Dersu Uzala (1975) - News Poster

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“Who talks of realism here?”: Seijun Suzuki’s Taisho Trilogy

  • MUBI
Mubi is showing Seijun Suzuki's Taisho Trilogy from November 13 - December 27, 2017 in the United States and United Kingdom.In a now-famous quote from a 1997 video interview, the late Japanese filmmaker Seijun Suzuki paraphrases Nikkatsu Studio executives when he declares, "I make movies that make no sense and make no money.” The quip is put forth in the context of 1967’sBranded to Kill, the pop-influenced noir that arguably stands as the artistic pinnacle of Suzuki’s career as a filmmaker of yakuza, gangster, and proto-pink films with Nikkatsu. While others have contested Suzuki’s claims that his nonsensical and unbankable output lead to the fissure between the filmmaker and Nikkatsu—pointing instead to the drain he and his dedicated coterie of assistant directors placed on the studio—Branded to Kill was the cap to a prodigious run of no less than two features a year from 1956 through 1966, and Suzuki's his
See full article at MUBI »

Criterion Now – Episode 28 – Olympic Films, Limite, November Predictions

Matt returns to the podcast and we dig into the big Olympic box news, plus talk some World Cinema Project, Dersu Uzala, and plenty of other art films. We also reveal our contest winners and take a stab at the November announcements with some help from the community.

Episode Notes

11:30 – Olympic Box Set

28:30 – Contest Results

38:00 – November Predictions

49:00 – Limite

1:01:00 – Short Takes (Dersu Uzala, The Breaking Point)

1:15:30 – FilmStruck

Episode Links Dave’s Criterion Video 100 Years of Criterion Films Kino Lorber and Eureka Entertainment Acquire 4K Restoration of King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain, Announce Blu-ray Releases All of the Films Joining FilmStruck in August Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Matthew Gasteier: Twitter | Letterboxd Criterion Now: Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter

Music for the show is from Fatboy Roberts’ Geek Remixed project.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Unfilmed Akira Kurosawa Script ‘The Mask of the Black Death’ Will Be Produced in China

It’s been nearly two decades since the passing of Akira Kurosawa and since then we’ve seen a few posthumous works based on his unfilmed scripts, including 1998’s After the Rain and 2002’s The Sea is Watching. In 2020, we’ll be getting together. It’s been announced that two major Chinese production companies are teaming to produce The Mask of the Black Death.

Huayi Brothers Media and Ckf Pictures are teaming to bring Kurosawa’s script, based on Edgar Allan Poe‘s short story The Masque of the Red Death, to screens, reports China.org (via AkiraKurosawa.info). Written by the Yojimbo director in 1977 following production on Dersu Uzala — when he was also working on Ran and Kagemusha — the story is set in a apocalyptic landscape with a plague threatening the world and the royal family ignores the suffering of those afflicted.

Although a release is planned for 2020, no director has been set yet,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Akira Kurosawa’s Shelved Script ‘The Mask of The Black Death’ to Be Produced in China

Akira Kurosawa’s Shelved Script ‘The Mask of The Black Death’ to Be Produced in China
Akira Kurosawa’s shelved script “The Mask of The Black Death” will finally see the light. Chinese studios Huayi Brothers (“Dragon Blade,” “Mojin: The Lost Legend”) and CKF Pictures (“Chongqing Hot Pot,” “Mojin: The Lost Legend”) will produce the film based on the late Japanese filmmaker’s screenplay. The studios made the announcement Wednesday during a press conference in Beijing, as reported by Chinese newspaper Global Times.

“Mask is one of Kurosawa’s films that never made it to the big screen,” said director/producer Chen Kuo-Fu, founder of Ckf Pictures. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we make the film for him?'”

The legendary filmmaker wrote the script for “The Mask of The Black Death” based on Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death.
See full article at Indiewire »

Huayi Brothers to produce unfilmed Akira Kurosawa script

  • ScreenDaily
Huayi Brothers to produce unfilmed Akira Kurosawa script
Japanese director wrote The Masque Of The Black Death before his death in 1998.

China’s Huayi Brothers Media has unveiled an ambitious slate of new projects, including The Masque Of The Black Death, based on an unfilmed script written by Japan’s most influential filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa.

Kurosawa started writing the script in 1975 after directing Dersu Uzala as an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, The Masque Of The Red Death. He completed the script before his death in 1998, but it never went into production.

The Poe short story follows a prince and his noblemen attempting to hide from a deadly epidemic behind the walls of a castle. The courtiers hold an elaborate masquerade, as a distraction from the devastation outside, but the Red Death itself turns up as a guest.

Huayi Brothers is collaborating on the project with Chen Kuo-fu’s Ckf Pictures. Speaking a press conference in Beijing, Chen and Huayi
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Joshua Reviews Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

With a career spanning 50 years and over 30 feature films, legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa was an auteur all his very own. Best known for samurai epics like Seven Samurai, Kurosawa’s career featured ventures into noir (High and Low), crime drama (Rashomon) and even war epic (Dersu Uzala), but few of his films were as decidedly singular as one of his most grand and deeply personal works.

Entitled Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (at least how it’s billed on the Criterion Collection website), this sumptuous epic is admittedly an oddity in the Kurosawa canon. Narratively, the film is broken down into eight varied vignettes, all of which drawn directly from actual dreams had by the film’s director. Rooted heavily in Japanese culture and folklore, Dreams takes us from small scale stories like that of a young boy getting caught in the middle of a forest-set fox wedding, to the apocalyptic
See full article at CriterionCast »

FilmStruck is Here! Five Great Films To Watch on Day One of Criterion and Turner Classic Movies’ New Streaming Service

  • Indiewire
FilmStruck is Here! Five Great Films To Watch on Day One of Criterion and Turner Classic Movies’ New Streaming Service
Earlier this year, it was announced that Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection — perhaps the two most trusted names in the distribution and exhibition of important classic and contemporary cinema — would be joining forces to create a streaming service dedicated to sharing their combined library with cinephiles around the world. For months, it sounded too good to be true. Today, it suddenly became as real as the screen in front of your face.

If the movies are truly as dead as they say, then FilmStruck is nothing short of heaven on Earth. It’s here, it’s alive, and hot damn has it come out of the gate swinging. Hundreds of essential titles are ready to go on launch day, and while hundreds more are imminently on the way, there’s already more than enough to satisfy whatever mood you’re in and scratch itches that you didn’t even know you had.
See full article at Indiewire »

Foreign Oscar Watch: Can "Elle" Slay the Competition?

Verhoeven & Huppert at Cannes this summer

France, as ever, was spoiled with options when it came to selecting their film for Oscar competition this year. Frantz (reviewed) from François Ozon would likely have appealed to Oscar voters but the selection committee went with the controversial Elle (reviewed at Tiff). It's a brave choice but we think a smart one; even if its divisive within initial voting, it will likely be a candidate to benefit under the Executive Committee 'saves' rule. Plus those who love it will love it passionately meaning it could even have a dark horse shot at a win. Not only does it have a high profile auteur and star (Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert) but it's got sensational reviews, a Us release on the table in the thick of Oscar traction season (November 11th), and an outside shot at a Best Actress nomination. France has not won
See full article at FilmExperience »

The South East-Asian films that won an Oscar

The first successes of Asian films in the Oscars occured during the 50’s, when the award for Foreign-Language Film was not yet introduced and the Academy presented Special/Honorary awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. Three Japanese productions received these awards during this decade.

1951. Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa. A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred.

Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

This week’s new film events

Asia House Film Festival | Borderlines Film Festival

As you’d expect, there are new titles from big regional hitters such as China and Japan here, but also films from the Asian countries you rarely hear from or about. Like Kazakhstan – two sides of which can be seen in the films of Yermek Tursunov: Zhat (Stranger) is a scenic wilderness adventure in the vein of Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala; and Little Brother (Kenzhe), an urban hitman thriller. There are also new features from Myanmar (monk’s story Panchagavya), Tajikistan (rural women’s tale Chilla), Mongolia (rockumentary Live From Ub) and even a short from Saudi Arabia. Offerings closer to the sort of thing you might expect include an eye-opening documentary on South Korea’s celebrity pro-gamers (State Of Play) and Japanese schoolgirl anime The Case Of Hana And Alice, while rising Chinese star Zhang Wei is one of many directors in attendance here,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Watch: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Influence on ‘The Revenant’ Explored in Split-Screen Video Essay

“I wouldn’t say that Westerns were a big influence on The Revenant at all, really,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu tells Film Comment. “I was looking more toward things like Dersu Uzala by Kurosawa, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev—which is maybe my favorite film ever—Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, even Apocalypse Now. These are movies that are epic, that have spectacle and are very grand statements, but are informed by the crazy fucking theatrical show that is the human condition. The beauty and harshness of nature impacts your state of mind in these movies. There’s a very intimate point of view from one single character in each. That’s the challenge. Anyone can film a beautiful landscape. Unless you have an emotionally grounded story in there, it’s all just fucking sorcery.”

While we’ve debated the merits of The Revenant‘s “emotionally grounded story,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Meet Kazakhstan's Foreign Oscar Contender: 'Stranger' Director Yermek Tursunov (Trailer)

Meet Kazakhstan's Foreign Oscar Contender: 'Stranger' Director Yermek Tursunov (Trailer)
Kazakh filmmaker Yermek Tursunov's "Stranger" evokes Akira Kurosawa's epic "Dersu Uzala" in exploring the lives of displaced nomads eking out a living in the harsh steppes, where they clash against imposing modernity. Tursunov wrote the screenplay — which is set in the 1930s and centers on orphan Ilyas (Yerzhan Nurymbet) who escapes famine and the clutches of the Soviet Union to live with the wild wolf population in the mountains — 25 years ago during his film school days in Moscow. It's the film he's been waiting to make ever since. "I thought this story was maybe very old, but after returning to it again, I understood my script was not old," said Tursunov during our interview. "It's modern, because these situations repeat." We sat down at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Tursunov, gentle and well-spoken even in imperfect English, world-premiered the film before it opened in Kazakhstan, where audiences are scarce and.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Complete lineup of Mumbai Film Festival 2014

Complete lineup of Mumbai Film Festival 2014
The 16th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival announced its line-up in a press conference today.

Here is the complete list of films which will be screened at the festival:-

International Competition

Difret

Dir.: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari (Ethiopia / 2014 / Col / 99)

History of Fear (Historia del miedo)

Dir.: Benjamin Naishtat (Argentina-France-Germany-Qatar-Uruguay / 2014 / Col / 79)

With Others (Ba Digaran)

Dir.: Nasser Zamiri (Iran / 2014 / Col / 85)

The Tree (Drevo)

Dir.: Sonja Prosenc (Slovenia / 2014 / Col / 90)

Next to Her (At li layla)

Dir.: Asaf Korman (Israel / 2014 / Col / 90)

Schimbare

Dir.: Alex Sampayo (Spain / 2014 / Col / 87)

Fever

Dir.: Raphaël Neal (France / 2014 / Col / 81)

Court

Dir.: Chaitanya Tamhane (India (Marathi-Gujarati-English-Hindi) / 2014 / Col / 116)

Macondo

Dir.: Sudabeh Mortezai (Austria / 2014 / Col / 98)

India Gold Competition 2014

The Fort (Killa)

Dir.: Avinash Arun (India (Marathi) / 2014 / Col / 107)

Unto the Dusk

Dir.: Sajin Baabu (India (Malayalam) / 2014 / Col / 118)

Names Unknown (Perariyathavar)

Dir.: Dr. Biju (India (Malayalam) / 2014 / Col / 110)

Buddha In a Traffic Jam

Dir.
See full article at DearCinema.com »

'Throne of Blood' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

I first watched Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) six years ago. It was only the third film from Kurosawa I'd seen and I actually wrote a piece (which was really nothing more than an extended synopsis) after my first viewing right here, which is a rather interesting read six years removed. I remember not entirely enjoying Throne of Blood, when I first watched it and reading the piece linked above I see I found it largely interesting due to the fact it's an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" while I also take issue with the length of some scenes, a complaint I read now and realize how much my taste has changed since writing that post. If you were to ask what I remembered of Throne of Blood before rewatching Criterion's newest Blu-ray upgrade, I'd say it would be 1.) the ghostly white spirits in Spiders' Web forest; 2.) the smoke-filled visuals
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

The 1978 Radio Times: Christmas TV, before Thatcherism ruined it

Highbrow lectures, arthouse films and a spot of Steptoe and Son – the Christmas TV and radio schedules of the 1970s were smarter, kinder and more varied than today's

"The holiday starts here. And to put you in party mood some of your favourite comedians bring the spirit of pantomime to these pages. Mike Yarwood, on our cover, opens the festivities, followed by a host of BBC TV comedians – Michael Crawford, Ronnies Corbett and Barker, John Inman, Larry Grayson (with Isla St Clair, of course), Little and Large, and last, but not least, a villainous Peter Cook."

And so begins the bumper 118-page edition of the Christmas and New Year Radio Times for 1978. The 26-page guide to BBC television and radio for 23 December 1978 to 5 January 1979 is more than just a list of programmes: it's a fascinating historical document, revealing much about the country we were that last Christmas before Thatcherism arrived and changed everything.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Movie Poster of the Week: “Elena” and the Top Ten Favorite Posters of Designer Sam Smith

Ever since I first wrote about the work of Sam Smith, back in 2009, I have been wanting to work with him in my capacity (in my other life) as the design director for Zeitgeist Films. In the two and a half years since then, Sam Smith has become one of the most sought-after designers on the independent film circuit with his refreshingly simple, witty and indelibly striking hand-drawn designs (it doesn’t hurt that he also has a great knowledge of both film history and the history of movie poster design). A few months ago I finally got the chance when we decided that we wanted something out of the ordinary to promote our new release of Andrey Zvyagintsev's Elena.

Zvyagintsev’s dark and beautiful film premiered at Cannes last year where it won the Special Jury Prize. For our release this May (it opens next week in the U.
See full article at MUBI »

Close up: More blockbusters please, we're British

Film's favourite Pm, David Cameron, stepped in to give his views on what sort of features deserve lottery funding – the big ones

The big story

What sort of British films do we want? Or, more specifically, what sort of British films does David Cameron want? More commercial, big-box-office ones it seems, as the prime minister carefully primed the media for the publication of the government's film policy review. His "remarks" were fed to the press overnight, in advance of his visit to the James Bond studios at Pinewood – leading to immediate suggestions that garlanded veterans like Mike Leigh were "finished". More films like The King's Speech and Slumdog Millionaire, please, said Cameron – but, as Peter Bradshaw pointed out, when politicians meddle in film-making, disaster is never far away. Perhaps Cameron could reflect on what might happen to a film he claimed to admire, Lindsay Anderson's If..., if it had it been around today.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Philip French's classic DVD: Dersu Uzala

(Akira Kurosawa, 1975, Artificial Eye, U)

In the early 1970s Akira Kurosawa's fortunes and spirit were at a low ebb. He'd been dropped by Hollywood from the Pearl Harbor epic Tora! Tora! Tora! in which he had invested much time and energy. His first colour film Dodes'ka-den was a critical and box-office failure. A crisis in the Japanese film industry had made financing his movies impossible. As a result he attempted suicide. But eventually his career was restored by a Soviet invitation to direct a film version of a non-fiction work he'd loved in his youth, and back in the 1940s he had planned a Japanese version that was aborted, partly due to unsuitable locations but mainly because its themes were in conflict with Japanese militarism. Published in 1923, the book is a memoir by the Russian army engineer Captain Vladimir Arsenyev about his friendship with a nomadic hunter, Dersu Uzala,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

This week's new film events

London Short Film Festival

The new year's festival season starts here, and so does the revolution. Short film is often regarded as a stepping stone to features, and there's plenty of that potential here, even a few big names (Michael Fassbender in Goldfish). But it's also a potentially radical art form in itself, and an admirably inclusive one. So here you'll find documentaries selected by Occupy London; showcases of queer cinema; black and Asian stories; feminist porn; found film; experimental shorts; special guests; parties; a film from Jake and Dinos Chapman (The Organ Grinder's Monkey, with Rhys Ifans); and a music doc with a live improvised score on homemade instruments. Something for everyone, then. There's even an evening of films about sad, lonely men (including Mark Gatiss, Matthew Holness and Roger Allam).

Various venues, to 15 Jan

Frozen Landscapes, Glasgow

What does a sunny place like Glasgow know about cold climates,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

World Cinema: Oscar glory?

As the Academy Awards loom, Nick looks at what impact an Oscar has on world cinema's winners and losers…

So, it's Oscar time, that annual back-slapping ceremony for the American film industry which matters, year after year, despite what any of us say.

I watched the ceremony live last year and may even do so again this time round (although, due to a Haribo-induced sugar rush, then crash, I don't really remember the end of the ceremony), and so will a global audience of millions.

It's the biggest award ceremony on the planet, and it also includes an often overlooked category of Best Foreign Language Film, which is where this column comes in. We all know it means a lot for the English language films that are nominated, but what about the films that come from further afield? Just how big a deal is being recognised by the Western establishment,
See full article at Den of Geek »
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