8 items from 2016
Though still without a U.S. distributor — as far as we can tell — Cristi Puiu‘s Sieranevada was something of a cause célèbre at Cannes, at least among those who even started tapping into it. Perhaps being the most Romanian of Romanian films hampers its appeal a smidge; but if you, like I, are absorbed by just about everything these films can do right — those furtive glances! those muted Eastern European colors! — this looks like manna from Heaven.
A new, French-subtitled preview, however brief, is a good showcase of these qualities, in no small part because you probably won’t be able to follow much of anything else. Let’s get excited! As our review said last month, “For this critic’s money, of the several excellent filmmakers to emerge from the Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu ranks as the most formidable. After kicking off his career in 2001 with the outstanding Stuff and Dough, »
- Nick Newman
Mubi is showing Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny (2003) May 14 - June 13, 2016 in the UK.And I know that I won’t ever change’Cause we’ve been friendsThrough rain or shineFor such a long, long time— Gordon Lightfoot, “Beautiful” Autumn’s leaving and winter’s comingI think that I’ll be moving alongI’ve got to leave her and find anotherI’ve got to sing my heart’s true song— Jackson C. Frank, “Milk and Honey”Never mind length, feel the width. At just less than 90 minutes, The Brown Bunny is small enough for its many minutiae to grow big, sink deep, burn permanent imprints on the brain. Not a great deal happens in Vincent Gallo’s second feature. Motorcycle racer Bud Clay (Gallo) drives a van from New Hampshire, where he’s just failed to win a race, to Los Angeles, where he hopes to rekindle the seemingly »
Exclusive: German comedy Toni Erdmann is attracting buyers following a strong critical reception.
Buyers are stampeding to acquire Maren Ade’s comedy Toni Erdmann – one of the few German films to screen in Competition in Cannes in recent years – following a rapturous reception and glowing reviews.
Last night, Sony Pictures Classics swooped on North American and Latin American rights.
Sales agent The Match Factory anticipates further details on the comedy, which recorded the highest score to date on Screen International’s jury grid.
It has been seven years since Ade’s Berlin Silver Bear winner Everyone Else, an edgy relationship drama that scored distribution in more than 20 countries. Her third feature, Toni Erdmann, is another in-depth character study about a music teacher who tries to correct the over-serious nature of his career-focused »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
For this critic’s money, of the several excellent filmmakers to emerge from the Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu ranks as the most formidable. After kicking off his career in 2001 with the outstanding Stuff and Dough, a small-scale but expertly modulated road/drug-deal movie, Puiu made two bona fide masterpieces back to back: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and Aurora. While his newest dramatic feature, Sieranevada, may fall just short of M-word classification by not reaching the same level of radical invention as its two predecessors, it is nonetheless another proud entry in Puiu’s stellar filmography.
Unlike Aurora, which was largely made up of silences, observing its solitary everyman protagonist as he wandered around before and after committing a quadruple murder, the dialogue in Sieranevada rushes forth in a stupefying torrent that begins as soon as the opening credits finish and is sustained almost without cease until the film’s closing image. »
- Giovanni Marchini Camia
The Death of Mr Lazarescu director Cristi Puiu has created an intense argument-filled study of a family crammed into a single apartment for a funeral service
Cristi Puiu is the Romanian director whose movies The Death of Mr Lazarescu and Aurora are mordant, sometimes bleakly funny anatomies of his homeland, revealing through long, deadpan dialogue sequences the way ordinary life is lived: a world where people still suffer the same privation, bureaucracy and corruption that was supposedly banished with the death of Ceausescu in 1989.
His new film is enigmatically entitled Sieranevada: the director says that this is an arbitrary nonsense, a joke about movie names which change according to the countries they are shown in. Maybe Sieranevada refers to an emotional desert or maybe it is his equivalent of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Make of it what you will.
- Peter Bradshaw
Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” and Bruno Dumont’s “Slack Bay” are in, Bertrand Bonello’s “Paris Is Happening” is out, and a few other key titles remain too close to call as the Cannes Film Festival prepares to announce its biggest and most tightly packed official selection lineup in recent memory.
While many of the titles reported in Variety’s recent in-depth festival overview remain on the docket as expected, one can expect any number of surprise last-minute decisions and switcheroos as the selection process goes down to the wire. Although the buzzy likes of Jodie Foster’s “Money Monster” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Bfg” were locked in for out-of-competition slots weeks ago, the fate of Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, remains up in the air.
The competition is said to be maxed out, and will likely exceed its usual volume of 20 titles or fewer. As a result, »
- Justin Chang
Cruel Intentions: Sitaru Aims to Provoke with Abortion Drama
Director Adrian Sitaru makes his most galling effort yet with his fourth film, Illegitimate, a social drama engaging two hot-button taboo topics all rolled up into one unsightly experience. At its core, the film is an abortion drama, which automatically places the title in an arena with the hailed juggernaut of the New Romanian Wave, 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, which famously netted Cristian Mungiu the Palme d’Or. It’s perhaps an unfair comparison since this rudimentary scenario aims to convey nagging intergenerational discord by complicating the issue of abortion as the result of incest. Unfortunately, the end result is as visually putrid as its subject matter is repugnant, never necessitating the narrative extremities which it assumes will shock or unnerve.
While enjoying a family meal with his grown children, widower Victor Anghelescu (Adrien Titieni), an aging obstetrician, gets »
- Nicholas Bell
Director: Cristi Puiu
Writer: Cristi Puiu
Romanian New Wave master Cristi Puiu, has been almost absent from the cinema scene, whose memorable sophomore effort, 2005’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu won the Un Certain Regard award and became one of the signature titles of that film movement. His less celebrated but equally assured follow-up was 2010’s incredibly bleak Aurora. Since then, he quietly unleashed a terrific 2013 feature Three Exercises of Interpretation, which was one of the best films we saw that year, but it sadly is still without distribution. At the tail end of 2013, Puiu announced two projects in development, the first being Sierra-Nevada. The project received funding from Eurimages and completed filming in March of 2015. The film concerns “a commemoration that never gets to take place,” as Puiu describes it, and its characters escape into fiction when overwhelmed by a grief they cannot understand. Inspired by Aurel Rau’s poem The Agathirsoi. »
- Nicholas Bell
8 items from 2016
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