The first issue of Cinema Scope of 2015 has arrived and with it their annual top ten list, always an endearing straggler. Much of the content is online including an interview with Filipino director Kidlat Tahimik by yours truly and Daniel Kasman, Shelly Kraicer on the cinema of Luo Li, and more.
In his latest entry, David Bordwell writes on the "unexpected virtues of long-winded blogging", and shines a spotlight on some of his blog pieces that have found their way into print—as well as some insight into Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Penance:
"Penance would be something for young filmmakers to study. It shows how locations can be used elegantly and economically, and how the inability to get extreme long shots in cramped quarters can actually be an advantage. Classrooms, offices, and gymnasiums are used with a sober restraint, each one given defining geometry and color scheme. A crucial confession takes place in a police station being renovated, and Kurosawa lets the scene unfold in a way that continually reveals surprising bits of space, such as a cop standing somewhat ominously at a distance. He’s unafraid of holding long shots because the shot is propelled by the drama, not the cutting pace."
"Curtis, however, didn’t turn to cinema simply to document the people (the term 'documentary' didn’t even come into existence until the 1920s), but wanted to use cinema’s ability to turn reality into drama. And thus many of the rituals he wanted to film — the dances, the battles, the clam-digging — were chosen specifically for their 'dramatic purposes.' Curtis is certainly right that there is excitement in watching these sequences, particularly the handheld cameras aboard canoes during battle sequences. And thus the questions of the questions of the portrayal of race in the film are inherently tied up with the questions of aesthetics. Head Hunters would not be cinema without its conflating of the details."
We're excited for the release of James Wan's Furious 7 this Friday. Critics across the board are gushing for the film. David Jenkins of Little White Lies has a particularly sensitive take:
"Some may question whether there are taste issues relating to the use of Paul Walker's image in a gigantic, corporate money-making enterprise. But movies possess the power of resurrection, an embalmed memory for all time. He may not be with us now, but on screen, Walker doesn't just exist — he lives. It's fascinating and bitterly ironic that his swansong is a film which celebrates the astonishing durability of man to the point that death becomes an unthinkable annoyance."
"At a time when Hitler was seeking the blood purity of Europe, Ophüls made a bold mockery of the notion of aristocratic lineage. At a time when many throughout Europe—and even in France—were seduced by the notion of order that Fascist regimes were imposing on an ostensibly fractious populace, Ophüls displayed the emotionally and morally destructive repression on which such pristine displays run. When strongmen of iron principle held inhuman appeal, Ophüls showed what true principle is made of—and showed that it’s deeply human, and that it’s equally feminine and masculine. In a Europe of aristocratic corruption, Ophüls showed what nobility is really made of—that it’s not a matter of birth or of manners, but of character, of the soulful traits of empathy, steadfastness, sincerity, and devotion—and that, as such, it’s a threat to settled authority, which so often and so cavalierly and publicly represses it."
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