Posts Tagged ‘Treeless Mountain’

Must See Movies: March

March 1, 2010

Spring is busting out all over, even if Squally is currently looking out at several inches of snow at this writing. While the past few months have offered slim pickings for cineastes on a budget, March comes in with returning masters and new discoveries. So many, in fact, that we’ve extended our usual handful to a mighty six. Among the delights in store: Zoe Kazan, fascist mistresses, Lolitas in platforms, and Ben Stiller turning his neuroses up to 11. Sorry funseekers, no Hot Tub Time Machine. Click on the titles for trailers and more.

The Exploding Girl
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Ivy (Zoe Kazan) juggles a distant boyfriend and a close pal while taking a break from college.
Fun fact: Writer-director Bradley Rust Gray is married to Treeless Mountain helmer So Yong Kim!
Why it could be great: Zoe Kazan’s had us since her delicate turn in Me and Orson Welles. And who doesn’t like a summer-set mood piece released in the middle of March?
Why it could suck: Oh.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Matt Damon reunites with director Paul Greengrass to fight the war in Iraq. Based on the acclaimed book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Fun fact: Greengrass collaborated with onetime M15 agent Peter Wright on Spycatcher, a 1987 bestseller which lifted the lid on Britain’s Secret Service.
Why it could be great: Damon and Greengrass’s Bourne films made palm’s sweat glands work overtime.
Why it could suck: Iraq? Again?

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ND / NF ’09 Trailers: From Parque Via to We Live in Public

March 29, 2009

ndnf-20091It’s our third and final round-up of video ephemera from the New Directors New Films festival! Today’s line-up features both critical excess and opprobrium. Parque Viabrings back the ND/NF09 stand-by, the slighted servant. Then there’s misery in the Chinese badlands, alienation in America’s BBQ capital, a hot blast of neo-neo realism in South Korea, bedsit bathos in London town, and finally a jolt of futureshock from the director of DiG!

Parque Via (Enrique Rivero, 2008)

If someone came up to you saying, “It’s Jeanne Dielman, except God exists!”you’d be tempted to attach them to the nearest jukebox and throw it in the East River. But when that person is Keith Uhlich of Time Out and you imagine him looking like this and you realize he’s referring to this film, it’s possible to forgive. An old servant loses their rag (and presumably their routine) when the house gets sold.

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New Directors, New Films, Old Themes

March 25, 2009

ndnf-2009A few months ago, NPR ran a rather gratuitous item of how reviewer/jester Mike D’Angelo was raising money through his blog so he could go to Cannes. Why he couldn’t just stay at home and wait for the good movies to come to the United States like the rest of us was beyond this blogger, but we came to understand his dilemma on finding that there’s a Hollis Frampton retrospective on at the Anthology Film Archives this weekend. Anybody want to lend a broke blogger $9 to see Zorns Lemma? Thought not.

All of which is a way of saying that reader, we are poor. Hence, reader, we will not be attending the New Directors/New Filmsseries running at the New York’s MOMA and Walter Reade Theatre until April 5. Much to our shame, we didn’t even realize the festival was on. Fortunately, other writers are paid to pay attention. What follows is a summary of what to see if you’re seeing ND/NF 2009.

In the Village Voice, Nick Pinkerton looks at the 39th edition of the fest and decides yep, it’s old. And that you never know what you’re gonna get. But you can get a good idea via the paper’s useful interviews with film directors Ondi Timoner (We Live in Public), Esther Rots (Can Go Through Skin), So Yong Kim (Treeless Mountain), Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls), and Louie Psihoyos (The Cove).

Other writers take a more structural approach. In the New York Times, Stephen Holden wants him some of that A.O. Scott/Richard Brody bloodbath, boldly affirming what he calls “social realism” as “humanistic art with an educational frisson.” That’s the keynote of this year’s fest, with something of an “internationalist tone.” Indiewire’s Howard Feinstein identifies “home” as a key theme, although the way he expresses don’t half make the head hurt:

Be it a villa or shanty, a dwelling is a sacrosanct extension of our bodies, our psyches, our values, our souls, humankind projected into architectural form.

Grab some aspirin, and take a survey of what to expect (and with trailers) after the jump.
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Critical Bitchslap: A.O. Scott vs. Richard Brody

March 24, 2009

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Imagine a war between the New York Times and the New Yorker, and you might think of Walter Burns tossing inkpots at the effete Eustace Tilly. In fact, it appears to be the other way around. A.O. Scott’s elegant consideration of a certain type of American Neo-Realism has been blasted via a pugnacious blog post from Richard Brody. After an initial exchange of fire, both returned for another salvo. The various broadsides can be read here, here, here and here. But for those who would just prefer to fall asleep without moving their mouse, here’s Squally’s scorecard.

It all started when A.O. Scott, as is his wont, looked over a series of forthcoming films and attempted to write a serviceable trend piece colored with his usual thoughtful commentary. In the best New York Sunday Magazine style, he explained to readers something they presumably hadn’t noticed before and gave them a bit of a back scratch as well. That “something” was the adaptation of Neo-realist techniques by filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) and Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), occasioned by the release of Bahrani’s Goodbye Solo, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden‘s Sugar and So Yong Kim‘s Treeless Mountain in the next few weeks.

These films, he wrote, represented “an urge to escape from escapism,” an alternative to films like Watchmen, Knowing, and whatever else they’re condemned to watch in Greeley, Colorado. Each has several features in common with the classics of the postwar Italian Neo-realist movement, films such as Roma, citta aperta/Open City, La Terra Trema/The Earth Trembles and Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves. They are made during a time of economic and political upheaval. They use non-professionals in fictional roles that are close to their real selves. They are filmed on location and make use of “unadorned, specific” locales (Rome, Winston-Salem, N.C., a mountain village in South Korea). They emphasize work–whether as a profession, at home, or in the school. Although Italian Neo-realism passed mainstream American cinema by, these films look to foreign movies and are intent in showing the “American life that remains off screen.” While subdued in nature, these films can be ultimately inspiring in how they portray strength/resilience in the face of adversity.

All seems innocuous enough. But not so for Brody the firebrand blogger at New Yorker’s Front Row. In a numbered list and with a shaky criteria that recalls the manner of his New Wave heroes (Brody has written the acclaimed Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard), Brody swings at the Old Grey Lady’s oracle … and swings wildly.
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Trailerama: Treeless Mountain

January 1, 2009

You’re missing: two young girls are left on their own in Seoul while mom searches for their father. Hankies at the ready. In Between Days director So Yong Kim was inspired in equal parts by Yasujiro Ozu and Hirokazu Kore-eda. Music is by dream poppers Asobi Seksu. Below, the Korean-American filmmaker discusses her second feature film.

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