11 items from 2015
In an ideal world, every filmmaker would live long enough to see the premiere of their final film, even if their life is ended sooner than expected. It’s one thing to experience shooting the film and editing the final product, but it is another thing entirely to witness your creation with an audience seeing it for the first time. Pier Paolo Pasolini is one such director who never witnessed his final film in the company of an audience. 20 days before the premiere of Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom at the 1975 Paris Film Festival, an unknown assailant, or group of assailants, murdered Pasolini. A well-known provocateur in film and the political arena, Pasolini unknowingly saved his most controversial work for last.
- William Penix
On November 2, 1975, the body of Pier Paolo Pasolini was found by a beach in Rome’s Ostia neighborhood. Being the result of a heavy beating and multiple run-overs by his own car, this death is so ignoble — and so mysterious; despite a conviction, the culprit has never really, truly been identified — that it casts a permanent pall over his legacy. (Worse yet, as one below video will show, that Pasolini was still working on Salò, a movie whose controversial status is only heightened by the murder.) Today marks the horrible occasion’s 40th anniversary, but it doesn’t necessitate mourning. If anything, now is a time to honor the man who always forced us to consider things we might not wish to acknowledge — our desires, our vices, our limits, our connections to art, and our relationship with the alternately beautiful and disgusting human body.
Embedded for your viewing pleasure, then, »
- Nick Newman
Special Mention: Dead Ringers
Directed by David Cronenberg
Genre: Thriller / Drama
Dead Ringers is one of David Cronenberg’s masterpieces, and Jeremy Irons gives the most highly accomplished performance of his entire career – times two. This is the story of Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both played by Irons), identical twins who, since birth, have been inseparable. Together, they work as gynecologists in their own clinic, and literally share everything between them, including the women they work and sleep with. Jealousy comes between the two when Beverly falls in love with a new patient and decides he no longer wants to share his lady friend with Elliot. The twins, who have always existed together as one, have trouble adapting and soon turn against one another. Unlike the director’s previous films, the biological horror in Dead Ringers is entirely conveyed through the psychological »
- Ricky Fernandes
Abel Ferrara has been toying with the idea of making a film on the life of late Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini since the early 1990s. The original idea was set to be quite different from the one we’ve got, mind, and would see actress and collaborator Zoe Lund (Ms. 45, Bad Lieutenant) playing a sort-of female version of Pasolini living the life that he did (the project was scrapped when Lund tragically died in 1997).
It’s easy to understand why Ferrara, the enfant terrible of New York cinema, was and is attracted to Pasolini: both men have been accused of peddling exploitation from those who find their work morally objectionable but, conversely, they have also been hailed as genuine auteurs and makers of important art (Pasolini more so than Ferrara, it must be said).
Pasolini chronicles the final 24 hours in the late director, novelist, critic and intellectual’s life. »
- Lewis Howse
“Narrative art is dead – we are in a period of mourning”; “To scandalise is a right, to be scandalised a pleasure”; “Refusal must be great, absolute, absurd…” Abel Ferrara’s infatuated tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini is littered with such gnomic bon mots, which could apply equally to either director. Like Pasolini, Ferrara has courted both outrage and admiration; he made his name with The Driller Killer, and remains most celebrated for Bad Lieutenant, a film drenched in equal parts with Catholic ideology and censor-baiting exploitation.
This handsomely oblique film focuses on the very end of Pasolini’s life, as he completes work on Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom and makes plans for Porno-Teo-Kolossal, the unmade magnum opus which is here reimagined by Ferrara in startling, elegiac fashion. Willem Dafoe »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
From Afar (Desde Alla), the first Venezuelan production to appear in Competition at the Venice Film Festival, has won the Golden Lion for Best Film.
The directorial debut of Lorenzo Vigas concerns a middle-aged man (Alfredo Castro) who pays young boys to spend time with him. One day he befriends an 18-year-old delinquent (Luis Silva), a development that affects both profoundly.
The Clan is based on the real-life exploits »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Venice – Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas’s striking first feature “From Afar,” about a middle-aged gay man who cruises the streets of Caracas searching for young companions, won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.
“I want to dedicate this prize to my amazing country, Venezuela. We’ve been having some problems, but we’re very positive. We’re an amazing nation and we’re going to start talking to each other more,” said the beaming debuting director.
The jury was presided by Alfonso Cuaron. This edition of the fest was marked by plenty of prizes going to Latin American cinema and also to debut directors. Cuaron said it’s the first time a Latin American film wins the Golden Lion.
Variety critic Guy Lodge called “From Afar” a “smart, unsensationalized examination of the slow-blossoming relationship between a middle-aged loner and a young street tough.”
Chilean veteran Alfred Castro (“No,” “The »
- Nick Vivarelli
Over the past few years, the Venice Film Festival, which celebrates its 72nd anniversary in September, has presented newly restored versions of classic films in the Classics section at the festival. Yesterday their list of restored films to be shown was released, and among the 21 classic films selected are Akira Kurosawa’s 1965 "Red Beard," Sergej Ėisenstein’s 1938 epic "Alexander Nevsky," 1946 fantasy "A Matter of Life and Death" co-directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s highly controversial and graphic 1975 film "Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom." But a very welcome surprise was »
Akahige, Amarcord, Aleksandr Nevskij and A Matter of Life and Death are among 21 titles announced today to screen in Venice’s (September 2-12) Classics section, which will reveal further titles later this month.
Director Bertrand Tavernier, who is to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award, has selected and will present four films for the Classics strand: Pattes Blances (White Paws) by Jean Grémillion, La Lupa (The Vixen) by Alberto Lattuada, Sonnenstrahl (Ray of Sunshine) by Pál Fejös and A Matter of Life and Death by Michael Powell and Eric Pressburger.
The 21 restorations:
Aleksandr Nevskij (Alexander Nevsky) by Sergej Michajlovič Ėjzenštejn (Ussr, 1938, 108’, B&W), restoration by Mosfilm
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Madison Antus)
Those cool Blu-ray distributors Arrow Films and Video have announced their line-up of releases for September 2015, and once again there are some real gems in the collection, including Milos Forman’s The Fireman’s Ball, the regular edition of Society (which has just had a steelbook collectors edition released this week) and Sean Connery’s space-opus Zardoz. All the details and artwork for the releases are below….
Closely Observed Trains – released September 27th
Shy teenage virgin Miloš gets his first job as a railway dispatcher and is suddenly forced to confront the realities of the adult world, not least the temptations of the opposite sex. But they in turn are more attracted to his more experienced colleague Hubi?ka and his distinctive way with an inkpad and rubber stamp…
This could easily have fuelled a light comedy, but Ji?í Menzel’s bittersweet feature debut is set during World War II in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, »
- Scott J. Davis
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
11 items from 2015
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