Marketa Lazarová (1967) - News Poster

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Janus Films to Bring 30 Classic Czech Films to the States

Last week we learned, via the National Film Archive (Czech Republic) that Janus Films (and the Criterion Collection) had just signed a new deal with plans to bring 30 classic Czech films to the Us.

From the announcement:

The National Film Archive has concluded an important contract with distribution company Janus Films which opens the road to expending knowledge of Czech classic films in all of North America.

Among the more than 30 Czech classic films available to American audiences for screening in cinemas and on DVD in the Us and Canada are titles such as The Cremator, Marketa Lazarová, All My Good Countrymen, Three Nuts for Cinderella. It’s made possible thanks to a new contract signed by National Film Archive director Michal Bregant and distribution company Janus Films.

Michal Bregant offered a comment: “We have signed the contract symbolically this week in Bologna at the festival Il cinema ritrovato, which
See full article at CriterionCast »

Final ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Trailer Hopes We’ll Forget the Bad Buzz

There’s been cause for concern with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While at least some form of by-committee filmmaking is expected of, oh, every blockbuster, the Lucasfilm banner under Kathleen Kennedy gave some (e.g. yours truly) the impression of a different direction — something that has a bottom line, yes, but which is willing to go in unique creative directions to get there. The hiring of Gareth Edwards, hot off a truly impressive display in Godzilla (not often you can say that), only boosted the impression that another Star Wars prequel would be a good idea.

It may very well turn out that way, but word that new voices have been taking hold late into the film’s assembly — thanks to well-publicized reshoots whose intentions get conflicting reports — don’t contradict the notion that we’re getting something more digestible for the four quadrants. And it’s not
See full article at The Film Stage »

Criterion Reflections – Capricious Summer (1968) – Es 32

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Capricious Summer is fairly easy to watch (a slight 76 minute feature, in color), summarize (a whimsical sex comedy about three middle-aged men in a small rustic town are shaken out of their routines when they’re distracted by the arrival of an itinerant magician and his beautiful assistant) and compartmentalize (coming at the tail end of the Czech New Wave, this is Jiří Menzel’s less celebrated follow-up to the Oscar-winning Closely Watched Trains.) But just as conveniently as the film might fit within those pigeonholes, there’s a serious risk of underestimating what Menzel places before us here.

Comfortably nestled within a volume of the Eclipse Series expressly dedicated to the aforementioned Czech New Wave, Capricious Summer is at risk of being regarded as simply one of six quirky, enjoyable treats in that box. Each film has its own distinctive feel,
See full article at CriterionCast »

Close-Up on "Hard to Be a God" and the Medieval in European Cinema

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Hard to Be a God is playing on Mubi in the Us through January 2.Hard to Be a GodRussian director Aleksei German spent the final 15 years of his life working on Hard To Be A God (2013), a brutal medieval epic adapted from a 1964 novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strutgatsky, dying just before he could complete the job in February 2013. Happily, his son and widow were able to oversee the final sound mix. The result is one of the most immersive and harrowing cinematic experiences going, three hours of being put to the sword and mired in the mud, blood and viscera of a nightmare alternate reality.Although German's characters are dressed in the clanking armour, chainmail and robes of the European Middle Ages, Hard To Be A God is in fact set on a distant planet,
See full article at MUBI »

The Definitive Religious Movies: 40-31

Part 2 of this list gets a bit more foreign. In fact, this may be the first full list that has more foreign-language films than English-language ones. Maybe English-speaking audiences aren’t as willing to watch religious films. Maybe films associated with religion come off as preachy or accusatory. Or maybe (most of) the films on this list have done it so well already that it doesn’t need to be done again.

courtesy of criterion.com

40. Marketa Lazarová (1967)

Directed by František Vláčil

The film often credited as being the best to come out of the Czech Republic, Marketa Lazarová was based on the novel by Vladislav Vančura and is an early, biting narrative about the chasm of difference between paganism and its shift into Christianity in the Middle Ages, as the daughter of a lord is kidnapped and becomes the mistress of one of her kidnappers, a robber knight. It
See full article at SoundOnSight »

DVD Review: 'The White Dove' & 'Josef Kilián'

  • CineVue
★★★☆☆Something of an odd double-bill release for the excellent Second Run: two early films from heavyweight precursors of the Czech New Wave, which each hover indeterminately between the short and the feature film. While neither The White Dove (1960) nor Josef Kilián (1965) are masterpieces, both revel in the fluidity of camerawork and artistry of imagery that would later serve their directors through greater films. In debut feature The White Dove, František Vláčil (who would go on to make Marketa Lazarová, voted 'the best Czech film ever made' in 1998) takes a humanist plot and leaves itself open to interpretation.
See full article at CineVue »

This Week’s Criterion Releases: ‘Safety Last!’ and ‘Marketa Lazarová’ Define Discovery

At the risk of generalization, The Criterion Collection is probably best known for packaging two types of films: celebrated canonical works that deserve pristine treatment; and comparably worthwhile but overlooked or unavailable films in need of a resurrection. Two of this week’s DVD/Blu-ray releases from Criterion – Harold Lloyd’s iconic silent comedy Safety Last and Czech auteur František Vláčil’s largely unheard-of-in-the-us Marketa Lazarová – exemplify the very best of both these tendencies, giving cinephiles an opportunity to “discover” in various ways both an undisputed classic and a challenging, largely unknown masterpiece of form and tone. Safety Last! In his book “The Thrill Makers: Celebrity Masculinity, and Stunt Performance,” which covers the acts of 20th century daredevils whose public performances quickly became the stuff of American cinema, historian Jacob Smith explains how and why the famous image of Harold Lloyd dangling from the hand of a clocktower came to be during the early 1920s: Indeed, Lloyd
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

In June, Criterion Collection Ponders the Things to Come, Gathers Wild Strawberries, & Goes to Shoah

Rather than let older films fade from memory or into a state of disrepair, Criterion Collection gathers up works by classic and modern filmmakers that they deem to be culturally or artistically significant and then they remaster them on modern mediums (currently, that's DVDs and Blu-rays). Each month sees a new assortment of 5 or 6 films and this June that includes: Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, H.G. Wells's Things to Come, Harold Lloyd's Safety Last!, František Vlácil’s Marketa Lazarová, and an expansive 4-disc edition of Claude Lanzmann's look back at the Holocaust in Shoah. For a full rundown on all the extras offered in these release, just keep reading.

Read more...
See full article at JustPressPlay »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Marketa Lazarová

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013

Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

In its home country, František Vlácil’s 1967 historical drama-romance Marketa Lazarová has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made; for many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation.

Based on a novel by Vladislav Vancura, this stirring and poetic depiction of a feud between two rival medieval clans is a fierce, epic, and meticulously designed evocation of the clashes between Christianity and paganism, humankind and nature, love and violence.

Vlácil’s approach was to re-create the textures and mentalities of a long-ago way of life, rather than to make a conventional historical drama, and the result is as harrowing as it is dazzling. With its inventive widescreen cinematography, editing, and sound design, Marketa Lazarová can best be described as an experimental action film—and we haven’t seen many of those!

Presented in Czech and German with English subtitles,
See full article at Disc Dish »

The Sight & Sound Top 250 Films

After much media hoopla about "Vertigo" toppling "Citizen Kane" in its poll, Sight and Sound magazine have now released the full version of its once a decade 'Top 250 greatest films of all time' poll results via its website. The site also includes full on links showcasing Top Tens of the hundreds of film industry professionals who participated in the project.

For those who don't want to bother with the individual lists and to save you a bunch of clicking, below is a copy of the full 250 films that made the lists and how many votes they got to be considered for their positions:

1 - Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) [191 votes]

2 - Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) [157 votes]

3 - Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953) [107 votes]

4 - La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) [100 votes]

5 - Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) [93 votes]

6 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) [90 votes]

7 - The Searchers (Ford, 1956) [78 votes]

8 - Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) [68 votes]

9 - The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer,
See full article at Dark Horizons »

This week's cinema events

František Vlácil, Edinburgh, Glasgow & London

While the likes of Milos Forman and Jirí Menzel benefited from attention focused on Czech cinema in the late-60s and early-70s, František Vlácil wasn't so lucky. He's been mentioned in the same breath as Welles, Tarkovsky and even Kurosawa; and on home turf, his 1967 historical drama Marketa Lazarová is considered a masterpiece. Yet few of Vlácil's films have ever been shown in the UK. Vlácil, who died in 1999, kept working up to the late-80s, and this selection gives a good indication of his range, incorporating Marketa Lazarová alongside lesser-known works such as The Little Shepherd Boy From The Valley and Shadows Of A Hot Summer.

BFI Southbank, SE1, to 30 Sep; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, to 3 Oct; Glasgow Film Theatre, Tue to 28 Sep

Ray Harryhausen, London

In the year of his 90th birthday, Ray Harryhausen can't say he feels too overlooked these days, especially after
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Frantisek Vlácil, B Kite on Welles, "My Dog Tulip," More

  • MUBI
"For much of the half-century since the premiere of Frantisek Vlácil's feature debut The White Dove (Holubice), the Czech director has been treated in his home country with a reverence out of all proportion to his undeservedly minuscule international profile," writes Michael Brooke in Sight & Sound. "Although he is considered one of the most important harbingers of the Czech New Wave — and lived to see his medieval epic Marketa Lazarová (1967) voted the best Czech film of all time by a panel of local critics and industry experts on the centenary of Czech cinema in 1998 — his work was practically invisible in the UK until the enterprising Second Run DVD label released his masterpiece in 2007. Thankfully, Vlácil's UK profile is set to rise significantly this year: Second Run has also disinterred his films The Valley of the Bees (Udolí vcel, 1967) and Adelheid (1969), and September sees a near-complete retrospective of his work playing in London,
See full article at MUBI »

Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report: "The Valley of the Bees" (Frantisek Vlacil, 1967)

  • MUBI
If you want a stark understanding of the difference between a transportive work of art and an immersive work of art, you could do worse than to watch Vlacil's Marketa Lazarová and The Valley of the Bees back to back. It'll take you approximately four-and-a-half hours, but it'll be worth it. Lazarová, which accounts for about three of those hours, is an unclassifiable period epic that takes about as oblique an approach to narrative as any film I've ever seen, such that if you're not paying a particular kind of attention, you're apt to completely miss out on the "doomed love affair" (as per the back cover notes on the Second Run DVD release) that it's ostensibly/partially about.

This is part of what I said when I reviewed that Second Run DVD back in 2008: " 'Now I regret all the times I've used words like 'power' and 'energy' to describe rock and roll,
See full article at MUBI »

See also

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