Imagine an entire film made up of variations of those occasional free-associative montages of Vienna in Museum Hours and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how Jem Cohen’s follow-up, Counting, operates. Each of its 15 chapters features near-wordless impressionistic evocations of different cities and environments: New York, Moscow, and London, but also Istanbul, Cairo, and Porto, Portugal. The visual material contained in each chapter is as varied as their locations: The untitled third chapter—the film’s shortest, lasting a mere minute—intercuts images of a blurred face that eventually comes into focus with sunlight shining through a window. Chapter seven (“Three Letter Words”) is made up entirely of two-way mirror reflections from a New York bus stop, while chapter 10 (also untitled) focuses not on objects and locales, but on street musicians within those locales.
Chris Marker (#1–10 of 16)
The 39th Gdynia Film Festival, one of most prestigious film events in Poland and the only one dedicated exclusively to Polish film, may have lacked in its main competition a jewel as polished as last year’s Ida, but it still shone in the sideline programs. Among those, a retrospective of restored animations by Walerian Borowczyk, a Kinoteatr program of screened theater productions, and a brand-new section, Artists at Cinema, engaged Poland’s contemporary visual artists.
At the Borowczyk retrospective, Daniel Bird, who produced the restorations released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Arrow Films and also directed a biopic documentary, argued for not viewing Borowczyk as a late-life soft pornographer (Borowczyk’s perhaps most infamous feature was 1985’s Emmanuelle 5). Instead, the animated shorts attest to the range of Borowczyk’s themes and not just to his libidinal panache: Renaissance (1963) is a haunting, nearly post-apocalyptic tableau in constant reconstruction and brilliantly shows how sound can override the physical marker we see on the screen, creating new, strange dissonances; The Astronauts (1959), co-scripted with Chris Marker, is a dreamlike ode to solitude in outer space; Holy Smoke (1963), takes on the class struggle via a narrative of tobacco users; while Joachim’s Dictionary (1965) plays with body language and A Private Collection (1973) is a joyful romp through a collector’s cabinet of sexual toys and other erotica.
- a private collection
- agnieszka polska
- anna molska
- chris marker
- dorota masłowska
- gdynia film festival
- grzegorz jarzyna
- holy smoke
- home shopping
- joachim's dictionary
- katarzyna kozyra
- ligia branice
- no matter how hard we tried
- oskar dawicki
- the astronauts
- the rite of spring
- walerian borowczyk
- zbigniew libera
1. “Robert De Niro: Me & My Gay Dad.” The legendary actor shares the story of his father, an artist who struggled for recognition as the city changed around him.
“It’s been more than 20 years since Robert De Niro Sr.’s death from cancer, but his memory is fresh for his son, who has preserved his father’s final home and studio in New York City’s SoHo. Filled with books, paintbrushes, and hundreds of canvases, some of which he never finished, it looks like pop stepped away for a coffee and should be back to finish another still life before dinner. The loft remains a quiet shrine to an artist that few recognize, perhaps mistaking his figurative paintings for a late Matisse or another French master. ’It was the only way to keep his being, his existence alive,’ De Niro explains. ’To me, he was always a great artist.’”
1. “The 100 Best Animated Movies.” World-famous animators pick the best animated movies ever, including Disney and Pixar movies, cult movies, kids movies, stop-motion, anime and more.
“Chances are the first movie you ever saw was animation. Exuberant, colorful and full of wonder, animation is the stuff of childhood. It introduces us to the magic of cinema, and there’s no doubt that, as we researched the 100 best animated movies of all time, the nostalgia factor was overwhelming. Then again, as we polled over 100 experts in the field—from directors like Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Wes Anderson, Ice Age and Rio’s Carlos Saldanha, Wallace & Gromit’s Nick Park, to critics and hardcore fans alike—it became clear that animation doesn’t just mean kids and family movies. Worldwide innovators have adapted the form to include action, politics, race and sex. Animation has grown up, sometimes uneasily, right before our eyes. We know you’ll find something to love in our authoritative ranking of the best animated movies ever made. The timeless Disney classics. The best Pixar films. Brilliantly sophisticated modern works from Japan’s cottage industry, anime, and especially from its Studio Ghibli. Films that make you weep, laugh, sing along and wish upon stars. Take some time to check out our contributors’ personal lists, each one an invitation to further explore avenues of stop-motion, computer-generated imagery or good old pen-and-ink fantasy. Let us know what you think, in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. Did we get it wrong or leave out an essential title? One thing is certain: Animation is an endless well of fun. We’re sure it goes deeper.”
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Lana Del Rey sings “Blue Velvet.”
R. Emmet Sweeney chats with Dave Kehr about Paul W.S. Anderson.
Watch the Werner Herzog-directed mini-doc on the Killers here.
7 international correspondents post-mortem Sight & Sound’s celebrated film polls.
Between Miguel Gomes’s dialectically structured Tabu and, even more radically, João Pedro Rodrigues’s thoroughly elliptical docudrama, The Last Time I Saw Macao, it would seem that hardlined formal rigor is alive and well in Portugal. Rodrigues, like his universally well-regarded national compatriot Pedro Costa before him, is rapidly establishing himself as one of the country’s most progressive, challenging filmmakers and cultural critics, and his latest effort should further his repute in a manner befitting its obliqueness; it follows its own clearly defined rules so closely that its theoretical appeal is precisely what will turn most audiences off. What one might described as an “observational drama” vaguely reminiscent of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, The Last Time I Saw Macoa distinguishes itself stylistically in two key regards. The first, inspired at least distantly by late-period Bresson, is to isolate both benign and propulsive action—from a conversation on the phone to a murder by the docks—and place it just outside the screen, so that what we see at any given moment is permanently removed from what’s actually happening, if only by a few degrees. And the second is that the protagonist of the story, and our direct surrogate in the environment, is never actually shown; because the camera alternates between explicit point-of-view shots and what are essentially travelogue-style snapshots of Macao, we see what he sees and what surrounds him, but never the man himself (his voiceover narration provides the film’s through line and very often serves an important explanatory as well as expository function).
Oprah Winfrey is still making more money a year than you will in your whole life.
The New York-inspired music of Louie.
A celebration of David Fincher’s title sequence, plus a chat with the director.
From the Los Angeles Review of Books: the making of Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass.
Waiting for the apocalypse, from the Romantics to Romney.
Fear of a black president.
Amy Taubin interviews David Cronenberg.
When the new season of Arrested Development will premiere is clearer now.
J. Hoberman on the lost futures of Chris Marker.
I approached this project the exact same way I expect I would’ve handled being given a ballot in the actual Sight & Sound poll: by procrastinating until the very last second and making a lot of spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment rules to dictate how I could possibly whittle down dozens of films into a list of 10. (I know, everyone else probably would’ve said “hundreds of films,” but I’ve always been a little cine-anorexic.)
The list of “obstructions” ought to be familiar to anyone with any exposure to this parlor game: one per decade, one per country, one per genre, one per boyfriend. But having willfully backed myself into the corner of having no more time on hand, I am forced to use a list I’ve already built elsewhere: the list of films I previously designated as favorites on MUBI. I like using that as a starting point because my choices there seem neither too conservative nor too outré (or at least both simultaneously), and I first started ticking them off as an exercise toward building a list of my 50 favorite movies. Plus, I limited myself to one choice per director.
The number of “nominees” there now stands at a slightly lower sum than that original goal (how have I still not picked a Bresson?!), but it still seems the best middle ground I can find between favoring my, well, favorites and giving movies I consider to be among “the greatest” their due. The only major wrench in this plan is that, of the 46 movies shortlisted, all but about a dozen of them are from the U.S. And nearly half are from the span between 1966 and 1976.
Well, no point dancing around statistics. A strategy is a strategy, so onward and upward, in chronological order:
- Alfred Hitchcock
- bela tarr
- carl theodor dreyer
- chris marker
- electrocuting an elephant
- George A. Romero
- james bidgood
- Josef von Sternberg
- la jetee
- Luis Bunuel
- Marlene Dietrich
- night of the living dead
- nina pens rode
- Paul Verhoeven
- pink narcissus
- rear window
- sight & sound
- simon of the desert
- the scarlet empress
- thomas edison
846 critics, programmers, academics, and distributors have voted—and the 50-year reign of Citizen Kane is over. Sight & Sound’s critics’ poll has a new number one.
Kevin B. Lee on two selections from his Sight & Sound ballot.
David Edelstein reacts.
Online for the first time, the Esquire interview that ended Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer’s feud.