16 items from 2015
The octogenarian director Alejandro Jodorowsky relives his troubled childhood in 1930s Chile in a film of carnivalesque exuberance
The Chilean visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first feature since 1990’s disappointing The Rainbow Thief is a fantastical quasi-autobiographical romp in the manner of Fellini’s Amarcord, or perhaps Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg. Adapted from Jodorowsky’s novel La Danza de la Realidad (with elements of El Niño del Jueves Negro), this is warmer than many of the director’s most revered works, yet not in the least constrained by its intimacy and affection. On the contrary, the phantasmagorial zest that first made El Topo and The Holy Mountain midnight-movie fixtures is very much to the fore, albeit tempered by a sense of resolution and resolve – the anarchic tranquillity of age.
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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Any old documentary can give you the history of a city, but it takes a special kind of movie to capture its spirit, from the way the sun reflects off its walls to the smell of rain on its streets. Mark Cousins’ “I Am Belfast” transcends what is expected of such a portrait, inviting audiences on a sensory journey of the Northern Ireland capital, patiently guiding them through a deeply personal visual essay, where a radiant copper-headed woman embodies the very essence of the city — a 10,000-year-old soul sent to welcome visitors and bless those who have criss-crossed its neighborhoods all their lives. Cousins, a free spirit who spends much of his time on the festival circuit, duly earns his latest round of world travels with this entrancing project, while his reputation has reached the point that it should find limited distribution in other ports as well.
In recent years, »
- Peter Debruge
How do you make a movie about an artist whose craft traverses cartooning, graphic design, puppetry, comic books, model-building, and interior design? Here’s a better question, how do you make a film about this person and condense it down into 42 minutes? Seth’s Dominion is not an exhaustive documentary about the work of the Canadian cartoonist, but it’s almost exhausting as you bounce around the various thoughts, works, and biographical details from Seth’s life as covered by director Luc Chamberland. Seth’s Dominion is a 42 minute whirlwind that really neither asks nor answers anything of its subject matter and may be best viewed as kind of a film sketchbook, a rare look inside the thought process of an artistic renaissance man.
For the record, like Seth, I live in Guelph, Ontario, a city that lies about an hour’s drive west of Toronto. I walk past his »
- Adam A. Donaldson
Directed by Guy Madden
Written by George Toles and Guy Madden
Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Winnipeg. Where sleepwalkers roam the snow laden streets. Where gender seperation exists in public swimming holes. Where the Winnipeg Jets arena is a shrine to everything that matters. It will be difficult to forget the Winnipeg Guy Madden has envisioned in this documentary for his hometown.
Originally concieved as a simple documentary about his hometown of Winnipeg, My Winnipeg subverts the traditional form of documentaries. Inspired by his producer to create something that would go outside the limits typically imposed on city stories, Maddin uses this opportunity to create a new genre he called “docu-fantasia”. The story is about “Guy Maddin” (played here by Darcy Fehr) and his attempt to film his way out of Winnipeg. Traveling by train he believes the only way to get out of the frozen wasteland would be to »
- Max Covill
"Art of the Real" is returning to the Film Society of Lincoln Center with a celebration of Agnès Varda (who will attend!) and more:
"The 2015 edition, taking place April 10-26, will again feature dozens of new works from around the world and in a variety of genres alongside retrospective and thematic selections. Opening Night will premiere new works by João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata (The Last Time I Saw Macao, Mahjong), Eduardo Williams, and Matt Porterfield (I Used to Be Darker), with all filmmakers attending the evening."
Above: For The Criterion Collection, kogonada's new video essay, "Mirrors of Bergman." Abderrahmane Sissako, the director of Timbuktu, will be heading Cannes' Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury. In his NY Times home video column, J. Hoberman writes on Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Richard Brody writes about Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of »
You describe the Maddin and Panahi well, and we have similar takes on them—but please allow me to digress before I address those films, as I’ve just come out of Jem Cohen’s Counting, and I’d like to take advantage of its freshness in my mind. Organized into 15 chapters, the film more or less documents certain excerpts from the filmmaker’s travels over the past three years. The chapters vary in length and focus, with different headings & descriptions (“New York City, 2012-2014,” “The Millions,” etc.), and taking place in different locations across the globe (Moscow, Porto, Istanbul). Entirely made up of subjective glimpses of these places, the film resembles a diary or travelogue—but in spite of its seeming slightness in its minute pieces, in total it is a perceptive and honest record of the world today. Cohen understands the limitations of the image, of »
- Adam Cook
Kino Lorber has announced the acquisition of all Us rights to Guy Maddin’s (My Winnipeg, The Saddest Music in the World) The Forbidden Room (2015), following the film’s world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
The Forbidden Room was produced by Phi Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures and the National Film Board of Canada (Nfb), with the participation of Telefilm Canada and with the financial investment of Manitoba Film & Music and Sodec.
“I feel fantastic about Richard Lorber and his team handling The Forbidden Room,” wrote director Guy Maddin. “When we first met, before he saw the movie, I felt that rare pleasure of tastes synching up every second moment, but immediately after the screening we connected with wondrous electrified crackles! It was like we were giddily letting this film finish each other’s sentences for us! Our movie instantly galvanized a shared experience. It’s only right, and extremely thrilling, »
- Michelle McCue
There are few things as futile (or daunting) as trying to make sense on paper of a Guy Maddin film. Save for My Winnipeg, which given its relative specificity and coherent narration serving almost as commentary for the flood of images, his films are a tough nut to crack. Yet unlike many films that fall into the general rubric of "avant garde" or "experimental", Maddin's films differ greatly. Firstly, if anything the films are delightfully retrograde rather than at the vanguard, a future/past hybrid that sees echoes of expressionism and early cinema thrust onto modern screens. In lesser hands this would be hipster fetish fodder, no more than an affectation like luxurious beards, bowler hats, and a penchant for shellac recordings on '78. For...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Guy Maddin is an aberration of modern cinema. From his first film "The Dead Father" in 1985 to his latest "The Forbidden Room" (premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival), the Canadian director utilizes the techniques and tones intrinsic to silent films and early talkies while coupling them with scripts that often feel both literary and tawdry. He has a ludic sensibility that may be an acquired taste, but his presence is welcome —even his misfires provide an antidotal experience for anyone burned by the unambitious state of moving pictures. This month, The Criterion Collection released his 2007 film "My Winnipeg," a documentary/memoir/essay on the home he finds impossible to leave. We sat down with the director and spoke with him not just about 'Winnipeg' but about his entire career (his first feature "Tales from the Gimli Hospital," the Toronto International Film Festival-produced short "Heart of the World," German »
- Christopher Bell
Directed by Guy Maddin
Since its release in 2007, a good deal of the conversation surrounding Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg has been how exactly to define the film. Is it, as Maddin himself has dubbed the picture, a “docu-fantasia,” or is that not even accurate? During an interview between Maddin and critic Robert Enright, as part of the newly released Criterion Blu-ray, the two evoke a number of references in hopes of situating the film: Werner Herzog, melodrama, Chris Marker, city symphonies of the silent era, Fellini’s I Vitelloni. Yes, it is like these, but also not quite. An essay by Wayne Koestenbaum, also included with the disc, likewise alludes to everything from Hitchcock and James Joyce to Andy Warhol’s Blow Job and Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. So what does it say about a film that can draw such parallels, »
- Jeremy Carr
One of our most anticipated Sundance 2015 titles is Guy Maddin's latest foray into avant-weirdness, a cinematic hybrid project the Canadian auteur's been cooking up since his docu-fantasia "My Winnipeg" bowed in 2007. The director's 11th film, "The Forbidden Room" stars a top-drawer Euro cast including Mathieu Amalric, Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Adèle Haenel, Amira Casar & Elina Löwensohn as "a cavalcade of misfits, thieves and lovers, all joined in the joyful delirium of the kaleidoscopic viewing experience," per the press release of this elusive new movie. Made with the help of American poet John Ashbery, who aided in defining modern poetry in the mid-20th century, "Forbidden Room" premieres at Sundance next week before heading to Berlin in February. Below, check out the "living poster" for the film, which apparently »
- Ryan Lattanzio
You certainly can and probably should go home again, at least according to the faux approximation of himself in the 2007 pseudo-documentary/experimental homage My Winnipeg from Canadian auteur Guy Maddin. However, donning nostalgic garb calls for drastic reinvention. A director who has built a painstaking filmography of films imitating silent and lost titles from annals of vintage cinematic eras, his name can both provoke and evoke the emotional state phonetically represented by his surname. But whether one embraces his style or not, there’s no one quite like him.
This year is off to a great start for Maddin, beginning first with his second title to grace the Criterion collection (his 2006 title Brand Upon the Brain! also holds this distinction) as well as the premiere at the Sundance Film Festival of his latest work, the operatic The Forbidden Room (which pays homage to the two-headed Roman god, Janus, looking forwards and backwards simultaneously, »
- Nicholas Bell
The Drop I really liked The Drop and it was a little frustrating Fox Searchlight didn't show much interest in raising the film's awareness after the lukewarm response in Toronto. I think this still could have been a hit of sorts if they had shown a little more enthusiasm, but I guess once it was clear it wasn't going to be an Oscar contender they just figured "what's the usec" Nevertheless, check it out now that it's on DVD and Blu-ray, and for my theatrical review click here.
Lucy Solid movie, fun and certain to be quite enjoyable from the comfort of your own home. I have a Blu-ray copy here and I'm going to check it out a second time... at some point.
- Brad Brevet
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Laika's latest stop-motion film is about a kiddo named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who is raised by a gaggle of trolls under the streets of Cheesebridge. It got pretty good reviews, as well as an Oscar nomination, and while it hasn't snatched up as many eyes and hearts as "Coraline" or "ParaNorman," it's still a solid kid's movie. The Blu-ray includes audio commentary from directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, as well as a few other extra goodies.
Scarlett Johansson's actioner has been available digitally, but now you can snag it on Blu-ray.
Guy Maddin's wonderfully weird ode to his hometown is finally on Criterion. In addition to your typical Criterion updates -- a high-def digital video transfer, »
- Jenni Miller
I need to step it up and one of these weeks soon I need to watch at least seven movies, but this week ended with me only seeing four. It began with the endurance test that is the awful Blackhat as one of two theatrical screenings along with the adequate The Wedding Ringer. At home things were a little more interesting with Criterion's upcoming Blu-ray release of Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, which I already reviewed right here and last night my wife, sister and I watched St. Vincent and I'm happy to report they both loved it. I don't know why St. Vincent wasn't received any better by critics, but if you're looking for one of 2014's overlooked gems, this is one of them. Otherwise, I watched a fair amount of college basketball (none of which was all that great), I caught "Saturday Night Live" last night, "Real Time »
- Brad Brevet
Before receiving Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Guy Maddin's 2007 feature My Winnipeg I hadn't seen any of Maddin's films, and about 30 minutes into this one I felt I'd made the right choice. However, as the short, 80-minute, "something like a documentary" played out, I found myself increasingly intrigued. The Lynchian vibe matched with visuals appearing as if it had been made in the mid-'20s, slowly drew me in. I was fascinated by the preposterous (but true) story of Winnipeg's "If Day", the idea of a "Ledge Man" television show and then those frozen horse heads... I'll get to those in just a second. Described as a "docu-fantasia" by the folks at Criterion, Maddin sets out to tell the story of his hometown of Winnipeg, but in his own unique fashion. Using stories of his childhood to the point he even hires actors (including iconic femme fatale Ann Savage »
- Brad Brevet
16 items from 2015
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