women in the 1950s, I've only seen it on a lower-resolution version, so I'm very interested in seeing the new, restored 4K digital transfer, especially since it's from the early period of acclaimed cinematographer...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
The French resistance fighter turned film-maker had an instinctive sympathy for the outsider, and remodelled the crime thriller into something studied, cool and subversive
Watching the movies of Jean-Pierre Melville, whose centenary is this year, is about watching the faces of men: impassive, immovable, inscrutable. They exist in a macho world where codes of dress and behaviour are hardly different on either side of the law. There are men in trench coats and hats and loosened ties, men bunched into cars on the way to or from a job gazing blankly straight ahead, men in nightclubs, their professionally bored expressions unaffected or even petrified more intensely by the drink, the cigarettes and the sexy dancers up on stage grinding through some quaintly choreographed routine (a classic Melville scene this, used in almost every one of his films).
His most famous picture is probably is the hitman study Le Samouraï (1967), with »
- Peter Bradshaw
Born 1917, as Jean-Pierre Grumbach, son of Alsatian Jews, Jean-Pierre adopted the name Melville as his nom de guerre in 1940 when France fell to the German Nazis and he joined the French Resistance. He kept it as his stage name when he returned to France and began making films.
Americn Cinemtheque’s historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood
The American Cinematheque has grown tremendously sophisticated since its early days creating the 1960 dream of “The Two Garys” (for those who remember). Still staffed by stalwarts Barbara Smith, Gwen Deglise, Margot Gerber and Tom Harris, and with a Board of Directors of Hollywood heavy hitters, it has also been renovated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which has spent more than $500,000 restoring its infrastructure and repainting its famous murals. »
- Sydney Levine
Almost as long as there have been movies, there have movies about tough guys, but no one brought more poetry and style to the genre than director Jean-Pierre Melville and star Alain Delon in “Le Samourai.” Now fifty years old, “Le Samourai” is a touchstone for many directors and its descendants form almost a genre unto themselves. For those looking for an introduction or a quick refresher on the film’s charms, Philip Brubaker at Fandor has made a video essay for just that.
- Joe Blessing
By Fred Blosser
When Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” emerged as a surprise box-office smash in the early months of 1972, studios and distributors hustled to meet popular demand for more movies about life in the Mob. In New York, a dubbed print of Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 film “Le Samourai” was hurriedly retitled and screened as “The Godson” in a masterful example of bait-and-switch marketing. Melville’s chilly, claustrophobic picture about a hit man portrayed by Alain Delon is a fine crime drama, but it had no connection to Coppola’s picture or, for that matter, to any aspect of American Mafia lore at all. “The Valachi Papers,” based on Peter Maas’ bestselling nonfiction book, followed as a more legitimate successor. Rushed through production by Dino De Laurentiis in spring and summer 1972, the film was scripted by Stephen Geller and directed by Terence Young. Shooting largely took place at De Laurentiis’ Rome studio. »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Above: French poster for Le silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1949). Design by Raymond Gid.Many great filmmakers never got the posters their films deserved. Some of my favorite filmmakers—I'm thinking Yasujiro Ozu, Jacques Rivette, Mike Leigh, and Jean-Marie Straub, to name just a few—for one reason or another, whether it be the vagaries of distribution, the particulars of time and the place, or just the fact that what is so extraordinary about their filmmaking doesn’t translate to still images, have very few posters worthy of their reputation. Jean-Pierre Melville is not one of those. Undoubtedly, the archetype of Melville’s cinema—the trench-coat and fedora sporting, pistol touting tough guy—lends himself beautifully to graphic invention. But Melville made other kinds of films too, and somehow the posters for his entire 13-film oeuvre are an embarrassment of riches. It didn’t hurt that the great French poster artist, »
Jean-Pierre Melville in his own film, Two Men in Manhattan“A man isn't tiny or giant enough to defeat anything”—Yukio MishimaA voracious cinephile in his early youth, Jean-Pierre Grumbach's daily intake of films was interrupted by the Second World War when he enlisted in the Ffl (Forces Français Libres) and adopted the nom de guerre by which he's still known to these days: Jean-Pierre Melville. A tribute to his literary hero, Hermann Melville, and his novel Pierre: or the Ambiguities, the director would have his name officially changed after the war. The latter was to shape and inform many of his films and arguably all of his world-view, characterized by a sort of ethical cynicism where anti-fascism is understood as a moral duty rather than an act of heroic courage. Profoundly anti-rhetoric and filled with a terse dignity, his films about the Resistance, Army of Shadows (1969) above all, »
9 items from 2017
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