Thursday, February 28, 2008
RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA 2008
Love Songs / Les Chansons d'amour
Many featured guests will attend screenings throughout the series, including directors Charles Burns, Audrey Estrougo, Eric Guirado, Mia Hansen-Løve, Christophe Honoré, Cédric Klapisch, Nicolas Klotz, Claude Lelouch, Noémie Lvovsky, Richard McGuire, Claude Miller, Emmanual Mouret and Jean-Marc Moutout; actor/directors Sandrine Bonnaire, Sophie Marceau and Anne Le Ny; actor Elsa Zylberstein; writer Elizabeth Perceval-Klotz; and editor Zvetlana Vaynblat.
Academy-Award winner Claude Lelouch will kick off the series on Opening Night by introducing his wry, multifaceted thriller Roman de gare at the Walter Reade Theater, Friday, Feb. 29, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Fanny Ardant stars in the film as a best-selling author researching her next crime story. At the same time, a notorious serial killer escapes from prison and Paris hair-dresser Huguette (Audrey Dana), looking to change her destiny, picks up a man at a roadside rest stop. Dana received a César nomination as Best Female Newcomer for her performance in the film.
Several other celebrated French filmmakers return to Rendez-Vous.
L’Auberge Espagnole director Cédric Klapisch presents Paris, an emotional tour of the city through the eyes of a man waiting for a heart transplant, starring Romain Duris and Juliette Binoche.
Writer/director Noémie Lvovsky’s Let’s Dance! offers an original and energetic look at a Holocaust survivor turning 80, and just discovering that his life has not been fully lived.
Christophe Honoré pays tribute to the movie musical in Love Songs, featuring 13 new songs composed by Alex Beaupain and performed by a cast that includes Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni and Clotilde Hesme.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly actor Mathieu Amalric stars in two films in the series, alongside Sagnier, Patrick Bruel, Cécile De France and Julie Depardieu in Claude Miller’s multiple César nominee A Secret and as a troubled corporate psychologist in Nicolas Klotz’s Heartbeat Detector.
And acclaimed actresses Sandrine Bonnaire and Sophie Marceau demonstrate their impressive range by writing, directing, and appearing in a touching documentary memoir of autism, Her Name Is Sabine, and a gritty film noir, Trivial, respectively.
The 2008 edition of Rendez-Vous is not short of new faces and fresh debuts, highlighted by an astonishing collaboration. Six cutting edge comic book artists join together to create Fear(s) of the Dark, a provocative, black-and-white fantasy that weaves horror into science fiction and adds to France’s growing reputation, following The Triplets of Belleville and Persepolis, as a hotbed for animation. 23-year-old director Audrey Estrougo debuts her first film, Ain’t Scared, a captivating, day-in-the-life story that explores racial dynamics and adolescent life in the Parisian housing projects known as “les cités.”
Actress Mia Hansen-Løve steps behind the camera and delivers a refined and heartbreaking vision of a daughter’s reunion with her heroin addicted father, All Is Forgiven.
Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2008 is sponsored by Société Générale Private Banking and TV5 Monde with major support from Maison de la France and The Florence Gould Foundation. Additional support comes from agnès b., LVT Laser Subtitling, Sofitel and the French Cultural Services.
Tickets for Walter Reade Theater screenings are $12; $8 for Film Society members; $8 for students; and $8 for seniors at weekday screenings before 6 p.m. Tickets for IFC Center screenings are $12 for the general public and $8 for members and seniors all day.
For more information, call the Film Society at (212) 875-5600 or the IFC Center at (212) 924-7771.
Friday, Feb. 29
Saturday, March 1
Sunday, March 2
Wednesday, March 5
Thursday, March 6
Friday, March 7
Saturday, March 8
Sunday, March 9
Friday, Feb. 29
Saturday, March 1
Sunday, March 2
Monday, March 3
Tuesday, March 4
Wednesday, March 5
Thursday, March 6
Ain’t Scared / Regarde-moi
An astonishing debut for 23-year-old director Audrey Estrougo, Ain’t Scared chronicles one day in the emotional life of a Parisian housing project. Its focus is a group of young people, each of whom tries in his own way to express deep feelings for someone else while simultaneously-more- maintaining the hard emotional shells needed to survive in these mean streets. Especially after the disturbances of 2005, the Parisian suburbs—the ring of housing projects known as “les cités” that surround Paris—have been much discussed, yet rarely has anyone offered such a close-up sense of their daily life. Estrougo, who grew up in a housing project, also explores the racial dynamics that are very much part of this world, detailing the special codes and practices young men and women follow. Estrougo’s cast, chosen largely from residents of les cités, gives her film a remarkable authenticity.
All Is Forgiven / Tout est pardonné
Actress Mia Hansen-Løve’s feature directorial debut is a film of the rarest delicacy, an altogether remarkable expression of evanescent joy and sadness, achieved through the simplest of means. The story begins in Vienna, where a French writer named Victor (Paul Blain, whose haunted eyes make him a dead ringer for his father Gérard) finds it increasingly difficult to cope with life, and retreats from his Austrian wife Annette (Marie-Christine Friedrich) and their young daughter Pamela (Victoire Rousseau) into the anxious dissipation of heroin addiction. At which point the film does not so much advance as gently shift to Paris, 11 years later, where we encounter Pamela as a quietly self-possessed young teenager (Constance Rousseau, an incandescent first-time actress), as she begins to reconnect with her long lost father. Unlike almost every other first-time director in current cinema, Hansen-Løve (known to American audiences for her appearances as an actress in Olivier Assayas’ Les Destinées and Late August, Early September) trusts in her story, her settings, and her actors. She has a lovely and winning patience as a director, which gives the final passages of All Is Forgiven a heartbreaking beauty. The co-winner of the 2007 Prix Louis Delluc for Best First Film.
Fear(s) of the Dark / Peur(s) du noir
As seen most recently in Persepolis, animation has become an important part of contemporary French film and visual culture, as it has in so many countries. Six cutting edge comic book artists joined together to make this unnerving, provocative work, shot in shimmering black and white and filled with images and ideas guaranteed to make at least a few of your neck hairs-more- stand on end. Rather than compiling six short films, Fear(s) of the Dark allows each of its tales—which range from sci-fi to horror to the fantastic—to move in and out of the others in a dreamlike fashion. Direct from its world premiere at Sundance, Fear(s) of the Dark is not for the squeamish, but not to be missed.
The Feelings Factory / La Fabrique des sentiments
Attractive, educated and successful, Éloïse (Elsa Zylberstein) has it all—except for a stable, long-term romantic relationship. Now in her mid-30s, she can hear a certain clock ticking loudly. So she enrolls in a speed dating program. Seven men, seven women, pre-screened for compatibility. You have seven minutes to take the measure of each other before you both move on to other candidates. The Feelings Factory is a remarkable look at one variation of modern romance, a streamlined notion of courtship that gets past all the awkward preliminaries that seem to capsize such encounters. Zylberstein is perfect in the role: her self-assurance and intelligence—not to mention her sense of humor—can always be felt, even as she reveals bits of her needs and vulnerabilities to potential suitors. With Bruno Putzulu and Jacques Bonnaffé.
The Grocer’s Son / Le Fils de l’épicier
Hitting 30 and still not settled into a job or a relationship, Antoine (Nicolas Cazalé) heads home after his father has a heart attack. It falls to him to take over the family business: a mobile grocery story that travels around the south of France. Uncomfortably settling back into his old homestead, Antoine brings everything from eggs to laundry soap to the mainly elderly inhabitants of tiny rural hamlets, many no bigger than a dozen houses and a church. Accompanying him on some of his rounds is Claire, a friend from Paris interested in a break from her studies—and possibly in Antoine as well. A surprise box-office hit last summer in France, this sensitive, quietly observant film captures the texture of a vanishing world barely still in existence in this time of super-stores and the Internet. Cazalé is terrific, creating a moving portrait of a young man who has rejected his roots while not having found a real alternative to them.
Heartbeat Detector / La Question humaine
Mathieu Amalric plays Simon Kessel, an in-house psychologist for a giant Franco-German chemical company. The upper brass, represented by Karl Rose (Jean-Pierre Kalfon), gives Simon a special assignment: to prepare an assessment of the local Parisian company manager, Mathias Jüst (Michael Lonsdale, superb), who they claim has been acting strangely. Simon attempts to establish a rapport with Jüst through his love of music, but the more he burrows into Jüst’s background, the more shocked he becomes at the company’s past, reaching back to its conduct during the war. Adapted from the novel by François Emmanuel by director Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval, Heartbeat Detector offers a chilling look at how the structures of modern big business are often built on buried crimes.
Her Name Is Sabine / Elle s’appelle Sabine
Sandrine Bonnaire first burst into prominence with her heartbreaking performance in Maurice Pialat’s À nos amours. Since then, she’s worked with Agnès Varda, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and many other top-tier French directors. But throughout her acting career, Bonnaire has also been filming her younger sister, Sabine. Called crazy by her schoolmates and diagnosed as problematic by the authorities, Sabine moved in and out of schools until, in her late 20s, she was put in a mental institution. Bonnaire’s very moving, enlightening film finds Sabine at 38, living in an adult care facility after having finally been diagnosed as autistic five years earlier. An exposé of the ignorance that has plagued the treatment of autism, the film is even more centrally about the relationship between Sandrine and Sabine—the care, the closeness, the feelings of guilt and especially the frustration as one sister feels helpless to stop the other’s decline.
Let’s Dance! / Fait que ça danse!
One of the finest talents of her generation, writer-director (and occasional actress) Noémie Lvovsky makes in Let’s Dance! one of the most original studies of older characters seen in years. Her new film centers around Salomon Bellinsky (Jean-Pierre Marielle), a Holocaust survivor just-more- about to turn 80. He separated from his wife Genevieve (Bulle Ogier) years ago, but the two maintain a perfectly cordial relationship—that is, until recently, when it’s become increasingly clear that Genevieve’s mind is going. Salomon knows that the end is coming, but he knows just as well that it hasn’t arrived yet—something that is especially clear once Violette (Sabine Azéma) becomes part of his life. Meanwhile, Salomon and Genevieve’s daughter, Sarah (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), just can’t seem to settle down, and she wonders if having a baby might help. The performances are all first-rate, and the stories of each character move seamlessly through each other, providing accents and insights to what we’ve seen.
Love Songs / Les Chansons d’amour
One of the most promising directorial talents in France, Christophe Honoré again defies expectations with this bold, affecting look at a group of twenty-somethings in contemporary Paris. Ismael (Louis Garrel) has slipped into a comfortable ménage à trois with his longtime girlfriend Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and his co-worker Alice (Clotilde Hesme). After a sudden tragedy, these young people must deal not only with the reality of loss but also with the fear that love might never return. For Ismael, that process will lead him to Erwann (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), a college student whose affection and innocence might offer Ismael another kind of future. Buoyed by 13 songs composed by Alex Beaupain and ably performed by the cast, Love Songs powerfully captures the welter of emotions through which these characters pass, creating a decidedly contemporary update to the film musicals Honoré so clearly admires.
While waiting for a heart transplant that could save his life, Pierre (Romain Duris) has his world invaded by his sister Elise (Juliette Binoche) and her three children. The growing awareness of his impending mortality, as well as the re-discovery of his sister and her life, gives Pierre a very different sense of how he might spend the time still left to him. Meanwhile, a respected professor, Roland Verneuil (Fabrice Luchini), hopes for one more great romance in his life, while a vendor at an open-air market (Albert Dupontel), wonders what life is left for him now that he’s split from his wife—even though they continue to work together each day. A cinematic love letter to the city that seems to hide a story behind every shop window, small alley, street market or grand apartment building.
A Secret / Un secret
As a child in the ‘50s, François could never live up to the expectations of his robust, gymnast father. Frail and sickly, he was sure that somehow he didn’t belong, that there was something amiss with his otherwise picture-perfect family. When a neighbor tells François the secret behind his family, the film transports us back to months right before the outbreak of the war. It was a moment in which France’s Jewish community was divided between those who believed that a German invasion would spell disaster and those who believed their “Frenchness” would protect them. Adapting Philippe Grimbert’s novel (soon to be published in the U.S.), Claude Miller (with Natalie Carter) employs a complex flashback structure that also features sequences set in 1985 to show how the tides of history and family memory continue to affect the present. A Secret shared the award for Best Film at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival and was a major box-office success in France last year. With Mathieu Amalric, Ludovine Sagnier, Cécile De France, Julie Depardieu and Patrick Bruel.
Shall We Kiss? / Un baiser s’il vous plaît
Gabriel (Michaël Cohen) and Émilie (Julie Gayet) meet on the streets of a provincial capital. He offers her a ride, and the ride turns into a pleasant dinner with clearly romantic overtones. But when Gabriel attempts to plant a good night kiss, Émilie pulls back—even one kiss, she admonishes him, can have unexpected consequences. Cut to Émilie’s friends in Paris, Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) and Nicolas (director Emmanuel Mouret), and the story of her reluctance to accept even just one kiss. Wry, observant and also quite touching, Shall We Kiss? is a very contemporary meditation on the wages of infidelity. Mouret’s intelligent, successful characters deluge their emotions and instincts with very open speculation as to why they’re doing what they’re doing, trying to appear as if they’re in control while it’s clear to everyone else they haven’t been for a while.
Those Who Remain / Ceux qui restent
Every afternoon, Bertrand (Vincent Lindon), a high school German teacher, goes to visit his wife in the cancer ward of a local hospital. He meets Lorraine (Emmanuelle Devos), a graphic artist whose boyfriend is a patient on the same ward. Gradually, the two share coffees and sneak rooftop smokes. Each grows dependent on the other’s support as their lives become increasingly haunted by the specter of impending death. Veteran character actress Anne Le Ny makes an extraordinarily impressive debut as a writer-director with Those Who Remain. Her rendering of her two lead characters is fresh and supple, revealing the full range of needs each feels along with their lingering guilt just for being healthy.
Trivial / La Disparue de Deauville
Since the suicide of his wife, detective Jacques Renard (Christophe Lambert) hasn’t been able to pull it together, each day seemingly as much of a drudge as the day before. When a mysterious woman advises him to check out the Hotel Riviera in Deauville, Renard discovers that the hotel’s owner, Antoine Bérangère (Robert Hossein), has been missing for two days, according to Antoine’s son and wheelchair bound second wife (Marie-Christine Barrault). A terribly disfigured corpse turns up at the local morgue, and the police and the family declare the mystery of Antoine’s disappearance solved—but Renard’s not buying it. Sophie Marceau, one of France’s most popular actresses, devises for her second film as a director an intriguing thriller filled with supernatural overtones gleaned from a century of movie mysteries. Each time the movie’s direction appears to be clear, it unexpectedly veers off into uncharted territory.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
TONIGHT - PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG
This is a terrific film, reviewed earlier here in QPORITwhen it played at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's on tonight on channel 13 at 9 PM in NY and possibly other channels in other places.
Don't miss it if you love music, the history of modern America, or just enjoy a good time.
in Dark Matter
Directed by Chen Shi-zheng, US, 2007
Photo Credit: Matthew Margolin
Dark Matter, the film directed by Shi-Zheng Chen, (who has a background in opera) is a well-made, well acted, (almost operatic in a way), dramatic exploration of a brilliant Chinese student coming to study for his PhD in cosmology at a prestigious university in California.
Meryl Streep, as a woman dedicated to helping Chinese students adjust to their new cultural environment, Aidan Quinn, as an insensitive, even ruthless professor, and Ye Liu, the star, as the Chinese student, are all superior. The atmosphere and environment of the college campus and research power-group, and the portrayal of how the foreign, Chinese students encounter this different culture are especially vivid and richly conveyed.
But I have a problem... a big problem with the film.
WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!
If you have a chance to see the film, I strongly suggest seeing it knowing as little about it as possible. So if you have any chance to see the film, don't read the rest of this post! (Till after...)
WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!
The film is based, (or perhaps inspired, rather than actually based) on one (or more) cases where a brilliant student went "berserk" and started killing people on a college campus.
The problem I have with this film is that for all the brilliance with which the main character is presented (by the writing, direction, and acting); and all the brilliance with which the other characters and the dis-orienting, dis-spiriting, cultural dislocation and scientific disillusionment is presented (by the writing, direction, and acting); and all the charms and brilliance of the film-making; what is left out, I believe, is the heart of what really happens in this kind of tragedy.
I simply do not believe that a brilliant, competitive student turns to indiscriminate murder and suicide without significant warning.
Now, the people who appear in this movie may not have had warning. Madness is not visible to everyone. But when a person is seriously, seriously disturbed, there are very clear signs when you look in the right place.
So the problem with the film, for me, is that it does not actually explore or reveal the essense of the student's problem. It shows only the superficial, visible signs of the small problems, the irritations, the prods to his psyche, which do not add up to enough to explain the student's actions -- and it does not show the really determinative causes and signs of the student's really big problems.
It's misleading. It suggests the wrong information about the student's madness and violence.It's a fine outsider's view. It explains nothing.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
FARNSWORTH ALERT! LAST WEEKEND...
One of the best and most interesting shows on Broadway, Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, directed by Des McAnuff, is closing (sadly) on March 2.
Check out our review! and our preview with more information on the show.
This is the last weekend. Don't miss it!
CAVANKERRY PRESS READING: JOSEPH LEGASPI & RICHARD JEFFREY NEWMAN
RiverSpace Arts and CavanKerry Press
a reading by CavanKerry Poets
Joseph Legaspi: Imago
Richard Jeffrey Newman: The Silence of Men
119 Main St.
Nyack, NY 10960
CavanKerry Press is one of the most interesting, small, independent publishers of important new poetry, printed in exceptionally fine, artistic first editions.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
THE 80TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS 2008 (WITH LIVE UPDATES DURING THE SHOW!!!)
in Warner Bros. Pictures, Samuels Media and Castle Rock Entertainment’s drama
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Tilda Swinton (Supporting Actress), and George Clooney (Actor)
Here, direct from the official Oscar (R) site, is the complete list of nominees.
The Broadcast is LIVE Sunday, February 24, 2008, beginning at 8:00 PM (NY Time), preceeded by the red carpet at 8:00, and the traditional Barbara Walters Special (interviews this year with Miley Cyrus, Ellen Page, Harrison Ford and Vanessa Williams) at 7:00.
First, just a few NOTES:
1 - TRY OUR NEW BLOG: YOUR BEST GUESS. YOU CAN ENTER YOUR GUESS FOR OSCAR WINNERS, YOU CAN COMMENT AND DISCUSS YOUR CHOICE, AND YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR CHOICE OF THE REALLY BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR!
2 more pre-show comments...
- Some things I really liked: ALL the music from AUGUST RUSH; the script (by Aaron Sorkin), direction (by Mike Nichols), and the performance (nominated!) of Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War". (Hoffman also was great in Lumet's "Before The Devil Knows Your Dead," and he just won the Independent Spirit Award for The Savages.)
-War/Dance (nominated!) was a very interesting film!
- Surprising that Sweeney Todd was not nominated for Best Film or Best Director. Depp has a good shot at winning: singing actresses have won several times, so perhaps a singing actor.
- I saw on a pre-Oscar show a mention of the Sacheen Littlefeather - Marlon Brando episode. (Sacheen Littlefeather appeared on the Oscar telecast, representing Brando, to decline his Award because of how Hollywood has treated Native Americans.) I interviewed Sacheen Littlefeather some years ago. She is a beautiful, intelligent, sincere woman. It was courageous of her to go on the air. The event, while shocking to many, was a turning point in the attention given to Native Americans in films and Hollywood and America. She and other Native Americans, speaking out for redress of what was a terrible injustice (many injustices in fact) done to them by the United States, and the continuing problems that have evolved, have helped make considerable improvements. I found her an extremely impressive person, and she should be honored for her part in this effort!
- THINK/Film has two pictures in the Documentary category. It's an important company; a company to watch for important films!
Jon Stewart's intro standup monolog was refreshingly simple & very funny!
The video clip montages have been fun!
Tilda Swinton was great. Funny and sincere!
No Country is on a roll with two big wins so far.
The program is moving very fast. Smooth. Not enough commercials to write these posts! Not too much tension though.
The song presentations have been underwhelming. Still... Amy Adams looks like she could be one of the coming big stars. Chenowith has a nice voice, and it was an althletic, amost dangerous song and dance. The orchestra accompaniment for ONCE probably cost more than the whole original movie.
Yes. There is a tendency for the Oscars to select singing actresses!
Kudos to the Academy & Jon Stewart for binging back Irglova after she was music-ed off. It was a beautiful talk she gave.In memoriam is always so sad.
We lost what may be the most signigicant film creator ever. I believe Ingmar Bergman should have won the Nobel Prize in literature.
Very dignified, intelligent, funny, smooth-running show tonight. Only 18 minutes or so behind schedule. But no spectacular moments either.
Looking forward to next year!
=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
COSTUME DESIGN =>"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
ANIMATED FEATURE=>"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
MAKEUP=>"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
EFFECTS=>"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
ART DIRECTION=>"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
SUPPORTING ACTOR=>Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
LIVE ACTION SHORT=>"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
ANIMATED SHORT=>"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman
SUPPORTING ACTRESS=>Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
SOUND=>Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
SOUND MIXING=>"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
ACTRESS=>Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
EDITING=>"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse
FOREIGN=>"The Counterfeiters" Austria
SONG=>"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
CINEMATOGRAPHER=>"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit
SCORE=>=>"Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
DOCUMENTARY SHORT =>"Freeheld" A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE=>=>"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY=>"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody
ACTOR=>Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
THE NOMINEES ARE...
Best motion picture of the year
"Atonement" (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production) A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers
Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson
Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
=>"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine
Best foreign language film of the year
=>"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
"Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
=>"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
=>"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
"The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins
Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
=>Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
=>Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
=>Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
=>Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
=>"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
"Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck
Achievement in art direction
"American Gangster" (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
=>"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
=>"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit
Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
=>"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood
Best documentary short subject
=>"Freeheld" A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
"La Corona (The Crown)" A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba" A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley
Achievement in film editing
=>"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor
Achievement in makeup
=>"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
"Norbit" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
=>"Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
"The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
=>"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush" (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
"So Close" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus" A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
"Madame Tutli-Putli" (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
"Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)" (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)" (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production Alexander Petrov
=>"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman
Best live action short film
"At Night" A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)" (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
=>"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
"Tanghi Argentini" (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
"The Tonto Woman" A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown
Achievement in sound editing
=>"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins
Achievement in sound mixing
=>"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin
Achievement in visual effects
=>"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier
Friday, February 22, 2008
The less you know about the premise of the film, the better it is to watch, so I'm not going to say very much about the plot.
I should note one weak point, though; I had to get past this to enjoy the film. After a first scene in which the main character ("Dawn") is played as a child by a child actor, there is a scene where Dawn is a young high school student affirming chastity in public lectures. This scene is played by the star, the actress Jess Weixler, who is simply too mature, too beautiful, and too sexy to be believable as a chaste young high schooler. This scene, like the first, should have been played by an actress of the proper age. Then the rest of the movie could fly easily.
But that said, this film was shown at the Hampton's International Film Festival (HIFF), where Jess was honored as a Rising Star, and at The Sundance Film Festival, where Jess won the Special Jury Prize, "For a juicy and jaw-dropping performance," and the film and it's director, Mitchell Lichtenstein (the son, by the way, of Roy Lichtenstein) were nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.
Jess really is a rising star. I had a chance to talk with her a few times at HIFF. She's quite charming and down to earth, a Juilliard graduate with more films scheduled to come out this year. and I'm looking forward to following her career.
The film is interesting, off-beat, entertaining and has its electric moments!
In New York, Teeth is currently playing at CC Village East Cinemas at 12th street & 2nd Ave.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
LOVE'S WILL: LOVE POETRY FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
I created a half-hour performance of love poetry for Valentine's Day, a few years ago.
I'm doing a few of the poems tonight at HB Studio's Valentine's Day party.
Some time ago, I posted a version of this performance online:
You need Flash and a speaker (or earphones).
I also posted online a film of Shakespeare's Sonnet 65:
"My Love" from Sonnet 65
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I did a photoshoot organized by a stylist, with two models, a hair and makeup artist, and several outfits.
The credits are:
Models -- Daria Drake and Laura Ray
Hair and Makeup -- Katie Burke
Stylist -- Thalita Baccarin
Photographer -- Eric Roffman (QPORIT)
(c) Copyright 2008 Eric H. Roffman. All Rights Reserved.
Here's a portfolio/slideshow of some pictures from the shoot.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION
The play is fantastic!
Brilliantly acted, written and directed!
Interesting, stimulating and fun!
THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION centers around the bitter conflict that pitted Philo T. Farnsworth (Jimmi Simpson), a boy genius who invented television as a high school student in 1927, against David Sarnoff (Hank Azaria), the head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The legal battle between Farnsworth and RCA would later become known as one of the great, tragic examples of legal and industrial force combining to crush a rightful patent owner.
The play was written by the great Aaron Sorkin, (Charlie Wilson's War, Studio 60, The West Wing), and is brilliantly played by Simpson and Azaria.
Des McAnuff, who is known for his direction of such important works as "A Walk In The Woods," did a flawless job of directing.
The story is spun mostly in a series of anecdotes, some told by Sarnoff, some by Farnsworth, played out by an exceptional cast including Kyle Fabel, Nadia Bowers, Maurice Godin, Christian McCarthy Johansen, Aaron Krohn, Kate MacCluggage, Bruce McKenzie, Malcolm Morano, Spencer Moses, Michael Mulheren, Jim Ortlieb, Michael Pemberton, Javier Picayo, Katharine Powell, Steve Rosen, Brian Russell, James Sutorius, Margot White, Alexandra Wilson, William Youmans -- who take a wide range of characters.
Sorkin is perhaps the most skillful writer today at integrating powerful and important issues into popular and entertaining drama. The play takes dead aim on questions critical for the survival of an entrepreneurial economy like ours -- notions like invention, bragging rights, financial rights, strategy, pride, ego, business decisions, secrecy, espionage, theft, intellectual property, and success.
This is one of the most interesting, stimulating, exciting, different, and enjoyable shows on Broadway.
FILM COMMENT SELECTS
Film Comment is the magazine of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. From the magazine's selections, there arises a spectacularly provocative and distinct festival beginning (ironically?) the day after Valentine's Day. These are not films for the gentle, romantically inclined.
Here's a lengthy description of the series, Based on information supplied by the Festival. First, a brief summary, then details on the films, then the schedule.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s ninth Film Comment Selects: Feb. 15–28, brings to New York two weeks of previews, discoveries, films without distribution, under-recognized revivals and more.
One of the city’s most adventurous showcases for international and art cinema, the 2008 series welcomes 20 new films, 19 of which will receive their North American, U.S. or New York premieres. Tributes to directors Richard Fleischer, Damon Packard and Alex Cox round out the diverse slate. Several filmmakers and guests are expected to attend.
Actress Jeanne Balibar will appear at the series’ opening night screening of Jacques Rivette’s newest film, The Duchess of Langeais, Friday, Feb. 15, at 6:00 p.m. Adapted from Honoré de Balzac’s novel Don’t Touch the Axe, the film details the turbulent relationship between a French army officer (Guillaume Depardieu) and the eponymous aristocrat (Balibar) in 19th-century Paris. The movie headlines a strong series for French filmmaking.
Film Comment Selects will also screen Jacques Nolot’s fearless examination of age and sexuality, Before I Forget; Olivier Assayas’ woman-on-the-run thriller Boarding Gate; and two entries in the recent wave of exemplary French horror films, Xavier Gen’s Frontiére(s) and Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Inside.
Other well-established filmmakers in the series include controversial Austrian art-film director Ulrich Seidl (Import Export), cutting-edge Hong Kong martial-arts action filmmaker Wilson Yip (Flash Point), and Germany’s Heinz Emigholz, with the latest installment in his “Architecture as Autobiography” series, Schindler’s Houses.
Derived from a magazine that has long championed emerging talent, Film Comments Selects 2008 is also a sturdy vehicle for works by young and rising film artists. Head-On director Fatih Akin presents a compelling examination of German-Turkish relations in The Edge of Heaven, winner of the Best Screenplay award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Cannes’ Best Actor prizewinner Konstantin Lavronenko also appears in the slate, in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s dark family drama The Banishment.
Filmmaker Koen Mortier creates what Film Comment editor Gavin Smith labels “A Belgian Spinal Tap” in Ex Drummer, his visually inventive, misanthropic comedy about misfit rockers, while Dutch filmmaker Nanouk Leopold may be the series’ biggest discovery with her compelling third film, the multi-generational family drama Wolfsbergen.
In addition, audiences can enjoy a surprise Saturday night screening, Feb. 23.
Alongside these premieres, the 2008 series offers rare, big-screen glimpses of under-appreciated or rarely revived films and filmmakers from the last 30 years, beginning with two movies by Hollywood journeyman Richard Fleischer: the controversial slave melodrama Mandingo and the London-set true crime story 10 Rillington Place, starring Richard Attenborough and a young John Hurt. Actor Crispin Glover will attend the series’ screening of the outrageous 1992 cult comedy Rubin and Ed, about two freeloaders lost in the Utah desert while searching for a burial spot for a recently deceased cat. A new print of one of the key French films of the ‘90s, Philippe Garrel’s J’entends plus la guitare, breathes new life into this cinematic meditation on love and loss, the inaugural theatrical release from the new distribution venture, The Film Desk.
And on Friday, Feb. 22 and Sunday, Feb. 24, Film Comment Selects highlights Los Angeles underground, psychotronic filmmaker Damon Packard. Reflections of Evil is his confrontational, feature-length combustion of found footage, parody, and a remarkable send-up of a ‘70s-era Steven Spielberg. The second screening features a compilation program of Packard’s delirious and bizarre shorts.
On Closing Night, Sid and Nancy director and Film Comment columnist Alex Cox joins the Film Society onstage for screenings of two of his films. The first, 1987’s Walker starring Ed Harris, is a fantastical recounting of the U.S.-led invasion of Nicaragua in 1855. It will be followed by the New York premiere of Cox’s newest film, Searchers 2.0, in which two has-been actors embark on a revenge mission to Monument Valley, where the screenwriter of their traumatic first gig, a long-forgotten western, is scheduled to appear at a tribute screening.
Finally, as a special late-night preview prior to Film Comment Selects, Film Comment warms up its audience with George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, Feb. 14, at 10:30 p.m. Romero’s flesh-eating zombies return to Day One of the director’s living dead cycle, updated as a terrifying road movie for the YouTube generation.
Film Comment Selects is sponsored by Stella Artois®. With major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Special thanks to W Hotels.
Single screening tickets are $11 for adults; $7 for Film Society members and students with a valid photo ID; and $7 for seniors at weekday screenings before 6 p.m. They are available at both the Walter Reade Theater box office and online at http://www.filmlinc.com/.
DETAILED FILM INFORMATION
SPECIAL LATE NIGHT PREVIEW
George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead
George A. Romero, US, 2007; 95m
Thu Feb 14: 10:30pm
Advance preview of one of 2008’s absolute movie highlights—yes, they’re back. Romero’s flesh-eating zombies return to Day One of the director’s living dead cycle, updated and repurposed as a terrifying road movie for the DV-savvy, media-skeptical YouTube generation. As their world disintegrates under the onslaught of the undead, a student film crew documents everything on video while making a desperate cross-country dash to hoped-for safety. Tapping into the current mood in America, Diary of the Dead is a genuinely scary post-Iraq, post-Katrina nightmare. For more, read Robin Wood’s appreciation in the Jan/Feb issue of Film Comment.
The Duchess of Langeais
Jacques Rivette, France, 2007; 137m
Fri Feb 15: 6:00pm
Set in 19th-century Paris, this adaptation of Balzac’s novel Don’t Touch the Axe stars Guillaume Depardieu as an army officer whose fraught, hot-and-cold courtship of a society aristocrat (Jeanne Balibar) inadvertently leads to romantic catastrophe. “An essay on courtship as theater, and eventually on theater as cruelty…. The story of a protracted ‘rehearsal’ for a romance that is never consummated because one of the performers decides to abandon theater altogether. With her knowing, slyly mannered style Balibar brings her full repertoire of ironic moues, pensively delayed reactions, and that feline, quizzical delivery with its deep hothouse tones. Depardieu’s intensity of purpose is commanding, but when Balibar is present, it’s hard to look anywhere else.”—Jonathan Romney, Film Comment, Sep/Oct 2007
Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2007; 150m
Mon Feb 18: 6:00pm; Wed Feb 20: 3:00pm; Mon Feb 25: 2:00pm
In his visually stunning second film, Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev builds on The Return’s powerful air of brooding uncertainty, implacable patriarchal force, and impending violence with a dark family drama based on William Saroyan’s short story “The Laughing Matter.” A married couple and their two children arrive for a summer vacation at the husband’s remote pastoral childhood home. But the family’s seemingly fixed order is shattered when the wife inexplicably utters a single sentence. What follows as the demands of the husband’s absolute moral code wrestle with the ambiguity of the situation creates a tense, explosive scenario tinged with Old Testament intimations.
Before I Forget
Jacques Nolot, France, 2007; 108m
Sun Feb 17: 6:45pm; Thu Feb 21: 3:15pm
An unflinching rumination on queerness, age and desire, in which 58-year-old Pierre (actor-director Nolot, a master of the slow burn) takes stock of his life in the wake of a friend’s death. Nolot above all puts his body on the line, going as far into himself as he can, especially in the jaw-dropping interaction he has with one of his regular hustlers. Sex literally suffocates him now—even a blowjob and a rimming are mitigated by meds and time’s tide. “I’ve stopped doing things,” Pierre says. “I sublimate.” Sitting on the world’s worst-looking leather couch, Pierre is dapper but unbowed and Nolot retains his status (earned with 2002’s Porn Theater) as a wistful and wise commentator on the urgency of human connection.
Olivier Assayas, France, 2007; 106m
Fri Feb 15: 9:45pm
Working on a low budget and shooting fast and loose, Olivier Assayas applies his modern sensibility to a stripped-down (in all senses of the word) B-movie setup, teaming up with Asia Argento for a woman-on-the-run thriller that travels from the world of Parisian high finance to the backstreets and skyscrapers of Hong Kong. “If Assayas’ restlessly elegant back alley travelogue is closer to Feuillade than his Irma Vep, it’s because Argento is a contemporary Musidora, a woman who has learned how to operate outside the law. The film would have been an exercise in style without Argento, who injects an urgency and a flesh-and-blood reality into every scene.”—Amy Taubin, Film Comment, Jul/Aug 2007
Ramin Bahrani, US, 2007; 84m
Mon Feb 18: 9:00pm
Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani presents an unforgettable portrait of life on the margins of society, rendered with a stark, unsentimental eye and a keen sense of daily hardship. Set in the Iron Triangle in Willets Point, Queens, where scrap-metal yards and auto body shops cannibalize stolen cars for spare parts and offer no-questions-asked employment with wages paid in cash, the film follows 12-year-old Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco), who does odd jobs for a car-repair garage in exchange for a place to sleep at night. With his fierce determination to find the money to build a future for himself and his 16-year-old sister whatever it takes, Alejandro’s childhood is long over. Chop Shop will have a two-week run at Film Forum starting Feb. 27.
Lukas Moodysson, Sweden, 2006; 72m
Tue Feb 26: 2:15pm and 9:15pm
For those wondering what the man behind Together and Lilya 4-ever has been up to lately. This unclassifiable and completely mesmerizing whatsit, which the Swedish director describes as “a black-and-white silent movie with sound,” is the astounding answer. “I am a girl in a boy’s body” confides the reedy, tremulous voice of American actress Jena Malone, recorded as if she’s whispering in your ear. Her nonstop voiceover takes us on a haunting and intimate journey deep into the morbid fantasies and lurid obsessions of a celebrity-fixated mind. Meanwhile, grainy, high-contrast 16mm images track the cryptic activities of a man and a woman who explore their surroundings (an apartment, the city beyond) and sift through the artifacts of daily life as if they’ve descended from another planet. In this radical yet always tender experimental excursion, the container of the title just might be the human body itself—but there’s a final twist that suggests a completely different meaning…
Chen Shi-zheng, US, 2007; 90m
Wed Feb 27: 8:15pm; Thu Feb 28: 1:00pm
Based on a horrific true story about a Chinese Ph.D. candidate who ran amok on the University of Iowa campus, this elegant debut feature by the distinguished opera director Chen Shi-zheng premiered at Sundance three months prior to an Asian student’s tragic campus killing spree in April 2007. Needless to say, the events at Virginia Tech made Dark Matter a hot potato, and distribution of this critically acclaimed festival highlight became problematic. Rising Chinese star Liu Ye is moving and convincing as a humble but brilliant student of advanced physics, Liu Xing, who makes a bumpy transition into American life with the help of a wealthy university patron (Meryl Streep) who takes him under her wing. Xing becomes a protégé of his hero, famous cosmologist Professor Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn), but the student’s original ideas put him at odds with his mentor…
Hartmut Bitomsky, Germany, 2007; 90m
Wed Feb 20: 6:15pm
An unlikely but erudite documentary about the most ordinary subject imaginable. Who knew so many people deal with dust on so many different levels and in such a variety of walks of life, from housewives to artists to scientists analyzing the future of the universe through the dust of dead stars? Bitomsky’s dense, quicksilver voiceover, sense of philosophical depth, healthy good humor and wry intellectual poetry make this journey from microscopic to macrocosmic a meditation on the splendor of the futility of existence: you just can’t get rid of dust.
The Edge of Heaven
Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey, 2007; 122m
Sat Feb 23: 4:30pm
The director of 2005’s Head-On continues his exploration of German-Turkish cross-cultural relations with this engrossing and moving double narrative in which hidden and missed connections and intertwined lives are framed by the deaths of two of the film’s six protagonists. The narrative is set in motion by the death of Yeter, who works as a prostitute in Germany until she accepts the marriage proposal of elderly regular client Ali. Following Yeter’s death, Ali’s German-born son Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter’s grown-up daughter Ayten, the film’s pivotal character. Ayten, due to her membership in an underground Kurdish separatist group, has fled the country to seek political asylum in Germany, where middle-class student Lotte takes her in. The two girls become lovers, despite the misgivings of her mother Susanne, played by Hanna Schygulla. What follows is a complex series of crisscrossing events that changes the lives of the surviving characters forever as the story shifts back to Turkey.
Koen Mortier, Belgium, 2007; 104m
Sat Feb 16: 10:00pm; Tue Feb 19: 3:30pm
A gleeful wallow in the lower depths of Flemish trash culture, in which a hopeless garage band of freakish misfits hires the title character, a famous novelist, to beat the skins for them, but get more than they bargained for. With scatological zest and much filmic inventiveness, Koen Mortier serves up a blackly misanthropic comedy in the tradition of Gaspar Noé and Man Bites Dog. We offer a money-back guarantee that there’s something to offend everyone in this smashing debut.
Wilson Yip, Hong Kong, 2007; 88m
Sun Feb 17: 9:00pm; Tue Feb 19: 1:30pm; Fri Feb 22: 4:00pm
While the films of Johnnie To continue to mine their rich vein of gunplay and codes of honor, new-school director Wilson Yip and actor/fight choreographer Donnie Yen represent the absolute cutting edge of the Hong Kong action genre, foregrounding hyper-kinetic mixed martial arts fight setpieces that showcase Yen’s unique blend of Western boxing, Muay Thai kicking, and a Brazilian brand of jujitsu called capoeira. Flash Point, set in 1996 prior to Hong Kong’s handover to mainland China, serves up the familiar yarn of cops determined to bring down crooks who always seem to be one step ahead: Yen is maverick cop Ma, whose partner Wilson (Louis Koo) has successfully infiltrated a rising Triad gang led by Tony (Collin Chou). How long before Wilson’s cover is blown? How long until the Triads send in their hitmen? And how long until the final showdown between Ma and Tony? The film’s only 87 minutes—you do the math.
Xavier Gens, France, 2007; 108m
Fri Feb 22: 9:00pm; Wed Feb 27: 2:15pm
Call it Texas Chain Saw Massacre à la francaise. A group of young Muslims with a bag of stolen cash flee riot-torn Paris for la France profonde only to fall prey to an inbred community of cannibalistic pig farmers led by an ancient, completely bonkers ex-Nazi patriarch still clinging to dreams of a Fourth Reich. Playing on current French racial anxieties and paranoia over where Sarkozy’s new order may be headed, Gens’ film culminates in a flabbergasting bloodbath that raises the bar on gore to new heights––or depths, depending on your point of view.
Ulrich Seidl, Austria, 2007; 135m
Sun Feb 17: 1:30pm; Wed Feb 20: 8:15pm
Ever controversial bad boy Ulrich Seidl is Austria’s prime example of Abjection Cinema, the art-film genre of the moment. Here he tracks the fortunes of a Ukrainian nurse who comes to Austria looking for work, and an unemployed Austrian youth who travels to the Ukraine with his brutish stepfather to deliver coin-operated gumball machines to a succession of grim working-class neighborhoods. Seidl observes the struggles of his two protagonists and the bleak postindustrial landscapes and stark interiors they traverse with a clinical and unflinching eye. But though he’s a connoisseur of the harsh facts of life and the reduction of human relationships to cold-blooded transactions, Seidl nevertheless finds a glimmer of humanity and hope in this world, and that’s why Import Export is not just another trawl through the lower depths. That said, if moronic proles barking orders at dazed and bewildered prostitutes, the rasping breathing of dying babies, and the senile outbursts of nursing-home residents are music to your ears, this one’s for you.
Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo, France, 2007; 83m
Sun Feb 24: 9:00pm; Tue Feb 26: 4:00pm; Wed Feb 27: 6:30pm
One of the best examples of the new wave of French horror movies, this domestic-siege shocker offers a gruesome take on pregnancy that couldn’t be further from the world of Judd Apatow and Juno. Béatrice Dalle is used to maximum effect as an implacable supernatural apparition who invades the home of a pregnant, recently widowed woman, intent on claiming her unborn child. Largely confined to a single location, Inside is relentless edge-of-the-seat stuff that wrings every possibility for spectacularly gory set pieces out of its barebones situation. Maury and Bustillo’s film lays it on thick, but it’s the real thing, with a genuinely disturbing premise that bypasses the rational and hot-wires primal fears and taboos about the sanctity of motherhood.
J’entends plus la guitare
Philippe Garrel, France, 1991; 98m
Mon Feb. 25: 8:30pm
Arguably Philippe Garrel’s masterpiece, J’entends plus la guitare is a surpassingly delicate meditation on love, loss and the passage of time. As always, Garrel and his scenarist Marc Cholodenko are working in the realm of poetically refracted autobiography, one level away from psychodrama. The incandescent Johanna Ter Steege is the Nico figure and the late Benoit Régent is the Garrel stand-in, and their scenes together play like instants plucked from the past and preserved in crystalline form, under perfectly captured natural light (thanks to the great Caroline Champetier behind the camera). The guitar that is no longer heard, except in memory, belongs to the Velvet Underground, an echo of yesterday’s dreams. We’re proud to be presenting a new print of this film, one of the greatest of the ‘90s, the inaugural theatrical release from new distribution venture The Film Desk.
Grant Gee, US, 2007; 96m
Sat Feb 16: 7:30pm; Wed Feb 27: 4:30pm
From the annals of rock star suicides, perhaps one of the blackest holes remains the death by hanging of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis at age 23. His paroxysmal stage presence, seemingly fueled by the epileptic seizures that dogged him throughout his life, was one of the oddest, riveting and most painful “acts” to watch. Now, after receiving the biopic gloss from Anton Corbijn, comes Grant Gee’s relatively straightforward documentary about the man—and the surviving members of his post-punk band. That anything about Curtis can be considered “straightforward” is a matter of semantics—he will forever be a brooding, spastic enigma. The rest of the Mancunian musicians, happily ensconced in middle-age comfort, merely serve to make Curtis’ extreme otherness more stark. Essential viewing for fans of the band, its singer and the darker recesses of the pop life.
Rubin and Ed
Trent Harris, US, 1992; 82m
Sat Feb 23: 7:00pm
Crispin Glover’s bizarre appearance in character as Rubin Farr on Late Night confounded many at the time, including host David Letterman, who obviously hadn’t done his homework. Sixteen years later, far more people have YouTubed the now-infamous Letterman-Glover segment than have actually seen the film, which remains unavailable on DVD. Here’s a rare chance to check out this early-’90s gem, and Glover’s Rubin in all his ‘70s-style glory. A cranky Mahler lover distraught over the death of his beloved pet kitty, Rubin enlists desperate salesman Ed (Howard Hesseman) to help him search for the perfect burial spot in the sweltering Utah desert, where they soon get lost. Quotable, hilarious, and, yes, even moving, writer-director Trent Harris’ buddy picture like no other yearns for an audience and cult-classic status. Like, immediately.
Heinz Emigholz, Germany, 2007; 99m
Sun Feb 24: 3:45pm
The latest installment of Heinz Emigholz’s series of films on “Architecture as Autobiography” consists of audiovisual measurements and cinematic sketches of 40 low-cost houses built by architect Rudolf Schindler in Los Angeles from 1921 to 1952. As always, Emigholz uses his unique eye to make the spatial uniqueness of his subjects materialize on screen. Countering the tendency in architectural photography to portray buildings in their entirety and in isolation, he shoots the grounds and interiors of the houses in sections so as to mimic the way we perceive space cumulatively and according to physical orientation. In so doing he captures Schindler’s signature characteristics as they’re affected by weather and light conditions. He also zeroes in on the houses’ frailties—a crack here, some redecoration there. A meditation on decay, death and transformation, Schindler’s Houses is a film of specters: the ghosts of hopes for a different way of life hover all around.
Nanouk Leopold, The Netherlands, 2007; 95m
Sat Feb 16: 5:30pm; Mon Feb 18: 4:00pm; Wed Feb 20: 1:00pm
In this utterly compelling exploration of a four-generation bourgeois family on the verge of implosion, Wolfsbergen meticulously maps out the multiple fault lines and disconnects between and among married couple Maria and Ernst and their two grown-up daughters: single, depressed Eva and hard-hearted Sabine, now on her second marriage. Once established, this emotionally glacial state of affairs, rife with denial, estrangement, infidelity and incommunication, is brought to crisis by a letter from Maria’s octogenarian father Konraad, in which he announces his intention to commit suicide on the first anniversary of his wife’s death. Highly composed, deliberately paced, and with a cool, unsentimental sensibility, Leopold’s third film demonstrates her absolute control of her material and announces the arrival of a major new talent.
A Wonderful World
Luis Estrada, Mexico, 2007; 118m
Sun Feb 17: 4:15pm; Mon Feb 18: 1:30pm; Fri Feb 22: 1:30pm
Top Mexican actor Damián Alcázar stars in Luis Estrada’s unofficial sequel to his 2001 political satire Herod’s Law. Offering an equally satirical vision of Mexican political life, it’s the more accomplished and sophisticated flick—but altogether more dark and unsettling. With a vibe that’s sort of Latino Coen Brothers it follows the strange journey of homeless Juan (Alcázar) from the slums of Mexico City to the high-tech modernist citadels of corrupt corporate and governmental power. In this comic yet twisted tale of mistaken identity and brutal class conflict, fate and politics conspire to make Juan first famous, then indispensable, then a liability and finally an enemy of the state. Alex Cox, who appears in the film, describes it as “an unremitting, despairing tragicomedy about poverty, wealth and the meaningless resilience of hope.”
SPOTLIGHT ON RICHARD FLEISCHER
The late Richard Fleischer may not have been an auteur, but he was no hack either. Prolific and adept in every genre, he made a dozen first-rate films, from The Boston Strangler to The New Centurions to Violent Saturday. Here are two of his very best, from his peak period.
Richard Fleischer, US, 1975; 127m
Sat Feb 23: 2:00pm
Based on Kyle Onstott’s bestselling 1957 novel, this incendiary and deeply disturbing melodrama about the way slavery debases and destroys both slaves and owners on a Louisiana slave breeding plantation in decline was dismissed in its day as tasteless exploitation or camp—“Like Gone with the Wind with all the characters in heat,” as Leslie Halliwell put it. Only Time Out’s David Pirie got it right: “The stereotype of the Deep South, with its stoical slaves and demure belles is effectively exploded here. Fleischer utilizes the real sexuality and violence behind slavery to mount a compelling slice of American Gothic, which analyzes in appropriately lurid terms, the twists and turns of a distorted society.” With James Mason as the tyrannical patriarch, Perry King as the frustrated son and heir, Susan George as his flighty and less than virginal bride, and Ken Norton as the pure-bred Mandingo slave who become the center of the action.
10 Rillington Place
Richard Fleischer, UK, 1971; 111m
Thu Feb 21: 1:00pm; Sun Feb 24: 1:30pm
Richard Attenborough gives a truly flesh-crawling performance as notorious murderer John Christie, who, posing as a doctor and back-street abortionist, drugged, raped, and strangled eight London women between 1940 and 1953, and allowed an innocent man to be hanged for his one of his crimes. Less invested in the trappings of an investigative procedural as in his 1968 film The Boston Strangler, Fleischer instead immerses himself in the creepy, morbid and quintessentially English-lower-middle-class world of the wheedlingly genial killer. John Hurt gives a shattering performance as Christie’s illiterate, simpleminded upstairs tenant Timothy Evans, who, in a distraught state, falsely confesses to his wife’s killing after Christie murdered her during a feigned abortion procedure. One of the great English movies of the early ‘70s, it may put you off drinking tea for life.
Discover the strange and demented world of Los Angeles filmmaker Damon Packard. Deliriously editing and remixing his own private paranoid pantheon of ‘70s pop culture, with a heavy accent on psychotronic horror and sci-fi, Packard is one of indie filmmaking’s best-kept no-budget secrets.
Reflections of Evil
Damon Packard, US, 2002; 138m
Fri Feb 22: 6:15pm
A gross-out horror movie set in an urban Hell on Earth? The ultimate bad acid trip? A poisonous valentine to the paranoid heart of Hollywood? Hilariously freaked-out and relentlessly confrontational, Reflections of Evil regurgitates the fear and loathing of L.A.’s violence-infested streets as it follows in the stumbling footsteps of its hapless, bloated protagonist. Mixing found footage and live action, this deranged tour de force channel-surfs to its last-minute-twist denouement across a hallucinatory landscape of ‘70s movie and TV schlock and senseless theme-park excess. Packard’s film bursts at the seams with outrageous visual and audio invention, cramming in Karen Carpenter, the Summer of Love, Homeland Security and The Omega Man plus special guest star Steven Spielberg filmed putting a grumbling crew of old pros through their paces on the Universal lot, circa 1972.
Damon Packard’s Greatest HIts
Sun Feb 24: 6:00pm
This compilation program is Packard unpacked––his cinematic obsessions and fetishes get free reign as he cannibalizes and recreates other people’s movies in the form of trailers, making-ofs and music video montages. These deranged parodies and travesties of the b-movies that time forgot implode the distinction between irony and sincerity. Tonight’s program: the trailers for Packard’s unreleased elf girl sword-and-sorcery adventure Apple (92-95), his anti-CGI/George Lucas broadside Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary (04), and his magnum opus, Reflections of Evil (03) plus his classic pastiche The Early 70's Horror Trailer (02). Also on the program: Rollerboogie III (99), an Exorcist-haunted reworking of the 1979 Linda Blair film Roller Boogie; Chad’s Wedding Video, a parodic behind-the-scenes making-of; Chemtrails (05), a conspiracy-theory fuelled investigative report about a military mind-control program; Al’s Techno Bar (05), a tour of a utopian futuristic nightclub; Lost in the Thinking (05), “a commissioned project of pure meaninglessness” that charts Packard’s participation in a New York MoMA art project “The Thinking”; and last but not least, his legendary 1988 super-8 horror tour-de-force Dawn of an Evil Millennium.
An underrated golden oldie and a brand new road movie from Film Comment columnist Alex Cox, the director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy. For more info head to alexcox.com.
Alex Cox, US, 1987; 95m
Thu Feb 28: 6:30pm
Of all Cox films maudits, this quixotic broadside at the Reagan administration’s efforts to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government has to be the most maudit of all. Written by Rudy Wurlitzer, it boldly (and surreally) reconstructs the true story of the 1855 invasion of Nicaragua by deranged American imperialist William Walker, played with manic intensity by Ed Harris. An unruly Peckinpah-meets-Buñuel fantasia, ripe for rediscovery. Universal, who incredibly enough bankrolled the film, buried it after a token theatrical release. Still, per Cox, Walker was the second-biggest box-office hit ever in Nicaragua, after The Sound of Music. The film’s music is by Joe Strummer, and if you watch out you can see him in many scenes as one of Walker’s ragtag soldiers. Unavailable for almost 20 years, the Walker soundtrack album was recently released on CD; the film itself comes out on DVD this month, from Criterion.
Alex Cox, US, 2007; 90m
Thu Feb 28: 8:30pm
In this affectionate, somewhat elegiac “microfeature,” has-been actors Mel (Del Zamora) and Fred (Ed Pansullo) hit the road on a revenge mission. Since neither has a car, they must invite Mel’s capable daughter, Delilah (Jaclyn Jonet), to come along. Fred and Mel plan to kick the ass of one Fritz Frobisher (Sy Richardson), the screenwriter responsible for their traumatic baptism by fire on a long-forgotten western. They reminisce about the good-old bad-old days, rant about the even-worse present day and dispense inaccurate movie lore and trivia, en route to an open-air screening in Monument Valley, where Frobisher is scheduled to present one of his old films. Chock full of references to Ford, Leone and oil dependency, this is Cox at his most laid back and light hearted, clearly enjoying the reunion with two of his Repo Man veterans, not to mention Richardson, his favorite actor. “Searchers 2.0 isn’t a spaghetti western, but it remembers them,” says Cox.
Thursday, Feb. 14
10:30 pm George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, 95m
Friday, Feb. 15
6:00 pm The Duchess of Langeais, 137m
9:45 pm Boarding Gate, 106m
Saturday, Feb. 16
5:30 pm Wolfsbergen, 95m
7:30 pm Joy Division, 96m
10:00 pm Ex Drummer, 104m
Sunday, Feb. 17
1:30 pm Import Export, 135m
4:15 pm A Wonderful World, 118m
6:45 pm Before I Forget, 108m
9:00 pm Flash Point, 88m
Monday, Feb. 18
1:30 pm A Wonderful World
4:00 pm Wolfsbergen
6:00 pm The Banishment, 150m
9:00 pm Chop Shop, 84m
Tuesday, Feb. 19
1:30 pm Flash Point
3:30 pm Ex Drummer
Wednesday, Feb. 20
1:00 pm Wolfsbergen
3:00 pm The Banishment
6:15 pm Dust, 90m
8:15 pm Import Export
Thursday, Feb. 21
1:00 pm 10 Rillington Place, 111m
3:15 pm Before I Forget
Friday, Feb. 22
1:30 pm A Wonderful World
4:00 pm Flash Point
6:15 pm Reflections of Evil, 138m
9:00 pm Frontière(s), 108m
Saturday, Feb. 23
2:00 pm Mandingo, 127m
4:30 pm The Edge of Heaven, 122m
7:00 pm Rubin and Ed, 82m
Sunday, Feb. 24
1:30 pm 10 Rillington Place
3:45 pm Schindler’s Houses, 99m
6:00 pm Damon Packard’s Greatest Hits
9:00 pm Inside, 83m
Monday, Feb. 25
2:00 pm The Banishment
8:30 pm J’entends plus la guitare, 98m
Tuesday, Feb. 26
2:15 pm Container, 72m
4:00 pm Inside
9:15 pm Container
Wednesday, Feb. 27
2:15 pm Frontière(s)
4:30 pm Joy Division
6:30 pm Inside
8:15 pm Dark Matter, 90m
Thursday, Feb. 28
1:00 pm Dark Matter
6:30 pm Walker, 95m
8:30 pm Searchers 2.0, 90m