City of Lights, City of Angels, Los Angeles' festival of new French films, is on through the weekend and Anna Karina will be there on Friday for a screening of a new, digitally restored edition of Pierrot le Fou (1965). David Ehrenstein's spoken with Karina for the LA Weekly and notes: "Godard called the characters in Pierrot le Fou 'the last romantic couple, with Belmondo representing 'passive life' and Karina 'active life.' This perfectly encapsulates the Godard-Karina dynamic. She was 'action' — he was the one who observed it."
"When Anna Karina weeps during the climax of her viewing of Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, is she doing so because she's moved by the tragedy of the heroine's plight at the judgment of hundreds of men or because of Falconetti's majestic performance?" asks Eric Henderson in Slant. "Which way you lean will also suggest whether you think Godard's Vivre Sa Vie  translates to My Life to Live or My Muse's Life to Preserve." Criterion's new release, he adds, shows "just how sumptuous black-and-white photography can look in Blu-ray." More from Sean Axmaker and Keith Phipps (AV Club). Update, 4/22: Criterion runs Jean Collet's piece on the soundtrack, originally written in 1962 for La revue, Luc Sante's 1997 piece for the laserdisc release, and a new take from Michael Atkinson: "It will remain a Godardian world, no matter what comes, but who will know it?" Update, 4/23: More from Durga Chew-Bose at This Recording.
Criterion's also released Olivier Assayas's Summer Hours on DVD and Blu-ray this week and its Current is running a piece by Kent Jones you'd really hate to clip a quote from. It's an appreciation of a director he's known personally for eight years now — and a story. For more on this release, though, you can turn to Eric Kohn at GreenCine Daily.
"Just as most intelligent critics already said last year, the kind that know their Wong from their Bong and can find their Warhol with both hands, Claire Denis's 35 Shots of Rum is a lovely, ruminative, impressionistic, elusive, sensitive beaut, rich in the director's signature brand of elliptical hodgepodge and brimming with the-state-of-us-now immediacy." Michael Atkinson for IFC.com: "The problem is, I'm not sure there's much to it." Also reviewed: Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth, "almost the same movie, but it reaped a much darker critical reception." More on 35 Shots from Dennis Grunes.
Kino's new Blu-ray release is "the most complete version of Battleship Potemkin you are likely ever to see," writes Christian Blauvelt in Slant. "Too long stifled by its own masterpiece status, it's time to take Potemkin out of the lecture hall, out of the museum, and recognize it for the vital, alive piece of cinema it is." More from Sam Adams (Los Angeles Times), Sean Axmaker (TCM) and Matt Riviera.
Dan Jardin and Ben Livant discuss Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard at the House Next Door.
Dave Kehr's choices in the New York Times this week: Mammy (1930), with Al Jolson; Gillo Pontecorvo's Kapò (1960); and Joseph Ruben's Dreamscape (1984), which "remains a highly entertaining souvenir of a time when special effects were assuming more importance in Hollywood films without yet coming to dominate the human component."
"Barbara Stanwyck has a distinctive effect on the two films in which Douglas Sirk directed her," writes Richard Brody, reviewing All I Desire (1957) and There's Always Tomorrow (1956) for the New Yorker. More on that second one here.
"Revisit the good ol' days when local TV stations actually employed local talent beyond the nightly news in Every Other Day Is Halloween, CW Prather's wonderful profile of Washington, DC's legendary late night horror host Count Gore De Vol." Mike Everleth on a "wickedly entertaining documentary."
DVD roundups. Sean Axmaker, Brad Brevet and Bryce Renninger (indieWIRE).
FESTS AND EVENTS
Back to City of Lights, City of Angels for a moment and Doug Cummings's overview for the LA Weekly: "Godard himself is the subject of Wednesday's Two in the Wave, a nostalgic but lightweight account of the public friendship and eventual acrimonious rift that developed between Godard and filmmaker François Truffaut.... Another New Wave filmmaker, Alain Cavalier, has become more formally adventurous as he has grown older. His latest film, Irène (screening Thursday), is a first-person video diary in which he explores the memory of his late wife... It's highly unconventional but deeply moving, and Cavalier's ability to conjure emotions from such everyday objects as a rumpled duvet or a dimly lit, empty room is powerful and lingering."
"Every year, the long-running Cine las Americas International Film Festival selects an invited country from somewhere in the far-flung Spanish-speaking world to receive special attention at the festival," writes Kimberly Jones in the Austin Chronicle. "This year, timed to its bicentennial, Mexico enjoys favored-nation status, and all year, Cine las Americas has been running retrospectives celebrating the Golden Age of Mexican cinema — films by Emilio Fernández and Gabriel Figueroa and classic fright films from the Fifties. But during the festival, Cine las Americas Executive Director Eugenio del Bosque explains, they wanted to do something a little different — less classic, more cutting-edge. Enter Nicolás Pereda." Today through April 29.
Ebertfest 2010 opens today and runs through the weekend. Peter Sobczynski has a day-by-day overview at Hollywood Bitchslap.
There's just tonight and tomorrow left in MoMA's David Niven: A Centenary Tribute, but Justin Stewart has a fine appreciation in the L Magazine.
And the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles is off and running through the weekend. Amy Kaufman has a report for the Los Angeles Times. Update: "It aims to strengthen ties between filmmakers of Indian descent, audiences, and industry people, so its line-up emphasizes popular hits and Bollywood films, but it also includes documentaries and the occasional art film," writes Doug Cummings. "A standout with elements of the latter category this year is The Man Beyond the Bridge (screening Sunday), Laxmikant Shetgaonkar's FIPRESCI-award-winning drama, fresh from Berlinale's Forum section. It's a fascinating story set in Goa, India's smallest state nestled in the Western Ghats mountain range, a biodiversity hotspot threatened by human development." Update, 4/22: "IFFLA is a jewel of a festival, one of the best-programmed and best-run motion-picture events on Earth," claims David Chute in the LA Weekly.
Entries on Tribeca, Boston and San Francisco are forthcoming.
OPENING TODAY IN NYC
"In the novel documentary The Red Birds, the director Brigitte Cornand imagines 14 of her female artist friends in avian form," writes Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times. "Matching voices to species — like the whiskey tones of Louise Bourgeois to the distinctive cardinal — she layers interview fragments over rustic images of flocking and flying." More from Aaron Cutler (Slant), David Fear (Time Out New York) and Andrew Schenker (Voice). A one-week run at Anthology Film Archives.
"Adapted from real events that began in 2002, when an eight-year-old boy from the 'untouchable' Hindu Dalit caste in the Thar Desert accidentally ran across the Pakistani-Indian border, director Mehreen Jabbar's dramatization uses the story of one family's struggle against social and religious discrimination to contextualize the complicated tension between the two countries." Aaron Hillis in the Voice: "Not only has this underreported story found its way stateside, but even more potent in its cultural significance is that Ramchand Pakistani is a Pakistani-Indian co-production." Through Monday at MoMA. More from Andrew Grant (TONY) and Stephen Holden (NYT).
Image: Vivre sa vie.
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