A Rendez-vous with French Cinema

Our friends from A Rendez-vous with French Cinema, which started yesterday and goes until Sunday, 1 April, have rung in to say that they will take time on Friday March 30 (that will be today!) to celebrate up and coming acting talent with a special on stage presentation at the Curzon Mayfair prior to the 6.00 pm screening of Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne).

Actor/director Jean-Marc Barr and director/screenwriter Pascal Arnold will introduce the following actors on stage :

Amira Casar: a César nominee as Best Newcomer, her credits incluide Breilllat’s Anatomy of Hell and Thomas Gilou’s Would I Lie to You ?
Sara Forestier: has worked with Blier and Lelouch, having made her début in Abdellatif Kechiche’s much admired L’Esquive, winning a Best Newcomer César
Georges Babluani: best known for his work with his brother Géla Babluani in 13 Tzameti and Legacy

Emilie Dequenne: made her début in the Dardennes’ Rosetta, winning the 1999 Best Actress prize ex aequo in Cannes, and worked with Claude Berri in Une femme de ménage.

Louis Garrel: worked with Huppert in Ma Mère, was in Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, and won the Best Newcomer César for his part in his father Philippe’s Les amants réguliers
Joana Preiss: in Assayas’ section of Paris je t’aime and Clean, as well as Honoré’s Ma Mère

Tom Riley: English born star of the recently released I Want Candy, seen opposite Juliette Binoche in A Few Days in September.

Luke Treadaway: made his début in Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe’s Brothers of the Head.

In addition to screenings of the best of the new French films, A Rendez-vous with French Cinema will have diverse programme of masterclasses, meetings, and screenings of short films. This event is organised by Unifrance, the organisation dedicated to promoting French cinema abroad, in association with the French Embassy and the French Institute in London and the Curzon Mayfair cinema.

Rendez-vous with French Cinema +


Runa Islam

British film artist Runa Islam has told Frieze magazine which films have influenced her most. Carl Dreyer's Joan of Arc (1928) has a place of prominence in Islam's film catechism book.

Full article +


YouTube awards

The title says it all...


London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday

The 21st London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the UK's third largest film festival, starts this Wednesday, 21 March. Among the feature film highlights this year are Beyond Hatred, a documentary that charts the aftermath of a homophobic murder, the Danish drama A Soap, about the relationship between a beautiful girl and her transsexual neighbour, and the Argentinian production Glue (pictured), which won top jury and audience awards at the 2006 Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film.



Brazilian video at the Tate

A short post to let you all know that I have curated a season of Brazilian video art for the Tate Modern in London and which will be shown at the Starr Auditorium between Friday 23 March and Sunday 25. The videos cover a period of 25 years (1981-2005). The event, called Video Links Brazil kicks off on Friday with a programme of videos from the 1980s, the decade when video art took root in the country. Saturday will focus on works produced from the 1990s onwards and brings together an ecclectic selection of videos by fine artists as well as by those working exclusively with video. Sunday is devoted to documentaries, including one video about Brazil's famous Serial Kisser and a film from the Video in the Villages project, which works with aboriginal peoples in Brazil to help them produce their own images and represent themselves.

Hope to see there.

(Image credit: Heróis 2, TVDO, 1987-2003)



New on Kamera

Edward Lamberti has written an in-depth review of Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. We also have a news article about the cult cinema conference in London called Cine Exces, which will be attended by no one less than Roger Corman.


A tube ride will never be the same...

Watch this +

Woody Allen to make film in Barcelona

"For some cities and countries, having Woody Allen making a film there is like a papal visit," Adam Dawtrey, the European editor of Variety magazine, said.

Full article +


Time Out New York

Time Out New York has compiled a sequence of YouTube videos with "25 memorable moments in Gotham music". Although music-focused, the list also contains excerpts from films.

Gotham music +


Charles Atlas at London's Optronica

Video pioneer and now VJ extraordinaire Charles Atlas brings his collaboration with musician/ electronic composer Christian Fennesz, to London, between 14 and 18 March, during the second biannual Optronica festival. Charles mixes video live using film footage, prepared clips and improvised collage. The recipient of the 2006 John Cage Award, Atlas is perhaps best known for his work with choreographers such as Michael Clark, Leigh Bowery, and Merce Cunningham, which have won him three Bessie (New York Dance and Performance) Awards. Optronica is a 'visual music' festival taking place at the British Film Institute's Southbank and Imax spaces, as well as the Institute for Contemporary Art. The line-up also includes the UK premiere of Peter Greenaway's Tulse Luper VJ performance, among many other attractions.

Speaking of Greenaway, the fallen angel of post-modern baroque cinema, has a Myspace page. His tagline is bafflingly amusing: "Cinema is not a playground for Sharon Stone." Poor Sharon, what has she done to him? Now, why is it that cinema can be a playground for Helen Mirren, but not for the France-loving Stone? He also says, with no hint of modesty: "Film is dead, I tried to save it, didn't work out...enjoy your psycho-dramatic linear narrative you bloody philistines. "

Optronica +

Peter Greenaway on Myspace +

It's not a colour but a quality issue

I was reading my favourite newspaper over the weekend, the International Herald Tribune (inspired, of course, by Godard's insertion of the title in À bout de souffle), when an article about international distribution of Hollywood films with black stars caught my attention. The gist of the article was that such films don't do well abroad and used the case of Dreamgirls (pictured left) which has grossed $100 million and has sold 'only' $28 million worth of tickets in foreign lands, as a case in point. One industry insider interviewed went as far as to name 'international' (as in 'international markets') 'the new South' because in the old days black films didn't travel down South within the US. The article does mention some success stories, such as Bad Boys (with Will Smith) and Déjà Vu (with Denzel Washington), but underlines flops like Hustle & Flow, Are We There Yet? and Last Holiday as examples of the failure cases where racism may have been the causal factor.

But this is clearly a case of crying wolf. The article in premised in the assumption, or America's utter conviction, that any national artifact is apt for global consumption, even in the case of films heavily coded with regional signs as the ones mentioned. Secondly, and most importantly, is the sheer awfulness of such films - doesn't it occur to them that some films don't do well abroad because they are not sound for consumption as a consequence of their excessive mediocrity? To me, the article seemed like a case of the empire playing the underdog card and such posturing doesn't strike convincing at all.

Read full article +


Kenneth Anger article

Tom Gunning has written an insightful article about Kenneth Anger for ArtForum magazine.


New on Kamera:

The latest updates on Kamera include a round-up of film festivals in March+* , some of the latest DVD releases + , an in-depth review of Until the End of the World + , by Wim Wenders and a review of A Guide to Recognising Your Saints +

* STOP PRESS! The organisers of A Rendez-vous with French Cinema have sent us an update on the programme of the event, which is now ready.

The Opening Gala on 29 March will feature Olivier Dahan’s biopic of iconic singer Edith Piaf’s dramatic life, LA VIE EN ROSE (La Môme, pictured), featuring a remarkable performance by Marion Cotillard alongside Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Emmanuelle Seigner, Jean-Paul Rouve and Gérard Depardieu (released in May/June by Icon Film Distribution). After opening the Berlin Film Festival, the film is enjoying phenomenal critical and box office success in France.

The other films to be featured are as follows:

Alanté Kavaité’s thriller ECOUTE LE TEMPS, starring Emilie Dequenne, Ludmila Mikaël and Mathieu Demy (released in Summer/Autumn by Dogwoof Pictures).

Guillaume Canet’s thriller TELL NO ONE (Ne le dis à personne), which won 4 Césars at the recent ceremony, and stars François Cluzet, Kristin Scott Thomas, André Dussollier and Marie-Josée Croze (released on 15 June by Revolver Entertainment).

Christophe Honoré’s drama DANS PARIS starring Romain Duris, Louis Garrel, Guy Marchand and Joanna Preis (released on 4 May by Artificial Eye).

Stéphane Brizé’s comedy/drama NOT HERE TO BE LOVED (Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé), starring Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais and Georges Wilson (released on 8 June by Artificial Eye).

The legendary Alain Resnais’ PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES (Cœurs), starring Sabine Azéma, Lambert Wilson, André Dussollier and Isabelle Carré (released on July 20 2007 by Artificial Eye).

Santiago Amigorena’s thriller A FEW DAYS IN SEPTEMBER (Quelques jours en septembre), starring Juliette Binoche, Sara Forestier, Tom Riley, John Turturro and Nick Nolte (released in Summer/Autumn 2007 by Transmedia International Releasing).

Tony Gatlif’s drama TRANSYLVANIA, starring Asia Argento, Amira Casar and Birol Unel (released on 10 August by Peccadillo Pictures).

The Babluani brothers’ drama LEGACY (L’Héritage), starring Sylvie Testud, Stanislas Merhar, Pascal Bongard and Georges Babluani (released in July by Revolver Entertainment).

Bruno Dumont’s topical drama FLANDERS (Flandres), starring Adélaïde Leroux, Samuel Boidin and Henri Cretel (released on 6 July by Soda Pictures).

Xavier Giannoli’s comedy THE SINGER (Quand j’étais chanteur), starring Gérard Depardieu, Cécile de France, Mathieyu Amalric and Christine Citti (released on 17 August by Artificial Eye).

The Closing Night Gala will be Patrice Leconte’s comedy MY BEST FRIEND (Mon meilleur ami), starring Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon and Julie Gayet (released on 11 May by Optimum Releasing).

NFT shows Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo

There's a good excuse to make that inevitable trip to the National Film Theatre in London this April. El Topo (1970), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s uncut cult masterpiece will screen at the venue on April 6 and then at cinemas nationwide.

A bizarre, ultra-violent, allegorical Western, EL Topo is set in two halves that have been compared to the Old and New Testaments of the bible. In the first half, Jodorowsky plays a violent, black-clad gunfighter who, accompanied by his naked son, sets off on a murderous mission to challenge four zen masters of gunfighting, and learns from each of them a Great Lesson before they die. In the second half, El Topo sets out to find personal redemption, secluding himself in a subterranean community to learn the ways of peace, but unfortunately death is never far away.

El Topo paved the way for cult favourites such as Eraserhead, The Harder They Come and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were huge fans of the film and pushed Allen Klein (then Beatles manager) to buy it for distribution, and subsequently to finance Jodorowsky’s next film The Holy Mountain (1973) which will also screen at the NFT alongside Fando & Lis (1968). All three films have been digitally restored and remastered, under the close supervision of the director himself, who will give an onstage talk at the NFT on April 13.

Jodorowsky at the NFT+