The old and the new coexist in Bergamo

Bergamo Film Meeting 2019 twitter

[…] In addition to showing the films on pristine 35mm prints, the festival also invited the man himself. At 74 years of age, Jean-Pierre Léaud making the trip and introducing a few of the films is no small feat. Being in the presence of an actor practically synonymous with the French New Wave and whose work has been so influential on cinema at large was an immense privilege that most cinephiles can only dream of.

Few film personalities have a career that spans so much of film history, either temporally or geographically speaking, but BFM tends to pick similarly important artists as their focus every year. In 2018, the festival was dedicated to Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann, who was present, as well. The 2017 edition focused on Miloš Forman, and 2016 showcased the work of Hungarian director Miklós Jancsó. In 2014, Dirk Bogarde was the object of a large retrospective.

Full piece on Seventh Row

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“I wanted to give faces to the refugees:” Mahamat-Saleh Haroun on A Season in France

A Season in France twitter

[…] 7R: The children’s dialogue is very clear and sharp, but they’re still believable as children. Everything around them is a little strange and intense, which, in turn, gives an unusual intensity to everything they say and do. 

M-S H: You know, when you’re a child refugee, having gone through this tragedy as a child, there’s a certain point where you become very aware of changes. You observe. At the slightest change, you tell yourself, “Something is going to happen.” Because you’re used to a certain instability where the smallest sign, the tiniest silence from your parents worries you.

Full interview on Seventh Row

A Clockwork Orange and fashion: Why the droogs never go out of style

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[…] Alex DeLarge’s subversive blurring of class and gender signs will be relevant as long as class and gender structures persist. But it’s perhaps even more pertinent to fashion designers looking for new definitions of beauty season after season. Alex’s own play with notions of chic (upper-class) and vulgarity (working- or lower-class), and with the codes of femininity and masculinity, echoes the reworking and re-appropriation of symbols that is at the centre of many fashion designers’ innovative work.

Full article on BFI

Pet Sematary

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[…] The new Pet Sematary, the second film adaptation of King’s 1983 novel of the same name, is at its most thrilling when it follows the same unwavering dedication to terror as the source text and the original film. On the gore and jump-scare front, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s film cannot be faulted.

The writers and directors clearly understand that the premise – a cemetery that brings back to life those that are buried in it – would be laughable if the effects of said resting place were anything less than horribly grisly. Brief but shocking moments of extreme violence (which shall not be spoiled here) convince us that, as the tagline puts it, sometimes dead is better.

Full review on Little White Lies

Christian Petzold discusses Transit

Transit twitter

[…] 7R: In the film, we know that in other cities, off-screen, people are being arrested, killed, and put into concentration camps. This isn’t happening, or at least not yet, in Marseille, but there is still an anxiety running through the film: the unsettling fact that we don’t know anything about Georg; the odd sensation that the time period is uncertain; and the strange anonymity of the city. Were you trying, through choices of costumes, setting, and character, to give a sense of this strange anxiety? 

CP: […] There’s this quotation by the German philosopher Theodor Adorno that says: “When we ask ourselves what Hegel means to us today, this is a bad question. We have to ask: what do we mean before Hegel?” I think this opens a door between past and present.

In our contemporary times, I’m in Marseille with refugees from North Africa, who are living there without papers in an illegal way. And at the same time, we have those plaques on the houses about people who lived there in 1942, who were in a situation where they wanted to leave Marseille. I had this idea of a meeting between this historical stream of refugees who wanted to leave Europe, and these refugees coming from North Africa who want to go to Europe to find their luck. There are these two movements linking the two periods.

Full interview on Seventh Row

‘My films are portraits; I try to make my characters live.’ Mia Hansen-Løve on Maya

Maya twitter

[…] 7R: As you mentioned, your characters are often quite shy, closed-off people. Here, the character is traumatised by his experience, and everyone tells him that he needs to talk about it. By the end of the film, he hasn’t really talked about it at all, but he feels better. 

MHL: Yes. That is the movement of the film. It’s this force, a bit mysterious and obscure, that we have in ourselves — which is also the force of vocation — which might not be stronger than ourselves, but is definitely stronger than a lot of things. In a lot of my films, actually, my characters overcome obstacles which might appear insurmountable.

Full interview on Seventh Row

“For me, cinema is where we can speak to our own fragility and vulnerability:” Mikhaël Hers discusses Amanda

Mikhaël Hers Amanda twitter

[…] 7R: The terrorist attack is central to the film’s plot, but it doesn’t occur for quite a long time in the film. How did you decide where in those characters’ lives you would start telling their story? 

MH: I’ve always had this fear of a tragic event that cracks the everyday, that changes it completely. A lot in this film was about the editing. I had to establish a situation long enough for the viewers to get attached to the characters, to their everyday lives.

At the same time, I didn’t want to create something that was too long and which would create a queasy, uncomfortable wait. These days, when people go to the cinema, they know what’s going to happen in the film. I didn’t want to create something that was falsely long, or to create this sort of uncomfortable atmosphere where we just wonder, “When is the attack going to happen?” It had to be just long enough for the viewers to familiarise themselves with the everyday lives of the characters. That was done in the writing and in the editing.

Full interview on Seventh Row

The Aftermath

 

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“[…] With just these three characters, The Aftermath thus elegantly builds a complex image of the contradictions and tensions at play during this specific time in history. The pressure that all three protagonists are under feels genuinely affecting, as the film knows to linger on the morally thorny and painful moments that its story entails. At no moment does it anxiously look for an easy way out of that discomfort, or resort to empty messages of love and hope.”

Full review on Little White Lies

Birds of Passage co-director Ciro Guerra on genre, tragedy, and hope

Ciro Guerra on Birds of Passage twitter

[…] 7R: You mention genres, and Birds of Passage seems to fit into the genre of the gangster film. Yet I have never seen a gangster film like this before, one that really goes to the origin of the tragedy at the centre of it — namely, capitalism. 

CGu: The interesting thing about the gangster film is that the reason why they were so important and popular, is because they were really about the evolution of society: how we have evolved into a capitalistic society. Capitalism comes in the most violent way.

In Birds of Passage, we show our experience of the arrival of capitalism: Colombia was a rural country, and we were forced to make the transition to a modern, urban country in a very violent way, in 15 years. In other societies, it was more gradual. That’s why you don’t have that many gangster films in Europe — the societies there have evolved over several hundreds of years, through centuries. In America, it was violent, over the course of very little time. So gangster films really resonate with the savage nature of capitalism.

Cristina Gallego on fate and tradition in Birds of Passage

Cristina Gallego on Birds of Passage twitter

[…] 7R: The film reproduces typical tropes of the gangster film. But unlike other films of that genre, Birds of Passage doesn’t show the family’s rise to success as something positive or impressive. We’re not completely in favour of these characters succeeding.

CGa: We wanted to build this complex family without idealising them. We wanted to show that they were unable to escape from their destiny. Throughout cinema history, in the gangster war, we Colombians have always been represented as killers, drug dealers, or terrorists — all of these images associated with Scarface or Pablo Escobar. This imagery was something we were not comfortable with. But at the same time, we cannot say that we were the good guys; I think that we are complex like all human beings. We wanted to show this complexity in the characters within this family.

These are not events that happened only when the marijuana arrived. It could have been triggered by something completely unrelated to drugs. What made it happen was the arrival of savage capitalism. This is what destroys the family and their traditions in the film.

Full interview on Seventh Row