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Cinema Scope 45, National Film Registry, Anticipating 2011

Editor Mark Peranson has announced that, starting this winter, in a "slight capitulation to the realities of the 2010s," Cinema Scope will be running a weekly online supplement of "reviews and reports of the same quality you'll find in the printed issues (and quarterly web postings) of the magazine from some of our frequent contributors. Let's not call it a blog; I will only go so far."

In the new issue, Adam Nayman talks with Athina Rachel Tsangari about Attenberg, JP Sniadecki with Li Hongqi about Winter Vacation. Max Goldberg on Los Angeles area filmmakers Gary Beydler and Peter Bo Rappmund (site): "While Beydler's self-sufficient films unfold as representational koans, Rappmund's landscape recordings piece together a strong mental image of a complex topographical system. And yet, there are intersections — most obviously in the manipulation of time to illustrate the relativity of space. The insights Beydler and Rappmund derive from their respective formal exercises are distinct, but their films similarly cinch what David E James describes as the 'double helix' of cinema and the Southern California landscape, with 'each engaging the other's history and morphology, each supplying the other's metaphors.'"

This issue's Spotlight is aimed at "Festival Highlights" and includes Jay Kuehner on José Luis Guerín's Guest, Michael Sicinski on Jørgen Leth's The Erotic Man and Owen Land's Dialogues, Andrew Tracy on Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing, Mark Peranson on Gianfranco Rosi's El Sicario Room 164, Christoph Huber on Thomas Arslan's In the Shadows and Gabe Klinger on Emmanuelle Demoris's Paraboles.

Andréa Picard: "All hail Perceval le Gallois, Eric Rohmer's masterpiece maudit, undoubtedly one of the most original, daring, and meticulously devised films in all of cinema." Amen.

"It was only a matter of time till a bunch of books on Turkish cinema would hit the stores; film-cultural fads work like that." A roundup from Olaf Möller.

Also: Scott Foundas on Sofia Coppola's Somewhere, Jason Anderson on Matt Porterfield's Putty Hill and Robert Koehler looks back on the Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. First, though, a word about the jury, comprised of Denis Côté, Jia Zhangke and Bong Joon-ho: "[E]ach has proposed through their work alternatives to dominant cinema, whether Côté through his deeply ingrained fascination with the body and nature as a map on which we can read a 'narrative'; or Jia through his re-enchantment of silent cinema and Bazinian ideals of space and time by way of an ongoing ambition to chronicle Chinese history; or Bong through his muscular revisions of genre, neither thoroughly transgressive nor blatantly affectionate, but critical and intent on exploring every sensory aspect of cinema."





"Films from esteemed directors Robert Altman, Blake Edwards, John Huston, Elia Kazan and Spike Lee and two from George Lucas are among the latest 25 motion pictures named Tuesday to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress." Mike Barnes: "The films, which include Hollywood classics, documentaries, innovative shorts and genres from virtually every era of American filmmaking, span the period 1891-1996. This year's selections bring the number of films in the registry to 550. Included this time around is Altman's 1971 Western McCabe and Mrs Miller; Edwards's The Pink Panther (1964), the first of his eight Inspector Clouseau pics; Huston's Let There Be Light, a 1946 war documentary banned for 35 years by the US War Department; Lee's 1992 biopic Malcolm X; and Kazan's first feature, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945). Lucas' 15-minute student film — Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, made in 1967 at USC — also made the list, as did The Empire Strikes Back, his much-lauded 1980 Star Wars sequel that was directed by Irvin Kershner." The Hollywood Reporter has the full list, of course, but in the Los Angeles Times, Susan King has added "excerpts from the Library of Congress as to why they were chosen."

 

LISTS


While we still have weeks of rehashing 2010 ahead of us, Time Out London's Tom Huddleston and David Jenkins offer welcome relief with their list of "22 films to look out for in 2011." Without spoiling their rundowns on each title, I will mention that the batch includes new work to look forward to by David Cronenberg, Lars von Trier, Terence Davies, Lynne Ramsay, Pawel Pawlikowski, Andrea Arnold, Pedro Almodóvar and Ari Folman.

Wildgrounds, too, is looking ahead with its list of the "Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011," including new work by Koji Wakamatsu, Tsui Hark, the late Satoshi Kon, Jia Zhangke, Takashi Miike, Johnnie To, Wong Kar-wai, John Woo, Bong Joon-ho, Takeshi Kitano, Lu Chuan, Hitoshi Matsumoto, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Sion Sono, Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Naoko Ogigami.

"Simply put, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then is the most audacious film of the year. In telling the simple story of a man who builds a patchwork house as a conduit to God to cure his wife of cancer, [Brent] Green has crafted an emotionally complex and visually stunning modern, tragic fairy tale." So it's Mike Everleth's "2010 Movie of the Year" and, at Bad Lit, he also lists "runners up from all over the world."

The 2010 Online Film Critics Society Award Nominees have been announced at, at In Contention, Guy Lodge has added up the score and sees Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan in the lead. Whatever you think of the film, the couple of take-downs that Vanity Fair's James Wolcott has found make for light and amusing holiday reading. Meantime, at Vulture, Kyle Buchanan notes that Natalie Portman's having one hell of a year.





"Those who champion The Social Network as the high-point of 2010 do so, at least in part, because of what it supposedly has to say about how we live, about each day spent in the here and now of this brand-new century," writes AA Dowd, easing into blurb for the film at the top of his list at In Review Online. "So what exactly does Dogtooth have to say about all that? What insight can you gain into 21st-century living by diving headfirst into this screaming-mad nightmare? A twisted cautionary fable about a deranged couple raising their grown children in Pavlovian captivity, Dogtooth takes allegorical aim at all forms of social conditioning, at the way not just our families, but our governments, our religions and our media fundamentally shape who we are. Yet the film operates on such a primal, alien wavelength — unfolding like singular science fiction, its tone wavering from dreamy to coldly clinical to vaguely menacing, often within the space of a single scene — that it eludes tidy topical allusion. Yorgos Langthimos, merciless master at the helm, has the exacting aesthetic prowess of cinema's great scolds. But he also has a wickedly-pronounced, pitch-black sense of humor. That's the ultimate provocation here — staging this madness as comedy, staring down its atrocities of infernal, parental manipulation with a bloody, broken-toothed grin of triumph. Actually, I can think of nothing more aptly 2010 than that." More from Henry Stewart at the L.

"It wasn't on-screen performances that most moved participants in SF360's 2010 Year in Film survey," writes Susan Gerhard. "It was, surprisingly enough, the off-screen elements that got etched deep into the collective brain: the testy Q&As with live audiences, the wildfire spread of anger or elation or sadness through a packed house, the brushes with fame, the personal film introductions, and, of course, the John Waters asides." Wrapping a week's worth of lists, she presents "selections of survey respondents' thoughts on the best/worst films, moments and trends of the year as well as a list of the top picks in Bay Area filmmaking, documentary film and films yet to be fully distributed here in 2010."

Mike Ryan's "Favorite Movies of 2010" at Movieline. And at Twitch, "Swarez doesn't want to be left out and posts his top ten list." For TCM, R Emmet Sweeney lists his "Top Ten Genre Movies of 2010." And at Yahoo! Movies, "The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2010."

Viewing (8'18"). For the Guardian, Jason Solomons and Xan Brooks carry on discussing the year in film, this time around focussing on "their favourite world movies, documentaries, turkeys of the year and their 2010 guilty pleasures."

 

DVDS


"There may be some debate amongst Kathie [Smith] and myself over the best Blu-ray release of the year," writes Jordan Cronk at In Review Online, "but I'm confident that we both recognize Letters from Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa as the most important and essential DVD set of 2010."

In the #1 slot on Richard Corliss's list of the "Top 10 Box Sets of 2010" for Time is The Elia Kazan Collection: "Before Kazan, movie and stage acting occupied a realm of easy glamour. But with A Streetcar Named Desire, which he directed on Broadway in 1947 and filmed in 1951, pop culture was yanked into real life, and Marlon Brando became the stud-saint of a new acting style.... Big bonus: Martin Scorsese's A Letter to Elia, a poignant memoir-doc of a young man's love for the rough mastery of a mentor's films."

 



VCI has released Meet John Doe: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition and Gary W Tooze isn't all that impressed with the job they've done. As for the film, Sean Axmaker writes that "Frank Capra's last feature before leaving Hollywood to contribute his filmmaking talents to the war effort is his most populist piece of social commentary, a cynical satire of a publicity stunt that turns into a popular political movement." Roundups of this week's other releases: Sean Axmaker, Mark Kermode (Observer), Harley W Lond (Cinematical), Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times), Bryce J Renninger (indieWIRE), Stephen Saito (IFC) and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail).

 

IN OTHER NEWS


Congrats to John McElwee on the fifth anniversary of Greenbriar Picture Shows and thanks for all the fascinating anecdotes and delicious eye candy.

"The new True Grit is that rare thing — a truly religious movie," writes Stanley Fish at his New York Times blog, sparking a few thoughts from Tom Shone.

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Thanks for the link(s) David.

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