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East End, IFFBoston, Ebertfest, More

The East End Film Festival opens this evening with Roger Sargent's doc, The Libertines: There Are No Innocent Bystanders. The festival then kind of goes berserk on Sunday with Movie Mayday, "a free day of cinema, live music, cinema trails, virtual tours, filmmaking competitions, quizzes and talks blanketing the whole of London's East End," and a screening of Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) at the Barbican that Electric Sheep's pretty excited about. They also urge readers not to miss Friday's screening of Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Mother Joan of Angels (1961) "in the beautiful church of St John on Bethnal Green."

Update, 4/29: "As part of the East End Film Festival, legendary Portishead Adrian Utley was approached to select a film to screen and introduce; he chose the new digitally restored Taxi Driver — cleaned up by Martin Scorsese himself." Simon Jablonski: "The Quietus spoke to Adrian Utley to find out the details of his own personal obsession with Taxi Driver, which lead unexpectedly to playing Lynyrd Skynyrd covers to brawling marines in the 1970s."

"Corridor of Mirrors (1948), Terence Young's first feature, is a strange beast," writes Kim Newman for Sight & Sound. "Taken from a novel by Christopher Massie, source author for the Jennifer Jones vehicle Love Letters (1945), it's scripted by producer Rudolph Cartier — later prominent in television as producer and, though no-one had quite worked out how to credit him as such, director of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass serials (1953) and Nineteen Eighty-four (1954) — and star Edana Romney, who gets a special 'and introducing' credit but did not establish herself as a leading lady and essentially disappeared." The film "embraces its ridiculousness completely and draws power from owning up to just how insane it is…. Long hard to see, this is an astonishing rediscovery." And it screens tonight at the BFI Southbank.

Newman, by the way, will be on the BFI's stage Friday night for a discussion of the newly revised edition of his book, Nightmare Movies, with Mark Kermode, a conversation followed by a screening of John D Hancock's Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971).

The Japanese film festival Nippon Connection opens in Frankfurt today and runs through Sunday.

Screen Machine draws up a to-do list for those in Melbourne.

 

STATESIDE


The Independent Film Festival Boston is "the most attended film festival in the New England area," notes David Braga in the Quad, and for the Boston Globe's Ty Burr and Wesley Morris, "the festival appears to have shed the self-conscious edge of previous years, the urge to have its cool taken seriously…. It might be an unconscious evolution, but it's a crucial one. The festival's guard is hearteningly down now. This is the most non-white and most international year the IFFB has had, and as a formerly outsider festival it's now stronger for letting the world in." Update, 4/29: Not Coming to a Theater Near You opens up a section where their reviews will be appearing as they come in.

Braga, Burr and Morris and the Phoenix's Peter Keough all preview a batch of selections. A quick sampling, beginning with Braga: "Burma Soldier is a shorter documentary (70 mins), but it makes exceptional use of the time it has in bringing us a snapshot of the seemingly endless conflict in Burma." And "John Henry Summerour's Sahkanaga is an already great film that is made even better by the promise it shows from all of those involved in making it. Inspired by a true story, it tells the tale of of a teenager in rural Georgia who stumbles upon a mass of bodies behind a crematorium in the woods. He must spend the rest of the film figuring out what, if anything, he should do with this secret, and it slowly begins to eat away at his relationships with his friends, family, and the young girl he finds himself falling in love with."

Burr on Color Me Obsessed: "How do you make a rock 'n' roll documentary with no input from the band and none of its music? Since the word 'quixotic' applies to the subject — the Minneapolis 80s band the Replacements — maybe that's the only way. Through interviews and editing, filmmaker Gorman Bechard delivers a rich history of why the Mats mattered, and how and why they spoke to the emotional yearnings of fans even as they were imploding onstage and on disc." And Poster Girl: "Sara Nesson's essay on the life of Iraq War vet Robynn Murray is 40 minutes long but packs a bigger wallop than most feature-length films. (It was nominated for a 2011 best documentary short Oscar.) A high school cheerleader from a long-time armed services family, Murray was the gung-ho face of the New Army on a recruiting poster. On her return, she's a post-traumatic basket case with a medicine cabinet full of pills and little help from the VA. It's not pretty but it's real and thus necessary."

For Keough, "The Bengali Detective is a testament to the independent spirit, in film and life both."

 


"The 2011 edition of a movie critic's dream unreels again this week," blogs Roger Ebert. "In my own home town, I'll be able to show the films of my choice in a classic movie palace, flawlessly projected on a giant screen before a movie-loving audience. To paraphrase Orson Welles when he was given the run of RKO Radio Pictures to make his own movie, it's the biggest train set a boy could ever want…. Our guests this year include old friends like Norman Jewison and the Alloy Orchestra, good friends like Richard Linklater and Tim Blake Nelson, and one who has a special significance for me, Jon Siskel, Gene's nephew. But in terms of evoking the spirit of a festival like this, none is more inspiring than Tilda Swinton." She'll be on hand for a screening of Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love (2009). What's more, "We will be live streaming the panel discussions, intros and onstage Q&As." Ebertfest opens today and runs through Sunday.

Austin's new arthouse cinema, the Violet Crown, opens this evening with selections from the Criterion Collection hand-picked by Richard Linklater.

Devin Faraci: "It's my profound pleasure to announce Mondo Superhero, a weekend-long superhero movie festival in Los Angeles, presented by Badass Digest, The Cinefamily and Meltdown Comics…. We'll be showing superhero themed goodness all weekend long, ranging from the classic to the WTF. It'll all be happening at LA's Silent Movie Theater, and we'll have beer, food and lots of other fun stuff happening all the while." Today through Sunday.

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