Speaking of awards, the European Film Awards were announced over the weekend, with Germany's Toni Erdmann deservedly winning in the film, direction, actor, actress, and screenwriter categories. A moment of pride: our film, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, took home the Discovery award.
The First Look series, a January festival at New York's Museum of the Moving Image, has always been on the cutting edge of film programming, and the 2017 First Look lineup looks very strong indeed, including a video game (!), Hirokazu Kore-eda's After the Storm, Ken Jacob's incendiary Reichstag 9/11, and much more.
We just got this much more excited for the Berlin International Film Festival in February: Paul Verhoeven, riding high off the success of Elle, will be the president of the jury.
Ahead of its placement in front of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first full trailer for Christopher Nolan's next film Dunkirk has been released online.
Joaquim Pinto and Raúl Ruiz
Variety has a strange but intriguing feature of "Directors on Directors," including Xavier Dolan on Jackie, William Friedkin on La La Land, Michael Mann on Moonlight, and M. Night Shyamalan on Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge:
The artists I admire are true to themselves. They are happy to have a large audience if, and only if, it is done through a matrix of their real values.Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” is pure him. It is filled with no half-measures. On a passion scale it is at an 11.
Before becoming a great director in his own right (What Now, Remind Me?), Joaquim Pinto was a sound designer for such masters as João César Monteiro, Raúl Ruiz, and Werner Schroeter. For Grasshopper Film's blog, Pinto reflects on his work with Ruiz and with Manoel de Oliveira:
Through Oliveira, I learned the history of film and sound. He had started his career in silent cinema and his experience introduced me to the intricacies of an almost lost memory. He had lived and had been influenced by different movements, from German expressionism to the Nouvelle Vague. His words and explanations had a clarity that astounded me.
2016 has been a tough year for many, many reasons. We're still thinking about Abbas Kiarostami, as is Tom Paulus, who has penned an incredible article on the Iranian master, "Truth in Cinema: The Riddle of Kiarostami," for photogénie.
My list for the best films of the year has hardly any Hollywood movies on it. I’m not sure exactly how to define the term, but I have maybe four or five major-studio releases out of thirty-five selections. It’s a commonplace to wring hands on the subject of how bad Hollywood has become, but it’s more than counterbalanced by how good independent films have become. And yet, the critic on my shoulder whispers, whereas everyone goes to the local multiplex to see studio movies, how many people ever see those independent films? Answer: it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is what excites a viewer, what excites a critic. It’s a critic’s job to say, when necessary, that some movies being made widely available and being widely promoted—and sometimes even widely praised—are not good at all, and that some of the best movies being made might take a viewer a little work to find. It doesn’t matter that an overwhelming majority of viewers may never find many of the best movies in their local theatres—because they can find many of them streaming at home. Given the prominence of television as a presumptive artistic counterpart (or rival) to movies, there’s less reason than ever to disdain small screens at home as a primary mode of watching films.
Standing in line at Lincoln Center with other journalists at 9 AM brings into stark relief the difference between artists and critics. Because Juilliard is at Lincoln Center, each morning dozens of young drama students pass by the festival press line on their way to class. An inordinate number of film critics are men, and young men are especially overrepresented. The drama students, among whom young women seem to be equally overrepresented, pass by in a parade of youthful vigor, unaware they are strolling by their future judges. This daily nonmeeting of the two groups made me want to donate money to a feminist film critics’ organization.
A gorgeous new fan poster for Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo by Jonathan Burton.
And another poster: Janus Films' new design for their release of a restored version of Marcel Pagnol's Marseilles trilogy (Marius, Fanny, and César).
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