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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 »

Fertile Soil: Xavier Beauvois Discusses "The Guardians"

  • MUBI
Nathalie Baye and Xavier BeauvoisThe strength of women left alone to fend for themselves is the communal focus of actor and director Xavier Beauvois’s The Guardians. After directing Of Gods and Men (2010), Beauvois’s excellent neo-western set among French monks in Algeria, we lost sight of this under-estimated director—his next was a quasi-comedy I’m dying to see about ruffians stealing Chaplin’s corpse—though it was a delight to encounter him earlier this year before the camera as one of Juliette Binoche’s many love (and sex) interests in Claire Denis’s Let the Sunshine In. I am very glad indeed that Beauvois is back in the director’s seat and in the international spotlight with The Guardians, adapted from an obscure 1924 novel by Ernest Pérochon about a struggling farmstead on the home front of the First World War, and one of the exceptional films of the year.
See full article at MUBI »

Tiff 2017. Correspondences #7

  • MUBI
Dear Kelley and Fern,I'm sorry your initial schedule has been thrown off, Kelley. Logistics and mindspace are always major challenges at film festivals, where so many have to juggle venues, runtimes, jet lag, walk-speed, hunger-levels, memory recall, wifi-access, note legibility, awkward conversation time-sinks, and many other disparate variables. As a Tiff-newcomer, I wonder what your impression is of the festival event so far? A more vivid festival contrast could not be better made than between Fernando’s distaste, which I share, for Darren Aronofsky’s mother! and its false audacity, and the earthy mystery in Strangely Ordinary This Devotion, with its sublimely suggestive and tactile cosmogony of birth and motherhood.No surprise that the latter is programmed in the Wavelengths’ section curated by Andréa Picard, who has made a name for herself, her program, and Toronto's festival for spotlighting such boldly challenging and invigorating films. As I mentioned in
See full article at MUBI »

Telluride 2017. Lineup

  • MUBI
The RiderThe lineup for the 2017 Telluride Film Festival (September 1st - 4th) has been announced:

Arthur Miller: Writer (Rebecca Miller, U.S.)Battle of the Sexes (Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton, U.S.)Darkest Hour (Joe Wright, U.K.)Downsizing (Alexander Payne, U.S.)Eating Animals (Christopher Quinn, U.S.)Faces Places (Agnès Varda & Jr, France)A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio, Chile/U.S./Germany/Spain)Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, U.K.)First Reformed (Paul Schrader, U.S.)First They Killed My Father (Angelina Jolie, U.S./Cambodia)Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz, Israel)Hostages (Rezo Gigineishvili, Georgia/Russia/Poland)Hostiles (Scott Cooper, U.S.)Human Flow (Ai Weiwei, U.S./Germany)The Insult (Ziad Doueiri, France-Lebanon)Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, U.S.)Land of the Free (Camilla Magid, Denmark-Finland)Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh, U.K./U.S)Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia/France/Belgium/Germany)Love,
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Telluride 2017 Line-up Includes ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Lady Bird,’ ‘Downsizing,’ and More

Now in its 44th year, Telluride Film Festival provides the launching pad for many of the fall’s biggest films and, as usual, we don’t know the line-up until right before it kicks off. Beginning this Friday, they’ve now unveiled the full slate, which features much of the expected players — new films from Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig, Alexander Payne, Joe Wright, and Todd Haynes — as well as the latest work from Paul Schrader, Andrew Haigh, Agnes Varda, Ken Burns, Errol Morris, and more.

Check out the line-up below.

Arthur Miller: Writer (d. Rebecca Miller, U.S., 2017)

Battle Of The Sexes (d. Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton, U.S., 2017)

Darkest Hour (d. Joe Wright, U.K., 2017)

Downsizing (d. Alexander Payne, U.S., 2017)

Eating Animals (d. Christopher Quinn, U.S., 2017)

Faces Places (d. Agnes Varda, Jr, France, 2017)

A Fantastic Woman (d. Sebastián Lelio, Chile-u.S.-Germany-Spain, 2017)

Film Stars Don’T Die In Liverpool (d.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Telluride Reveals 2017 Lineup: ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Downsizing,’ Christian Bale Tribute, and Angelina Jolie

  • Indiewire
Telluride Reveals 2017 Lineup: ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Downsizing,’ Christian Bale Tribute, and Angelina Jolie
The Telluride Film Festival has announced its 2017 lineup. As usual, the exclusive Colorado gathering features a range of buzzy fall season movies, including many films also premiering in Venice and Toronto as well as others resurfacing from earlier in the year, just in time for awards season. Filmmakers in this year’s program range from Alexander Payne to Angelina Jolie. The festival will also honor cinematographer Ed Lachman, actor Christian Bale, and screen a new cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 Harlem musical “The Cotton Club.”

One of the bigger films to make the cut in this year’s lineup should take no one by surprise: “Downsizing” (12/22, Paramount), Payne’s long-gestating near-future workplace satire starring Matt Damon, will screen at the festival where Payne has been a regular for years (both as a filmmaker and audience member). The movie opened the Venice Film Festival earlier this week, and was followed
See full article at Indiewire »

Telluride Film Festival Lineup Includes ‘Darkest Hour,’ ‘Downsizing,’ ‘Shape of Water’

Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles,” Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father,” and Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” will unspool for audiences at the 44th annual Telluride Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

Also set for debuts at the four-day event, unfolding over the Labor Day weekend, are Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ “Battle of the Sexes,” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell; and Paul McGuigan’s “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” with Annette Bening and Jamie Bell.

A number of films set for premieres at the Venice Film Festival will also make the journey to the southwest Colorado ski village, including Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” Andrew Haigh’s “Lean on Pete,” Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” and Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

Related

Telluride Film Festival Director on Hidden Gems and a Banner Year for Women

Titles scheduled to finally surface in the States after previous international
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Criterion Now – Episode 29 – Bonus Episode with Josh Larsen from FilmSpotting

This is a special episode with Josh Larsen from FilmSpotting as a guest. He joins Aaron and Mark Hurne to discuss film from a religious perspective. We get into his book, Movies Are Prayers, and talk about one of his favorite films, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. We also talk about his background in film, and how he approaches the Criterion Collection.

Episode Links Larsen on Film FilmSpotting Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Josh Larsen: Twitter | Letterboxd | Facebook Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Criterion Now: Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter

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

Why Jeanne Moreau’s Death Represents the Decline of French Film in America

  • Indiewire
Iconic actress Jeanne Moreau’s death this week at 89 received muted American coverage, with remembrances that hardly captured Moreau’s essential presence and influence in world cinema. Overshadowed by the passing of Sam Shepard the day before (more contemporary, American, prominent in multiple fields, and younger), she received back-page obituaries in major papers. Her lack of any Oscar nominations, or a deserved honorary award, didn’t help the cause.

Even more unfortunate is the treatment of her death reflects American audiences’ ever-increasing disinterest in French-language film. Jeanne Moreau is significant for her transcendent artistry and the directors with whom she worked, but she also represented the iconic qualities of her country’s cinema.

Though the boom in “art houses” (a term popularized in the late 1940s) came more from Italian films (“Rome, Open City,” “Shoe Shine,” and particularly “Bicycle Thief”), French film became a steady part of the subtitled market by the mid-1950s.
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‘La La Land’ Director Damien Chazelle Lucks Out, Channels Blanche Dubois

‘La La Land’ Director Damien Chazelle Lucks Out, Channels Blanche Dubois
La La Land” director Damien Chazelle admitted Saturday that he had been the beneficiary of good fortune in getting the film made.

“You really are very much dependent on the kindness of strangers,” he said, quoting Blanche Dubois’ deathless line in Tennesee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” while concluding a conversation with “Shameless” producer John Wells at the Producers Guild of America’s 9th Annual Produced By conference on the Fox lot.

32-year-old Chazelle, who became the youngest recipient of a best director Academy Award for “La La Land” in February, was attempting to explain how he had managed to succeed at a relatively young age. He began work on the comedy-drama musical in 2010, noting he was inspired by the French classic “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”

Related

Concert Review: ‘La La Land’ Live is a Meta, Magical Experience at the Hollywood Bowl

“It had one foot in the past and one in the new,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Film Review: ‘Visages Villages’

Cannes Film Review: ‘Visages Villages’
There was once a time — it now sounds ageist and sexist — when something would get written off as “an old man’s movie.” That meant a film created by a director at an age where just watching it, you could feel a certain stiffness in the joints, a too-slowed-down-for-its-own-good pace, a nagging (as opposed to enlightening) stillness of gaze. Examples of old man’s movies would be Alain Resnais’ “Wild Grass,” Elia Kazan’s “The Last Tycoon,” and — to me, though many would consider this opinion blasphemous — Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran.” But has there ever been a director who gives the lie to the old-man’s-movie trope like Agnès Varda? She’s 88, and makes films like she’s 28. Her movies are the opposite of old wo(man’s) movies. They’re a tonic — just watching them makes you feel younger.

Her new one, “Visages Villages” (which does indeed take place in villages,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Update: Catherine Deneuve to Star in Julie Bertuccelli’s “Claire Darling”

Catherine Deneuve in “A Christmas Tale

“School of Babel” director Julie Bertuccelli has begun production on her next film, “Claire Darling.” According to Variety, Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni have signed on to star in the fantasy drama. Memento Films is pre-selling the film at the Cannes Market.

“Set over 24 hours, ‘Claire Darling’ turns on a woman (Deneuve) who, convinced after hearing voices that it’s her last day on Earth, decides to have a garage sale to get rid of all the objects she has collected,” Variety summarizes. “Each object stirs vivid memories that take her back in time.” The project is a personal one for Bertuccelli; she is even filming at her grandmother’s suburban home in northern France.

Mastroianni (“3 Hearts”) will portray the daughter of Deneuve’s character. Alice Taglioni (Katell Quillévéré’s “Heal the Living”) and Olivier Rabourdin (“Taken”) co-star.

Bertuccelli and Sophie Fillieres (“If You Don’t I Will”) adapted “Claire Darling” from Lynda Rutledge’s book “Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale.” Les Films du Poisson is producing. The film has already been pre-bought by France 2 Cinema, Canal Plus, and Cine Plus, and Pyramide is planning an autumn release in France. Memento is presumably pre-selling the film’s international rights.

Memento’s Matthieu Delaunay describes “Claire Darling” as “emotional, subtle, and elegant.” He also mentioned that the film is part of Memento’s slate of women-centric fare such as the Catherine Frot-toplined “Marguerite” and “The Midwife,” an upcoming dramedy starring Deneuve and Frot.

“Be yourself, and don’t be afraid when you doubt or are not sure of yourself, even in front of men,” Bertuccelli advised female filmmakers in an interview with Women and Hollywood. “It’s also our strength to be instinctive, sometimes fragile, and not pretentious.” The director previously helmed the immigration doc “School of Babel” and “The Tree,” a drama about a young girl grieving her father.

Deneuve has been acting on-screen for over half a century. Her credits include “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “Indochine,” and “8 Women.” The Oscar-nominated actress has received a Berlin Silver Bear for outstanding artistic achievement, an honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes, and the Lumière Award at the 2016 Lumière Grand Lyon Film Festival. One of Deneuve’s more recent films, Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Standing Tall,” opened Cannes 2015.

Cannes Update: Catherine Deneuve to Star in Julie Bertuccelli’s “Claire Darling” 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 »

The Best Movies to Ever Win Cannes’ Palme d’Or — IndieWire Critic Survey

  • Indiewire
The Best Movies to Ever Win Cannes’ Palme d’Or  — IndieWire Critic Survey
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: In honor of the Cannes Film Festival, the 70th edition of which starts this week, what is the best film to ever win the coveted Palme d’Or?

For a complete list of Palme d’Or winners, click here.

Erin Whitney (@Cinemabite), ScreenCrush

This question is impossible because I clearly haven’t seen all 40 Palme d’Or winners (it’s on my to do list, I swear). But I could easily say “Apocalypse Now,” “Paris, Texas,” “Taxi Driver,” “Amour,” or even “Pulp Fiction.” But since this is a personal question, I have to say “The Tree of Life.” No film has moved me
See full article at Indiewire »

MK2 Acquires Worldwide Rights to Agnes Varda, Jacques Demy Films’ Library

MK2 Films, one of France’s leading production, international sales and exhibition companies, has acquired worldwide rights to the library of films helmed by French New Wave icons Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy.

The deal, signed with the company founded by the Varda-Demy family, covers France and international, except for DVD and French theatrical distribution of Varda’s and Demy’s movies.

The library includes the pair’s features, shorts and documentaries, most of which have been restored and digitized. Varda’s most critically acclaimed films include “The Beaches of Agnes,” “Les glaneurs et la glaneuse” and “Cléo de 5 à 7.” Some of Demy’s best-known films are “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg,” which won Cannes’s Palme d’Or in 1964 and launched the acting career of Catherine Deneuve, and “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.”

Varda, who is still a prolific filmmaker, is presenting her latest documentary, “Visages Villages,” which she co-directed with French artist Jr,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Criterion Close-Up – Episode 60 – Julien Duvivier in the 1930s

Mark, Aaron, David and Trevor return for part two of our exploration of the under-appreciated French director, Julien Duvivier. The first episode, Eclipse Viewer 54, looked at the first two films in his Eclipse set. This episode looks at the peak of his career, particularly La Belle Equipe, Pépé le Moko, and La Fin du Jour, along with an overview of his career and the availability (or lack) of his work in the states.

Episode Links & Notes Eclipse Viewer 54: Julien Duvivier in the 1930s Part 1 Criterion Close-Up 50: French Series Part 1 Criterion Close-Up 57: French Series part 2 Episode Credits Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd David Blakeslee: Twitter | Website Trevor Berrett: Twitter | Website Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Next time on the podcast: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
See full article at CriterionCast »

Watch Ben Wheatley Raid The Criterion Closet And Talk ‘Seven Samurai’ & ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’

  • The Playlist
As far as viral video #content goes, the Criterion Collection have got it nailed down with their Criterion Closet series. A sort of cinephile version of Supermarket Sweep, it’s seen all kinds of world-class filmmakers come to the headquarters of the great video label, and get to take with them whatever they can carry from their back catalog, while talking about some of their favorite filmmakers.

Read More: ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical

The latest to get in there, following the likes of Barry Jenkins, Mike Leigh and Edgar Wright, is Ben Wheatley, who dropped by Criterion HQ on the press tour for his recent, highly enjoyable “Free Fire.” The “Kill List” helmer is, as most visiting filmmakers seem to be, visibly thrilled and like a kid in a candy store, and picks out a fine selection of movies, including “The Seven Samurai,
See full article at The Playlist »

Watch Lots Of Jokes About Jazz In The Honest Trailer For ‘La La Land’

  • The Playlist
Popularity is no measure of quality. “Transformers” makes billions of dollars, people continue to watch “The Walking Dead” and the Honest Trailers phenomenon remains one of the most popular in the movie internet. Now years in the making and with six million subscribers on YouTube, their sarcastic takedowns of popular blockbusters go from strength to strength, leaving us, as skeptics to the whole thing, somewhat baffled.

Read More: ‘The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical

We can sort of see the appeal, and the Screen Junkies crew occasionally have some good jokes in there, but too often they go the lazy, obvious route.

Continue reading Watch Lots Of Jokes About Jazz In The Honest Trailer For ‘La La Land’ at The Playlist.
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The Pied Piper | Blu-ray Review

  • ioncinema
A forgotten oddity from the early 1970s is Jacques Demy’s English language mounting of The Pied Piper, a rather bleak but mostly unequivocal version of the famed Grimm Bros. fairy tale about a titular piper who infamously lured the children of Hamelin to their assumed deaths after being rebuffed by the townsfolk when he similarly rid the town of plague carrying rats.

Set in the 1300s of northern Germany, this UK production blends bits of Robert Browning’s famed poem of the legend into the film, but the end result is unusually straightforward and unfussy, considering Demy’s predilection for inventive, colorful musicals, such as the classic confections The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort. The stunt casting of Donovan as the piper generates a certain amount of interest, although he’s whittled down to a supporting character amongst a cast of master character actors like Donald Pleasence, John Hurt, Peter Vaughan, and child star Jack Wild.

Notably, The Pied Piper is one of the few Demy films not to be built around a strong, beautiful female lead, which may also explain why there’s no center point in the film. Cathryn Harrison (daughter of Rex, who starred in Louis Malle’s Black Moon) and a gone-to-seed Diana Dors (though not featured as memorably as her swarthy turn in Skolimowski’s Deep End) are the tiny flecks of feminine representation. It was also not Demy’s first English language production, as he’d made a sequel to his New Wave entry Lola (1961) with 1969’s Los Angeles set Model Shop. So what compelled him to make this departure, which premiered in-between two of his most whimsical Catherine Deneuve titles (Donkey Skin; A Slightly Pregnant Man) is perhaps the film’s greatest mystery.

Cultural familiarity with the material tends to work against our expectations. At best, Donovan is a mere supporting accent, popping up to supply mellow, anachronistic music at odd moments before the dramatic catalyst involving his ability to conjure rats with music arrives. Prior to his demeaning, Demy’s focus is mostly on the omnipotent and aggressive power of the corrupting church (Peter Vaughan’s Bishop) and Donald Pleasence’s greedy town leader, whose son (a sniveling John Hurt) is more intent on starting wars and making counterfeit gold to pay his gullible minions than stopping the encroaching plague. Taking the brunt of their violence is the Jewish alchemist, Melius (Michael Hordern), who is wise enough to know the rats have something to do with the spread of the disease. Demy uses his tragic demise to juxtapose the piper’s designs on the children.

While Hurt and Pleasance are entertaining as a toxic father and son, Demy seems estranged from anyone resembling a protagonist. Donovan is instantly forgettable, and the H.R. Pufnstuf and Oliver! child star Jack Wild gets upstaged by a wild mop of hair and a pronounced limp (which explains why he isn’t entranced along with the other children), and the film plays as if Donovan’s role might have been edited down in post. The script was the debut of screenwriters Andrew Birkin (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, 2006) and Mark Peploe (The Passenger, 1975; The Last Emperor, 1987) who would both go on to write a number of offbeat auteur entries.

Disc Review:

Kino Lorber releases this obscurity as part of their Studio Classics label, presented in 1.66:1. Picture and sound quality are serviceable, however, the title would have greatly benefitted from a restoration. Dp Peter Suschitzky’s frames rightly capture the period, including some awesomely creepy frescoes housing Pleasence and son, but the color sometimes seems faded or stripped from some sequences. Kino doesn’t include any extra features.

Final Thoughts:

More of a curio piece for fans of Demy, The Pied Piper mostly seems a missed opportunity of the creepy legend.

Film Review: ★★½/☆☆☆☆☆

Disc Review: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

The post The Pied Piper | Blu-ray Review appeared first on Ioncinema.com.
See full article at ioncinema »

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Perhaps motivated by the success of La La Land, Criterion has reissued two impressive Jacques Demy musicals as separate releases. This all-singing, all-dancing homage to candy-colored vintage Hollywood musicals is a captivating Franco-American hybrid that allows free rein to Demy’s marvelously positive romantic philosophy.

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 717

1967 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 125 min. / Les Demoiselles de Rochefort / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date April 11, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, Danielle Darrieux, George Chakiris, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin

Cinematography: Ghislain Cloquet

Production Designer: Bernard Evein

Film Editor: Jean Hamon

Original Music: Michel Legrand

Produced by Mag Bodard, Gilbert de Goldschmidt

Written and Directed by Jacques Demy

I was going to squeak by reviewing only Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but the interest in the new La La Land prompted some emails and messages that tell me a revisit of the charming
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical

  • The Playlist
If you kept up with reviews during “La La Land”’s theatrical run at the tail end of 2016, you probably ran into at least a few mentions of “The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg,” Jacques Demy‘s colorful 1964 romantic musical masterpiece. If you also keep up with The Criterion Collection, you know that “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” just hit home video via a pristine Criterion Blu-ray release this month.

Continue reading ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ ‘La La Land’ And The Bittersweetness Of A Demy Musical at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »
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