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Thread: Nyff 2015

  1. #46
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    RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN (Hong Sang-soo 2015)

    This Korean festival darling, whose cinematic parent is Eric Rohmer, never fails to please me, so I didn't mind that this time his film runs to two hours, and they are two halves that tell the same story, with slight variations. As usual, it's an art film director on a trip for an event related to his work, who's more interested in getting drunk and wooing a pretty woman than talking to his fans.



  2. #47
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    THE MEASURE OF A MAN/LA LOI DU MARCHÉ (Stéphane Brizé 2015)

    One of the heavyweights of the festival, in more ways than one. Vincent Lindon's performance, one of this always excellent French actor's most solidly humanistic and profound ones, won him the coveted Best Actor award at Cannes this year. Besides that, the theme and its treatment add up to very heavy, painful stuff. Lindon's character, a laid-off 50-year-old factory heavy equipment operator with a wife and handicapped son to support, must face what may be unbearable moral challenges in a job he's forced to take as big box store security guard.



  3. #48
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    MY GOLDEN DAYS/TROIS SOUVENIRS DE MA JEUNESSE (Arnaud Desplechin 2015)

    A somewhat complicated (but isn't that the way with Desplechin?) description of an off-and-on but intense first love affair, conducted by telephone and letters, going on for years. The complication comes from tying in the male lead with Matthieu Amalric's character from the director's 1997 MY SEX LIFE. . . But for the adolescent romance he introduces two young discoveries (19 and 17), Quentin Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet. The French title means "Three Memories of my Youth," and it's divided into three parts. I was disappointed with the distracting complications of the opening segments, which detract somewhat from the fine latter parts. But there was much to savor in the relationship between Dolmaire and Roy-Lecollinet's characters and their various friends, relatives, and mentors.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-03-2015 at 06:52 AM.

  4. #49
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    WHERE TO INVADE NEXT? (Michael Moore 2015)

    Moore's first documentary since CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY six years ago. He takes off from an idea in SICKO of depicting how in certain other countries, certain things are done way better than in the USA. For instance, in Iceland they jailed and sent far, far away the bankers who wrecked the economy, with a rapid economic comeback; and they have exploited the fact that women, lacking testosterone's "Me-first" effect, are more cooperative and helpful leaders. You should see what schoolchildren in France get to eat for lunch. And in Italy, they give workers literally months of paid vacation every year and send them home for a two-hour lunch with their families every day. The effect is more productivity and better lives. Germany teaches its schoolchildren about its terrible wrongs in the Nazi era. Suppose America did that with its foundation upon genocide and slavery? In Norway jails are like air B&B's and even a mass murderer can get only a 20-year sentence; the result is a low recidivism rate. Portugal has legalized drugs, so there's less crime. And their cops are firmly against the death penalty. And so on and on. Moore is cherry-picking, of course; these countries have their problems. But these are changes that could happen, and the film has many funny and moving moments.


  5. #50
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    BRIDGE OF SPIES (Steven Spielberg 2015)

    Tom Hanks shines as James Donovan, the wily, morally upright New York insurance lawyer who saved Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (a fine Mark Rylance) from execution and later negotiated the US-Soviet swap of Abel for U2 pilot Gary Powers. Magnificent, enjoyable work by Spielberg -- but don't expect the cynicism and complexity of a good spy novel. Coen brothers did a lot of the writing. Great scenes of East Berlin at that Cold War time when the Wall was just going up. Premiere. It opens theatrically 16 Oct.

    I missed the press and public festival screenings of Danny Boyle's STEVE JOBS yesterday but will catch it when it comes out this Friday.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-04-2015 at 09:21 PM.

  6. #51
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    SON OF SAUL/SAUL FIA (László Nemes 2015)

    His name is pronounced "LASS-lo NEH-mish," by the way. This does the unthinkable and depicts the extermination process at Auschwitz. The Béla Tarr-taught director (who worked on Tarr's The Man from London (NYFF 2007) uses Academy ratio to make the protagonist's head and body take up a lot of each frame, and the horrors are often blurred, or small in the background, or heard but not seen. He is a Sonderkommando, one of the Jews forced to carry out the executions and clean up after. But Saul becomes obsessed with finding a rabbi to give proper rites to a boy who may be his illegitimate son, and disregards the upcoming Sonderkommando revolt to do this. Some will find this crazy, trivial, or wrong, the subject matter anyway too much to bear. Contrast Lajos Koltai's 2005 Hungarian film Fateless, which has a happy (if angry) ending. This doesn't. Or does it? Anyway, this is a technically audacious and memorable film and it was not only the single first film in Competition at Cannes this year, but won the Grand Prize there. Not in the 2015 NYFF Main Slate but a "Special Event" and "Film Comment Selects" item.


  7. #52
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    BROOKLYN (John Crowley 2015)

    An Irish story from a Colm Tóibín novel, but a lot of it takes place in the titular borough of New York where a young girl from County Wexford (Saorise Ronan) goes by herself to live and work in 1950 under the protection of an Irish priest (Jim Broadbent) and falls in love with an Italian-American called Tony (Emery Cohn of The Place Beyond the Pines). But then when a death in the family calls her back to Ireland, she feels a strong pull to remain and give up on the new land and the new love.

    In its pared down form by Nick Hornby, Tóibín's story feels too pat, too like a fairy tale to me; it may go down better with the ladies. So low-key it's almost radical, and maybe like an old-fashioned studio picture, there is much that is lovely here. And the acting is excellent.


  8. #53
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    THE ASSASSIN/刺客聶隱娘, (Hou Hsio-hsien 2015)

    Hou's seven-year project to make a wu xia (martial arts) picture, but he's not the right man for the job. He sets out to reinvent the genre, but winds up draining it of all its life and energy. The stasis wins out over the kinesis here. The images are gorgeous but the unfolding of them is too static. Yet his admirers will demur, and the Cannes jury this year gave him the Best Director award. But the 2015 Cannes awards were very weird: Peter Bradshaw called them "baffling."

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-08-2015 at 04:47 PM.

  9. #54
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    STEVE JOBS (Danny Boyle 2015)

    Finally got to see this at its New York theatrical release, having missed the screening. I confess to finding it a disappointment compared to writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher's collaboration on The Social Network (NYFF 2010)and all the dirt I've recently learned about Jobs from Gibney's documentary and Walter Jacobson's biography. I'd expected much more of an acid bath.

    Nonetheless this is a striking film, even with possible Oscar nominations.


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-09-2015 at 06:43 PM.

  10. #55
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    MILES AHEAD (Don Cheadle 2015)

    Don Cheadle's Miles Ahead is fractured and crazy. There is no easy way of summarizing it. It leaves you dazed. Wait, did that happen? Or what part of it did happen? The best parts are the incomprehensible transitions -- Miles Davis, finishing up a six-year fallow period hoed up on his Manhattan apartment doing drugs, leaves a record company elevator -- and enters another decade of his life. Cheadle, whose impersonation (he co-wrote, directed, and stars) has a sly, detached side, turns Miles' last moments before returning to music into an acid-trip gangster movie. Biopic conventions are largely, if not wholly, avoided.

    Herbie Hanccock and Wanye Shorter perform live in a final scene. Hancock's contribution to the film score provides a tremendous imprimatur.

    Closing night film of the 2015 New York Film Festival.


  11. #56
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    2015 NYFF: final ramble (roundup).

    Todd Haynes' Carol I admittedly expected to be great (that was the buzz from Cannes) and it was. Lázslo Nemes' Son of Saul also looms large -- a bold, horrifying film that is a technical tour-de-force. So they are my Palme d'Or and Grand Prix.

    French: I want to rewatch Desplechin's My Golden Years/Trois sourvenirs de ma jeunesse to see if I can make more sense of the framework; the ado love I get. Bidegain's Les Cowboys seemed overwritten. Michel Gondry's Microbe & Gasoline is a charmer and big success for him; may be a hard sell for the US market. Philippe Garrel did it again with In the Shadow of Women/L'Ombre des femmes -- a neat study of jealousy and adultery in beautiful black and white. Stéphane Brizé's The Measure of a Man/La loi du marché is the prizewinner of the set, a heavy social statement about moral integrity and unemployment with a performance by Vincent Lindon that won the Best Actor prize at Cannes this year.

    Asian: A success, a failure, a beautiful bore and an okay-but-could-be-better. Hong Sang-soo's Right Then, Wrng Now is an excellent example of what he does so well. Jia Zhang-ke's Mountains May Depart seemed unconvincing, too in-the-head, not felt and immediate like his great earlier films. Hou Hsio-hsien made a gorgeous wu xia film in The Assassin -- but he is not an action film director and it is a leaden bore, a stinker (which devotees nonetheless adore). The Thai Cannes darling Apichatpong Weerasethekul's Cemetery of Splendor was solid, but not his best work, lacked the magic.

    Hollywood, mainstream. Carol is arguably that too. But while I am not crazy about the NYFF's increasing efforts to promote itself by offering more and more premieres you will soon find in your local cineplex, the choices actually were excellent this year. First the Opening Night Film, Zemeckis' 3D The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His accent and his French and even his tightrope walking are fake, of course, but he does them really, really well and this is as exhilarating as the James Marsh doc Man on Wire. Spielberg (Spielberg is good; we know that) provides a really entertaining Cold War spy-swap tale in Bridge of Spies and I found myself wanting to hug Tom Hanks, he's so damn sterling and admirable. I was disappointed by Danny Boyle's collaboration with Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs and I'll show you what Armond White said about it below; but it is still sophisticated stuff for the cineplex. So is John Crowley's period Irish love story from the Colm Tóibín novel Brooklyn, a bit too low-key and fairytale-ish for me, but beautiful and subtly understated. Then the Closing Night film, Don Cheadle's Miles Ahead, studiously avoiding biopic clichés in a pretty fun, wacko way. And these were all premieres? Gee, I guess they knew what they were doing. I am sorry, I did not like Rebecca Miller's repetitive and dinky Maggie's Plan or see what was so great or innovative about Michael Almereyda's The Experimenter.

    Alien. I guess I am not a real festival person because I was very bored by the Romanian film, Porumboliu's The Treasure, and I thought I hated Miguel Gomes' six-hours-out-of-your-life trilogy Arabian Nights -- till I saw Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, which I really hate. I find it nasty and mean and cruel. I also hated Chantal Ackerman's No Home Movie about the death of her mother and I am sorry because she herself died during the festival. People were crying in the Walter Reade theater. I did not hate Guy Madden's The Forbidden Room. I don't really get Guy Madden, he's not my thing (another failure to be a festival person), but this really impressed me; the technique is dazzling and pretty personal.

    Revivals. I am getting into sidebar items now and there are more and more of them; the Film Society of Lincoln Center can turn out series and sub-festivals at a rate that is breathtaking. I did not see many of them but did re-watch Visconti's Rocco and his Brothers/Rocco e i suoi fratelli after many years. It has lost some of the emotion and seemed a bit long. My friend Aubrey is determinedly retro and his favorite film of the festival was Ernst Lubitsch's 1943 Heaven Can Wait. Sweet! Sorry I missed Hou Hsio-hsien's The Boys from Fengkuei ; I've never seen it and it has sounded like a part of his oeuvre one should know.

    Documentaries. There were a lot of these too, but really the oly one I cared about is Don't Blink: Robert Frank. He is a really important figure people need to know about ant this is a well-made, beautiful film that honors his great The Americans with many beautiful rich black and white images. I think people should cut some slack for Michael Moore, whose Where to Invade Next was part of the festival. His heart is in the right place, and he is just pointing out a lot of specific ways in which the United States could be a whole lot better. He only does this because he loves this country.

    Was this as good a festival as previous years? I do not know. Sometimes some of the films knocked my socks off more than this year. But I do not know if this is in general a less good year for cinema, or the jury erred, or it is a false impression due to the fact that I'm not as thrilled or naive as I was eleven years ago, in 2005, when I watched and was thrilled by my first New York Film Festival. It changes. The people running the show change. It still maintains. It still remains a uniquely great experience for someone who does not go to Sundance, Cannes, Telluride or Toronto. I still want to see The Green Room as well as The Witch: A New England Folktale (Robert Eggers) from Sundance, Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson) from Toronto, and some others. Some of them are coming to US theaters.

    Gratitude. Thanks to all who make this possible, Kent Jones the director, the FSLC selection committee (Dennis Lim, Marian Masone, Gavin Smith, and Amy Taubin), the publicity staff headed by Courtney Ott, David Ninh, and as always, to Glenn Raucher and his staff for running the theaters with humor and skill and dealing with any crazy problem or demand that arises. And thanks to all the volunteers, and all the press and industry people and patrons who attended and whose reactions and conversation make it all worth while.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-25-2015 at 09:05 AM.

  12. #57
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    Armond White on Boyle's Steve Jobs.

    Here is the first 2/3 of White's recent review of the film. I agree totally with his view of the current overvaluation of Jobs as a figure and the failure to recognize that the events that Jobs is credited with fostering would have happened anyway, and in any case, are not modern wonders but unfortunate tendencies toward gadget-addiction and a decline in human interaction.
    The culture’s veneration of Steve Jobs — co-founder of the Apple microcomputer empire, pitchman of every gadgeteer’s dreams — confirms this era’s secular idolatry. The new movie Steve Jobs confirms how bad a big-budget bio-pic can be.

    Half of the film’s impact comes from its pedigree: It is based on the official biography by the prominent journalist Walter Isaacson and directed by the Oscar-winning British filmmaker Danny Boyle from a screenplay by TV potentate Aaron Sorkin. It is as impossible to ignore their collaboration as it was impossible that it would work. These men of the zeitgeist identify with Jobs’s hubris and show hip reverence in line with today’s sycophancy, rather than exploring the cultural quandary of why the world has sold its soul to a manufacturer of sleekly designed products — a new religion disguised as a technological revolution.

    The film’s worshipful triumvirate uses a flashback structure to tell Jobs’s life story as if preserving it in digital-era holy writ. (Boyle likes large-scale graphic displays, mixed-media imagery, and lookee camera movements.) History is recalled — and therefore unquestioned — through three stockholder presentations, years apart (for the Apple computer, the Next, and the iMac), where the iconic Jobs (Michael Fassbender) struts his stuff among mere mortals.

    These presentations are like evangelical tent revivals. Jobs’s showy arrogance and the stockholders’ hosannas evoke Sermon on the Mount rapture. Geeks and investors genuflect before the man who burnished their dreams. Meanwhile, backstage, we see the mess of his private life: He demeans his co-workers, including inventor Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), and his publicist, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), and resists the emotional claims of his out-of-wedlock daughter, Lisa (Makenzie Moss as Lisa at age five, then Perla Haney-Jardine at age 19).

    But what exactly did Jobs do to earn such ceremony? Sorkin’s awful script raises then glides past that question. In his recent films The Social Network and Moneyball, Sorkin created a lives-of-the-saints series geared to tabloid obsession. Jobs’s celebrity becomes Sorkin’s tautology: Jobs is great because he’s great. Big Boss. Supersalesman. Visionary Capitalist. (This mystique helps explain the adoration for Pixar, the digital animation company Jobs sold to the Disney corporation, and why its mediocre, formulaic films are greeted with messianic fealty.)

    --Armond White in National Review, 9 Oct. 2015.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-08-2015 at 08:34 PM.

  13. #58
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    Guy Madden's THE FORBIDDEN ROOM US theatrical release.

    It begins tomorrow, Friday 17 October 2015 in NYC (Film Forum).

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-11-2016 at 10:04 AM.

  14. #59
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    Ed Lachman, cinematographer.



    Here is a YouTube video of an on stage Lincoln Center interview with Edward Lachman, cinematographer, of CAROL and also the recent footage part of the documentary, DON'T BLINK - ROBERT FRANK. Other recent Ed Lachman credits include the Seidl Paradise trilogy, the Haynes's HBO Mildred Pierce miniseries and a new film by Todd Solondz. He was the dp for Haynes's I'm Not There, Solondz
    s Life During Wartime (NYFF 2009) and Far from Heaven. Earlier credits include The Virgin Suicides and Erin Brockovitch. Here ge explains how in each of the "Sirkian" Haynes collaborations he intentionally achieves a different look.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L17i...spXnQjR7L9aPRQ

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-20-2016 at 05:36 PM.

  15. #60
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    IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN/L'OMBRE DES FEMMES (Philippe Garrel)

    US theatrical opening of the film begins in NYC this Friday, 15 January 2016. A Disturbs Films release.

    It opens in New York on January 15, 2016 at the IFC Center and Film Society of Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, and in Los Angeles on January 29 at the Laemmle Royal, followed by a national roll-out.

    Opening Night - Directors' Fortnight, Cannes 2015
    Official Selection - Toronto International Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection - New York Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection - Chicago Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection - AFI Fest 2015
    Cannes debut, French release 27 May 2015; AlloCiné press rating 4.1.



    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-11-2016 at 10:03 AM.

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