31/10/2006

Pixies at the ICA tomorrow 1/11

The documentary loudQUIETloud, which charts the musical path created by cult band Pixies, is being launched tomorrow at London's ICA. The influential band, which was broken up in 1992 when their chief songwriter and vocalist Black Francis announced his intention to quit the band via a blunt facsimile, reunited in 2004 and announced a series of shows that would become some of the fastest selling in music history.

The film will be screened in the ICA theatre to allow the full impact of the film's live performances to be felt. Director Steven Cantor will be present to answer questions from the audience.

Trailer +

ICA +

Vampire blog-a-thon


Tireless film and popculture critic Nathaniel R of The Film Experience has organised a huge vampire blog-a-thon on the occasion of Halloween, with over 50 blogs chiming in with a post, an article and/or a more profound cinematic analysis of their favourite film vampires, bloodsuckers and undead.

Yours truly has also contributed with a review of the Swedish vampire horror comedy Frostbiten (Frostbite) on the website european-films.net. For an overview of all the participating blogs and hours of reading/commenting/discussing pleasure, check out the complete list of participating blogs over at the filmexperience blog.

25/10/2006

Cinema tickets in London the most expensive in Europe

We all suspected that, but now it's official...

Read article +

YouTube intermission of the day: The Battle of the Album Covers

Fun!

London Film Festival's latest

Today is a good day at the LFF. The programme includes a screening of Lukas Moodysson's 'surreally dark' Container and Nanni Moretti's The Caiman, a political satire of Berlusconi's premiership. To top it all up, there will be the Film on the Square Gala of Shortbus, a film that I personally can't wait to see.

Also the press office of the festival has rung in to tell Kamera that the winner of the annual Grierson Award, given to the best feature-length documentary at the Festival, was Lauren Greenfield's Thin, which is about a Florida eating disorder treatment centre. The award will be presented at Thursday's screening.

LFF site +

24/10/2006

Final Cut Pro free course

Apple in London is offering a free seminar that includes training in the Final Cut Studio software suite. So, independent filmmakers who use the package to edit films and would like to brush up their skills, take note. The event will be on 17 November and it goes without saying that it is likely to book up fast.

Book place +

Reading tip

I found this page in the Media Art website with some inspiring texts on film and art. 'Artists, Auteurs, and Star. On the Human Factor in the Culture Industry' was one of the texts that lept to my attention because it touches on the concept of authorship, one which is being increasingly questioned in this age when the notion of copyrights and originality is highly debatable.

Read more +

23/10/2006

Opening Shots Project

On "Scanners", the blog of American film critic (and editor of rogerebert.com) Jim Emerson there are some surprisingly insightful discussions going on about the opening shots of famous -- and sometimes less famous -- films. The collection of entries is called the "Opening Shots Project" and is a fantastic work in progess on how to open a movie. Stills are included in each post for reference and readers are invited to contribute their own favourite opening shots and/or comment on those already in the archives, so rush over to the Scanners Opening Shots Project and join in the conversation!

21/10/2006

Cameron Mitchell's masterclass

John Cameron Mitchell, whose sexually explicit upcoming film, Shortbus, is bound to generate a hell of a lot of column inches (no pun intended) for the polysexually-inclined American indie director (he directed Hedwig and the Angry Inch - that word again - produced Tarnation and directed the video clip for the Scissor Sister's song Filthy Gorgeous). He will be giving a masterclass on 26/10 called 'Putting the Sex in Screen Stories'. So go find out how he does it.

Mitchell's masterclass +

18/10/2006

Kamera on Myspace

Kamera has joined Myspace's community. I have created a page for the site with the name kamerafilmsalon, as Kamera alone had been taken by a "19-year-old female in Texas" with an apparent interest in photography. These kids are too fast for us folks from the old media, but we're getting there! If anyone is proficient with Myspace design, please do let me know as any help and suggestions are very welcome.

Kamerafilmsalon

14/10/2006

Press conference with Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz

Pedro Almodovar graced the 44th New York Film Festival (Penelope Cruz in tow) in connection with the screening of his film Volver. Here's a video clip of their joint interview.

13/10/2006

19th Panorama of European Cinema





The 19th Panorama of European Cinema, organised by Eleftherotypia, and with the co-operation of the Greek ministry of Culture, began last night (12th of October). At the official opening of the Festival, the screening was of Niko Panagiotopoulos's Dying in Athens.

The festival runs until 22nd of October and screenings take place in the centre of Athens at the Apollo cinema and the Asty cinema. The festival, as its name suggests, covers a Panorama of European Cinema and is more like a best of recent festivals with a few premieres. This year they managed to secure the European Premiere of Woody Allen's new film Scoop, quite an appropriate title for a film screening at the festival's closing gala.

What makes the Panorama particularly different is that it also focuses more on film history - national cinemas and genres take precedent. It also focuses on a particular director, actor or playwright. This year they celebrate the works of Sam Peckinpah, Robert Rossellini and particularly Harold Pinter.

The 19th Panorama of European Cinema programme is made up of the following sections: :
Competition Section with new European films not bought by Greek distributors,Avant-premieres of European films;
The International Scene – World cinema round-up;
Cinema : a suversive art - films by Jean Vigo, Bunuel, Franju, and others;
Sam Peckinpah: a subversive director;
Harold Pinter – a film tribute and photo exhibition dedicated to the acclaimed British writer’s career in theatre,
literature and film;
The Day After – What future? - science fiction films dealing with ecological, environmental and other problems;
Robert Rossellini Centenary;
New Italian Cinema.

For the 19th Panorama of European Cinema website click here

For an overview of last year's festival click here

09/10/2006

Shortbus

So Cameron Mitchell's sexually explicit, Woody Allen-ian Shortbus has opened in the U.S. to ecstatic reviews. It is due to get a UK release on 1/12 and surely enough it will revive the discussion about cinematic 'real sex' triggered off by Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs.

A week of art films in London

Artprojx is presenting a selection of films at the Prince Charles Cinema in central London throughtout the week starting today, including works by Mark Wallinger, Jesper Just and Laurie Simmons. Anthony Reynolds Gallery is presenting Wallinger's new 35mm 'The End' (12 mins). Here's how the gallery describes it:

"The title of the work implies both termination and intent. Taking one of the most routine elements of any movie, the credits that wrap up the picture, Wallinger presents an ultimate cast of characters that, accompanied by a classic cinema soundtrack, gives us the complete experience, the greatest story ever told, the beginning and the end. With the simplest of means, a scrolling text, Wallinger evokes the grandest, most thrilling and awe-inspiring cinematic epic."

Anthony Reynolds Gallery +

Wallinger has also curated the films being shown today at the Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square in London and The End will be shown before each of them:

1pm KES (PG) Directed by Ken Loach, 1969
3.20pm COMME UNE IMAGE (12A) Directed by Agnes Jaoui, 2004
6pm EDUKATORS (15) Directed by Hans Weingartner, 2004
9pm ERASERHEAD (18) Directed by David Lynch, 1977


Tomorrow is the turn of Jesper Just's 'It Will All End In Tears', a 20 min 35mm film followed by a conversation with the artist:

"In Jesper Justs new film "It Will All End In Tears" Just, as often seen before in his works, present the problem of the relationship between generations ­ or ­ more precisely, the relationship between father and son, both in literal and metaphorical terms. Jesper Just is not simply concerned with a representational-critical reiteration of cinematic clichés; he also manages to pose questions of a more existential character, questions that touch on men¹s way of being and being together."

On Friday, photographer Laurie Simmos shows her debut film 'The Music of Regret' and it will be followed by a conversation with RoseLee Goldberg. The film is a three-act cinematic musical starring Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel's voice and members of the Alvin Ailey II dance company, plus a cast of vintage puppets and ventriloquist dummies. Shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman (Far From Heaven, The Virgin Suicides) with a bittersweet, Sondheim-flavoured score by Michael Rohatyn, the film "portrays the despair and longing that has coloured the post-9/11 era."

Prince Charles Cinema +

Artprojx +

07/10/2006

No trouble finding oil...

Popular French film magazine Studio (pronounced "Stu-djo", of course) has listed the top 20 of gay films that are (at least according to film writer Michel Rebichon) the most indicative of the changing customs and habits of the times and accurately reflect social mores. Here is their full rundown, from oldest to most recent:

*Rope - Alfred Hitchcock, 1948, USA
*Satyricon - Federico Fellini, 1969, Italy
*Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice), Luchino Visconti, 1971, Italy
*La meilleure façon de marcher (The Best Way to Walk) - Claude Miller, 1976, France
*Sebastiane - Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress, 1976, UK
*Querelle - Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982, Germany
*L'homme blessé (The Wounded Man) - Patrice Chéreau, 1983, France
*La ley del deseo (The Law of Desire) - Pedro Almodóvar, 1986, Spain
*Maurice - James Ivory, 1987, UK
*Les nuits fauves (Savage Nights) - Cyril Coliard, 1992, France
*Philadelphia - Jonathan Demme, 1993, USA
*The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - Stephan Elliot, 1994, Australia
*Fresa y chocolate (Strawberries and Chocolate) - Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1994, Cuba
*Les roseaux sauvages (Wild Reeds) - André Téchiné, 1994, France
*The Celluloid Closet - Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995, USA
*Beautiful Thing - Hettie MacDonald, 1996, UK
*Bound - Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1996, USA
*Bent - Sean Mathias, 1997, UK
*Far From Heaven - Todd Haynes, 2002, USA
*Brokeback Mountain - Ang Lee, 2005, USA

It is interesting to note that the list starts with a USA-made Hitchcock film that is all but open about its subject and that the US as a producing country then virtually disappears from the list until 1993, and then delivers the bulk of the new titles. Another interesting trend is that many of the films in the top 20 are not portraying contemporary society but societies in the past (including Satyricon, Sebastiane, Maurice, Wild Reeds, Bent, Far From Heaven and Brokeback Mountain).

Glaring omissions -- in my humble opinion -- include Richard Oswald's Anders als die Anderen (Different From The Others) from 1919 (!), Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent 1924 classic Mikaël, Rossellini's Germania Anno Zero from 1948, 1961's Victim with Dirk Bogarde, anything by Pasolini (probably Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) and perhaps something like Stephen Daldry's 2002 film The Hours and Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry from 1999. And no mention of Gus Van Sant?

Films on the list that, again in my humble opinion, seem minor when compared to the others: Bound (which seems to have been included simply to demonstrate that the writer has not forgotten lesbianism as well, I would have chosen The Hours and/or Boys Don't Cry) and the Sirk-inspired hommage Far From Heaven, in which Dennis Quaid's character is homosexual only as a plot convience that obstacles Julianne Moore's character and her desire for a picture-perfect marriage. A much more interesting choice would have been Sirk's own Written on the Wind, in which Rock Hudson utters the famous line "I have trouble enough finding oil" in reply to the question why he has not married yet.

What do you think? Leave your comment!

06/10/2006

Ten Top Movies in the Public Domain


Ann Savage in the public domain noir Detour.

Wired Magazine has posted an interesting top ten of films that are in the public domain and can thus be downloaded for free. Find out which films and where on the Wired site.

04/10/2006

Nick Broomfield's documentary Ghosts moves San Sebastian

It is always nice to find out that one of the best documentarians around, Nick Broomfield, is back with a new film. Broomfield opened the San Sebastian festival with Ghosts, a documentary about the 23 undocumented Chinese workers who died in Northern England in 2004 while harvesting cockles at night. Broomfield used mostly non-actors in his film, with special focus on Ai Qin, a single mother from Fujian who go together $25,000 to come to England and ended up living with 15 other Chinese workers in a two-bedroom house.The International Herald Tribune describes her performance as 'heartbreaking'. In fact the publication ran a very insightful article about the festival and its focus on immigration.

And Tom DiCillo won a Silver Shell for best director with his new film, Delirious. As I had stated here before, I can't wait to see it and hopefully this validation from a major festival will spell a good distribution deal.


San Sebastian Film Festival