18 items from 2013
Writer-director Kasi Lemmons certainly didn’t invent black domestic melodrama, a genre that covers everything from the stalwart “A Raisin in the Sun” to Charles Burnett’s pioneering, masterful “Killer of Sheep” and “To Sleep With Anger.” But the woman behind “Eve’s Bayou” and “Talk to Me” puts an inventive modern spin on Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes’ 1961 play, one that’s still performed to music at Christmastime in churches all over the country. “Black Nativity” updates the 50-year-old stage piece with a stirring score that deftly blends the traditional with up-to-the-minute pop. The music is great, the update necessary: By current standards, »
- Ella Taylor
Buster Keaton appeared in some very weird movies following the advent of sound pictures. There’s that Mexican sci-fi comedy Boom in the Moon I mentioned on Fsr a while back. There’s the Eastman Kodak industrial film The Triumph of Lester Snapwell, in which he plays a clumsy photographer who travels through time so he can experience an easy-use Instamatic camera. And of course all those crazy ’60s beach movies, where he performed silly slapstick involving bikinis, boobs and a politically incorrect portrayal of a Native American. But his oddest has to be Film, the 1965 short he reluctantly starred in, which was scripted by absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett (his only original written directly for the screen), helmed by theatre director Alan Schneider, produced by controversial publisher Barney Rosset, edited by Oscar-nominated documentarian Sidney Meyers (The Quiet One; The Savage Eye) and shot by legendary cinematographer Boris Kaufman (L’Atalante; On the Waterfront). Almost 50 years since its »
- Christopher Campbell
That's the focus but we also make time for talking about previously tweeted adventures: Nathaniel's AFI celebrity encounters (including Saving Mr Banks) and Joe's Doc NY screenings (We Steal Secrets and We Always Lie to Strangers). We chat about Megan Ellison at Annapurna, James Schamus's departure at Focus, and Katey and Joe's new jobs at Vanity Fair and The Atlantic Wire. Joe tries to start a fight between Nick and Katey about Ron Howard's Rush.
Finally we talk about the unloved (this year) Best Animated Feature category and The Croods. And we reveal what we've been watching as far as older films go: Danny Kaye in The Court Jester, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, Robert Altman's The Last Goodbye, »
- NATHANIEL R
It won’t take a historian to convince you how turbulent the political atmosphere was in the 1960s — simply look at the American cinema for proof. There had been an influx of the film with the residue of McCarthyism (The Manchurian Candidate), spy thrillers with the looming threat of the Russians (From Russia with Love), and the deep-seated fear of nuclear apocalypse (Dr. Strangelove). These were films about professionals and about the jobs the men in high positions carried out with our voices and votes at a passive distance. The United States’ personal struggle, one dealt with on a day-to-day basis by the average citizen, was the civil rights movement, a stark attempt of reconciliation of the nation’s troubled past by affirming a real equality for black citizens — a cultural as well as legal battle. Cinema’s visual representation for African Americans at this point was throwing Sidney Poitier into a Hollywood production, »
- Zach Lewis
Three-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone has come on to executive produce Cinema Libre Studio’s biopic of Algerian leader Emir Abd el-Kader, who fought for Islamic values. Charles Burnett (“Killer of Sheep”) will direct the film, which starts principal photography in November in Algeria. Abd el-Kader was a Muslim who considered the three main religions Islam, Judaism and Christianity to be very similar and therefore, all of their practitioners to be brothers. Furthermore, he considered all wars to be of an economic nature, based on a group of a people oppressing another people for economic gain. Also Read: Oliver Stone Blasts Obama’s ‘Bush-Style. »
- Jeff Sneider
London Film Festival | Drive In Film Club | Black History Month
London Film Festival
You know all those films you've been reading rave reviews about from festivals like Cannes and Venice, depressed in the knowledge you'll have to wait months to see them? Well, this is your chance. Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, Palme d'Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour, the Coens' Inside Llewyn Davies and Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin are some of the most talked-about titles coming London's way. To guide you through it, films are organised into themes, most of them imperative verbs – Love, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Debate – though there's still a section of red-carpet galas. These include a double dose of Tom Hanks, in Paul Greengrass's Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips (Odeon Leicester Square, WC2, Wed; Cineworld Haymarket, SW1, Thu), and Saving Mr Banks, in which he plays Walt Disney, schmoozing Emma Thompson over Mary Poppins. »
- Steve Rose
At Friday’s 10th anniversary screening of his documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself” at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, filmmaker Thom Andersen told the audience, “It’s not an update. I didn’t see the need.
“The way movies foreclose the possibility of emancipatory politics has not changed,” he added, and the gulf between an impoverished working class and a wealthy one percent — another running theme of Andersen’s film — is “even more of a truism now” than it was in 2003.
And yet, much is new about “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” Andersen’s encyclopedic, sardonic valentine to his adopted hometown and how it has been represented — for better and worse — by its most famous local industry. For starters, Andersen has remastered “Los Angeles” (which was made at the tail end of the analog video era) in high definition, replacing most of the thousands of film clips excerpted therein with HD source material. »
- Scott Foundas
Yesterday I announced the screening of Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, along with the filmmaking masterclass he's leading at the British Film Institute on Oct 2nd (Here). But if you can’t make it or want a second chance to see him, you'll have some more opportunities.On Weds Oct. 9 at 7Pm Burnett will appear in person at the Brixton Library, located at Brixton Oval in Lambeth, London, for a conversation called "From George to Treyvon."As he will at BFI, Burnett will screen clips and discuss from his new film, 83 Days: The Murder of George Stinney Jr., which tells the true storyof what took place in South Carolina in 1944, when 14 year old George Stinney was arrested for »
I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to be in attendance for this event. Just our luck that it’s happening across the Big Pond.On Saturday, October 5 at 2Pm at the British Film Institute at the Southbank Centre in London, as part of its African Odysseys series, there will be s screening of Charles Burnett’s 1977 masterpiece of black cinema, Killer of Sheep, with Burnett himself in person.There will also be a masterclass with Burnett, as the program says, and though it doesn’t say exactly what it will entail, anything involving Burnett talking about his experiences in filmmaking is more than worth the price of admission and invaluable for anyone who aspires to be »
The Algerian Ministry of Culture and Los Angeles-based American company Cinema Libre Studio have signed an agreement to co-produce a movie based on Algerian leader Abd El-Kader.
Cinema Libre topper Philippe Diaz is producing with Mustapha Orif, general manager Algeria’s Aarc.
El-Kader fought the French colonization while building the modern Algerian State and conveying a message of religious tolerance. He was exiled in 1848 after 15 years of fighting. El-Kader raised an army in Syria in 1860 to save the more than 12,000 Christians who were in danger of being massacred.
The screenplay is written by Algerian anthropologist Zaïm Khenchelaoui. Two versions will be shot: one in French and Arabic and the other in English.
“Due to what is happening in the world right now, I can’t see any »
- Dave McNary
So, this is a bit of old news at this point, but the debate or discussion around Spike Lee’s Essential Film list seems to be as relevant as the legitimacy of his Kickstarter campaign. Much has been made of the fact that the list is fairly standard and canonical, in particular how it almost completely ignores female filmmakers.
The thing is, when making any kind of list, it will inevitably reflect the experiences of the person who makes it, and more often than not — we forget the importance of the audience. As a professor teaching a Film Production course, Spike Lee is making a statement about the art of Making film which is different than the art of Studying film, and the method from one teacher to the next will change drastically.
My impression of Spike Lee’s list is that he is trying to show the very height of the cinematic medium. »
- Justine Smith
The one thing that immediately jumped out at me in looking over this list from Spike Lee, is the near-absence of films by black filmmakers. I counted 3 total: Charles Burnett's Killer Of Sheep, John Singleton's Boyz N The Hood, and Michael Schultz's Coolie High. Although there are a few films listed that tell stories about black people, but weren't directed by black filmmakers, like Black Orpheus, for example, which was directed by Frenchman Marcel Camus. And when I say black filmmakers, I'm not referring solely to black American filmmakers. I'm talking about the entire African Diaspora. I'd love to have seen mentions of films by iconic and notable names of filmmakers who »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Spike Lee (who writes everything in title case but won't tell you the title of the film he's raising money for on Kickstarter) has just posted a list of the films every aspiring director must see to his Kickstarter campaign. It's the list he gives to all of his students on the first day of classes at Nyu.Check out the Kickstarter campaign for "The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint here and check out this video of Spike explaining the list.Here's The List In Its Entirety:"Bad Lieutenant," Abel Ferara (1992)"Rashomon," Akira Kurosawa (1950)"Yojimbo," "Akira Kurosawa (1961)"Ran," Akira Kurosawa (1985)"Rear Window," Alfred Hitchcock (1954)"Vertigo," Alfred Hitchcock (1958)"North by Northwest," Alfred Hitchcock (1959)"Bonnie and Clyde," Arthur Penn (1967)"The Conformist," Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)"Last Tango in Paris," Bernardo Bertolucci (1972)"Ace in the Hole," Billy Wilder (1951)"Some Like It Hot," Billy Wilder (1959)"Killer of Sheep," Charles Burnett (1977)"Night of the Hunter," »
- Bryce J. Renninger
The third showing in the Chicago screening of the L.A. Rebellion touring film series will continue on Thursday May 2 with a screening of Charles Burnett’s 1983 film My Brother’s Wedding. Burnett’s tragicomedy, which was his second feature film after Killer of Sheep, tells the story of a young man Pierce, a rather feckless and aimless youth who drifts though life working at his parents’ day cleaning store with no particular goals or aims in life. But that suits him just fine. However, his whole world is turned completely upside down when he agrees to be the best man to his more successful lawyer brother’s wedding to the daughter of a very well-to-do family, who Pierce can’t »
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 363 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies, the Up docs and Decalogue) and of those 363, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 362 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies and Decalogue) and of those 362, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
Ioncinema.com’s Ioncinephile of the Month feature focuses on an emerging filmmaker from the world of cinema. This March, we feature Tim Sutton, whose debut film Pavilion premiered almost one year to the day at the 2012 edition of the SXSW Film Festival. Factory 25 just released the film in New York (March 1st) with further dates to come. Below you’ll find our profile and Tim Sutton’s personal Top Ten films of all time can be found here.
Eric Lavallee: During your childhood…what films were important to you?
Tim Sutton: The first film I ‘saw’ in a movie theater was Bambi. And all that I can recall (through memory combined with the story told to me over the years) was that my father cried. As a kid, I dug Star Wars, Breaking Away, Ode to Billie Joe – I just remember feeling really sad during the scenes on that bridge) and loved, »
- Eric Lavallee
From the narrow streets of medieval Prague to the rubbish dumps of Rio De Janeiro, here are five of the best ghettos featured in films
This week's clip joint is from Claire Adas - check out more of her writing on her blog here. If you have an idea for a future clip joint, email email@example.com
Every city has its shantytowns, tenements, projects and favelas; ghettoes in which people are thrown together, joined by race, religion or, most frequently, poverty. Theses spaces form a teeming world of their own within the larger macrocosm of the city, connected but self-contained. Life is stacked upon life in a confined area, making the situation rife for story telling; a perfect stage setting of tension and drama.
The term "ghetto" has expanded somewhat from its original use in the 11th century, when it specifically described the part of a city where Jews could live. »
- Guardian readers
18 items from 2013
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