18 items from 2016
In an instantly notorious scene from Amat Escalante’s last outing, 2013’s Cannes-laureled cartel drama “Heli,” a kidnapped man thrashed helplessly as his captors doused his genitals in petrol and set them casually aflame. In “The Untamed,” Escalante’s fitfully freaky fourth feature, the Mexican provocateur ensures that’s no longer the queasiest thing to happen to anyone’s nether regions in his films. In all other respects, however, this strange stew of socially conscious domestic drama and tentacular sci-fi erotica is far from what Escalante’s previous work has led us to expect — not least in its relatively tempered shock factor, as the director only grazes a promised fantasy dimension of basest sexual impulse. While shot through with pointed jabs at chauvinism and mainstream homophobia in Mexican society, “The Untamed” never quite exceeds the sum of its intriguingly opposed parts.
Viewers who stay through the closing credits will notice »
- Guy Lodge
There’s a tendency among critics to heap praise on female filmmakers for withstanding the macho rigors of traditionally male-ruled genre fare — though it’s a more unusual feat to see the rules of such films rerouted entirely by an expressly feminine perspective. “Prevenge,” a scrappy but excitingly singular directorial debut for British actress-writer Alice Lowe, takes the latter route. A bleakly humorous serial-killer tale in which the murderer is both eight months pregnant and under the imagined instruction of her unborn child, it’s a film that refreshingly couldn’t have been born — at least, not with quite such blunt conviction — of a man’s imagination. That Lowe herself was with child during the production only heightens the raw nerve of proceedings; while not every tonal downshift here is entirely fluid, this remains a smart, risky one-off, unconcerned with those (and there will be many) who can’t acquire its taste. »
- Guy Lodge
The last film by Andrzej Żuławski is a characteristically eccentric outing that descends into impenetrable gibberish
The final film of the director Andrzej Żuławski – who died in February, best remembered for 1981’s Isabelle Adjani freakout Possession – proves a characteristically eccentric undertaking, adapted from Witold Gombrowicz’s novel set within a mildewing B&B. One half-funny gag: that our writer hero (Jonathan Genet, resistible) is only as dotty as his fellow guests. Yet with all the actors operating some distance off the leash, even the sharper scenes soon clot into an impenetrable layer of gibberish tics. Cultists can claim it as proof Żuławski was doing his own thing until the end, but the film didn’t need releasing so much as sectioning for public safety.
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- Mike McCahill
Ryan Lambie Jul 7, 2016
Marred by a troubled production, Event Horizon was a box office flop in 1997. But time has been kind to the sci-fi horror, Ryan writes...
In the spring of 1997, movie journalism was dominated by discussions of doomed ships. James Cameron’s Titanic, originally scheduled for the lucrative 4th July slot that summer, had suffered yet another delay. It added fuel to the growing speculation that Cameron was at the helm of a potential disaster akin to Heaven's Gate. The cost of making the movie had swollen to such huge levels - $200m according to some accounts, and possibly higher according to others - that the financial burden was shouldered by two of Hollywood’s biggest studios, Fox and Paramount.
Earlier this year, the film world lost one of its truly unsung icons. On February 17, director Andrzej Zulawski passed away, leaving behind not only a filmography of some of cinema’s most singular works but a critically beloved festival darling that had yet to arrive in theaters stateside. Now, beginning this weekend exclusively at The Metrograph in New York City, Zulawski’s last film is finally available to general audiences, and is without a doubt the most delightfully off-kilter picture you’re bound to see all year.
Entitled Cosmos, the picture may sound as though its eyes are set to the heavens, but with a tight runtime of just a pinch under 100 minutes, this is a ground level, if delightfully histrionic melodrama in the vein of Zulawski’s very best films. Standing as a perfect culmination of everything that made the director an auteur of entirely singular vision, Cosmos opens »
- Joshua Brunsting
Earlier this year, Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski — perhaps best known for cult film favorites like “The Devil” and body horror frenzy “Possession” — passed away at the age of 75. But he left one more gift for cinephiles in “Cosmos,” and after earning acclaim on the festival circuit last year, the movie is hitting stateside cinemas, and […]
- Edward Davis
The “Boston Underground Film Festival” (http://bostonunderground.org) at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Ma is a hub for early film festival favorites, diverse programming, film culture and community along with multiple blocks of diverse short filmmaking visions. Whether it’s the celebration of local filmmaking talent with the “Homegrown Horror” short film block curated by Chris Hallock or the short film block that looks at the dark, twisted and humorous side of horror with “Fugue & Riffs”. After BUFF18, we had the chance to talk with six of these filmmakers as well as past and present members of these short film blocks at Buff!
These New England filmmakers and their film projects includes Andrea Mark Wolanin (Cleaning House), Izzy Lee (Innsmouth – which played at BUFF18 before the feature “Antibirth”), Jim McDonough (Idiom Origins Vol. 1), Jarrett Blinkhorn (They’re Closing In), Corey Norman (Suffer the Little Children) and Alex Divincenzo (Trouser Snake).
How does the resources, »
- Jay Kay
“There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.”—The Republic, Book IX 572bWhat’s the best way to describe the mania of an Andrzej Żuławski film? William Grimes, eulogizing Żuławski for The New York Times chose “emotionally savage.” J. Hoberman used “hyperkinetic,” “frenzied,” and “‘awful’ in its root sense of inspiring dread. Daniel Bird, writing about the most recent Lincoln Center screenings in New York, chose “deeply disturbing.” These descriptors make perfect sense after experiencing a Żuławski film, but I’ve never been able to sell his films to a newcomer this way. How could I? They’re much too primal for adjectives in our delicate English language, crafted to communicate Enlightenment-era ideas in a pleasing series of vibrations. The intensity of this director’s films could only be described in some sort of ancient Lovecraftian squelching, »
- Zach Lewis
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Possession is playing March 12 - April 11, 2016 in the United States.In and out, my mind goesIn and out, he goesTo show me it’s cruelMy trust in youBerlin is drowning me— “Drowning in Berlin,” MobilesIt begins on foot, and ends in the heavens. On 13 February 2014, I took a night off from watching films at the Berlin Film Festival and rode the U-Bahn to Moritzplatz. Between 1961 and 1990, when the German capital was divided, Moritzplatz was one of several stations known as the last in West Berlin: after passing through it, trains proceeded through a succession of ‘ghost stations’ located within (and under) Gdr terrain, not stopping again until the line re-emerged on the ‘more democratic’ side of the Berlin Wall.Above ground, it’s less than 300 feet from Moritzplatz to the corner of Sebastianstrasse and Luckauer Strasse: location of »
- Michael Pattison
It’s certainly possible that most remembrances of the recently deceased Andrzej Żuławski heavily focused on Possession because that’s his only film to leave a notable cultural footprint, yet this should be considered: one title can make such an impact on viewers that, in turn, the creator’s passing becomes an event. We are, after all, talking about the rare work that feels genuinely crazy, flitting from one horror and grotesquerie — and, most importantly, the ideas and emotions they might foster — so fast that most don’t quite know what to do with it once the credits have rolled, save for an utterance along the lines of, “Man, that was nuts.”
If one of Possession‘s most commonly cited powers is the sense that we’re watching an object beamed from another world, a look at its creation should be of great interest. Appropriately titled The Other Side of »
- Nick Newman
When the Night Has Come: Grandrieux Laments Lost Love
Seven years have passed since provocateur Philippe Grandrieux’s 2008 film Un Lac, and he remains somewhat of an acquired taste, though considering the subject matter, Malgré la nuit (Despite the Night) is surprisingly less galvanizing than his early features. The narrative, should we indeed call it thus, couldn’t be more simple, roughly concerning a British bloke returning to Paris to reconnect with his lost love. His reasons for leaving or returning aren’t apparently of importance once he disappears into a sort of Parisian ether, where passionate memories are pierced by a current state of abject degradation upon reconnecting with his troubled object of affection. The take away is more of a cerebral, extrasensory experience, existing as a diluted nightmare where pleasure and punishment are doled out in equal measure, which is hardly a surprise for those accustomed to Grandrieux’s filmography. »
- Nicholas Bell
Weirdly, Massive Attack's new music video for their track "Voodoo in My Blood" (feat. Scottish hip-hop group Young Fathers) merges imagery from two cult horror films I've recently written about: Don Coscarelli's Phantasm (included on my Watchlist of 5 great telekinesis movies, viewable above) and the late Andrzej Zulawski's Possession, which features a legendary subway meltdown from French actress Isabelle Adjani. Coincidence? The clip stars Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike, whose long-sleeved blue dress is an obvious tribute to the one Adjani wore in Possession, and it was directed by Ringan Ledwidge, who obviously has a thing for the spinning, deadly silver spheres Coscarelli dreamed up for his bizarro 1979 classic. It's a fascinating video, tailor-made for lovers of cult horror cinema. Watch it below. »
- Chris Eggertsen
No other filmmaker fuses hysteria and contemplation like Andrzej Zulawski. The director is most often represented by his 1981 film "Possession," an emotionally fraught breakup movie in which a tentacled monster is part of a love triangle. That film has recently enjoyed a critical upswing after years as a cult favorite. He made only twelve features between 1971 and 2000, but those movies are remarkably consistent explorations of a core set of ideas about love, honestly and responsibility, the interrelated nature of personal and political lives, and the many transcendent and often terrifying ways in which emotions burst through any barrier as lives collide. Watch: New Trailer For 'Cosmos,' Andrzej Zulawski's First Film In 15 Years Just hours after the announcement that "Cosmos," his thirteenth feature and his first in fifteen years, had secured U.S. distribution, Andrzej Zulawski died due to a battle with cancer. He was 75. What was briefly a reason to. »
- Russ Fischer
Polish director Andrzej ?u?awski -- who died today in Warsaw at the age of 75 -- directed a total of 13 feature films over his lifetime, winning acclaim and some popular success in his native Europe but never really penetrating the American consciousness. And yet among art house audiences and many critics Zulawski was an important filmmaker, helming such bizarre, controversial films as 1972's The Devil (1972) -- which was banned by Communist authorities in his native country and didn't see release there until 1988 -- and The Public Woman, which nabbed him a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1985 César Awards (a.k.a. the French Oscars). Despite Zulawski's many accomplishments, his best-known film by far is the surreal 1981 cult horror film Possession, which features as its centerpiece a legendary subway meltdown by Isabelle Adjani that has since gone down as one of the most primal, wrenching moments of performance insanity »
- Chris Eggertsen
Andrzej Zulawski, a Polish director who spent most of his professional life in France after irking the Communist government at home, died Feb. 17 after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75.
Zulawski was known for an idiosyncratic approach to storytelling and films characterized by “explosions of violence, sexuality, and despair,” according to website Culture.pl, which also noted that “the vision of the world portrayed in his films has been described as tragic, shocking and hysterical”; his methods yielded from actresses including Romy Schneider, Isabelle Adjani and Sophie Marceau some of the best performances of their careers.
Zulawski’s son Xawery, himself a film director, wrote on Facebook late Tuesday that his father was “terminally ill with cancer and undergoing intensive therapy in hospital in Poland.”
- Carmel Dagan
Writer and festival programmer Kier-La Janisse remembers Possession director Andrzej Zulawski. Two days ago I had the honor of sitting in an upscale Berlin cafe with Wojtek Janio, whose company Fixafilm had just completed the restoration on Andrzej Zulawski‘s sci-fi epic On The Silver Globe, famously halted in mid-shoot by the Polish authorities and leading…
- Chris Alexander
Shock woke up to the news that Polish film legend, Andrzej Zulawski, director of one of the greatest psycho-sexual horror films of all time (1981’s Possession), has passed away from a battle with Cancer at the age of 75. This, less than a day after it was announced that Kino Lorber had picked up North…
The post Rip: Andrzej Zulawski (1940-2016) appeared first on Shock Till You Drop. »
- Chris Alexander
Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to Cosmos, the first feature film in 15 years from Polish director Andrzej Żuławski, whose horror pic Possession starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani played at Cannes in 1981. The indie distributor plans a theatrical release this summer before a VOD rollout in the fall. Adapted by Witold Gombrowicz’s absurdist novel, Cosmos centers on Witold (Jonathan Genet), who has just failed the bar, and his companion Fuchs (Johan… »
18 items from 2016
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