Women Of Vision: A Documentary Of Trust

§ June 24th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

ffanviIn the midst of the commercialization and Calista-ization of feminism, it is refreshing to feel the punch of what feminism once was–community-oriented, politically active, collective, and critical. Women of Vision: Eighteen Histories in Feminist Film and Video, a new documentary by media-studies professor and documentary filmmaker Alexandra Juhasz, is a rich and moving effort to document a heretofore undocumented history, one told by the participants themselves.

Women of Vision guides us through three generations of American women actively involved in some aspect of alternative visual culture. These are not the female equivalents of roles usually filled by men in the film industry–the female cinematographers, the female gaffers (or most any other role in the motion picture business). These are women who responded to a lack in their communities or their own lives and staked their own territories, which in the earlier years of feminist visual culture were often political, community-oriented, and public. Headed up by a behorned and bedeviled § Read the rest of this entry…

Do You Have Time? (A Film Review)

§ June 16th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

rfpsWith its labyrinthine prose, plethora of characters, and multiple shifts in time, Marcel Proust’s magnum opus A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) does not lend itself easily to film adaptation. Earlier screen adaptations of Proust’s novel, one of the greatest modernist masterpieces, include Volker Schlondorff’s woefully affected Un Amour de Swann (1983). Yet Raul Ruiz’s skillful rendering (cowritten with Gilles Taurand) and direction of Le Temps Retrouve (Time Regained), the last book of Proust’s epic, is laudable primarily for not making Proust’s work recherche.

Rather than emphasizing the preciosity of this grand novel, Ruiz–whose own films are marked by an elliptical sense of time–smartly utilizes cinematic tricks to evoke the § Read the rest of this entry…

Lucian Pintille: Mega-Genius

§ June 8th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

lucianpmgRomanian film director Lucian Pintilie won international acclaim in 1965 with his first feature film, Sunday at Six O’Clock. A love story set against the background of the WWII resistance movement, it was hailed by European film critics as a brilliant exercise in cinematic style and won two major awards in Romania as well as nine prizes at international film festivals.

Pintilie’s second feature, Reconstruction (1969), was even more notable for its stylistic innovations. Shot in a cinema-verite style that lent it the authenticity of a documentary, Reconstruction is about two students who are forced by a local magistrate to reenact a fistfight they had in a bar. This ‘reconstruction,’ which is § Read the rest of this entry…

Oh Sergio

§ May 31st, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

ohsergioGetting an interview with Sergio Corrieri, as a Cuban might say, “no es facil.” I spent four weeks in Cuba in August 1998 doing research at the Jose Marti National Library in Havana. Years before I had seen and written about Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment), the masterpiece by the late Cuban director, Tomas Gutierrez Alea. Interviewing Corrieri about the thirtieth anniversary of the film, therefore, was already a project in the back of my mind when I departed for Havana, and when I found out that he was president of the I.C.A.P. (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos), which was located only about 200 meters from the casa particular where I was staying, I didn’t hesitate to stop by and ask around for Senor Corrieri.

Corrieri is no longer an actor by profession. After his performance in Memories, he left for the Escambray mountains in the Cuban countryside to direct a theater group, which he was involved with for eighteen years. In the Eighties he worked again in cinema § Read the rest of this entry…

Who Loves Montreal? We Do

§ May 15th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

wlovesmSeasoned veterans of the cinematic smorgasbord known as the Montreal World Film Festival realize that the movies enshrined in the MWFF’s official competition are often the least worthy of attention. While the competition films tend towards fatal blandness or stylistic gimmickry, the less ballyhooed features screened out of competition in various sidebars are usually more cinematically exciting.

Otar Iosseliani’s Lundi Matin (Monday Morning), virtually ignored at Montreal, (a success at the subsequent New York Film Festival, but currently without a North American distributor) is a perfect example of an unclassifiable film with a quirky sensibility that adventurous festivalgoers were forced to discover on their own. Suffused with Iosseliani’s usual gentle humor, this deceptively simple tale of a factory worker who suddenly interrupts his humdrum existence by leaving his wife and family and fleeing to Venice, derives its charm from a series of intricate, lovingly staged gags. Like Aki Kaurismaki’s recent § Read the rest of this entry…

TIFF It, And Love It

§ May 3rd, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

tifilIf any Americans visiting the 2015 incarnation of the Toronto International Film Festival assumed there were few substantial differences between Canada and the United States, they were quickly disabused of that notion during the course of this increasingly hectic and popular event. The local newspapers reported the results of a poll that found that the majority of Canadians believed that the United States shared some of the “responsibility” for Sept 11, an anthology film on 9111, deemed too politically sensitive for release in the States, was screened with great fanfare, and Roger Ebert, treated as a critical demigod at American film festivals, was denied access to a packed press/industry screening of Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven. Perhaps predictably, the most trivial of these incidents–Ebert’s rage after his failed, shockingly un-Canadian attempt to jump a queue–created the biggest furor.

The festival began with a well-intentioned whimper–an opening-night gala screening of hometown boy Atom Egoyan’s ambitious, but disappointing, Ararat. As an Armenian-Canadian, Egoyan has § Read the rest of this entry…

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