15 items from 2012
The award ceremony will be inaugurated with the screening of Lanzmann’s film Sobibor, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures, while some of his other films will be screened as part of the Homage section.
“Claude Lanzmann is one of the great documentarists. With his depictions of inhumanity and violence, of anti-semitism and its consequences, he created a new kind of cinematic and ethical exploration. We feel honoured to honour him,” Dieter Kosslick, director of Berlinale said.
Lanzmann made his first documentary, Pourquoi Israël, in 1973 on the necessity of Israel’s founding from the Jewish perspective. »
There was plenty of discussion across the movie blogosphere following last week's announcement that Vertigo had dethroned Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time according to Sight & Sound's decennial poll. In addition to revealing the top 50 as determined by critics, they also provided a top 10 based on a separate poll for directors only. In the print version of the magazine, they have taken it a step further by reprinting some of the individual top 10 lists from the filmmakers who participated, and we now have some of them here for your perusal. Among them, we have lists from legends like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino, but there are also some unexpected newcomers who took part including Richard Ayoade (Submarine), Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene). Some of these lists aren't all that surprising (both Quentin Tarantino »
I think the only thing to really say about today's unveiling of Sight & Sound's latest installment in their decennial list of the 50 greatest films of all time is to acknowledge it as a list of truly great films. The hubbub over the ordering is a little like pissing in the wind as the major headline is Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo capsizing the 50 year reign of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, which has been the number one film on the list since it began in 1952. So Vertigo sits at number one, climbing steadily in the eyes of the participants of the every-ten-year poll made up of 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors. A secondary poll of 358 film directors from all over the world -- including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh -- and they didn't go with Kane either, or Vertigo for that matter. Nope, Yasujiro Ozu's »
- Brad Brevet
I fondly remember the glee I had at xeroxing from library archives a good chunk of Sight & Sound’s top favorite list back in 92′ when cinephilia officially took over me and with further research I learned that any year that ends in a “2″ meant that it was time to revisit the official order. Over the past three polls (80′s, 90′s and 00′s) Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic progressively moved up the rankings making its way as announced today to the number one spot dislodging Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. My prediction for 2022: Another Brit filmmaker will continue to make strides in the top ten list – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey should move up several spots.
Based on 846 critics’ top-ten lists and a Directors’ poll of 358 entries it is Vertigo who ends a five decade reign of the iconic snow globe and the name “Rosebud”. If anythin the list inspires a long-lasting debate, »
- Eric Lavallee
Every 10 years the British film magazine Sight & Sound draws up a list of the 50 Greatest Films Ever Made. It is a list that is held with very high regard in the industry as it compiles and compares lists from esteemed critics and filmmakers from around the world. Every time that the list has been compiled since 1962, Orson Welles’ perennial classic Citizen Kane has topped the poll. But now its reign as “the Greatest Film Ever Made” has been toppled by none other than Alfred Hitchcock.
The official list, drawn up by 846 academics/critics (including Roger Ebert), names Vertigo, the 1958 classic thriller from Alfred Hitchock, as the greatest film ever made with Citizen Kane in second. When the list was compiled in 2002, Vertigo missed out on the top spot by 5 votes, which marked a change in film tastes and the arrival of a new wave of film critics. In this poll, »
- Will Chadwick
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, slated to open in mid-December, will be the first major feature to be screened at 48 frames per second. Both Mike Bracken (Movies.com) and Carolyn Giardina (Hollywood Reporter) wonder just how many theaters will be able to handle the High Frame Rate Jackson and James Cameron have been promoting.
In other news. Senses of Cinema is back online with a new look.
Books. Ada Calhoun finds that Frank Langella's new memoir, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them, "paints Hollywood and Broadway as teeming with vulgar, neurotic and irresistible company, and Langella as relentlessly affable in the face of nonstop groping by famous people in far-flung locations. He ambles into history and falls into notable beds like some kind of sexy Forrest Gump or beefcake Zelig."
Reviewing Claude Lanzmann's memoir The Patagonian Hare for the New Republic, »
Today's must-read is Glenn Greenwald's report in Salon on the Us Department of Homeland Security's persistent and ongoing harassment of travelers returning to their own country. "A 2011 Foia request from the Aclu revealed that just in the 18-month period beginning October 1, 2008, more than 6600 people — roughly half of whom were American citizens — were subjected to electronic device searches at the border by Dhs, all without a search warrant." And "the case of Laura Poitras, an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker and intrepid journalist, is perhaps the most extreme." As Dennis Lim wrote in a 2010 profile for the New York Times, with My Country, My Country and The Oath, Poitras has made "two of the most searching documentaries of the post-9/11 era, on-the-ground chronicles that are sensitive to both the political and the human consequences of American foreign policy."
Over the past six years, Poitras has been detained at the airport as »
Like Jafar Panahi, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof is awaiting "execution of the verdict," a sentence of one year in jail delivered in December 2010. Unlike Panahi, whose sentence is six years, Rasoulof is free to travel in the meantime, a luxury — or, as many would see it, a right — denied Panahi for, foreseeably, 20 years. Rasoulof is currently a jury member at the Fribourg International Film Festival, running through Saturday, which has given Regula Fuchs an opportunity to interview him for the Swiss Tages-Anzeiger (thanks to Film-Zeit for the tip).
Fuchs first asks about the potential impact of the Oscar for Asghar Farhadi's A Separation on the Iranian film scene. Rasoulof: "The authorities see this Oscar as a confirmation of their policies toward filmmakers: By exercising their influence on Iranian cinema, they've made this foreign award possible."
On how one goes about making a film in Iran these days: »
Oscar-nominated WWII drama In Darkness is out in the UK this Friday. Here’s our review of a flawed yet uplifting film...
Attempting to write about In Darkness is a tricky proposition. A heartfelt, Oscar-nominated movie based on the real-life suffering of Jews in World War II, critically dissecting it seems almost cruel - like analysing a charity record, or a cake baked for a church fete. In Darkness is well acted and made with such good intentions that it seems almost sacrilegious to say it’s anything less than perfect.
When viewed against other movies based on the Holocaust, such as Claude Lanzmann’s sprawling, extraordinary documentary Shoah (1985), Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) or Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002), In Darkness isn’t without flaw. But then again, the story it has to tell is so remarkable that it’s not difficult to see why it gained attention at this year's Academy Awards. »
Agnieszka Holland's film uses a fragment of the Holocaust story to hint at its enormity
Claude Lanzmann's famous proscription against ever tackling the Holocaust in a purely representational way – because how can one honestly, decently recreate the almost unimaginable without cheapening or faking it? – still casts a shadow over the whole genre three decades after the release of his documentary Shoah. I wish more people would listen to him. His polar opposite is Steven Spielberg, and Schindler's List neatly embodies all Lanzmann's doubts. The documentary favours long takes, no heroes, and no war-crime footage whatsoever. The feature shows it all: random executions, gas chambers, the anguish of the doomed, but undercuts it all with a Spielbergian hunger for uplift and good guys.
The Holocaust movie has taken some odd turns in the years since Shoah and Schindler established these parameters. We were favoured with those "Have Yourself a »
- John Patterson
He lived a remarkable life: a French resistance fighter, a friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and lover of Simone de Beauvoir. Yet he is best known for his epic film, Shoah, the definitive oral record of those who survived the Holocaust. Now, aged 87, he tells his own extraordinary story
One evening – we are not given a date, but it must be the early 1960s – the great French philosopher, essayist, novelist and pioneer of feminism Simone de Beauvoir was, as so often, at the theatre. But this was a stranger night than most. On De Beauvoir's left sat her lifelong companion and erstwhile lover, the greatest philosopher of his generation and founder of existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre. To her right was her current lover, the writer, former resistance fighter and film director Claude Lanzmann. And on stage: Lanzmann's sister Évelyne, a foremost actress of the day, playing the lead role in Sartre's play Huis Clos. »
- Ed Vulliamy
In the new March 2012 issue of the Brooklyn Rail, Colin Beckett previews a "five-film retrospective sampler" of work by Hong Sang-soo running at the Museum of the Moving Image from March 17 through 23: "Wherever his characters go, be it Paris or a Korean resort town, they do the same things: arrange themselves in complicated love triangles, treat others poorly, drink too much, then treat each other even worse. His deliberately artificial camera movements — long pans back and forth, and half-motivated zooms, mostly — treat real space the way a camera usually approaches a photograph or a painting: flattening it, drawing horizontal and diagonal lines to map its elements. He is concerned with atmosphere in the literal sense: the particular qualities of light and air in the types of spaces to which he obsessively returns: beaches, restaurants, apartments."
Hong's Tale of Cinema (2005) is not one of the five (which, by the way, »
The film-maker has seen the horrors of war and oppression, but revealing his own family's tragedy has taxed him most heavily
There are many kinds of courage in journalism. That sentiment has been too unfashionable to speak when shameful revelations are oozing almost daily out of the Leveson inquiry. The appalling deaths of journalists in Syria have served as a reminder that the trade also has a dangerous, even heroic aspect. But only the extraordinary perspective offered to us by the memoirs of Claude Lanzmann, the film-maker behind the Holocaust epic Shoah can illustrate the social imperative of bearing witness.
Lanzmann fought in the French Resistance against the Nazis. As a reporter, he sent word to the west of conditions inside communist states. As a war correspondent, he faced artillery barrages in Algeria and tear gas on the Paris barricades. But the story that cost him most heart-searching and grief »
Written by David F. Shamoon
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Poland / Germany / France / Canada, 2011
When Claude Lanzmann was developing his landmark nine-hour Holocaust documentary Shoah, his greatest self-appointed challenge was to chronicle the facts and lasting legacy of the massacring of millions of people while avoiding even the slightest intimation that the events described could be easily encapsulated within a mere film, regardless of length or scope. Lanzmann’s film is still the object of study and appreciation is cineaste circles, but in general, filmmakers haven’t been nearly as skittish as Lanzmann in tackling what he considered to be insurmountable. In the nearly two decades since that film’s release, Holocaust movies have grown into an awards-season cliché, often derided as exploiting human tragedy in order to showcase performances in the service of awards-hungry studios. It’s in this context that one will inevitably view Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness; in this instance. »
- Simon Howell
Directed by Claude Lanzmann.
A nine hour 36 minute long documentary about the Holocaust.
Shoah is almost as hard to write about as it is to watch. It isn’t the subject matter that gets to you. We’re all exposed far too much to the Holocaust and World War II through television, literature and film for it to have a truly visceral effect anymore. As discouraging as it is, the years truly have anaesthetised the heart. Instead, it is the length that one feels, its incomprehensibleness – nine hours and thirty-six minutes. The longest film you’ve ever seen is but a pebble in a grand lake in comparison.
That’s the intention - it’s incomprehensibility. To picture a thousand people is near impossible. The mind wretches at the image of six million; all of those Jewish, all of those dead.
The film’s form, of its immense length, »
15 items from 2012
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