"Confined Spaces" is the theme of the new issue of Electric Sheep. "The concept of strangers engaging in a combative, yet subtly humorous, game of psychological cat-and-mouse in an enclosed location is by no means new, but with its barely concealed class warfare, Marek Losey's debut feature The Hide makes for a particularly British addition to a rapidly growing sub-genre." And that's John Berra's way in. He's got a map.
Among the other pieces in the May 2010 issue: Eithne Farry on Yoshihiro Nakamura's Fish Story, Matthew Sheret on Veiko Õunpuu's The Temptation of St Tony, Eleanor McKeown on Sergei Paradjanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, David Cairns on Jonathan auf der Heide's Van Diemen's Land and Chris Doherty's comic strip review of Dario Argento's The Card Player. To return to John Berra, he's got quite a roundup from April's Nippon Connection in Frankfurt.
"I can't ever forget seeing Death in Venice at a theatre in the University of Shiraz. There were like 300 people in the audience, and after the film was finished, everyone was sitting there in complete silence. No one talked, even when watching the credits scrolling down in the end of the film. And no one left, there was just this silence and amazing energy. I remember clearly turning around looking at the people and saying, 'Wow, this is really amazing.' I thought, if a medium could capture people like this then, I want to become a filmmaker." That's Shoja Azari in an interview conducted by Phong Bui. The exhibition Shoja Azari: Icons is on view at Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery in New York through May 27.
Also in the new Brooklyn Rail, Penny Lane introduces her interview: "Jim Finn's idiosyncratic shorts have been a fixture on the experimental film and video scene for a little over a decade now. In the past four years, he has managed the astounding feat of releasing three feature films with essentially no budget. And they're good. Really good. Good enough to watch several times. In fact, if you don't watch them several times, you might just miss the incredible craftsmanship at play."
Plus, David N Meyer on Spartacus Blood and Sand, whose "last act of the last episode is as groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting as the final gunfight in The Wild Bunch," Tess DeCarlo on Exit Through the Gift Shop and Jesi Khadivi's report from February's Berlinale.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
"Tonight at 8, RedChannels presents a rare screening of Peter Watkins's Evening Land at 92YTribeca," notes Tom McCormack in the L Magazine. "In their program notes, RedChannels says that Watkins was often accused of being paranoid. And he was — deeply and ingeniously paranoid, in the way of George Orwell or Thomas Pynchon. And like many paranoids, Watkins's vision was prophetic."
"Despite their relative popularity in their native Malaysia, and the New Malaysian Cinema's recent traction among the cinema intelligentsia, the films of the late Yasmin Ahmad (1958-2009) have yet to attain widespread acclaim within global film culture," writes Michael Sicinski at Moving Image Source. "The Museum of Modern Art's showcase of Yasmin's final film, Talentime (2009), and the three films that comprise her 'Orked trilogy' — Sepet (2004), Gubra (2006), and Mukhsin (2006) — should go some way toward rectifying this situation. But above all,the publication of the book Yasmin Ahmad's Films, by fellow Malaysian filmmaker Amir Muhammad, represents a superb explication of Yasmin's unique artistic legacy." Filmmaker in Focus: Yasmin Ahmad is on through Wednesday.
"The second annual Migrating Forms experimental media festival will descend on the Anthology Film Archives in NYC on May 14-23 featuring the world's greatest experimental videos, cultural documentaries, some that are a little of both; plus, several filmmaker retrospectives, some classic films and the endearingly popular Tube Time! video tournament." Mike Everleth has the lineup.
For more NYC goings on, see Steve Dollar's roundup for the Wall Street Journal.
MORE FESTS AND EVENTS
"Not so long ago, your average gay film was a rom-com about sated protagonists searching for something more meaningful than empty hedonism," writes Peter Keough, introducing the Phoenix's Boston LGBT Film Festival preview package. The fest opens today, runs through May 16, and "the focus has shifted from jaded promiscuity to the erotic tension of first, fumbling encounters — at least as seen in Plan B, Children of God, and Eyes Wide Open. Other films in the program — like the documentaries 8: The Mormon Proposition and Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride — are reminders that freedom and human rights are not to be taken for granted, and that all progress is at the mercy of an intolerant world."
The Maryland Film Festival opens today and runs through Sunday. The Baltimore Sun has a big preview special.
The Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival opens tomorrow and runs through May 16. Previews: Al Hoff (Pittsburgh City Paper), Michael Machosky (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) and Barbara Vancheri (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
"The Venice Film Festival says Quentin Tarantino will head the jury that will award the coveted Golden Lion at this year's festival." The AP reports.
Gus Van Sant's won the Stockholm Film Festival's Visionary award. Reuters reports.
Festival reports for Sight & Sound: John Beagles on the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and Adania Shibli on the Palestine Film Festival, which is still on through May 14.
IN OTHER NEWS
As Daniel Kasman noted last night, cinematographer William Lubtchansky has died at the age of 73. We're gathering tributes here.
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