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A Cold Take on the French Film Industry: Close-Up on "Irma Vep"

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep (1996) is showing November 30 - December 30, 2017 in the United States and December 6 - January 5, 2018 in most countries around the world.An action movie star from Hong Kong, Maggie Cheung (played by Maggie Cheung) arrives in Paris and right off the airplane, exhausted and jet-lagged, finds herself in the production hell of an arthouse film that she was hired to star in. The movie is a creative (allegedly) remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic silent series Les vampires, helmed by an aging New Wave director René Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud). Vidal, way past his prime, doesn’t seem entirely certain about what he is doing and why but he is adamant about his vision of Maggie as Irma Vep (an anagram of ‘vampire’)—an acrobatic thief whose tight black garment is for the remake’s
See full article at MUBI »

Reflections of the Actress

  • MUBI
Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart. Courtesy of IFC Films.This week sees the release of Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, starring Kristen Stewart. Assayas’s prior film, The Clouds of Sils Maria, also featured Stewart. This repetition of casting is nothing new for Assayas. Maggie Cheung has been in several of his films, as has Juliet Binoche (who stars opposite Stewart in The Clouds of Sils Maria). Assayas began his career as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma and his films are clearly reflections on the cinema as much as about any other subject. The repetition of a major star is part of this reflection. Viewing Assayas’s works featuring Maggie Cheung, Juliet Binoche, and Kristen Stewart provides a complex exploration of actress and character.In three films that star these actresses—Irma Vep (1996), The Clouds of Sils Maria (2014), and Personal Shopper (2016)—supposed truth readily blends into fiction. Script and spontaneity collide.
See full article at MUBI »

Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report: "Judex" (Franju, 1963)

  • MUBI
An unusual concoction, this 1963 Georges Franju picture, which goes about its business as if the nouvelle vague never existed, among other things. An homage to the 1915 Louis Feuillade serial about an almost super-powered crime fighter who nonetheless has a fairly arduous time bringing the main evildoes to justice (the defining paradox of such serials, I suppose), it honors Feuillade as a surrealist precursor by introducing (or at least we believe we haven't seen him before) the title character as something out of a Max Ernst collage. Having warned the banker villain Favraux that unless he atones for his murderous deeds at midnight he'll be punished, Judex shows up at Favraux's costume party, the eyes of his bird mask more magnificently accusing than any of the others. He produces what seems to be a flock of doves with his bare hands. And soon Favraux collapses. Dead? No. Drugged. It's all part
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Joshua Reviews Fritz Lang’s The Spiders [Blu-ray Review]

In an age of franchises and “cinematic universes” that seems to number in the thousands, it should come as no shock that the idea of feature length, serialized motion pictures date back to the earliest days of silent cinema. However, while most cinephiles are obviously familiar with franchises like James Bond and Star Wars, and even lay people are cognisant of the Marvel “Cmu”, few people outside the realm of film scholarship mention the silent serials like Louis Feuillade’s Fantomas. Even when legendary auteurs are the creative forces behind them.

Such is the case with Fritz Lang and his superb action/adventure serial, The Spiders. Drawing inspiration from the aforementioned Feuillade series, this 1919 serial was originally intended to be a four part epic, with only two “episodes” being filmed. Broken into The Golden Sea and The Diamond Ship, the story introduces us to a man named Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Spiders (1919)

When Fritz Lang began in film he was a better writer than director. This lavish two-part thriller sees him concocting a multi-genre mashup, shoehorning cowboy action thrills and an exotic lost Incan civilization into dagger-and-poison serial skullduggery. The Spiders Blu-ray Kino Classics 1919 / B&W / 1:33 flat / 173 min. / Street Date August 23, 2016 / Die Spinnen / available through Kino Classics / 29.95 Starring Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla, Lil Dagover, Georg John. Cinematography Karl Freund Designers Otto Hunte, Carl Ludwig Kirmse, Heinrich Umlauff, Hermann Warm Music (2012) Ben Model Produced by Erich Pommer Written and Directed by Fritz Lang   There appears to be nothing new under the sun, even if lovers of Indiana Jones don't realize that most everything he did, had been done long before in silent serials. I have a lazy habit here of claiming that Fritz Lang invented most of the basic ideas we see in every adventure genre except the western. But these
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Fantômas | Blu-ray Review

Though we’re barely into a new calendar year, Kino Lorber has released one of the year’s most notable Blu-ray restorations, a superb presentation of Louis Feuillade’s famous silent serial Fantômas with a five title set ranging from 1913 to 1914. Surprisingly violent and full of cunning twists (based on the pulp novellas of Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre), the criminal overlord was an early template for genre cinema staples, including Feuillade’s later iconic characters such as Irma Vep or the crime fighter Judex (each in turn inspiring an innumerable amount of other auteurs, from Fritz Lang to Georges Franju to Olivier Assayas). But this was Feuillade’s first master of disguise, a cold hearted criminal intent on rending all the jewelry and other worldly goods from Belle Epoch Parisian women he could get his greedy fingers on.

Feuillade remains one of the most prolific auteurs of all time,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

NYC Weekend Watch: Pialat, Chytilová, ‘Les Vampires,’ ‘Deep Red’ & More

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

Museum of the Moving Image

Several more titles play in the Museum’s excellent Maurice Pialat retrospective. Read more about his work here.

Wiseman‘s Model and Central Park show on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Anthology Film Archives

Olivier Assayas‘s Irma Vep and its central inspiration, Louis Feuillade‘s eight-hour Les Vampires, play on Friday and Saturday & Sunday,
See full article at The Film Stage »

All she surveys by Anne-Katrin Titze

Queen Of Earth's Elisabeth Moss and director Alex Ross Perry at MoMA with Josh Siegel Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The disquieting power of laughter, shooting a film in sequence, countering movie clichés about female friendship, a Doris Day Pillow Talk moment, hysteria, editing time (by Robert Greene and Peter Levin), Edvard Munch, Musidora in Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires, slow zooms (cinematography by Sean Price Williams), plus Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski's use of food, entered into Josh Siegel's conversation with Queen Of Earth director Alex Ross Perry and star Elisabeth Moss.

Alex Ross Perry introducing Queen Of Earth Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Catherine (Moss) visits her old friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston) at her family's lake house to recover and possibly come to terms with two recent traumatic events in her life. Her father, a famous artist whose estate Catherine manages, committed suicide, and her longtime boyfriend James (Kentucker Audley) left her.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Interrupted Voyages: Two Rarities at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

  • MUBI
What good is a canon? It's a question that hovers in endless debate near cinephile culture. The idea of distilling cinema down to its "best" or "most essential" films is like a game or a thought experiment, and whether it be the AFI or Sight & Sound or a group of Young Turks looking to rattle conventional wisdom, canon-making demonstrates nothing so much as a desire to assemble an expansive, fragmented, and still-evolving sense of film history into some sort of definitive order. Canons, each with its own biases, are useful chiefly as a starting point or a basecamp. The best answer is to always be looking, always curious. And cinema has barely more than a century to keep up with. I wonder how bibliophiles cope.One of the virtues of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, which begins on May 28th, is how it mixes classics and arcana on a level plane.
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Heroine Chic: Female Celebrity and Identity in the Films of Olivier Assayas

  • MUBI
Watching a film by Olivier Assayas is a little like wandering into the bedroom of a teenager, taking in the aesthetic décor that clings to his or her walls and bookshelves—posters, pop records, hastily cut-out collages of idols, and literature—and being left to draw a logical conclusion based on these ephemeral scraps. This idea of collage, assembling or reinventing an identity, has always been a concept inherent to punk and youth culture: British punk historian Jon Savage coined the term “living collage” to describe European teenagers in the 1970s who tore apart thrifted vintage clothing at the seams to fuse and repurpose them with safety pins. Assayas’ work is essentially the filmic equivalent of that same idea: he populates his frames with torrents of ideas and surfaces and lets loose cinematographers Yorick Le Saux and Eric Gautier to pan wildly, struggling to encapsulate everything into their widescreen, handheld compositions.
See full article at MUBI »

Our Daily Bread #7

  • MUBI
Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas opens with a series of disguises, image overlays revealing to us Fantomas’ various personas.Often used by silent filmmakers attempting to conjure the supernatural, they conjure the abstract instead:“It’s a visual medium”–John Ford“[Erich von] Stroheim asked me personally to take on the assignment (after the studio removed him from the film), and I did so without any protest on his part…”– Josef von Sternberg***We move from dissolves to hard cuts:Later in The Wedding March:Counterpoints:And beyond:We call for help, mere seconds later our cries our answered: “We’ve got a trial ahead of us.”Time is meaningless: there is no difference between past and present.Impressionism becomes Expressionism:But we keep being reborn:Love exists:Love unites us all, re-engages us with the world:We cease being individuals:And become a collective--We become a crowd:None of us are alone:*** Sources:Fantômas (Louis Feuillade, 1913)India Matri Bhumi (Roberto Rossellini,
See full article at MUBI »

Silent Wwi Film – Verdun, Visions Of History Screens at Webster University Feb. 15th

There nothing better than seeing silent films with live music, especially in the cozy confines of Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 E. Lockwood in Webster Groves). This Sunday, February 15th, at 7pm, Webster University, in conjunction with Cinema St. Louis, will screen the 1927 French film Verdun, Visions Of History from director Léon Poirier accompanied by live music from pianist Hakim Bentchouala-Golobitch. Admission is Free.

Because of the political, social, economic and cultural impact it generated worldwide, the First World War is a singular event in the history of mankind. With 4.4 million soldiers mobilized and a financial contribution of 500 billion today, the United States played a major role in the Great War and the victory of the Triple Entente. The long French-American friendship was strengthened by this conflict.

Since September 2014, as part of the worldwide commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

La Belle Captive | Blu-Ray review

While 2014 saw the passing of (reluctant) New Wave icon Alain Resnais, there was an intense resurgence of interest in the directorial efforts of Last Year at Marienbad (1961) scribe Alain Robbe-Grillet. Grillet and Resnais would never collaborate again, but it left the screenwriter with his own directorial options, which he used to explore his abstract fetishes in a filmography that would span ten films, many of which never made it to the United States. Kino Lorber’s Redemption label resurrected five rare titles for Blu-ray over the past year, including his 1963 debut L’immortelle and New Wave classic Trans-Europ-Express (1967). But it would be Grillet’s eighth feature that would serve to be his most internationally renowned, the 1983 La Belle Captive, which chanteys its way into Blu-ray this month courtesy of Olive Films. No more cohesive than any of the other puzzling titles in his filmography, the stunning work from DoP Henri Alekan
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Il Cinema Ritrovato 2014

  • MUBI
"Nobody's really captured the quality of a film festival," observed musician/composer Neil Brand, "You're doing something that's pleasurable, but then the fatigue sets in..." It's true—a celluloid feast like Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna is a particular case, too, since so many of the films are rarities. It's like being a cake specialist and suddenly somebody offers you fifty magnificent cakes of unique recipe but says "You have to eat them all in an hour or I'll take them away and you'll never see them again." You plunge in, and even when nausea starts to replace pleasure you can't bring yourself to stop...

Cinephiles like to grumble, and the venues of Bologna attract a certain amount of criticism (one has a bar which runs between the front row and the screen, cutting the subtitles in half; air conditioning is switched on and off at random; and then there's
See full article at MUBI »

Review: Georges Franju's "Judex" (1963), Criterion Dual Format Release

  • CinemaRetro
Crime, Costumes, And Masks

By Raymond Benson

Apparently the French had their own Batman-like character in the early days of silent film. Created by Louis Feuillade and Arthur Bernède, Judex (“judge” in Latin) was a crime-fighting avenger that appeared in silent serials in 1916-17. The character was resurrected once in 1934 in a sound feature, and once again in 1963 by celebrated director Georges Franju. The Criterion Collection has seen fit to release Judex, this later version, on Blu-ray and DVD in a dual format package. The results are splendid.

Judex doesn’t bother to disguise his face when he’s in character. He wears a black cape and a Zorro-like hat. You could say he’s kind of like The Shadow. By day, though, he applies old-age makeup and assumes the role of Vallieres, the right-hand man to an evil banker. Judex is in love with the banker’s daughter, Jacqueline,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Georges Franju’s Judex Screens at The Classic French Film Festival This Saturday

The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1920s through the 1980s (with a particular focus on filmmakers from the New Wave), offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. Judex will screen as part of the festival at 8:30pm Saturday, June 28th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium.

This effortlessly cool crime caper, directed by Georges Franju, is a marvel of dexterous plotting and visual invention. Conceived as an homage to Louis Feuillade’s 1916 cult silent serial of the same name, “Judex” kicks off with the mysterious kidnapping of a corrupt banker by a shadowy crime fighter (American magician Channing Pollock) and spins out into a thrillingly complex web of deceptions. Combining stylish ’60s modernism with silent-cinema touches and even a few unexpected sci-fi accents, “Judex” is a delightful bit of superhero pulp fiction
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Oiff Announces 2014 Honorary Guests and Special Programs

Despite political instability in the country and lack of resources, the Odessa International Film Festival will take place July 11 - 19, 2014, after a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign (See article Here) The festival has also announced its first guests and new information on its non-competitive program. Awards for films in development, presented at the Industry Office, have been raised. The Film Market for Ukrainian Films will be held from July 14 to 17, 2014.

Stephen Freas Retrospective

The honorary guest, Stephen Frears, will receive a Golden Duke for his contribution to motion picture arts during the festival’s Opening Ceremony. A retrospective of his work is shown at the Festival. While in Odessa, he will also give insights in his work during a master class for the students of the Summer Film School.

Frears is best known for his provocative, stylish and low-budget films about people living on the edge of social and sexual norms. The director of Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen and Philomena has won numerous prestigious awards. He was nominated for the Academy Award, Golden Globe and Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Special Guests

The festival will welcome the Irish film and theater actor Aidan Turner , best known for his performance in the TV-series Desperate Romantics, The Tudors and the three part fantasy film "The Hobbit."

Lord David Puttnam, the British film producer, will be a lector at the Summer Film School. Films he produced include "Midnight Express," "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission". So far, his films received 10 Academy Awards and 25 main prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. Also for the Summer Film School, American director

Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream," "The Wrestler , " "Black Swan," "Noah"), will present an online master class.

Open-Air Screening Potemkin Stairs

The Oiff audience will have a chance to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s "Blackmail," accompanied by a symphonic orchestra, as part of the traditional Potemkin Stairs screenings. Shot in 1929, the film occupies a special place in the work of the director, as it was Hitchcock’s both last silent and first sound film. A lesser-known silent version will be screened at the festival.

Also screened open air, Louis Feuillade ’s Fantomas (1913) will be presented at the Langeron descent.

Festival Of The Festivals Program

The Oiff 2014 non-competitive program includes several international hits, such as the black and white Polish film "Ida" by Paweł Pawlikowski; "Life of Riley" , the last film of the great French director Alain Resnais; "Of Horse and Men" , a film by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson; and "Still Life" , the Italian tragicomedy by Uberto Pasolini.

Oiff Film Industry Office – New Awards

The Film Industry Office program will include pitching sessions, work in progress presentations and “Producer+Director” programs. The invited speakers will present master classes on pitching technologies, scriptwriting and work with audiences. The program is sponsored by Rinat Akhmetov Foundation for Development of Ukraine.

The money prize for the winner of the Ukrainian full-length projects pitching has been raised in 2014 from 25 to 50 thousand hryvnias, thanks to the festival’s Partner, the development company Udp . The official Odessa Film Festival air carrier, Ukrainian International Airlines , introduces a new prize for the best Ukrainian film project in progress, worth Usd 3000 for flights provided by the company.

The Film Market will be held from July 14 to 17, 2014.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

New DVD Blu-ray: 'The Lego Movie,' 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week

"The Lego Movie"

What's It About? A boring, regular dude Lego named Emmet (Chris Pratt) is suddenly called upon to save the world. Will Ferrell voices bad guy President Business, Elizabeth Banks as the super cool Wyldstyle, Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty, and Nick Offerman as a pirate named Metal Beard.

Why We're In: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller accomplished the unthinkable -- they made what seemed like a craven toy tie-in into a movie that everyone loves. It's kind of crazy.

Post by Moviefone.

Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week

"Picnic at Hanging Rock" (Criterion)

What's It About? A group of schoolgirls and their teacher go on a lovely picnic at Hanging Rock, a scenic rock formation in Australia. Their Valentine's Day outing takes a turn for the weird when several of them go missing, leaving a devastated community in their wake.

Why We're In: It's a gorgeous,
See full article at Moviefone »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Judex

Blu-ray & DVD Release Dates: June 17, 2014

Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95

Studio: Criterion

A criminal masquerade is perpetrated in Judex.

This 1963 effortlessly cool French crime caper film Judex, directed by Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face), is a marvel of dexterous plotting and visual invention.

Conceived as an homage to Louis Feuillade’s 1916 cult silent serial of the same name, Judex kicks off with the mysterious kidnapping of a corrupt banker (Michel Vitold) by the shadowy crime fighter Judex (American magician Channing Pollock) and spins out into a thrillingly complex web of deceptions.

Combining stylish Sixties modernism with silent-cinema touches and even a few unexpected sci-fi accents, Judex is a delightful bit of pulp fiction and a testament to the art of illusion.

Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD standalone editions of the movie include the following features:

• New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
See full article at Disc Dish »

'Picnic at Hanging Rock', 'L'eclisse' and 'Hard Days Night' Coming from Criterion in June 2014

I just received my review copy of Ingmar Bergman's Pesona (3/25) today so I'm a little high on Criterion love at the moment and only minutes after receiving that in the mail I received today's announcement listing the films coming to the Collection in June. I'm sure many will be excited to see Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock getting the Blu-ray upgrade. The remastered release includes a new piece on the making of the film, a new introduction by film scholar David Thomson as well as Weir's 1971 black comedy Homesdale among other additional features. The disc will hit shelves on June 17. The title I'm most looking forward to is Michelangelo Antonioni's L'eclisse the third film in his informal trilogy that includes L'avventura and La notte. This is the only one of those three I haven't yet seen and what a cast as it tells the story of
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »
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