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Below you will find our favorite films of the 68th Locarno Film Festival, as well as an index of our coverage.Daniel Kasmantop Picksi. L’Accademia delle Muse, CosmosII. Thithi, Happy Hour, Right Now, Wrong ThenIII. Deux Rémi, deux, 88:88COVERAGEDay 1: James White (Josh Mond), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel)Day 2: Infinitas (Marlen Khutsiev), I Am Twenty (Marlen Khutsiev), The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Sam Peckinpah)Day 3: Cosmos (Andrzej Żuławski), The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah)Day 4: Thithi (Raam Reddy), Te prometo anarquía (Julio Hernández Cordón), Chant d'hiver (Otar Iosseliani), July Rain (Marlen Khutsiev), Year of the Dragon (Michael Cimino)Day 5: L’Accademia delle Muse (José Luis Guerín), Les idoles (Marc'o), Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah), The Killer Elite (Sam Peckinpah)Day 6: Good Morning, Night (Marco Bellocchio), No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman), Epilogue (Marlen Khutsiev)Day 7: Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari »
Spanish director José Luis Guerín is best known in the States for his pseudo-fictional love letter to women-watching In the City of Sylvia, but in fact is a prolific documentary filmmaker and has brought with him to Locarno the lovely and elegant pseudo-documentary L’Accademia delle Muse. Playful and clever as ever, Guerín has collaborated with Professor Raffaele Pinto and several actresses, perhaps students, to stage a false course in philology. The class, populated almost entirely by women, discusses the nature, influence and meaning of muses in poetry, and what starts as seemingly a documentary on this classroom, its teacher and a few select students, subtly evolves into a drama of words and unseen actions.The issues at stake as discourse in the class—what desire means, if it has to be sexual, the difference between a woman and a muse, how a lover influences the beloved and vice versa »
- Daniel Kasman
Above: Jerzy Flisak’s 1972 poster for The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Sam Peckinpah, USA, 1970)To coincide with the complete retrospective of the films of Sam Peckinpah currently running at the Locarno Film Festival, I thought I might try to select the best posters of one of my favorite directors. But when I looked at all the posters for Peckinpah’s films it was clear that the best Peckinpah posters were made in Poland. There are a couple of great American one sheets from the 1970s—those stark black and white photographs for Straw Dogs and The Getaway—but nothing quite matches these six Polish designs for visual panache. Jerzy Flisak’s typically witty and playful poster for the most light-hearted of Peckinpah Westerns, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, is one of Flisak’s greatest designs and one that beautifully encapsulates the story of an old prospector exploiting a well in the Arizona desert. »
- Adrian Curry
"It will be difficult to continue this story of mine. I don't even know if it is a story. It is difficult to call this a story, this constant....clustering and falling apart...of elements..." —Witold Gombrowicz's CosmosIf I weren't already soaked to the bone from the sweltering heat that has accompanied the Locarno Film Festival this year, Andrzej Żuławski's first movie in fifteen years was bound to get me feverish. One of the few true visionary risk-takers of cinema has yet again found a subject fitting for his boundless energy, Witold Gombrowicz's mental madcap 1965 novel Cosmos. For those familiar with Żuławski's films like Possession, On the Silver Globe and L'amour braque, it may come as a surprise that the assaultive quality of the novel's streaming consciousness–poring over a young man's vacation in a small town boarding house, where he seems to discover conspiracies of small crimes »
- Daniel Kasman
My second day in Locarno I've shamefacedly dedicated to what some of the critics here call "the old movies." To be honest, while I am very much thrilled to be one of the first people to see new films by my favorite filmmakers as well as be surprised ones by those I don't know, almost every one of these films, most shot digitally and certainly projected digitally here in Locarno, I will be able to catch again somehow, whether in the "digital library" at the festival itself, through a link from a filmmaker/producer/publicist/friend, or at the next festival stop they make. The 35mm films in Locarno are obviously therefore a much more rarified commodity and experience, something David Bordwell testified to in his report from the nearly all film (and certainly all "old movies") festival in Bologna in June: namely, the increasing popularity of festivals which cater to these now-unique celluloid experiences, »
- Daniel Kasman
Post-production tampering mitigates against this Western by Sam Peckinpah finding its deserved reception from better-class audiences. Shortened release version is vague, confusing, and is being sold as routine action entry in saturation breaks where it should perform routinely, no more. Kris Kristofferson and acting debut of Bob Dylan provide youth lures. Rating: R.
“It feels like times have changed,” says Pat Garrett. “Times, maybe—not me," says Billy the Kid. A classical Sam Peckinpah exchange, reflecting one of the numerous obsessive themes that run through his latest Western. But times certainly haven’t changed for Peckinpah—for, despite the overdue success of his last venture, The Getaway, the embattled and iconoclastic director who revolutionized the Western with The Wild Bunch »
- Joe Dante
Despite it being the directorial debut of five times Oscar nominated cinematographer William A. Fraker, 1970’s revisionist Western Monte Walsh isn’t as well remembered as it possibly should be. Prizing characterization over narrative and ignoring the usual set of genre highlights until its third act, it’s a mellow, melancholy bit of nostalgia about the last days of the Old West. Sporting a handsome cast and imbued with the right touch of technical appropriations, it’s a rather humble offering following on the footsteps of iconic juggernauts of the genre, like True Grit or The Wild Bunch, both of which premiered the year prior. Awards glory and controversial depictions of violence launched those films into the zeitgeist, but Fraker’s has remained an obscure item rooted in realistic, low key tendencies.
- Nicholas Bell
This article by Fernando Ganzo is an excerpt from Capricci's monograph Sam Peckinpah, edited by Ganzo, which accompanies this year's retrospective at the Locarno Film Festival.Warren Oates in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. © Park Circus / MGM“Don’t ever ruin your career as a loser with a shitty success.”—Jorge OteizaThere is only one thing that can be said about a person as erratic, contradictory, mythomaniac, complex and profound as Sam Peckinpah: here is a director who was made in the image of his characters, those men who belong to a different era, born too late, in a world that opposed all freedom and eccentricity. We like to describe Peckinpah as one of the fathers of New Hollywood, of the baroque aesthetic of the 1970s, as someone who had a primordial and often regrettable influence on that particular style. This is not completely false. However, this »
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Leave it to the Brits to compile a list of the best American films of all-time. BBC Culture has published a list of what it calls "The 100 Greatest American Films", as selected by 62 international film critics in order to "get a global perspective on American film." As BBC Culture notes, the critics polled represent a combination of broadcasters, book authors and reviewers at various newspapers and magazines across the world. As for what makes an American filmc "Any movie that received funding from a U.S. source," BBC Culture's publication states, which is to say the terminology was quite loose, but the list contains a majority of the staples you'd expect to see. Citizen Kane -- what elsec -- comes in at #1, and in typical fashion The Godfather follows at #2. Vertigo, which in 2012 topped Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films of all-time, comes in at #3 on BBC Culture's list. »
- Jordan Benesh
Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list - a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list's inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.
Today it's the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.
Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it's non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked »
- Garth Franklin
Hong Sang-soo's Right Now, Wrong Then.The lineup for the 2015 festival has been revealed, including new films by Hong Sang-soo, Andrzej Zulawski, Chantal Akerman, Athina Rachel Tsangari, and others, alongside retrospectives and tributes dedicated to Sam Peckinpah, Michael Cimino, Bulle Ogier, and much more.Piazza GRANDERicki and the Flash (Jonathan Demme, USA)La belle saison (Catherine Corsini, France)Le dernier passage (Pascal Magontier, France)Der staat gegen Fritz Bauer (Lars Kraume, Germany)Southpaw (Antoine Fuqua, USA)Trainwreck (Judd Apatow, USA)Jack (Elisabeth Scharang, Austria)Floride (Philippe Le Guay, France)The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, UK/USA)Erlkönig (Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland)Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre (Philippe Falardeau, Canada)Bombay Velvet (Anurag Kashyap, India)Pastorale cilentana (Mario Martone, Italy)La vanite (Lionel Baier, Switzerland/France)The Laundryman (Lee Chung, Taiwan)Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, USA) I pugni ni tasca (Marco Bellocchio, Italy)Heliopolis (Sérgio Machado, Brazil)Amnesia (Barbet Schroeder, »
In the Midwest, we are aware of the illegal immigrant issues. We see it and live among it and have out own opinions about it, whatever they may be. But truly, we are far removed from the drug wars that occur at the Us/Mexico borders. We, like any sizable city, see the drug abuse and the lives it tears apart, but that’s the end of the line. Where it starts, where the buck stops (so to speak) is where cultures and countries collide. That’s why films such as Cartel Land are crucial to the rest of us not living in the middle of the source of the problem.
Produced, directed, shot and edited and may other credits go to a nearly virtual one-man filmmaking team. Matthew Heineman tossed himself into the heart of darkness to capture a sample of the essence of organized crime in Mexico and it pays off, »
- Travis Keune
Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.
Shootouts, unlike any other type of action scenes, put death in the forefront of the audience’s mind. Whereas a car chase draws the attention onto the race, or a fight scene onto the pursuit of victory, shootouts test the mortality of our protagonists and anti-heroes. It’s more than just a hail of bullets that matters on screen, it’s who those bullets are clipping down or propping up. Legends can be made in a flurry of lead. The last man standing after the fray isn’t always the best or »
- Shane Ramirez
It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
A few nights ago, Warner Bros. hosted a very canny event that our own Louis Virtel attended at the Playboy Mansion, a screening of "Entourage" that may have felt like virtual reality for those who attended. While I doubt being surrounded by scantily clad bunnies influenced Louis one way or another on the film, it's likely you'll see a number of reviews that are perhaps more enthusiastic than they would otherwise be, and it'd be hard to blame anyone who fell for it. One of the reasons the setting seemed so right for that particular film is because much of the charge of "Entourage" is watching the core ensemble swagger their way through Hollywood, doing whatever they want and rarely if ever facing any consequences as a result. It's always presented with a wink and a smile, just a case of boys being boys. We live in a world right »
- Drew McWeeny
Chicago – Now playing at Chicago’s Music Box Theater and on VOD (but best seen on the largest screen possible), “Slow West,” is a tight genre journey pic that invigorates the western while confirming that its territory remains open, despite the many who have passed through.
It’s a progressive western; recognizable for Fassbender’s Clint Eastwood impression, but offering something new with its ideas of gender and violence. Not for nothing, it also features “The Place Beyond the Pines” actor Ben Mendelsohn in a coat that will change the way you look at fashion.
The story follows a young man (Kodi Smit-McPhee), as he ventures across 19th century America in search of a woman (Caren Pistorius) that he loves. He receives some help from independent traveler Silas (Fassbender), while encountering unpredictable forces of nature (played by Mendelsohn) and brutal inhumanity.
Before his debut film, director John Maclean was in »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
The horror landscape was changing by 1982. People were tiring of slashers; even the Halloween franchise decided to take a left (some would say wrong) turn away from Shatner masks and sharpened knives, and used the brand name to explore the holiday itself in the perpetually under-appreciated Season of The Witch. The genre seemed to be turning towards monsters, from large scale dread fests such as John Carpenter's The Thing to more intimate fare like Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case. The horror films of 1982 displayed a refreshing variety of ways to make audiences jump, squirm, gasp, smile, and when the occasion arose, vomit. The Beast Within giddily checks all the boxes.
Released in February by United Artists, the film took in a total of 7.7 million at the box office. Those were not great numbers, and the reviews were worse. Mainstream critics in general have never been kind to horror; almost »
- Scott Drebit
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