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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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