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Re-Animators: Kaufman & Johnson Brilliantly Translates Kafkaesque ‘Sound Play’ From The Stage To Stop Motion
Springing from the mind that spewed an incredible string of transcendent work from Being John Malkovich to Synecdoche, New York, writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman‘s Anomalisa is yet another wholly original work, vastly different in form, but no less Kaufmanesque, narratively speaking. This go round he’s partnered with Duke Johnson, one of the creative minds behind the stop-motion production studio Starburns Industries (Moral Orel, Frankenhole), to rework a story he’d penned under the alias Francis Fregoli and produced for the stage as a ‘sound play’ back in 2005 for the Theater of the New Ear. The result is an inventive bit of stop-motion brilliance which seizes upon the inherent falsities of its chosen medium and employs them as a driving force in the examination of tedium and the apathetic perception of sameness as one grows old. »
- Jordan M. Smith
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman
The original Anomalisa was a “sound play” by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation), performed before an audience only twice. The “sound” aspect referred to the fact that its main character has a disorder that makes him see everyone with the same face and hear the same voice. Character actor Tom Noonan (The House of the Devil, Manhunter) acted out this sea of parts on stage opposite David Thewlis’ (Naked, Restoration) Michael Stone. Stone, famous in the world of customer service, is a married motivational speaker struggling with depression and the need for intimacy when he lands in a Cincinnati hotel for a contracted engagement. There he ruminates about a love he threw away and finds hope in a new woman named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Thanks to Dino Stamatopoulos (writer, animator, perhaps best »
- Lane Scarberry
Jewish Film Festival launches inaugural best debut feature prize; competition titles include Son Of Saul and Labyrinth Of Lies.
The 19th UK Jewish Film Festival (Nov 7-22) is to present a best debut feature award for the first time.
The jury, headed by Nfts (National Film and Television School) director Nik Powell, comprises actor Jason Isaacs (The Patriot), director Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco), producer Michael Kuhn (Being John Malkovich), actress Kerry Fox (The Dressmaker) and actress Sarah Solemani (Mrs Henderson Presents).
The winner, which will be announced at the festival’s closing gala on Nov 21, will be selected from a shortlist of five films: Son of Saul; Orthodox; The Farewell Party; Labyrinth Of Lies; and 5 To 7.
This year’s festival programme has also been revealed.
It’s hard to articulate just what makes Youth so special. Fresh off his Academy Award win for The Great Beauty, Sorrentino turns his attention towards two men, one a retired composer, and the other, a film director whose career has been in the decline for some time. Sorrentino is not exactly old by any stretch of the imagination, but he seems drawn on reflective works. Youth, his second English-language film, continues this trend with strong performances from Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. If there is another commonality between Sorrentino’s latest works it would be the beauty that is captured within every frame. Luca Bigazzi once again handles cinematography for Sorrentino and records every unique encounter and beautiful set piece. With stunning camera work and unique characterization, Youth is easily a much watch endeavor.
From the strange mind of Charlie Kaufman comes his latest film on loneliness and dreams. »
- Max Covill
When the philosopher says, "Hell is other people," he perhaps means that in trying to figure ourselves out, we are beholden to our reflections and interactions with other people. Or maybe he is talking about the modern customer service experience. In what is undoubtedly a high-water mark in animated cinema, Anomalisa is an utterly adult portrait of middle-age loneliness. Anonymous hotel rooms and the myriad awkward social contracts we perform daily with strangers become the grist for intimate, whisper-quiet apocalyptic storytelling. Charlie Kaufman is one of the few 'auteur screenwriters' working in the United States today, and much like his previous work, the idea of 'the self' is intelligently deconstructed by way of bittersweet cinematic creativity. Absent are the science fiction notions (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
The Oscar-nominated producer is attending the festival with his latest film Spotlight.
Golin will attend the festival with his latest feature Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s story of the titular Boston Globe investigative reporting team who uncovered the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, and a new ‘cyberpunk’ TV series titled Mr. Robot, which stars Christian Slater, Rami Malek and Portia Doubleday.
He will be presented with the award after the festival’s screening of Spotlight on Sept 28.
Golin made his name by co-founding Propaganda Films in 1986, with the company becoming the largest music video and commercial production outfit in the world, launching the careers of Michael Bay and Spike Jonze along the way.
As a screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman has crafted some of the best and weirdest cinematic mind trips imaginable. Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are among his best but his work in the director's chair has taken his writing to another level. Synecdoche, New York is a work of soul-searching genius and his latest Anomalisa continues to cement Charlie Kaufman's reputation as one of the greatest filmmakers working today. Originally conceived by Kaufman as a short play to debut in composer Carter Burwell's "Theater of a New Ear," the idea to translate the material to the screen quickly became an option but with a twist. Instead of a true live action version of his work, Kaufman enlisted stop-motion animator Duke Johnson to co-direct the film using puppets. Strange is par for the course with Charlie Kaufman but like most of his best ideas, they »
- Marco Cerritos
There really isn’t anybody like Charlie Kaufman. The widely adored writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is finally back with his first film since 2008’s Synecdoche, New York, collaborating with stop-motion animation magician Duke Johnson, and also Kickstarter, to bring us this strange and beautiful delight called Anomalisa.
As the title would suggest, it’s in a category all to itself. This should not be a surprise to people familiar with Kaufman’s previous work; he has one of the most unique writing voices in the world, and his films have attracted intense admiration for their ability to translate his personal experience of the world into stories that resonate on an intellectually universal level.
Conceived as a sound play for composer Carter Burwell’s Theater of the New Ear (for another sample of this format, Kaufman’s Hope Leaves the Theater can »
- Darren Ruecker
"Anomalisa" changed my life. Now, before you roll your eyes, I mean that literally. I would point out that films have changed my life before because they have played for me at the right time or, in a few cases, the wrong time, and I am sure they will change my life again. Hell, if you want to make the argument that pretty much every single milestone I outlined in my recent 25 Years In La series was because of or related to movies, I think it's a pretty safe argument to make. After all, I've said before that this is my church, the place I go to find my center, to be challenged, to grow, and to see the world around me through myriad eyes. Sitting in the Princess of Wales Theater in Toronto, it was about halfway through "Anomalisa" when I realized I was having one of those experiences, »
- Drew McWeeny
Curzon Artificial Eye acquires Venice Grand Jury Prize winner.
Animated feature Anomalisa, from acclaimed writer/director Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and stop-motion animator Duke Johnson, has been acquired by Curzon Artificial Eye for distribution in the UK and Eire.
The film has generated strong buzz out of Venice, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, and Toronto. Screen’s review of the film called it “a wistful, resonant film, a bracing, wry, honest dose of cinematic melancholy”.
Originally a theatre production devised by Kaufman the film was developed by animation production company Sunburn Studios with finance raised through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
The deal was negotiated with Hanway Films.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
It's a film that blends a surprising realism with a surreal sense of reality falling apart, one herky-jerky movement at a time. Its hero — if you could call the fucked-up pop-psychology author at its center a "hero" — is a middle-aged man with a sagging body who drinks too much, booty-calls up old flames and wears his neuroses on his tattered blazer's sleeve. There's explicit sex, profound sadness, jokes about the Cincinnati Zoo and hotel-door keycards, heartbreak, hilarity, and a half-naked Japanese automaton that both sings and spits out bodily fluids. »
Paramount Pictures has acquired the worldwide rights to Charlie Kaufman‘s “Anomalisa” following its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. The stop-motion film was co-directed by Kaufman, known for writing “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation,” and Duke Johnson, who has worked on animated projects like “Mary Shelley‘s Frankenhole” and “Moral Orel.” Kaufman also wrote the script. The film follows a depressed motivational speaker (David Thewlis) who meets an enigmatic woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) during a speaking engagement. Also Read: Toronto: Jean Dujardin Talks Love, Success and 'Artist' Co-Star Uggie The film raised over $400,000 on Kickstarter. It premiered at the 2015 Venice Film. »
- Joe Otterson
The purchase follows screenings at film festivals in Telluride, Toronto and Venice. Domestically, the film will be released on Dec. 30, 2015 in New York and Los Angeles, making it eligible for awards consideration.
Kaufman, who penned “Being John Malkovich” and directed and wrote “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” is a big draw with cinephiles. “Anomalisa” marks Kaufman’s first foray into stop-motion animation. Co-director Johnson is perhaps best known for overseeing “Community’s” 2010 animated Christmas episode.
It marks Paramount’s second major purchase at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Last weekend the studio bought U.S. rights to biopic “Florence Foster Jenkins,” starring Meryl Streep and directed by Stephen Frears.
- Brent Lang
Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has emerged after seven years with his new film, the animated Anomalisa. Following a premiere at the Venice Film Festival, he sat down during the Toronto International Film Festival for an enlightening 30-minute conversation. The stop-motion film features Michael Stone, played by David Thewlis, who is […] »
- TFS Staff
Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine … writer Charlie Kaufman had a brilliant run of oddball movies. So why did he suddenly drop out of sight? And what’s the story behind new film Anomalisa?
Given that it comes from the most perversely inventive mind in American movie fiction, Anomalisa might at first seem like no big deal. Charlie Kaufman’s plot premises have tended to be somewhat baroque: identical twin screenwriters, one named Charlie Kaufman, agonise over a script (Adaptation); a playwright mounts an autobiographical drama that threatens to engulf the world (Synecdoche, New York); most notoriously, an office building contains a secret portal into the mind of a movie actor (Being John Malkovich). By comparison, Anomalisa sounds altogether mundane: a depressed, middle-aged motivational speaker spends a night in a Cincinnati hotel where he has an affair with a gauche young woman. Nothing out of the ordinary – at least not »
- Jonathan Romney
The Toronto Film Festival kicks off Thursday with a slew of titles — from “The Martian” to “The Danish Girl” –that will define the fall movie business. But following a sluggish year at the box office for smaller films, what can buyers and sellers expect? Here are the five biggest burning questions for this year’s festival.
1. Will a slow summer hurt sales?
After three months where many indies movies under-performed—including Sundance darlings “Dope,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Mistress America,” “Tangerine” and “The Overnight” — some are wondering if buyers will tighten their purse strings as they head to Canada. It’s not that there weren’t any modest indie successes (see “A Walk In the Woods,” “I’ll See You in My Dreams” or “Love and Mercy”). But rather, the entrance of so many new digital buyers has pushed prices up at a time when smaller films »
- Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang
You probably know Charlie Kaufman from his screenplay contributions to Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry’s filmography, which includes Being John Malkovich, Adaptation. and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or you might even have even seen his 2008 directorial debut Synecdoche New York, which we’ve analyzed on the podcast and in a series of videos. Kaufman’s newest […]
- Peter Sciretta
Whether in his screenplays for Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or his directing debut, Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman's surreal, cerebral chronicles of despair, obsession and failure are like nothing else out there. So it was a given that his first animated feature, Anomalisa, co-directed with stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson, was going to be another idiosyncratic entry in a small but wildly distinctive body of work. However, that doesn't nearly do justice to the beguiling poignancy and emotional nuance of this funny-sad, haunting meditation on depression, disguised as a melancholy love story.
- David Rooney
"Anomalisa’s existence is a minor miracle on multiple levels, from the Kickstarter campaign that funded it to the oh-so-delicate way the film creeps up on you, transitioning from a low-key dark night of the soul into something warm, human and surprisingly tender," writes Variety's Peter Debruge. "This despite the fact that it’s told entirely through puppets—which proved to be plenty expressive in Being John Malkovich, the film that put Charlie Kaufman on the cinematic map. Now, it’s been seven long years since his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, and Kaufman owes his return at least in part to co-director Duke Johnson (the Moral Orel helmer who oversaw Community’s all-stop-motion Christmas episode)." We're collecting reviews from Venice, Telluride and Toronto. » - David Hudson »
In “Anomalisa,” an inspirational speaker in crisis checks into Cincinnati’s (fictional) Al Fregoli hotel, named for a delusional condition in which paranoiacs believe that those around them are not who they appear to be, but a single tormentor hiding behind multiple disguises. That’s a helpful bit of trivia to consider before entering into Charlie Kaufman’s latest brain teaser, this one originally mounted (just twice) for composer Carter Burwell’s “Theater of the New Ear” sound-play experiment and rescued from obscurity by a team of imaginative producers who thought it might make an interesting stop-motion project — which it does, exceptional even, although it’s unclear just who they imagined might be the audience for such a cerebral cult offering.
“Anomalisa’s” existence is a minor miracle on multiple levels, from the Kickstarter campaign that funded it (the credits give “special thanks” to 1,070 names) to the oh-so-delicate way the film creeps up on you, »
- Peter Debruge
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