30.4.09

Ramblin' Jack Elliot - A Stranger Here (2009)


Link

Obra maestra! Antes que el disco de Bob Dylan -que está muy bien igualmente--, escuchen éste.

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott released his long-anticipated follow-up to his 2006 ANTI- Record debut I Stand Alone on April 7th 2009, entitled A Stranger Here. Working with producer Joe Henry (Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint), the 77 year old Elliott sings and plays acoustic guitar, and is backed by a stellar collection of musicians handpicked by Henry, among them Van Dyke Parks and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos).

Revered for his interpretive take on traditional American music, on A Stranger Here Elliott steps out of the country/folk arena that has shaped his legend, 50+ years in the making. Haunting and evocative landscapes crafted by Henry construct a mood that is enhanced by Elliott’s world-scarred voice. Together, musician and producer examine a carefully selected number of pre-WWII blues songs in a wholly unique way.

From the liner notes of A Stranger Here, Henry writes: “I pitched the idea that he interpret country blues music from the Depression era of his birth… songs as dark, funny and strange as is he and the times that produced them, and also ones that still resonate in these turbulent days: songs from the blues masters Jack had known during their latter-day resurgence - and his own ascension - in the early sixties (Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis); songs that share shape and subject with many folk songs of the same period but speak with a particular poetry to struggle, love, justice and mortality - off-handedly and all at once… I needn’t have pitched so hard. Jack seemed intrigued by the notion from the start, and had no trouble reading the songs as pertinent to him. He pounced on each one as it came up during the four days of recording in my basement studio, gave each a face of suave cunning, and was as unexpectedly arch as Bob Hope might’ve seemed strolling through a Fellini tableau. He’s using an old language but always speaking in the present tense.”

One of the great American musical treasures, Elliott has had a rich and storied life. As a budding musician, Jack developed his voice under the tutelage of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, truck hitching across the country off and on for a couple of years with Woody, carrying “only razors and guitars.” The pair eventually landed in the McCarthy-free enclave of Topanga Canyon CA in the 1950s, where Elliott played for James Dean and later married Dean’s former flame. On the other coast, Elliott was also a fixture of the Greenwich Village scene, and once spent “three days and a lot of wine” listening to Jack Kerouac read On the Road. But it is his relationship with a young Bob Dylan that Elliott is perhaps most famous for, though back in the 1960s the up-and-coming Dylan was often mistakenly dubbed the “son of Jack Elliott.” Today Elliott simply states “Dylan learned from me the same way I learned from Woody.”

A Stranger Here promises to be another wonderful tome in the library of Ramblin Jack Elliott, one of the great American storytellers.
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Crítica de "Z32", de Avi Mograbi (Clarín - Versión extendida)


Hay que reconocer que los cineastas israelíes se las ingenian muy bien para encontrarle la vuelta a tratar asuntos tan complicados y espinosos como los crímenes de guerra. Y que lo hacen con originalidad y, como en este caso, hasta con sentido del humor. Si la celebrada "Waltz with Bashir" apostaba a documentar una masacre mediante la animación, en "Z32", a Avi Mograbi se le ha ocurrido la idea de que una buena forma de tratar el tema de su película --el testimonio de un soldado acerca del asesinato de policías palestinos durante la Segunda Intifada-- sea a través de canciones.

No, "Z32" no es un musical. Se podría decir que es un documental con canciones. O uno en el que el director filma la confesión de un soldado y se dirige a la cámara --a través de temas musicales-- para confesarle al espectador sus dudas con respecto a lo que está haciendo. "Mi esposa dice que no debería hacer esta película --dice/canta--. Cree que el soldado busca absolución a través mío y que yo lo uso para hacer un producto artístico". El hecho de que lo sepa y analice, no quiere decir que, en el fondo, no sea eso lo que está haciendo. Pero el filme es más complejo todavía.

Por un lado, el soldado da su testimonio a cámara, con su rostro digitalmente retocado (parece tener una máscara de esas usadas por los ladrones) porque teme que lo reconozcan y lo maten. Por el otro, él y el director van a la zona donde sucedió el hecho que se analiza: una noche, un grupo de soldados israelíes salieron en plan de venganza por la muerte de seis de los suyos, con la idea de matar a seis palestinos... al azar. Lo más duro del testimonio Z32 (ese es el número de legajo del caso) es que el muchacho admite lo macabro de los crímenes que cometió pero también reconoce haberlos cometido, en ese momento, sin sentir ninguna culpa y hasta con cierto placer morboso. "Nos entrenaban para eso, estábamos excitados por salir a matar árabes", admite.

Dos "bloques" más componen el relato: las conversaciones entre el soldado y su novia, filmadas por ellos mismos, en las que él intenta que ella lo perdone por lo que hizo, y ella duda. Le dice que sí, pero se nota que, realmente, no logra entenderlo y no sabe cómo puede estar con una persona que hizo eso, por más disculpas que pida. La otra "pata" es la musical, con Mograbi junto a un combo de jazz, quien --en una apuesta claramente "brechtiana"-- comenta las escenas (las canciones se grabaron después que el resto del material) y analiza la propia película.

Lo que diferencia a "Z32" de otras películas sobre soldados israelíes arrepentidos (los festivales de cine están llenas de ellas, no es sólo "Waltz with Bashir") es que logra mantener una inteligente distancia con el sujeto en cuestión. Mograbi lo escucha, sigue sus razonamientos y le da espacio y tiempo para que se explique. Pero está lejos de ponerse de su lado, de transformarlo en una víctima de las circunstancias, de... perdonarlo. Y el juego de máscaras digitales que usa para que su rostro no se vea, termina teniendo un doble sentido: más que ocultar su verdadero rostro, la máscara parece asumir que aún el más común de los jóvenes puede transformarse en un monstruo --un fantasma, un asesino, un "otro yo"-- cuando se le da un arma y una causa, por más insensata que sea.

29.4.09

Z32 + Retrospectiva Avi Mograbi en la Sala Leopoldo Lugones


Cine australiano

El Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires y la Fundación Cinemateca Argentina, en colaboración con la Asociación DocBsAs, han organizado el estreno del film Z32 y de una Retrospectiva Avi Mograbi, que se llevarán a cabo a partir del sábado 2 al domingo 24 de mayo en la Sala Leopoldo Lugones del Teatro San Martín (Avda. Corrientes 1530).

En coincidencia con el estreno local de Z32 --presentado por primera vez en Buenos Aires en octubre pasado en el marco del DocBsAs/08, inmediatamente después de su estreno mundial en la Mostra de Venecia-- la Sala Leopoldo Lugones ha programado cuatro de los films previos de Mograbi, que vienen a ratificar la singularidad de un cineasta excepcional, capaz de poner en crisis no sólo las políticas de Estado de su país sino también su propia práctica artística, en un gesto de auto cuestionamiento permanente. El cine de Avi Mograbi interpela a la realidad mientras dispara interrogantes universales sobre la noción de ética ciudadana.



Avi Mograbi por Jean-Louis Comolli


“De film en film, Avi Mograbi, cineasta israelí, construye una obra sin paralelo en el cine mundial. Obrar, abrir. Cuatro películas hechas de ecos y rebotes, como una fuga musical: Cómo aprendí a vencer el miedo y a amar a Arik Sharon (1997), Feliz cumpleaños Sr. Mograbi (1999), Agosto, antes de la explosión (2002) y Venganza por uno de mis dos ojos (2005). Cada película en el presente de la situación política y militar en Israel, pero también en el presente afectivo, es decir a la vez comprometido y distanciado, del hogar Mograbi, lugar de debate político y de la casa Mograbi, pequeña empresa familiar de producción cinematográfica.

Siempre se trata de un film por hacerse, lo que se llama por convención un documental, aquí y ahora, sobre el momento y la situación, Israel y Palestina, la ocupación militar y la Intifada, la religión y la política, la colonización y los atentados. Pero, antes que nada, se trata de Mograbi, sus semejantes y sus otros... otros y semejantes que interpretan por turnos el papel de demonios tentadores. Y el cineasta se debate, por teléfono, con estas voces que le demandan que filme o lo disuaden de filmar; Mograbi duda, ¿filmar a pesar de todo?, ¿no filmar a pesar de todo?

La película que vemos es la historia de las dificultades encontradas al hacerla, dificultades que harán el film indispensable e imposible. O casi. Todo Mograbi cabe en ese casi. Porque, a pesar de todo, habrá un film. Al borde del renuncia. O más bien sobre los bordes, a partir de dos bordes (al menos): del interior de Israel, del interior de la Palestina ocupada. Mograbi está animado de una inestabilidad fundamental que lo empuja a atravesar las fronteras interiores, exteriores, simbólicas, mentales, pero también estilísticas, en una serie de idas y vueltas que oscilan en torno a la detención y la espera en el check point. La mezcla explosiva de agitación e inmovilidad que caracteriza sus films resuena (o razona) con la presión maníaca que nace exactamente allí donde Mograbi quiere filmar...” (Cahiers du Cinéma, noviembre 2005).



Z32 por Quintín


“El conflicto de Medio Oriente ha sido devastador para los palestinos, pero ha puesto a la sociedad israelí en una situación imposible. Los gobiernos de las últimas décadas empujaron al país hacia un modelo cada vez más militarizado, racista y violatorio de los derechos humanos. Pero un personaje como el soldado de Z32 está, como tipo humano, muy lejos del militar argentino de los años '70, educado en la represión y el extremismo ideológico, relativamente aislado de la sociedad civil y al que ésta puede mirar con desdén sin hacerse cargo de sus actos. Por el contrario, este es un joven ‘normal’, altamente representativo de sus conciudadanos y de sus posiciones ambiguas frente el conflicto palestino. Es la forma más sinuosa hacia la que crece el fascismo: aquella en la que su brazo ejecutor está a cargo de los ciudadanos medios.

Pero en esa situación al borde de lo insoluble, Mograbi redescubre para el cine --que parece cada vez más convencido de su impotencia frente al mundo-- la posibilidad de tratar los problemas más difíciles por la vía de identificar la honestidad cívica con la artística. El resultado es ese estilo inconfundible de Mograbi, simple y sofisticado a la vez, sencillo en la transparencia de su mirada, valiente al no ocultar sus propias contradicciones y complejo en el modo en el que la película transcurre y se analiza a sí misma creando un espacio en el que todo puede ser dicho, en el caben el humor y la música pero la tragedia no pierde un ápice de su peso. Si algún adjetivo le cabe a Z32 es que se trata de una película verdadera” (www.otroscines.com).



La agenda completa del estreno y la retrospectiva es la siguiente:


Sábado 2

y domingo 3: Venganza por uno de mis dos ojos

(Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay; Israel/Francia, 2005)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

“El director más político del cine actual y uno de los más originales retoma en su cuarto largometraje la personal batalla fílmica que libra desde hace años contra el gobierno de Sharon y la injusticia de la situación palestina. Mientras Mograbi, que reúne las condiciones de gran ci­neasta y apasionado militante, aguarda la inmi­nente prisión de su hijo que se niega --como él lo hizo en su momento-- a servir en un ejército de ocupación y trata de mantener la esperanza en la razón y el diálogo, la película le descubre al espectador las vergonzosas aristas del fana­tismo y sus consecuencias: el abuso sobre los débiles, la apología de la brutalidad, la pedago­gía del odio y la ceguera frente a las contradic­ciones que precipitan a Israel hacia un abismo. El film es la contracara de las lágrimas de co­codrilo de los extremistas que los medios se encargaron irresponsablemente de transmitir al mundo durante el reciente desmantelamiento de las colonias de Gaza” (Quintín en el catálogo del DocBsAs/05).

Copia cortesía de Ministère des Affaires étrangères de Francia.

A las 14.30 y 17.30 horas (100’)



Z32

(Israel/Francia, 2008)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi

El último film de Avi Mograbi es definido por su autor como “una tragedia documental musical”. Un ex soldado israelí ha participado en una misión de represalias durante la cual murieron dos policías palestinos. Para su amiga, quien le presenta cuestiones que aún no está dispuesto a enfrentar, obtener el perdón no resulta tan fácil. El soldado confiesa voluntariamente delante de la cámara, pero manteniendo la reserva de su identidad. El realizador, buscando la mejor manera de mantener escondida esa identidad, reflexiona sobre sus propias prácticas políticas y artísticas.

Z32 se centra en el abismo insuperable que existe entre el perturbador testimonio de un soldado de elite y la representación artística de ese mismo testimonio, al tiempo que intenta hallar una respuesta al vacío entre una realidad despiadada y su transformación en objeto de arte.

“Con Z32, Mograbi se permite quebrar una vez más –como ya lo había hecho con su obra previa, como Venganza por uno de mis dos ojos (2005)– la tradición del documental de observación, para arriesgarse ahora a incursionar en la estética del cabaret musical y los procedimientos de distanciamiento brechtiano. Que lo haga con un tema tan delicado como el de la confesión de crímenes de guerra por parte de un ex soldado israelí expresa hasta qué punto Mogravi está dispuesto a ensanchar los límites del documental” (Luciano Monteagudo en el catálogo del DocBsAs/08).

A las 19.30 y 22 horas (81’)



Lunes 4: Venganza por uno de mis dos ojos

(Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay; Israel/Francia, 2005)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (100’)



Martes 5: Cómo aprendí a vencer el miedo y a amar a Arik Sharon

(Eich Hifsakti L'fahed V'lamadeti L'ehov et Arik Sharon; Israel, 1997)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

Mograbi inicia un seguimiento del militar y referente público Arik (o Ariel) Sharon, figura máxima de la derecha israelí, promotor de la guerra de Líbano en 1982 –de la que el realizador optó no participar como objetor de conciencia-- y de las más aguerridas posturas políticas a la hora de intentar resolver el eterno conflicto territorial que aqueja a la zona desde la fundación del estado de Israel. Con algo de resignación y mucho humor, Mograbi relata la imposible realización de un documental sobre Sharon: las ideas preconcebidas no cuajan con el material rodado y el realizador encuentra felizmente su famoso estilo de diario personal. Además, aparece por vez primera el personaje de su mujer –invisible, siempre presente--, alter ego, confesor y personalidad dual de Mograbi. Cómo aprendí a superar mi miedo y a amar a Arik Sharon fue realizado en 1997 y quizás por ello es el más optimista de los films del realizador: a la luz de los más recientes acontecimientos acaecidos en territorios israelíes y palestinos, la película adquiere una relevancia aún mayor que en el momento de su gestación (Diego Brodersen en el catálogo del Bafici 2002).

A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (62’)



Miércoles 6: Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Mograbi (Yom Huledet Same'ach Mar Mograbi; Israel/Francia, 1999)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

“Mograbi se mira a sí mismo al llegar a los 42 años y observa y expone los festejos del 50º aniversario del Estado de Israel. La mezcla de lo público, lo privado y la propia persona del director como personaje remite al Nanni Moretti de Aprile. El humor asordinado y la mirada sorprendida ante el absurdo del mundo y de sí mismo también van por el lado del italiano. Sin embargo, mientras el final de Aprile imponía una sonrisa perdurable, el cierre de Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Mograbi duele y resignifica lo que parecían ambigüedades de la mirada del director a lo largo de la película. Mograbi mira con una claridad devastadora” (Javier Porta Fouz en el catálogo del Bafici 2002).

A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (77’)



Jueves 7: Agosto: un momento antes de la erupción

(August: A Moment Before the Eruption; Israel/Francia, 2002)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

“En parte documental y en parte ficción, realizado en soporte digital, Agosto retrata un mes en la vida del cineasta, con su habitual humor autoparódico que le permite interpretarse a sí mismo y también a su propia esposa. Pero no es un mes cualquiera. Agosto, con su calor agobiante, expresa para Mograbi toda la violencia que es capaz de salir a la luz en Israel durante esos días en que el Sol parece partir a la tierra en dos. Dice Mograbi: ‘Esto es Israel, donde quiera que uno vaya, en las esferas públicas o privadas, todo está cargado de violencia, como si estuviéramos ante la inminencia de un desastre, un desastre a punto de producirse sin ninguna advertencia previa’...” (Luciano Monteagudo en el catálogo del Bafici 2002)

A las 14.30, 17, 19.30 y 22 horas (72’)



Viernes 8: Cómo aprendí a superar mi miedo y a amar a Arik Sharon

(Eich Hifsakti L'fahed V'lamadeti L'ehov et Arik Sharon; Israel, 1997)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 14.30, 16 y 17.30 horas (62’)


Z-32

(Israel/Francia, 2008)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 19.30 y 22 horas (81’)



Sábado 9: Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Mograbi

(Yom Huledet Same'ach Mar Mograbi; Israel/Francia, 1999)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 14.30, 16 y 17.30 horas (77’)


Z-32

(Israel/Francia, 2008)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi

A las 19.30 y 22 horas (81’)


Domingo 10: Agosto: un momento antes de la erupción

(August: A Moment Before the Eruption; Israel/Francia, 2002)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 14.30, 16 y 17.30 horas (72’)


Z32

(Israel/Francia, 2008)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi.

A las 19:30 y 22 horas (81’).



Viernes 15, sábado 16, domingo 17, viernes 22,

sábado 23 y domingo 24:


Z-32

(Israel/Francia, 2008)

Dirección: Avi Mograbi

A las 19.30 y 22 horas (81’)

Our Brother The Native - Sacred Psalms (2009)


Link


What with providing a home to Brakes, the wonderful Storsveit Nix Noltes album (due out later in the month) and now this, Fat Cat is carving itself out a niche as the place to go for music that doesn’t entire fit into the usual moulds.

Not that Our Brother the Native are without their obvious comparison points. Their stately, idea-strewn indie-prog has some pretty strong echoes of Arcade Fire, in its strained chorusing, and Godspeed post-rockery, in its more orchestral moments. You might even say that at times the record sounds like a British Sea Power b-sides collection, but only if you meant it as a compliment (which I surely would). The collision of sounds they make is their own though.


Often it’s loosely built, around what sounds like far eastern wind-chime percussion (or a rambling steel drum) and “heard through a distant transistor radio” musical and spoken word samples. Sometimes, just when you think a song is destined to be a jumbled, half-heard, dream soundtrack, a more coherent sombre tune will emerge in the middle – plucked on banjo or whatever odd instrumentation they’d picked up en route to the studio. All of which means that bits of it do tip over into the pretentious or the aimless. But such are the risks of their ambition, and at its best this is an engaging and atmospheric record.


As you might guess, you’re not likely to hear any of it down your local indie disco this weekend (at least not prior to chucking out time). If you’re in the mood, though, it’s well worth investing a bit of time in.
soundsxp


Crítica de "X-Men Orígenes: Wolverine" (Clarín)


La precuela se ha convertido, en los últimos años, en una variante diferente para continuar ciertas superproducciones. De Star Wars a esta parte, conocer cómo los personajes se convirtieron en lo que todos conocemos, resulta una nueva manera de sacarle jugo a una franquicia. Wolverine, acaso el personaje más popular del universo X-Men, tiene un ángulo interesante para precuelizar: el tipo empieza la saga X-Men sin recuerdos de su pasado. Aquí sabremos que, cuando el niño James todavía no era Wolverine, una noche le matan a su padre. En pleno pico de tensión, descubrirá que el hombre que asesinaron no era realmente su padre, matará a su papá de verdad (el que asesinó al otro), sabrá que Victor Creed es su hermano y descubrirá que cuando se enfurece le salen unas filosas cuchillas de sus manos. Con Victor se fugará y allí comenzará la secuencia de títulos, acaso lo mejor del filme, que muestra a los hermanos atravesando guerras desde el siglo XVIII hasta Vietnam (las balas no les hacen mella) en una incesante y muy bien coreografiada corrida.

Allí la película se detiene, literalmente. En imágenes pudimos ver cuál será uno de sus conflictos centrales: a diferencia de su hermano Victor (Liev Schreiber), James (Hugh Jackman) no la pasa bien matando a mansalva, y cuando ambos pasen a integrar un comando secreto paramilitar -con varios mutantes famosos como Bolt, Agent Zero y Deadpool, todos a las órdenes del Coronel Stryker (Danny Huston)-, las diferencias saltarán a la vista.

Bajo el nombre de Logan, nuestro héroe se escapará de todo y se refugiará en un pueblito canadiense junto a su mujer. Pero el pasado volverá para buscarlo, seis años después, cuando Victor Creed empiece a asesinar, uno por uno, a los miembros de aquel equipo. ¿O en realidad se trata de algo más complicado que Stryker está ocultando?

La trama se irá haciendo más compleja y las escenas de acción cada vez más intensas, dominadas por efectos especiales de última generación. Pero el problema principal del filme es su falta de originalidad, su muy flojo manejo de todas las situaciones dramáticas y de las relaciones entre los personajes (algo que era lo que le daba intensidad real, y no sólo digital, a los dos primeros filmes de X-Men dirigidos por Bryan Singer), con una dirección de actores que bordea lo ridículo.

Mientras aparecen los íconos que luego serán clásicos de Wolverine (la moto, el saco, etc.), la película navega entre escena de acción y escena de acción, y sólo unas pocas resultan disfrutables (la mayoría son tan flasheras como confusas). Wolverine interesará a los fans de la saga X-Men. El resto, seguirá quedándose afuera, o le costará entender porqué se habla tanto de ella. De los muy buenos productos surgidos de Marvel en los últimos años (El Hombre Araña, Iron Man, la propia X-Men), este Wolverine está entre los más flojitos.

Críticas de "Bonus Track" y "El frasco" (Variety)


Bonus Track

(Argentina) A Las ganas que te deseo/Yokondo Cine/Panoramix production. Produced, directed, written by Raul Perrone.With: Luis Grossi, Adrian Barilaro, Leonardo Stella, Carolina Fernandez, Anabella Giordano.

By ROBERT KOEHLER

Slacker skaters rule in Raul Perrone's "Bonus Track," until, that is, the camaraderie begins to fray at the edges. The latest in a long, fascinating line of personal, ultra-low-budget films focused on young people's everyday lives from one of Argentina's most independent filmmakers, the pic also is distinctive as one of the first Latin American works to capture skateboard culture. As such, it should be on the radar of youth-themed fests, though Perrone's signature low-key approach will prove a tough sell.

Lucho (Luis Grossi), Adrian (Adrian Barilaro) and Mapuche (Leonardo Stella) hang out in any available skating area in their local digs, the Buenos Aires 'burb of Ituzaingo. True to his nonjudgmental approach, Perrone simply lets the dudes be themselves, and expects auds to hang in there for the ride.

Early sections establish their casual bonding, as well as a town that's alternately conducive to skaters (the guys visit a decked-out indoor skate course, check out new boards at a shop, get fresh tattoos) and hostile (a storeowner angrily shoos them away from a small shopping mall). They even have the run of an abandoned cinema, which serves as Perrone's highly evocative crowning setpiece.

Under the bravado surface, though, are a group of kids unsure where they're headed. Chat about parents pressuring them to get jobs, or of schoolteachers they want to put in their rearview mirrors, or -- more circumspect -- about relationships, is all infused with genuine adolescent insecurity, filtered through nonstop wisecracks. The girls in the circle, like Carolina (Carolina Fernandez) and Ana (Anabella Giordano), seem to be mere hangers-on until the pic's final section, which grows suddenly more somber as emotional strains begin to show.

Along with Larry Clark (who made his own skater movie with "Wassup Rockers"), Perrone is one of the few boomer-age filmmakers who seems to fathom kids at their level, and never betrays a hint of condescension. This comes through in the easy-come-easy-go perfs of his nonpro, largely local cast. Angel Arozamena's HD lensing marks a technical step forward for Perrone, one of Argentina's first helmers to fully embrace video.

The pic is the second in a trilogy, launched by his other 2009 feature, "180 Grados."

Camera (color, HD), Angel Arozamena; editor, Lorna Santiago; music, Anahi Colombo; sound, Gaspar Scheuer, Pablo De Marco; supervising sound editor, Scheuer; assistant director, Bernardo Demonte. Reviewed at Buenos Aires Film Festival, March 31, 2009. Running time: 84 MIN.



El Frasco

(Spain-Argentina) A Premium Cine (in Spain) release of a Quimera Films (Spain)/Zarlek Producciones (Argentina) production, in association with El Otro Yo, Huinca Cine, Carrousel Film. (International sales: Quimera, Madrid.) Produced by Luis A. Sartor, Guillermo Madjarian, Alejandro Pineyro, Julio Recio. Directed by Alberto Lecchi. Screenplay, Pablo Solarz.

With: Dario Grandinetti, Leticia Bredice, Martin Piroyansky, Nicolas Scarpino.

By
JONATHAN HOLLAND

A film whose main plot point is the spillage of a urine sample may not sound especially alluring, but that's just what "The Bottle" is. A quietly compelling romantic comedy about the awkwardness between two outsiders in rural Argentina, the movie stakes its claim via its ability to observe accurate detail -- both physical and emotional -- in the service of a genuinely heartwarming, well-rounded and unpretentious tale. Argentine helmer Alberto Lecchi's pic earned gongs at the Valladolid fest last fall and went out in Spain mid-April.

Scripter Pablo Solarz wrote Carlos Sorin's "Intimate Stories," and this gentle paean to human kindness feels almost as if it had been made by that Argentine director ("Bombon: El perro"), with an extra shot of sentimentality.

Juan Perez (Dario Grandinetti), known as "the Mute," is a bus driver bordering on simple-minded. Romina (Leticia Bredice) has a mysterious past, lives in a beat-up motor home and finds it hard to relate to the local community apart from the kids she teaches. As a state employee in contact with the public, Romina has been asked to supply a urine sample for a health check: Unable to make the journey herself, she asks Juan, who worships her from afar, to deliver it.

First, the sample is locked for two days in a roadside bar. Having recovered it, Juan then drops it and, embarrassed, substitutes some of his own urine, a ridiculous decision that's justified later. Cue a series of comic misunderstandings (all exploited to the max), in which Juan claims to be Romina's husband: The fact that there's a problem with the sample introduces a new note of melancholy.

Pic's biggest questions -- why Juan is so tight-lipped and why Romina is so embittered -- are duly answered. But there's so much going on in the meantime that they come almost as an afterthought. (A subplot involves Romina's nephew Luisito (Martin Piroyansky) "kidnapping" a young girl to free her from her father's violent behavior.

About himself, Juan simply says, "Sometimes, I think badly." Drawing on the tropes of silent comedy to create his straight-backed, wide-eyed, short-trousered character, Grandinetti, who's rarely offscreen, effectively makes his unattractive character plausibly attractive to Romina, though he sometimes overdoes the simpleton aspects. Bredice, with her clear, yearning gaze, makes it clear the damage done to Romina may break out at any moment.

Dialogue is minimal but effective. The wilderness of Argentina's Santa Fe province, through which Juan drives his bus, are captured by lenser Hugo Colace in all their striking bleakness. The score, appropriately, is tinged with hints of spaghetti Westerns.

Camera (color), Hugo Colace; editor, Javier Ruiz Caldera; music, Julian Vat; art director, Mariana Sourrouille; sound (Dolby Digital), Jorge Stavropulos. Reviewed at Cines Rosaleda, Malaga, Spain, April 22, 2009. Running time: 93 MIN.

Cannes: la Quincena de Realizadores tiene nuevo director


No, Fanny Ardant no dirigirá la Quincena...

Como se preveía tras el paso de Olivier Pére al Festival de Locarno, la Quincena ha nombrado un nuevo delegado general (ese es el título oficial), que asumirá al terminar esta edición. Se trata de uno de los programadores de la Quincena, Frédéric Boyer, quien fue nombrado ayer por la Sociedad Francesa de Realizadores (SRF), organizadora de la Quincena. Boyer era, desde 2004, parte del equipo de seleccionadores dde Pére. De 50 años, es conocido por ser el fundador de Vidéosphère, descripto como "el videoclub favorito de los cinéfilos parisinos".

En otras noticias de Cannes: hoy se agregó a la sección oficial, fuera de competencia, la opera prima como directora de Fanny Ardant (foto), "Cenizas y sangre", protagonizada por Ronit Elkabetz y basada en una novela del escritor de Albania, Ismaïl Kadaré.

28.4.09

Martin Scorsese guides Cannes Classics (The Hollywood Reporter)




PARIS -- Helmer and cinema historian Martin Scorsese will serve as honorary president of the sixth annual Cannes Classics sidebar at next month's Festival de Cannes, organizers said Tuesday.

This year's lineup will feature the works of such familiar names as Jean-Luc Godard ("Pierrot le Fou"), Michelangelo Antonioni ("L'avventura"), Luchino Visconti ("Senso") and Jacques Tati ("Mr. Hulot's Holiday"), while Scorsese will personally present a restored version of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 title "The Red Shoes."

Scorsese's nonprofit World Cinema Foundation will present three films: Edward Yang's "A Brighter Summer Day" (1991), Shadi Abdei Salam's "Al-Momia" (1969) and Emilio Gomez Muriel and Fred Zinnemann's "Redes" (1936).

Other special screenings include "To Hell and Back, Memories of Henri-Georges Clouzot," Serge Bromberg's recomposition of lost footage from Clouzot's mythical 1964 shoot of "L'Enfer"; and unseen footage from Ingmar Bergman home movies in "Images From the Playground," restored by Stig Bjorkman.

Cannes Classics also will celebrate Joseph Losey's 100th birthday with a Joseph Losey Centenary section complete with screenings of "Accident" (1967) and a new print of "Don Giovanni" (1979).

A list of Cannes Classics titles follows:

"The Red Shoes"
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (1948, U.K.)

"To Hell and Back, Memories of Henri-Georges Clouzot"
Serge Bromberg (1964's "L'enfer")

World Cinema Foundation entries:

"A Brighter Summer Day"
Edward Yang (1991, Taiwan, unseen version)

"Al-Momia"
Shadi Abdel Salam (1969, Egypt)

"Redes"
Emilio Gomez Muriel and Fred Zinnemann (1936, Mexico)

"Images From the Playground" (Sweden)
Stig Bjorkman -- Restoration of Ingmar Bergman home movies

Joseph Losey Centenary

"Accident"
Joseph Losey (1967, U.K.)

"Don Giovanni"
Joseph Losey (1979, Italy)

Documentaries on filmmaking
"Les deux de la vague"
Antoine de Baecque and Emmanuel Laurent

"Pietro Germi: Il Bravo, Il Bello, Il Cattivo"
Mario Bondi

A selection of restored and new prints:

"L'Avventura"
Michelangelo Antonioni (1960, Italy)

"An Uns Glaubt Gott Nicht Mehr"
Axel Corti (1982, Austria)

"Giu La Testa" (Once Upon a Time ... the Revolution)
Sergio Leone (1971, Italy)

"Loin du Vietnam" (Far From Vietnam)
Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Agnes Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais (1967, France)

"Pierrot le fou"
Jean-Luc Godard (1965, France)

"Prince Yeonsan"
Shin Sang-ok (1961, South Korea)

"Senso" (Livia)
Luchino Visconti (1954, Italy)

"Les vacances de M. Hulot" (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday)
Jacques Tati (1953, France)

"Victim"
Basil Dearden (1961, U.K.)

"Wake in Fright"
Ted Kotcheff (1971, Australia)

"Les yeux sans visage" (Eyes Without a Face)
Georges Franju (1960, France)

Cannes: Cortos en competencia


The Cannes Film Festival's official selection of nine competing short films was announced Tuesday in Paris. Like the feature competition and sidebars, the lineup in heavy on European fare, with seven out of nine shorts hailing from European Union countries.

Program includes U.K. helmer Emma Sullivan's psycho-suspenser "After Tomorrow," Spanish thesp Alex Brendemuhl's debut "Rumbo a Peor," and Dutch director Jochem de Vries' "Missen," amongst other Euro pics.

Two non-EU shorts are Croatian entry "Ciao Mama" by Goran Odvorcic, and "The Six Dollar Fifty Man," a primary school coming-of-ager from New Zealanders Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland. Duo's previous short, "Run," was included in the 2007 short competition.

The Cannes Cinefondation also announced its lineup of 17 film school shorts, which reps a diverse mix of European and international pics, including four animated works.

Commenting on this year's selection, artistic director Laurent Jacob told Daily Variety: "The common theme seems to be about individuals wanting to escape into a new life, and finding their illusions confronted by hard realities."

Jacob added that each of the Cinefondation's four programs ends this year with a longer short of 30 to 40 minutes, and that students from three animation schools — in Belgium, France and Italy — will be repping their institutions for the first time at Cannes.

The Cinefondation jury is headed up by director John Boorman, and includes Gallic helmer Bertrand Bonello and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.

In other Cannes news, the Critics' Week announced today that French animated feature "Round da Way" will be added to its Special Screenings selection. Adapted from the Gallic TV series "Les Lescars," adult-themed, hip-hop scored pic features the voices of French stars Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, Omar Sy and Gilles Lellouche. Film is schedded for release in Gaul on June 17 by Bac, which will also be handling international sales.

CANNES SHORT FILMS IN COMPETITION
"Ciao Mama," Croatia, Goran Odvorcic
"Larsog Peter," Denmark, Daniel Borgman
"L'homme a la Gordini," France, Jean-Christophe Lie
"Klusums," Latvia, Laila Pakalnina
"Missen," Netherlands, Jochem de Vries
"The Six Dollar Fifty Man," New Zealand, Mark Albiston, Louis Sutherland
"Arena," Portugal, Joao Salaviza
"Rumbo a Peor," Spain, Alex Brendemuhl
"After Tomorrow," U.K., Emma Sullivan

CINEFONDATION SELECTION
"El Boxeador," Argentina, Juan Ignacio Pollio
"#1," Belgium, Noamir Castera
"Kasia," Belgium, Elisabet Llado
"Chapa," Brazil, Thiago Ricarte
"Goodbye," China, Song Fang
"Baba," Czech Republic, Zuzana Kirchnerova-Spidlova
"Sylfidden," Denmark, Dorte Bengtson
"Le Contretemps," France, Dominique Baumard
"Traverser," France, Hugo Frassetto
"Diploma," Israel, Yaelle Kayam
"Segal," Israel, Yuval Shani
"Il Naturalista," Italy, Giulia Barbera, Gianluca Lo Presti, Frederico Parodi, Michele Tozzi
"Malzonkowie," Poland, Dara Van Dusen
"Don't Step Out the House," South Korea, Jo Sung-hee
"The Horn," South Korea, Yim Kyung-dong
"By the Grace of God," U.K., Ralitza Petrova
"Gutter," U.S., Daniel Day

Crocodiles - Summer of Hate (2009)


Link

Crocodiles’ 2008 cult hit “Neon Jesus” was a pledge of faith — in Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1980 LP Crocodiles as well as in the Jesus and Mary Chain. Their debut stays true: “I Wanna Kill” is Chain-like bubblegum noise that’s less death threat than come-on, while the raw guitar dub rock of “Soft Skull (In My Room)” could be an old Bunnymen demo. But there’s a thrilling free play in the duo’s wildly distorted, trippy hook fetishism that makes them more than rehash: This is a repeat-ready 34 minutes of melodic pop pushed to the disintegration point and beyond. Welcome to the art-punk renaissance.

rollingstone

Trailer de "Mother", de Bong Joon-ho (Cannes, Un Certain Regard)



Teaser Trailer of Korean movie MOTHER (2009) - Cast: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin. Genre: crime, drama, thriller.


Translation of the Trailer:

Do-Jun's friend: What exactly are your good qualities? Why your mother loves you so much?

(New movie from Bong Joon-Ho, director of "Memories of Murder" and "The Host".)

The girl: Your son has such beautiful eyes, like a baby deer.

Mother: Like me, right?

Man's voice: You idiot!

Do-Jun: Retarded?

Do-Jun: (the shouting - sorry no translation)

Mother: There's still a lot left.....Come back earlier...don't be so late.

Police officer: It's been a long time there isn't any murder case happened.

Do-Jun: Mom~!

Mother: My son is not a murderer!

Girl's mom: Give me back my daughter's life!

Mother: Do-Jun~!

Note: Someone translated the trailer into Chinese, and I translated into English. As I'm not a native speaker, please feel free to correct to proper English if necessary.

*****************************

Introduction
When the record-breaking Korean box office hit The Host was selected for Directors' Fortnight in Cannes in 2006, it encouraged director Bong Joon-ho to push the boundaries of Korean cinema even further. In his hard-hitting new crime drama, Mother, the lead character is not a detective but a devoted and determined mother. When her son is accused of a horrible murder in their neighborhood, her maternal instinct forces her to conduct her own investigation, one that will uncover dangerous secrets as she unravels the mysterious truth.

Synopsis
Widowed for a long time, a mother lives alone with her only son. He is 28 years old, a shy and quiet young man. One day there is a terrible murder, and the woman's hopeless, helpless son becomes the prime suspect. There is no real evidence against him, but the police groundlessly suspect him almost instantly. The trouble is that there is no way he can prove his innocence.

Eager to close the case, the police are happy with their cursory investigation and they arrest the boy. His defense attorney turns out to be incompetent and unreliable and a conviction seems inevitable. So, faced with no other choice, his mother gets involved, determined to prove her son's innocence.

Director's Statement
I want to make the saddest yet most beautiful crime drama ever. At the center of this story is a small and weak mother who stands alone, a woman who gazes in a vague direction with obsessive eyes, a woman so determined that she can't even stop herself. As she drags up and cracks open the dark, damp secrets, one by one, slowly the sadness and the beauty of her story will come to light.

Trailer de "Taking Woodstock", de Ang Lee (Cannes, en competencia)




Trailer de "Looking For Eric", de Ken Loach (Cannes, en competencia)




Trailer de "Polytechnique", de Denis Villeneuve (Cannes, Quincena de Realizadores)



The English trailer for the Canadian-Quebec film "Polytechnique", released by Alliance Vivafilm and Remstar, and directed by Denis Villeneuve. The film depicts the Montreal Massacre of 1989, where a young man murdered 14 women at Montreal's Polytechnique school. It was the deadliest school shooting of the 20th century, and remains to this day the deadliest massacre in Canadian history.

Easily one of the most controversial films in Canadian cinema history. In theatres February 6, 2009. Both trailers feature no spoken dialogue, and the only difference between the French and English versions is the wording. The film will be featured at the 2009 edition of the Cannes Film Festival, as one of three Canadian films.

Trailer de "Los abrazos rotos", de Pedro Almodóvar (Cannes, en competencia)


27.4.09

El filme argentino en Cannes


EL BOXEADOR, dirigido por Juan Pollio, participará en la Selección Oficial de la Cinéfondation, en la cual, por quinto año consecutivo, un corto de la FUC competirá con otros quince cortos, seleccionados entre más de 2000. Dicha sección oficial del Festival de Cannes, desde 1998, presenta cortos y mediometrajes de escuelas de cine de todo el mundo. En los últimos años han resultado ganadores del primer premio "Ge & Zeta", de Gustavo Riet y "Ahora todos parecen contentos", de Gonzalo Tobal, ambos cortos representando a la Universidad del Cine.

Y eso es todo. Felicitaciones a la FUC.

Matias Tellez - Clouds (2009)


Link

With a deep fascination for 60s psychedelia and love for his Latin-American roots, Matias Tellez – raised in Norway by musician parents from Chile – is really something else. Influenced by anything from 60s and 70s Argentinean pop groups Los Gatos and Litto Nebbia, via the Brazilian Tropicalia of Os Mutantes and Caetano Veloso to the western psychedelia of people like Syd Barret and Tyrannosaurus Rex, Tellez tells his humorous and engaging stories with the most unpredictable accompaniment.


Trailer de "Thirst", de Park Chan-wook (Cannes competition)




26.4.09

Xylos - Bedrooms EP (2009)


Link

There is a new Brooklyn band called Xylos who are giving their Bedrooms EP away as a free download. Eric Zeiler wrote and recorded most of the five tracks, with Ira Wolf Tuton and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer offering guest vocals. Xylos is now a five-piece band poised to grab attention in `09.

Bedrooms opens with In The Bedroom, a song about a girl whose life was “left in shambles,” after a stay with a guy she had met earlier that day. Eric Zeiler seems to pull from late `60s early `70s folk-rock (such as Crosy, Stills & Nash), with strong harmonies reflective of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, occasional hints of The Beach Boys (the gentle “oohs” in Testament) mixed with a blend of The Shins. At times Xylos reminds us of Andrew Bird in his vocal delivery, song structures and acoustic guitar strumming.

Wrapped In A Page
showcases Xylos’ eclectic instrumentation. Eric beautifully balances the use of banjo, wooden xylophone, cello and violin, acoustic, hand drums and slight use of analogue synth. The birds chirping in Yellow Flip-Flops add more than just an outdoor element, they help paint bright colors as the song eventually ends with a melody tinged in bluegrass. Testament adds Rhodes, piano, organ, and surprises you with a lead guitar.

Do yourself a favour and download Bedrooms by Xylos from their website or visit them on Myspace/Facebook.

Website y trailer de "Vengeance", de Johnnie To (Cannes, en competencia)


Premios al cine argentino en el Festival de Málaga


Gran cantidad de premios cosechó el cine argentino en el 12º Festival de Cine de Málaga. El Jurado Oficial presidido por Alex de la Iglesia otorgó los siguientes premios al cine nacional.

Sección Oficial

Biznaga de Plata - Premio Especial del Jurado

El niño pez de Lucía Puenzo

Biznaga de Plata a la Mejor Fotografía

Rodrigo Pulpeiro por El niño pez

El jurado de la Sección Oficial de Territorio Latinoamericano, del 12º Festival de Málaga, formado por: Diego Galán (Presidente), Bárbara Lennie, Antonia Nava, Mercedes Sampietro y Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, otorgó los siguientes premios al cine argentino :

Premios Sección Territorio Latinoamericano

Biznaga de Plata a la Mejor Película

“Cordero de Dios” de Lucía Cedrón

Biznaga de Plata a la Mejor Dirección

Lucía Cedrón por “Cordero de Dios”

Biznaga de Plata al Mejor Actor

Adrián Suar por “Un novio para mi mujer” de Juan Taratuto

Biznaga de Plata a la Mejor Actriz

Valeria Bertuccelli por “Un Novio para mi Mujer” de Juan Taratuto

Biznaga de Plata al Premio del Público

Motivos para no enamorarse” de Mariano Mucci


Thai film picked by Cannes (The Bangkok Post)


By Kong Rithdee

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's seventh feature has become the only Thai film to be picked into the Official Selection of the upcoming 62nd Cannes Film Festival.

The festival, the most high-profile and most influential in the arthouse circuit, announced its selection yesterday in Paris. Pen-ek's film, called Nang Mai in Thai and Nymph in English, will be screened in the Un Certain Regard section, a category reserved for daring or unconventional works.

Cannes is famed for its exclusivity. Every year the committee select around 20 films for the top-tier In Competition section - the only Thai film in history to have entered this elite group is Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady in 2003. Then another 20 films are picked for Un Certain Regard, a sidebar programme featuring promising directors. These 40 "Official Selection" titles are picked from, it is said, over 1,500 films submitted to the festival.

This year Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13 to 24 in Cannes, the seaside resort town on the Mediterranean coast that has played host to the discovery of exciting, or in certain cases, important, cinema for 62 years.

Nang Mai stars Nopachai "Peter" Jayanama and Vanida "Kifsy" Termthanapon, singer of the sexy girl-group Girly Berry. They play a married couple who go camping in the forest, where the husband disappears after an encounter with a sad, strange tree.

The film was co-produced by Thai outfit Five Star Entertainment and international sales agent Fortissimo Films. One of the film's producers was Wouter Barendretch, a Dutchman who died in his Bangkok apartment earlier this month when he flew in to watch the early cut of the film. Nang Mai will be dedicated to the memory of Barendretch.

Pen-ek's previous film was Ploy, a marital drama that was also picked by the Directors' Fortnight section, another sidebar to the Cannes festival, in 2007.

Nang Mai is tentatively schedule to open in Thailand in late June or early July.


Yppah - They Know What Ghost Know (2009)



Joe Corrales, Jr. aka Yppah (pronounced Yippah) is back. The young Mexican-American from Texas debuted on Ninja Tune in 2006 with his album, You Are Beautiful At all Times, and now releases his sophomore effort, They Know What Ghost Know.

Fashioning a rockier sound than last time out, the album draws on a cultural heritage that took in My Bloody Valentine alongside hip hop and which is heavily influenced by various forms of electronic music, psychedelic soul and rock.

Opening track -Son Saves The Rest- is wall-of-noise guitar pummeller. Gumball Machine Weekend sounds like southern-fried Go! Team with more soul. Playing With Fireworks somehow reminds you of the way you felt stuck between childhood and the adult world, not a million miles from instrumental tracks from the Phantom Band. Shutter Speed is nostalgia psyched into a memorable tune. Title track --They Know What Ghost Know-- is West Coast rock reimagined as trance-rite, a spooky, echo-heavy drum-roll-filled set of repetitions and overlaps that builds into a tune which DJ Shadow in his heyday might have dreamed of making. Sun Flower Sun Kissed takes the doomy grey skies of MBV and gives them a Texan make-over. Bobbie Joe Wilson channels the Dust Brothers and proves Yppah hasn't lost his love of hip hop. Corrales build moods through a combination of melody, rhythm and sonics and if those moods are mainly melancholy, they're also ecstatic.

After a series of shows last year from SXSW to Japan, there's a real feeling that Joe Corrales is ready to step up into the big league. The album has that feel to it --that it has been made under huge skies, that it's possible to make music which is epic and intimate all at once. It's beguiling and beautiful and makes you a little giddy, too.


Jim Jarmusch on 'The Limits of Control' (Los Angeles Times)


By Mark Olsen

April 26, 2009

If there were a hall of fame for the super-cool and perpetually hip, Jim Jarmusch would most certainly have already been inducted. For more than 25 years, he has been making movies that function as travelogues through the cultural underground, and in many ways still sets the standard for American independent filmmaking.

"To me, independent film is just the people creating it being able to make it the way they want," Jarmusch said in his recognizable deadpan drawl during a recent telephone call from his office just off the Bowery in New York City. "There's a history of that in Europe. It's called 'filmmaking.' "

His career began with "Permanent Vacation" in 1980 but really gained attention with the broader breakthrough of the one-two of 1984's "Stranger Than Paradise" (winner of the Camera d'Or prize at Cannes) and "Down by Law" in 1986.

Over the years, Jarmusch has seen the indie film world expand, mutate, balloon, contract; meanwhile, he has continued to do his own thing behind the camera. "Sometimes I feel more sequestered than buffered from the prevailing winds of what is independent film," he said.

Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers," released in 2005, won the Grand Jury Prize at that year's Cannes Film Festival and went on to be his biggest box-office success by far, reportedly grossing more than $40 million worldwide. It starred Bill Murray in a gently comic tale of a man retracing his romantic life by visiting past paramours played by Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Tilda Swinton and Jessica Lange, and there was undoubtedly something in the film that felt, if not more commercial, at least more accessible.

His latest film, "The Limits of Control," opening in theaters on Friday, seems in some ways like the pendulum swinging back in the other direction -- a Jarmusch fan's Jarmusch film.

Starring Isaach De Bankolé in his fourth outing with the director, it follows an inscrutably disciplined "Lone Man" (the only name his character is given) moving through a series of contacts in contemporary Spain. He may be a messenger, a bag man or an assassin, moving ruthlessly closer and closer to his final stop.

"The Limits of Control" may have the spine of an espionage thriller, but it also plays like a notebook of ideas and influences spilled to the wind. The film's production is credited to PointBlank Films, a nod to John Boorman's 1967 existential hit man picture starring Lee Marvin.

The soundtrack is dominated by droning pieces from the "doom metal" groups Boris and Sunn O))), while the Lone Man frequently drops into the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid to admire works by noted Spanish painters (all of which are lovingly photographed in the film by cinematographer Christopher Doyle).

Along his travels, the Lone Man meets characters played by a veritable United Nations of actors, including Swinton, John Hurt, Paz de la Huerta, Hiam Abbass, Youki Kudoh and Gael García Bernal, with a final showdown with Murray.

Jarmusch was able to find financing for the film by showing Focus Features a 25-page prose story that outlined the film's characters and story but contained no dialogue. This allowed him to keep his "antennae," as he calls them, up throughout the production process, continuing to gather influences while writing the dialogue as he went, weaving and layering ideas and motifs.

"I work probably in an erratically backwards kind of way," Jarmusch said of his writing process. "I start with some actors I would like to create characters for, and I have some characters in mind, and then I just start collecting things that inspire me, and they come all over the place, from music, from poetry, from literature, from architecture, from just the design of things, from conversations I overhear, from the quality of light in a room that I notice. The story is often somewhat secondary to me, even in importance somehow. And this film certainly worked that way."

If the title of the film, "The Limits of Control" -- which comes from a 1975 essay by Beat writer William S. Burroughs -- may be thought of as a question, Jarmusch perhaps tips his hand to his answer with the title card at the end of the final credits that reads, "No Limits No Control."

The filmmaker is resistant to discussing the meaning of his films, and initially responds to a request to do so with a lighthearted, "Oh no, let me reach for my revolver." He prefers things be left open for each viewer to interpret, and delights at hearing what other people find in his works.

"In my films, I'm not trying to hit you over the head and say, 'Here's what it means,' " Jarmusch said. "I love cinema as a form so much because it incorporates all these other forms that I love. So when I make a film, what I want to say is what I put on the screen. It throws me when people say, 'Can you now talk about what you wanted to say, can you say it now with language?' And in a way, I can't."

Originally from Ohio, Jarmusch was a denizen of the legendary late-'70s scene around the New York City nightclub CBGB. In many ways, he is still living by the same ethos. "Back in those days, we all thought of ourselves philosophically as criminals," he recalled, "in that we weren't going to get a real job if we could avoid it, we were going to live our lives how we chose, and if we could, we were getting over. And I'm still getting over in a way.

"It's not necessarily a choice I made, like I despise the Hollywood system and therefore I reject it. It's not really like that. It's just that maybe I belong in the margins."

Cine filipino en Cannes (Inquirer - Filipinas)


By Ruben V. Nepales

As we reported Thursday, Raya Martin’s “Independencia” is the first Filipino film to be selected to the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.

Now, as we write this, we just heard the great news that Raya’s twin-bill film with Adolfo Alix Jr., “Manila,” is going to be shown in Cannes, as well. So, Raya scored another first for Philippine cinema by having two entries at the world’s premier film fest next month. And, with Dante Mendoza back in Cannes main competition with his “Kinatay (The Execution of P),” it’s a great period for Philippine cinema. (Dante’s “Serbis” was in the main competition last year.) As we write this, there’s buzz that two more films might be added to the Philippines’ official entries to the festival.

Ambitious project

“Manila,” which will be shown out of competition, is an ambitious project. It’s a tribute to Lino Brocka’s “Jaguar” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night.” Raya, in an e-mail interview, described the film this way: “‘Manila’ is a reimagining of the two Filipino classics about the city and its inhabitants.

“Piolo Pascual plays both lead roles in the two episodes. I worked on the ‘Manila By Night’ episode, which stars Piolo as William Martinez’s character in the original film. It’s an update and a continuation of that movie. Personally, I think Bernal’s ‘Manila By Night’ is the best Filipino film ever. No other director can best portray the Filipino psyche onscreen.”

Adolf shared his reaction about “Manila’s” selection via e-mail: “We’re very happy with the news. It was unexpected because we got the invitation at the last minute. God is good. We’re very excited.”

Arleen Cuevas, who coproduced both “Manila” and “Independencia,” also via e-mail, exclaimed: “I’m happy to have two films in Cannes!”

Vilma Santos could have been one of the film’s key cast members who will walk on the red carpet when “Independencia” premieres at the Palais des Festivals. But, Tetchie Agbayani gets that opportunity, instead.

“We first approached Vilma to play the mother role in the film, and we had several meetings with her,” Arleen informed us. “She told us she really liked the script, but she was in a dilemma whether to accept it or not, since she had obligations in her work as governor of Batangas, and she already said yes to a Star Cinema project for this year. In the end, the schedules didn’t permit us to work together, but hopefully, we will have a chance to work with her in our future projects.”

Playing the mother in Raya’s early 20th century family drama that was shot in black and white, Tetchie looks striking in her “baro at saya” costume in the stills. What’s also remarkable about the film’s visual style, based on those stills, is that, all the sets were built indoors from scratch.

As disclosed by Raya, “Independencia,” which also stars Sid Lucero and Alessandra de Rossi, is the second in his planned series of movies depicting different periods of struggle in the Philippines, each using a style that was evocative of the film’s period. “Short Film About the Indio Nacional (Or the Prolonged Sorrow of the Filipinos)” is his first feature film and his initial salvo in this series.

The young filmmaker explained, “Since the first installment in the trilogy was a silent feature, because it was in the beginning of cinema (during the Spanish occupation), the following project about the American era was attributed to the Hollywood influence that eventually became the stronger roots of Philippine cinema. The studio film refers to the way those early movies were made, reconstructing the location indoors. We created a forest inside a studio, mixing painted backdrops and live elements. Almost all of it was shot indoors.”

“Nobody makes this kind of film anymore,” he added. “Aside from the fact that it’s more expensive than traveling to a real forest, which we have almost everywhere in the Philippines, our audiences are used to realism in the movies. What made it easier for everyone was our child-like fascination. We were like kids reconstructing a lost world. I had a great production designer (Digo Ricio) who knew exactly how to set up the plan. It was very systematic.”

True account

Arleen revealed the challenge of shooting almost the entire film in a studio, something that hasn’t been done in the Philippines in a long while. She recounted: “Actually, the hard part was finding a studio we could use for 15 straight days. Luckily, we found a studio at Scenema Concepts in Marikina.

“Afterward, the actual shooting was relatively easier than doing a location shoot. We were inside a controlled environment. Everything we needed was there.”

Raya, who cowrote the script with Ramon Sarmiento, satisfied our curiosity about this newsreel by saying that “the film is ’interrupted’ by a newsreel of a true account during the American occupation.”

The UP film school alumnus showed old-studio photos of his ancestors to his French cinematographer, Jeanne Lapoirie, as a guide to the movie’s look. “I also showed her different studio pictures from the turn of the century,” he explained. “She was already familiar with the look of ‘Indio Nacional,’ which was mostly based on colonial postcards. We also talked about silent films like Murnau’s ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Faust.’
“Jeanne would suggest her own ideas, and I was happy that she understood the project completely. I was very honored to have worked with her, since she has already worked with some of the most interesting filmmakers in the world, like Pedro Costa and Francois Ozon.”

Asked if he already has ideas for the next film in his series (which he said could go past three), Raya replied, “Yes, I’ve been working on some ideas in the past couple of months. But, it will probably take as long as ’Independencia’ to put together. So, it should be ready in a few years’ time. I’m not in a hurry.”

Prolific output

That last statement is ironic, considering Raya’s prolific output in just a span of a few years. A parallel story to Raya’s tale of recent triumphs is his coproducer’s own success in the international film circuit. In a seemingly short period of time, Arleen, who also produced “Manila,” has racked up impressive producing credits on films by Raya and Adolfo. Also a product of UP’s Film Institute, Arleen coproduced “The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela,” a movie directed by Icelandic filmmaker, Olaf Johannesson, which won the Teddy Award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival last year.

Arleen was one of the young Filipino filmmakers selected to participate in the Berlinale Talent Campus and Produire au Sud Workshop. She recently represented Filipino projects in the CineMart and Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum, which are coproduction markets for new projects looking for international coproduction and financing.

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By Bayani San Diego Jr.

IN SHOOTING his latest Cannes-bound film “Kinatay (The Execution of P),” Dante Mendoza’s foremost concern was to capture the unique look of the Philippines at night.

Critics have always noted this nocturnal peculiarity in classics like Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night.”

Mendoza explores the same dark terrain in “Kinatay” with the help of modern technology. (“Kinatay” is about a gang of hit men who chop up the bodies of their victims.)

With cinematographer Odyssey Flores, Mendoza used two types of cameras—film (Arriflex 435) and digital (Arriflex D-21).

“For the daytime scenes, we used film, but at night, we opted for digital,” Mendoza explained “I wanted the day and night scenes to look totally different.”

He said this is the first Filipino film to make use of an Arri D-21. “It’s the newest camera from Arriflex. It can be fitted with film lens.”

The camera, which he rented from CMB Equipment, allowed him “to capture every detail of Manila by night.”

“Several scenes are set in a van traveling from Edsa to North Luzon Expressway, from Pasay to Bulacan,” he related. “Nighttime in the city is different from nighttime in the province, where it’s pitch-black.”

Natural means

The goal, he said, was to achieve this “through natural means.”

“That can be tricky. I didn’t want the light inside the van to be turned on. That wouldn’t look right,” he said. “Instead, we outfitted the van’s roof with lights. [So it looked like] the light came from the streets.”

Color-grading, he said, is currently being done by local firm Optima which also worked on “Serbis,” his Cannes entry last year. “I want the daytime scenes to be bright, tropical, orangey, while the night scenes to be dark... almost silhouette lang ’yong characters.”

Another technical challenge was the aural orchestration.

“There’s very little dialogue in this movie,” he said. “In the van scenes, all you hear is the occasional radio transmission, faint sounds from the highway and the sobs and cries of the ‘salvage’ victim [played by Maria Isabel Lopez].”

This aural minimalism required a lot of work, though, he said. “Sound mixing is crucial.”

Although French producer Didier Costet is recommending a Parisian post-production house, Mendoza wants the audio mix to be done either locally or in Technicolor in Thailand.

“When the movie premieres in Cannes (Main Competition) next month,” the filmmaker said, “I want to be able to say that the film was completely made in Asia.”




25.4.09

Confusión en La Nación

Sé que mi buen amigo y habitualmente bien informado colega Diego Batlle no tuvo nada que ver con esto, pero no puedo creer la cobertura de los anuncios de Cannes en La Nación. El día del anuncio de las secciones oficiales no sacaron nada --vaya y pase--, pero hoy se despacharon con la nota más confusa y desinformada que leí en años. No sé de qué cable la levantaron ni quien lo hizo, pero es de no creer. No quiero con esto decir que en Clarín no nos mandamos enormes mocos, pero lo que van a leer a continuación es increíble.

Dice así y bajo el título "América latina busca la Palma de Oro"

"En la próxima edición del Festival de Cannes, que se realizará entre el 13 y el 24 de mayo, América latina dirá presente.
Huacho , de Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile-Francia-Alemania); Mal día para pescar , de Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay-España); los mediometrajes 1989 , de Camilo Matiz (Colombia) y Elo , de Vera Egito (Brasil), y el corto Noche adentro , de Pablo Lamar (Paraguay), son algunas de las producciones que compiten por la codiciada Palma.

Si bien la Argentina no mostrará su arte en esta 62». entrega, el próximo 14 de mayo se realizará el estreno mundial de Tetro , de Francis Ford Coppola, una coproducción de España e Italia, rodada en nuestro país, con Mike Amigorena, Carmen Maura y Maribel Verdú, entre otros. Además, el argentino radicado en Francia, Gaspar Noé, presentará Enter the Void ."

Ninguna de las películas del primer párrafo compiten por la Palma de Oro. Y sólo la de Gaspar Noé, citada en el segundo párrafo, lo hace (aunque por lo que se lee pareciera que no). Y el título es cualquiera: NINGUNA película latinoamericana compite por la Palma de Oro. Yo sé que estamos con poca gente (y algunos están en festivales importantes como Málaga), pero esto me supera...

Sigue: "Y también es muy esperado el estreno de Up , de los estudios Pixar, dirigida por Pete Docter y Bob Peterson, la primera cinta animada filmada enteramente en 3-D. "

¿La primera? Acabo de dejar a mis hijos viendo "Monstruos vs. aliens" y si no entendí mal, los anteojitos que me dieron eran para 3D. ¿Y "Coraline"? ¿O me perdí algo? Igual, hay algo allí que aclara todo: el uso de la palabra "cinta" deja en claro que copiaron y pegaron un cable de una agencia española, habitualmente las menos informadas en estos temas.




Hanne Hukkelberg - Blood From A Stone (2009)




Norwegian Grammy Award winner HANNE HUKKELBERG has returned with a brand new batch of captivating songs on BLOOD FROM A STONE, which will be released on Nettwerk, May 12 2009.

BLOOD FROM A STONE is the third album for the Norwegian artist best known for her imaginative use of found sounds and eclectic array of instrumentation. While Hukkelberg spent her formative years playing in various metal bands, the singer admits she lingered over other influences for this collection, most notably post punkers like Sonic Youth, Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Einstuerzende Neubauten and P.J. Harvey. You can also hear a bit of Siouxsie through the glass darkly.

Although it’s immediately apparent that this album rocks more than Hukkelberg’s previous releases (Little Things [2005] and Rykestrasse 68 [2007]), the results are still undeniably idiosyncratic. The bulk of her vocals are first takes, and her lyrics are more direct and less introverted than on previous albums. Musically, the songs continue Hukkelberg’s penchant for combining traditional and unusual instrumentation to form a soundscape. Though a self-described rock album, BLOOD FROM A STONE manages to include field recordings of flagpoles, train doors, seagulls, clogs, rocks, kitchen utensils, freezers, stoves and a school desk - with no traditional drum kit to be found. All instruments were tuned by ear; digital tuners were banned from the studio.

While BLOOD FROM A STONE was recorded in Hukkelberg’s regular studio in Oslo, the songs themselves were written during the seven months she spent living in a tiny coastal village on the Norwegian island of Senja, 300 kilometres north of the Polar Circle. This starkly contrasts with a similar period of time spent ensconced in Berlin while writing her previous album. Hukkelberg explains: “In the north of Norway it is way more quiet. It has been interesting to experience composing in both a busy city and in a quiet village. I noticed it affected me in very different ways. I felt a need for composing more quiet songs in the noisy city, and more noisy music in the quiet village.”

Fan Fever Is Rising for Debut of ‘Avatar’ (The New York Times)


LOS ANGELES — In an old airplane hangar near the beach here, James Cameron has been working feverishly to complete a movie that may:

(a) Change filmmaking forever

(b) Alter your brain

(c) Cure cancer

For certain expectant movie fans, the answer might as well be all of the above.

Eight months before its scheduled release on Dec. 18, Mr. Cameron’s “Avatar,” a science-fiction thriller filmed with his own specially devised 3-D technology, is stirring up a kind of anticipation that until now had been reserved for, say, the Rapture.

That might foretell a hit on the order of Mr. Cameron’s “Titanic,” with $1.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

Or it might just be a giant headache for 20th Century Fox, which is backing “Avatar” and will have to spend much of the year managing expectations for a film whose technological wizardry is presumed by more than a few to promise an experiential leap for audiences comparable to that of “The Jazz Singer,” the arrival of Technicolor or an Obama campaign rally.

To date, neither a trailer nor even a still photo from the film, which tells the story of a disabled soldier who uses technology to inhabit an alien body on a distant planet, has been made public by Mr. Cameron or Fox.

But a number of enthusiasts who have been swapping notes on the message boards at IMDB.com claim to have already seen the movie — in their dreams. “The special effects were mostly drawings and cartoons, but they looked 3-D still,” wrote one “planetshane,” whose particular dream involved a pirated copy of an early version.

“It was the best movie I had ever seen,” the post continued.

Only a few weeks ago, Joshua Quittner, a technology writer for Time magazine, fed the frenzy when he reported feeling a strange yearning to return to the movie’s mythical planet, Pandora, the morning after he was shown just 15 minutes of the film. Mr. Cameron, Mr. Quittner wrote, theorized that the movie’s 3-D action had set off actual “memory creation.”

Questioned by telephone recently at his home in Mill Valley, Calif., Mr. Quittner said he was still reeling from the experience.

“It was like doing some kind of drug,” he said, describing a scene in which the movie’s hero, played by Sam Worthington, ran around “with this kind of hot alien chick,” was attacked by jaguarlike creatures and was sprinkled with sprites that floated down, like snowflakes.

“You feel like the little feathery things are landing on your arm,” said Mr. Quittner, who remained eager for another dose.

Executives and producers of the film declined to be interviewed for this article. In a statement Fox said: “Jim Cameron is breaking new ground with this film. Like all movie fans, the studio is excited by the prospect of such an original piece of entertainment.”

In a brief interview reported by The Associated Press in December, Mr. Cameron said he was worried that “Avatar” could not live up to the expectations that were building around it. “Whatever they think it’s going to be, it’s probably not,” he said at the time about those who were speculating about the movie on the Internet and elsewhere.

Yet Mr. Cameron has done his share to feed the hype with his repeated assurances that a coming wave of 3-D cinema (yes, it still requires glasses) would have the power to penetrate the brain in a way that movies never have.

Some fans believe that Mr. Cameron and his colleagues have finally crossed the “uncanny valley.” That is a supposed point at which a viewer’s responsiveness to a simulated human takes a sudden drop into revulsion as the image comes close to reality but strikes the watcher as being zombielike, or not quite right.

Dr. Mario Mendez, a behavioral neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, said it is entirely possible that Mr. Cameron’s work could tap brain systems that are undisturbed by conventional 2-D movies. One, he said, is a kind of inner global-positioning system that orients a person to the surrounding world.

“Three-D demonstrably creates a space that triggers this GPS; it’s really very stimulating,” Dr. Mendez said. He added that he had used virtual-reality therapy in working with soldiers at the Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles — and found himself jarred by his experience with a “virtual Iraq” simulation.

“It was with me for days and days,” Dr. Mendez said.

At ShoWest, a convention of movie exhibitors, a few weeks ago, Mr. Cameron in a short promotional video compared watching “Avatar” to “dreaming with your eyes wide open.” (It was a neat complement to those who have been viewing the movie in their sleep.)

But, sooner rather than later, an increasingly restless group of the fans would like to sample the real thing. And that presents a conundrum for Fox, which will be hard pressed to release a conventional, 2-D trailer online — one of the most powerful ways to promote a movie these days — without undercutting the promise of a transcendental 3-D experience.

“I can’t believe they would spend 12 years developing the technology and telling us in words how great this is, then show us in 2-D,” said T. F. Powell, who runs AvatarMovieZone.com, an unofficial fan site devoted to the film. Mr. Powell recently spoke by telephone from Kansas.

Some fans are already teasing their peers about expecting too much.

“You would think this movie cures cancer,” taunted a skeptical Danny Danger in his “movie preview extravaganza” on a MySpace blog in January.

Typically, studios have given a peek at some of their biggest science-fiction and fantasy movies during the giant Comic-Con convention, an annual summer gathering of the fans in San Diego. But that also poses problems for “Avatar,” in that Comic-Con’s convention hall setting has not been equipped to showcase films in 3-D.

“I can’t imagine we will not have something, but nothing has been confirmed,” said David Glanzer, the convention’s director of marketing and public relations, speaking of the prospects for an “Avatar” moment at Comic-Con.

As for the movie’s release in December, Mr. Glanzer said, “Maybe they should have nurses in the lobby.”

It was a joking reference to a ploy once used by the producer William Castle. He posted fake nurses in the lobby of theaters that showed his own neuron-challenging horror film “Macabre,” while insuring every member of the audience for $1,000 against “death by fright.”