11 items from 2014
Few things are more exciting for hardcore cinephiles than the semi-annual Barnes and Noble Criterion sale. For a few precious weeks a year, super high-quality Blu-Rays of obscure and influential classic films are on the relative cheap. Most noteworthy: they look really, Really pretty.
Most Criterion-heads are lining up to pick up A Hard Day’s Night, Red River, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and other newer (fiction) releases—as they should because they’re all awesome releases. But how about a little love for the documentary?
Maybe you don’t think docs have a ton of rewatch value, and maybe you’re right in some cases. Criterion’s A+ supplements and video quality—not to mention the timelessness of the films they choose—ought to be enough to sway you in the right direction. But if they aren’t, we’re diving a little deeper into ten of the best Criterion documentaries ever. »
- John Gilpatrick
Above: Leos Carax has a new short film, Gradiva, made in conjunction with the opening of Galerie Gradiva. Watch it here! Only a few hours remain to help fund Fireflies, a new film zine, on Indiegogo. They've put up a preview of their interview with Apichatpong Weerasethakul:
"Gmc: You also revisit certain techniques, for example the Pov shots from inside moving cars. One of our contributors [Vadim Rizov] wrote a lovely text about those shots, actually. What is it you so like about them?
Aw: It’s just that I really like straight angles. I don’t like angles from the diagonal, so I mostly shoot from the side or the front. And for me, the driving of the car, this direct perspective, really accentuates the frame itself. It creates a journey where you almost feel hypnotised. That’s the basic purpose of cinema, to hypnotise, and I think this direction works best. »
- Adam Cook
'I was overcome by an emotion I can't quite define — something to do with happiness," Chantal Akerman says during her sole, fleeting onscreen appearance in the sublime One Day Pina Asked . . ., the 1983 documentary she made on Pina Bausch and her dancers. The director is attempting to elucidate the feelings stirred by watching one of the works by the mighty, if blade-thin, choreographer; what Akerman can't express in words, she makes piercingly specific with her images.
Bausch revolutionized the art with her Tanztheater ("dance theater"), her choreography emphasizing big emotions, Sisyphean gestures, and the pleasingly absurd. Akerman and her crew — including her frequent cinematographer Babette Mangolte, who shot Judson Dance Theater cofounder Yvonne Raine »
Wim Wenders’ mastery of the documentary form is again on display in “The Salt of the Earth,” a stunning visual ode to the photographer Sebastiao Salgado, co-directed by the shutterbug’s docu-helmer son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. Long recognized as one of the camera’s great artists, Sebastiao’s sculptural use of light and space is combined with a deep empathy for the human condition, resulting in richly complex black-and-white images that capture the dignity within every subject. “Salt” guides the viewer on a visual odyssey through the photographer’s career, enriched by Wenders’ monochrome footage and Juliano’s color. More traditional than “Pina,” the docu may not quite reach that film’s heights but will still play strongly worldwide.
Wenders hit upon an exceptionally clever, cinematic way of filming Sebastiao discussing his work, by projecting the master’s photographs onto a semi-transparent mirror that allows audiences to see both image and man. »
- Jay Weissberg
Italian director Alice Rohrwacher at 32 is the youngest Italian to vie for a Palme d’Or in recent memory, with her “Le Meraviglie,” which screened Saturday, only her second work. Her debut “Corpo celeste” was in Directors’ Fortnight in 2011.
How do you feel about being in the Cannes competition so young and with your second work?
We thought we were going to be in Un Certain Regard and we were very happy about that. Then the night before the lineup announcement we got the call. It was a really great surprise. I’m particularly happy because we all worked really hard in complicated situations involving things like bees and a camel, which aren’t easy and might make you wonder whether it’s worth it.
- Nick Vivarelli
Among the many surprises in the yummy Cannes Film Festival lineup is the absence of German auteur Wim Wenders' eagerly awaited 3D redemption drama "Every Thing Will Be Fine," once thought to be a Main Competition candidate. But we will see "The Salt of the Earth," a documentary Wenders codirected by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, screening in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, which makes room for edgier fare. Plus, the Cannes vet and two-time Fipresci prize winner's Palme d'Or-anointed classic "Paris, Texas" (1984) will also screen in the Classics section. It could be that "Every Thing Will Be Fine" will take the alternative, late-summer route to Venice, especially given that one of his upcoming projects is a 3D tribute to Venetian architecture. Or, even later, it could head to Telluride, where Wenders likes to hang with buddy Werner Herzog, or even his home town festival Berlin next February, where his first foray into 3D documentary, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
James Cameron called on his fellow filmmakers to be bolder in their use of format on day two of the international 3D Creative Summit in London. The “Avatar” director was the two-day event’s biggest draw taking part via an exclusive pre-recorded interview to talk about his upcoming 3D docu “Deepsea Challenge” and the current state of the format.
“The best work has been done by confident filmmakers like Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Cuaron,” Cameron said. “They are confident so they didn’t worry about asking questions, and there are no dumb questions. Ask questions on day one and two and go nuts on day three.”
In the session preceding Cameron, Steve Schklair, CEO of 3ality and 3D producer on Russian Imax hit “Stalingrad,” noted that helmers were starting to make better use of 3D’s capabilities. “One of the changes I’m seeing is depth budgets getting bigger, »
- Robert Mitchell
Gibney has come board as producer and Wenders as an exec producer. Meredith and Wenders have been following Festival au Desert organizer Ansar around the world as he campaigns for international awareness of the Malian crisis, encourages refugees to return to their homes and rallies musicians to use their voices to reunite a war torn country.
Mali was hit with a military coup in 2012, which turned Timbuktu into a violent war zone with militants imposing Sharia law and forcing more than a million Malians to flee. The French military reclaimed control of the city last year.
Ansar is working to restore Festival au Desert to Timbuktu next year. He initiated a procession of traveling musicians in January, culminating at the »
- Dave McNary
Everything Will Be Fine
Director: Wim Wenders
Writer: Bjorn Olaff Johanessenn
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
Initially, Sarah Polley had been attached in the role that went to McAdams (we’re hoping it’s because Polley is hard at work on her adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace), but even still, for Wim Wender’s first fiction feature since 2008′s Palermo Shooting, it’s got quite the exciting cast (and yes, it bears the same title as a 2010 film from Danish filmmaker Cristoffer Boe). The 2011 documentary Pina apparently gave Wenders the 3D bug, so we are curious to see how that technology will further influence the art house auteur.
Gist: While driving aimlessly after a quarrel with his girlfriend, a writer accidentally runs over and kills a child. The accident and its aftermath deeply traumatizes him. »
- Nicholas Bell
Wim Wenders was bitten by the 3D bug when he made his 2011 dance docu, “Pina,” and he expands the possibilities of the format still further with “Cathedrals of Culture.” Giving all new meaning to the expression “if these walls could talk,” this conceptual six-part omnibus invites half a dozen international helmers to imagine the personalities of various cultural institutions, lending voices to their unique designs while allowing cameras to explore the buildings’ unique architectural features in all their multidimensional glory. Such an overlong and only intermittently absorbing project wouldn’t suffer in the slightest if broken up across several nights for non-3D arts TV, where the otherwise taxing presentation will likely find its broadest audience.
If Walt Disney can delight children by making forest animals talk, who’s to stop Wenders from entertaining adults by anthropomorphizing six of the world’s most magnificent modern structures? The German director kicks »
- Peter Debruge
The 64th Berlin International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, offering dozens (and dozens) of world premieres across multiple sections. By the time the festival's Golden and Silver Bears are handed out next weekend, we'll have a good idea as to some of the best world cinema coming to theaters near you (eventually, that is -- some of last year's program is just coming out Stateside now). In the past few years, the festival has proven itself -- perhaps more than it has in some time -- as an excellent platform for emerging and proven talent in world cinema to debut their work. The past couple years have collectively offered the likes of Călin Peter Netzer's "Child's Pose," Bruno Dumont's "Camille Claudel 1915," Sebastián Lelio's "Gloria," Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation," Wim Wenders' "Pina," Paolo & Vittorio Taviani's "Caesar Must Die," Michael R. Roskham's "Bullhead," Benoit Jacquot's "Farewell My Queen, »
- Peter Knegt and Eric Kohn
11 items from 2014
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