Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 3: The Oath to Zanan-e badun-e mardan

March 24, 2010

Don’t cry no tears. All good things come to an end. So do our tardy previews. The New Directors/New Films festival lights up the spring season by bringing to New York the best debuts from festivals like Cannes and Sundance. In the final assortment, there’s a lauded love letter to cinema from Mia Hansen-Løve, the welcome return of Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn and a notable French addition to the “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” genre.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.
Read the second part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

The Oath

Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan are buddies who took very different routes through al-Qaeda’s militant network. Jandal now works with Yemeni youth to temper their fundamentalism. Hamdan sits in Guantanamo, notorious as Osama bin Laden’s onetime chauffeur. The latest film from My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras is another unique look at the Middle East.

Le Pere de Mes Enfants (The Father of My Children)

French film producer Humbert Balsan helped bring works by Bela Tarr and Claire Denis to the public. His life and death inspired this acclaimed new feature from Mia Hansen-Løve, partner of Olivier Assayas. It’s a fresh take on Day for Night, with an overworked producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) juggling family and the fact that there isn’t enough hours in the day to achieve cinematic greatness.

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The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 2: Hunting & Zn. to Norteado

March 24, 2010

Families take the center stage in the second part of our New Directors New Films preview. In the Netherlands, a couple comes undone thanks to a new arrival. In Italy, a concubine dares to wander outside a brood’s closed ranks. In Canada, mother and son make like a WWE production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And you don’t even want to know what they’re doing to each other in Greece. It’s a line-up so gripping that film fans won’t even be able to turn from the screen to tell that elderly couple behind them to shut up. Hit the linked titles for more goodies.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

Hunting & Zn. (Hunting & Sons)

Tako and Sandra oughta be poster children for the Netherlands good life. Successful in both work and in life, the childhood sweethearts are the envy of all their friends. Sandra’s pregnancy should be cause for further celebration. In Sander Burger’s domestic horror, however, the blessed event is the very thing that causes their bourgeois bliss to spectacularly deflate. Don’t stand too close to the canal!

Io sono l’amore (I Am Love)

Luca Guadagnino takes a few frames from Visconti in this fragrant family saga, garnished with plenty of love, Italian style. Tilda Swinton is the beautiful Russian odalisque who marries into a fashion dynasty. Her second-class spousal existence is upended when she falls for a humpy young chef. Problem is Swinton’s surging libido might bring down the rest of the clan with her.

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The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 1: Amer to El hombre de al lado

March 24, 2010

Continuing the tradition of previews which are barely posted before the first film premieres and then go entirely unread, we present to you the first part of our New Directors/New Films survey. The annual smorgasbord, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, cherry-picks the festivals for the best work by first-time filmmakers. What isn’t so nice is the old couple sat behind you who keep up a running commentary throughout each film. But that’s life on the Upper West Side. In the first part of our preview, we throw some alliterative phrases at dramas set in Muslim Detroit and Iran’s border, while Bill Cunningham and Candy Darling present two different views of the greatest city in the world. Hit those titles to watch trailers and more.

Amer

For their debut feature, experimental filmmakers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani turned to the giallo thrillers of Dario Argento and Mario Bava for inspiration. This isn’t just a spooky movie, but a coming-of-age film, as Ana suffers extreme situations at three key life stages. Amer–French for “bitter”–is less about narrative than immersing the audience in a senses-shattering sexual awakening. Game on!

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

At Andy Warhol’s Factory, stars-in-their-minds learned how to become real works of art. So any portrait of a Superstar has a certain sideshow interest. Famed for a reference in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Darling turned herself from a Massapequa scamp into a blonde glamour queen who adorned Warhol’s films and even a Tennessee Williams play. Chloe Sevigny reads the late idol’s letters in James Rasin’s doc.

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SXSW: And the Winners Are …

March 17, 2010

The SXSW Film Festival still has a few days to run, but the awards have already gone. Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, where the filmmaker herself stars as a college grad at a loose end in New York, won the Narrative Feature competition. Look for it to turn up in a 2 AM slot on IFC sometime in the next five years. The best documentary feature was Marwencol, Jeff Malmberg’s portrait of a man who recovers from a beating by building a town in his backyard.

In the acting race, Brian Hasenfus’ incarnation of an aging party animal in Garth Donovan’s Phillip the Fossil boogied off with the Best Individual Performance award. David Robert Mitchell’s Myth of the American Sleepover received a best ensemble award for its cast of youngsters adrift in Detroit. A party will be held to celebrate David’s victory as soon as his parents leave town.

The audience had different preferences. They named Jim Bigham and Mark Moormann’s look at a band of mentally and physically challenged musicians, For Once in My Life, best documentary feature. You can fill in your own Tropic Thunder-inspired quip here before going away to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. It was also popcorn containers in the air for Brotherhood. Will Canon’s thriller about a fraternity hazing that goes very wrong was named best narrative feature. Makes us feel better about those Greek letters branded on our butt.

The full list of winners is after the jump. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: SX Fantastic

March 11, 2010

24 hours, over a hundred films, and that’s just our bloody preview. The madness finally comes to end with this perky sidebar that celebrates SXSW’s onnection with Austin’s other great film festival, September’s Fantastic Fest. The line-up might seem more selective than past years, but the program promises a “special event TBA.” So there’s always that. In the meantime, sate your mind-bending with a honorable assortment of Japanese vampires, porno actors and the usual head-fuckery.

Read our SXSW Headliners preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the third part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read our SXSW Midnighters preview.

Higanjima

Akira’s life has been marked by the prolonged absence of his brother. Then he learns that the boy has been seen on Higanjima Island. There’s a few catches. The island is said to be inhabited by vampires and no one has ever returned from its shores. Of course, that’s never stopped anybody in a Japanese horror film. South Korean filmmaker Tae-gyun Kim (Volcano High) orchestrates this manga adaptation.

Monsters

Sometime in the future, Mexico has been completely quarantined after the crash landing of an infected probe. While the military wage war with the creatures that fell to earth, a journalist and a tourist try to jump the border into the Infected Zone. Writer-director Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi film revisits District 9 territory to make some smart points about immigration amid the flying tentacles.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Midnighters

March 11, 2010

The needy, rancid, blackened heart of the SXSW beats its fearsome tattoo at midnight. That’s when the jowly denizens of the dark come out to play, eyes wide as they tap into their iphones strange messages like “Grobius’s Colon: best horror film since Maniac Cop. Need pancakes!” Will 2010 finally satisfy their baleful tweets for fresh cinematic hamburger? Among the wannabe cult objects are the usual suspects: deceptively ordinary hillbillies, goatmen, and the latest epileptic effort from mad ‘n’ bad Frenchman Gaspar Noé.

Read our SXSW Headliners preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the third part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.

Amer

A young girl’s sexual awakening is related in three discrete episodes. Amer is seen as girl, teenager and woman, navigating an uncertain world of dark houses and mysterious strangers, before a final scene that will probably blow your mind. Directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s story of a woman’s sexual awakening takes its cues from the giallo filmmaking of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

Soudain le vide (Enter the Void)

Few films can clear a room faster than Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible, which puts the “god, no” into “uncompromising.” After eight years of silence, his latest film promises a hallucinogenic look into a drug peddler’s last five minutes of life. Pitched somewhere between Roger Corman’s The Trip and Tony Conrad’s The Flicker, Noé may be taking drugs to make films to take drugs to—and we like it!

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 3

March 11, 2010

A lot of quality rounds out the section seeking to capture the best of the fests. Winter’s Bone has already attracted garlands from Sundance and could become a film of the year. Then there’s Harmony Korine’s latest atrocity Trash Humpers. The real gem, though, may well be Det røde kapel, whose trailer implies it could be the looniest caper ever set in North Korea. Skip seeing that lousy R&B band and add these to your checklist. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read our SXSW Preview: Headliners here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1 here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 2 here.

The Oath

My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras’ new doc reaches SXSW after hitting Sundance and Berlin. Poitras has taken a ride Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur and his brother-in-law. Both were former members of al Qaeda who ended up taking very different turns. In probing their choices, Poitras digs up the roots of fanaticism and hints at a future that lies beyond suicide bombings and online beheadings.

Det røde kapel (The Red Chapel)

Simon Jul Jorgensen and Jacob Nossell wanted to visit North Korea to perform their revue The Red Chapel. They invited director Mads Brügger along. He took a camera. What follows seems hardly believable, not least because one of the Korean-born comics is a spastic and everyone might be insane. Having seen the trailer, one YouTube commentator begs the question, “How did they get out alive?”

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 2

March 11, 2010

Is Sundance a little out of your price range, but a Greyhound bus ticket to Austin can be accommodated? Than Festival Favorites is the category for you. Here are the highlights of festivals gone have been cherry-picked … well, perhaps combine-harvested is closer to the truth. Still, all the way from Cannes comes the celebrated Kynodontas; there’s the hit Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-seller; and finally Last Train Home might make you a little more appreciative of the Austin bus terminal. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.

How to Fold a Flag

What happens when the war is over? With the impressive Iraqi war documentaries Gunner Palace and The Prisoner to their credit, Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein decided to find out. They follow four soldiers picking up the pieces after life on the firing line. Their post-war ambitions range from Jon Powers’ quest for a seat in Congress to achieving glory in the cage fighting ring.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Basquiat began his artistic life as “SAMO,” the graffiti philosopher of the 1980s New York downtown scene. He ended it with a needle in his arm, having alienated many of his friends and deciding that money was the only measure of artistic success. Music video director, Beastie Boy spouse and onetime Basquiat pal Tamra Davis tells the artistic poster boy’s story.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 1

March 11, 2010

They can’t all be world premieres, you know. So quit your complaining and suck up the cream of the other festivals, lovingly curated for you by an underpaid festival staffer. Floating on the surface of the great cinematic morass are the new film from Steven Soderbergh (good news, it’s shorter than Che!) and Michael Caine adding some dodder to Death Wish. Among the documentaries, the wistful trembling of Michel Gondry’s family tree is matched only by the weirdness of the global baby market. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.

And Everything is Going Fine

A guy sitting behind the desk is not everybody’s idea of entertainment. Spalding Gray, however, wasn’t everybody. His monologues explored history, show business, and his complex personal history and ailments in a way that was as riveting as open-heart surgery. Collaborator Steven Soderbergh has drawn on 90 hours of footage to fashion the late performer’s neurotic autobiography.

Crying With Laughter

Cinema has never really gotten to grips with the lonely hell of the stand-up comic. Maybe spritzing for a living is just too much of a one man show. Director Justin Molotnikov’s Scottish take adds a helping of revenge to the patter. Joey (Stephen McCole) tells a funny tale onstage about an old school friend. Alas, the buddy is in the audience and he ain’t laughing. This is one heckler Joey is going to regret snapping back at.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: SX Global

March 11, 2010

There is more to life than Texas. Although, as any Texan will tell you, not much more. So hurrah to SXSW for looking beyond its borders to the world outside. While the inclusion of a Native American-themed documentary in the “global” slot is troubling, the rest of the lineup fulfills its brief. In the U.K., CCTVs and databases makes Daily Mail readers of us all. There’s glimpses of Finnish living rooms and the very edges of time. There’s love, loss, incarceration, impotency, death. When all else fails, there’s always Viagra to act as our troubled planet’s the great uniter. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.

The DeVilles

Teri Lee Geary is a burlesque performer who looks like Marilyn Monroe and swings her tassels by the name of Kitten DeVille. She’s married to punk rocker Shawn Geary. DeVille is obsessed by the 1950s of Eisenhower. He’s mired in the 1980s. Now, after a quarter century of mismatched bliss, it’s coming undone. Documentary filmmaker Nicole Nielsen Horanyi is there to film the kitschy Strindberg action.

Erasing David

Keen to find out how much the U.K. government and its corporate databases know about him, filmmaker David Bond (Lions of Green) drops off the grid. Then he hires a pair of detectives to find him using available information. As another film once put it, we live in public. Bond’s discoveries, however, serve to fuel his paranoia about living in the surveillance state of Knifecrime Island.

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