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The Tree of Life: On Darren Aronofsky’s "The Fountain", A Decade Later

  • MUBI
Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006) is showing on Mubi from November 12 - December 12, 1017 in the United Kingdom.“Finish it.”The exhortation is an integral part of the texture of The Fountain as a work of art, but it also refers, obliquely, maybe unconsciously, to all the toil and trouble that surrounded its six-year path to the big screen and its controversial reception. Darren Aronofsky—a headstrong filmmaker if there ever was one—could have simply shelved the project indefinitely after his original lead, Brad Pitt, bailed out prior to the start of the production. But, like the words that Izzi says to Tom and that echo throughout the film’s three interconnected timelines, he didn’t. He had to “finish it.” So Aronofsky did, regrouping, downsizing, rethinking a film that was inspired by both the out-there genre twisting of The Matrix and his own experiences with death. What emerged was
See full article at MUBI »

November 14th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include George A. Romero Between Night And Dawn Collection, Hellraiser SteelBook, The Paul Naschy Collection II

  • DailyDead
We have another busy week of home releases to look forward to, with an array of films that hit a bunch of different subgenres. For those who may have missed it in theaters earlier this year, you can now catch up with Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde this Tuesday, and if you missed seeing it online this fall, Amityville: The Awakening hits both Blu-ray and DVD as well.

For you cult cinema fans out there, I hope your wallets are ready for some serious damage, as there are a ton of great offerings coming home on November 14th, including the gorgeous limited edition Hellraiser Steelbook, The Paul Naschy Collection II, J.D.’s Revenge, and Arrow’s stunning Blu-ray set honoring one of horror’s true greats—George A. Romero—that features HD releases of Season of the Witch, There’s Always Vanilla, and The Crazies.

Other notable
See full article at DailyDead »

A Critic’s Appreciation of Agnès Varda, New Wave’s Leading Lady

A Critic’s Appreciation of Agnès Varda, New Wave’s Leading Lady
In his book “The Judgment of Paris,” art historian Ross King points out that in the 1860s, France’s most esteemed artist was a man named Ernest Meissonier, a celebrated painter of horses and military tableaux whom few recall today. By contrast, many of the Impressionists whose genius we now celebrate were not properly recognized until after their deaths.

It’s a lesson worth remembering when thinking about contemporary cinema, in which pop entertainment earns instant praise, while the work most likely to endure a century from now a century from now goes relatively unrecognized in its time. French director Agnès Varda is the kind of filmmaker whose oeuvre is sure to stand the test of time — because it already has, holding up brilliantly since her 1955 feature debut, “La Pointe Courte,” about which Variety condescendingly wrote, “Main aspect of this film is that it was made for $20,000 by a 25-year-old girl.”

With her tiny seaside romance,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Very Eye of Night: Carole Roussopoulos

  • MUBI
The Very Eye of Night is a series of columns on non-binary and female avant-garde film and video artists. The title refers to Maya Deren’s last completed film. Anthology Film Archives in New York presents a five-program retrospective of Carole Roussopoulos’s videos from November 7–9, 2017. The screenings will be introduced by Nicole Fernández Ferrer, director of the Simone de Beauvoir Audiovisual Center.Carole Roussopoulos, 1970. Photo by Guy Le Querrec.Jean-Luc Godard wrote a letter to Carole Roussopoulos in 1979 for Cahiers du cinéma in which he reflected on the motivations behind making films, and inquired: “Sometimes I wonder what has happened to all you have filmed in the four corners of France and the world… And I wonder why people in cinema want to film others with so much frenzy.” As Nicole Brenez recalls, the Swiss filmmaker responded to him: “to privilege the approach of those without a voice.” Carole Roussopoulos
See full article at MUBI »

Crypt of Curiosities: The Short Films of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

For my money, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are two of the best genre directors working today. Their two feature-length gialli, Amer (2009) and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2014) are among the greatest "throwback" films of all-time, taking the vocabulary and iconography of the giallo and twisting it into something new and exciting, all while playing with the cinematic form with a barrage of close-ups, split screens, and Chris Marker-esque jump-cut slideshows. The only downside is that, as of the time of this writing, only the aforementioned gialli are available for viewing, while their latest film, Let the Corpses Tan, won’t be released stateside until this summer. So what’s a fan of hyper-stylized neo-gialli to do? Why, turn to their shorts, of course!

Like many filmmakers, Cattet and Forzani honed the aesthetic they’d use in their later films through their early shorts. Unlike all filmmakers,
See full article at DailyDead »

International Newswire: HBO Nordic, Turner Launch New Ott Toonix Brand

In today’s International Newswire, Turner and HBO launch a new Ott family brand in Scandinavia; Lionsgate UK re-teams with Noel Clarke; and as the TV industry builds up for mid-month’s Mipcom trade fair, Keshet Intl. revealing its Mipcom slate, a report suggests television remains the preferred screen of choice for viewing programs.

HBO Nordic, which operates in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, has launched Turner’s brand-new children and family Ott service Toonix. Created by Turner Emea, Toonix is targeted at 3-12-year-olds and their families. The service will offer a mix of kids’ series and movies, including popular content from Turner’s Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation. Among its key shows are “The Amazing World of Gumball,” “Lego Ninjago,” “Looney Tunes” and “The Powerpuff Girls,” all of which are fully localized, with offerings in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish. Toonix will be available for consumers on www.hbonordic.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Forms of Memory: Close-Up on Chris Marker’s "Level Five"

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Chris Marker's Level Five (1997) is playing September 17 - October 17, 2017 in most countries around the world as part of the retrospective Chris Marker: An Essayist from the Future.Midway into Chris Marker’s Level Five (1997), Laura (Catherine Belkhodja) ponders aloud what ethnologists of the future might think of the video diaries she makes throughout the course of the film. Answering to their presumed curiosity, she tells those future detectives, “Yes it was customary for such tribes to address a familiar and protective spirit known as a computer…They’d consult on everything, it kept their memory. In fact, they no longer had a memory. It was their memory.” If one had to make a sweeping statement about this dense, multivalent film, one could do worse than suggest that Level Five’s subject is this externalization of memory into media addressed by Laura,
See full article at MUBI »

Exclusive ‘Rat Film’ Trailer: Baltimore’s History Runs With Rodents

There are few things more unpleasant than an encounter with a rat. However, the rodents are just as much a part of the urban fabric as anything else, and that’s particularly true in the fascinating documentary “Rat Film.” And today, we have the exclusive trailer for the film.

Directed by Theo Anthony, and featuring a score by electronic music wizard Dan Deacon, the film — “working in the spirit of Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and Werner Herzog” — takes a look at the complex relationship between rats and the city of Baltimore.

Continue reading Exclusive ‘Rat Film’ Trailer: Baltimore’s History Runs With Rodents at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

Locarno Critics Academy 2017: Meet This Year’s Aspiring Film Critics

Locarno Critics Academy 2017: Meet This Year’s Aspiring Film Critics
The 2017 Locarno Film Festival recently wrapped its 70th edition, where several aspiring film critics participated in the latest edition of the Locarno Critics Academy, an international workshop to educate promising writers in the craft and discipline of contemporary film criticism. This year’s participants will contribute essays on highlights from the festival. Here’s an overview of their backgrounds and interests.

Name: Jaime Grijalba Gómez

Age: 27

Twitter handle: @jaimegrijalba

Home: Santiago de Chile, Chile.

Cinematic area of expertise: Chilean cinema, film festivals, horror cinema

Best movie you’ve seen in 2017: El mar la mar

Favorite book (or piece of writing) about film: Bresson’s “Notes on the Cinematographer”

I’m taking part in the Locarno Critics Academy because… I want to think that criticism today still has a role that goes beyond those interested in film or in making them. It has a role in society, and I want to find it.
See full article at Indiewire »

Video Essay. Letter from Marker

Mubi's retrospective Chris Marker: An Essayist from the Future is showing July 29 - September 17, 2017 in many countries around the world.Chris Marker’s work exists in the intersection of fiction and documentary, in a realm of elusiveness that trades in interrogation, not in confident statements. He refuses categorization but, almost spitefully, a category was created to encompass his work, a category that isn’t quite a genre.In 1958, after watching Lettre de Sibérie(1957), André Bazin wrote that Marker’s first feature film resembles nothing hitherto seen in documentary films: “The important word is ‘essay,’ understood in the same sense that it has in literature – an essay at once historical and political, written by a poet as well. Generally, even in politically engaged documentaries or those with a specific point to make, the image (which is to say, the uniquely cinematic element) effectively constitutes the primary material of the film
See full article at MUBI »

Time is on my side by Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Almereyda with Hampton Fancher on the form of Escapes, executive produced by Wes Anderson: "This is my tribute to Bruce Conner." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

In my Escapes conversation with Michael Almereyda (Experimenter, starring Peter Sarsgaard) and Hampton Fancher (co-screenwriter of Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049) we start out with Federico García Lorca, Bruce Conner, Philip K Dick and Chris Marker. Then we encounter a Jean-Pierre Léaud, Tina Sinatra, Michael Pfleghar (Romeo Und Julia 70) connection and next stop over at Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself, Brian Kelly and Flipper, Skinningrove on photographer Chris Killip, Yasujiro Ozu's influence on Wim Wenders (Yuharu Atsuta in Tokyo-Ga) and Jim Jarmusch.

Hampton Fancher: "It's looking at my life through other people's eyes."

Michael Almereyda's approach in Escapes turns the idea of a biopic inside out. Clips from Hampton Fancher's television and movie performances mixed with those
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

All of the Films Joining FilmStruck’s Criterion Channel this August

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This August will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Tuesday, August 1

Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train

Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer.
See full article at CriterionCast »

NYC Weekend Watch: Chris Marker, Scary Movies, Agnès Varda & More

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

Metrograph

Hitchcock and Altman play for “Welcome to Metrograph,” while Annie is scheduled.

Chris Marker’s films screen in a series, as does the work of Alain Tanner.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

The exhaustive, potentially exhausting “Scary Movies X” is underway.

BAMcinematek

The Edgar Wright-curated crime series and camp-centered cinema showings are ongoing.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Book Review: Studio: Remembering Chris Marker, A Beautiful Tribute to a Great Artist

Studio: Remembering Chris Marker is a new hardcover release from Or Books that marries an introduction by Ben Lerner and an essay from Colin MacCabe with photos from Adam Bartos to create a beautiful tribute to the late filmmaker-artist Chris Marker (1912-2012). Colin MacCabe's interactions with Marker began in an atypical way in 2002. An acquaintance gave MacCabe a VHS copy of The Magic Face. As Marker was obsessed with the film, the tape served as MacCabe's proverbial ticket to a meeting with Marker at his Parisian apartment. Over the course of many years and many subsequent visits, the MacCabe-Marker friendship became increasingly strong as MacCabe assisted Marker in his numerous cinematic and artistic projects. Thus, Studio's central essay is more personal than analytical, which...

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

E uno plura: Close-Up on James N. Kienitz Wilkins' "The Republic"

Mubi is presenting the world premiere of James N. Kientiz Wilkins' The Republic from July 4 - August 3, 2017.The cinema of James N. Kienitz Wilkins occupies an unusual space in the contemporary art scene. Most of his films are the result of some sort of conceptual procedure, a decision either to treat his original footage according to some abstract system or to apply his own logic to found material. And yet, there is a plainspoken quality to Kienitz Wilkins’ work that smooths out any potential “art damage” or intimidation factor. Kienitz Wilkins has successfully adapted some of the most critical weapons in the arsenal of experimental cinema to produce a stark poetry of the everyday.Kienitz Wilkins’ newest “film,” The Republic, is quite possibly his most radical effort to date. For starters, you will notice that I put the word “film” in quotation marks, since it is no easy matter to
See full article at MUBI »

In Chris Marker's Studio discussion set for New York's Metrograph by Anne-Katrin Titze - 2017-07-03 14:21:00

Colin MacCabe in a Chris Marker Cats Go Barack T-shirt Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger co-director Colin MacCabe and photographer Adam Bartos will be joined by Ben Lerner and Experimenter director Michael Almereyda for an In Chris Marker's Studio panel discussion following the screenings of Marker's Cat Listening To Music (Chat Écoutant La Musique), Ouvroir, Second Life featuring Guillaume-en-Égypte and excerpts from Agnès Varda's Agnès De Ci De Là Varda at Metrograph in New York.

Michael Almereyda's Escapes subject Hampton Fancher at BAMcinemaFest Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Almereyda's two latest films, Marjorie Prime (starring Lois Smith, Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Tim Robbins) and his Hampton Fancher documentary Escapes will be released this summer in the Us.

Marker's Sans Soleil, Tokyo Days and his Le Joli Mai with Pierre Lhomme will be shown as part of the series celebrating another cat man.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

The Walerian Borowczyk Short Film Collection

That bad boy of (mostly) French cinema Walerian Borowczyk has been converting doubters into fans for sixty years, even though his pictures were never easy to see. Before he took a headlong leap into soft-core epics, he made some of the most creative and influential short films of his time — and they eventually became more erotic as well.

The Walerian Borowczyk Short Film Collection

Blu-ray

Olive Films

1959-1984 / B&W and Color / 1:66, 1:78 and 1:37 flat Academy / 144 min. / Street Date April 25, 2017 / available through the Olive Films website / 24.95

Directed by Walerian Borowczyk

This release brings back memories of traveling short subject shows, usually several reels’ worth of experimental films that would tour college campuses. Even in High School I’d drag my girlfriend to the University of Riverside, where huge crowds looking for the ‘In’ place to be would stare in attention at hours of abstract visuals, expressing their approval
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The Dinner: Director Oren Moverman Serves Up a Compelling Drama

Filmmaker Oren Moverman has never shied away from tackling difficult, seemingly impossible material to adapt to film with some of his writing work including the screenplays for Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There and the equally intriguing Brian Wilson biopic, Love and Mercy.

As a director and producer he’s followed suit with his 2nd film Rampart starring Woody Harrelson as an L.A. police officer with questionable motives, followed by a meditative look at homelessness with Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind.

For his latest movie, The Dinner, Moverman adapts Dutch author Herman Koch’s novel, which on the surface is about a dinner between two related couples with all the requisite food porn. As it progresses, it explores a variety of topics including mental illness and the battle of Gettysburg.

At the core of the film is Steve Coogan and Richard Gere playing brothers, the former a history professor,
See full article at LRM Online »

Hot Docs 2017 Women Directors: Meet Ashley Sabin — “Do Donkeys Act?”

“Do Donkeys Act?”

Ashley Sabin’s documentaries have screened internationally in festivals and on television worldwide. Her vast body of work includes four recent “animal ethnography” films based in the world of donkeys.

“Do Donkeys Act?” will premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on April 27. The film is co-directed by David Redmon.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

As: “Do Donkeys Act?” is an ethno-poetic animal fiction that takes that its playfully self-reflexive cues from documentarians Jean Rouch and Chris Marker.

Encouraging us to respect a major language barrier we might not otherwise consider — the mystery and intrigue of donkey utterances — “Do Donkeys Act?” invites us to “step into their shade and listen closely” as we attune to a series of dramatic performances in which we eavesdrop on donkeys speaking amongst themselves.

By reclaiming the donkey from the indignity of a centuries-old, master-slave relationship — in which the dominant image of the donkey has been negative and related to stubbornness, jackassery, etc. — “Do Donkeys Act?” elevates a denigrated and degraded beast to the role of lead actor and performance artist. To paraphrase performance artist Marina Abramović, the donkey is present.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

As: We focused our lens and sound recorder on donkeys because of their bray. Late one night, we listened to a YouTube video of a donkey braying, and at that point we knew we had to make a film. The sound is musical and enchanting. I was pregnant with our first child, so it seemed like the kind of film on which we could embark.

The movie is about the phenomenology of being with the expressive donkeys. What surprised us, though, is how intuitive and empathic they are.

Turns out, we didn’t premiere the film until we had our second child! Sometimes, these documentaries take a while to simmer.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

As: “Do Donkeys Act?” subtly subverts the notion of the “dumb beast.” It captures donkeys communicating emotionally with each other in the midst of healing from human cruelty and neglect.

It’s really about being present with these beautiful creatures and experiencing their sentience.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

As: We have two wonderful producers, Deborah Smith and Dale Smith, who put in the first funds. They believe in us and the work we do, which is such a gift. Then my co-director, David Redmon, secured a Leverhulme Institute Grant in the UK, which allowed him to finish his book, publish articles on donkeys, and complete the movie. The rest was self-financed.

We’ve always worked in a way whereby we produce work, distribute it, and then use the funds from distribution to make the next piece. This means we had to work at a fast rate. This has since changed, as we have two children. We’re currently working on a new model.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Hot Docs?

As: We used to live in Montreal, and, in fact, we filmed at a donkey sanctuary near Toronto in Guelph, Canada.

It is a real pleasure to return and share “Do Donkeys Act?” with a Canadian audience that has a passion for documentary.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

As: Best advice: Cut on motion. This is an interesting way of thinking about editing. People, objects, landscapes, and donkeys are constantly in flux.

Worst advice: Use professional lighting. I don’t think that person understood our filmmaking style at all.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

As: I feel fortunate to have found a wonderful partner. We have similar sensibilities. We also disagree enough to allow the filmmaking process to be challenging and interesting.

Editing is a lonely process, so if you can find good collaborators, it can help the film and the process.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

As: It’s a tie between Kelly Reichardt’s “Old Joy” and Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I.” Both have a beautiful simplicity to their narrative. They are playful, and I can feel the hands of the creator. The maker feels resourceful and creative.

They aren’t perfect films, but something about their imperfections also attracts me.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

As: I think it’s important to encourage women filmmakers, as well as other daring makers and new voices.

After having two children, a new issue has come to my attention: the lack of childcare at film festivals. How can a family of filmmakers fully participate without some childcare help? I think if this issue changes the division of labor between both women and men everyone would benefit greatly.

https://medium.com/media/e6cdd37567b7fab9a0d0d332b1b6fb4e/href

Hot Docs 2017 Women Directors: Meet Ashley Sabin — “Do Donkeys Act?” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Sheffield Doc/Fest to Open With World Premiere of ‘Queerama’

Sheffield Doc/Fest to Open With World Premiere of ‘Queerama’
The 24th Sheffield Doc/Fest will open with the world premiere of Daisy Asquith’s “Queerama,” in keeping with the festival’s themes this year of resistance and change.

“This year at Doc/Fest we have our most urgent and loudest call to action to join the groundswell movements of resistance and change, where we celebrate those who disobey and resist to shape the future global narrative,” said Liz McIntyre, the festival’s CEO and director. “We’re stepping into the early scenes of a tragicomic new world story.”

Britain’s leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest runs from June 9-14. Its official program launch will be on May 3,

Marking the 50th anniversary of Britain’s landmark Sexual Offenses Act, which decriminalized private homosexual acts in England and Wales, “Queerama” will be followed by a live performance by U.S. singer-songwriter John Grant, whose music features in the film. The documentary,
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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