7 items from 2017
In the peak American film noir years from 1940 to 1960, an astonishing number of these movies took place in the scenic west coast city of San Francisco. Fandor’s new video, “Shadows In The Fog: Classic San Francisco Film Noir” points out that as many as 70 of these films were set in the city by the bay, including classics like John Huston’s version of the The Maltese Falcon, which kicked off the genre in 1941. Orson Welles followed in 1947 with The Lady From Shanghai, which featured scenes in the city’s famous aquarium and a suspenseful footrace through Chinatown.
That same year saw Humphrey Bogart’s return to San Fran to hide out after an escape from San Quentin in Dark Passage, highlighted by director Delmer Daves’ native knowledge of the city, as well as Robert Mitchum’s noir classic Out Of The Past. All of »
- Gwen Ihnat
Sergei Loznitsa’s documentaries are conceived as silent commentary: His rigorously edited, coolly composed shots contain all the information needed for viewers to feel the weight of his argument. By contrast, his fiction films (“My Joy,” “In the Fog”) play with storytelling in a freewheeling way, combining narrative and cinematic audacity in scenes that shift from the sublime to the phantasmagoric.
After five years of canonical nonfiction from the director, it’s something of a shock to watch “A Gentle Creature,” a dense, nightmarish feature that takes aim at Russia’s befouled soul, in which a nameless woman tries to learn why the package she mailed to her prisoner husband was returned without explanation. Her hellish journey through a society stripped of humanity forms a challenging, at times darkly humorous and ultimately eviscerating vision of surrealistic nihilism that’s unmistakably Russian in style and bleakness: For Loznitsa, it’s too »
- Jay Weissberg
What inspired the storyline?
I was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s short story “Krotkaya” [“A Gentle Creature”]. It’s about a relationship between a torturer and his victim, who, in Dostoyevsky’s story, happen to be a husband and a wife. One could consider “A Gentle Creature” as a second part of a diptych [the first being “My Joy”]. My intention was to study the mythology of the Russian [ex-Soviet] society, the cultural context, the mentality of the people who inhabit this surreal territory.
You’ve mentioned before that your years traveling through provincial Russia while working for the St. Petersburg Documentary Studios inspired “My Joy.” Did those travels also influence “A Gentle Creature?”
Yes, of course. It [was] during these journeys that I felt the spirit of the country and of its people. »
- Alissa Simon
In Cannes, the Netherlands’ long tradition of international co-productions pays off with competition entry “A Gentle Creature,” from the Berlin-based, Kiev-raised director Sergei Loznitsa. The France-Germany-Lithuania-Netherlands title is co-produced by Marc van Warmerdam’s Graniet Film (the company behind his brother Alex’s 2013 competition player “Borgman”) and Peter Warnier’s Wild at Art. Warnier’s Warnier Posta did the sound-editing for Loznitsa’s second feature “In The Fog.” Of course, Loznitsa is no stranger to the Netherlands; Atoms & Void, his production and distribution company with Maria Choustova, which backed his most recent documentaries including “Maidan,” is based there.
In an average year, the number of co-productions, both majority and minority, practically equals the number of Dutch productions shot mainly or wholly in the Netherlands. Why are there so many international co-productions from this small country with a non-hegemonic language? As Doreen Boonekamp, CEO of Netherlands Film Fund, points out, “co-productions »
- Alissa Simon
Screen’s chief critic and reviews editor Fionnuala Halligan dissects this year’s Competition films.
Welcome to the “huge party” of Cannes 70. If the Official Selection this year is a “lab”, the formula isn’t quite complete - Thierry Fremaux announced 18 films which will compete for the Palme D’Or today, implying that three have yet to arrive (he also hinted that a glaring absence, that of a film from China for the second consecutive year, may yet be rectified; nothing was said however about the absence of a major Hollywood studio thus far).
Cannes 2017: Official Selection in full
A total of 1,930 films viewed, the selection process running through to 3am: Cannes 70 will be a “meeting, a vision of the world, and a promise of a better life together”. No small ambition, but the line-up has been warmly greeted by cineastes. Clearly, it isn’t a same-old-names Cannes habitues Competition, although [link=nm »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Fionnuala Halligan)
Mubi's retrospective Film Is a Theorem: The Documentaries of Sergei Loznitsa is showing January 16 - March 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom and many other countries around the world.Landscape“Film is a theorem that has to arrive at a final point.”—Sergei Loznitsa It’s something of a critical cliché to say that a film or filmmaker is fixated on the notion of time; but there aren’t many contemporary filmmakers who fulfill that description as well as Belarus-born director Sergei Loznitsa. Although best known for his recent work—a trio of documentaries, Maidan (2014), The Event (2015) and Austerlitz (2016)—and a brief foray into fiction—My Joy (2010) and In the Fog (2012)—Loznitsa first started out with a string of documentary features and shorts, five of which are part of Mubi’s ongoing retrospective: “Film is a Theorem: The Documentaries of Sergei Loznitsa.” With a methodical, almost scientific rigor (indicative of Loznitsa’s »
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Writer: Sergei Loznitsa
Having completed three documentaries, plus several documentary shorts since his 2012 sophomore narrative feature In the Fog, Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa has at last commenced with a third fiction project, A Gentle Creature, adapted from a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the same story which previously inspired notable films by Robert Bresson (A Gentle Woman, 1969), Aleksandr Borisov (Krotkaya, 1960).
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- Nicholas Bell
7 items from 2017
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