31/12/2007

Jonas Mekas, a hero in his home town


The town of Vilnius, Lithuania has paid homage to its famous filmmaker and critic citizen, Jonas Mekas, with a new visual arts centre named after him. The centre opened last month with the show, The Avant-Garde from Futurism to Fluxus. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a wall-to-wall installation of Jonas Mekas’s 40 Films. Classic films from Dada filmmakers Duchamp, Leger, and Richter completed the show.

During the opening reception Ben Vautier, legendary Fluxus artist and longtime friend of George Maciunas and Jonas Mekas, treated attendees to a Fluxus concert. Vautier re-enacted classic Fluxus performances of the 1960s. Shigeko Kubota, Vice-President of Fluxus, was also in attendance to lend her support, as was Robert Haller of Anthology Film Archives. Catalogs in English and Lithuanian, with essays by Princeton film scholar P. Adams Sitney, film critic and art historian Amy Taubin, and Fluxus scholars Hollis Melton, Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt, Julia Robinson, and Mari Dumett were signed by Mekas.


The Avant-Garde From Futurism to Fluxus will be on view at the Jonas Mekas Visual Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania until 03 February 2007.

28/12/2007

New on Kamera: Oberhausen

Fancy showing your experimental short film at one of the most prestigious venues in the world?
Find out more here.

22/12/2007

New on Kamera

Hello all, one last blog before the Christmas wrap-up. We have a great review of Second Sight's DVD release of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz and a instigating essay on the legacy of the maestro of horror-chic, Val Lewton, which is a section from the latest title coming out on Kamera Books, penned by our in-house horror experts, Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell. Please help us spread the word, have a great Christmas and a fabulous 2008!

21/12/2007

Merry Xmas all

Merry Xmas and Happy holidays to all Kamera readers... and if you can support one film this Festive Season check out "American Gangster", which is excellent

Best wishes
Calum Waddell

19/12/2007

New on Kamera

Asian cinema fans: click here for a review of Invisible Waves and here for Bright Future. If you have made a film that deals with human rights, here's a chance to show your work.

16/12/2007

My Top 10 Films of 2007

Here's the top 10 movies I saw in 2007. All personal opinion of course!

Babel
Brad Pitt gives a career best performance in a drama that genuinelly grips from start to finish.

What Would Jesus Buy?
Produced by Supersize Me's Morgan Spurlock, this documentary focuses on the Reverend Billy - a man on a mission to stop the mass shopping epidemic that takes over the world during the festive season. Don't write him off - ethical commentary on sweatshops, globalisation and multinationalism make this an essential, and smart, watch.

Zodiac
David Fincher's best movie to date - a thrilling investigation into San Francisco's Zodiac Killer and utterly unmissable.

Stuck
Stuart Gordon cements his evolution as a thoroughly mature director following his impressive due of King of the Ants and Edmond. This is edge of your seat stuff and another five star offering.

Teeth
A film festival favourite and for good reason - girl meets boy, things go a bit too far, boy realises that girl has some seriously scary gnashers in a very personal place. Both hilarious and stomach churning.

Blood Diamond
DiCaprio continues to impress with his roles and this is probably his best turn since The Aviator. And to think he was once that wee fella in Titanic...

A Mighty Heart
The true story of Daniel Pearl, Michael Winterbottom follows up his vital Road to Guantanamo with this moving little tear jerker that is sure to nab Angelina Jolie an Oscar nomination.

American Gangster
Another based-on-a-true-story offering, Ridley Scott's epic starts off a little slow but soon manages to accomplish what any great movie does - it glues you to the screen and makes you forget that time is even passing...

Control
Obviously if you are a fan of Joy Division this film carries an extra wallop but even if you are not the story of Ian Curtis is tragic enough to pull on anyone's heartstrings.

Sicko
Michael Moore strikes with the movie of the year - an impassioned call for the US to follow the leads of so many other countries and introduce socialised healthcare. If you watch this as a Brit you WILL breath a sigh of relief for the good old NHS...

The Big Shave (Dir: Martin Scorcese, 6', 1967)

12/12/2007

Pasolini in Cairo

The press agency ANSAmed has a report on the film that director Daoud Aoula-Syad has made to pay homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini. In a village in the middle of nowhere in Morocco, satellite dish salesman Thami announces to his fellow villagers the imminent arrival of a troupe of Italian film makers who will shoot a film there, thus triggering cinema fever. So begins ''Waiting for Pasolini'', that previewed last week at the Cinema Festival of Cairo. ''I wanted to render homage to the great master of Italian cinema, whom I admire and I have studied for many years,'' said the Moroccan film maker.

More+

11/12/2007

New York Film Critics Online awards 2007

The title says it all and the winners can be seen here.

10/12/2007

Tony Tenser RIP

Just heard this sad news from Gil Lane at the Manchester Fest of Fantastic Films. My thoughts go out to his family:

[I]Sadly I am advised that Tony Tenser died on the 5th Dec - we'll be putting something on the website in a day or so.[/I]

Keep an eye on the Manchester Festival of Fantastic Films web site at:

http://fantastic-films.com/festival/

In a long and illustrious career Tenser produced the classic Witchfinder General in 1968 as well as Roman Polanski's masterpiece Repulsion (1965) and later Cul-de-sac (1966).

I, personally, will cherish the memory of sharing the back seat of a car with Tenser as we drove him back to his nursing home in August 2005, shortly after his appearance at that year's festival in Manchester (where he amusingly referred to the then 66 year old Ruggero Deodato as a "young man"). A very frail, but nonetheless enthusiastic and warm, gentleman - Tenser entertained the car with his stories of Brigitte Bardot, Vincent Price and Polanski. There was a real sadness when he said that his 2005 honour would probably be the last one that he would experience.

RIP

Calum Waddell

04/12/2007

Best films of 2007

The inevitable best-of lists have started to pop up but I was curious to see what art-world bible Art Forum had in stock in its lists compiled by two critics: Amy Taubin, who chose David Fincher's Zodiac as the best film of 2007 and T. J. Wilcox, whose chose Paul Verhoeven's Black Book as the top film of the year.

European Film Awards pay homage to Godard

The 2007 edition of the European Film Awards, an organisation founded in 1988 as a platform to promote European cinema, made winners out of Jean Luc Godard, for his lifetime contribution to cinema and Cristian Mungiu, for his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the Best European Film award. The ubiquitous Helen Mirren received yet another Best Actress prize for her role in The Queen while the veteran Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira received a Honorary Award. For the full list click here.

30/11/2007

THE EYE is 2008's first remake

So here we are with 2008 looming and one of the first star-powered vehicles of the year will be Jessica Alba's rehash of THE EYE, arguably the scariest - and most intriguing - of the Asian fantasy ghost stories that hit cinemas and DVDs following the explosion of RINGU back in the late 90s. After THE EYE bows out at cinemas will be a rehash of another Thailand-produced hit - this time SHUTTER, a mediocre ghost-on-the-loose offering.

Some fans have been decrying the idea of a new, English language version of THE EYE - wondering what Alba and producer Tom Cruise can possibly bring to the genre. With the directors of THEM behind the helm, the answer is - "possibly quite a lot."

A lot of people bemoan remakes which is hard to understand. After all, many films are nothing more than attempts to adapt what has come before to a new environment - witness John Carpenter's excellent Assault on Precinct 13, which took the John Wayne classic Rio Bravo and spun it into modern New York. Likewise, Days of Thunder was Top Gun with racing cars, Dirty Harry got remade into four sequels and Gladiator attempted to outdo Spartacus. So when a remake of a film that is well loved comes along perhaps there's something to be said about giving it a chance.

As a result, when THE EYE does roll up this writer will be there in the queue to see it. Seeing a new twist of familiar material certainly feels more appealing - after a 2007 that saw TRANSFORMERS and SPIDER MAN 3 hit big at the box office - than most of what the local mutiplex is serving up.

Calum Waddell

29/11/2007

New on Kamera: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Kamera's Andrew Benbow enjoyed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, with Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, which opens in the UK tomorrow. Check out his review here.

British Independent Awards announce winners; Control is the big winner

In a ceremony at the Rounhouse in London last night, the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) announced this year's winners. Anton Corbijn's Control was the star of the night as it received the Best Independent Film, Best Director, Best Debut Director and Most Promising Newcomer (for Sam Riley, the protagonist of the film). Notes On a Scandal also made an impact on the jury and received the Best Actress (for Judi Dench) and Best Screenplay awards. The German production The Lives of Others received the Best Foreign Independent Feature.

28/11/2007

New on Kamera: film festivals and Dante's Inferno

We have caught wind of two very cool festivals that are currently accepting applications. Find out more here.

Now, if you are in London make sure you catch one of two screenings of Dante's Inferno. The film is a contemporary reworking of the classic tale, bringing it back to modern life. Shot on HD and Directed by Sean Meredith using Victorian toy-theater techniques all the sets and characters have been exquisitely hand painted by the artist Sandow Birk. Working with writer Marcus Sander, Dante's original text has also been adapted into present-day urban vernacular.

Set amidst the vast urban entropy of present-day Los Angeles, the 77-minute long Dante's Inferno is described as a "comedic travelogue of the underworld - set against an all too familiar urban backdrop of used car lots, gated communities, strip malls, logos and the U.S. Capitol. And populated with a contemporary cast of reprobates, including famous - and infamous - politicians, presidents, popes, pimps, and the Prince of Darkness himself."

To judge by the image below, it looks very promising.




26/11/2007

Amsterdam's moving images in public space


Living up to its reputation as a cutting-edge city, Amsterdam last month opened the doors of CASZ (Contemporarty Art Screen Zuidas) whose main premise is to present 'moving images in public space'.

According to the venue's website, the space is "a stage dedicated to providing moving images to the public domain. Located on the Zuidplein in Amsterdam, CASZ will present a high quality selection of visual arts, including the screenings of video and film works on a 40 m2 LED screen. The accompanying soundtracks will either be made available to visitors free of charge on their mobile phones or - during special events and openings - through the screen’s own built-in sound system."

Eighteen hours a day from 6 a.m. to midnight, an international selection of film and video works from established and emerging artists from all over the world will intermingle with the public life on Zuidplein, addressing a mixed crowd of managers and office workers, students and academics as well as other inhabitants and users of the Zuidas.

he first annual program has been compiled by curator Jan Schuijren and includes audiovisual works by artists like John Wood and Paul Harrison (UK), Michel François (B) and Guido van der Werve (NL), illustrations by Dan Perjovschi (Rom) and works by around 200 other artists. The project was realised in collaboration with PARK4DTV, NIMk and TheOneMinutes (Amsterdam), Impakt (Utrecht), Argos (Brussels) and tank.tv (London).

It sounds really good so if you happen to be in Amsterdam, now you know how to see some film on the go. Click here for more information.

25/11/2007

New on Kamera: The Darjeeling Limited plus DVD reviews

Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell give the thumbs up to Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited. Also check out some of the latest DVD releases.

23/11/2007

Events around the world

Academically-minded film buffs in Leeds, here's one for you: the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds is hosting the conference, Realism and Audiovisual Media between 3 and 5 December. The theory behind the event is:

"The question of realism, so relevant in the era of Bazin and Kracauer, has returned to the centre of the debate on the moving image with the introduction of digital technology. Cinema and its ‘ontological’ or ‘indexical’ property seem under threat of disappearance. The recent boom of the documentary genre and reality shows could be seen as a reaction against the proliferation of the virtual image. However, resistance to the virtual as a modern condition is a much older phenomenon, and world cinema can provide us with a number of examples, which reassert the belief in filmmaking as a means to re-establish links with the material world."

Speakers include João Moreira Salles from Brazil and Mary Ann Doane from the U.S.

To register go here.

Now, if you happen to be in Denmark, check out Japanese Eye, a video screening programme curated by Sachiko Hayashi, compiling eight video works by young Japanese video artists and
film-makers in Tokyo. It will be shown at Overgaden, (pictured) the Institute of Contemporary Art, in Copenhagen on 24th November. The screening will be accompanied by a presentation by the curator.




I'm Not There: Haynes's Dylan movie opens in the U.S.

"Among its many achievements, Haynes's film (which opens in the United States this week and across Europe this winter) hurls a Molotov cocktail through the facade of the Hollywood biopic factory, exploding the literal-minded, anti-intellectual assumptions that guide even the most admiring cinematic explorations of artists' lives. Rather than turn out yet another dutiful, linear chronicle of childhood trauma and grown-up substance abuse, Haynes has produced a dizzying palimpsest of images and styles, in which his subject appears in the form of six different people."


Full story (via the International Herald Tribune)

Todd Haynes's visual lecture on the film.

17/11/2007

16/11/2007

New on Kamera: Cecil B. DeMille

Our latest article on Kamera is a review of a mammoth biography of Hollywood's unreplaceable emperor, Cecil B. DeMille, called 'Cecil B. DeMille and The Golden Calf' and written by Simon Louvish. We did some digging around looking for stuff related to one of DeMille's most famous creations, Gloria Swanson (she of Sunset Boulevard fame), and see what we found on YouTube:

Gloria Swanson UK TV interview (1978):



Gloria Swanson and Janis Joplin! On Dick Cavett

15/11/2007

Trailer: Silent Light

Carlos Reygadas' follow up to Battle in Heaven (Kamera interviewed Reygadas on occasion), Silent Light is opening in the UK on 7 December. Tartan has put together a nice-looking website for the film, which snatched the Prix Gu Jury at the last Cannes festival.

With his third feature film (the first was Japón, 2002), Reygadas is establishing himself as one of the leading voices in experimental cinema and definitely one to watch out for. He surely is very self-confident and focused on creating an auteurial signature.

New on Kamera:Asian extreme cinema

Our horror film specialists, who've got a new title on the genre coming up on Kamera Books, Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell, have penned a couple of DVD reviews on the latest releases of Asian action fare. Check them out.

12/11/2007

New on Kamera: Romanian and German cinema

Check out Kamera for some news on the Romanian and German film festivals that take place in London in November.

09/11/2007

New on Kamera: Killer of Sheep

We have a great review of the DVD release of American classic Killer of Sheep, by Charles Burnett, one of the first 50 (out of only 450) films to be preserved in America's Library of Congress National Film Registry. Sarah Manvel penned the text.

And here's the trailer:

08/11/2007

The New Czech Cinema

The New Czech Cinema season highlights the best films from the Czech Republic over the last two years. At London's Riverside tonight the season begins with a screening of the animated feature One Night in One City by Jan Balej, followed by David Ondricek's Grandhotel. The director will also be present for a Q&A after the film.

Following more screenings on Friday, on Saturday the season continues with Oscar nominated director Jan Hrebejk's latest film Beauty in Trouble. Set against the backdrop of the Prague floods in 2002, the film looks at contemporary relationships based on the hectic life of a young mother. Melodrama combines with humour in a well scripted film. Read my review here

Immediately following its season in London, the New Czech Cinema programme plays many major Art Houses Cinemas across Britain.

Trailer: What Would Jesus Buy?

Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) is back as producer of What Would Jesus Buy? Directed by Rob VanAlkemade, the film examines the commercialiaation of Christmas in America while following Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse (the end of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt.) The film also delves into issues such as the role sweatshops play in America’s mass consumerism and Big-Box Culture. From the humble beginnings of preaching at his portable pulpit on New York City subways, to having a congregation of thousands – Bill Talen (aka Rev. Billy) has become the leader of not just a church, but a national movement.


Here's the trailer.


New on Kamera: media art

Fancy getting your work shown at one of the biggest media art events in the world? Find out how here.

05/11/2007

Online viewing: Love & Hate

Tank.tv is currently showing videos by artists from the former Yugoslavia, encompassing Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Curated by the artist Nada Prlja, it includes works by Nemanja Cvijanović, Olgica Dimitrovska, Vesna Miličević, Nada Prlja, Nikola Uzunovski, Škart and Žaneta Vangeli.

According to the website, the region was chosen "because of the unique political and economic situation that has evolved since the death of President Tito in 1980 and the subsequent dissolution of the former nation state. These ex-Yugoslav countries now find themselves in what is popularly known as the phase of “Transition”. It is a state brought about by the transformation of a socialist society into one of (apparent) liberal democracy but also related to the recent sectarian civil wars, and how their aftermath has contributed to a sense of ‘incompleteness’ for these new societies. "

To 15 November.

03/11/2007

Czech Cinema: The Old and The New

A festival representing the best new films from the Czech Republic over the last two years starts on the 8th November at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London. It is preceded by a rare showing of the 1967 film Marketa Lazarová, directed by Frantisek Vlacil and widely considered the best ever Czech film. Introduced by renowned Czech Cinema writer Peter Hames (with Mehelli Modi), the screening will take place at the Curzon Cinema, in London’s Mayfair, on 4th November.

Marketa Lazarová is set in the 13th Century and adapted from a 1931 best-selling novel by avant-garde writer Vladislav Vančura. Inspired by a true Middle Ages story of the conflict between Christianity and paganism, against the backdrop of the royal Bohemian town of Mladá Boleslav, it depicts the rival clans of the Kozlíks and the Lazars, particularly the doomed love affair between Mikoláš Kozlík and Markéta Lazarová. It was the most expensive film ever made in Czechoslovakia, taking three years to complete. For two years, the director took his cast and crew into the Šumava forest to live by primitive means, all claiming the experience was invaluable. The result was an experimental black and white avant-garde film with a multi-layered symbolic style. Though the film was enormously popular at home and the Czechs always holding it in high esteem, it has rarely been screened abroad and usually greeted with critical indifference.

The screening is to coincide with its release on DVD by Second Run

For the forthcoming New Czech Cinema programme click here

30/10/2007

Orson Welles´ War of the Worlds

On 30 October 1938 - that's 69 years ago - Orson Welles dramatised the Martian invasion of Earth during an episode of his popular radio show. Many listeners believed the invasion was real, triggering a mass panic.

Adapting freely from H.G. Wells' science fiction novel War of the Worlds, Welles and his Mercury Theatre On the Air actors recast the story as a realistic sounding news broadcast.
Via Wired magazine.

25/10/2007

New on Kamera: Malick

Fans of Terrence Malick's cinema, check out Sarah Manvel's review of Wallflower's title on the auteur, edited by Kamera Books' editor Hannah Patterson. We also have news on a festival in Bristol that is reviving the cinema of resistance, The Compass of Resistance International Film Festival.

23/10/2007

British Independent Film Awards announce 2008 nominations

The nominations and jury members for the tenth annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) were announced today in London. The BIFA pre-selection committee viewed more than 150 films, out of which they selected the nominations with a handful of titles dominating most categories.

Anton Corbijin’s Control leads with ten nominations, And When Did You Last See Your Father? receives seven nominations, Hallam Foe follows with six, followed by Eastern Promises (five nominations), Notes on a Scandal (four) and Garbage Warrior (three). Other films to receive multiple nominations include Brick Lane, Black Gold, It’s A Free World, Sunshine, Exhibit A and 28 Weeks Later.

First time BIFA actor nominees include Anne Hathaway, Sam Riley, Kierston Wareing, Sophia Myles, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Bradley Cole, Armin Muehler Stahl and 2004 jury member Cate Blanchett. This year sees repeat nominations for actors Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Samantha Morton, Cillian Murphy and Toby Kebbell.

BIFA Directors, Johanna von Fischer & Tessa Collinson say: “For the 10th year, the BIFA Nominations throw the spotlight on the UK’s wealth of new emerging talent. At the same time we are very proud to be honouring two very different and special British acting talents and careers with The Richard Harris Award and The Variety Award. All these ingredients promise to make our 10th anniversary a celebration of British film and filmmakers to remember.”

Ray Winstone is the recipient of The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor. Winstone, who is a three time BIFA nominee, won Best Actor for Nil by Mouth at the first Awards in 1998. Also this year, The Variety Award honours Daniel Craig for his contribution to bringing the international spotlight to the British film industry. Craig has also been nominated at BIFA three times and won Best Actor for his role in Some Voices.

BIFA’s new jury is comprised of professionals and talents from across the British film industry including: actresses Hayley Atwell, Archie Panjabi and Kathy Burke, actors Tony Curran, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew Macfadyen, directors Annie Griffin, Menhaj Huda, Neil Marshall and Peter Webber, LFF Artistic Director Sandra Hebron, producer Mark Herbert, cinematographer Brian Tufano, distributor Will Clarke and musician Nitin Sawhney.

The 10th awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 28 November 2007 at the Roundhouse in London and will be hosted by James Nesbitt.

19/10/2007

New on Kamera: be a curator

Ever fancied curating a video art show? Now you can.

18/10/2007

New on Kamera: young film critics in Rotterdam

Aspiring film critics take note: the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and the International Film Festival Rotterdam are inviting applications for a scheme that gives critics younger than 30 years old the chance to mingle with the big boys and witness firsthand the mechanics of press coverage of a film festival. Full article here.

17/10/2007

New on Kamera: The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival

Kamera's correspondent John Atkinson previews the 2007 edition of the London Film Festival, which starts today. Speaking of which, Naomi Watts will be interviewed on the stage of the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre on Friday, 19 October, at 6:30pm. Watts starts in the festival's Opening Night Gala Eastern Promises and Michael Haneke's American remake of Funny Games.

15/10/2007

New on Kamera: Africa in Motion

Fresh content alert! Those of us who often wish we could see more of African cinema, should check out the news page to find out more about the upcoming African in Motion film festival.



Xala (1975, Ousmane
Sembene)

08/10/2007

New on Kamera: Fast Food Nation

We have a review of Richard Linklater´s Fast Food Nation, which is out on DVD on Tartan.

03/10/2007

Shooting of The Reader starts in Berlin

News has it that Bernard Schlink's lean, unadorned and haunting novel The Reader is being turned into a movie and shooting has just started in Berlin. The novel is a memoir of a German lawyer whose first love turned out be an ex-Nazi who then goes on trial. The choice of cast is somewhat at odds with the physical description of the book characters, with Nicole Kidman probably in the role of the narrator's object of love and Ralph Fiennes as, I would imagine, the narrator/protagonist - IMDB still doesn't mention which characters the actors are playing. Stephen Daldry directs. I'm curious to see how he will cinematically treat this difficult book to visualise. We shall see, as it were.

01/10/2007

Latin American win at San Sebastian Film Festival

The FIPRESCI Prize (the Prize of the International Critics) went to the film "Encarnación" by Anahí Berneri (Argentina, 2007) at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which closed this weekend. The festival's website has a nice TV section where you can watch videos of the festival itself, which counted on the presence of stars like Demi Moore and Liv Ullman. Click here for more.






29/09/2007

Love in the Time of Cholera closes Rio

Via Film Festival World blog: The close of the festival (4 Oct) will see the world premiere of award-winning UK director Mike Newell’s $50 million screen adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Colombian writer Gabriell Garcia Marquez’ "Love in the Time of Cholera." Faithfully scripted by Ronald Harwood, whose screen adaptation for Roman Polanski’'s "The Pianist" earned him a 2003 Oscar, the film, set in the late 19th century and first decades of the 20th century, revolves around a fifty-year love triangle and explores the idea that suffering for love is a kind of nobility.

Read more +

28/09/2007

The Island of Lost Souls


Another of the excellent films in this first Russian film festival in London is The Island, directed by Pavel Lungin. It's an unusual but highly dramatic tale of a former sailor in WW2 who now lives on an island monastery, permanently in guilt for causing the death of his ship's captain. In contemporary world cinema, there is nothing to compare, visually or in characterisation, with this story of guilt and redemption which has a surprise denouement. Read the review here

27/09/2007

Listmania hits London Film Festival

I have to confess that I'm not the biggest fan of lists in the world, except for 'my birthday presents wish list'. But...I have really warmed up to Ten Bad Dates with DeNiro, by Richard T. Kelly, out on Faber & Faber. The idea is to stray from conventional lists in favour of quirkier groupings. Here's how Kelly describes it:

An alternative movie list is about celebrating the things that just plain fascinate you about cinema, in spite of what anybody else might say - we're talking private passions, guilty pleasures, cult actors and actresses, unsung directors, disreputable genres, idiosyncratic themes, styles, and motifs that just happen to plug into your particular movie-loving socket ...


To celebrate the launch of the book, the London Film Festival, which runs between 17 October and 1 November (REMINDER: public booking opens on Saturday, 29/9), is inviting film lovers to submit their own lists based on their own creative criterion "(Top Ten Voiceovers? Top Ten Car Chases? Top Ten Unappreciated Actresses? Top Ten Rock ‘n’ Roll Musicals?)". Ten lucky list-makers will be selected to publicly present their choices at the event on Sunday 21 October.

Here's how to submit your film list. The deadline is 05 October.

Peter Greenaway in Brazil

It seems like Peter Greenaway is making something of a comeback this year. After his recent appearance in Venice, he's now in São Paulo as the star of the Video Brazil festival with a VJ performance of his Tulse Luper on Sunday, 30 September. Here's the flyer - if you happen to be in São Paulo, sounds worth checking out.


New on Kamera

Check out Kamera for some new postings: there's a review of the British comedy Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution, and a round up of some of the latest DVD releases, including the classic Of Mice and Men (1939).

26/09/2007

Euphoria at the first Russian Film Festival in London


The first Russian Film Festival in London will open on 27th September for a week of screenings, including Euphoria, the prize-winning film by theatre director Ivan Virypayev, his first venture into celluloid and well worth the effort. Euphoria is a poetical piece on the doomed love affair of a young couple set against the long Don River in Russia.

Euphoria is one of eight features from the last two years, alongside documentaries and animations, that will showcase the wealth of talent coming out of Russia as it re-emerges into a giant of world cinema again. The festival takes place between 27 September and 3 October at the new five screen West End Apollo, the first purpose built cinema in the heart of London for over ten years.

Russian film has become big international business and their film market is now in the top 10 in the world in terms of box office. There are also over 100 feature films produced in Russia every year, the largest number of productions for any country in Europe except France. Films like Euphoria and Island (also showing in this program), are exemplary of the high standard as represented in this festival.

For the review of Euphoria click here

22/09/2007

Russian Film Festival in London


Our friends from Russia have sent through our wires word about a Russian Film Festival which takes place between 27 September and 3 October. I'll pass the word to them:

Showcasing inspiring and provocative award-winning work from a host of internationally established young Russian filmmakers, it provides a long-awaited opportunity for British audiences to view the portrayal of modern Russia through contemporary Russian cinema.

The programme includes films made in the last two years which have already received international and national awards. The festival opens with Ivan Vyrypaev’s film Euphoria that was awarded the Small Golden Lion at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival in 2006.

12 award-winning film directors as well as star actors are coming from Moscow to introduce screenings and participate in discussions with the audience and members of the British film industry.

For further information, visit Academia-Rossica's website.

20/09/2007

Show your work: events and opportunities

  • ATTENTION CUB FILM CRITICS: Berlinale Talent Campus, Goethe-Institute and FIPRESCI are inviting young film critics to Berlin for the Berlinale Talent Campus # 6 – The Talent Press. Young film critics and film journalists will be invited to Berlin to report on the films at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival (February 07 – 17, 2008) and on the events of the Berlinale Talent Campus (February 9 – 14, 2008). The application phase for the Talent Press started. The following application criteria can also be found online at www.berlinale-talentcampus.de and www.fipresci.org. TO BE ELIGIBLE you need to be: fluent in English (writing and speaking), under 30 years, eager to report on films within the framework of the Berlin International Film Festival and on events held during the Berlinale Talent Campus 2008 and have published articles in newspapers, film magazines, on websites or at universities.
  • OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: The "I Festival de Cinema e Vídeo de Santa Cruz das Palmeiras' somewhere in the countryside of the state of São Paulo in Brazil is inviting applications. Any works made after 2005 with a maximum length of 15 minutes can be entered. Deadline: 26 October. Further info from here.
  • Finally, over in Europe, the Clermont Film Festival is inviting applications for 2008. Registration Deadline : October 15, 2007. Registration fee : no fee. Requirements :
1) Films completed after : January 1, 2006
2) Maximum Running Time : 40 minutes
3) Origin : Worldwide, France excepted
4) Festival screening format : 35 mm, Beta SP Pal or Digital Betacam Pal

New on Kamera: Venice and Ceylan

Site update alert: Steven Yates reviews Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates DVD release while Thessa Mooij reports on the latest edition of the Venice Film Festival.

14/09/2007

Pacino to play Dali

In good timing with the release of Kamera Books' Dali, Surrealism and Cinema, Room 9 Entertainment announced yesterday the production of "Dali & I: The Surreal Story" with Al Pacino playing the Catalan artist and Cillian Murphy as his protege, the young art dealer Stan Lauryseens.

Al Pacino as Dali? Just perfect.

Via the Hollywood Reporter.

Anthea Kennedy teaches film course in London

Kamera's comrade and art film director, Anthea Kennedy, has rung in to say she will be teaching a one-year, part-time course at South Thames College. The Higher National Certificate Media Course (Creative Sound and Vision) covers 16mm film, digital video and sound. Equipment available to students includes Steenbeck Final cut Pro editing and 16mm cameras.

Anthea tells us that the approach is focused on arthouse/experimental film-making but students can apply their learning to any type of film-making they are interested in. And of course, those willing to progress to university improve their chances of getting on the best courses in the country.

So kids, don't miss the chance to be taught by Anthea. As a filmmaker her credentials include the brilliant DV feature Stella Polare, which we love here at Kamera and actually screened it in July. For further from here or email Anthea at anthea.kennedy@south-thames.ac.uk.

13/09/2007

51st London Film Festival announces programme

The 51st London Film Festival’s today announced its full programme, which includes includes 184 features and 133 shorts plus a host of screen talks, masterclasses and live events.

Opening the Festival on Thursday 17 October is the UK premiere of David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises with Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel. The festival will close with Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited on 01 November starring Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody.

Said festival director, Sandra Hebron: “In a very strong year for world cinema, we are delighted to be able to present such a wide ranging and high quality programme of films and special events, in which work by internationally renowned directors sits comfortably alongside that from many exciting new talents. We look forward to welcoming filmmakers, audiences and press and industry delegates alike to our two week celebration of the best, most creative and original films of the year.”

London Film Festival website

07/09/2007

Around the world: Honolulu and Geneva

Lots of instigating news have come through our newswires lately. If you happen to be in Hawaii, pop around the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu to see Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence which runs until 25 November.

It brings together 13 international artists including Christian Boltanski, Jim Campbell, Michel Delacroix, Laurent Grasso, upcoming 02art4 artist Jeppe Hein, TCM collection artist William Kentridge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Teresa Margolles, Oscar Muñoz, Julie Nord, Rosângela Rennó, and Regina Silveira who use ephemeral means in their work such as fog, reflection, shadows, and vapors. The exhibition title refers to 18th-and 19th-century entertainments created by “magic lanterns” and rear-screen shadow projections.

These precursors of the modern film projector were used to stage dancing specters and other frightening theatrical effects for their audiences. The exhibition draws on this rich theatrical tradition to reframe questions of absence and loss, death and the afterlife around contemporary issues.

I was very impressed by the still of Rosangela Rennó's contribution to the show:


Back in Europe, the Biennial of Moving Images takes place from 12 to 20 October 2007 in Geneva. Founded in 1985 as the “International Video Week,” the Biennial of Moving Images (BIM, as it is known by its initials in French) is one of the oldest and most important events in Europe devoted to artists’ films. From the start, the Biennial has highlighted the increasingly numerous and creative crosscurrents that exist between film, the contemporary arts and mass media.

So a great chance to check out what's happening in the world of art cinema that is not likely to come to any theatre near you, ever!

New on Kamera: East Asian Cinema


Check out the review of Kamera's new title on East Asian Cinema, a review of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's early works, a review of Taxidermia, a fresh programme of films including Electronic Moon #2 and Lilya 4-Ever and a festival report of the 9th Motovun International Film Festival.

04/09/2007

Vote for your favourite non-English film

Another day, another list of favourite films. The folks from the blog Edward Copeland on Film are requesting votes for the best non-English films so if you want to have your say, go here.

31/08/2007

New on Kamera: Hallam Foe, Nazi cinema and festival news

Fresh goodies on Kamera: our regular and super-talented contributing duo Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc have penned a review of Hallam Foe and Susan Tegel's historical account of the Nazi use of film as a progaganda tool. We also have some festival news for those looking for screening opportunities.

Venice sighting: Vanessa Redgrave


Adding a touch of real class to the red carpet...

30/08/2007

Venice opens with British film

The 64th annual Venice Film Festival opened yesterday with the usual crowds gathering to see the actors of the British film Atonement, the opening number of this year's edition. Early reports claim that the film got a strong reception.

One of the curios of this year's festival is the return of Peter Greenaway, who will be showing his new film Nightwatching, which revolves around Rembrandt's most famous work. Greenaway has an obsession with 19th century Holland, his residence country of many years.




Another curio is the fact that Greg Araki (pictured) will preside the Jury of the Orizzonti section and one of the people serving under Araki's chairing is documentarian Frederick Wiseman plus a few other international names. That's one of the interesting things about festivals, you get the most unlikely types under the same roof.

That said, the 2007 edition is markedly dominated by Anglophone cinema this year, which could indicate that the organisation of the event is aiming squarely at the commercial prospects of the event rather than artistic and national variety.

25/08/2007

New blog design

As you must have noticed, we have re-dressed the blog slightly - we've been thinking about it and we thought it would be nicer to have the page elements on the left - so now they are!

24/08/2007

Helvetica, the film

On the jacket of my copy of Virginia Woolf's book Flush, her biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's aristocratic pet cocker spaniel (a great read, whose success displeased Virginia), there is a great quote by the author taken from a lecture she gave in Oxford in 1928:

"What is meant by "reality"? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun."

And of course it can also be found right under a writer, or filmmaker's, nose as the success of the documentary Helvetica seems to prove. A film about a font sounds like an unlikely subject but apparently everyone wants to see Gary Hustwit's itinerant film. Me too, I'm dying to see it now, after hearing so much about it. Hopefully I'll be able to get a seat next time it comes to London on 7 September at the ICA.

Here you can find whether it's screening anywhere near you.

23/08/2007

New on Kamera: Renoir and Gil Kofman

Fresh content alert: we have a review of the latest Renoir DVD boxset and our contributor, Rosy Hunt, chats with Gil Kofman about his film, The Memory Thief, starring Mark Webber.

21/08/2007

Streaming: winners of Aarau festival

The winners of the One Minute Internationales Film & Videofestival in Aarau, Switzerland, which took place last weekend, have been posted online and you can watch them here.

17/08/2007

12:08 East of Bucharest and the Romanian New Wave



With the release in UK Cinemas today of Corneliu Porumboiu’s debut feature 12:08 East of Bucharest, Steven Yates looks at the film and the surprising emergence of directors in a country that has overcome hardship to win awards at the major film festivals. He also looks for a common thread in films that have further brought Romania into the spotlight of world cinema despite the local film culture being brought to its knees through DVD piracy and some areas of the country no longer having a cinema screen. Read article

New on Kamera: My American Uncle

We've just published a DVD review of Alain Resnais's My American Uncle. Check it out and see this film. It's a wonderful piece of cinema.

16/08/2007

New on Kamera: DVD distribution

Kamera fresh content alert: a feature about how the current DVD distribution conjuncture.

Sight and Sound

Sight and Sound magazine is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a list of 75 'hidden gems', or films that generally don't make it into official 'hot 100' type lists. The list is print-exclusive but it can be found here. The magazine's website has an interview made by Amy Taubin with Gus Vant Sant focusing on Andy Warhol's influence on his work.

14/08/2007

Edinburgh Film Festival 2007

The Edinburgh Film Festival starts tomorrow and runs until 26 August. The programme includes a bevy of new releases, such as the Morgan Spurlock-produced What Would Jesus Buy?, I'm a Cyborg But That's OK by Park Chan-wook (Lady Vengeance), the remastered version of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, shown in Berlin earlier this year. And much, much more.

13/08/2007

New on Kamera: DVD reviews

More good stuff on Kamera. There's a review of Cassavetes Directs, one of the latest releases on Kamera Books. We also have a fresh round-up of some of the latest DVD releases, which includes Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players, Bobcat Goldwaith's Sleeping Dogs and Tommy O'Have's Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss.

We have found clips and trailers of the films as well. Enjoy them.






10/08/2007

Béla Tarr and Mike Figgis

Artificial Eye has rung in to tell us that film director Béla Tarr (pictured) will be in conversation with Jonathan Romney after a screening of Tarr's 2o0o film Werckmeister Harmonies on 14 August (Tuesday) at 6.10pm at the Renoir Cinema. The Hungarian director's latest film is called The Man From London and includes indie heroine Tilda Swinton in the cast. According to IMDB, the film will be next seen at the Toronto Film Festival in September. So this London screening is a rare chance to see a Tarr film on the big screen.

We have also learned that
the artistic director of the theate company Complicite, Simon McBurney, will talk about his film work as both actor and director with director Mike Figgis on 15 September. The interview will be illustrated with film clips, including Weather Patterns his short film made for the 2006 London Film Festival and a preview extract from his new film of Measure for Measure. Early booking is recommended because events at the Barbican tend to get booked up very fast.

01/08/2007

Eastern Promises to open 51st London Film Festival

The 51st London Film Festival has announced that this year’s Festival will open on Wednesday 17th October with David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.

The London-set thriller, written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things), reunites David Cronenberg with Viggo Mortensen who worked with his in History of Violence, and also stars Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The plot centres on the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organised Russian crime families. A harrowing chain of murder, deceit and retribution is put in motion when he crosses paths with Anna (Watts), an innocent midwife, trying to right a wrong she accidentally uncovers.

Said David Cronenberg: "I’m thrilled to be returning to the scene of the crime. Eastern Promises is the first film I’ve ever shot entirely away from my home in Canada, and it makes perfect sense that it is set in London, home of so many of my most potent film influences."

31/07/2007

New on Kamera: Steven Akasaki, Science is Fiction and festival news

Lots of new stuff on Kamera: there's an interview with Steven Okasaki about his documentary on the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the people who survived them; Ian Haydn Smith reviews thew DVD compilation of Jean Painlevé's pioneer nature films, Science is Fiction, and on the news page you'll find out which festivals are accepting submissions at the moment.

Antonioni dies at 94

Just as we were all mourning Bergman's death, we found out that Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow Up, L'Eclisse) died at 94 last night. Alongside Bergman, he was one of the last living cinema greats, a beacon of Italian cinema when it was the forefront of artistic invention. He will be much missed.

30/07/2007

Ingmar Bergman dies at 89

Reuters has reported that Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman died today at the age of 89 at his home on Faro Island in the Baltic Sea.

What can we say? The film world has lost of one of its greatest and kindest maestros and he will be much missed by film lovers world over.

Limite: close reading and clips

Limite is a film by Mario Peixoto, who was twenty-two years old when he made it in 1931. Influenced by Soviet cinema at the time, Peixoto was looking for an aesthetic of pure cinema and created one of the great masterpieces of poetic cinema, perhaps not so well-known like its European equivalents because it was made in South America. Here's a link to a close reading of the film with lots of pictures which gives a good idea about its content. Brazilian film director Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) gave a masterclass about Limite at the last Cannes festival to celebrate the film's print restoration so hopefully it will be getting a DVD release in the near future.


And here are some fragments of Limite found on YouTube:










25/07/2007

YouTube: 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

Alonso Mosley is a librarian and media aficionado, the man behind the entertainment web directory, The La-La Land Library. Sourcing from his amazing archiving skills and knowledge, Mosley constructed this parody of all the "100" list specials that the American Film Institute keeps putting out, which finds in Britain its equivalent in Channel 4. Have fun trying to guess which films the clips are from.

24/07/2007

Valkyrie's shooting starts in Berlin

The long-standing, unabating cinematic fascination with Hitler gains a new lease of life as the shooting of the Tom Cruise-starred Nazi flick Valkyrie started in Germany last week. United Artists Entertainment LLC describes the film as "a suspense thriller based on the true story of the daring German officers’ plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944."



Directed by Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects,” “Superman Returns,” “X Men,” “X2: X-Men: United”) and written by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects,” “The Way of the Gun”) and Nathan Alexander, “Valkyrie” reunites Singer and McQuarrie for the first time since their 1995 thriller “The Usual Suspects.”

Tom Cruise, who hasn't looked this good (see pictures) in quite a long time, heads an international cast as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, the aristocratic German officer who led the attempt to bring down the Nazi regime and end the war by planting a bomb in Hitler’s bunker. Also starring are Kenneth Branagh (“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”), Bill Nighy (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”), Tom Wilkinson (“In the Bedroom”), Carice van Houten (“Black Book”), Eddie Izzard (“Ocean’s Thirteen”), Christian Berkel (“Black Book”), Thomas Kretschmann (“King Kong”), and Terrence Stamp (“Billy Budd,” “Superman,” “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”).



The “July 20 Plot” on Hitler’s life is one the least known episodes of World War Two. Severely wounded in combat, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg returns from Africa to join the German Resistance and help create Operation Valkyrie, the complex plan that will allow a shadow government to replace Hitler’s once he is dead. But fate and circumstance conspire to thrust Stauffenberg from one of many in the plot to a double-edged central role. Not only must he lead the coup and seize control of his nation’s government, he must kill Hitler himself.

The film is slated for a summer 20008 release.

22/07/2007

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet): interview with producer Joseph Salomon Frank

The hype has been building for a while and Manda Bala, a documentary about corruption and kidnapping in Brazil which won Sundance's Grand Jury Prize this year, is slated for a 17 August release in the US - no other dates scheduled yet, according to IMDB. The film has been translated as Send a Bullet, which is a literal translation from the original Portuguese title, but a more precise translation would be 'bite the bullet'. Never mind. Chief magazine has published a lengthy interview with producer Joseph Salomon Frank, which you can read here.

20/07/2007

Screening: Glauber Rocha's A Idade da Terra (The Age of Earth)

Rare screening alert! Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni said that in Brazilian Cinema Novo director Glauber Rocha's The Age of Earth ‘each scene is a lesson in how modern cinema should be made.’




After stints in Cuba, the United States and Europe, in 1980 Rocha returned to Brazil to make the film, which was his last. This monumental culmination of his career is an urgent ‘anti-symphony’ intended to reinvent Brazilian cinema. Originally, the 16 reels of the film were to be presented in a random order. The frenzied feast of allegories and symbols defied rational reality and sought to ‘resist the classification of colonial anthropology’.

The Age of Earth will be screened at the Tate Modern in London tomorrow, 21/7, at 7pm.

19/07/2007

Free film screenings: South London Gallery

As part of a season called THE WEASEL, which runs until 29 July at the South London Gallery, there's a free programme of films, which are:

MAXI GEIL!: NAUSEA II, 2005
60 mins, shown daily at 1.30pm
Maxi Geil!’s ‘porn-rock opera’ Nausea II is a humorous musical based around the sex industry, and the amusing similarities between the glamour and shock of both the art world and porn industry. The film combines disenchantment with contemporary desires with a wistful return to old-fashioned song and dance routines.

IAIN FORSYTH & JANE POLLARD:
MAKE ME YOURS AGAIN, 2007
30mins, shown daily at 3.30pm
Make Me Yours Again is an unscripted portrait of young people talking about love and loss, using homemade ‘mix tapes’ as a trigger. Made during a residency in New Zealand, this work continues Forsyth & Pollard’s Precious Little series.

WILHELM SASNAL: THE RIVER, 2006
20 mins, shown daily at 5pm
The River, inspired by Pare Lorentz’s script for a film of the same name, began with the commission of several New York bands to create music to accompany Lorentz’s poetry. The resulting documentary shows gritty footage of the studio sessions.

South London Gallery

YouTube: Clip of Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan bio leaks to the web

The much-anticipated Bob Dylan film Todd Haynes has directed with Cate Blanchett, among many others, playing Dylan, I'm Not There, seems to be finally upon us. It was completed last month and is due for a September U.S release. A clip showing Blanchett's Dylan having a conversation with Allen Ginsberg through the window of a car is on YouTube:



Trailer: Bruno Drumont's Flandres




Read Edward Lamberti's review of Flandres on Kamera.

17/07/2007

Japan Cuts: A Fig Tree in New York

By Thessa Mooij

(New York) - New York’s Japan Society usually screens the occasional film – such as historical biopics with a national character – that aren’t picked up by any U.S distributors or any of the city’s festivals.

However this year, the society presents its first full-bodied programme: Japan Cuts. This moniker definitely fits the bill. Co-produced with the New York Asian Film Festival, with its fondness for cult-ish horror and Bollywood B-movies, Japan Cuts consists of 15 U.S and New York premieres. No less than 13 of those have violent subject matters involving cut-up corpses, killers, yakuza, manga, personal angst or war traumas. The legacy of the samurai sword is alive and kicking.

Having recently enjoyed such classics as Harakiri, Tokyo Drifter and Ugetsu, I sadly lack the stomach for the current heirs of these genres: Miike Takashi and the younger generation of filmmakers with their penchant for extreme horror.


Two out of 15 films in the Japan Cuts programme seemed to be colorful, whimsical and made by female directors. Kakome Diner by Naoko Ogigami is about a Japanese woman who decides to move to Helsinki out of the blue, and opens up a diner there.

Having missed the other film at this year’s Berlin festival, where it won the Netpac award for best Asian film, I decided to go see Faces of a Figtree (pictured). The protagonist is Maasa, a high-strung mother and wife, who unintentionally alienates her grumpy husband and emotionally absent children the more she fusses over them. Her only real friend is the fig tree in her garden. Seen from her own scatter-brained perspective, the film promised to be a surreal character study.

I had first read about Faces of a Figtree in the December 2006 issue of Metropolis magazine, Tokyo’s English-language weekly. The film is the directing debut of veteran actress Kaori Momoi, who has worked Kurosawa, Sokurov, Miike Takashi and Rob Marshall (Memoirs of a Geisha). In Metropolis, an ebullient Momoi claims to have directed before under a pseudonym, because “in Japan, men find smart women unattractive. So I didn’t showcase my name. Now that I’m older, I’m at a point where I can reveal my name as a director.” Yes, and she also hopes to become 120 without significantly aging.

Details of such alleged previous work are not forthcoming and Faces of a Figtree shows all the hallmarks of a long-awaited feature debut. The hyperrealism is frantic, firing at all cylinders. Momoi’s joy of playing with extreme close-ups, animated non-sequiturs and visual jokes is infectious.

When Maasa's husband dies from overwork on his construction site, it turns out all the nagging and silences was really an expression of love between them. Maasa goes into denial for a while, but when she moves from her traditional Japanese home into her daughter’s apartment close to the Tokyo Tower, she finds some sort of balance. Happily working in a restaurant, where she can continue her frantic culinary administrations, the owner asks her to marry him.

This is where the film’s enthusiasm fails to carry it any longer. Maasa becomes completely unhinged. Her current husband is caring and understanding (and naturally her previously barren fig-tree is finally bearing fruit), but this is precisely the moment that she can’t keep it together any more.

Most actors love to showcase their abilities by playing madmen or junkies and by directing her first feature, Ms Momoi has created her very own showcase. But the other actors hold themselves up well against her self-indulgence. There is something about Maasa’s (and presumably Momoi’s own) frantic energy, colorful art direction and vibrant cinematography that keeps this uneven debut going.

Being no expert in current Japanese cinema, and not having seen any other films in this Japan Cuts programme, I am wondering whether Japanese films are drawn along neat gender lines: violence from male directors, whimsical quirks from female directors.

Are there any Kamera readers out there who have seen any films that could confirm or refute this? Can anyone recommend any other current Japanese films and has anyone discovered any new potential Miike Takashi's out there?

13/07/2007

New on Kamera: interview with Christian Alvart

Fresh content alert! An interview with German director Christian Alvart, who helmed the thriller/horror flick Antibodies, has just been posted on Kamera. Calum Waddell talked to Alvart.

Woody Allen starts shooting in Barcelona

Woody Allen's New York films are definitely a thing of the past. After London, the American director has moved on to Barcelona, where he started shooting his new work, 'Midnight in Barcelona'. The financiers must have been keen on capitalising on the city's frothy reputation and made sure its name got into the title!

According to a press release that arrived through Kamera's wires today, crowds gathered in Barceloneta 'hoping for a glimpse' of cast members Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

At a press conference held in Barcelona on 02 July, Allen expressed his enthusiasm for the project, having spent previous weeks location scouting in the city: 'I hope I can present Barcelona to the world as I see it, the same way I presented Manhattan to the world as I saw it with my eyes', he said.

Cruz and Bardem are old film mates, having starred together in the 1992 film 'Jamon, Jamon' directed by Bigas Luna.

Allen's latest Hollywood muse Scarlett Johansson, who has previously worked on projects including 'Match Point' and 'Scoop' with Allen, arrived in Barcelona early last week for filming.

While details of the film have been kept well under wraps Allen has said of his latest project 'I want to write a love letter to Barcelona and from Barcelona to the world.' Very vague indeed. I personally won't hold my breath for anything coming from Allen, whose films I always found a tad too middle class for my liking, as well as wordy but without much to say.