With no less than four non-American directors making their English-language debuts in competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the strain from the unfortunate state of worldwide film funding has been felt more than ever at this year’s festival.
Tomorrowland is a folly and a failure, though there is something touching in its failure, tied as it is to the vision and personality of Walt Disney himself. No less than the Brook Farm and Oneida settlers, Disney was part of an American tradition of Utopian ambition.
“It is about poetry—my films are in the realm of poetry not sociology. I always say my films aren't about realism they are about truth—there is a poetry that transcends the concrete, the plastic superficial level. I am fascinated by corpses, I am fascinated by violence.”
The social commentary here is broad, earnest, and welcome; the trick is that Miller and his cowriters have found a way to work these loftier concerns into what is basically an extended, 120-minute chase sequence, and to generate images that speak eloquently in the absence of dialogue.
A film like Martin Rejtman’s Two Shots Fired—if there is another film like Two Shots Fired—encourages critics to talk about the radical power of narrative digression. This assumes, of course, that a film has a centralized narrative to begin with . . .
The first half of the film moves in simple chronological order, but as Saint Laurent begins to break down emotionally, so too does the film’s careful construction, entering the subject’s point of view and moving fluidly through past, present, and future.
Touching the Screen
Alien: Isolation’s ingenuity as a work that adapts a film to a video game is in its tacit acknowledgment that the player knows what is going to happen in this universe. It’s a retread of the original film, but one that is aware it is a retread.
If the Maysles’ now legendary 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter were released today, how would it be received? Would 21st century audiences and critics, grown accustomed to nonfiction filmmaking obsessed with dotting i’s and crossing t’s, soak up the film’s hazy ambiguities?
The film is a comedy of camera mismanagement in which every 1.85:1 aspect ratio framing is ever so precisely wrong—or fails, rather, to be in the “right” place. Watching it, one is acutely aware of the thin line that separates classical screen grammar from gobbledygook . . .
It is of tantamount importance that Ava is a woman, that all previous iterations created by Nathan were women, and that they are, as conscious, female humanoids, under the subjugation of their creator, who doesn’t see this as problematic because he views them as less than.
Rather than pursue an argument against the ascendancy of widescreen TV, or against television’s 21st-century golden age, I’d instead like to direct your attention to a time when ambitious television shows didn’t have recourse to the widescreen mode, distinguishing themselves within the 4:3 standard.
Face originated as part of a program of cinematic projects commissioned by and filmed in the Louvre . . . virtually each shot is an autonomous set piece, not so much building blocks in a linear storyline as visual-aural objects whose splendor works to mitigate the pervasive mood of despair.
On the occasion of Museum of the Moving Image’s Tsai Ming-liang retrospective, presented with support from Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, we created this short film about the work of the great Taiwanese director. His movies may be spare and melancholy, but they make us feel anything but empty.