11 items from 2015
If you were to take the charm and playful visual language of Jean-Pierre Jenuet’s Amelie and pair it with a blistering satire of religious dogma, the end result would look something like The Brand New Testament, a new film from Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael. His previous feature, Mr. Nobody, starring Jared Leto as the last living human on Earth, also showcased a penchant for high concepts that veer towards the absurd rather than the literal. With his latest entry, Dormael is gunning for the big guy himself, God, portraying Him less as an all-powerful deity and more like an irritable grumpy man hellbent on making life miserable for us petty humans. In bringing life to these religious icons, he weaves a rich tapestry of conflicted characters whose unique problems become fodder for a truly holy upheaval of all that we know to be real.
The setup for The »
- Raffi Asdourian
You’d be hard-pressed to find a film that can transcend the unpleasantness of Austrian filmmaker Gerald Kargl’s sole directorial feature, Angst. A title difficult to obtain copies of in the United States, it’s one of those titles passed around amongst aficionados who prefer their boundaries stretched or surpassed when it comes to taste, and the film feels like a progenitor of unsettling material like Man Bites Dog (1992) or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986). And yet Kargl’s unsung masterpiece of distress usurps the discomfort engendered in those later titles thanks to ambient score and spectacular camerawork. Touted as a film influencing the likes of Gaspar Noe, on record as proclaiming the title to be ‘the rarest masterpiece of cinema,’ widespread availability should mark this as a film worthy of reconsideration and a much wider cult following.
A troubled individual (Erwin Leder) is released from prison after »
- Nicholas Bell
Premiering at the 2014 Venice Film Festival with little fanfare, and received a limited theatrical release in March, 2015 in the Us, Benoit Jacquot’s latest somehow feels as if its been neglected. Despite its high pedigree cast, including names familiar to the American public, like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve, it didn’t receive much attention, though will assuredly be the type of sought after gem for fans of either the director or the cast member in decades overcoming its initial frostiness.
The follow-up to his most internationally renowned title to date, Farewell, My Queen, Jacquot’s underwhelming love story uses a contrivance often seen in romantic comedies, only he replaces the comedy with a somber indifference that seems to work against the believability of the film.
3 Hearts seems as if it belongs to an earlier era of filmmaking, a time where repressed feelings would roil just beneath the surface until »
- Nicholas Bell
In the Mood For Love: Du Welz Returns With Gloriously Dark Rendering of Insatiable Passion
His first film since 2008’s underappreciated Vinyan, Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz debuts the second installment in his proposed Ardennes trilogy, Alleluia. His 2004 directorial debut, Calvaire (aka The Ordeal) depicted a rather hellacious account of a singer whose car breaks down in the middle of the woods, stranding him in the midst of a very strange and terrifying rural community. Here, Du Welz bases his latest madness on the true account of serial killing couple Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, a case that famously inspired the 1969 film The Honeymoon Killers and 1996’s Deep Crimson, amongst others. But Du Welz hardly unveils a simple account of unhinged, obsessive love. His is a demonic hymnal of passion, a darkly droll exercise in the delusory notion of love as an unhealthy obsession told with aggressive flourish. But »
- Nicholas Bell
Every article on found footage horror must open with a comment on the ubiquitous nature of the genre. They’re everywhere. They’re cheap. They’re profitable. Typically there’s a hint of derision, the thought that the filmmakers were too cheap to shoot an actual film and thus cobbled together a couple people off the street and cameras at the local Best Buy to shoot a movie and turn a profit. The thought that the genre is less an art form but more a commodity. At their very best though, found footage transcends such complaining, blurring fact and fiction, convincing viewers the illusions projected onto a screen are in fact reality. Cannibal Holocaust, Man Bites Dog, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity all deftly walked this tight rope between fiction & non. That there have been so many pale imitations in their wake shouldn’t reflect poorly on the genre or these films itself. »
- Tommy Cook
Cannes — On the heels of its world premiere at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Le Pacte has sold Jaco Van Dormael’s surreal comedy “The Brand New Testament” to all major territories.
Le Pacte’s sales team, headed by Camille Neel, has clinched deals for the U.K. and Ireland (Metrodome), Spain (Vertigo), Benelux (Belga), Switzerland (Frenetic), Italy (Eye Wonder), Australia (Madman), Japan (Asmik Ace), Central America (Pacifica Grey), Argentina (Lat-e), Denmark (41 Shadows), Korea (At Nine), Mexico (Mantarraya), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), Russia (Premium) and Equator (Tropico).
Neel said the movie has also received strong interest from U.S. distributors.
“The Brand New Testament,” co-written by Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig, stars Benoit Polevoorde (“Man Bites Dog,” “Three Hearts” ) as God, a Brussels-based man whose computer gets hacked by his daughter, leaking to the entire world their date of death. Catherine Deneuve (“Three Hearts”) and Yolande Moreau (“Seraphine”) also topline.
After showing a promo at Berlin, »
- Elsa Keslassy
In the beginning, things went a bit differently than the Good Book would have us believe — or at least, that’s the playful conceit behind Jaco Van Dormael’s “The Brand New Testament,” an irreverent (but otherwise harmless) ontological satire that puts a cartoonish spin on the Christian origin story. Incidentally, Van Dormael has volunteered an alternate creation myth of some kind in all four of his features (which also include “Toto the Hero,” “The Eighth Day” and “Mr. Nobody”), only this time, the Belgian idea-meister goes as far as to target God directly, “outing” Him as kind of a jerk who lives in Brussels and sits at His personal computer, conjuring natural disasters as a way of staving off boredom. When his daughter rebels and decides to simultaneously enlighten everyone on earth, all hell breaks loose, and the narrative starts to lose its thread, unspooling zany consequences that ought to convert skeptical distributors worldwide. »
- Peter Debruge
Fandor, the premiere streaming service for independent, classic and critically-acclaimed films, shorts and documentaries, in a partnership with the Criterion Collection and Hulu Plus, is currently home to a rotation of uniquely curated bundles of Criterion films available to watch instantly via desktop, set top and mobile devices.
Every Tuesday, Fandor rolls out a new collection of films that share a common theme, genre, time period, film style, etc. These films are available on the site for 12 days before being replaced by a fresh new batch of featured Criterion masterpieces.
Fandor’S Criterion Picks For March
March 17-28: The Sixteenth Century
Carnival in Flanders(1935, Director Jacques Feyder): A small village in Flanders puts on a carnival to avoid the brutal consequences of the Spanish occupation. Ivan the Terrible(1944, DirectorSergei Eisenstein): As Ivan ascends to lead Russia, the Boyars are determined to disrupt his rule. Ivan’s relationship »
- Robert Greenberger
Marc (Benoit Poelvoorde of Man Bites Dog, Coco Before Chanel), a shlumpy tax investigator, just missed the train back to Paris. He now has to spend the night in a provincial town whether he likes it or not. By chance, he meets and chats up lovely Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Science of Sleep, Antichrist, Nymphomaniac). The mutual attraction is there. Marc is glad that even though she seems a little anxiety stricken, she's willing to talk to him and show around the town in this sleepless night. Sharing smokes, they end up walking all night talking. This wasn't like one night passionate tryst of strangers. The tender encounter was some kind of sign from above, as if they were meant to be together (but of...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Heart to Heart to Heart: Jacquot’s Romantic Drama Can’t Cover Every Angle
Despite sporting the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve, 3 Hearts, the latest from Benoit Jacquot often feels like a rather stilted endeavor. The follow-up to his most internationally renowned title to date, Farewell, My Queen, Jacquot’s underwhelming love story uses a contrivance often seen in romantic comedies, only he replaces the comedy with a somber indifference that seems to work against the believability of the film.
The film seems as if it belongs to an earlier era of filmmaking, a time where repressed feelings would roil just beneath the surface until they boiled over to cause living hell for all affected parties lost amidst the unmitigated power known as love. This is the stuff of classic melodrama, and the three hearts at the center of this triangle often feel more like archetypes than actual people, »
- Nicholas Bell
Berlin– Le Pacte-repped ‘The New New Testament,” Jaco Van Dormael’s surreal comedy, has converted a raft of international distributors at the Efm.
After showing a promo reel of the film, Le Pacte has pre-sold it to Germany and Austria (Nfp), Czech Republic/Slovakia (Aerofilms), Hungary (Mozinet), Romania (Independenta), Norway (Njuta), Sweden (Another World), Brazil (Imovision), McF (Ex-Yougoslavia), Turkey (Kurmaca), Poland (Gutek), Switzerland (Frenetic), Belgium (Belga), Grece (Strada) and Hong Kong (Edko).
Polevoorde plays opposite Catherine Deneuve (“Three Hearts”) and Yollande Moreau (“Seraphine”).
Raising questions about fate, freedom and love in modern times, the film stars Benoit Polevoorde (“Man Bites Dog,” “Three Hearts” ) as God, a Brussels-based man whose computer gets hacked by his daughter, leaking to the entire world their date of death.
The original script was co-written by Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig.
Camille Neel, head of international sales at Le Pacte, said the film had sparked interest from Russian, »
- Elsa Keslassy
11 items from 2015
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