NYFF

Notes from Yasujiro Ozu: International Perspectives Conference – The Place of Ozu Within Japanese Film History (with panelists Richard Combs, Keiko McDonald, Tadao Sato, Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto)

Keiko McDonald Professor McDonald cited her favorite Ozu film as Floating Weeds, and examined several stylistic aspects of the film that depicted the filmmaker’s thematic distillation and visual economy, specifically: (1) the pausive function of the isolated, blue lantern shot after Komajuro’s departure (a ‘nothingness’ that signifies a great weight), and (2) the recurring shot… read more »

Everyone Else, 2009

The title of Maren Ade’s quietly observed film is subtly conveyed in passing, a desire expressed by uninhibited rock publicist, Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) to her architect boyfriend, Chris (Lars Eidinger) that their relationship will not be reduced to the banal paradigm of being like “everyone else”. But romanticism soon collides with reality for the couple… read more »

Falling, 2006

Something of a muted hybrid between a thirty-something version of the existential crossroads between the freedom of academic emancipation and the responsibilities of adulthood captured by Jae-eun Jeong in Take Care of My Cat crossed with Alain Tanner’s perceptive portrait of the May 68 generation in the aftermath of the failed cultural revolution in Jonah… read more »

Free Radicals, 2003

Ostensibly titled after highly reactive (and consequently, short-lived) molecules that contain unpaired electrons in their outer shells, Barbara Albert’s Free Radicals presents a series of fractured (and often sexually gratuitous) tales of coincidence and synchronicity. The film unfolds in an organic structure that reflects the conventional proverb on the consequential, unforeseen, long-reaching effects of the… read more »

Broken Embraces, 2009

Ingeniously constructed as parallel metafilms – one, Ray X’s (Rubén Ochandiano) behind the scenes documentary that illustrates the intersection (and disjunction) between reality and fiction; the other, Mateo’s (Lluís Homar) reconstruction of a doomed film project made 14 years earlier that reflects the role of the filmmaker as archaeologist and conjurer – Pedro Almodóvar’s wry,… read more »

Volver, 2006

Volver ingeniously opens to the title sequence illustrating a familiar All Souls Day ritual in a rural village in La Mancha, a solemn occasion when families visit the gravesites of their loved ones in a day of caretaking, remembrance, and homecoming, as sisters Sole (Lola Dueñas) and Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), along with Raimunda’s adolescent daughter… read more »

Bad Education, 2004

From the Saul Bass-inspired opening credit sequence of peeling, layered billboard posters, Pedro Almodóvar evokes the densely layered cinema of Alfred Hitchchock to create a reverent, yet continuously inventive, exquisitely realized, and brilliantly modulated comic melodrama in Bad Education. Ostensibly a story about a filmmaker (Fele Martinez) suffering from a creative block (who, as the… read more »

Sweetgrass, 2009

During the Q&A for Sweetgrass, Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor indicated that they had spent three years filming sheepherding through the Beartooth Mountains on what had initially been conceived as a family activity for the summer because of a desire to capture the last time that a pair of ranchers – hailing from the one… read more »

Vincere, 2009

Less a biography on the early life of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini than a dissection into creating (and sustaining) a cult of personality, Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere is a textured, operatic, and incisive historical fiction based on the fate of Mussolini’s secret first wife, Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) who, along with their son, Benito Albino, were… read more »

My Mother’s Smile, 2002

A young boy named Leonardo (Alberto Mondini) distractedly paces outside his home within view of his quizzical mother Irene (Jacqueline Lustig) as he seemingly conducts an impassioned conversation with himself. Distressed by the overwhelming concept of an omniscient God (an idea that he has recently learned during his religion study hour at school) from whom… read more »

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