7 items from 2011
"It seems curious that as little biographical information exists in the recent books about the ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner as in his movies featured in the partial retrospective of his work starting today at Film Forum," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "For much of a career that has spanned more than a half-century and circumnavigated the globe, Mr Gardner has trained the camera on people whose lives, rituals, beliefs and bodily ornamentation can seem so far from early-21st-century Western life as to be from another galaxy. Yet despite Mr Gardner's seeming reluctance to share personal details, the work in Robert Gardner: Artist/Ethnographer makes it clear that he's been telling his own story all along."
J Hoberman in the Voice: "A man of many worlds, Robert Gardner is a descendent of Boston aristocrat Isabella Stewart Gardner (as in the Museum), the founder (and funder) of Harvard's Film Study Center, »
El Infierno, Chicogrande, and the other nominations of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) have been announced. The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) are presented by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. “The Ariel is the Mexican Academy of Film Award. It has been awarded annually since 1947. The award recognizes excellence in motion picture making, such as acting, directing and screenwriting in Mexican cinema. It is considered the most prestigious award in the Mexican movie industry.” The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) “ceremony will take place on May 7 [, 2011] at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.” The full listing of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) nominations is below
El infierno (Hell)
Mónica del Carmen, Año bisiesto (Leap Year)
Úrsula Pruneda, Las »
"Film must provide audiences the opportunity to discover questions."--Lisandro Alonso. When I interviewed programmer Diana Sanchez at the 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff), she admitted--within the parameters of curatorial taste--her fascination with the appearance of a new genre she was noticing in such films as Pedro González-Rubio's sophomore feature Alamar (To the Sea, 2009), Oscar Ruiz Navia's debut feature Crab Trap (El Vuelco del Cangrejo, 2009), and the films of Lisandro Alonso, José Luis Guerín, and Miguel Gomes; a genre that she described as "a mix of documentary and fiction with a real sense of play between these two forms." The Pacific Film Archive (Pfa) celebrates the appearance and critical popularity of this new documentary-fiction hybrid with their upcoming series »
I wrote previously in this column of the "subversion" of the documentary format by films as diverse as Catfish, I'm Still Here and Exit Through the Gift Shop, all of which provoked heated debate about authenticity versus artifice. Yet, adventurous as they may be, none of these titles come close to the generic redefinition of The Arbor (2010, Verve, 15), an extraordinarily impressive meditation upon the short life and troubled legacy of gifted playwright Andrea Dunbar. Indeed, whether this masterfully assured feature debut from director Clio Barnard even qualifies as a documentary at all remains a matter for debate, the strange mix of fact and fantasy being closer in tone (although not form) to the equally indefinable Waltz With Bashir.
At the centre of Barnard's mercurial film is a dramatic device which sounds like it shouldn't work at all: a series of intimate audio interviews with »
- Mark Kermode
Movie Poster of the Week is off to the Rotterdam Film Festival, always a treasure trove of international arthouse film posters. This one sheet for Thai Tiger Award competitor Eternity already caught my eye. Though it may feel as if we’ve seen this image in Asian cinema many times before, I like the way the jungle horizon is mirrored, framing the title (though the title itself could be prettier). One of fourteen international feature films competing for the award (won last year by Pedro González-Rubio’s wonderful Alamar, among others), Eternity, the debut film of director Sivaroj Kongsakul, is described as a film which “follows a man through three stages of being - as a ghost wandering through his childhood home, as a young man falling in love with his future wife, and as an absence in the life of his surviving family in the days following his death. »
With 2010 only a week over, it already feels like best-of and top-ten lists have been pouring in for months, and we’re already tired of them: the ranking, the exclusions (and inclusions), the rules and the qualifiers. Some people got to see films at festivals, others only catch movies on video; and the ability for us, or any publication, to come up with a system to fairly determine who saw what when and what they thought was the best seems an impossible feat. That doesn’t stop most people from doing it, but we liked the fantasy double features we did last year and for our 3rd Writers Poll we thought we'd do it again.
I asked our contributors to pick a single new film they saw in 2010—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they saw in 2010 to create a unique double feature. »
Moving Image Source has made an annual tradition of gathering from their contributors, but also artists, writers and others, their pick for the "moving image moment or event" of the year. What makes this list so interesting is that it ranges far past just the movies, to include videos on the web, TV shows, news footage and more, from critics and from creators. The whole thing is worth perusing, but here's a sampling:
Dan Streible, director of The Orphan Film Symposium
Nothing was more compelling than the latest season of the HBO series In Treatment, in which psychotherapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) begins his own talk therapy with a young new doctor (Amy Ryan). She nails him on all of his rationalizations and offers devastating insights into his psyche and his practice. Their verbal duels are sharply written and Byrne, who must carry every episode, creates one of the deepest, »
- Alison Willmore
7 items from 2011
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