Article Archive for March 2012
Lee Hirsh’s documentary BULLY opens this weekend without a rating after the Weinstein Company refused the MPAA’s R, and that fact has become inextricable from the film’s social message according to A.O. Scott in The New York Times: “There is a little swearing in the movie, and a lot of upsetting stuff, but while some of it may shock parents, very little of it is likely to surprise their school-age children. Whose sensitivity does the association suppose it is protecting? The answer is nobody’s: That organization, like the panicked educators in the film itself, holds fast to its rigid, myopic policies to preserve its own authority.” Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir comes down even harder on the MPAA: “There’s almost a perverse, Santorum-style integrity about [its] staunch resistance.”
At the vanguard of most every cinematic movement of the past century: women directors. The second of three ‘starter’ lists on women pays tribute.
The Cannes Film Festival announced yesterday that its Cinéfondation and short films jury will be headed by Belgian writer-director Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Along with his brother Luc, Jean-Pierre is no stranger at the French festival: ROSETTA and THE CHILD both won the coveted Palme d’Or, and THE KID WITH A BIKE took home last year’s Grand Prix. BAMcinemaFest announced it fourth annual program yesterday. The festival is set to run from June 20–July 1. The L Magazine’s Mark Asch describes it as “perhaps the major NYC launching pad for the independent American films that make their debuts west of the Mississippi at the outset of the year.”
Think fast: Bruce Baillie’s QUICK BILLY explores the sometimes duplicitous nature of the filmic image.
The San Francisco International Film Festival announced its full 2012 program yesterday, including tributes to its fallen executive directors, Graham Leggat (the opening night screening of Benoît Jacquot’s FAREWELL, MY QUEEN) and Bingham Ray (THE THIRD MAN). The festival runs from April 19–May 3. Broolyn’s BAMcinématek opens its “New Orleans on Film” retrospective tomorrow with a double feature of Rene Clair’s THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS with Leo McCarey’s Mae West vehicle, BELLE OF THE NINETIES. With Benh Zeitlin’s BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD the story at Sundance and Bill and Turner Ross’s TCHOUPITOULAS garnering some of the best reviews of the documentaries at South by Southwest, the Big Easy is getting a lot of fresh attention.
The Bay Area is still buzzing after the first two screenings of Kevin Brownlow’s 5 and 1/2-hour restoration of Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. “It’s hard to know where to begin when talking about this movie, but let’s begin at the end,” writes Mick LaSalle in his rave for The San Francisco Chronicle. “The film, which tells the story of Napoleon’s early career, climaxes with Napoleon’s Italian campaign in 1796. The curtains sweep open, the big screen triples in size, and three different images—complementary, interactive, intuitively connected—are projected simultaneously from three different projectors…It’s an overwhelming and surprisingly emotional experience.”
With THE MILL AND THE CROSS and THE ROE’S ROOM before it, creator Lech Majewski finds fascination in stillness.
Ben Fritz of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hollywood trade publication Variety is up for sale. He quotes Ken Sonenclar, managing director of the media investment banking firm DeSilva & Phillips: “Variety is not just a brand, it’s a trophy brand, and you might find someone overpaying for that reason.” Later in the same piece Sonenclar warns, “Whoever buys it will have to reinvent Variety for the digital world…You can’t just run it more efficiently. That’s a dead end.” The Los Angeles Times business pages also dish out a recent report from IHS Screen Digest that “consumers will watch more movies online than on DVDs in 2012 for the first time, but will spend far less doing so.”
Fine art, high crime heat South by Southwest, to a crisp.
The San Francisco International Film Festival will present its annual Mel Novikoff Award to Pierre Rissient on April 28. From the SFFS press release: “Rissient is revered by filmmakers of all ages around the world, from Clint Eastwood, who frequently shows him the rough cut of his work, to Werner Herzog, who calls him ‘the yeast in the dough,’ to Quentin Tarantino, who dubs him ‘a samurai warrior’ because he has devoted his life to supporting filmmakers from around the globe.” Rissient had a major hand in the revival of certain key auteurs that helped to precipitate the French New Wave, so it’s appropriate that SFFS will be screening Fritz Lang’s 1950 film HOUSE BY THE RIVER in his honor.