9 items from 2015
There’s a perceptible reverence for Sebastião Salgado and his work as a social issues photographer in the Oscar-nominated documentary The Salt of the Earth, out this Friday in New York and Los Angeles. Considering the filmmakers’ relationship with their subject, it isn’t hard to figure out why. Three time Oscar nominee and The Salt of the Earth co-director, Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Pina) bought one of Sebastião’s photos when he first discovered him, and immediately became enchanted with both the photography and the man. Wenders’ co-director is Juliano Salgado, Sebastião’s son who first began filming his father when Sebastião asked Juliano to accompany him on a trip to photograph the reclusive Amazonian Zo’é tribe.
Wenders and the younger Salgado spent several years assembling a documentary that combines intimate behind-the-scenes moments alongside Sebastião as he makes progress on his “Genesis” collection with reflective examinations »
- Zachary Shevich
In the late 1970s and '80s, if you were into serious cinema, you had to be into Wim Wenders. The German director of Paris, Texas, Alice in the Cities, and Wings of Desire was the international poster-child for artful ennui and existential despair. But his films were also remarkable for the way they mixed a very continental brooding with a love of pop culture, usually American. That’s what made his films so brilliant, in a way — they were serious, but accessible. As evidenced by his triumphant recent MoMA retrospective, which screened brand-new restorations of his films, Wenders has proven to be a remarkably resilient and adaptable filmmaker over the years. He still makes narrative films, but he is now known as much for documentaries like The Buena Vista Social Club and Pina as he is for his earlier classics. This week sees the release of the Oscar-nominated Salt of the Earth, »
- Bilge Ebiri
German filmmaker Wim Wenders has really done it all. From narrative to documentaries, including 3D arthouse dramas (the upcoming “Every Thing Will Be Fine”), 3D documentaries (“Pina”), music videos (U2, Talking Heads), live concert films, and almost every kind of movie imaginable in between — Wenders’ work has been restlessly eclectic. The filmmaker has been an early adopter of new technology throughout his career, shooting on video in the mid ‘90s (“Until the End of the World”), and his embrace of 3D technology began even earlier than is suggested on paper (he began shooting “Pina” even before James Cameron’s “Avatar” was released in theaters). He’s also received a ton of accolades over the years, winning the Palme d’Or in 1984 at Cannes (“Paris, Texas”), Best Director at Cannes in 1987 (“Wings Of Desire”) and he’s been nominated for three Academy Awards for the documentaries “Buena Vista Social Club,” the »
- Rodrigo Perez
There are a few titans of narrative cinema - Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee come first to mind - who make documentaries that rival their feature film work. Another example is Werner Herzog, a filmmaker whose non-fiction films are still celebrated, but it's his docs that (deservedly, in my opinion) get the lion's share of praise. From the same school of filmmakers as the iconoclastic Herzog, Wim Wenders shares his compatriot's ability to seamlessly switch between doc and feature. If the only non-fiction film Wenders ever shot was Buena Vista Social Club, than he'd be rightly lauded as one of the best non-fiction directors of the last half century. In The Salt of the Earth, Wenders, along with his co-director (and son of the subject)...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Over the course of four decades, German filmmaker Wim Wenders has directed more than 30 feature-length films of all different types. There’s the Palme d'Or-winning “Paris, Texas,” the Criterion-minted “Wings of Desire,” and he's a three-time Oscar nominee for the documentaries “Buena Vista Social Club,” the visually striking 3D “Pina,” and his upcoming film, “The Salt of the Earth,” about Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, which opens this weekend (our review from Telluride). Overshadowed to some degree by Werner Herzog, as they came of cinematic age during the 1970s German New Wave movement, Wenders has been getting his due recently thanks to a gigantic retrospective of his work at Moma that just finished. Underappreciated gems getting a second look there were "The American Friend" starring Dennis Hopper, the director's long form cut of "Until The End Of The World," and the documentary about dying filmmaker Nicholas Ray, “Lightning »
- Rodrigo Perez
From photography to warfare, conservation to whistleblowing, this year’s five Oscar nominated documentaries are united by overlapping themes and topics of interest, but remain uniformly distinct in their approach.
Leading the quintet is Laura Poitras’ “Citizenfour,” the highest-grossing and highest-profile nominee. The verite-style portrait of Nsa whistleblower Edward Snowden gives audiences a voyeuristic peek inside Snowden’s week in Hong Kong when the information he leaked started going public, and shows the human side of a man who the media nearly turned into a myth.
The pic has cleaned up in Oscar precursors, garnering best doc wins from the Gotham and Intl. Documentary Assn. awards, the four top critics groups (New York, Los Angeles, London and National Society) and nominations from BAFTA and the Spirits. It also marks Poitras’ second Oscar nom. She was in contention in 2007 for “My Country, My Country” but lost to heavyweight “An Inconvenient Truth. »
- Geoff Berkshire
By Anjelica Oswald
German director Wim Wenders received his third Oscar nomination Thursday morning for The Salt of the Earth, a documentary about the life and career of Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, which he co-directed with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Sebastiao’s son. Wenders had become a fan of Sebastiao’s work after discovering some images in a gallery, which led him to pursue the documentary. It won the Un Certain Regard Special Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered.
Wenders’ first Oscar nomination was for Buena Vista Social Club (1999), a documentary about Cuban musicians gathered together by American music producer and guitarist Ry Cooder after he traveled to Havana. The musicians recorded an album under the name of the Buena Vista Social Club and toured in Amsterdam and New York City. The film won best documentary from the National Board of Review and also landed three BAFTA nominations. »
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
Keep on Keepin’ On, director Alan Hicks’ debut film, follows four years of the friendship and mentorship between jazz legend and trumpeter Clark Terry, who played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington and taught a young Quincy Jones how to play, and Justin Kauflin, a talented 23-year-old blind pianist. The two musicians support each other as Terry begins to lose his eyesight due to health issues and as Kauflin deals with stage fright as a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. The film is one of 15 films on the Oscar documentary shortlist, five of which will be nominated on Jan. 15.
The Academy is particularly fond of music-related documentaries, nominating 17 since 1942, with eight winning. Keep on Keepin’ On could join the following Oscar-nominated films:
Director Murray Lerner’s black-and-white documentary offers a glimpse into three years (1963-1966) of the Newport Folk Festival, which »
- Anjelica Oswald
My knowledge of Cuban cinema is limited to a handful of films — one or two native productions and works by foreigners like Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club and Michael Rubbo’s Waiting for Fidel. So my interest was aroused when President Obama announced his administration’s change in policy regarding Cuba. The political ramifications of the President’s policies are, of course, extremely personal for Cuban-Americans, and discussions about the politics of the announcement and human-rights issues in Cuba are occurring across the nation(s). While not disregarding these discussions, I wanted to take a moment to look at the possibilities normalized relations might create […] »
- Randy Astle
9 items from 2015
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