7 items from 2016
One of the most interesting collisions of the public perception of Iran’s Islamic state and its reality is how, out of an apparently repressive state hostile to the creative arts, Abbas Kiarostami became the essential free filmmaker. “Freedom” is always a relative term when it comes to cinema, which, like politics, unfortunately runs on money. But it’s easy to spot the genuinely free filmmakers when they come along. Despite their varying struggles to get their movies made, the work that results is directly personal and unbound by prevailing cultural trends and diktats. They range from Jean Vigo to Kidlat Tahimik, Pedro Costa to Shirley Clarke, Stan Brakhage to Jose Luis Guerin. Kiarostami was the free filmmaker par excellence, since he managed to find his ever-developing acute approach to modernism through whatever system in which he might find himself working.
Read More: Abbas Kiarostami, Palme d’Or-Winning Director Of »
- Robert Koehler
Since any New York cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.
Anthology Film Archive
A Jia Zhangke retrospective comes to an end. If you’ve not yet seen Mountains May Depart, »
- Nick Newman
Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at Walter Salles' doc about Chinese film giant Jia Zhangke.
In the opening scene of Jia Zhangke’s sublime Mountains May Depart, characters dance to the Pet Shop Boys’ euphoric rendition of “Go West”. The song may have been a demand for a gay utopia, but it is also an apt choice for a movie in which characters slowly shift from rural China to the blue skies and bright lights of Australia. Zhangke’s characters are often caught between two worlds, travelling down a road (literal of metaphorical) to an unknown future and it is these pervading themes that have made him the unofficial cinematic chronicler of modern day China. They are also what makes Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang such a fitting tribute to the man. »
- Glenn Dunks
In an opportunistic swerve from his indie film roots, Chinese film maker Jia Zhangke is going to start making commercial movies.
With a base in Shanghai, he has established Fabula Entertainment (the Chinese name translates as “warm currents”) and raised money for a slate of movies that he will produce.
China Minsheng Bank and online giant Tencent, have provided some $4.5 million (RMB30 million) in return for a 10% stake. That gives Fabula an implied value of $45 million (RMB300 million.)
Fabula will operate across two sectors: production of commercial movies and vocational training for the film industry. “We chose these two areas because, frankly, too many Chinese movies are s**t, and we’d like to show a way forward that is based on quality,” Jia told Variety. “And training has become increasingly important now that China’s film production has risen from about 100 titles per year only a few years ago, »
- Patrick Frater
"This shot carries a memory within it." Kino Lorber has debuted a trailer for the documentary called Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang, directed by Walter Salles, taking a look at the life of famed Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke. It looks like a fantastic documentary with some incredible footage of Jia Zhangke in China, and all over the world. Salles last directed the Jack Kerouac adaptation On the Road, but returns to docs to make this stunning feature on another very talented filmmaker/storyteller - Jia Zhangke, of films like A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, Still Life, 24 City, The World and many others. This is a rather beautiful trailer with some poetic imagery, it really makes me want to see this documentary. Watch below. Here's the trailer for Walter Salles' doc Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang, in high def on Apple: And here's a Q&A »
- Alex Billington
The award ceremony for the oldest Japanese cinema competition took place on February13 at the Bunkyo Civic Center, and the list of winners is:
Best Actor: Kazunari Ninomiya (Nagasaki: Memories of My Son)
Best Supporting Actor: Masahiro Motoki (The Big Bee)
Best Supporting Actress: Haru Kuroki (When the Curtain Rises; Solomon’s Perjury)
Best Director (Japanese): Ryosuke Hashiguchi (Three Stories of Love)
Best Screenplay: Ryosuke Hashiguchi (Three Stories of Love)
Best New Actor: Atsushi Shinohara (Three Stories of Love)
Best Ten Japanese Feature Films
Three Stories of Love
Fires on the Plain
Journey to the Shore
This Country’s Sky
Nagasaki: Memories of My Son
Being Good »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
This is a reprint of our review from the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. China is becoming ever-more influential on world cinema. Tentpoles now frequently make as much money there as they do in the U.S., which has led to blockbusters being tooled and aimed specifically towards those audiences. It seems unlikely that this new cultural exchange will continue to be a one-way relationship, and it's only a matter of time before Chinese filmmakers becomes household names. It's unlikely to be Jia Zhangke, but he's already a very familiar figure among cinephiles. The 45-year-old is widely seen as the best Chinese filmmaker of his generation, having won the Golden Lion at Venice for "Still Life" in 2006, and he has continued to attract attention ever since, most notably with 2013's "A Touch Of Sin," which picked up the screenwriting prize at Cannes that year. He's back in competition at the festival this year with "Mountains May Depart, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
7 items from 2016
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