Love Is All - Last Choice EP (2009)

Rivette in pole position for competition selection (Cineuropa)

One month before Marco Muller unveils the competition titles of the 66th Venice Film Festival (September 2-12), Jacques Rivette’s French/Italian co-production 36 Vues du Pic Saint-Loup (“36 Views from the Pic Saint-Loup”, see news) is tipped to vie for the Golden Lion, according to Cineuropa’s sources in Paris.

This would mark the first Venetian selection for the director (81), who has thrice participated in competition at Cannes – including in 1991, when he won the Grand Jury Prize for La Belle Noiseuse – and twice at Berlin (most recently, in 2007 with Don’t Touch the Axe [trailer]).

Starring Jane Birkin, Sergio Castellitto and Julie-Marie Parmentier, 36 Vues du Pic Saint-Loup was produced by Pierre Grise Productions for €3.53m. This included co-production support from France 2 Cinéma and Italy’s Cinemaundici, an advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC), a pre-sale from Canal + and a grant from the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

International sales are being handled by Les Films du Losange, who will release the title in France on September 9.

Other likely French contenders for a competition slot at Venice include Patrice Chéreau’s Persécution (see news), featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Romain Duris and Jean-Hugues Anglade. Co-produced by Azor Films and Move Movie with backing from Arte France Cinéma, Canal + and an advance on receipts from the CNC, the film is sold internationally by MK2. If selected, Chéreau would return to the Venetian competition in which he participated in 2005 with Gabrielle [trailer].

According to rumours in Paris, Christophe Honoré’s Non Ma Fille, Tu N'iras Pas Danser (“No, My Daughter, You Won’t Go Dancing”, see news) also has a good chance of selection. Thus, the director could discover the Lido after appearing on the Croisette (Un Certain Regard in 2002, Directors’ Fortnight in 2006 and in competition with Love Songs [trailer] in 2007) and at San Sebastian last year (The Beautiful Person [trailer]).

Produced by Why Not Productions for €3.86m, Non Ma Fille… was co-produced by France 3 Cinéma and pre-bought by Canal +. It will be launched domestically on September 2 by Le Pacte, who are also managing international sales.


Dispatches from "Public Enemies," Part 2 (The Auteurs)

By Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

History is made at night, at least around here. It gets dark, the police come and cordon off two blocks of Lincoln Avenue. Autograph seekers huddle around a McDonalds at the south end of the street. They bicker with police deep into the night. Two blocks have been redecorated according to archival photographs: there are dress shops, a Chinese restaurant, a pool hall, a grocery store with a window full of wax fruit. They've taken down the street lights and put up old-fashioned ones. They glow with a beige light instead of the usual yellow. Fake trolley tracks have been laid down in the middle of the street, with foam brick underneath them. The Biograph Theater’s marquee, repainted 1930s black, advertises Manhattan Melodrama, the last film John Dillinger saw, and the miracle of air conditioning (it's the secret reason cinephiles like the summer).

If you come here in the daytime, you’ll find a squad of security guards. Three men guard an alleyway, empty except for a box of empty Coca-Cola bottles. Three men to guard one box: the lengths we go to in the name of continuity. Another guard’s half-empty soda cup sits in the Biograph’s box office booth.

When you see this during the day, it’s like you’ve wandered into the wrong city, the wrong decade. At night, when the cars start running, noisly making their figure-eight loop around the set, when the costumed summer strollers walk slowly down the street, pretending that they’ve just left a movie or a restaurant or are coming home from work—then it’s something else. I think of the last time this city heard the spastic growl of so many Ford Model A engines. They sound like hail when it drums on a metal roof. It must bring back old memories for the bricks. You end up thinking about how someday, should movies disappear, we’ll look back and marvel at the lengths we went to for them, the way we now look back on Gothic cathedrals and wonder about how people could have spent decades on a church. We recreated the past, avoided the present, all for the sake of a few minutes on a screen.


Public Enemies is being shot from a script Mann co-wrote, based on a book on the crime wave of 1933 - 1934. At the center are a bunch of folk characters: John Dillinger, Melvin Purvis, Baby Face Nelson, J. Edgar Hoover. Around here, they're still remembered. I'm shown a shop that was once a speakeasy; the big metal door, like the one in any good gangster movie, is still there. Upstairs there's a blackjack table that they say Dillinger used to play behind. Its current owner shows me a prized possession: a chip monogrammed JHD—John Herbert Dillinger. Later I hear that one of the landlords around here had sat on Dillinger's knee when he was a little boy. 75 years later, it's still the same town. The Biograph had to be repainted, but it's still here, even if people go to see plays there instead of movies nowadays. The alley is still there, the old building. "It's all true," I think.

The "true story" has become such a staple of American cinema in the last decade, but I think Mann's "true stories" are the only ones with any truth to them. It's because he's more interested in the feelings or the ideas than the facts—it's what makes Ali stand out in crowd of Rays and Walk the Lines. It's more important that the actors express than impersonate. Will Smith only has Cassius Clay's haircut, the same way Johnny Depp will only have John Dillinger's moustache. But Smith has a charisma, and that tomcat voice, equal parts feline and masculine. Of course the set around us is all facts, illustrated: what the cars of 1934 looked like, how the people of 1934 dressed, what the color of a 1934 Chicago streetlight was. This is the work of the art director, the production designer, the costumers, their crews. It's not the facts that Mann is here to give us.

Shooting the past in HD—why not? 1934 wasn't in 35mm any more than 100 BC was all in marble statues. The key idea of Ali was that the 1960s were a time when people actually lived, not just some set of important moments that we can look back on. That public figures were people. It was history without irony or bemusement. Mann shooting a film set in 1930s on video isn't a post-modern conceit: Mann genuinely believes in video's ability to capture certain things film can't pick up (and vice-versa—hence he's shooting part of Dillinger's death on 35mm). It's a question of video's way of capturing background movement, of the way leaves fluttering in the background can overtake the image. "What's missing from movies nowadays is the beauty of the moving wind in the trees," D.W. Griffith said four years before his death. Griffith, who gave us the monumental image, wished for a day when the elements of an image could subvert its composition. For waves that could look so strong that they could overtake a figure framed against the ocean. 35mm, always forgiving to the human element, gave us a way to master the world. The figure against a landscape was a figure first and a landscape second. HD—especially Mann's beloved CineAlta camera, and especially at night—is harder to control. It's as like we've razed a forest to build a city and now find trees growing on every corner.

It requires a new thinking. The director who uses it has to be looking for something that he or she wouldn't find in 35mm. What Mann is after here is something he's attempted to get with film before and only sometimes succeeded. The image of Malcolm X (Mario Van Peebles) dying in Ali, for instance—photographed with such tactile focus that the image becomes less about the gun shots that Van Peebles' eyelashes. We realize that he's blinking, that he's still alive as shot after shot hits his body. It's Mann's most violent image, and that's because it acknowledges the fragility of life. The human detail overtakes the violent center. Even more than those first few minutes of Ali—where a jogging Will Smith is shot on washed-out digital video—it's the start of Mann's HD tendency.


We're sneaking around the set, observing the crew and extras. Certain mannerisms return when people are costumed. Men snap suspenders. They tug on their pantslegs as they sit down. A bar has been requisitioned for the movie, and when extras order drinks on their break, they instinctively remove their hats, setting them down next to their beers. An actor dressed like a policeman (or, knowing Michael Mann, a real policeman playing a policeman) enters, and I’m briefly worried, because we’re smoking indoors, which is illegal in the city. It takes a half-second to realize that, real policeman or not, he’s just another actor and, real interior or not, this has become a set. He pats one of the beer drinkers on the back.

In the alley behind the bar, the second unit is shooting a scene. Some policemen are stopping the G-men leaving the scene of the Biograph shooting. One of them shouts loudly, asking them who they are. A PA directs foot traffic, telling people when they can cross and when they can't. The video feed monitor is a stop light. All clear. We dash.

Workers - Workers (2009)

Workers are a long stretch of highway on a hot summer night. They are a blanket of pitch-black sky pocked with thousands of points of light. They are your headlights searching the road ahead, a mystery unfolding as you roll forth into the darkness. They are a sense of calm as you roll off into the void, more curious than frightened.

The Louisville, Ky., trio makes lush, atmospheric music that washes over you, pounding your chest and overwhelming your senses with searing guitars, pulsing bass and crackling drums. The lyrics are dark and tangled, the melodies cresting and crashing. You draw comparisons to everything from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Swervedriver, Ride, Pelican, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Clouds, 'Bends'-era Radiohead to The Secret Machines before determining that Workers' music is an experience unto itself. It's epic indie rock with big, hairy balls.

Workers were formed in 2001 under the name Your Black Star by singer/guitarist Jeremy Johnson and drummer Andrew Osborn, two kindred spirits bonded by their love of bombastic, fearless rock ’n’ roll. Like a lot of bands, the birthing process proved difficult; bassists came and went before a true fellow traveler was discovered in Brandon Duggins.

They have taken a decidedly unorthodox approach to building a fan base. Rather than fall into the trap that some bands fall into, Your Black Star resisted the temptation of becoming a bunch of local heroes who only play before adoring friends and neighbors. Rather, they threw themselves on the crucible that is the never-ending tour, taking the show on the road to test themselves before unfamiliar audiences.

Your Black Star ventured to Japan in 2006, where they quickly developed an unlikely connection with rock-starved fans. Tours of Australia and New Zealand provoked a similar reaction, as well as positive international press, and numerous spins on the influential BBC where they were campioned by Steve Lamacq. Overseas buzz led to deals with labels in Japan, England and Australia, as well as a UK tour with indie darlings the New Pornographers. 'Sound from the Ground', the band’s American debut, won critical acclaim stateside, tagging Your Black Star with the weighty “next big thing” label, but the band was still a bit of a mystery back home. Seeing this as less a problem than an opportunity, Johnson, Osborn and Duggins spent the better part of the past three years on a rampaging tour through the States, playing in the esteemed South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin and the CMJ Festival in New York. Expectations can stifle a band, but the trio confronted them head on.

Premios en los festivales de Los Angeles, Edimburgo y Moscú (Variety)

"Moon", de Duncan Jones, premiada en Edimburgo

"The Stoning of Soraya M.," directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, has won the audience award for best feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

"Soraya M." depicts the execution of a woman based on a false charge of adultery. The film's based on a true story recounted in the late Freidoune Sahebjam's 1994 book.

The awards announcements were made Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the 11-day festival.

The kudo for performance in the narrative competition went to Shayne Topp for Suzi Yoonessi's "Dear Lemon Lima."

"Soul Power," directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, won the aud nod for documentary feature and Eva Norvind's "Born Without (Nacido Sin)" took the audience kudo for international film.

The Target Filmmaker Award went to Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace for "Wah Do Dem" (What They Do), the Target Documentary Award to Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman for "Los que se quedan" (Those Who Remain).

Target Dream in Color Award was presented to Sam Rubin for "Lipstick"; narrative short film trophy went to Antonio Mendez Esparza's "Time and Again"; documentary short film nod went to Anna Gaskell's "Replayground"; and Jeremy Clapin's "Skhizein" took animated short film.

Audience award for short film went to "Instead of Abracadabra," directed by Patrick Eklund.


EDINBURGH -- The 63rd Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival closed Sunday with "Moon" winning the Michael Powell Award for new British feature and "Easier With Practice" taking the prize for new international feature.

Tomm Moore's Irish animated pic "The Secret of Kells" took the audience award, while Katie Jarvis from "Fish Tank" was honored for performance in a British film.

Cary Joji Fukanaga took the Skillset new directors award for Mexican pic "Sin Nombre," and the Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus Award went to Lynn Shelton's Sundance hit "Humpday."

Despite the global economic meltdown that has hit the city of Edinburgh particularly hard, the festival reported a 3.5% increase in its box office with just a couple of days to go. Fest's closing film was Max Mayer's "Adam."

The number of industry delegates also rose by 4% in the second year of the festival's move to June from its traditional August date.

"Moon," a sci-fi thriller directed by Brit rookie Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell, was arguably the fest's biggest success. Arriving with Internet buzz from its Sundance premiere, it was the first film in the program to sell out, and also ended up second in the voting for the audience award.

If "Moon" can now use this springboard to become a cult hit at the U.K. box office, it will go some way to validating Edinburgh's claim to be a "festival of discovery."

Fest organizers will certainly point to the prize for Kyle Patrick Alvarez's "Easier With Practice" to back up that claim. The pic, starring Brian Geraghty as a writer on a promotional tour who receives an erotic phone call from a stranger, previously screened at Cinevegas but came to Edinburgh with virtually no profile.

Edinburgh's artistic director Hannah McGill commented, "It says a lot about EIFF and its mission as a discovery festival that Duncan Jones, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Tomm Moore and Cary Joji Fukunaga are all first-time feature directors."

Other films that figured strongly in the audience voting included Vogue documentary "The September Issue," last year's French sleeper hit "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life," and the dark Scottish comedy "Crying With Laughter."


MOSCOW — Russian films swept the board at the 31st Moscow Intl. Film Festival, which closed Sunday.

All four local pics in the 16-strong competition lineup came away with a prize. Only the helming kudo went abroad — to frosh director Mariana Chenillo from Mexico for "Five Days Without Nora."

The top Gold St. George award for film went to Nikolai Dostal for "Pete on the Way to Heaven." Alexander Proshkin took the special jury prize for "The Miracle."

Karen Shakhnazarov's adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short story "Ward Number Six" captured best actor for Vladimir Ilyin. Best actress went to tyke Lena Kostyuk for Kira Muratova's "Melody for the Barrel-Organ," which also took the Fipresci prize.

Jury president Pavel Lungin, whose film "The Tsar" opened the festival, said from the stage that "our Russian films were just better this year."

The prize for the Perspectives sidebar went to Georgian director Vano Burduli for his debut feature "The Conflict Zone."

The lifetime achievement award went to Georgian director Rezo Chkheidze. In a reference to the troubled relationship between Russia and Georgia, the 82-year-old director said: "I am optimistic about the future. Politics is not the business of filmmakers — but love is."

The other honorary award, the Konstantin Stanislavsky prize, had been presented posthumously a week earlier at the opening ceremony to Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky, whose last role was in "The Tsar."

Closing film was the first screening outside the U.S. of Michael Mann's "Public Enemies."

Fest prexy Nikita Mikhalkov said that this showed the importance the film biz attached to the Russian market.

Mann paid tribute to the impact of Russian cinema around the world, and spoke of his own family roots in the country.

Main industry event at festival was the debut edition of the fest's co-production market.

Blur - Live @ Glastonbury 2009


"Girls & Boys"



La “Escuela de Berlín”: el Joven Cine Alemán del nuevo siglo

El Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires, el Goethe Institut y la Fundación Cinemateca Argentina organizan un ciclo denominado La “Escuela de Berlín”: el Joven Cine Alemán del nuevo siglo, que se llevará a cabo del miércoles 1º al miércoles 15 de julio, en la Sala Leopoldo Lugones del Teatro San Martín (Avenida Corrientes 1530). El ciclo está integrado por quince largometrajes de los principales realizadores alemanes surgidos en la última década.

“En 1982, la muerte de Rainer Werner Fassbinder marcó el fin de aquello que hasta entonces se conocía como el ‘Nuevo Cine Alemán’. Después de Kluge, Wenders y Herzog, se esperaba una generación de recambio, pero los ’80 y buena parte de los ’90 resultaron un páramo. Esa renovación tardó casi tres lustros: llegó, por fin, con la llamada ‘Escuela de Berlín’, todo un abanico de nombres nuevos que comenzó a llamar la atención en el circuito de festivales internacionales (el Bafici no fue la excepción), muchas veces a partir de su lanzamiento en la Berlinale.

A diferencia de la generación de Oberhausen, la ‘Escuela de Berlín’ -una denominación que sus mismos integrantes rechazan, en principio porque no todos provienen de la capital alemana ni de su escuela de cine, la Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb)- no tiene un manifiesto ni un programa en común. Un poco como sucedió con el Nuevo Cine Argentino, que es su contemporáneo, estos realizadores se reivindican en sus individualidades, lo cual no deja de ser un signo de los tiempos.

Hay diferencias muy evidentes entre el cine de Angela Schanelec, Christian Petzold o Thomas Arslan, por mencionar a los pioneros del grupo, pero los tres comparten la necesidad de trabajar sobre el mundo contemporáneo, sobre la realidad como materia viva y sobre personajes sin certezas, en situación de tránsito. Es un cine abierto, en el sentido más amplio de la palabra: un cine que no parte de ideas preconcebidas sino que va expresando sus dudas y eventualmente encontrando sus certezas al mismo tiempo que sus personajes.

Por su parte, Christoph Hochhäusler, Henner Winkler, Ulrich Kohler, Valeska Grisebach y Maren Ade, prefieren hacer films pequeños, callados, de bajo presupuesto, que no buscan imponerse al gran público -como la superproducción La caída, del productor Bernd Eichinger, la antítesis de este movimiento- sino comunicarse con sus espectadores de a uno, hablarles de igual a igual. Contra la escenificación de la gran Historia, eligen narrar pequeñas historias que hablen de lo que sucede hoy en Alemania, de su paisaje actual, de su profundo malestar existencial.

Este ciclo, que a través de quince títulos cubre lo esencial de la Berliner Schule en un
momento en el que ya comienzan a escucharse voces críticas sobre su futuro, reúne por primera vez en Buenos Aires aquellos films que se vieron en forma dispersa para confirmar por qué, en su conjunto, el joven cine alemán es el más consistente, orgánico y moderno que haya dado Europa en el nuevo siglo” (Luciano Monteagudo).

La agenda completa del ciclo es la siguiente:

Miércoles 1º: La seguridad interior
(Die innere Sicherheit; Alemania, 2000)
Dirección: Christian Petzold.
Con Julia Hummer, Barbara Auer, Richy Müller.
Un matrimonio, en otros tiempos militantes de la escena terrorista, vive clandestinamente desde hace años con su hija adolescente. En alguna parte de Portugal tratan de construirse una identidad más o menos legal hasta que, de repente, debido a un descuido, todo se desmorona. Su nueva huida les lleva de regreso a Alemania. Entretanto su hija se ha enamorado. Una película política y al mismo tiempo la historia de una muchacha que pasa de la adolescencia a la madurez.
“La gran sorpresa del cine alemán reciente, una mirada sin concesiones sobre la vida europea contemporánea” (Quintín en el catálogo del Bafici 2001)
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (106’; 16mm)

Jueves 2: Viaje de egresados
(Klassenfahrt; Alemania, 2002)
Dirección: Henner Winckler.
Con Steven Sperling, Sophie Kempe, Maxi Warwel.
“Los estudiantes de un colegio secundario alemán van de excursión a un balneario polaco fuera de temporada. Matizan el aburrimiento con juegos, paseos por la playa, un poco de sexo y otro poco de alcohol. El protagonista se distingue de sus compañeros. Tímido pero arrogante, independiente pero enamoradísimo de una de las chicas. Aparece un bañero polaco, también adolescente, también tímido y arrogante a su manera, también enamorado de la misma chica. En esta película de apariencia ordinaria, hay un director que no lo es. El debutante Henner Winckler narra con la paciencia y la seguridad de un veterano, construye imágenes de notable sugestión, mantiene un tono seco y exacto. Con esos elementos, logra contar una historia que asciende desde la descripción hasta la tragedia sin rebajarse al énfasis ni al comentario” (Quintín en el catálogo del Bafici 2003).
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (89'; 16mm.)

Viernes 3: Bungalow
(Alemania, 2002)
Dirección: Ulrich Köhler.
Con Lennie Burmeister, Devid Striesow, Trine Dyrholm.
Paul, un soldado del Ejército Federal alemán, deserta y vuelve al bungalow de sus padres. A ese lugar se desplaza también su hermano mayor con su novia danesa. Paul no regresa a su tropa ni demuestra gran interés por su antigua novia. La joven danesa le interesa un poco más.
“Hay un inconformismo, un sentimiento de insatisfacción en el protagonista de Bungalow que no tiene sin embargo necesidad de expresarse de una manera intempestiva o iracunda. Por el contrario, se diría que la rebelión de Paul, un muchacho de veinte años, se manifiesta menos por lo que hace que por lo que no hace. (…) Esa ambigüedad, esa indeterminación, ese laconismo del protagonista lleva a Ulrich Köhler a filmar los espacios vacíos, el transcurso del tiempo como hacía mucho que el cine alemán había dejado de hacerlo” (Luciano Monteagudo en el catálogo del Bafici 2002).
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (85’; 16mm.)

Sábado 4: Yella
(Alemania, 2007)
Dirección: Christian Petzold.
Con Nina Hoss, Devid Striesow, Hinnerk Schönemann.
Yella quiere marcharse. La empresa de su marido quebró y su matrimonio fracasó de forma dramática. Quiere irse al oeste, más allá del río Elba, donde se supone que hay trabajo y futuro. En este viaje conoce a un hombre del mundo de las finanzas que comercia con capitales de alto riesgo. Hace un buen papel como su asistente, pero constantemente se abren paso en su nueva vida factores del pasado.
“La belleza de la película de Petzold radica en el hecho de que éste consiguiera engranar de forma inseparable lo personal y lo político: su película no sólo trata sobre el capitalismo moderno sino también sobre cómo éste marca la forma de andar, los gestos y los movimientos de los hombres” (Welt am Sonntag).
A las 14.30 y 17 horas (89’; dvd)

(Alemania, 2008)
Dirección: Christian Petzold.
Con Beno Fürmann, Nina Hoss, Hilmi Sözer.
Tres personas se encuentran casualmente: Thomas es joven, fuerte, hombre de pocas palabras, un ex-soldado que fue dado de baja deshonrosamente; Ali, algo cansado de la vida pero aún confiado, un empresario turco en Alemania que hizo fortuna con puestos de comida rápida; Laura, su mujer, atractiva, reservada como alguien que ha atravesado demasiadas experiencias.
“Petzold explora un género que siempre fue motivo de interés y de
estudio para la generación de realizadores formados en la lectura de la revista Filmkritik (una suerte de Cahiers du Cinéma alemana): el film noir. De regreso a un género que ya había frecuentado en alguno de sus telefilms de formación, Petzold entrega una brillante relectura (aunque no figura reconocida en los créditos) de El cartero llama dos veces, esa novela fundamental de James M. Cain que ha servido de inagotable fuente de inspiración cinematográfica (…)Ya en Yella, Petzold ofrecía una visión crítica de Alemania, como si se tratara básicamente de una sociedad de especuladores y usureros. Ahora en Jerichow refuerza esa idea pero la trabaja a partir de las clases más desplazadas, en las que ve reflejadas –como ya lo había hecho Fassbinder desde Katzelmacher– los círculos viciosos y concéntricos de humillación y explotación” (Luciano Monteagudo en Página/12).
Preestreno por cortesía de Alfa Films.
A las 19.30 y 22 horas (93’; 35mm).

Domingo 5. Anhelo
(Sehnsucht; Alemania, 2006)
Dirección: Valeska Grisebach.
Con Andreas Müller, Ilka Welz, Anett Dornbusch.
Un pequeño paraíso cerca de Berlín con doscientos habitantes y una vida cómoda, grata y sencilla. Markus y su mujer viven allí, llevan juntos desde siempre, tienen un hijo y una relación perfecta. Él trabaja en una empresa metalúrgica y el tiempo libre lo dedica a ser bombero voluntario; ella es ama de casa y canta en el coro de la parroquia. Una cena de celebración reúne a los bomberos, se bebe, se baila, se canta, se bebe; por la mañana, desmemoriado y en compañía femenina, Markus abre los ojos. Hay una cosa que se llama deseo y que lleva al caos, y de él a la expulsión del paraíso.
“Anhelo es un film con múltiples capas que explora diferentes perspectivas acerca de la naturaleza del amor. Drama puro, cuento moral, leyenda rural (no urbana), mito, tragedia en su sentido literal. (…). Una película madura, inteligente, un gran ejemplo de cómo el cine puede ser conmovedor, excitante e intelectualmente estimulante, todo ello al mismo tiempo” (Manuel Yáñez Murillo en otroscines.com).
A las 14.30 y 19.30 horas (88’; 35mm.)

El bosque lácteo
(Milchwald; Alemania, 2003)
Dirección: Christoph Hochhäusler.
Con Miroslaw Baka, Horst-Günter Marx, Judith Engel.
En el camino a la vecina Polonia para hacer compras, Sylvia abandona a sus dos conflictivos y rebeldes hijastros. Al volver a su hogar no se atreve a decirle la verdad a su esposo, padre de los chicos. Mientras que un polaco viajero promete a los niños llevarlos
a su casa, el padre sale en busca de quienes cree secuestrados.
“El proyecto comenzó con el cuento de los hermanos Grimm Hansel y Gretel. Siempre lo sentí como una historia muy cruel. Cruel y verdadera. Si trato de definir el tema de mi película siempre surge la pareja del ‘miedo’, representado por el rol de Sylvia, y el ‘miedo al miedo’ en la figura de Josef. La única salida de esta doble ceguera que se potencia a sí misma es la comunicación. Esta es mi verdadera utopía: el diálogo como herramienta revolucionaria” (Christoph Hochhäusler).
A las 17 y 22 horas (87’; 35mm).

Lunes 6: Espía durmiente
(Schläfer; Alemania/Austria, 2005)
Dirección: Benjamin Heisenberg.
Con Bastian Trost, Mehdi Nebbou, Loretta Pflaum.
Mientras se encuentra realizando su postgrado en virología Johannes tiene que espiar a un colega argelino que es un supuesto terrorista “durmiente”. El ambiente de laboratorio y las sospechas de terrorismo crean un clima de inseguridad y desconfianza que penetran en forma destructiva la esfera de la vida privada.
El punto de partida de Espía durmiente es el impulso de Heisenberg de hablar sobre el estado de inseguridad de una sociedad post 11 de septiembre. Pero independientemente de su dimensión política, el film también habla de la soledad y la estrechez emocional en la que vive atrapado Johannes. Un retrato que logra captar en forma contundente la radiografía de un momento angustiante.
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (100’; dvd).

Martes 7: Pingpong
(Alemania, 2006)
Dirección: Matthias Luthardt.
Con Sebastian Urzendowsky, Marion Mitterhammer, Clemens Berg.
Sin previo aviso, Paul, un adolescente de 16 años, se presenta en la casa de su tío. La armonía en la que viven sus parientes es una parodia que se desarrolla desde hace mucho tiempo y que se desmorona ante la presencia del intruso. De repente surgen preguntas que nadie planteaba desde hacía mucho tiempo. Pingpong es una ambiciosa muestra del cine joven alemán, una observación detallada, fría y distante del aparentemente inmaculado mundo de una estructura familiar que comienza a tambalearse progresivamente.
Preestreno antes del lanzamiento en dvd, cortesía de ZFilms.
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (89’; dvd).

Miércoles 8: Marsella
(Marseille; Alemania, 2004)
Dirección: Angela Schanelec.
Con Maren Eggert, Emily Atef, Alexis Loret.
Una joven fotógrafa viaja a Marsella. Cuando más se obsesiona con la ciudad, más difícil le resulta regresar a su vida anterior. Deberá, por lo tanto, enfrentar las consecuencias.
“Todas mis películas tratan la idea de que una gran parte de la vida es inexplicable, está llena de malentendidos y determinada por la casualidad. Los personajes viven la contradicción entre encontrarse en una situación que no tiene fin y el deseo casi constante de escapar de ella. En Marsella vuelvo a tratar este conflicto, que en definitiva no tiene solución” (Angela Schanelec).
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (95’; dvd).

Jueves 9: No hay función

Viernes 10: Atardecer
(Nachmittag; Alemania, 2007)
Dirección: Angela Schanelec.
Con Jirka Zett, Miriam Horwitz, Angela Schanelec.
“El quinto largo de Angela Schanelec está inspirado muy libremente en La gaviota, de Chéjov: sus personajes principales –una madre, su hijo, sus parejas– aquí, ahora, ‘en tres deliciosas, terribles tardes de verano’, según apunta la propia Schanelec, actriz ella misma en el film. Con una indecible melancolía, Schanelec va dejando que sus criaturas revelen poco a poco sus sentimientos, mientras el sol y la siesta los empujan a una discreta promiscuidad familiar, un poco a la manera del cine de Lucrecia Martel, como si aquí hubiera dejado su huella La ciénaga. Esta circulación de susurros, de medias palabras, de pequeñas heridas sólo puede terminar como pedía Chéjov: ‘El héroe se casa o se suicida, no hay otra salida’...” (Luciano Monteagudo en Página/12)
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (97’; dvd).

Sábado 11: Anhelo
(Sehnsucht; Alemania, 2006)
Dirección: Valeska Grisebach.
Con Andreas Müller, Ilka Welz, Anett Dornbusch.
Ver domingo 5.
A las 14.30 y 19.30 horas (88’; 35mm.).

El bosque lácteo
(Milchwald; Alemania, 2003)
Dirección: Christoph Hochhäusler.
Con Miroslaw Baka, Horst-Günter Marx, Judith Engel.
Ver domingo 5.
A las 17 y 22 horas (87’; 35mm.).

Domingo 12: Fantasmas
(Gespenster; Alemania/Francia, 2005)
Dirección: Christian Petzold.
Con Julia Hummer, Sabine Timoteo, Marianne Basler.
En Fantasmas se cruzan los caminos de tres mujeres en Berlín. Soledad, inestabilidad, pérdida y añoranza son emociones que las vinculan. Una película silenciosa, serena y clara con una historia que renuncia desde el principio a ubicar a sus personajes en la realidad y a pesar de ello los caracteriza muy detalladamente.
“Cuando una película empieza con dos chicas que vuelven de la escuela a su casa, tiran sus mochilas y se van a comer un helado, esos personajes, a primera vista, están definidos socialmente. Las chicas que representan Sabine Timoteo y Julia Hummer son diferentes, no tienen casa, no tienen un espacio que las defina. Se encuentran en una especie de burbuja. Quieren ir a un casting porque les gusta que las miren. Quieren que alguien les dé una identidad, pero no pueden imaginarse un tipo de vida en donde hicieran una formación o aprendieran un oficio. La película trata justamente de esa ‘vida en una burbuja’, del intento de entrar en contacto con aquello que llamamos vida” (Christian Petzold).
A las 14.30, 17 y 22 horas (85’; dvd).

Todos los demás
(Alle Anderen; Alemania, 2009)
Dirección: Maren Ade.
Con Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Hans-Jochen Wagner.
“Ésta podría haber sido simplemente la anodina historia de una pareja que se va de vacaciones para revalidar lo mucho que se quieren. Pero la de Chris y Gitti no es una historia anodina porque su núcleo inicial se vuelve circunstancial cuando el encuentro con otra pareja abre un surco entre ellos. De allí en más, el pasado y los secretos (de él) y la necesidad de entender que lo que creía perfecto tal vez no lo sea (de ella), van haciendo mutar el humor refinado y cáustico inicial en un drama potente sobre la identidad, los roles de poder y el compromiso en una pareja contemporánea y la extrema fragilidad del amor" (Del catálogo del Bafici 2009).
Preestreno por cortesía de Ifa Cinema.
A las 19.30 horas únicamente (119’; dvd).

Lunes 13: No hay función

Martes 14: Lucy
(Alemania, 2006)
Dirección: Henner Winckler.
Con Kim Schnitzer, Gordon Schmidt, Feo Aladag.
Maggy tiene dieciocho años y una hija de seis meses. Su vida transcurre entre rituales juveniles y tareas maternas, entre sueños
vagos y la incapacidad de proyectarse en el futuro. Cuando conoce a Gordon elige una vida nueva que supuestamente supera las contradicciones anteriores. Esperando tener una mejor vida que su madre, Maggy busca la felicidad en una familia que ni siquiera ella puede imaginar.
“Segundo largometraje de Henner Winkler y una suerte de continuación de su promisoria ópera prima Klassenfahrt, que sigue posando su mirada en personajes adolescentes. Situaciones mínimas y diálogos hechos apenas de miradas y silencios van construyendo este retrato seco, pero verdadero y muy sentido de una generación sin horizontes a la vista” (Luciano Monteagudo en Página/12)
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (93’; dvd).

Miércoles 15: Vacaciones
(Ferien; Alemania, 2007)
Dirección: Thomas Arslan.
Con Angela Winkler, Karoline Eichhorn, Uwe Bohm.
Verano, sol, vacaciones, una casa de campo solitaria en las afueras de Berlín. Una imagen de familia se desintegra poco a poco: la madre está hastiada de la solitaria vida de campo, la hija está a punto de separarse, el hijo adolescente tiene la primera gran pelea con su novia, la abuela se enferma gravemente y muere. Una serie de acontecimientos dramáticos que se van sucediendo sigilosamente.
“Arslan consigue un film trágico y liviano a la vez, una historia con múltiples capas y matices. Un nuevo acierto en su más que interesante carrera” (Diego Batlle en otroscines.com)
A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (91’; dvd).

Informamos que las localidades para la Sala Leopoldo Lugones podrán adquirirse personalmente con seis días de anticipación (incluyendo el día de la función) en las boleterías del Teatro San Martín.

Precio de las localidades en la Sala Leopoldo Lugones $ 8.- Estudiantes y jubilados $ 5.- (Los interesados deberán tramitar su credencial de descuento en el 4° piso del Teatro San Martín, de lunes a viernes de 10 a 16 horas.)

Beckett en cine

La Alianza Francesa de Buenos Aires y la Embajada de Irlanda en Argentina presentan dos cortos y un largometraje basados en la obra del genial dramaturgo irlandés. Fin de Partida serà el título principal de la velada, que estará acompañado por Breath (cuya duración es menor a un minuto) y Act without words 1, musicalizada por su primo John.

Jueves 2 de julio, a las 20hs

Alianza Francesa: Córdoba 946

Auditorio 1ºpiso

Informes: 4322 – 0068

+ info : www.alianzafrancesa.org.ar

Entrada libre y Gratuita

las entradas se retiran 30 minutos antes de cada función. Una vez completa la capacidad de la sala no se admitirán más espectadores.

Samuel Beckett

Beckett nació en Foxrock, Irlanda en 1906, pero vivió casi toda su vida en Francia y desarrolló su obra en francés e ingles. Hoy, lo consideramos como el representante del teatro contemporáneo.

En 1961, le otorgaron el premio Internacional de Literatura compartido con Jorge Luis Borges por su contribución a la literatura mundial, y en 1969 ganó el premio Nobel de Literatura.


Act Without Words I

Irlanda, 2000. 16 min.

Dir. Karel Reisz

Con Sean Foley

VO, con subtítulos en español.

Obra escrita en francés en 1956, filmada en los estudios Ardmore, en abril de 2000

Este mimo de ballet, escrito en respuesta a una invitación por parte de Deryk Mendel y con música de su primo, John Beckett, fue originariamente programada para ocupar una doble función con "Endgame". La primera presentación fue hecha en el Teatro Royal Court en 1957.


Irlanda, 2000 – 45 seg.

Dir: Damien Hirst

Con la voz de Keith Allen

VO, con subtítulos en español.

Obra escrita en 1966 y filmada en los estudios Ardmore, en febrero de 2000.

"Breath" fue enviada en respuesta a la solicitud de Kenneth Tynan de incluir en "Oh! Calcutta! una "broma" y fue producida en Nueva York en 1969. Esta es una de las obras dramáticas de Beckett más comprimidas con una duración de menos de un minuto.

Fin de Partida (Endgame)

Irlanda, 2000. 84 min.

Dir. Conor McPherson

Con Muchael Gambon, David Thewlis, Charle Simon y Jean Anderson,

VO, con subtítulos en español.

Obra escrita en francés en 1956, traducida al inglés en 1957, y filmada en los estudios Ardmore, en febrero de 2000.

Endgame es un término utilizado para describir un final en ajedrez donde el resultado ya es conocido. Beckett prefirió el título francés "Fin de Partie" ya que tenía un sentido más amplio que sólo ajedrez.

"Endgame" ha sido criticada como una obra donde nada sucede una vez, en contraposición con "Esperando a Godot", una obra donde nada sucede dos veces.

Cuando Beckett envió el manuscrito de "Endgame" a Alan Schneider, escribió una carta diciendo que "Endgame" es "Un poco difícil y elíptica, mayormente dependiendo del poder del texto de atrapar." También destacó que posee menos esperanza que "Esperando a Godot". Como explicó un crítico, "Esperando a Godot" es una obra desesperanzada acerca de la esperanza, "Endgame" es una obra desesperanzada acerca de la desesperanza. "Endgame" representa una de las mejores obras de Beckett, y además resulta ser una de las obras preferidas de Beckett.

Credo: Guillermo del Toro (The Independent)

I believe

The older I get, the more I like controlling things. I wrote 'The Strain' as a TV show for Fox, but they wanted to turn it into a comedy. I felt my idea would disappear, so I turned it into a novel.

There is a morbid sensuality in the book, rather than the sexuality usually associated with vampires. I took enormous pleasure in minutely detailing the draining [of the characters by the vampires]. One of them is based on a friend who was attacked by a tiger.

Horror allows you to look at the nastiness of the world, and accept it. Understand that it's as natural as beauty, perhaps more so. The monster is the ultimate outcast, the ultimate imperfection. There are no apologies from monsters.

I thought the violence in 'Blade 2' was cartoony enough that it couldn't be taken seriously. I tried to shoot it like a musical, wide shots of dancing, but people say they found it too violent.

I am obsessed by how the Second World War was prefigured by the Spanish Civil War. The political stance in Pan's Labyrinth is that a girl of that age can stand up [to her Fascist stepfather] and say, 'No, I'm not going to do what you want.' Society mirrors the family structure, and that for me is a political stance.

My Mexican identity is in my films, in my full acceptance of supernatural, magic. I've seen some weird stuff – people dying because of a nebulous curse; a UFO; I've seen my mother astral project herself from one city to another.

I have obscure pleasures. I collect art by people no one else collects, such as Lee Brown Coye, a primitivist illustrator from [pulp magazine]Weird Tales. When I show people my collection, no one goes, 'Wow, look at that.'

'The Strain', by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Harper Collins, £12.99), is out now

Agnès Varda: Living for Cinema, and Through It (The New York Times)

IS there something about France — the diet, perhaps, or the health-care system — that accounts for the extraordinary creative longevity of so many of its filmmakers? A half-century after the New Wave crested and crashed ashore, a remarkable number of directors associated with that movement are still making movies. Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Chabrol are approaching 80, and while Mr. Godard appears to have slowed his pace a bit, Mr. Chabrol continues to produce sinister, elegant studies of passion and power at the rate of about one a year. Jacques Rivette, 81, and Eric Rohmer, who turned 89 this year, recently have made ambitious and well-regarded films, and Alain Resnais, now 87, was seen in Cannes last month flouting the red-carpet dress code, collecting a lifetime-achievement award and presenting his latest movie.

And then there is Agnès Varda, the only female filmmaker associated with the Nouvelle Vague at its high-water mark and now, at 81, an artist of undiminished vigor, curiosity and intelligence. That is certainly how she appears in “The Beaches of Agnès,” her latest film, which opens in New York on Wednesday, after winning a César (the French equivalent of an Oscar) for best documentary feature in February. Conceived as Ms. Varda’s 80th birthday approached, “Beaches” is a cinematic memoir in two senses: an autobiography rendered in carefully chosen, meaning-rich images and the account of a life lived in, through and for cinema.

There is an elegiac undercurrent to the film — visits to familiar places that have changed over the years, recollections of the dead — but it is not so much concerned with taking stock or summing up as it is with the restless exploration of memory. “I wanted to be like a bird,” Ms. Varda said in an interview one wintry morning in Manhattan a few months ago. “I wanted to be free in my memory, to go from one part to another and see what I would find.” An inveterate collector of odd images and curious ideas — her 2003 documentary, “The Gleaners and I,” is a personal and philosophical inquiry into the practice of gathering what has been discarded or passed over — Ms. Varda composed “Beaches” as a sort of living, moving collage.

The film includes an abundance of clips from her other films, and photographs capturing various journeys, projects and relationships, but it is less an archival exhibition than a wonder cabinet, full of whimsical inventions as well as recovered artifacts. The filmmaker Chris Marker, Ms. Varda’s “interlocutor,” appears in the guise of an orange cartoon cat with a digitally altered voice. There are dreamy montages, re-enactments and surrealist set pieces that demonstrate her continued interest in installation art and photography as well as film. The theme of the movie is beaches, and since Paris, where Ms. Varda has spent much of her working life, has none, she filled a street with sand and took the staff of her production company outside to sit at their desks in bathing suits.

The film sustains an unusual blend of gravity and playfulness, a mood at once ripe with experience and childlike in its capacity for wonder. “At one screening,” Ms. Varda said, “there was a young man, maybe 22-years-old, who said about this film: ‘It gives you the desire to grow old.’ ”

Ms. Varda has something of a complicated history with the question of age. When she was barely 30, a photo caption in a French magazine labeled her “an ancestor of the New Wave.” The title was bestowed in recognition of her first (and, at the time, her only) feature film, “La Pointe Courte,” whose modest means and restless aesthetic and intellectual ambitions anticipated the breakout films of François Truffaut, Mr. Godard and the rest by a good half-decade. “I thought, well, now that I am an ancestor, I don’t have to grow any older,” Ms. Varda has said, and the elfin, energetic figure she presents in her recent documentaries and in person is decidedly youthful, much as the unlined face that stares from the pages of the old Nouvelle Vague yearbook seems preternaturally wise.

As the sole woman in that charmed circle of young lions, Ms. Varda has taken on more than her share of symbolic roles: mother, sister, confidante, colleague and — literally in the case of Jacques Demy, a fellow director and her husband from 1962 until his death in 1990 — wife. Appearing on screen, in “Beaches” and “The Gleaners and I,” surrounded by much younger crew members and performers, she is an almost ideally grandmotherly presence, pre-empting the indignities of age with a self-mockery that subtracts nothing from her rigorous and skeptical intelligence.

A grandmother who, in telling stories about the old days, is more apt to charm — or even shock — the kids than to bore them. “Many young people love me,” she said, smiling at the forthrightness of the declaration. “Some of them call me Mamie Punk” — Granny Punk — “maybe because of the hair.” At the time her coiffure was a violet fringe surmounted by a tonsure of gray, a Rothkoesque variation on the Dutch Boy she wears, impervious to changes in style, in every era covered by “The Beaches of Agnès.”

But the nickname also acknowledges a key aspect of Ms. Varda’s personal and artistic style. Not quite the aggressive, nihilistic stance associated with punk rock, perhaps, but rather a kind of thrifty, skeptical anarchism of the spirit, a liberating willingness to find inspiration and even beauty in what might conventionally be dismissed as rough, ugly or commonplace.

“La Pointe Courte,” that great ancestral text, exemplifies this attitude, and affirms Ms. Varda’s position at the vanguard not only of the New Wave, but also of any filmmaking tendency worthy of the name independent. French cinema in 1954 was male dominated, hierarchical and rigidly bureaucratic, governed by an elaborate set of rules and protocols. An aspiring director was expected to jump through carefully placed and managed hoops of training, apprenticeship and credentialization. The idea that anyone could pick up a camera, gather a crew and just start shooting a film — it just was not done.

But that is just what Ms. Varda did. Trained as a photographer, she was, as she puts it now, almost entirely “innocent of cinema.” Unlike her soon-to-be confreres in the New Wave, who emerged from the hothouses of the Paris Cinémathèque and Cahiers du Cinéma, she was neither a critic nor even much of a film buff, having seen only a handful of movies when she decided to make her own. “I thought that pictures plus words, that was cinema,” she says at one point in an interview included on the Criterion DVD of “La Pointe Courte.” “It was only later that I discovered it was something else.”

“La Pointe Courte,” however, is anything but a naïve, literal-minded photographer’s foray into moviemaking. Its structure was suggested by “The Wild Palms,” William Faulkner’s novel composed of parallel stories told in alternating chapters. One thread of Ms. Varda’s film follows a married couple, played by Silvia Monfort and Philippe Noiret (in his first film role), as they discuss the ambiguous state of their love. Should they separate or not, and if so why? They pose these questions — and pose in striking, quasi-Cubist close-ups and de Chiricoesque wide compositions — in the alleys and streets of Sète, the Mediterranean port town whose working-class residents supply the other half of the narrative. These fishermen and their families, more or less playing themselves, grapple with death, work, marriage and the intrusions of health inspectors and other annoying agents of the state.

The contrast between the two halves of “La Pointe Courte” is characteristic of the tensions and complexities that flicker through nearly all of Ms. Varda’s feature films. Documentary flows into artifice, abstraction gives way to naturalism, and cinema is revealed to consist of the collision, be it serendipitous or unsettling, between the found and the made. The two “plots” converge at a jousting tournament in which local men perched on platforms atop elaborately decorated galleylike boats try to knock each other into the water with long poles. The jousting sequence collapses the distinction between documentary and performance in what might be described as a characteristically Vardaesque fashion. If this curious and ancient ritual did not exist, she might have invented it.

One of the dividends of “The Beaches of Agnès” is that Ms. Varda allows herself, and the audience, to peek behind the scenes, to learn something about her techniques and the sources of her inspiration. Some of these have been personal and geographical: Sète, so vivid in “La Pointe Courte,” was where her family took refuge during World War II after fleeing Belgium. Others are literary, artistic and political: the Surrealists, Picasso, the revolutions in China and Cuba and, above all, the rise of feminism in the West.

She pauses to point out some of the motifs and formal choices in her work: the clocks that mark the minutes in “Cléo From 5 to 7,” her 1962 real-time tour de force that follows a ravishing, anxious blonde through the silvery streets of Paris; the right-to-left tracking shots that link the vignettes in “Vagabond”; the re-enactments of scenes from Demy’s films in “Jacquot de Nantes” (1991), her loving portrait of her husband as a young man.

These movies confound easy description. (Four of the best and best known — “La Pointe Courte,” “Cléo,” “La Bonheur” and “Vagabond” — are available in an indispensable Criterion boxed set.) And Ms. Varda counts only “Vagabond,” in which Sandrine Bonnaire is heartbreaking and abrasive as a young woman adrift, as an unqualified success. It won the Golden Lion in Venice in 1985, a prize that, in “Beaches,” is placed in the sand of her homemade Parisian lido alongside Demy’s Palme d’Or for “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964). Not that she is disappointed. “I am the queen of the margins,” she said. “But the films are loved. The films are remembered. And this is my aim — to be loved as a filmmaker because I want to share emotions, to share the pleasure of being a filmmaker.”

It is a pleasure she shared for nearly 30 years with Demy, who haunts “The Beaches of Agnès” like a benevolent, enigmatic ghost. “The dearest of the dead,” she calls him, and the great love of her life. Their artistic sensibilities were not closely aligned — his stated ambition was to make “calm films, films about happiness” while her work bristles with a sense of contradiction — and the intimate details of their lives together, and of his illness and death at 59, are addressed with brevity and circumspection. The tone of the film is personal, but not confessional. It is more of an essay in memory than a memoir.

And, as such, it is about the way memory intrudes into and colors the present-tense flow of experience, much as Ms. Varda’s cinema flows into the stream of everyday life. “Do I dream, or do I see a picture of Jacques Demy?” she asked at one point in our interview, which took place at the offices of Film Forum, in a room full of film stills and framed photographs of directors and stars. The one that caught her attention was at eye level, on the other side of the room. Had it been placed there on purpose, we wondered, like the tokens and talismans that find their way onto her beaches and into the frames of her films? It was, to use one of her favorite words, a puzzle. Solving it diffused some of the mystery — the picture, on closer inspection, was not of Demy after all — but did not dispel the curiosity that drives Ms. Varda to pause over details, impressions and moments. “I wonder who it is?” she said.


Steven Spielberg's "Old Boy" Remake Still on Track

Steven Spielberg recently announced that he will remake the 2003 Korean cult film "Old Boy" with Will Smith starring in the lead role.

Since then, the Japanese publishers of the original manga have filed a rights lawsuit against Show East, the Korean producers of the film. But there are many problems, including a possibility that Show East may be bankrupt. So will we ever see an "Old Boy" remake?

Reuters has now revealed that with all the problems revolving around the property, Spielberg is still moving forward with the remake. The reason is because the rights were purchased from a company called Cineclick Asia, which owns the international rights to "Old Boy" and is the one that negotiated the remake deal.


Dispatches from "Public Enemies," Part 1 (The Auteurs)

By Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Above: Stand-ins help rehearse a scene from Public Enemies. Photo by Rob Olewinski.

I spent a few days in the summer of 2008 on the set of Michael Mann's Public Enemies, which was shooting at the time in Chicago. It was a night shoot—the death of John Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp) in front of the Biograph Theater. These observations and ruminations, which will be posted in three parts, were written at the time. Portions of these notes have since been used in other pieces, including a few posted here at The Auteurs' Notebook.


I've seen John Dillinger shot many times. Once, it was Warren Oates who got gunned down. I've seen it happen to Lawrence Tierney, too, and then there was a soft-focus re-enactment in a television documentary, an anonymous actor in front of an anonymous movie theater. But how many times have I seen Johnny Depp get shot now? Each time, it's more or less the same (but of course, every take is subtly distinct, which is why we have multiple takes). The artificial streetcorner with the alley. He walks along the sidewalk, dressed in a summer shirt and straw hat. The streetlight falls on his back, a crease in the shirt formed a shadowy valley. I imagine it as an image—the shirt as a landscape—and I think: "I want to wear my shirts that way, a little untucked." Depp doesn’t look like Dillinger, but it doesn’t matter. That rakish face looks like how Dillinger should feel. Dashing, like a vagabond—the way we want Our Dillinger (there’s that Chicago logic, that funny way we cling to our monsters: they might not be good people, but they’re our people). A man comes up from behind and clicks the prop gun. Again and again. Depp falls forward, and the camera, handheld, follows the movement of his body, plunging as he crumbles.

The film is being photographed in HD, but this shot, in slow motion, is being filmed on an unblimped 35mm camera. It's got a furious, high-pitched clicking. On the video assist monitor, we can see the angle: the cameramana following Depp from behind. While they repeat and repeat and repeat the shot, technicians light the next scene, which will be in front of the Biograph Theater itself. The marquee has been redecorated so that it looks like it did when Dillinger was shot there. They're working diligently, separated from the current set-up by a throng of extras who stand silently, arms folded, watching Depp die, hopeful to glean some bit of "genius" to further their acting careers. A large camera sits on a dolly, covered by a transparent plastic sheet like a couch in a furniture showroom.

And of course, I’m thinking: "In life as in the dictionary, ideas come before images." Here I know the image, but I don’t know the idea. It becomes the great game of film-viewing, watching through the video assist a rough estimate of an image that hasn’t been made yet. An image that might not even make it into the movie. The thing about cinephiles is that, when you take us out of the cinema, we get hungry. We latch on to everything that might resemble a movie. The onlookers have their Depp, I have my little screen.

Some directors sit in a folding chair in headphones, watching the video assist. Some talk through their assistants. Michael Mann directs standing up. During every take, his attention darts from the monitor (there is only one and only one camera; two more monitors are set up with the little tent to shelter them from rain, but they're blank) to the action going on twenty feet in front on him and back. A director is responsible both for something real and something filmed. A director is two people at once—a director, supervising some real event, and a filmmaker, shaping some future image.

Mann paces. After every few takes (and of this shot, there'll be dozens) he darts over to the actors. He takes Depp aside, standing close to him, talking over actions and movements which the actor occasionally mimes out. On this hushed street, you can hear just about anyone’s voice, but not Mann's. He talks quietly. Or, maybe, he talks just as loudly as he needs to.

Over the years, Mann's approach has changed. At the beginning of his career, he seemed like a contemporary of Jean-Jacques Beineix. He was the Beineix who wasn't a misanthrope. Now he's the only obvious contemporary to Claire Denis and Johnnie To. His career is the story of a director who began with "the look" and discovered the image. From the "cinematic" to cinema. The Mann of Thief through Manhunter, like Beineix, seemed to care about the appearance of the image more than the image itself. They're good movies, but making good movies isn't enough. It was about staging things for the camera more than capturing an image. Closer to a photogram than a photograph. I remember a scene from The Keep like I do a scene from Beineix' The Moon in the Gutter: I remember the color, the lighting, but not whether the images were close-ups or wide shots, whether the camera moved, whether it was one shot or several. Even The Last of Mohicans seems to have been made by someone thinking: "What if we made a movie that looked this way?"

He's always worked on location. Back then, he'd start with something at least partly real and make it feel completely artificial, completely plastic. I recognize Lake Michigan in Thief, but only the way you recognize a triangle or a square. What I see first is a color and a line. Images that sort of scuttle themselves, marooning the viewer. (It's possible to also think of a roster of ferrymen, directors who use the film to row the audience out to a certain place and then bring them back in time for the end credits: Shirley Clarke, Eric Rohmer, Yueh Feng, Charles Burnett, David Mackenzie, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Aleksandr Sokurov. These directors should not be confused with kidnappers like Santiago Alvarez or gallery guides like Peter Greenaway.) But something happened around Heat. Aesthetics gave way to ethics, imagery to images.

The first shot of Thief and that final tableau from Heat are obviously directed by the same man—or at least by the same tastes—but the ideas aren't the same. It's the difference between letting your tastes find something and having a feeling inside you that you use your tastes to express. The first shot of Thief and the last shot of Heat: rumbling electronic music, night time, lights forming a V shape that disappears on the horizon. In Thief, it's a man getting into a car and driving away. In Heat, it's two men perfectly still. Funny how it's only in a moving image that we can really capture stillness. In neither image are the figures "acting" in the traditional sense. James Caan just gets into a car. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino pose; they look like statues (but then I think: "Statues also die."). Similar images, but not the same. Like that conversation De Niro and Pacino have in their only other scene together in the film, the final shot of Heat is Utopian. Two people expressing themselves completely and shamelessly. I think it's that ideal that Mann has aspired to since: to let go of preferences, of standards in framing, editing, composition and to express whatever he might be thinking or feeling through the image. Instead of simply telling their stories, he will become one with the characters he admires.

Watching the death scene in Public Enemies, repeated over and over, I realize that there are really two key performers here: Depp and the cameraman. Two well-rehearsed actors. Since Collateral, Mann has been treating the camera more and more like something that can perform. No one else has shots so actorly, expressing in grand gestures but also small nuances. I think of the way the camera pulls back as Jamie Foxx scrambles out of his taxi, and how Foxx's terror is nothing without the camera's movement.

Festival de Mar del Plata: Convocatoria Cine Argentino

El 24º Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata, que se llevará a cabo entre el 6 y el 15 de noviembre próximo, convoca a realizadores argentinos para integrar su nueva programación. Se recibe material audiovisual de producción local, en cualquier formato, soporte y duración. Debe ser inédito en Argentina y con fecha de producción posterior a noviembre de 2008.

La convocatoria está abierta para películas de ficción, documentales y experimentales.

Las producciones nacionales seleccionadas podrán formar parte de alguna de las siguientes secciones:

· Largometrajes: Competencia Internacional, Competencia Latinoamericana, Competencia Argentina y Work in Progress para ópera prima.

· Cortometrajes: Competencia Argentina y Competencia Latinoamericana

Premios y Estímulos

· La Competencia Argentina de largometrajes entrega dos premios que consisten en dos ampliaciones a 35mm.

· La Competencia Latinoamericana entrega el premio “Ventana Sur”, que consiste en el tiraje de tres copias de 35mm o su equivalente en dinero.

· El work in Progress para ópera prima entrega como premio una ampliación a 35mm.

· Los títulos Argentinos y Latinoamericanos que participen de las competencias Argentinas y Latinoamericanas del festival tendrán además, una proyección especial para compradores internacionales en el marco de “Ventana Sur, negocios de cine”.

El reglamento de la convocatoria y la ficha de inscripción están disponibles en el sitio oficial del festival, www.mardelplatafilmfest.com

La inscripción cierra el 28 de agosto. El material puede ser presentado personalmente en el horario de 10 a 19 hs o enviado por correo a las oficinas del Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata. Hipólito Yrigoyen 1225 – Piso 3 C1085ABO - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Informes: Tel 4383-5115 o a info@mardelplatafilmfest.com

"Miami RMX", de Gustavo Postiglione (online)

"Un ensayo fílmico electrónico. Es un compendio caótico de ideas dispersas, de fragmentos de ficción, de trozos de entrevistas y de observaciones arbitrarias acerca del cine.

Fue presentada en el BAFICI 2004"

PD. Sí, ese soy yo... O era yo hace unos años.

"The Hurt Locker", de Kathryn Bigelow (The New York Times)

“The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by Mark Boal, is the best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq. This may sound like faint praise and also like a commercial death sentence, since movies about that war have not exactly galvanized audiences or risen to the level of art. The squad of well-meaning topical dramas that trudged across the screens in the fall of 2007 were at once hysterical and noncommittal, registering an anxious, high-minded ambivalence that was neither illuminating nor especially entertaining. And the public, perhaps sufficiently enervated and confused by reality, was not eager to see it recreated on screen.

So let me put it another way, at the risk of a certain cognitive dissonance. If “The Hurt Locker” is not the best action movie of the summer, I’ll blow up my car. The movie is a viscerally exciting, adrenaline-soaked tour de force of suspense and surprise, full of explosions and hectic scenes of combat, but it blows a hole in the condescending assumption that such effects are just empty spectacle or mindless noise. Ms. Bigelow, whose body of work (including “Point Break,” “Blue Steel,” “Strange Days” and “K-19: The Widowmaker”) has been uneven but never uninteresting, has an almost uncanny understanding of the circuitry that connects eyes, ears, nerves and brain. She is one of the few directors for whom action-movie-making and the cinema of ideas are synonymous. You may emerge from “The Hurt Locker” shaken, exhilarated and drained, but you will also be thinking.

Not necessarily about the causes and consequences of the Iraq war, mind you. The filmmakers’ insistence on zooming in on and staying close to the moment-to-moment experiences of soldiers in the field is admirable in its way but a little evasive as well. “The Hurt Locker,” which takes place in 2004 (it was filmed mostly in Jordan), depicts men who risk their lives every day on the streets of Baghdad and in the desert beyond, and who are too stressed out, too busy, too preoccupied with the details of survival to reflect on larger questions about what they are doing there.

The filmmakers, perhaps out of loyalty to their characters, are similarly reticent. But within those limits, “The Hurt Locker” is a remarkable accomplishment. Ms. Bigelow, practicing a kind of hyperbolic realism, distills the psychological essence and moral complications of modern warfare into a series of brilliant, agonizing set pieces.

Her focus is on Delta Company, an Army unit whose job is to detect and defuse — or carefully detonate, it all else fails — the I.E.D.’s that seem to pop up everywhere, like mushrooms in the rain. Some of the devices are brutishly simple, others fiendishly elaborate, but each one lays the groundwork for a cruel and revealing test of character.

And much as Ms. Bigelow excels at setting up and cutting together these live-wire moments of danger, they are not feats of technique-for-its-own-sake as much as highly concentrated, intimate human dramas. The engagements between Delta Company and its shadowy adversaries contain an element of theater. The bomb-makers mingle with Iraqi bystanders to observe and assess their work, standing on balconies and at windows watching impassively as the Americans shout, sweat and gesticulate, actors in a show whose script they are fighting to control.

Not that the soldiers are all on the same page. “The Hurt Locker” focuses on three men whose contrasting temperaments knit this episodic exploration of peril and bravery into a coherent and satisfying story. Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) is a bundle of nerves and confused impulses, eager to please, ashamed of his own fear and almost dismayingly vulnerable. Sgt. J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is a careful, uncomplaining professional who sticks to protocols and procedures in the hope that his prudence will get him home alive, away from an assignment he has come to loathe.

The wild card is Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), who joins Delta after its leader is killed and who approaches his work more like a jazz musician or an abstract expressionist painter than like a sober technician. A smoker and a heavy metal fan with an irreverent, profane sense of humor and a relaxed sense of military discipline, he approaches each new bomb or skirmish not with dread but with a kind of inspired, improvisational zeal.

As he gropes for the wires that will ignite a massive car bomb or traces a spider-weblike cluster of shells buried under a street, he looks like a man having the time of his life. Not that he is frivolous, though to Sanborn he seems insanely reckless. Rather, to quote a Robert Frost poem, James is a man whose work is play for mortal stakes.

And Mr. Renner’s performance — feverish, witty, headlong and precise — is as thrilling as anything else in the movie. In each scene a different facet of James’s personality emerges. He can be callous, even mean at times, but there is a fundamental tenderness to him as well, manifest in his affection for an Iraqi boy who sells pirated DVDs and his patient solicitude when Eldridge, under fire and surrounded by dead bodies, has an understandable bout of panic.

There is more friction between James and Sanborn: competition, incomprehension, but also a brand of masculine love similar to the passion between Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in “Point Break.” In one scene Mr. Mackie and Mr. Renner trade stomach punches in a ritualistic display of affectionate aggression that looks as if it will end in either sex or murder, and Ms. Bigelow’s insight is that the tense comradeship of soldiers rests, often tenuously, on barely suppressed erotic and homicidal impulses.

“The Hurt Locker” opens with a quote from Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times, declaring that “war is a drug.” And it is certainly possible to see Will James as a hopeless war addict, a danger junkie sacrificing good sense and other people’s safety to his habit. But his collection of mechanisms from bombs that nearly killed him and the blend of serenity and exhilaration that plays over his blunt, boyish features when he finds a new one suggest otherwise.

Eldridge is a decent guy, dangerously out of his element but making the best of a bad situation. Sanborn is a professional, doing a job conscientiously and well. But James is something else, someone we recognize instantly even if we have never seen anyone quite like him before. He is a connoisseur, a genius, an artist. No wonder Ms. Bigelow understands him so perfectly.

“The Hurt Locker” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has intense, horrific violence and appropriately profane reactions to the prospect of same.


Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow; written by Mark Boal; director of photography, Barry Ackroyd; edited by Bob Murawski and Chris Innis; music by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; production designer, Karl Juliusson; produced by Ms. Bigelow, Mr. Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro; released by Summit Entertainment. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

WITH: Jeremy Renner (Staff Sgt. William James), Anthony Mackie (Sgt. J. T. Sanborn), Brian Geraghty (Specialist Owen Eldridge), Ralph Fiennes (Contractor Team Leader), David Morse (Colonel Reed) and Guy Pearce (Sgt. Matt Thompson).

Recordando a "Maicol" Jackson

Para los que crecimos en los 80 ayer fue un golpe doble bastante pesado, de esos que disparan recuerdos que uno creía olvidados. En realidad, recordar a Farrah Fawcett y a Michael Jackson --en sus épocas de gloria-- fue, al menos para mí, transportarme mentalmente a un momento en mi vida que parece haber quedado muy lejos.

En el caso de Farrah, a fines de los '70, a mi fascinación infantil por "Los ángeles de Charlie", a la decepción de saber que ya no estaba más en la serie (¿qué es de la vida de Cheryl Ladd, su reemplazante?) y, acaso, a un primer testimonio de despertar sexual. Pero más que eso, su muerte me trajo a la memoria lugares --colores, imágenes, olores-- que tenía algo olvidados. La habitación de mi casa entonces, cómo era mi televisión de entonces, aquel colegio, los compañeros de la primaria. Muy poco que ver con Farrah todo, pero ese es el punto.

Lo de Jackson es más abarcativo, claro. Primero porque su carrera e influencia es muchísimo mayor. Segundo, porque se extiende más en el tiempo. Y tercero, porque no sirve sólo como el disparador de recuerdos de una época, sino que su trabajo es parte importante de lo que uno recuerda.

Es que "Thriller" fue, seguramente, uno de los discos que marcaron mi iniciación al mundo de la música de una manera bastante más seria que hasta entonces. Yo tenía 14 años y estaba en pleno proceso de investigación musical. Gracias a "Thriller" y, especialmente, a "Purple Rain", de Prince, un tiempo después, la música negra --soul, r&b, funk, después el hip hop-- se irían a convertir en algo permanente y persistente en mi vida. Soy una clara "víctima" de ese crossover entre música blanca y negra que MJ inició, lo mismo que un adicto a los videoclips, adicción que comenzó ahí y que nunca terminó de curarse del todo.

Aquellos videos de Jackson en el programa que conducía Domingo Di Núbila "("El show de Maicol Jackson", como lo pronunciaba él) eran pequeños trips. Ni hablar del archicomentado "Thriller" (busquen la letra, ahora si que se volvió creepy y premonitoria, como si fuera el discurso interior de MJ en los momentos previos a su muerte), sino los de "Billie Jean" (fascinante musicalmente, en ese momento no tenía idea de qué hablaba la canción) y "Beat It"; luego su dúo con Paul McCartney; la cantidad de veces que vi "We Are the World" tratando de descifrar quien era cada uno (me parece tan obvio ahora) o el famoso video de Scorsese para "Bad". Y así, al punto que sin darme cuenta, sus canciones estuvieron siempre ahí. De hecho, recuerdo haber comprado a mediados de los '90 un disco doble con sus éxitos y, para mi sorpresa, darme cuenta que conocía de memoria cada acorde de cada canción... algo que ya no me sucede más con casi nada.

No tiene sentido aquí, y menos para mí, hacer un racconto del valor que tiene Jackson musicalmente. Eso quedará para cada uno. Entiendo que haya muchos a los que no les interese nada musicalmente, que desprecien su influencia en incontables "boy bands" y estrellitas pop con bailarines y coreografías a los costados; muchos a los que les resulta gracioso todo esto, que lo ven como el personaje ridículo en el que se convirtió y, más que nada, entiendo a los que todos sus logros musicales les resultan intrascendentes en relación a las acusaciones que se hicieron sobre su vida privada, sean ciertas o no.

Esta mañana, repasando sus videos por YouTube o escuchando un par de discos mientras escribo, no me queda duda que era uno de esos tipos multitalentosos de los que salen pocos y cada tanto, que desde los Jackson 5 hasta "Dangerous" (casi 25 años...) hizo infinidad de grandes canciones --las cantó, las bailó, las compuso en muchos casos-- y sólo con verlo y escucharlo sin pensar por un segundo en todo lo demás (como pasa en el documental "Tyson", de James Toback) eso queda en evidencia.

Su muerte a los 50, especialmente la suya (tomando en cuenta que parecía no querer envejecer nunca), termina rebotando en nuestra propia edad, en nuestros propios recuerdos y llevándonos a nuestra infancia y adolescencia, seguramente más abierta y menos prejuiciosa que lo que somos ahora. Bajen "Off the Wall" por ahí --está en todos lados-- o, si prefieren, un "Grandes Exitos". El soundtrack de la adolescencia de muchos está dando vueltas a través de esas canciones.


Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Pop icon Michael Jackson died Thursday at a Los Angeles hospital after being found unconscious and not breathing at his home. He was 50.
Fire Department paramedics were summoned to Jackson's Bel Air home at 12:26 p.m. by a 911 call.
They desperately tried to resuscitate the singer on the way to UCLA Medical Center, officials said.
Jackson was initially reported to be in a deep coma as members of his famous family flocked to the hospital. Then came word that he had died.
The cause of his death was unknown.
His spokesman denied reports he had cancer just last month, asserting Jacko "is in the best of health."
His death capped a life of superstardom and scandal and ended his bid to make a comeback with 50 sold-out concerts planned for London this summer.
The music legend burst onto the pop scene as a child star with the Jackson 5 nearly four decades ago.
Once a sure-fire hit machine, he still holds the record for the biggest-selling album with "Thriller."
He also wowed fans with monster hits like "Billie Jean" and "Rock With You."
Millions of fans imitated his famed moonwalk dance and he was known worldwide as the Gloved One for his trademark handwear.
But personal and professional woes have eclipsed his talent for years.
He was acquitted in 2005 of molesting a young fan at his Neverland Ranch and caused an uproar by dangling one of his three children out of a Berlin hotel window in 2002.
His latest recordings suffered from tepid sales and a rumored comeback album never materialized.
Jackson's first wife was Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, whom he married in 1994.
It was a match made in showbiz heaven but they split less than two years later.
He later married Australian Debbie Rowe and they had two children, Prince, 12 and Paris, 11.
A third child, Prince Michael II, was reportedly born with the help of an anonymous surrogate mother.
Jackson had faced serious financial problems in recent years as sales wilted.
He faced certain foreclosure on Neverland until he managed to refinance the mortgage on the 270-acre spread.
Some analysts said he could make more than $200 million from this summer's concerts in Britain.
Jackson moved with his kids to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf after his molestation trial, but returned to Los Angeles in recent months.