sabato 30 settembre 2017

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish


Before We Vanish, which premiered in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes, screens tonight (Saturday) and tomorrow (October 1) as part of the Main Slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.

“This giddily enjoyable stew of absurdist gore from Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa begins with an Invasion of the Body Snatchers set-up, in which a handful of normal people seem just a little . . . off.” Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey: “A blowhard journalist stumbles onto the story, when a new source confides, ‘Can you keep a secret? We’re invading Earth.’ He conveys it just that simply, and much of Kurosawa’s humor comes from the bone-dry humor of the interactions . . . It’s so quiet, this movie—deceptively so.”

“The aliens learn about human behavior by stealing peoples’ ‘conceptions,’” explains Keith Uhlich. “They force their victims to focus on a specific idea (say, the concept of ownership), then take it from them with a gentle touch of finger-to-forehead . . . It should surprise no one that the real ‘conception’ in Before We Vanish . . . is love. That’s the one thing that may be able to stop the aliens in their tracks, though it’s to the credit of Kurosawa, who co-adapted the film with Sachiko Tanaka from a play by Tomohiro Maekawa, that he makes that theme resonate with real, aching poignance.”

“This is Kurosawa's funniest work in years,” grants Greg Cwik at Slant, “but he's still focusing on his usual themes. His films inhabit genres the way the aliens inhabit human bodies, using the form of horror, of thriller, to reconnoiter the shadowy terrain of modern life. . . . Shot with a looseness that belies Kurosawa's usual rigor, Before We Vanish elicits a sense of comfort . . . But the rigor of Cure, Pulse, and Bright Future isn't just formal. It's also philosophical, as he depicts cruel, unflinching worlds, manipulative characters, and the violence throughout has an orchestrated, visceral quality. . . . By contrast, the violence in Before We Vanish feels more casual and lacks weight.”

“As recently as Tokyo Sonata, which is now almost a decade old, it seemed as though Kurosawa could sublimate his obsessions with societal decay into any genre,” writes IndieWire’s David Ehrlich. “Then, things got bad. . . . It’s rumored that no human has ever made it to the end of 2015’s Journey to the Shore, and 2016’s Daguerreotype.Before We Vanish “is every bit as bloated as his last few, but its charms remind us of his great potential (and potential greatness).”


“Eventually,” writes Jordan Ruimy at the Playlist, “Kurosawa lets all hell break loose in the finale, which pits every possible alien invasion battle cliche into a colorful and entertaining fight sequence. There’s enough guns, drones and bombs to make Roland Emmerich blush in envy. This is when Kichi Takahashi‘s messy editing and Kurosawa’s fluid camerawork prove to be effective. . . . In his attempt to painstakingly try to understand the unanswerable questions that bind humanity together, Kurosawa has made a jumbled mess out of his ideas, but one which is nevertheless fascinating in its mad-cap ambition for answers.”

Earlier this month, I pointed to Mark Schilling’s interview with Kurosawa and his review of Before We Vanish (3.5/5) for the Japan Times.

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Lucrecia Martel’s Zama


“I have seen Zama, and it does indeed have a llama,” announces Cinema Scope editor Mark Peranson in the new issue. “The mysterious circumstances of the film’s long-overdue birth into this world continue with an out-of-competition slot in Venice, an odd happenstance which you can interpret as you wish. I’m not a big fan of second-guessing, but I have my own hypotheses,” the first of which has to do with the fall festivals jostling their schedules to make room for “Oscar bait.” At the same time, “it could very well be that the programmers in Venice just didn’t like Zama that much.” Whatever the case, Toronto honored Lucrecia Martel with a slot in the Masters program, and I carried on updating the “Venice + Toronto” entry with clips, links to reviews and interviews and so on through September 18. Martel will be on hand for Q&As this evening and again on Monday as the New York Film Festival presents Zama as part of its Main Slate.

José Teodoro has an outstanding piece on Zama in the current issue of Film Comment; it’s not online, but he snips a bit of it himself for the introduction to his interview with Martel, which is online: “There are many ways in which Zama, Martel’s first feature in nine years, represents a departure for the Argentine writer-director. It is her first literary adaptation [of Antonio Di Benedetto’s eponymous 1957 novel], her first period film, her first film with a male protagonist, her first film in which widescreen compositions largely emphasize verticality instead of horizontality, and her first feature to be set outside of her native province of Salta. Yet, while Zama represents a new frontier for Martel, it also continues and even deepens her singular, allusive approach to class, gender, race, and place, as well as still more cryptic notions of destiny and vocation.”

“If one of the principal powers and pleasures of cinema is its ability to momentarily suspend thoughts or cares about what lies outside the frame—and to trap us in rapt, passive contemplation of everything within it—then Zama can be taken an object lesson in manipulation,” suggests Adam Nayman, writing for Reverse Shot. “Every strenuously controlled moment and movement constitutes an irresistible entreaty to simply go blank and watch.” Zama “reflects the same furtive, obsessive visual focus as its predecessors,” starting with La Ciénaga (2001), “a film whose thick, simmering atmosphere of dog-day-afternoon torpor is uncannily affecting. . . . The heroine of The Holy Girl (2004) stumbles around in somnambulistic thrall to desires she feels yet cannot fully apprehend (no wonder the soundtrack is dominated by the theremin). The title character in The Headless Woman (2008) is dazedly puppeteered by her friends and family to forget her own culpability in a terrible crime, post-concussion syndrome as an amnesiac state of grace.”

Zama places the existential ennui of Beckett and the administrative hopelessness of Kafka within a 17th century context,” writes Michael Sicinski. “In so doing, Benedetto, and by extension Martel, are identifying a sense of dislocation and madness at the very heart of Spain's colonial project and the civilization of South America. Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is a functionary of rank, a man who has spent years wasting away in Paraguay and wants to be reassigned to Argentina, where his wife has been waiting for him. . . . Everything goes wrong. . . . The plot, such as it is, is episodic and bitterly comedic, Martel taking a sly, savage delight in fleshing out this fussy would-be aristocrat and bringing him low.”

“Fearing marauders and seeking to subjugate the indigenous population while making use of their labor, Zama finds his loyalties divided and his desires manipulated in a series of intensely condensed dramatic tableaux, which Martel ingeniously renders simultaneously stark and teeming,” writes the New Yorker’s Richard Brody. “She develops a cinematic style, marked by tense closeups, asymmetrical framings, offscreen voices, and sharp contrasts in focus, that fits the subject with a singular precision. The relentless plotting of potentates and labors of servants and slaves fill the onscreen space with a seemingly combustible tension—and then long-stifled violence surges to the fore. Few films convey such amplitude so sparely; it’s a two-hour film that feels like it’s twice that length, not in sitting-time but in narrative scope and dramatic detail.”


Keith Uhlich puts in a word for “the gorgeously askew photography by Rui Poças, regular collaborator of Miguel Gomes and João Pedro Rodrigues. This is a somnolent symphony of disappointment and delay. . . . There's a sense that even the movie itself, which emerged after a reportedly tumultuous production period, is perched on some divide between actuality and non-being. That's a tricky line—one that Martel walks, in spite of any extra-textual obstacles, with supreme confidence throughout.”

Variety’s Esla Keslassy reports that Strand Releasing has picked up North American rights with an eye to release Zama in theaters early next year.

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Valeska Grisebach’s Western


“Nine years in the making, Western draws its title from [Valeska] Grisebach’s generic source inspiration, the American Western,” wrote Michael J. Anderson in a dispatch back to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art a couple of weeks ago. “Noted for her prior two features, Be My Star (2001) and masterpiece Longing (2006), which each maintained an exceptional naturalism in their use non-professional performances and sensitive location photography (that was especially queued into the properties of late day and early evening light in Longing’s case), Western maintains these characteristics, while grafting the syntax, and in some instances even the semantics of the genre.”

“The setting here is a construction site in rural Bulgaria where German workers, all male, are building a hydroelectric plant,” writes the New York TimesManohla Dargis. “It isn’t long before the bored, isolated workers are behaving badly—they harass female swimmers, hoist the German flag—pushing against locals who push back. One German (Meinhard Neumann, a long drink of water), however, increasingly stands apart in a story that can feel as familiar as a John Ford movie, if one attuned to dislocation and discontent in contemporary Europe. Ms. Grisebach has a feel for mood, place and real, lived-in faces.”

“Neumann, who suggests a Teutonic Sam Elliott, leads the excellent cast of nonprofessional actors in a movie that intelligently examines sclerotic machismo and the hegemonic creep of one wealthy nation over a poorer one,” writes Melissa Anderson for 4Columns.

Writing for Slant, Carson Lund suggests that the “scenes detailing Meinhard’s attempts to connect with these people whose language he barely understands are the humanistic apex of Western—as much for the areas of connection found between the disparate groups as for the recognition that certain subjects and points of view cannot be broached or translated. . . . The director, who shoots almost exclusively in medium-to-long focal lengths, as if observing her action rather than staging it, excels at documenting these rifts in communication, which play out in telling, ‘stolen’ close-ups that go unsupported by any musical score.”

“Despite the presence of a few dominant symbols—a white horse being the most conspicuous—Western primarily plays out in the domain of the empirical,” writes Bradley Warren at the Playlist. “That is to say that the film feels like the sum of its surfaces; the vistas and male bodies that fill the frame simply are, not serving as stand-ins for grander ideas. Grisebach sticks to her guns and refuses any kind of expository or emotional outbursts, even when Meinhard’s resistance to psychological scrutiny makes for a frustrating tack. If the film never descends to melodrama, it also rarely builds to any grace notes.”

“This is a movie of plain, quotidian surfaces (as ostensibly unadorned as that title) beneath which flows an unfathomable undercurrent of existential confusion,” finds Keith Uhlich. “Grisebach is asking us to consider these characters as people who are simultaneously with and without home countries. Rooted in various kinds of rootlessness, they know where they're from, but not where they belong.”


“This is obviously a film by a woman largely about men,” finds Steve Erickson at Gay City News, “and critic Michael Sicinski, on Twitter, compared it to Claire Denis’s classic Beau Travail, adding ‘but prose, not poetry.’ It’s true that there are no obvious peak moments, such as Denis Lavant’s inept but incredibly expressive dancing at the end of Beau Travail, but Western goes deep in a way that’s not immediately apparent, lifting imagery such as horses from its titular genre.”

Earlier this week, Andrew Chan, writing here in Current, noted that, when he saw Western in Toronto, it “struck me immediately as a masterpiece.” And he draws parallels to Delmer Daves’s Jubal (1956), “sometimes billed as an ‘adult western’ and an adaptation of Othello. But like Grisebach’s film, it simply takes the notion of a geographic frontier at the genre’s core and explores its slippery meaning for those who live at the perpetually blurred borders.”Cineuropa

Cineuropa’s posted a video interview with Grisebach (7’56”).

Western premiered in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes and screens this afternoon and tomorrow evening (October 1) as part of the Main Slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Ruben Östlund’s The Square


“It would seem that curators have replaced bankers as the villains du jour,” writes Jörg Heiser in a piece for frieze that addresses, among other showdowns, one here in Berlin that’s just resulted in the police clearing out occupiers from one of the city’s most vital institutions.

“So, why the vitriol?” asks Heiser. “A Swedish film that won this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes might provide an answer. . . . A few minutes into the film, all of the clichés are in place: the slick curator slouching on a designer sofa; the shallow, rip-off art works; the cryptic art-speak; the failure to respond candidly; the non-committal intimacy; the brutal doing-away with tradition, replaced by empty promises. Yet, Östlund’s film is more nuanced than it initially appears, and so is its central character. . . . The Square makes achingly clear that curators have been increasingly enmeshed in a public showdown of the pretty versus the scandalous, the smoothly marketable versus the bathetically moralizing. . . . Perhaps it’s time for curators to opt out of the false choices, live with their bad reputations and just get on with it. If the devil has all the best tunes, curators should stage all the best shows.”

The Square “follows the chief curator (Claes Bang) of a contemporary art museum in Sweden as he oversees the installation of a conceptual project that envisions a square in the courtyard of the museum that will serve as ‘a sanctuary of trust and caring,’ one where ‘we all share equal rights and obligations,’” explains Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice. “The film asks the central question: Can altruism, equality, and fairness be achieved by unforced, democratic consensus? (Not for nothing is the square placed exactly where the statue of a monarch once stood.) Then it complicates its inquiry by giving us a variety of scenarios, some gut-bustingly hilarious, that demonstrate just how petty, manipulative, weak, and cruel humans can be.”

“Östlund thinks, shallowly, in set pieces,” argues Keith Uhlich: “Christian [Bang] has a one-night stand with an American journalist (Elisabeth Moss) that revolves primarily around the disposal of a used condom; a self-absorbed sculptor (Dominic West) who attends his Q&A in pajamas is constantly interrupted by an audience member with Tourette’s; a performance artist (Terry Notary, the go-to movement coach for many a motion-captured Hollywood blockbuster) literally monkeys around at a black-tie gala, ultimately bringing out the worst in the many affluent attendees. That last sequence is key to Östlund’s intent: He wants to confront and overturn our self-gratifying notions about art, to reveal how so much of it increasingly speaks to a pre-selected audience (like many a Cannes prizewinner, you might say). First, though, he'd have to have anything approaching an inspired vision.”

“It’s easy to mock artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, and, fortunately, this isn’t Östlund’s real agenda,” writes Steve Erickson at Gay City News. “He’s far more interested in the way power and wealth function in urban life; unlike almost every other film set in big cities in the West, The Square is true to the amount of homelessness contained there and the extremes of class conflict that result from the rich and poor constantly bumping against each other.”


“Following Östlund’s Force Majeure, The Square is another squirmy satire skewering the failure of citizens of Western democracies to adhere to the foundational principles of their societies,” writes Filmmaker’s Scott Macaulay.

The Square screens once more, tomorrow night (October 1), as part of the Main Slate at this year’s New York Film Festival. A theatrical run begins in late October.


NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

La sceneggiatura (revisionata) di 'Blow-Up'

Dal Fondo Carlo di Carlo, le annotazioni manoscritte di Michelangelo Antonioni sullo script del film, originariamento intitolato 'L'ingrandimento'.

from Cineteca di Bologna
via Cinema Studi

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?


Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? premiered at Sundance in January as a live presentation, with, as Vadim Rizov notes at Filmmaker, director Travis Wilkerson “narrating a complex mixture of slides and video onstage.” Wilkerson will be on hand for a Q&A at the Howard Gilman Theater tomorrow evening (October 1) when the film is presented in the Spotlight on Documentary section of this year’s New York Film Festival.

Gun? “recounts the 1946 murder of a black man by one of [Wilkerson’s] white relatives,” writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. “Serving as the movie’s narrator—and making the expressive most of his deep, darkly insinuating sepulchral voice—Mr. Wilkerson sifts through the personal and the political, travels down eerily lonely Alabama byways and deep into anguished history. The result is an urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.”

Researching the shooting, Wilkerson “finds almost no information,” notes Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice. “Even more disturbingly, he finds very little record of his great-grandfather’s victim, a man named Bill Spann—not even a grave. The film thus becomes a meditation on family and belonging, but from a disturbing perspective: Wilkerson has a lifetime of memories and records from his own family—movies, pictures, interviews, living members—but it’s as if Bill Spann and his bloodline have been wiped off the face of the earth. The director finds no solutions, offering just an unresolved, unforgettable look at a land haunted by horror, hate, and slaughter.”

Celluloid Liberation Front in the new issue of Cinema Scope:

Though at times the director appears overwhelmed by the inherited guilt, the film remains legible as an indictment of the white middle-class family on which American mythology rests, and not only of Wilkerson’s own. The film’s insistence on identity politics can also be seen as problematic, as it distracts us from the structural nature of racism and the historical necessity of slavery for a system based on exploitation and economic growth. “Black” and “white” are often framed as sectarian entities rather than antithetical political attitudes (with the former standing for resistance and the latter for oppression). “Whiteness can incinerate a whole family,” declares the director near the film’s end, “give it enough time and it will incinerate the world.” Though “whiteness” may be intended as a symbolic category, especially when pronounced by a class-conscious filmmaker like Wilkerson, the film, for more or less obvious reasons, does tend to personalize and condense racism to its symptomatic manifestation (i.e., white versus black violence). As Wilkerson’s filmed investigation proceeds, S.E. Branch’s killing of Bill Spann turns out to possibly be one of the very many in a long list of unspeakable crimes. Thus the felonious nature of racism is identified with “monstrosity” while in fact it is an (un)official privilege that American democracy has granted white citizens ever since chained Africans were imported to the U.S. as free labor.

For Hyperallergic, Craig Hubert talks with Wilkerson “about the ambivalence he sometimes felt while telling this story, the struggle of working with a limited amount of factual evidence, and how he dealt with a story that offers no catharsis.”

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Serge Bozon’s Mrs. Hyde


Serge Bozon’s Mrs. Hyde premiered in Locarno in August, when we gathered a first round of reviews. It screens once more tomorrow (October 1) as part of the New York Film Festival’s Main Slate, and Bozon and his star, Isabelle Huppert, will be there. The following evening, Monday, Bozon will be at the Quad to watch, for the very first time, Ida Lupino’s Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951), and he’ll take part in a discussion of the film after the screening.

Jordan Cronk’s spoken with Bozon for Film Comment: “Following the absurdist slapstick riff Tip Top (2013), Bozon has reimagined Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic parable Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with the help of his longtime screenwriter, Axelle Ropert, who also wrote Bozon’s offbeat musicals La France (2007) and Mods (2002), in addition to directing her own films.” Cronk and Bozon discuss the director’s “particular approach to comedy, the genre’s capacity for confronting topical subject matter, and the evolution of a filmmaking sensibility that is in increasingly short supply in both America and abroad.”

Mrs. Hyde is “a bracingly odd paean to pedagogy,” finds Melissa Anderson at 4Columns. “As the beleaguered vocational high school physics teacher of the title, Isabelle Huppert displays her talent for impeccable screwball timing . . . Mrs. Hyde upends categories while astutely calling attention to the country’s racism. The science prof’s students are almost exclusively young men of African and Arab descent: pupils from whom the least has been expected and demanded. Mrs. Hyde’s classroom directive—‘Think, all of you, together’—should replace France’s national tripartite motto.”

“Mrs. Géquil [Huppert] has a soft spot for Malik (Adda Senani), a disruptive but clever student,” writes Peter Goldberg for Slant. “She's strangely protective of him, but Huppert's half-caring, half-insidious portrayal of Mrs. Géquil's looming presence and private tempestuousness hints at just how much damage the teacher could (and will) inflict on him. . . . The school's principal, played by Romain Duris, is a hip, over-honest bureaucrat who wouldn't feel out of place as a stand-in for The Office's Michael Scott, while Mrs. Géquil's husband, Pierre (José Garcia), is an absurdly genteel stay-at-home cook and piano player. At Mrs. Hyde’s best, all of these personalities help Bozon to put the entirety of the French school system on trial.”

Then, of course, comes “the day [Géquil] gets struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, and undergoes a transformation that cracks the shell of her placid existence and disposition,” as Demi Kampakis writes at Vague Visages. “Finding an inner strength that empowers her to be more confident, inspired and (sexually) voracious, Géquil slowly assumes the persona of her Mrs. Hyde alter ego, and the physical aspect of her metamorphosis is rendered in the form of a golden aura that radiates throughout her body as she roams the streets at night in a trance-like state. Resembling a sleepwalking jack-o-lantern, Bozon’s vision of Hyde’s appearance reflects the internal change her character experiences, and there is a certain dream logic to the magical realism of these scenes.”

“Bozon drew on his experience teaching high school students in the Parisian banlieues,” notes Chloe Lizotte at Screen Slate. “There’s something intriguing about using Jekyll & Hyde to dramatize systemic educational issues, but the film’s blend of socially conscious drama, science fiction, and wacky satire never congeals.”

“The film is a trifle, albeit one spiked with mirth and malice,” finds Jordan Ruimy at the Playlist. But for Dustin Chang at ScreenAnarchy, Mrs. Hyde is “a social commentary that packs a punch wrapped in a screwball comedy form. Highly recommended.”

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

Festival di Venezia 2017 al via: una Mostra sempre nuova, sempre uguale, da giudicare film dopo film

S'inaugura oggi con Downsizing di Alexander Payne e Nico, 1988 di Susanna Nicchiarelli la 74esima edizione della Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica.

from - Le notizie sui film e le star

via Cinema Studi - Lo studio del cinema è sul web

venerdì 29 settembre 2017

David Lynch: The Art Life: Go with Ideas


The documentary David Lynch: The Art Life (2016) takes its title from a favorite phrase of its subject’s. Words, for Lynch, can be transporting: think of all the incantations in his films—“Now it’s dark,” “It is happening again,” “This is the girl”—that become destabilizing, spell-like forces the moment they are uttered. This was the case for him even as a teenager in the 1960s, when the very words “the art life”—discovered in a book by the American realist painter Robert Henri called The Art Spirit—signaled a passage into another world. A collection of Henri’s notes and talks, The Art Spirit combines technical instruction with musings on art as the source of “our greatest happiness.” Lynch experienced it as no less than an epiphany, a permission slip that would allow him to devote his life to creative work.

The art life, as he explains in this film, meant a kind of lifestyle, and if not exactly ascetic, it was certainly single-minded: “You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint, and that’s it. Maybe girls come into it a little bit.” But as the documentary’s title, the phrase is also an implicit acknowledgment that any portrait of any artist grapples with the rarely straightforward relationship between the art and the life, an especially resonant matter for an artist who operates as close to the unconscious as Lynch does. His is the only voice we hear in The Art Life, and his first words essentially describe the premise of the documentary: “Every time you do something, like a painting or whatever, you go with ideas, and sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color them.”

Simply put, The Art Life, codirected by Rick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, and Jon Nguyen, demonstrates how Lynch’s past sometimes conjures and colors his ideas. Made with the cooperation of this most guarded of artists, it remains circumspect, never tipping into overt psychobiography, and yet, thanks in large part to Lynch’s very presence, it is suggestive in ways that written accounts could never hope to be. The artist himself provides the narrative backbone, recounting formative encounters and traumas from a period of roughly thirty years, beginning in his childhood and extending through the making of Eraserhead. These memories are accompanied by a trove of old photos and home movies. We also see close-up images of a wide selection of his paintings and drawings, and spend time with him in his studio as he thinks, smokes, stares into space, and manipulates oil paints, charcoal, and various gooey substances with his bare hands.

The biography unfolds chronologically, sticking to the chapters of his life that Lynch has been willing to discuss over the years. Die-hard fans will be familiar with many of these stories, but there is something subtly different about hearing them in his own voice, and about the tone that he adopts here: the reflective tenor of a septuagenarian. Plainly at ease with the cinematographer, Jason S. (who also worked with Nguyen on the 2007 documentary Lynch, shot during the making of Inland Empire), Lynch speaks with an unusual openness about deep-seated fears and anxieties. Watching The Art Life, one is struck by the degree to which the Lynchian—linked as it is to the ever-present possibility of things falling apart—is a phobic sensibility.

Lynch’s description of his Eisenhower-era childhood inevitably brings to mind the famous prologue of Blue Velvet: picture-perfect suburbia with a tinge of unease. Boise, Idaho, where he attended elementary and junior high school, was all “sunshine, green grass, mowed lawns—such a cheerful place.” But this seeming idyll also harbored unaccountable mysteries—like the spooky emergence one evening of a naked woman, her mouth bloodied, walking through the neighborhood as David and his brother, John, watched uncomprehendingly. (Chances are this defining memory inspired the scene in Blue Velvet in which a bruised, naked Dorothy Vallens suddenly appears on a manicured lawn.)

Lynch’s father, a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service, was transferred frequently, and the move from Boise to Alexandria, Virginia, was especially jarring for the adolescent David. In one of the documentary’s most poignant—and most mysterious—moments, Lynch begins recounting a gathering with the family’s neighbors, the Smiths, the night before the Lynches left Boise. “Mr. Smith came out,” he says, before stopping himself and seeming to choke up. “I can’t tell the story.” Lynch never reveals what so upsets him about this memory, and the filmmakers don’t press; it’s all the more haunting for remaining open-ended. In Virginia, which “seemed like always night,” he fell in with “a bad bunch” and ended up in “total turmoil”—at least until he met a friend’s father, a painter named Bushnell Keeler, living proof that the art life was not only possible but within reach.

The monologue that runs through The Art Life illustrates the limited yet evocative vocabulary and the mood-swinging peculiarities of Lynchian diction. Things are “so beautiful,” or they induce “powerful hate.” He is effusive whether describing good times (“I almost died and went to heaven”) or bad (“I was living in hell”). In his own speech patterns, and in the variously cryptic, comic, and ominous inscriptions that adorn his canvases (“There is nothing here please go away”), simple words open up onto vistas of potential meaning. Summarizing what mattered most to him as a teenager: “people and relationships, slow-dancing parties, big, big love, and dreams—dark, fantastic dreams.” He has a habit of embedding names and addresses and times—“Little Dicky Smith,” “Shoshone Avenue,” “2416 Poplar Street,” “one night . . . about nine-thirty or ten”—in stories that are otherwise nebulous fragments. The language of Lynch is at once vague and specific, as in dreams.

While not exactly a natural raconteur, Lynch proves capable of exceptionally vivid anecdotes, not least when discussing his agoraphobic spells—or, as he puts it, a “nervousness of going out.” Overcome with dread at the prospect of starting classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he locked himself in his apartment for two weeks, holding a transistor radio close to his ear as its battery dwindled. There is levity, too, in his reminiscences, as when he speaks of his Boston roommate Peter Wolf, who would go on to front the J. Geils Band, and who was decidedly unamused when Lynch walked out of a Bob Dylan concert: seated in the nosebleeds of a large arena, stoned out of his mind, Lynch was both tickled and outraged by the tiny Dylan in the distance: “I couldn’t believe how little he was!”

Several turning points arrive when Lynch enrolls at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, long consecrated in his personal mythology as a place that both terrorized him and changed his life. The city, then in the crime-ridden trough of its postindustrial decline, instilled in him a fear and revulsion that were “just perfect to spark things.” It was also in his painting studio in Philly that Lynch experienced an epiphany that led him to filmmaking. He was working on a canvas when he sensed a wind emanating from within it. It got him thinking about moving images, images with sound. Lynch’s account of his artistic maturation involves several tales of family concern and confusion: his father’s alarm at seeing the decaying animals that Lynch was experimenting with as sculptural elements; the family intervention as he sank deeper into the years-in-the-making labor of love Eraserhead. But the overall picture is of a supportive and loving family who moreover sensed his talent at a young age: his mother forbade coloring books for fear they would restrict his creativity.

Except for brief clips from the early shorts The Alphabet and The Grandmother and some vintage footage from the set of Eraserhead, Lynch’s films are not seen or discussed in The Art Life. There is no mention of Transcendental Meditation, an important part of Lynch’s personal and creative life, as he has acknowledged in his book Catching the Big Fish and elsewhere. The filmmakers conducted interviews with others, but they opted ultimately to concentrate on Lynch alone. Friends and family are glimpsed in archival material, but the only other person captured on camera is Lynch’s toddler daughter, Lula, keeping him company as he works.

That laser focus on Lynch at work allows for a portrait of uncommon intimacy; the stretches of wordless activity in The Art Life are more revealing than the talking-head explications of most artist bio-docs. Jason S. lived with the artist for two and a half years and was ready to shoot at a moment’s notice—on a Canon EOS 5D camera or, if there was no time to set up, on an iPhone (its footage was later processed to resemble archival material). We linger on canvases that are unmistakably related to Lynch’s story about the transistor radio, or the morgue that he describes visiting in Philadelphia. But the film is perhaps most valuable for conveying the tempo and the trancelike state of artistic work, the day-to-day rhythms of an artist for whom the studio serves as a cocoonlike sanctuary. Lynch has maintained a fine-art practice parallel to his filmmaking one all his adult life, and is typically even more productive in the former during what seem to be fallow periods for the latter (like the recent decade-long hiatus between Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return). The Art Life shows us how he spends his days in his sunlit atelier, perched atop one of the concrete structures that make up his Hollywood Hills compound. Much of the labor is manual—sawing wood, hammering steel, smudging paint—and the leisurely scenes of Lynch at work are attentive to the pleasures of tactility. (The first memory he shares in the film is of being two years old and sitting in a mud puddle under a tree with a neighbor: “It was so beautiful . . . You get to squeeze mud and sit with your friend.”)

Even though they go unmentioned, the films for which we know Lynch loom large over The Art Life, which allows tacit associations to reverberate and accumulate. The mechanical birds on Lynch’s desk bring to mind the taxidermied robin at the end of Blue Velvet. His story about being perilously hypnotized by highway dividing lines the first time he smoked weed conjures the nighttime driving scenes of Wild at Heart and Lost Highway. Most suggestive of all is Lynch’s description of the multiple selves he had to assume as a teenager, a kind of compartmentalizing that anticipates the theme of alter-ego confusion that has defined his work since Twin Peaks. As he tells it, each facet of his life at the time—at home, in the painting studio, with friends—necessitated a distinct “way of acting and thinking and speaking.” He kept these worlds separate, he explains, because he was “afraid of what would come out” if they collided. As The Art Life makes clear, Lynch may shy from such revelations in his life, but they’re plain for all to see in his art.

Dennis Lim is director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the author of David Lynch: The Man from Another Place (New Harvest, 2015). He has written for various publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Artforum, and Cinema Scope.

from The Criterion Current

Il Cinema Ritrovato al cinema: 'Blow-up'

La quinta stagione del progetto della Cineteca di distribuzione di classici restaurati in prima visione prosegue con il capolavoro di Michelangelo Antonioni, nella sale italiane dal 4 ottobre.

from Cineteca di Bologna
via Cinema Studi

Omaggio a Jonas Carpignano

Due soli film, il secondo, A Ciambra designato a rappresentare l'Italia alla corsa agli Oscar. Un regista che si candida a diventare uno dei più grandi dei prossimi anni. Dal 1° al 6 ottobre.

from Cineteca di Bologna
via Cinema Studi

Che Guevara, 50 anni dopo

A cinquant’anni dalla morte, ricordiamo il Che con un ospite d’eccezione, Gianni Minà, che per anni si è dedicato all’indagine storica attorno al guerrillero heroico. Dal 7 al 9 ottobre.

from Cineteca di Bologna
via Cinema Studi

Roma, 16 ottobre: proiezione del doc "IL POLITECNICO - Una storia romana degli anni ‘70"

Lunedì 16 ottobre ore 21.00
via Giovanni Battista Bodoni, 59 - Roma

Proiezione de
Una storia romana degli anni ‘70
un documentario di Amedeo Fago
un breve incontro precederà la proiezione

from - storie della visione

Mostra di arte pittura e fotografia nel segno di San Gennaro a Napoli, alla real cappella del tesoro più grande e prezioso al mondo

Sabato 23 settembre alle ore 11, presso l'Appartamento Storico del Domenichino situato al II piano del Museo del Tesoro di San Gennaro in Via Duomo 149, è stata inaugurata con un vernissage la VII edizione della mostra “Operazione San Gennaro Art 2017”, organizzata dal Club per l'UNESCO di Napoli in collaborazione con la Deputazione della Real Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro, e con il patrocinio morale del Comune di Napoli. L'evento espositivo sarà visitabile dal 23 settembre fino al 3 ottobre, secondo le modalità e gli orari di ingresso e fruizione della cappella e del museo annesso (che solitamente è aperto dalle 9 alle 16.30, la domenica fino alle 17.30, con un intervallo a ora pranzo), ma sicuramente fino alle ore 14 in questi giorni un responsabile sarà presente nella struttura per consentire la fruizione delle opere esposte. All'inaugurazione hanno preso parte, oltre agli artisti partecipanti, il presidente del Club per L'UNESCO di Napoli professor Fortunato Danise, il rappresentante della Deputazione Dott. Mariano Bruno, il consigliere comunale professor Francesco Vernetti, la professoressa Margherita Calò Storico e il critico d'arte Daniela Wollmann.

Questo evento rientra nel percorso formativo che il Club per l'UNESCO di Napoli sta realizzando in vari settori culturali come la poesia, l'artigianato, la letteratura. Attraverso l'arte, e con la rappresentazione di questo personaggio e del suo mito, gli artisti hanno realizzato opere con lo stile personale e la tecnica che li caratterizza, spaziando dalla pittura alla fotografia, e ovviamente fino alla scultura.

La Mostra, oltre ad essere un omaggio al santo protettore e patrono di Napoli e alla Deputazione di San Gennaro (istituzione che risale al 1600 e che comprende i rappresentanti dei sedili napoletani e del popolo, con il compito di amministrare la cappella e il tesoro), vuole essere un omaggio alla città e un contributo alla diffusione di conoscenze. Le stesse che rientrano in quel percorso umano di “educazione permanente” alla base della pace e del rispetto dei diritti umani nel mondo, secondo il monito dell'Unesco.

Elenco artisti pittori, scultori e fotografi partecipanti alla mostra collettiva (da inserire e lasciare se possibile):























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[The Daily] Cinema Scope and More


During this month’s Toronto International Film Festival, we began seeing reviews and interviews that would eventually make their way into the new issue of Cinema Scope: Adam Nayman’s conversation with Denis Côté about A Skin So Soft, for example, and Daniel Kasman and Christopher Small’s with Wang Bing about Mrs. Fang; Blake Williams’s excellent piece on Lucrecia Martel and Zama and Tom Charity’s review of Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. Soon we’ll be sampling Jordan Cronk’s interview with Narimane Mari and more pieces from Issue 72—Phil Coldiron on Ben Russell, Jesse Cumming on Ephraim Asili, and Celluloid Liberation Front on Travis Wilkerson—in entries appearing in the next days and weeks during the New York Film Festival.

What we haven’t yet seen and probably won’t see in any other context, though, is Michael Sicinski’s conversation with Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson, whose Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (image above) “is a domestic mini-epic capacious enough to include witches in the heartland, the painterly use of blood or blood substitutes, Chantal Akerman and Prince, the oral application of smooth stones, gardens and mesas, the draining of a sebaceous cyst, and the enthusiastic eating of pussy. It is very possibly the film of the year.”

In this issue’s “Global Discoveries on DVD” column, Jonathan Rosenbaum writes about Mickey Rooney, François Truffaut, Karel Zeman, and much more. As a “DVD Bonus,” Lawrence Garcia writes about three films by Lino Brocka, Weighed But Found Wanting (1974), Manila in the Claws of Light (1975), and Insiang (1976). And Chuck Stephens writes about Bill Viola’s “feature-length 1986 masterpiece I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like,” a “constantly self-disrupting road movie over purposefully glitch-scarred surfaces of mind and soul.”


“Out of jail but not yet back in the swing of things—that in-between state has sparked countless movies, from genre thrillers to quiet character studies.” Writing for the Hollywood Reporter, Sheri Linden observes that, in Sollers Point, which has just premiered at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, “Matthew Porterfield puts his distinctive stamp on this classic setup with the story of a young man who's caught between the impulse to slide back and the longing to leap forward. . . . A kind of urban pastoral, the well-cast, handsomely shot movie unfolds as a series of encounters, each one an attempt by the central character to find his footing in his hardscrabble working-class community, on the edges of the city near the waterfront.”

More from Jonathan Romney in Screen: “While stylistically and in spirit, it’s very much of a piece with his previous, loose-hanging ensemble pieces Putty Hill (2011) and I Used to Be Darker (2013), Sollers Point periodically shifts towards more conventionally focused crime drama. Porterfield’s achievement in this characteristically moody, downbeat essay is to hang back from expected narrative payoffs, while offering the appeal of a character study rooted in a specific American working-class milieu. This slight shift toward genre won’t make the film any more a commercial firework than Porterfield’s previous features, but a charismatic star in McCaul Lombardi—previously seen in American Honey and Patti Cake$—brings some iconic appeal.”


“Being at Fantastic Fest as news broke about accusations against Ain’t It Cool News editor and longtime Alamo Drafthouse friend/Fantastic Fest co-founder Harry Knowles, as well the revelation of Drafthouse’s mishandling and brushing off of harassment complaints over the years, is the closest I will ever get to a Fyre Festival—except this is serious.” April Wolfe in the Village Voice: “And the victims of some well-known men’s predatory behavior have too long been ignored. And yet, all around me, I see staff and volunteers striving to make everyone feel comfortable and supported, while more women are introducing films and are front and center at events than I’d seen here last year.”

On another page, Wolfe writes about three of her favorite films at this year’s festival directed (or co-directed) by women, Deborah Haywood’s Pin Cushion, Issa López’s Tigers Are Not Afraid, and Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s Good Manners.

Meantime, the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr presents a sort of primer on all that’s gone down in Austin over the past several weeks and offers a guide to some of the best female critics currently writing about cinema and television.


“Nathan Silver has made eight films in eight years,” writes Meredith Alloway, introducing her interview for Filmmaker. “I’m also just a caffeinated personality,” he tells her. His latest, Thirst Street, has been met with strong reviews, and you’ll find a sampling of the best of them at Critics Round Up.

Eternity, Tran Anh Hung’s first film in French, stars Audrey Tautou and Melanie Laurent and opens in Japan tomorrow. Kaori Shoji talks with the director for the Japan Times: “The point in my films is to give the actors dialogue and emotions that they can savor like delicious food. I want the cast to feel nourished and sensual, like they’re part of a carefully orchestrated banquet. That kind of crafted sensuality is so hard to depict on screen. Some people say that my films are not natural, but to me when a character is being nothing but natural, they lose all charm. I mean, if I wanted natural, I would sooner just go talk to my neighbor.”

“One of the reasons the unexpected re-discovery of Raoul Walsh's The King and Four Queens is a great surprise, is that you can see tiredness in it,” wrote Serge Daney for Libération in 1989. “In 1956, Walsh had been making films for forty-three years and [Clark] Gable for thirty-two. . . . Stripped down, minimal, and very refined: a real ‘lesson’ in mise-en-scène. That being said, the film was never considered a great one. It’s perhaps inferior to the other film Walsh directed in 1956, the little known The Revolt of Mamie Stover with Jane Russell, which the author of these lines must confess he secretly worships.”

“So what happens when, for whatever reason, we move to another country, lose the use of our mother tongue and start to live in a new language?” Nele Wohlatz introduces her film, The Future Perfect, in the Notebook.


Via the Playlist’s Kevin Jagernauth, a peek at the remastered edition of Lars von Trier's The Kingdom (1994–1997)

“When Martin Scorsese adapted Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence in 1993, he judged the result to be the most violent film he’d ever made, though it contains not a single burst of gunfire, and with one jarring exception the characters speak in hushed, polite tones.” Writing for Film Comment, Steven Mears revisits one of Scorsese’s best films.

Five critics for the Guardian have each chosen a favorite film of the 1990s to write about: Peter Bradshaw on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), Ellen E. Jones on Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), Xan Brooks on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999), Danny Leigh on Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997), and Steve Rose on Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich (1999).


“Marion Cotillard is set to star in Gueule d’ange, a French drama which will mark the feature debut of Vanessa Filho,” reports Elsa Keslassy for Variety. “The drama follows a single mother who abandons her eight-year old daughter after meeting someone in a night club.”

Empire’s James White confirms that Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) has "just started shooting The Kid Who Would Be King, and the cast now includes Patrick Stewart and Rebecca Ferguson." At the Playlist, Oliver Lyttelton notes that the film has "a sort of Goonies meets Game of Thrones vibe, with the film focused on Alex, a twelve-year-old British schoolboy who discovers the legendary sword Excalibur and must stop the medieval villainess Morgana from destroying the world."

“Amazon is dramatically ramping up its production for next year, moving forward with three new high-concept series,” reports Debra Birnbaum for Variety:

  • In Lazarus, based on Greg Rucka’s comic, “the world has been divided among sixteen rival families,” each of which has “a Lazarus: a one-person kill squad.”
  • Snow Crash, based on Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel, will be executive produced by the afore-mentioned Cornish and Frank Marshall (Back to the Future).
  • Ringworld “is based on Larry Niven’s sci-fi book series from the 70s.”

Birnbaum then runs down the rest of Amazon’s slate, which includes Wong Kar-Wai’s Tong Wars; Barry Jenkins’s Underground Railroad; Matt Weiner’s The Romanoffs, with Isabelle Hupert, Christina Hendricks, and Aaron Eckhardt; David O. Russell’s untitled project; J.J. Abrams’s The Nix with Meryl Streep; John Singleton’s Black Power; Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans; and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Too Old to Die.

“Melina Matsoukas, chief director of the HBO series Insecure, is tackling an adaptation of the award-winning Marlon James novel A Brief History of Seven Killings for Amazon,” adds the Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit. The novel “begins with the attempted assassination of reggae icon Bob Marley and explores its aftermath, looking at one vital day in multiple time periods. The novel looked at Jamaican politics, poverty, race, class and the volatile relationship between the U.S. and the Caribbean, and traced the connection between CIA efforts to destabilize a left-wing Jamaican government in the 1970s to the brutal realities of gang wars in the Kingston ghettos and their spread to New York in the 1980s.”

“Monica Bellucci will join Ben O’Toole and Tess Haubrich to star in the sci-fi horror film Nekromancer directed Australian filmmaker brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner [Wyrmwood],” reports Greg Evans for Deadline.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

Fast & Furious Live, in Italia dal 2 al 4 febbraio 2018: al via le vendite dei biglietti

L'eccezionale evento si svolgerà al Pala Alpitour di Torino.

from - Le notizie sui film e le star

via Cinema Studi - Lo studio del cinema è sul web

This Week on the Criterion Channel


One of the most distinctive voices in world cinema, Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel returns to the big screen this year with her highly anticipated film Zama, which makes its U.S. premiere tomorrow at the New York Film Festival. In celebration, we’re bringing together two of the director’s previous works, both of them artfully fractured class commentaries. In her disturbing and tactile first feature, La Ciénaga (2001), tensions flare during a bourgeois family’s summer vacation, while in The Headless Woman (2008), Martel burrows deep inside the mind of a well-to-do woman disoriented after a road accident.

Also up this week: a close analysis of sound in Fritz Lang’s M, an eccentric spotlight on lawless women, and our complete edition of Christopher Nolan’s feature debut.

If you haven’t tried out FilmStruck, sign up now for your free 14-day trial. And if you’re a student, find out about our special academic discount!


Observations on Film Art No. 11: Mastering a New Medium—Sound in Fritz Lang’s M

In this regular Channel-exclusive series, film scholars David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith (authors of the canonical textbook Film Art: An Introduction) offer insights on cinematic forms, devices, and traditions straight from film school, examining some of the medium’s fundamental elements through exemplary works by great auteurs. This month’s episode features Thompson discussing the innovative use of audio in a masterpiece of the early sound era, Fritz Lang’s 1931 thriller M, whose dense layering of dialogue and effects demands that you listen closely. The episode streams with our complete edition of the film. ACCOMPANIED BY: the complete edition of M.



Tuesday’s Short + Feature: Ramona and Jubilee

These iconoclastic experiments revolve around women with a ruthless streak: Andrei Cretulescu’s Ramona (2015), a twenty-minute short that with no dialogue and only six shots, follows a blonde on a mission of vengeance; Derek Jarman’s punk-inflected fantasy Jubilee (1978) finds Queen Elizabeth I time-traveling to the London of the future, a wasteland overrun by girl gangs.



Following: Criterion Collection Edition #638

With Christopher Nolan’s ambitious war film Dunkirk now in theaters, revisit his feature debut, a low-budget, 16 mm black-and-white neonoir about an unemployed young writer who trails strangers through London, hoping that they will provide inspiration for his first novel. He gets more than he bargained for when one of his unwitting subjects leads him down a dark criminal path. With gritty aesthetics and a made-on-the-fly vibe, this mind-bending psychological journey shows the remarkable beginnings of one of today's most acclaimed filmmakers. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: audio commentary by Nolan; new interview with Nolan; a chronological edit of the film; a side-by-side comparison of the shooting script with three scenes from the film; Doodlebug (1997), a three-minute film by Nolan, starring Following’s Jeremy Theobald; and trailers.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049


“A ravishing visual colossus, Blade Runner 2049 more than lives up to its predecessor’s legacy as a groundbreaking mixture of sound, images and mood,” begins Screen’s Tim Grierson. “This long-anticipated sequel’s screenplay sometimes struggles to keep pace, but director Denis Villeneuve has crafted an enrapturing sci-fi dystopia whose themes and emotions are so vividly realized cinematically that it hardly matters when the actual story isn’t quite as engaging. A superbly muted performance from Ryan Gosling grounds this solemn exploration of identity and what it means to be human.”

Blade Runner 2049 is a narcotic spectacle of eerie and pitiless vastness, by turns satirical, tragic and romantic,” enthuses the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw. “This is the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic, directed by Ridley Scott and based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, starring Harrison Ford as a ‘blade runner,’ a futureworld cop whose job is to track down and kill disobedient almost-human androids known as replicants. The 2017 follow-up simply couldn’t be any more of a triumph: a stunning enlargement and improvement.”

“In a similar but distinct way to Ridley Scott’s masterful original, Blade Runner 2049 mulls one of the meatiest questions around,” writes the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin, namely: “is surface all that there is, or do life’s currents run deeper than the things we can see, hear and touch? Denis Villeneuve’s film toys with both options, making neither a comfort—and in the process, maps out one of the most spectacular, provocative, profound and spiritually staggering blockbusters of our time.”

Variety’s Peter Debruge finds that, “in both tone and style, the new film owes more to slow-cinema maestro Andrei Tarkovsky than it does to Scott’s revolutionary cyberpunk sensibility. In fact, at two hours and forty-four minutes, Blade Runner 2049 clocks in at three minutes longer than the austere Russian auteur’s Stalker. But Villeneuve earns every second of that running time, delivering a visually breathtaking, long-fuse action movie whose unconventional thrills could be described as many things—from tantalizing to tedious—but never ‘artificially intelligent.’”

At ScreenCrush, Matt Singer suggests that it’s as if “someone dared director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins to make the most visually spectacular science-fiction film of the century—and then they actually did it. . . . Scott’s Blade Runner was a science-fiction film that looked like a detective story. . . . Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is much more of a detective story that looks like a science-fiction film.”

“Three decades have elapsed since the events of the first film,” explains Alonso Duralde at TheWrap. “The spate of replicant rebellions has led to the bankruptcy of the Tyrell Corporation. In the mid-2020s, a famine strikes, and Niander Wallace (Jared Leto, underplaying for once) becomes wealthy and powerful through his mastery of synthetic agriculture. He acquires what’s left of Tyrell and begins producing his own replicants, with shorter lifespans.” K (Gosling) “tracks down Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) at one of Wallace’s farms” and “makes a potentially earth-shattering discovery that eventually sends him out in search of retired, and long-missing, blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).” But Blade Runner 2049 “isn’t about what happens; it’s about what this terrifying and beautiful world . . . tells us about life and perception and reality.”


“In a film that has already been studded with several bursts of sudden violence and rough action, Ford's arrival ups the ante, as the great action star, fully looking his age and perhaps more, really delivers here with a ragingly physical performance that bursts the film's exquisite languor,” writes the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy. “As a contrast to Gosling's deliberately deadened, emotionally zoned-out turn, Ford almost single-handedly amps up a film otherwise intentionally drained of character vitality.”

“Villeneuve directs every scene as if his entire filmography has built to this moment,” writes IndieWire’s Eric Kohn. “While Prisoners showed his penchant for a morbid investigative thrillers, Sicario proved he could intensify a stern police drama with tense, dynamic set pieces. Even his smaller, stranger films contain the breadcrumbs that come to fruition here, from the peculiar identity crisis at the root of Enemy to the personal and historical details that comprise the investigation in Incendies. They’re all in Blade Runner 2049, which has a greater efficiency and confidence than any of his previous work.”

“Villeneuve further cements his name as one of the best and most striking filmmakers working today,” adds Rodrigo Perez at the Playlist.

At Vulture, David Edelstein finds that “it has nothing as striking as [Rutger] Hauer’s morbid majesty or the screaming-dervish demise of Daryl Hannah’s Pris. There’s nothing close to the shock of seeing Blade Runner’s Tokyo-influenced futuristic dystopia—a dismal mix of high-tech and corrosion—for the first time. I thought it was okay.”

“Deakins has shot what is one of the most beautiful movies ever made,” counters Mike Ryan at Uproxx. “And Hans Zimmer’s score just beats you into submission in a way I don’t now how to make sound positive.”

Jeremy Egner talks with Scott, Villeneuve, Ford, and Gosling for the New York Times, where Rachel Lee Harris interviews costume designer Renée April.

Michael Schulman’s conversation for Vanity Fair with Scott, Ford, and Fancher focuses on the long road to the realization of the original.


For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] Goings On: Silent Classics and More


New York. The big event in town is, of course, the New York Film Festival, which gets going in earnest today following last night’s premiere of Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying. At the top of the NYFF 2017 Index, I’ve linked to an interview with festival director Kent Jones and overviews from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times and Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice. Today, we see a different take on how the festival’s faring from Godfrey Cheshire at

Jones, notes Cheshire, “is only the festival’s third director, having succeeded Richard Roud and Richard Peña, each of whom served twenty-five-year terms. . . . Roud’s festival was auteur-driven and unapologetically Euro-centric . . . Peña continued the auteur emphasis but purposefully broadened the geo-cultural scope . . . Not only has Jones’s festival not produced an equivalent identity of its own, it seems to me to represent a backsliding from the focus, flux and dynamism of Peña’s era at its peak.” The problem, suggests Cheshire, may have arisen from “to a change in the festival’s selection process that began with the new regime.” He explains.

In his weekly roundup of goings on in the city for the Times, Ben Kenigsberg writes, naturally, about the NYFF, but also about the retrospective Black Intimacy (October 3 through 16), in which “MoMA asks whether the personal and the political can ever be independent in screen portrayals of black relationships,” and about Imaginary Chinatown (today through October 9), a series at the Metrograph that “offers a historical look at the role that Chinatowns—real or fictional—have played in movies, a tradition that goes back at least as far as D. W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms, from 1919.”

In the Village Voice, Danny King writes that the Quad’s “thorough current retrospective, Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton—which continues through October 5—embraces the journeyman in all his nomadic glory, checking off the rare commercial hits in which he played small roles (like Ridley Scott’s Alien, from 1979, screening September 30), but more importantly presenting a wealth of the fringe oddities that make up the Stanton canon. The series was in the works well before the performer’s passing but has since been expanded—to the great benefit of mourners and moviegoers.”

From Sunday through Tuesday, as part of the international arts festival on through October 15, Sophie Calle’s Voir la mer, a series of five video portraits, will appear on electronic billboards on Times Square.

Chicago. “One of the more miraculous discoveries in the history of film preservation came in 1978, when more than 500 cans of nitrate reels were recovered from a sealed-up swimming pool in the Klondike—the fabled Dawson City find,” writes J. R. Jones. Bill Morrison is on the cover of the Reader and he’ll be at the Logan Center for the Arts next Thursday to present Dawson City: Frozen Time, “a monumental accomplishment, part history and part fever dream. Morrison, 51, tells the story of Dawson from its gold-rush origins in 1897 through the lost films' rediscovery in the 1970s, even as he traces the growing power of cinema in our national life.”


Toronto. With the TIFF Cinematheque series The Heart of the World: Masterpieces of Soviet Silent Cinema running through the end of October, James Quandt talks with Guy Maddin, whose short, made for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000, provides the series’ title. There’s quite a bit of discussion here about Lev Kuleshov, not only his famous experiment with montage, but also his concept of “biomechanical acting.” And: “When I decided to make this stupid film of mine, Sissy Boy Slap Party, I was just trying to channel the hammock sequence leading to the bad meat sequence in [Sergei Eisenstein’s] Battleship Potemkin [1925, image above]. It’s so glorious!”

London. Close-Up’s Werner Herzog season closes tonight with Heart of Glass (1976).

Marseille. From Sunday through October 7, Yannick Vallet will track the route Alain Delon took to Paris in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge (1970) as part of his ongoing work-in-progress, Melville, Delon & Co.

Pordenone, Italy. The thirty-sixth edition of Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the festival of silent film, opens tomorrow and runs through October 7. “There’s a strong thread of exoticism running through all sections, thanks in part to [the programs] ‘Soviet Travelogues’ and ‘Silent Africa in Norway,’” writes artistic director Jay Weissberg.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

Una storia senza nome: al via il nuovo film di Roberto Andò

Il regista torna alla leggerezza dirigendo Micaela Ramazzotti, Alessandro Gassmann, Laura Morante e Renato Carpentieri.

from - Le notizie sui film e le star

via Cinema Studi - Lo studio del cinema è sul web

Predator: un trailer per il 30esimo anniversario annuncia il ritorno del film nei cinema

In attesa del reboot di Shane Black, torna in sala il film originale di John McTiernan.

from - Le notizie sui film e le star

via Cinema Studi - Lo studio del cinema è sul web

Burger King Russia non vuole It perché fa pubblicità a McDonald's

La catena di fast food è convinta che la somiglianza fra Pennywise e Ronald McDonad potrebbe tornare utile al rivale.

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via Cinema Studi - Lo studio del cinema è sul web

Owen Wilson e Ed Helms alla ricerca del loro vero padre nel trailer di Father Figures

Nella commedia, da noi intitolata Fratelli Bastardi, i due attori sono i figli di Glenn Close. Nel cast anche Ving Rhames, J. K. Simmons e Christopher Walken.

from - Le notizie sui film e le star

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giovedì 28 settembre 2017

Babylon Sisters

Una storia di amicizia e di integrazione
* * 1/2 - - (mymonetro: 2,50)

Regia di Gigi Roccati. Con Amber Dutta, Nav Ghotra, Rahul Dutta, Nives Ivankovic, Lucia Mascino, Renato Carpentieri, Yasemin Sannino, Peppe Voltarelli, Wen Yimin, Xia Yinghong, Lorenzo Acquaviva.
Genere Drammatico - Italia, Croazia, 2017. Durata 85 minuti circa.

Kamla, figlia di genitori indiani da tempo residenti in Italia, si trasferisce con la famiglia da Milano a Trieste, in un quartiere degradato e un edificio fatiscente abitato da una comunità multietnica: cinesi, croati, turchi, tutti ugualmente sottoposti alle angherie di un proprietario italiano che ha appena annunciato loro lo sfratto esecutivo. Il padre di Kamla, Ashok, fa il cameriere, la madre, Shanty, è una "casalinga disoccupata" con un talento nascosto: quello di saper danzare in stile Bollywood.

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[The Daily] NYFF 2017: Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying


“If you’ve never seen The Last Detail, Hal Ashby’s 1973 comedy-drama about three Navy sailors on a debauched and ultimately tragic road trip, there are several reasons to rectify that,” begins Dana Stevens at Slate. “There’s a devilishly charismatic performance from the young Jack Nicholson, a screenplay by Robert Towne (Chinatown) that balances savage political satire with a perceptive view of toxic male friendship, and Ashby’s unique directorial tone, familiar from classics such as Being There and Harold and Maude, which might be described as at once melancholic and sprightly.” Richard Linklater “has characterized the relationship between his film,” Last Flag Flying, which has just premiered at the New York Film Festival, “and Ashby’s as an ‘echo.’ The names and some particulars may have changed, but there’s a continuity of spirit that connects these two movies, adapted from a pair of novels by Darryl Ponicsan that were themselves written thirty-five years apart.”

Keith Uhlich notes that Ponicsan “shares co-screenwriting credit” with Linklater on the new film, “though the character names have been changed as one way of giving the tale its own identity. It’s still difficult to think of the central trio, Nealon (Bryan Cranston), Shepherd (Steve Carell), and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), as anyone other than Buddusky (Jack Nicholson), Meadows (Randy Quaid) and Mulhall (Otis Young), in large part because Cranston, as the group’s resident hellraiser, seems to be doing an outsize Nicholson impression as opposed to staking out his own territory. And though they fare better in comparison, Fishburne and Carell are similarly surface. These are ‘performances’ first and foremost, and this wreaks havoc with the emotional and sociopolitical undercurrents.”

Justin Stewart, writing for Reverse Shot, disagrees, finding that Last Flag Flying presents “angry, sad, but, in hindsight, wise perspective on the early Iraq War years.” This is a road trip set in 2003, and Doc “initiates it” by revealing “the cause of his soft-spoken sadness—his wife’s recently dead of cancer, and his son, Larry Jr., a Marine, was just killed in Iraq. Sal and a reluctant Mueller agree to accompany Doc to a burial at Arlington, which then becomes an As I Lay Dying–like errand involving a trip to Dover Air Force Base to retrieve the body, and then a road trip to see Larry Jr. buried at home with family after all three grow increasingly disillusioned with the U.S. government’s dishonesty.”

Writing for Screen Slate, Chloe Lizotte grants that this is “a familiar story of the decay of a certain idealized vision of America, told amidst a backdrop of rusty infrastructure, faded photographs, and one deliberately placed Hail to the Thief poster near the end. But where other filmmakers might have reduced Last Flag Flying to didactic, Bush-era talking points, Linklater and co-screenwriter Ponicsan convey these ideas through nuanced characters, fostering an organic camaraderie that belies the depth of their shared history.”

“Linklater is (still) at the top of his technical game,” writes Vadim Rizov at Filmmaker, noting that “there’s a long sequence that plays out in an airport hanger, in which space is divided so well while characters separate and re-converge that I forgot the sequence was locked into one big location over the course of approximately ten minutes. Linklater’s thoroughly worked through his influences to make them serve him without being distractingly quote-y: you’d never guess how many hours he’d spent studying Akerman and Benning, though the Bresson overhead object shots are recognizable.” That said, “I’ll concede: A normal Linklater hang-out movie is mapped on top of a sober Iraq drama, and the mixture doesn’t mesh.”


Last Flag Flying “is colored by how time reshapes our sense of self, embracing some memories while occluding others,” writes Christopher Gray for Slant, “and it ingeniously folds us into a similar state of reflection and uncertainty about previous eras of false optimism about national values. . . . Like Before Midnight, Last Flag Flying is both gimlet-eyed and philosophical enough to question the lasting worth of youthful romanticism.”

The screenplay “toys with the intriguing concept of men who believe in the institution but take issue with the government in control of it,” writes the Guardian’s Benjamin Lee, “but any profundity is lost in half-speak, surrounded by hackneyed, stagey dialogue and unfunny comedy.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman agrees that “the themes, of regret and repentance and American lies, are spoon-fed to the audience in a way that’s surprisingly tidy and didactic. . . . Linklater can be a master of drifting naturalism (e.g., Dazed and Confused), but Last Flag Flying, surprisingly, has none of that free-flowing, organic quality.”

For the Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney, “despite poignant moments, particularly in the performances of Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, the weave of somber introspection, rueful reminiscence, irreverent comedy and sociopolitical commentary feels effortful, placing the movie among the less memorable entries in Linklater's canon.”

More from Eric Kohn (IndieWire, B+), Kyle Pletcher (Film Stage, C+), and Rodrigo Perez (Playlist, B).

“I think in particular when it comes to the Iraq War, history had changed quite a bit,” Linklater tells Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times. “Look at the [2016] Republican debates. Almost everyone said the war was a mistake—the one guy who didn’t was the one whose brother started it. The culture shifted, like it did on Vietnam. A conservative-ish friend of mine saw this film and he said it felt like ‘liberal patriotism.’ I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant, but I kind of got it. You can question the war but still have all these warm feelings about your country. The guys in the movie talk about it in this one scene—‘I love this country, it’s a great country, but you gotta have a reason to love it.’ And that reason is ‘don’t get lied to.’”

NYFF 2017 Index. For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current

Repertory Pick: A Late-Night Classic in London


Next Wednesday evening, at the Regent Street Cinema in London, Criterion will conjure up Herk Harvey’s 1962 Carnival of Souls, screening from our newly released UK Blu-ray edition of the film, and introduced by critic and horror expert Kim Newman. The unsettling low-budget classic, the first and last feature film directed by veteran industrial filmmaker Harvey, manages to summon an eerie and enveloping atmosphere from the most meager of resources. Tapping into a rich vein of existential angst, and making excellent use of a singularly haunting organ score by Gene Moore, Harvey recounts the nightmarish tale of a car-crash survivor who moves across the country from Kansas to Utah, where she finds herself pursued by a ghostly figure and drawn to the site of an abandoned carnival. “The mutability of place and the disconnection from one’s sense of it form the central concern” of the film, writes Kier-La Janisse in her essay for our edition. “While two decades of experimental cinema had already been replicating dream states prior to its release, this . . . independent marvel was a pioneer of the purgatorial horror subgenre.”

from The Criterion Current

[The Daily] Jones, Reichardt, and More


Let’s start today with a few interviews. I’ve opened the NYFF 2017 Index with a snippet from poet Peter Gizzi’s conversation with New York Film Festival director Kent Jones for BOMB, but I want to flag it again because they cover more than this year’s edition. Jones discusses the changes he’s witnessed over the years, such as the rise of episodic television; his recent documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut (image above); and Diane, his first narrative feature. “At a certain point, it became a story about a mother and her son,” and it stars Mary Kay Place and was completed with the help of Oren Moverman, who wrote Alison Maclean’s Jesus’ Son (1999) and directed The Messenger (2009). Further in, there’s this: “The cinema is very, very young, but many of the people who write about it treat it as if it were very, very old.”

“Kelly Reichardt might be the most important independent American filmmaker working right now,” proposes Bilge Ebiri at the top of his interview for the Village Voice. The focus here is on last year’s Certain Women, but, says Reichardt: “They all sort of start with sound. The soundscapes begin with scouting and really listening to what’s happening in the spaces.”

“I don’t really know why and how any of these films are made,” Hong Sang-soo, who’s made around two dozen of them, tells Calum Marsh in the National Post. “I try always not to start with a clear purpose or objectives. I kind of believe in the creative process itself. I only respond to what is given to me at the time I set out to make one, such as actors, locations, weather, as well as what I see, what I read, what I recall, and what I hear during the pre-production and production period, with what I call ‘my best innocence.’”


Introducing a series of profiles of local movers and shakers for Chicago’s Newcity, Ray Pride writes that “art gets into the world and onto screens large and small and into archives and onto screens again through intricate networks of economies and affinities. The work of visionary educators, visionary producers, visionary mentors, visionary exhibitors, visionary archivists are just as essential. While forces of consolidation and contraction are always at work, the Chicago film community is in a warm, fuzzy place for now. The loosely defined phrase ‘Peak TV’ is due for a smackdown, even in relation to the flurry of series that continue to be shot locally, but in surveying the figures behind the camera and behind the scenes for this year’s edition of Film 50, we discovered an impressive portrait of Peak Chicago.

“In this second decade of the 21st century, three successful feature films focused on middle-aged white males who get away with murder and grand theft,” writes Josh Ashenmiller for Bright Lights. “It is tempting to explain these three white male felons as species of white privilege—aggressive exploiters of an exploitative system. But the stories of Dr. King Schultz [played by Christoph Waltz in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012)], Irving Rosenfeld [Christian Bale in David O. Russell’s American Hustle (2013)], and Rick Carver [Michael Shannon in Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes (2014)] contain a critique of American society deeper than just ‘white guys always get the benefit of the doubt.’ These men exploit the finely printed details of American contract law. What seems like the most gossamer thread—the same type of throwaway language under which we tap ‘I agree’ without even reading—turns out to be, with enough chutzpah, the foundation for a semi-legal business enterprise, a wellspring of white privilege.”

“Billy Wilder always more or less disowned his one real musical,” writes David Cairns in the Notebook. In The Emperor Waltz (1948), a “sort of Tyrolean dance where the servants (including Wilder's girlfriend Doris Dowling, better cast in Lost Weekend) start cavorting to [Bing] Crosby's crooning has a faint, distorted Alpine echo of Lubitsch, and may explain what Wilder thought he was doing.”


Steven Shaviro has posted his chapter from Indefinite Visions, “The Glitch Dimension: Paranormal Activity and the Technologies of Vision.” The films in this franchise “work, quite brutally,” he writes, to entrain us to temporal rhythms that are alien to and discordant with our own.” And: “ If they offer a commentary on our contemporary media situation, this is because—and precisely to the extent that—they are themselves entirely embedded within this situation.”

Scary Prairie from Erik Winkowski

Little White Lies has posted excerpts from Richard Ayoade presents The Grip of Film by Gordy LaSure, which will be out next week. Among the observations here: “British Arse lacks the life-affirming expansiveness of American Ass.”

For Women and Hollywood, Holly Rosen Fink talks with Erin Carlson about her book, I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy.


“Audrey Hepburn’s original working script for the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s sold Wednesday night at Christie’s in London for £632,750, or about $847,000, appropriately enough to Tiffany & Co.,” reports Scott Reyburn for the New York Times. “The price was a high for any film script offered at auction, according the London-based auction house.”


New York. With the festival opening tonight, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced the full lineup of NYFF55 Directors Dialogues and NYFF Live panels.

Memphis. The Indie Memphis Film Festival has announced the lineup for its twentieth anniversary edition running from November 1 through 6. “Oliver Butler and Will Eno’s adaptation of Eno’s Pulitzer Prize finalist, Thom Pain, kicks off Opening Night,” notes Filmmaker editor Scott Macaulay. “Lynne Sachs’s Tip of My Tongue, which collects the reflections of a group of the filmmaker’s contemporaries on the occasion of her 50th birthday, is the closing night film.” There’ll also be “a special salute” to Abel Ferrara, who’s bringing Bad Lieutenant (1992), The Addiction (1995), and, “in its U.S. premiere, Alive in France to Memphis. Ferrara will also perform with his band Flyz.”

San Francisco.Lynn Hershman Leeson will address [Alfred Hitchcock’s] Vertigo [1958] with a new project called VertiGhost at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, with works at both the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum,” writes Alex Greenberger for ARTnews. “The project includes a film about Portrait of Carlotta Valdes, the painting that figures prominently in the Hitchcock work, as well as a new work with a component that can be accessed via the internet.”

Toronto. Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) screens this evening as part of the TIFF Cinematheque series The Heart of the World: Masterpieces of Soviet Silent Cinema. “Given the film’s double life as both art and agitprop,” writes Craig Caron in the TIFF Review, “it’s only fitting that three of the key figures in the Russian Constructivist movement—Alexander Rodchenko, Anton Lavinsky, and the Stenberg Brothers—produced materials for the film. Though this early Soviet aesthetic is perhaps overly familiar to us nowadays, it cannot be overstated that at the time, these posters were as revolutionary as the film they advertised.” Caron’s gallery of artwork spans decades.

MDFF Selects: Presented by Cinema Scope and TIFF is an ongoing series at the Lightbox, and tonight’s selection is Happy Times Will Come Soon (2016). Kazik Radwanski (Tower, How Heavy This Hammer) talks with director Alessandro Comodin “about his inspirations for the film, his unique combination of documentary and narrative techniques, and where he fits in the landscape of contemporary Italian cinema.”


Meantime, High Concept: The Films of Denis Villeneuve is on through Sunday.

Amsterdam. Locus: Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Cao Guimarães is on view at EYE Filmmuseum through December 3.


“Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant—all the while, as its very public avatar, squiring attractive young women (and sometimes marrying them) well into his 80s—died on Wednesday,” reports Laura Mansnerus for the New York Times. He was ninety-one.

“Anne Jeffreys, an actress whose career spanned the Nelson Eddy and Janette MacDonald era through a decades-long run into the 2000s as General Hospital’s snobbiest socialite, has died,” reports Greg Evans for Deadline. She was ninety-four.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

from The Criterion Current