Monday, June 6, 2016

A Mikio Naruse Companion - now online

A few years ago, I mentioned that I'd compiled my short blurbs on the films of Mikio Naruse into a single document. Since then, I've been putting quite a lot of effort into turning that document into a real book. The end result is almost completely rewritten and more than double the length of the original, with a new introductory essay. It's still of modest length for a book (42,000 words), but I feel as if I've given Naruse my best shot and the most complete examination that I've afforded any filmmaker.

My efforts to publish the book were faint and without issue. So I've put the whole thing online, which I'm fine with. Hope it's of some use!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Manhattan One-Week-Run Premieres

Here are my favorite films that played at least one week in Manhattan for the first time in 2015, in approximate order of preference:
  1. The Mend (John Magary, USA)
  2. Something, Anything (Paul Harrill, USA)
  3. L for Leisure (Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn, USA)
  4. Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, India)
  5. Felix & Meira (Maxime Giroux, Canada)
  6. Carol (Todd Haynes, USA)
  7. Theeb (Naji Abu Nosar, Jordan/UK)
  8. Casa Grande (Fellipe Barbosa, Brazil) 
  9. Arabian Nights: Volume Two, The Desolate One (Miguel Gomes, Portugal)
  10. Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story (Michael Almereyda, USA)
  11. Involuntary (Ruben Ostlund, Sweden)
  12. Veteran (Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea)
  13. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, USA)
  14. Two Shots Fired (Martín Rejtman, Argentina)
  15. Heaven Knows What (Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie, USA)
  16. Ned Rifle (Hal Hartley, USA)
  17. Aloha (Cameron Crowe, USA)
  18. Arabian Nights: Volume Three, The Enchanted One (Miguel Gomes, Portugal)
  19. Gabriel (Lou Howe, USA)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Roundtable on Buster Keaton's Short Films

In March 2006, UK home video distributor Masters of Cinema organized a roundtable on Buster Keaton's short films, for publication in its box set Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films 1917-1923, which was released in October of that year. Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Brad Stevens and I went through Keaton's work film by film and generated a pile of opinionated commentary that Craig Keller stitched together into a 114-page feature for the box set booklet. Nine years later, we've been granted permission to put the roundtable online, at keatonroundtable.wordpress.com.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Police

On the occasion of the Museum of the Moving Image's retrospective of the films of Maurice Pialat from October 16 to November 1, the UK home video distributor Masters of Cinema has granted permission for me to post essays originally written for the DVD booklets of MoC's Pialat releases.  This 2008 essay on Pialat's 1983 film Police (screening Sunday, October 18 at 4 pm) takes a particular interest in the contributions of screenwriter Catherine Breillat.

À Nos Amours

On the occasion of the Museum of the Moving Image's retrospective of the films of Maurice Pialat from October 16 to November 1, the UK home video distributor Masters of Cinema has granted permission for me to post essays originally written for the DVD booklets of MoC's Pialat releases.  This 2010 essay on Pialat's 1983 film À nos amours (screening Friday, October 23 at 7 pm) serves pretty well as a general overview of my thoughts on Pialat.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Frivolous Lists - Canada

The Toronto Film Festival just published its list of the all-time top ten Canadian films. I see at least one favorite film in there, and other directors I admire; but if I were making the list (using the one-film-per-director rule that such surveys tend to enforce, with Cronenberg as the big loser thereby), it would look like this:

1. The Tracey Fragments (Bruce McDonald, 2007)
2. La Face cachée de la lune (Robert Lepage, 2003)
3. Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)
4. Blood Relatives (Claude Chabrol, 1977)
5. La Donation (Bernard Émond, 2009)
6. C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2005)
7. Les Bons Débarras (Francis Mankiewicz, 1980)
8. Paper Route (Robert Frank, 2002)
9. Tower (Kasik Radwanski, 2012)
10. Next of Kin (Atom Egoyan, 1984)
Honorable Mention: Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)     

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Retrospective of my films at Eastman House, June 12-27, 2015

Eastman House in Rochester, NY is hosting a retrospective of my movies in June 2015. I got to choose three movies by other filmmakers to accompany my three screenings; one of these is the U.S. premiere of Paul Negoescu's excellent A Month in Thailand. Screenings are on Fridays and Saturdays over three weeks

Friday, June 12th, 8:00 pm: The Unspeakable Act (2012)

Saturday, June 13th, 8:00 pm: A Month in Thailand  (2012, Paul Negoescu)

Friday, June 19th, 8:00 pm: All the Ships at Sea (2004)

Saturday, June 20th, 7:00 pm: Men in War (1957, Anthony Mann)

Friday,/ June 26th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm: dinner-and-movie special event (I don't necessarily recommend that people eat before seeing Honeymoon)

Friday, June 26th, 8:00 pm: Honeymoon (1998)

Saturday, June 27th, 8:00 pm: My Night at Maud's (1969, Eric Rohmer)

Thanks to Jurij Meden for programming this retrospective!