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Thread: New York Film Festival 2018 (forum)

  1. #31
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    BURNING / 버닝 (Lee Chang-dong 2018)

    Sexual frustration, class, mystery, envy and revenge in a masterful spinoff of a 1992 Haruki Murakami story blended with Faulkner. One of the 2018 NYFF's true masterpieces.

  2. #32
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    A traumatic early scene in Never Look Away

    Preview: a fine new German film (not in the festival)
    Never Look Away (Florian Henckel von Donnersmark)


    Another great movie I just saw a couple days ago (Sony Pictures Classics): NEVER LOOK AWAY (written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck of The Lives of Others). Three hours long and starring Tom Schilling of A Coffee in Berlin, it traces the life of an artist in Germany from the Thirties to the Sixties and relates to the careers of a number of artists, particularly to Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter. I have to hold my review for theatrical release, either the end of November or early 2019. It is the German entry for Best Foreign Oscar, and it's flawed in a few ways but still great - a splendid film whose treatment of the life of art and the art of the postwar period is worlds beyond the next tumultuous Van Gogh saga, or story of Picasso's women. It's surprising and gratifying to see the great events of the Twentieth Century drawn from the point of view of an important post-war German artist. It's subject is nothing less than modern art's fractured search for meaning in a world of exhausted ideas and shattered feelings.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2018 at 05:25 PM.

  3. #33
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    An introduction to the 56th NYFF from A.O. Scott of the New York Times

    Read it here: CLICK.

    A quote. Why should people attend this festival? he asks. Well, because. . . "We are too easily lulled into complacency by pretentious prestige television, Oscar-thirsty biopics and presold franchises. We need reminders of strangeness and daring, films that don’t just confirm what we already thought we knew. Above all we need to be inoculated against the temptations of nostalgia, to recognize the golden age of right now. . .What I’m saying is that the presence in the New York festival lineup of new work by Claire Denis, Jia Zhangke, Alfonso Cuarón, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Lee Chang-dong and Olivier Assayas is news."

    On Olivier Assayas' Non-Fiction/Doubles vies (reviewed in Filmleaf's Festival Coverage already: "Mr. Assayas’s “Non-Fiction” is in effect a series of arguments — lofty debates about the impact of digital technology on French politics and culture conducted by sophisticated Parisians who occasionally pause from their discourses for a nice meal or a bit of adultery. A French movie, in other words, almost to the point of deliberate and sly self-parody."

    But Juliette Binoche plays it completely straight and relaxed. What about her Claire Denis' High Life, which Binoche is also prominent in? (and which was also just reviewed on this site? It's "a mind-bending science-fiction allegory elegantly accoutered with sex, violence and metaphysical speculation. Genre movies are something of a rarity in the main slate, but Ms. Denis’s daring, dialectical sensibility, her shrewd fusion of the visceral and the cerebral, transcend genre." Which he more or less says, is what good directors always do. Don't they?
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-05-2018 at 08:32 PM.

  4. #34
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    HIGH LIFE (Claire Denis 2018)

    Her first sci-fi film and first in English stars Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson, with squalling babies in space,rape and revenge, masturbation of a lady with very long hair, cryogenic bodies tossed away in space. Typically it is earthy sexy and violent and not like any other.

    ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón 2018).

    Cuarón's brilliant and shattering black and white autobiographical portrait of a well off family and their live-in maids in Mexico City's "Roma" district in 1970-71.

  5. #35
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    A FAITHFUL MAN/L'HOMME FIDÈLE (Louis Garrel 2018)

    Garrel's second outing as director (and star) throws caution to the winds and freely adopts French New Wave mannerisms, voiceovers, Paris settings, cafes, apartments, love affairs - and it works delightfully, thanks to a kid who manipulates the adults (Joseph Engel), and the appeal of the three adult stars, Laetitia Casta, Lily-Rose Depp, Louis Garrel. This goes forward from the young men fighting over a woman in Garrel's first film The Two Friends and deals with a widow and a disappointed man, and a girl who's become a woman and gives in to a crush. Garrel was on hand for a lively Q&A, talking a blue streak in his somewhat makeshift but highly articulate English. Almost as good as the film, as can happen, but doesn't always.

    SHOPLIFTERS (Hirakazu Koreeda 2018).

    This relates to NOBODY KNOWS and Kurosawa's DODESKADEN because it's about Tokyo poverty and desperation and kids, but its focus is on an ersatz family of marginal people that grows warm and real, but hangs by a thread. It came from behind to win the top award, the Palme d'Or, at this year's Cannes. Subtle and insinuating. Certainly one of Koreeda's best - and Japan's Best Foreign Oscar entry. No Q&A. Koreeda sent only a brief subtitled video intro from Tokyo.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-09-2018 at 03:23 PM.

  6. #36
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    ASH IS PUREST WHITE (Jia Zhang-ke 2018)

    A very impressive reworking of romantic themes from Jis's earlier Unknown Pleasures and Still Life, always with the upheavals of 21st-century China in the present, with gangsters, and jianghu codes referenced in the Chinese title, and Jia's muse and wife Zhao Tao more central and powerful than ever, notably paired with Liao Fan as her man. One of the director's masterpieces, fusing his many elements with virtuoso skill.

  7. #37
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    ASAKO I & II (Ryosuke Hamaguchi 2018)

    Hamaguchi's story about a young woman torn between two identical men, a dashing wild one and a practical hard working one, is too conventional and silly to justify its choice for Cannes Competition this year. He needs to do more to live up to the international reputation the five-hour Happy Hour (his seventh film) got him three years ago. But there are delicate or surprising moments, and it's fun to watch the handsome young actor Masahiro Higashide reinvent himself in two contrasting characters, with the same shy baby-faced young woman. She's not quite worth our time.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-13-2018 at 04:10 PM.

  8. #38
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    TRANSIT (Christian Petzold 2018)

    Petzold's eccentric version of Anna Seghers' German 1942 novel about entanglements of refuges in Marseille leaves out World War II and the Holocaust, adds Kafkaesque complexities. It's a disorienting watch, and lacks the director's muse Nina Hoss, but there are haunting passages that reminded me of Patrick Modiano.

    THE TIMES OF BILL CUNNINGHAM (Mark Bozak 2018)

    Another film about the legendary cycling, blue FRench workman jacketed street fashion photographer whose observations were published in the New York Times every Sunday, who died at 87 three years ago. The reason is a lengthy film interview with Bill from 1994 by Bozak, plus Bozak's access to full Bill visual archives through his niece. His contribution is legendary. His austerity was zen-like.

  9. #39
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  10. #40
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    WILDLIFE (Paul Dano 2018)

    (Finally caught it on its last day at Shattuck Berkeley.)

    So low keyed at times you may not realize what a fine package it is, in all aspects, book, acting, images. An adaptation by Dano with Zoe Kazan of the Richard Ford novel set in the early Sixties about a little family that comes apart when the man (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job and goes off to fight wild fires in the mountains while the wife (Carey Mulligan) and 14-year-old son (discovery Ed Oxenbould) must desperately fend for themselves. A splendid debut for Dano.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-22-2018 at 11:04 PM.

  11. #41
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    I liked Paul Dano's movie too; reminds me of something like "Kramer vs Kramer" or "Ordinary People".

    Your headline about the new Coen Bros' movie is applicable to their output, generally speaking. I'm not quoting you verbatim here but the idea is fine craft in the service of nihilism, which is something of little value to me. I was mildly entertained by the film, particularly with the use of language or the wordplay in a couple episodes.

    I'm anxious to see "Roma" because it depicts a world I know quite intimately. I may be too tough a judge of it; too close to the subject.

    "The Other Side of the Wind" is so rich with all kinds of film-history references a lot of (young?) people will totally miss. This movie also has more meaning to me than it does to the average audience. I absolutely love the wat Welles plays near the hazy boundary between fiction and documentary; drama and comedy. Just brilliant film!

  12. #42
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    I agree Wildlife is a very fine film. I think, though, that you are wrong to dismiss the Coens' output so summarily (there is great variety in their work) and you underrate The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, especially the penultimate episode, "The Gal Who Got Rattled," which everybody likes and has tenderness, great attention to period, and fine acting before its dark finale.

    Just found Mike D'Angelo's two tweets on Buster. First:
    Mixed on BUSTER SCRUGGS but "The Gal Who Got Rattled" is my film of the year. Just note-perfect.
    Then he says something I was thinking, how Bill Heck stands out.
    Is it just me or is this Bill Heck fellow in BUSTER SCRUGGS very quietly sensational? Last time I felt such a strong star-is-born feeling was Mackenzie Davis (also opposite Zoe Kazan, come to think of it).
    Heck plays the wagon train leader Billy Knapp who becomes the heroine's would-be savior and suitor. There is nothing cold or nihilistic about that sequence. It's sweet, and a treatise on old-fashioned manners and decency. Sometimes angry and bitter artists (Jonathan Swift, for instance) harbor a passionate tenderness and caring. Would you call Samuel Beckett nihilistic? If so, you'd be wrong.

    Many including Justin Chang seconded D'Angelo's tweet in praise of Bill Heck. Might be good also to listen to Film Comment's podcast on this film.

    It is necessary to see The Other Side and the documentary about it before saying anything, and you're not kidding when you say kids may miss many references, adults too. They have immense fun in the documentary with elaborate references and recollections and asides. After all this, I don't know if I like Orson Welles after all. Of course I do, but I wouldn't want to have to deal with him, and you can see why he had trouble getting his movies financed, or finished. He had to be grand (studio) but he was too indie, he didn't fit. Should write about these for the NYFF coverage but it's a lot to take on.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-26-2018 at 01:01 AM.

  13. #43
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    Why do you say ROMA depicts a world you know intimately? Did you grow up in a posh middle-class Mexico City home?

  14. #44
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    THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (Joel, Ethan Coen 2018)

    Six episodes made for Annapurna Television, then sold to Netflix for internet streaming and limited theatrical release, all in a Western mode, with many of the clichés of the genre, grasping prospectors, gunslingers, frontier towns, a wagon train, attacking Indians, a stagecoach and ladies in need of a man, in varied style but presented as stories from a storybook (mostly written by the Coens over a period of many years, but one by Jack London and one by another writer). They are mostly dark or grim, but one, the longest, is also memorably sweet. Beautifully crafted, like miniatures, with splendid landscapes and fine actors, this film is one of the Coens' best in recent years, and its Metascore is 78; only six other of their films rank higher on this scale. They are Inside Llewyn Davis (93), No Country for Old Men (91) Fargo 85, Blood Simple 81, True Grit 80, A Serious Man 79. (Barton Fink is 69; these don't all make sense.)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-27-2018 at 03:01 AM.

  15. #45
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    Lincoln Center's important Christian Petzold retrospective opens Fri. 30 Nov. 2018

    [press release]
    Christian Petzold: The State We Are In
    Starts Tonight!
    Don't miss our highly anticipated showcase of the acclaimed German master, who joins us in person this weekend for the largest U.S. retrospective of his work to date.

    Weekend highlights include:
    An opening-night sneak preview of NYFF56 hit Transit, featuring a pre-screening reception and director Q&A to follow • Petzold's remarkable debut feature The State I Am In • The critically acclaimed post-WWII drama Phoenix • Berlin Film Festival prizewinner Yella • and much more!



    Nina Hoss in Barbara
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-30-2018 at 03:27 PM.

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