9 items from 2014
On the Waterfront: Zvyagintsev’s Sprawling Opus of a Modern, Devouring Regime
Back with his fourth feature, Leviathan, Russian auteur Andrey Zvyagintsev succeeds in cinematic sublimity with this multilayered and operatic exploration of the crushing corruption of an unchecked regime. While each of his films have taken home prestigious awards (The Return won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2003, The Banishment snagged Best Actor at Cannes in 2007 while 2011’s Elena roped the Special Jury Prize for Un Certain Regard), this latest feature should solidify his unparalleled ascension as the most important auteur to rise out of Russia since Andrey Tarkovsky. Time may prove his to be the more potent title, a damning examination of the turpitude bred by an archaic and untoward establishment.
Living in the home that he’s built with his own hands on the waterfront of the Barents Sea, Kolya (Alexei Serebryakov), has recently been notified »
- Nicholas Bell
After losing itself for some time, the legendary 114-year-old French studio Gaumont bounced back to the top of the charts with the box office phenom “The Intouchables” in 2011. Three years later and with more French hits under its belt, the vertically integrated major headed by Sidonie Dumas has proven that the blockbuster laffer wasn’t just a lucky break. The company is thriving on all fronts — French distribution, international sales and TV biz — while keeping its focus on director-driven French films and banking on the next generation of talents.
Variety is honoring Gaumont with its Intl. Achievement in Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
While the market share of French films fell significantly in 2013, Gaumont rose as France’s No. 1 indie distributor of Gallic pics with 12.3 million admissions. Its revenue from theatrical distribution nearly doubled to $34 million.
- Elsa Keslassy
How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Horror Genre by Jodi Clager: - “As a child I was terrified of all of the trappings of Halloween. The costumes, the movies, the elaborate displays of terror set up by neighbors, haunted houses — they all pushed me into the fetal position for days. I would stay indoors during trick or treat, pleading my parents to ignore the knocks at our front door heralding the arrival of the newest demonic imp snarling a demand for candy.” - Why BuzzFeed Hired Its First Critic: - As it turns out, Willmore is not just BuzzFeed’s first film critic but the site’s first critic, period, or at least the first employee with “critic” in her title. Given that dedicated critic positions are largely being phased out in favor of all-purpose “film writer” slots, that seemed like a significant enough milestone to warrant further, »
London — Karl “Baumi” Baumgartner, one of Germany’s leading producers and independent distributors, has died.
A message posted Tuesday on the website of Pandora Film, the company he co-founded, said: “Today Karl ‘Baumi’ Baumgartner left us. We are unspeakable sad and deeply moved. He was our friend, partner and source of inspiration. We say Thank You. – The Pandoras.”
Last month, the Berlin Film Festival presented Baumgartner with its Berlinale Camera award, which is given to film personalities or institutions to which it feels particularly indebted and wishes to express its thanks.
Baumgartner set up Pandora with Reinhard Brundig in 1982. The Frankfurt-based company, whose name was inspired by G.W. Pabst’s “Pandora’s Box,” focused on the distribution of ambitious international arthouse movies, such as Yilmaz Gunay’s “Yol,” Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Nostalgia” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.” It made its commercial breakthrough with Jane Campion’s “The Piano. »
- Leo Barraclough
Arie Posin's romantic drama tips its hand when we see that protagonist Nikki (Annette Bening), a widowed interior decorator, has chosen posters for Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo for the house she's currently sprucing up. This is moments before she first sees Tom (Ed Harris), a dead ringer for Nikki's late husband, Garrett (also Harris).
The Face of Love is also a few color gels away from being this decade's remake of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, as Nikki embarks on a relationship with Tom that doesn't defy contemporary taboos about age or ethnicity but instead is borderline necrophilic, while she lies to Tom about her past and tries to hide him from her adult daughter, Summer (Jess Weixler), and Nikki's lovesi »
Nostalghia was Andrei Tarkovsky’s penultimate film, and the 1983 movie, made for Italian television, has the tone and scope of a work of contemplation and austere topicality, not at all uncommon for an artist in his or her later portions of life. The notion of this frequent tendency, to broach issues of dire seriousness in concluding creations, doesn’t work seamlessly with Tarkovsky, though. To begin with, while Nostalghia may have been his second-to-last feature, he was only 51 at the time (he tragically passed away just 3 years and one film later). In addition, this type of weighty subject matter had been common thematic territory for Tarkovsky since his first films in the early 1960s. And though only having made seven feature films, each approach was a spiritual level of visual, verbal, and atmospheric transcendence not regularly attempted by many other filmmakers, »
- Jeremy Carr
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky Writer(s): Andrei Tarkovsky (screenplay), Tonino Guerra (screenplay) Starring: Oleg Yankovsky, Domiziana Giordano, Erland Josephson, Patrizia Terreno Russian writer Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovsky) travels to Italy to study the life of Russian composer Pavel Sosnovsky a man that would ultimately take his own life upon returning to his native Russia. Andrei brings along an interpreter, Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano), and together they travel to a convent to gaze upon its ancient art and other ruins. There should be joy of some sort in such an adventure, but there is only isolation, both physical and mental. Once in Italy, Andrei begins to unravel and to make sense of his journey becomes an exercise in futility. Let me begin by stating I am not going to attempt to understand completely what Nostalghia means or what it meant to Andrei Tarkovsky. In fact, this is the only Tarkovsky film I've »
- Dirk Sonniksen
Of his seven feature length films, it’s hard to pinpoint which serves as the best entry into the visual poetry of Andrei Tarkovsky, arguably one of the cinema’s authorial titans of the past century. That said, his 1983 feature, Nostalghia, which was his first to be filmed outside the confines of the Soviet Union, may not be the wisest choice for the unprepared, but it’s certainly an unparalleled viewing experience. Though comprehending it’s somewhat impenetrable meaning feels akin to looking through a glass darkly, our earthly interpretations somehow seeming rudimentary when crafted into mere synopsis.
A Russian poet, Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovsky) has been living in Italy for the past two years, separated from wife and children back home as he researches the life of an 18th century Russian composer named Pavel Sosnovsky, a man that left Russia to live in Italy, only to return to his homeland and hang himself. »
- Nicholas Bell
9 items from 2014
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