Aelita (1924) - News Poster

(1924)

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Movie Poster of the Week: The Ukrainian Trilogy of Yuliya Solntseva

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Above: Soviet poster for The Enchanted Desna (Yuliya Solntseva, Ussr, 1964). Artist: Grebenshikov.Nine years ago I was asked to participate in a film blogger thread about personal cinematic Holy Grails, and as my number one choice I selected, without hesitation, Yuliya Solntseva’s The Enchanted Desna (1964), a film I thought I might never see in any format, let alone on 70mm. But this weekend, dreams will indeed come true as New York’s Museum of the Moving Image plays Solntseva’s Ukrainian Trilogy in 70mm and 35mm. Solntseva (1901-1989) was an actress of note (she starred in the title roles of Aelita: Queen of Mars and The Cigarette Girl from Mosselprom in 1924) who, upon the death of her husband, the great Aleksandr Dovzhenko, in 1956, turned to directing to realize his unfinished scripts. The result, by all accounts, are among the most poetic and magical of films.You can read
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Daily Briefing. A Pulitzer, "Pizza" and Cannes Shorts

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Congratulations to Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. The judges have cited "his smart, inventive film criticism, distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office." And the Globe's collected his nominated reviews. "Journalism's highest honor has only been bestowed upon a film critic a few times," notes Eugene Hernandez of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. "Previous recipients include Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal in 2005, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post in 2003 and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1975. 'I was just doing my job and this is what happened,' Morris offered modestly during an emotional newsroom speech that was recorded and edited for the Globe website."

In other news. Nick Catucci for Artinfo: "When we say that Abel Ferrara's Pizza Connection — a web serial for Vice now in
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The Forgotten: Gambling Hell

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The second in a short series celebrating the films of the Pathé-Natan company, 1926-1934. 

Fyodore Otsep (Russia), also credited as Fjodor Ozep (Germany), Fedor Ozep (Canada) and Fédor Ozep (France) is probably best known as co-writer of sci-fi epic Aelita (1924) and director of Soviet classic Miss Mend (1926). His work in Europe and America is harder to see, and the whole lot is rarely grouped together for consideration as a whole, the curse of itinerant filmmakers like Dassin, Siodmak, even Ophüls.

To decide whether this is merely a quirk of film history, or a full-on case of major artistic neglect, simply watch this clip:

Amok (1934) is the third of Ozep's Pathé-Natan films, and the most baroque. It's based on a story by Stefan Zweig (Letter from an Unknown Woman) later filmed in Mexico with less fidelity but plenty of gusto. It's a very weird orientalist fever dream.

Jean Yonnel,
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DVDs. Chabrol, Oliveira and More

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Le beau Serge

"The story of Les cousins could be straight out of one of the Balzac novels that the film's lead character Charles peruses at a second-hand bookshop," suggests Andrew Schenker in Slant: "Ambitious provincial comes to Paris and receives his moral education in the hotbed of corruption and/or decadence that characterizes life in the capital. In Claude Chabrol's film, his second directorial effort following his 1958 debut, Le beau Serge, the milieu in question is the debauched world of students, young women, and older hangers-on that the director delineates with superb specificity of detail and a virtuoso display of sickening verve." Criteron's presentation, he adds, "is a fitting testament to the late director's brilliance."

Criterion's also releasing Le beau Serge today and the essays by Terrence Rafferty that accompany each have been posted in Current. When Le beau Serge premiered out of competition in Cannes, notes Rafferty,
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South Korean film festivals set lineups

South Korean film festivals set lineups
SEOUL -- Korea's rival "fantastic" film festivals both announced their summer lineups in separate press conferences Tuesday. The 9th Puchon Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) announced a 172-film slate, about half of which are short films. The fest will devote special sections to Egyptian movies, erotica and Korean filmmakers Park Chul-soo and Ko Young-nam. Meanwhile, the Seoul-based upstart Real Fantastic Film Festival (RealFanta) -- formed by the former leadership of PiFan, fired earlier in the year -- announced a 64-film program, which will include a spotlight on Soviet science fiction titled "Marx Attacks!: Sci-Fi Movies from Eastern Europe" (jointly planned and programd with the Neuchatel Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland). RealFanta will open with Yakov Protazanov's 1924 film Aelita, with a new score added by Song Hyun-joo.

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