30/01/2008

Sean Young goes into rehab

Rehab really is the word of the 21st century. For those of you who've been wondering about Sean Young, the unforgettable dark-haired star of Blade Runner, decided to go into rehab after drunkenly heckling Julian Schnabel on stage at the Directors Guild of America Awards. We wish her the best of luck and a fabulous comeback because Young may have a drinking problem but she's also got lots of talent.

29/01/2008

Sundance 2008

The Hollywood Reporter has a fine overview of the Sundance festival 2008 while Green Cine has an extensive interview with Gregg Araki, whose stoner film Smiley Face showed at the festival.

And more Araki from InArtMedia:

Coen brothers's triumph at Screen Actors Guild Awards

Reuters has reported that Ethan and Joel Coen's Western "No Country For Old Men" won the best cast ensemble award, the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.

Full story +

25/01/2008

Berlin 2008 line-up + Buñuel

The Berlin Film Festival, the Berlinale, has announced the 2008 line-up of films included in the Panorama section. Another major attraction of the event that starts on the 7th of February and runs until the 17th is the Luis Buñuel retrospective. Here's an interview with Rainer Rother about the great film director.

Everyone's talking about...

Michael Gondry's Be Kind Rewind

Video: Lost in Beijing

The International Herald Tribune has a nice, informative short documentary about the realist Chinese film Lost in Beijing (Ping guo, Dir: Yu Li, 2007), which will be shown at the Berlin Film Festival next month. You can watch it here.

24/01/2008

The mythologising power of death



In a bout of morbid star-struck curiosity, I have been following the hourly updates on Heath Ledger's death two days ago. In this age of participative, social media, the flood of information and video images on the internet creates a compelling narrative. Small bits of information are tossed about - was the rolled-up banknote found in the flat smeared with drugs? A few hours later the answer comes: no).

Parallels to James Dean and Rover Phoenix were inevitable, but something about the overexposure and forensic imagery leaked to the media - such as the body bag being trolleyed out of the SoHo loft as hundreds of cameras took pictures - threaten the mythic longevity of a forming star like Ledger. Whereas in the past such images were produced and filed away by the police, now it's the general public, in its eagerness to take part in the theatre of fame, that generates and propagates them. The unfortunate and inevitable consequence of media overload is ephemeralness.

Still, death never fails in its canonical powers. Alongside the tabloid frenzy, more 'serious' publications quickly drafted in their writers to pay homage to the 'brooding' actor, often including warnings about the callouness of modern celebrity. Here's a pick of what's been published already:

Health Ledger, vulnerable male (Los Angeles Times)
We only had a glimpse of what might have been...(Independent)
Heath Ledger and Hollywood's fallen stars (Telegraph)

Juliette Lewis and Vincent Gallo lend their voices to Swedish project

Via ATMO: Those of you who have been missing Juliette Lewis on the screen since she swapped film for rock music with her band The Licks, worry not: the Natural Born Killers star was visiting Stockholm recently to add voice to the female protagonist in a dystopian sci-fi hybrid animation called Metropia (pictured), directed by Tarik Saleh. The male protagonist will be brought to life thanks to the vocal powers of Vincent Gallo, of Buffalo 66 fame (which graces the cover of Kamera Books title on Independent Cinema) and the Brown Bunny infamy. Juliette Lewis and Vincent Gallo on the same project? Sounds pretty dystopian to me.

23/01/2008

Suicidal trend in Sundance

Reuters has published an intriguing piece about the suicidal trend sweeping Sundance 2008. Not that festival attendants are killing themselves in boredom. No, it's something else. Apparently, more than 15 entries this year have "characters contemplating, attempting or actually killing themselves".

Heath Ledger dies at 28

Brokeback Mountain star, Heath Ledger, was found dead in New York yesterday. The cause of his death has not been established. The actor was found lying naked on his bed by the housekeeper and massage therapist with prescription sleeping pills nearby.

New on Kamera: festival opportunities

There's a festival in France and another festival in Croatia currenltly accepting submissions. Find out more here.

19/01/2008

Agnès Varda's Region 1 DVD Boxset

January started off on a good note for American fans of Agnès Varda. Criterion is releasing a DVD boxset called 4 By Agnès Varda, which includes Le bonheur, Cléo from 5 to 7, Le Pointe Courte and Vagabond. Let's hope a similar Region 2 release takes place sometime soon as there is an alarming absence of Varda's films on this DVD format.

18/01/2008

New on Kamera: Independent Exposure

Independent Exposure is accepting submissions of short video, film and digital-media works of 15 minutes or less and are seeking narrative, artistic, humorous, dramatic, animation, documentary, experimental, alternative, avant-garde, ambient, music videos, and underground works of all genres, formats, and styles. Entry fee is US$5. The main prize is a Panasonic AG-HSC1U 1/4" 3-CCD High Definition Video Camera. Deadline is 29 February.

More +

Nick Broomfield in discussion at Curzon Soho

Documentary-maker Nick Broomfield will be discussing his new film, Battle for Hadita, at the Curzon Soho next Sunday, 20 January at 12 pm.

About the film: In November 2005 in the Iraqi city of Haditha, 24 men, women and children were allegedly shot by four US Marines in retaliation for the death of a Marine killed by a roadside bomb. Broomfield’s latest work follows in the vein of his previous fiction film Ghosts in dramatizing real events, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close up to the action. Bursting with powerful imagery, Broomfield’s disturbingly realistic cinematography imagines the circumstances that provoked the slaughter, finding compassion and humanity amidst the brutality.

Sundance 2008



The 2008 edition of the Sundance festival kicked off yesterday with a presentation by its founder Robert Redford. Widely considered the premier showcase of U.S. and international independent film, the festival began in 1978 as part of the Utah/U.S. film festival when it focused primarily on the presentation of retrospective films and filmmaker seminars. However, it also featured a national competition aimed at drawing attention to emerging American films made outside the Hollywood system. In 1981, the Festival moved to Park City, Utah, and grew to include documentaries and short films along with its programme of dramatic features.

In 1985, the event added international films to its programmes and became a part of Sundance Institute, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1981 by Redford to cultivate new work in film and theatre. The move provided the Festival with year-round administration, financial backing, and a network of contacts, and Sundance Institute gained a powerful vehicle for the presentation of new work by U.S. and international independent filmmakers. In 1991, the Festival was officially renamed Sundance Film Festival.


17/01/2008

New on Kamera: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Update alert: Steven Yates gives us the lowdown on Cristian Mingiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamini si 2 Zile), the latest winner from Romania.

14/01/2008

Edward Burns favours internet over traditional distribution

Via Digital Spy: Edward Burns has released his new movie on the internet because he believes it will make more money. The 40-year-old is convinced that making Purple Violets available on iTunes for $12.99 is more lucrative than releasing it in cinemas.

Full story +

13/01/2008

RIP Vampira

I just got this sad news in my inbox courtesy of the editor of RUE MORGUE magazine Jen Vuckovic:

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Maila Nurmi, who died in her sleep several days ago. She was 86. Her dear friend Dana Gould contacted me a few minutes ago to give me the unfortunate news. He tells me she passed away peacefully, of natural causes. Dave Alexander conducted an interview with Nurmi (very likely her last) just prior to her passing and, as such, we will be publishing a memorial along with the interview in the March issue of Rue Morgue.

Born on December 21st, 1921, Nurmi (a.k.a Vampira) was the original glamour ghoul, late night host of 1950s television and, of course, star of Ed Wood’s famous cinematic turkey Plan 9 From Outer Space. She will be dearly missed.
Maila Nurmi 1921 - 2008

This will be sad news to any fan of the Ed Wood cult classic PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Vampira was still an in-demand attendee at cult film functions and, of course, was portrayed by Lisa Marie in Tim Burton's 1994 classic ED WOOD (still Johnny Depp's best film).

RIP Vampira and thanks for playing a part in a B-movie history.

Calum Waddell

12/01/2008

Screening: Argument (1978)

Rare cinema viewing opportunity! A double-bill of screenings showing Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall's feature-length film, Argument (1978, pictured), followed by a presentation of a new work by Paris-based artist Aurélien Froment.

6.30 pm: Argument
Argument is a dense and provocative feature-length essay examining one issue of the New York Times magazine to investigate the ideology of news, the language of fashion and the construction of masculinity.

8.30 pm: Aurélien Froment presents a new video work.
Froment's work deals with film as a metaphor, the provenance of images and sleight of hand.

Thursday 17 January
6.30 – 9.30 pm Goethe Institut 50 Princes Gate Exhibition Road
London, SW7 2PH

Tickets from:
Serpentine Gallery Lobby Desk: 020 7402 6075

07/01/2008

Watch: IlluminAzione by Corrado Bungaro (2007)

This video was the winner of the International Festival of 1 Minute Videos last year. Very charming and original.

Watch video.

Bunuel at the Barbican

Nothing like Bunuel films to see through bleak January. Here's the programme:

Sunday 13 January
The Milky Way (PG) (France/Italy 1968 Dir. Luis Buñuel 102 min)
On a bizarre pilgrimage from Paris to a holy Spanish shrine, two down-and-outs encounter various characters and explore the mysteries of Catholic theology. Buñuel’s startling critique of religious dogma.

Sunday 20 January
Diary of a Chambermaid (18) (France/Italy 1964 Dir. Luis Buñuel 98 min)
Jeanne Moreau stars as the stunning and ambitious maid who obtains a job with a provincial French family, and causes chaos in the home. A penetrating social satire with Buñuel at his most eloquent.

Sunday 27 January
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (15) (France 1972 Dir. Luis Buñuel 105 min)
A group of wealthy middle class friends gather at a country house, but their host is strangely absent, and all their attempts to dine together are mysteriously frustrated. Michel Picolli, Delphine Seyrig, Fernanando Rey plus the wonderful Bulle Ogier turn in superb performances in a hilarious satire on bourgeois codes and manners.

Sunday 3 February
The Phantom of Liberty (18) (France 1974 Dir. Luis Buñuel 104 min)
Monica Vitti and Michel Picolli reflect on the meaning of life in a sequence of Pythonesque events moving from the nineteenth century through to contemporary Paris. Buñuel’s penultimate film stirs many of his favourite passions from anti-clericism to the attack on bourgeois values, all couched within a comic surrealism laden with memorable images and performances.

Sunday 10 February
That Obscure Object of Desire (15) (France/Spain 1977 Dir. Luis Buñuel 103 min)
Buñuel’s final film tells the story of a maid who refuses to yield to the amorous advances of a rich businessman, but keeps him hanging on in hope. Fernando Rey is the victim under her spell, whilst Conchita the maid is played by both Carole Bouquet and Angela Molena, portraying the dual sides of her character.

04/01/2008

Sean Penn to head Cannes jury in 2008

Actor and director Sean Penn has been named head of the jury of the 2008 Cannes International Film Festival, the organisation of the event announced yesterday. The festival will taken place between 14 and 25 May.

Penn's latest directorial project is the film Into the Wild, based on Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book and is considered a strong candidate for an Oscar for Best Film of 2007.

Aki Kaurismäki's actor Markku Peltola dies at 51

Finnish actor Markku Peltola, who won international recognition because of his role in director Aki Kaurismaki's 2002 movie The Man Without a Past, died early Monday at the age 51. Kaurismaki's film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival in 2002. Peltola also had supporting parts in Kaurismaki's 1999 movie Juha and Drifting Clouds from 1996.

Coincidentally, Kamera last week published a review of a DVD package with some of Kaurismäki's films which you can read here.

New on Kamera: opportunity for African filmmakers

The Africa in Motion film festival (AiM), which takes place annually in October at Edinburgh's Filmhouse, is inviting African filmmakers to submit short films for a new AiM competition. Find out more here.

02/01/2008

The smoke-less screen

2008 has got off to a smoke-free start in France. The smoking ban in the country has taken effect today as authorities look to curb the widespread habit among the French (a quarter of the population puffs). We're all for health, of course, but does the ban mean that French cinema has lost one of its most iconic props? The films coming out in 2009 and set in contemporary France will probably give us a clue.

Gawker launches into sci-fi

The ever-expanding Gawker blogging empire today launched its latest title, i09, a blog dedicated to all things sci-fi, futurism and all-out silliness. And that's good news for film lovers too as the blog includes a film section that's full of sci-chedelic stuff. Beam yourself up.