The Happiness of the Katakuris is Japanese provocateur Takashi Miike’s deliciously bizarre song-and-dance remake of the darkly comic Korean film The Quiet Family, telling the story of a family of innkeepers whose guests keep dying and need to be disposed of.
Join us for our season finale and wrap celebration on March 29!
With our final film we want to thank YOU, our wonderful, loyal, and adventurous audience, with a special wrap celebration at the Globe Cinema. Doors open and food served at 5:00 PM. Make sure to stay afterward for our door prize giveaways and conversation in the upstairs lobby!
JOHANNA D'ARC OF MONGOLIA | Dir. Ulrike Ottinger | 1989 | 165 min
Pre-screening reception at 5:00 PM, film begins at 6:00 PM
Oscillating between modes of lavish theatricality and patient ethnography, Ulrike Ottinger’s kaleidoscopic film Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia renders cultural contact with a dazzling, feminized, and above all singular vision.
Set against the rolling landscapes of the Trans-Siberian railway, Ottinger introduces us to an idiosyncratic band of travelers, including Lady Windermere (Delphine Seyrig, Jeanne Dielman, Last Year at Marienbad), a high-society intellectual and polyglot; several performers, all from wildly different theatre traditions (including Broadway, Russian, and Yiddish); a mousy German schoolteacher (Irm Hermann); and an adventurous backpacker (Inés Sastre). When the train arrives in Inner Mongolia however, they are taken captive by a group of all-female Mongolian warriors, led by Princess Ulan Iga (Xu Re Huar). Captives though they are, the travelers are subject to “sacred laws of hospitality”, finding themselves as guests, and before long, participants in a radically different conception of society.
A lush, poetic, and playful film, Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia marks a turning point in Ulrike Ottinger’s career, between the colourful, carnivalesque films of her early career and the rigorous, observational documentaries of her later career. Calgary Cinematheque is proud to present a film from an underseen, wildly inventive, and vital voice in queer German cinema.
Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia is the fifth and final selection in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series, and the final film of the 2017/18 season.
After our screening, stick around for our door prize giveaways. You could win one of the following:
- A pair of tickets to Alberta Theatre Projects' hockey and dance extravaganza Glory,
- A $50 gift certificate to the Criterion Collection,
- A five-film punch pass to Calgary Cinematheque, valid for our future programming
We'll also be serving some sugary treats in the lobby afterward, so stay and chat films with us! We'd love to hear what you thought about the film, the series, or the season.
ZAMA | Dir. Lucrecia Martel | 2017 | 115 min
Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.
Lucrecia Martel’s long awaited cinematic return Zama is a feast for the senses. Based on Antonio di Benedetto’s classic 1956 Argentinean book of the same name, Martel has stamped her unique voice on the material and elevated proceedings by packing the film with cinematic and literary references. As a result, Zama brings fresh insights to the colonial narrative.
In the late 18th century, Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is an officer of the Spanish crown stationed in a remote South American town. He patiently goes about his daily tasks but his heart is set on a move to a more desired posting. Soon he realizes that in order to get his wish, he must put up with whatever is thrown his way, even if it comes at the cost of personal humiliation. To complicate matters, he slowly starts lusting after a noblewoman Luciana (Lola Dueñas, Broken Embraces, Volver) and that further torments him. Finally, there is the constant dread of Vicuña Porto, a famed bandit whose appears to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The heat, the lust, and the threat of Vicuña Porto all slowly start to unravel Zama to a point where reality, myth, and dreams collide.
Stunningly shot and boasting a hypnotic score, Zama is an immersive cinematic experience unlike any film made in the last few years!
Note: Zama is Martel’s first film since 2008's The Headless Woman, a film that was shown as part of Calgary Cinematheque’s Focus series on “21st Century Cinema of Argentina”.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina 2017 - Nominated (Award of the Argentinean Academy, Best Film | Lucrecia Martel, Best Director | Lucrecia Martel, Best Actor | Daniel Giménez Cacho, Best Supporting Actor | Juan Minujín, Best Screenplay, Adaptation | Lucrecia Martel, Best Cinematography | Rui Poças, Best Editing | Karen Harley, Miguel Schverdfinger, Best Art Direction | Renata Pinheiro, Best Costume Design | Julio Suárez, Best Make Up | Marisa Amenta, Alberto Moccia, Best Sound | Guido Berenblum)
Seville European Film Festival 2017 - Won (Special Jury Award | Lucrecia Martel
Zama is the fifth selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN | Dir. Alan J. Pakula | 1976 | 138 min
Two Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), research the botched 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex. With the help of a mysterious source, code-named Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), the two reporters make a connection between the botched crime and a White House staffer, following the money all the way to the top.
All the President’s Men is the final film that forms our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about this series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “In 1976, Gordon Willis and Alan J. Pakula tackled the story of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two Washington Post journalists responsible for breaking news of the Watergate scandal. A mix of newsreels, newspaper headlines, and pre-recorded voice-over cumulate as the two reporters dig deeper and deeper into Nixon’s conflicting presidential campaign. Themes formalize into visual flares, illuminating scenes and sentiments of our main characters. A dim parking garage quickly becomes a busy and sterile newsroom as “Deep Throat’s” clues make their way into the light of day; likewise, a spiraling camera emulates the abyss of information as Woodward and Bernstein sift through names in the congressional library. This is Willis’ way of thickening the narrative, a perfect example of his timeless dexterity.”
To read the full Whitepaper click HERE.
Academy Awards, USA 1977 - Won (Oscar, Best Actor in a Supporting Role | Jason Robards, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium | William Goldman, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration | George Jenkins, George Gaines, Best Sound | Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Rick Alexander (as Dick Alexander), James E. Webb), Nominated (Oscar, Best Picture | Walter Coblenz, Best Actress in a Supporting Role | Jane Alexander, Best Director | Alan J. Pakula, Best Film Editing | Robert L. Wolfe)
Golden Globes, USA 1977 - Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director - Motion Picture | Alan J. Pakula, Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture | Jason Robards, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture | William Goldman)
BAFTA Awards 1977 - Nominated (BAFTA Film Award, Best Actor | Dustin Hoffman, For Marathon Man, Best Cinematography | Gordon Willis, Best Direction | Alan J. Pakula, Best Film, Best Film Editing | Robert L. Wolfe, Best Production Design/Art Direction | George Jenkins, Best Screenplay | William Goldman, Best Sound Track | Milton C. Burrow, James E. Webb, Les Fresholtz, Arthur Piantadosi, Rick Alexander, Best Supporting Actor | Martin Balsam, Best Supporting Actor | Jason Robards)
American Cinema Editors, USA 1977 - Nominated (Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film | Robert L. Wolfe)
Directors Guild of America, USA 1977 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Alan J. Pakula)
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1976 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Supporting Actor | Jason Robards)
National Board of Review, USA 1976 - Won (NBR Award, Best Film, Best Director | Alan J. Pakula, Best Supporting Actor | Jason Robards)
National Film Preservation Board, USA 2010 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1977 - Won (NSFC Award, Best Film
Best Supporting Actor | Jason Robards), Nominated (NSFC Award, Best Director | Alan J. Pakula)
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1977 - Won (NYFCC Award, Best Film, Best Director | Alan J. Pakula, Best Supporting Actor | Jason Robards)
Online Film & Television Association 2017 - Won (OFTA Film Hall of Fame, Motion Picture)
Writers Guild of America, USA 1977 - Won (WGA Award (Screen), Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium | William Goldman)
All the President's Men is the sixth selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
THE PARALLAX VIEW | Dir. Alan J. Pakula | 1974 | 102 min
Investigative reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) discovers that the assassination of a US senator wasn’t an isolated incident. His investigation leads him to suspect the Parallax Corporation was involved and soon, Frady finds himself in a larger than life conspiracy.
The Parallax View is the second “Willis” film that forms our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about this series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “Gordon Willis carefully dissects the screen, relegating action to miniscule but sterilely lit portions of his frame. These highly dichotomous compositions lead us to the most literal and significant interpretations, something he has mastered and recurrently exercises for maximal impact. Joseph Frady (Warren Beatty) a journalist on the run divulges classified and dangerous information to his editor Bill Rintels (Hume Cronyn) in his tiny glass office, a vivarium floating in a dark newspaper room. Frady, who has penetrated an elite assassin’s recruitment facility, follows them into the shadows where they carry out their orders robotically. Their world is opaque and all consuming; likewise, Willis’s darkness gradually strangles the light into submission. The second of three collaborations between himself and Alan J Pakula, The Parallax View (1974) synthesizes the most politically subversive themes with finely tuned formal delivery. A collective suspicion stemming from the highly investigated and even more so theorized JFK assassination, humors Pakula’s critique of a lone patsy narrative.”
To read the full Whitepaper click HERE.
Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival 1975 - Won (Critics Award | Alan J. Pakula)
Edgar Allan Poe Awards 1975 - Nominated (Edgar, Best Motion Picture | David Giler, Lorenzo Semple Jr.)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1975 - Won (NSFC Award, Best Cinematography | Gordon Willis).
Writers Guild of America, USA 1975 - Nominated (WGA Award (Screen), Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium | David Giler, Lorenzo Semple Jr. )
The Parallax View is the fifth selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
A GENTLE CREATURE | Dir. Sergei Loznitsa | 2017 | 143 min
Presented in Russian with English subtitles.
Master director Sergei Loznitsa’s timely A Gentle Creature digs deep into the Russian countryside and presents a unique view of the country’s penal system. Loosely inspired by a Dostoevsky short story, A Gentle Creature depicts an unnamed woman’s (Vasilina Makovtseva) attempt to visit her husband in prison. After the package sent to him comes back marked "return to sender", the woman goes to the prison to find out what happened. She soon discovers that getting an answer is not an easy task, nor is finding out where her husband is. Her quest to find the facts becomes a Kafkaesque journey through a Russian society where the truth is elusive. Each step towards finding an answer takes her further into the underbelly of a place where fact, fiction and fantasy are all indistinguishable.
A Gentle Creature is only Loznitsa’s third fictional feature after My Joy and In the Fog, although he has directed more than a dozen documentary features and shorts such as Maidan and The Event. In A Gentle Creature, he brings his sharp documentary eye in depicting the details of the prison system while smartly embracing elements of fiction, satire and even opera in crafting the film. The end result is a film that is essential viewing for our contemporary times!
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2017 - Nominated (Asia Pacific Screen Award, Best Film | Marianne Slot, Valentina Mikhalyova, Galina Sementsova, Lev Karakhan, Gunnar Dedio, Uljana Kim, Peter Warnier, Serge Lavrenyuk, Marc van Warmerdam)
Cannes Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Palme d'Or | Sergei Loznitsa)
Munich Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (ARRI/OSRAM Award, Best International Film | Sergei Loznitsa)
A Gentle Creature is the fourth selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
KLUTE | Dir. Alan J. Pakula | 1971 | 104 min
New York call girl Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) unwittingly becomes enmeshed in the investigation of a business executive’s disappearance. Detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland), who has been hired to look into the disappearance, follows Bree, eventually becoming romantically involved with her. When he discovers that Bree is the next target, they must figure out who is after her before it is too late.
Klute is the first “Willis” film in our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about this intriguing series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “Gordon Willis’ 1971 crime thriller Klute centers on Bree (Jane Fonda) a New York call girl. The subject of John Klute’s (Donald Sutherland) missing person’s investigation, she occupies the majority of our attention on and off screen, a feature of Fonda’s magnetism in general. The two maintain a restrained chemistry, coming together in an awkward symbiosis in order to find answers and protection. Steeped in era specific regalia, Alan J Pakula points demandingly toward the glaring discourses of women’s liberation, prostitution, and anti-Vietnam war sentiment. Enhancing these themes of course is Willis’ meditative lens, patiently surveilling our main characters as they negotiate control and comfort. It is also an example of Willis’ strict but effective geometry, tight interiors and likewise slowly constrictive shots personify the danger stalking forever just outside of frame.”
To read the full Whitepaper click HERE.
Academy Awards, USA 1972 - Won (Oscar, Best Actress in a Leading Role | Jane Fonda), Nominated (Oscar, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced | Andy Lewis, David E. Lewis)
Golden Globes, USA 1972 - Won (Golden Globe, Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama | Jane Fonda), Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture | Andy Lewis, David P. Lewis)
BAFTA Awards 1972 - Nominated (BAFTA Film Award, Best Actress | Jane Fonda)
Edgar Allan Poe Awards 1972 - Nominated (Edgar, Best Motion Picture | Andy Lewis, David P. Lewis)
Fotogramas de Plata 1973 - Won (Fotogramas de Plata, Best Foreign Movie Performer (Mejor intérprete de cine extranjero) | Jane Fonda)
Gotham Awards 1999 - Won (Classic Film Tribute Award)
Image Awards 1971 - Won (Image Award, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture | Donald Sutherland, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture | Jane Fonda)
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1971 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Actress | Jane Fonda)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1971 - Won (NSFC Award, Best Actress | Jane Fonda)
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1971 - Won (NYFCC Award, Best Actress | Jane Fonda)
Writers Guild of America, USA 1972 - Nominated (WGA Award (Screen), Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen | Andy Lewis, David P. Lewis)
Klute is the fourth selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
THE DAY AFTER | Dir. Hong Sang-soo | 2017 | 92 min
Presented in Korean with English subtitles.
The Day After continues the blistering pace of auteur Hong Sang-soo as the his third film released in 2017. Shot lovingly in black and white, the film contains plenty of signature elements from the director’s previous works, as well as some delicious variations.
The Day After depicts book publisher Bong-wan’s (Kwon Hae-hyo) attempts to fight accusations of affairs from his wife while simultaneously trying to start a new affair. Besides his wife, the film focuses on two other women in Bong-wan’s life: an ex-employee, Chang-sook (Kim Sae-byuk), and a new employee, Areum (Kim Min-hee, Claire’s Camera, The Handmaiden). Bong-wan has an affair with Chang-sook, and after she leaves the job, her position is filled by Areum. Within hours of Areum starting her job, Bong-wan tries to woo her. Naturally, like other Hong Sang-soo films, there is plenty of alcohol in the form of soju, ensuring events unfold deliriously and with plenty of honesty and humour. In addition, Hong Sang-soo plays with the concept of time and extends the timeline of a single day with déjà vu and flashbacks. The end result is a film that smartly shows how relationships can instantly spark into life and also how they fizzle out.
Note: The film shares elements with Hong Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then, a film shown by the Calgary Cinematheque in 2016.
Buil Film Awards 2017 - Nominated (Buil Film Award, Best Film | Hong Sang-soo, Best Director | Hong Sang-soo, Best Actor | Kwon Hae-hyo)
Cannes Film Festival 2017 - In Competition (Palme d'Or, Hong Sang-soo)
International Cinephile Society Awards 2017 - Won (ICS Cannes Award, Best Actress | Kim Min-hee)
Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Jaeger - LeCoultre Best Film Award, Best Film | Hong Sang-soo)
Munich Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (ARRI/OSRAM Award, Best International Film | Hong Sang-soo)
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Zabaltegi Section, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Prize | Hong Sang-soo)
The Day After is the third selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
MEDIUM COOL | Dir. Haskell Wexler | 1969 | 111 min
Haskell Wexler’s feature debut, Medium Cool immerses the viewer into one of the most tumultuous times in 1960s Chicago. Starring Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, and Peter Bonerz, the film follows TV news cameraman, John Cassellis (Forster) as he captures daring footage of the social unrest in Chicago surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention. His ability to maintain professional detachment is challenged when he discovers that the TV network has been quietly cooperating with the FBI; igniting in Cassellis the need to join the fight against the establishment.
Medium Cool is the third “Wexler” film that forms our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about our Spotlight Series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “Medium Cool, Wexler’s ultimate film appeared in 1969. He financed, directed, loosely wrote, and shot it during the 1968 Democratic convention mummifying the riotous demonstrations that enveloped Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The footage he collected became the explosive climax for his spontaneous and largely improvised depiction of a TV cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Foster) capturing and meditating upon the imagery of his time. Wexler’s cameraman ushers us through the chaotic and authentically uncontrolled public demonstrations. Working off of a cobbled script at best, Medium Cool is less about narrative than it is a barometer of the political climate, this is perhaps the key to understanding it as a key cultural text. As Roger Ebert insists, ‘To understand it is to understand Wexler's structure and purpose. To understand the way Medium Cool is put together is to understand something about the way real events get transferred onto film. That's Medium Cool's message on the level of story.’”
- To read the whole White Paper click HERE.
Directors Guild of America, USA 1970 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Haskell Wexler)
Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival 1969 - Won (Grand Prize, Haskell Wexler) Tied with 322 (1969).
National Film Preservation Board, USA 2003 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1970 - Nominated (NSFC Award, Best Actress | Verna Bloom, Best Supporting Actress | Verna Bloom, Best Cinematography | Haskell Wexler)
Medium Cool is the third selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
COCOTE | Dir. Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias | 2017 | 72 min
Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.
Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias’ stunning award winning Cocote sheds an overdue cinematic spotlight on the Dominican Republic. In the film, Alberto (Vicente Santos) works as a private gardener in Santo Domingo. He learns that his father has died but when he returns to his hometown, he discovers that his father was instead killed by a powerful man. Alberto’s family wants revenge while Alberto doesn’t want to have anything to do with violence. He just wants to participate in the funeral rituals and return back. However, Alberto soon finds himself getting drawn into a simmering feud that is close to boiling over.
Cocote is a creative blend of fiction and documentary which effortlessly mixes different film stocks (colour, black and white) and contains different camera styles, including an immersive 360-degree pan. The end result is a scrumptious film that hails the arrival of an exciting new voice in international cinema!
Hamburg Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Critics Award | Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias)
Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Jaeger - LeCoultre Best Film Award, Best Film | Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias)
Locarno International Film Festival 2017 - Won (Signs of Life Section, Best Film | Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias)
Mar del Plata Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Best Latin-American Film, Latin-American Competition | Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias)
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2017 - Nominated (Horizons Award, Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias)
COCOTE is the second selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT | Dir. Norman Jewison | 1967 | 109 min
After being falsely accused of murder by Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), African-American police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) eventually joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the racially charged town of Sparta, Mississippi, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.
In the Heat of the NIght is the second “Wexler” film that forms our Spotlight Series on American cinematographers Gordon Willis and Haskell Wexler. To learn more about this scintillating series, read our Whitepaper written by Cinematheque Board Member and Programmer Felicia Glatz:
EXCERPT: “The same year that Wexler collected his academy award, he filmed Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night. In an interview with Trevor Hogg, Wexler recalled some of “daring” technical innovations that he brought with him to the project. Lighting was of course a crucial feature in the film and Wexler pulled out all the stops to increase and convey the intensity of each scene through light design. In conversation with Trevor Hogg, he recalled “I put airplane landing lights into cars so that the intensity of lights were adequate to deal with colour.” Many scenes benefited greatly from Wexler’s soft bounced light, achieved through the use of umbrellas and diffusers or sometimes reflected right off of the ceiling. Littered with moments of shaky hand-held shots to uncomfortably intrusive close-ups, this portrayal of a painfully insular town brings racial tension to a boil. Pitting Virgil Tibbs (Sydney Poitier) and Sheriff Gillespie (Rob Steiger) toe to toe in the most claustrophobic interiors, exaggerating the vast nothingness bordering the bigoted town. Tibbs treads carefully among the backwoods crowd of suspects intent on maintaining his own integrity and that of the law.”
- To READ the whole White Paper click here.
Academy Awards, USA 1968 - Won (Oscar, Best Picture | Walter Mirisch, Best Actor in a Leading Role | Rod Steiger, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium | Stirling Silliphant, Best Sound, Best Film Editing | Hal Ashby), Nominated (Oscar, Best Director | Norman Jewison, Best Effects, Sound Effects | James Richard)
Golden Globes, USA 1968 - Won (Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Actor - Drama | Rod Steiger, Best Screenplay | Stirling Silliphant), Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Director | Norman Jewison, Best Actor - Drama | Sidney Poitier, Best Supporting Actress | Lee Grant, Best Supporting Actress | Quentin Dean)
BAFTA Awards 1968 - Won (BAFTA Film Award, Best Foreign Actor | Rod Steiger), Won
(UN Award | Norman Jewison), Nominated (BAFTA Film Award, Best Film from any Source | Norman Jewison, Best Foreign Actor | Sidney Poitier)
American Cinema Editors, USA 1968 - Nominated (Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film | Hal Ashby)
Directors Guild of America, USA 1968 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Norman Jewison)
Edgar Allan Poe Awards 1968 - Won (Edgar, Best Motion Picture | Stirling Silliphant)
Grammy Awards 1968 - Nominated (Grammy, Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show | Quincy Jones)
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1967 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Actor | Rod Steiger) Tied with Paul Scofield for A Man for All Seasons (1966).
Laurel Awards 1968 - Won (Golden Laurel | Drama, Male Dramatic Performance | Rod Steiger), Nominated (Golden Laurel, Male Dramatic Performance | Sidney Poitier)
National Film Preservation Board, USA 2002 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1968 - Won (NSFC Award, Best Actor
Rod Steiger. Best Cinematography | Haskell Wexler)
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1967 - Won (NYFCC Award | Best Film, Best Actor | Rod Steiger), Nominated (NYFCC Award, Best Director | Norman Jewison). Tied with Arthur Penn for Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Online Film & Television Association 2016 - Won (OFTA Film Hall of Fame, Motion Picture)
Sant Jordi Awards 1969 - Won (Sant Jordi, Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) | Norman Jewison, Best Performance in a Foreign Film (Mejor Interpretación en Película Extranjera) | Rod Steiger, For The Loved One and No Way to Treat a Lady)
Writers Guild of America, USA 1968 - Nominated (WGA Award (Screen), Best Written American Drama | Stirling Silliphant)
In the Heat of the Night is the second title in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? | Dir. Mike Nichols | 1966 | 131 min
Wexler was brought on to work on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? rather late in the project, Harry Straddling had laid the ground work for the Photography but ultimately refused to film the picture in Black and White. Armed with his old hand-held camera, Wexler illuminated this adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1963 play. Using a mobile camera, carefully curated lighting, and his signature stacked lenses, he hurls is audience straight into the line of fire between Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) and George (Richard Burton), a married couple determined to gut one another while luring a young couple into their zero-sum game.
Rife with controversy, from the provocative content to the deeply political subtext, Albee’s play was a challenging and bold piece of work. Revolutionary for its time, Mike Nichol’s film adaptation overcame many obstacles and censorship barriers eventually winning 5 awards including best Cinematography at the 1967 Academy Award. Wexler’s acceptance speech was so essential and still so telling of his character, he said “I hope we can use our art for love and peace,” a sentiment that shines through every film he contributed to. READ MORE
ACADEMY AWARDS, USA 1967 - Won (Oscar, Best Actress in a Leading Role | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actress in a Supporting Role | Sandy Dennis, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White | Haskell Wexler, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White | Richard Sylbert, George James Hopkins, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White | Irene Sharaff), Nominated - (Oscar, Best Picture | Ernest Lehman, Best Actor in a Leading Role | Richard Burton, Best Actor in a Supporting Role | George Segal, Best Director | Mike Nichols, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium | Ernest Lehman, Best Sound | George Groves (Warner Bros. SSD), Best Film Editing | Sam O'Steen, Best Music, Original Music Score | Alex North)
GOLDEN GLOBES, USA 1967 - Nominated (Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director | Mike Nichols, Best Actress - Drama | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actor - Drama | Richard Burton, Best Supporting Actress | Sandy Dennis, Best Supporting Actor | George Segal, Best Screenplay | Ernest Lehman)
BAFTA AWARDS 1967 - Won (BAFTA Film Award, Best British Actress | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Film from any Source | Mike Nichols, Best British Actor | Richard Burton, For The Spy Who Came in from the Cold)
AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS, USA 1967 - Nominated (Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film | Sam O'Steen)
BAMBI AWARDS 1968 - Won (Bambi, Best Actress - International | Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actor - International | Richard Burton)
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 1967 - Nominated (DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures | Mike Nichols)
GRAMMY AWARDS 1967 - Nominated (Grammy, Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show | Alex North)
KANSAS CITY FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 1966 - Won (KCFCC Award, Best Film
Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor)
LAUREL AWARDS 1967 - Won (Golden Laurel, Drama, Male Dramatic Performance | Richard Burton, Female Dramatic Performance | Elizabeth Taylor, Female Supporting Performance | Sandy Dennis), Nominated (Golden Laurel, Male Supporting Performance | George Segal)
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW, USA 1967 - Won (NBR Award, Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor), Top Ten Films
NATIONAL FILM PRESERVATION BOARD, USA 2013 - Won (National Film Registry)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1967 - Nominated (NSFC Award, Best Actor | Richard Burton. Tied with Max von Sydow for Hawaii (1966) in 2nd place, Best Film)
NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 1966 - Won (NYFCC Award, Best Actress | Elizabeth Taylor, Tied with Lynn Redgrave for Georgy Girl (1966).), Nominated (NYFCC Award, Best Actor | Richard Burton, Best Film)
ONLINE FILM & TELEVISION ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2013 - Won (OFTA Film Hall of Fame, Motion Picture)
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 1967 - Won (WGA Award (Screen) , Best Written American Drama | Ernest Lehman)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the first selection in our SPOTLIGHT: WILLIS AND WEXLER series.
THE GRANDMASTER | Dir. Wong Kar-Wai | 2013 | 130 min
Presented in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese with English subtitles.
Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with “The Grandmaster,” fashioning a 1930s action saga into a refined piece of commercial filmmaking. Boasting one of the most propulsive yet ethereal realizations of authentic martial arts onscreen, as well as a merging of physicality and philosophy not attained in Chinese cinema since King Hu’s masterpieces, the hotly anticipated pic is sure to win new converts from the genre camp. Wong’s Eurocentric arthouse disciples, however, may not be completely in tune with the film’s more traditional storytelling and occasionally long-winded technical exposition.
With a first-rate production package and glamorous casting, notably the luminous Zhang Ziyi trumping co-star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Wong’s 10th feature might be his first to win over a mass Chinese audience. Set to make its international bow as the opening-night entry at the Berlin Film Festival, where Wong will serve as jury president, the film has already sold to key markets through Fortissimo Films and the Wild Bunch. It’s set to be released Stateside through Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, with Ellison credited as a producer on the film.
Five years in the making and reportedly 16 years in gestation, “The Grandmaster” is the latest in a string of period chopsocky films (“Ip Man,” “Ip Man 2,” “The Legend is Born — Ip Man”) centering on the life of the martial-arts master who taught Bruce Lee and popularized the Wing Chun kung fu style around the world. However, Wong’s interpretation stands apart from its predecessors by taking a less conventional biopic route. Offering an eye-opening pageant of martial-arts schools and their radically different exponents, the multistranded but generally linear narrative never dedicates itself entirely to charting Ip’s achievements. Instead, by focusing on his encounters with other fighters, the film arrives at the enlightened realization that there is no single “grandmaster.”
This idea is demonstrated in the opening sequence, when Ip (Leung) remarks: “Kung fu equals two words: horizontal and vertical. The one lying down is out; only the last man standing counts.” Just turning 40 when the film begins in 1936, Ip is an entitled Cantonese gentleman of leisure who lives in Foshan, a popular hub for martial-arts experts from all over the country. This presents numerous opportunities for duels, and the film’s entire first hour feels like a breathless succession of action sequences, accompanied by one-liners of worldly wisdom couched in kung-fu terminology.
Ip’s most significant duel is with Gong Baosen, who has come from Dongbei (then Manchuria) to choose an opponent for one last fight before retirement. Gong’s real intention is to discover young talent and bring it into the limelight, but his match with Ip is not resolved in a way that satisfies Gong’s daughter, Er (Zhang) who is extremely proud of her family’s invincible track record. She tries to teach Ip a lesson, which only brings them closer together.
Something bordering on mutual attraction develops, but the film leaves it oblique, their feelings merely hinted at by the poems they exchange throughout the story. Rather abruptly, the two are separated for more than a decade by war, and narrative interest shifts almost entirely to Er. Driven by the principles of honor that made her challenge Ip, she pits herself against Ma San (Zhang Jin), her father’s defiant disciple, to defend the reputation of the Gong family. Er’s initial pride is offset by a revelation of inner strength when she makes a great sacrifice in order to defeat Ma.
Years of extensive training for this film have enabled the protags to look extremely convincing as masters of their art. Zhang’s moves combine grace and confidence, raising the bar from her perf in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but even in the dramatic scenes, she’s the center of attention, limning extreme emotional changes as she undergoes a series of tragic upheavals.
By contrast, Leung, the helmer’s frequent muse, lacks his usual intensity here: His Ip Man reveals few distinct characteristics in the early scenes except humility, and shows little emotional variation even as he falls on hard times. Even less satisfyingly handled is the peripheral character of Razor (Chang Chen), a violent and enigmatic drifter whose purpose in the story is so underexplained that he could easily have been excised, despite figuring into one fabulously shot and fought action scene.
Compared with the typically free-flowing structure of Wong’s films, “The Grandmaster” is more straightforward and coherent, with only one (well-placed) flashback. While the fight scenes ensure there’s hardly a lull in the first half, the second half feels hastily stitched together, rendering Ip’s relations with his wife (South Korean thesp Song Hye-kyo) patchy.
Some of the helmer’s artsy trademarks — introspective soliloquies, the sense that the protags are trapped in stasis — have been replaced by ideas more grounded in practical experience, with characters who don’t hesitate to act. In developing a world of strict decorum that is nonetheless predicated on constant competition, Wong clearly benefited from the collaboration of co-scripter Xu Haofeng, here transplanting such elaborate fighting theories from his own films “The Sword Identity” and “Judge Archer” to less cryptic effect.
Having previously grappled with his personal experience as a Shanghai-to-Hong Kong emigre, the filmmaker here applies that theme to a broad historical canvas that deals with the Chinese diaspora and its impact on national identity and the continuity of cultural heritage. Even as the last quarter is suffused with a languid melancholy and heartbreaking loneliness that recalls “In the Mood for Love” and “Ashes of Time,” unrequited love is represented in the context of two irreconcilable ways of life — to survive by biding one’s time, or to burn out by living in the moment.
Tech credits are aces, reflecting a stately, unified aesthetic with a stark palette dominated by blacks, whites and grays. Lensers Philippe Le Sourd (“7 Pounds”) and Song Xiaofei (“Design of Death”) accentuate balletic movement in the fight scenes by shooting from a dazzling variety of angles and at different speeds. They also contrast the austere beauty and expansiveness of Dongbei’s snowy outdoors with the Western-influenced opulence of the South, as re-created in production designer William Chang’s deliberately flashy interiors. Shigeru Umebayashi’s sweeping classical score sometimes swells above the action and dwarfs its impact, but the use of regionally specific songs as period markers helps counter that effect. - Variety
Awards (with 53 Wins and 51 Nominations, see the whole list here)
2014 ACADEMY AWARDS, USA - Nominated (Oscar, Best Achievement in Cinematography | Philippe Le Sourd, Best Achievement in Costume Design | William Chang)
2014 BEIJING INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - Won (Tiantian Award, Best Director | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Actress | Ziyi Zhang, Best Cinematography | Philippe Le Sourd)
2013 GOLDEN HORSE FILM FESTIVAL - Won (Audience Choice Award, Won (Golden Horse Award, Best Leading Actress | Ziyi Zhang, Best Cinematography | Philippe Le Sourd, Best Visual Effects | Pierre Buffin, Best Art Direction | William Chang, Alfred Yau, Best Makeup & Costume Design | William Chang), Nominated (Golden Horse Award, Best Feature Film, Best Director | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Leading Actor | Tony Chiu-Wai Leung,
Best Action Choreography | Woo-Ping Yuen, Best Film Editing | William Chang, Benjamin Courtines, Best Sound Effects | Robert Mackenzie, Traithep Wongpaiboon)
2013 GOLDEN ROOSTER AWARDS - Won (Golden Rooster, Best Supporting Actor | Qingxiang Wang, Best Art Direction | William Chang, Alfred Yau), Nominated (Golden Rooster, Best Director | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Actress | Ziyi Zhang, Best Sound | Gary Chen (supervising dialogue editor/supervising adr editor))
The Grandmaster is the final work of focus in our MASTERS: WONG KAR-WAI series.
ASHES OF TIME Redux | Dir. Wong Kar-Wai | 2004 | 100 min
Presented in Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles.
Mythic, melancholy and mysterious, Ashes of Time is a philosopher's movie. Set mainly in vast deserts or rolling landscapes all but barren of people, this rambling meditation on love and loss, on conflict between chivalric calling and domestic life, lays out its lessons of costs and consequences against the traditions of the Chinese martial-arts novel.
Ashes of Time, written and directed in a surreal style by Wong Kar Wai, came out of the Beijing Film Studio to compete at the Venice Film Festival in 1994. The film, its distributor says, amounts to a prequel to The Eagle-Shooting Hero, one of the popular martial-arts novels of Jin Yong, in which all three of the film's principal characters appear in subordinate roles and in their old age.
Foremost among these younger selves in Ashes of Time is Ouyang Feng (played by Leslie Cheung), the film's central figure, who, like a samurai, is an itinerant sword for hire. Now, in early middle age, hardened, solitary, beset by memories of the love he abandoned for his vocation, he is mainly an agent, seeking work -- murder -- for other swordsmen.
There is his old friend, Huang Yaoshi (Tony Leung Kar-fai, the star of The Lover), who visits once a year. He has his own sad love story, and he stays in touch with Ouyang's lost love. One year he arrives with a bottle of wine said to possess the magical power to make one forget. Huang drinks; Ouyang declines.
The third of the principals, the swordsman Hong Qi (Jacky Cheung), appears well into the film, after Ouyang has sternly refused a poor young woman's offer of some eggs and a mule to avenge a brother murdered by horse thieves. Hong Qi, who has left behind his own wife, finds the impetus for redemption in his encounter with Ouyang and the poor girl.
For those who seek metaphors, Ashes of Time, which opens today at Cinema Village, presents the eye as well as the illusions of vision. One character is nearly blind. Another, a swordsman, goes blind in the middle of a horrendous battle. Two characters, Yin and Yang -- one presented as a man, the other as his sister -- are identical. And there is a brief appearance by a legendary sword fighter who hones his skills against his own reflection.
For those who seek battle, Ashes of Times offers intermittent blurs of action, streaks of flying figures, flashing steel, and rare spatters and gouts of moist crimson, all washing across the screen like hurried brush paintings.
Like the attainment of wisdom, Ashes of Time requires a long journey through testing terrain. - New York Times
*Originally published: May 17, 1996
1997 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL - 3rd place (Best Asian Film | Kar-Wai Wong)
1994 GOLDEN HORSE FILM FESTIVAL - Won (Golden Horse Award, Best Cinematography | Christopher Doyle, Best Film Editing | Kit-Wai Kai, Patrick Tam), Nominated (Golden Horse Award, Best Adapted Screenplay | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Art Direction | William Chang, Best Makeup & Costume Design | William Chang)
1995 HONG KONG FILM AWARDS - Won (Hong Kong Film Award, Best Cinematography | Christopher Doyle, Best Art Direction | William Chang, Best Costume & Make Up Design | William Chang), Nominated (Hong Kong Film Award | Best Picture, Best Director | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Screenplay | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Action Choreography | Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Best Film Editing | Patrick Tam, Kit-Wai Kai, Best Original Film Score | Frankie Chan)
1995 HONG KONG FILM CRITICS SOCIETY AWARDS - Won (HKFCS Award | Best Film, Best Director | Kar-Wai Wong, Best Screenplay | Kar-Wai Wong)
2010 IRON ELEPHANT FILM AWARDS - Nominated (Iron Elephant Award, Best Supporting Actress | Brigitte Lin)
1996 NANTES THREE CONTINENTS FESTIVAL - Nominated (Golden Montgolfiere | Kar-Wai Wong)
1994 VENICE FILM FESTIVAL - Won (Golden Osella, Best Cinematography | Christopher Doyle)
Ashes of Time Redux is the third title in our MASTERS: WONG KAR-WAI series.
BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK | Dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong | 2016 | 115 min
Presented in Thai with English subtitles
A HEADSPINNING TOUR DE FORCE, BEGINNING WITH THE ATTACK ON STUDENTS IN 1976 AND TURNING TO THE NATURE OF FILM-MAKING ITSELF.
This mesmerising second feature from Thai film-maker Anocha Suwichakornpong, writer/director of 2009’s Mundane History, is a kaleidoscopic meditation on the shifting relationship between past and present, truth and fiction, movies and memory. A self-referential treatise on the impossibility of capturing “real” life on camera, it begins with a single linear narrative that mushrooms into something altogether wider and more weird. Described by its creator as both an “ode to the memory-recording and reconstructing machine that is cinema” and “my attempt to deal with the impossibility of making a historical film in a place where there is no history”, it’s a dizzying, dazzling work – elliptically political, frequently perplexing, yet fluid enough in its possibilities to allow each viewer to divine their own meanings from its quicksilver forms. READ MORE, The Guardian
FIRST YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL 2017 - Won (Jury Award, Grand Jury Prize - Feature Film | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
HAMBURG FILM FESTIVAL 2016 - Nominated (Young Talent Award, Best Feature Film | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 - Nominated (Golden Leopard, Best Film | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
MINNEAPOLIS ST. PAUL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017 - Nominated (Emerging Filmmaker Award | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
OSAKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2017 - Won (Special Mention | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
QCINEMA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 - Won (Special Citation, Asian Next Wave | Anocha Suwichakornpong), Nominated (Pylon Award, Best Picture - Asian Next Wave | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
ROTTERDAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017 - Nominated (KNF Award | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 - Nominated (Silver Screen Award, Best Asian Feature Film | Anocha Suwichakornpong)
THAILAND NATIONAL FILM ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2017 - Won (National Film Association Award, Best Picture, Best Director | Anocha Suwichakornpong, Best Editing | Lee Chatametikool, Machima Ungsriwong), Nominated - (National Film Association Award, Best Supporting Actor | Natdanai Wangsiripaisarn, Best Supporting Actress |
Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Best Supporting Actress | Achtara Suwan, Best Screenplay | Anocha Suwichakornpong, Best Cinematography | Ming-Kai Leung, Best Costume Design | Rujirumpai Mongkol)
This film is the first selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of our control, we are unable to present this title at this time. We hope to bring the film to Calgary in the new year.
LOVER FOR A DAY | Dir. Philippe Garrel | 2017 | 76 min
Presented in French with English subtitles.
Lover for a Day is an exquisite meditation on love and fidelity that recalls Garrel’s previous films selections Jealousy and In the Shadow of Women. After a painful breakup, heartbroken Jeanne (Esther Garrel) moves back in with her university professor father, Gilles (Eric Caravaca), to discover that he lives with optimistic, life-loving student Ariane (newcomer Louise Chevillotte), who is the same age as Jeanne. An unusual triangular relationship emerges as both girls seek the favor of Gilles, as daughter or lover, while developing their own friendship, finding common ground despite their differences. Gorgeously shot in grainy black and white by Renato Berta (Au revoir les enfants), Lover for a Day perfectly illustrates Garrel’s poetic exploration of relationships and desire. - Acephale
2017 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - Won (SACD Prize (Directors' Fortnight) | Philippe Garrel)
2017 SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - Nominated (Zabaltegi Section, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Prize | Philippe Garrel)
Lover For a Day is the first selection in our CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA series.
2046 | Dir. Wong Kar-Wai | 2004 | 129 min
Presented in Cantonese, Japanese, and Mandarin with English subtitles
Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai rushed his film 2046 to the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, but it was unfinished and failed to impress audiences. A year has passed, and NPR's Bob Mondello says that Wong Kar-Wai used the time wisely.
Wong has developed a reputation as a visual stylist in his art house hits In the Mood for Love and Days of Being Wild. Now using Technicolor for the first time, the director runs riot with color and texture in 2046. And with a cast that includes Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung and Faye Wong he has also cast some of the most beautiful people alive today.
The result is a sumptuous time-teasing story, as long-time Wong collaborator Leung plays a writer who is fixated on a once-in-a-lifetime love affair — even as he flirts and has affairs with a string of women. - NPR
Awards (with 34 Wins and 74 Nominations, see the whole list here)
2004 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - Nominated (Palme d'Or | Kar-Wai Wong)
2005 HONG KONG FILM CRITICS SOCIETY AWARDS - Won (Film of Merit), Won (HKFCS Award, Best Actor | Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Best Actress | Ziyi Zhang), Nominated (HKFCS Award, Best Film, Best Screenplay | Kar-Wai Wong)
2005 NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - Won (NYFCC Award, Best Cinematographer | Christopher Doyle, Yiu-Fai Lai, Pung-Leung Kwan, Best Foreign Language Film | China/France/Germany/Hong Kong)
2004 TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL 2004 - Won (Jury Prize, Best Actor | Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), Won (Special Jury Prize | Christopher Doyle (director of photography)), Nominated (Grand Prize | Kar-Wai Wong )
2046 is the second selection in our MASTERS: WONG KAR-WAI series.
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE | Dir. Wong Kar-Wai | 2000 | 98 min
Presented in Cantonese, Shanghainese, French, and Spanish with English subtitles
When it comes to cinema, gentleness - very probably a virtue - is certainly a relief. We are now so used to characters parading their behaviour extrovertly, ideas which bludgeon us with their obviousness, and cameras which move with neurotic frenzy that it is uplifting to witness a story which unfolds in peace and quiet. And quietness, by the way, doesn't mean bland.
What we have here is a beautifully-tailored, low key (but always dramatic) story by Wong Kar-Wai (all of whose films have won awards, including Best Director at Cannes for Happy Together), which details the developing relationship between a young man and woman, both of whose spouses, they eventually learn, are cheating on them. As they are drawn together, initially by a pleasant, warm formality, and eventually by much deeper feelings in a cultural climate where respectability is crucial, they do their utmost to hide their small moves from those around them.
In fact, Wong Kar-Wai - a most intelligent, thoughtful director - only ever has the two key characters in close up so that we absorb the essence of the relationship, and the film. A true master of visual storytelling, he makes close ups of a hand knocking on a door, mustard being placed on a plate, and a quick blink of an eye entirely relevant to the picture's emotional core. Both Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are at one with the director's desire for performances which rely on nuance, and they powerfully express that guilty mix of tension and desire. - BBC Films
Awards (with 44 Wins and 43 Nominations, see the whole list here)
2000 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - WINNER (Best Actor| Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Technical Grand Prize | Christopher Doyle, Ping Bin Lee, William Chang), NOMINATION (Palme d'Or | Wong Kar-Wai)
2001 BAFTA AWARDS - WINNER (BAFTA Film Award, Best Film not in the English Language | Wong Kar-Wai)
2001 GRAND PRIX DE L'UCC - WINNER (Grand Prix de l'UCC)
2001 HONG KONG FILM CRITICS SOCIETY AWARDS - WINNER (Film of Merit, HKFCS Award, Best Director | Wong Kar-Wai)
2001 NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - WINNER (NYFCC Award, Best Cinematographer | Christopher Doyle, Ping Bin Lee, and Best Foreign Language Film, Hong Kong/France)
In the Mood for Love is the first work in our MASTERS: WONG KAR-WAI series.
I AM CUBA | Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov | 1964 | 108 min
Presented in Spanish and English, with English subtitles where appropriate
There is a shot near the beginning of I Am Cuba that is one of the most astonishing I have ever seen. Reflect that it was made in 1964, long before the days of lightweight cameras and Steadicams, and the shot is almost impossible to explain.
It begins on a rooftop deck of a luxury hotel in pre-Castro Havana. A beauty pageant is in progress. The camera sinuously winds its way past bathing beauties, and then moves over the edge of the deck and descends vertically, apparently floating, down three or four stories to another deck, this one with a swimming pool. The camera approaches a bar, and then follows a waitress as she delivers a drink to some tourists, after which one of the tourists stands up and walks into the pool - and the camera follows her, so that the shot ends with the camera actually underwater.
As nearly as I can tell, this is all done in one unbroken take. How it was done, I have no idea. It is interesting not only for its technical skill, but also because it betrays a certain interest in la dolce vita that is not entirely in keeping with the movie's revolutionary, agitprop stance.
I Am Cuba is an anti-American propaganda film, made as a Cuban-Soviet co-production, that has been snatched from oblivion, restored, and released in the United States as a presentation of Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola. Since the film's prediction of a brave new world under Fidel Castro has not resulted in a utopia for Cubans, who suffer under one of the world's most dismal bureaucracies, the film today seems naive and dated - but fascinating.
The Soviets fielded a first-class team of advisers to help in the production. The script was co-authored by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, then the USSR's poetic superstar, and Enrique Pineda Barnet, a Cuban novelist. It was directed by the veteran Russian filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov, then 61, whose The Cranes are Flying (1957) had won the Palme d'Or at Cannes a few years earlier. That film featured spectacular camera techniques, but they are upstaged by his opener in I Am Cuba and by some of the other sequences, which owe much to Fellini's influential La Dolce Vita (1960).
The movie is didactic in the best tradition of Socialist Realism. First, it shows Cuba groaning under the yoke of Yankee imperialism. Then it shows resistance, by brave farmers and heroic students. Finally, there is the appearance of a great revolutionary hero, a bearded man of the people who fights in the hills, is sheltered by peasants and represents Fidel Castro.
The anti- American content is handled in a nightclub scene, where gum-chewing Yankees ogle the prostitutes, and one amateur anthropologist announces, "I'd like to see where these women live." Against her better judgment, a girl takes the man home to her shack, where he offends her by offering to buy her crucifix. Worse, they are discovered by her fiancé, a humble fruit peddler, who believed she was a virgin. This sequence, heavy on schmaltz, nevertheless has a real poignancy.
The film is not done with Americans. We see drunken American sailors chasing women through the streets, and follow the story of a hard-working peasant whose lands and home are snatched by the United Fruit Co. Rather than surrender his cane fields, he sets them afire.
Then we see the resistance: students agitating the change, including one who mimeographs propaganda pamphlets and then is shot dead, his body covered in a snow of the revolutionary sheets.
Kalatozov's fancy shots are not limited to the opening extravaganza. There is a sequence later in the film that begins with the streets filling with demonstrators and then seemingly floats, in an unbroken take, into a high-rise cigar factory. His technique seems somewhat at odds with his purpose (you won't find shots like these in Italian neo-realism), but then the movie itself alternates between lyricism and propaganda. Along with the scenes of evil Yankees and brave Castroites, there are astonishing helicopter shots of Cuban landscapes, and poetry and prose are read on the soundtrack (Columbus is quoted: "This is the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes").
The movie, now in limited distribution before a video release, is of course dated in its politics. Even its depravities and imperialist Yankee misbehavior seem quaint. But as an example of lyrical black and white filmmaking, it is still stunning. If you see it, try to figure out how the camera floated down that wall. - Roger Ebert
1996 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS - NOMINATION (Independent Spirit Award, Best Foreign Film | Mikhail Kalatozov, Soviet Union)
1996 NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS AWARDS, USA - WINNER (Archival Award)
2007 SOCIETY OF CAMERA OPERATORS - WINNER (Historical Shot | Alexander Calzatti)
I am Cuba is the final selection in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.
BADLANDS | Dir. Terrence Malick | 1974 | 94 min
The time is late summer at the end of the 1950's and the place a small, placid town in South Dakota. The streets are lined with oak and maple trees in full leaf. The lawns are so neat, so close-cropped, they look crew-cut. Kit Carruthers (Martin Sheen) is twenty-five, a garbage collector who fancies his cowboy boots and his faint resemblance to James Dean. Holly Sargis (Sissy Spacek) is fifteen. Until she meets Kit, she hasn't much interest in anything except her dog and her baton, which she practices twirling in her front yard.
In Terrence Malick's cool, sometimes brilliant, always ferociously American film, Badlands, which marks Malick's debut as a director, Kit and Holly take an all-American joyride across the upper Middle West, at the end of which more than half a dozen people have been shot to death by Kit, usually at point-blank range.
Badlands was presented twice at Alice Tully Hall Saturday night, the closing feature of the 11th New York Film Festival that began so auspiciously with François Truffaut's Day for Night. In between there were a lot of other films, good and bad, but none as provocative as this first feature by Malick, a twenty-nine-year-old former Rhodes Scholar and philosophy student whose only other film credit is as the author of the screenplay for last year's nicely idiosyncratic Pocket Money.
Badlands was inspired by the short, bloody saga of Charles Starkweather who, at age nineteen, in January, 1958, with the apparent cooperation of his fourteen-year-old girlfriend, Caril Fugate, went off on a murder spree that resulted in ten victims. Starkweather was later executed in the electric chair and Miss Fugate given life imprisonment.
Badlands inevitably invites comparisons with three other important American films, Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and Fritz Lang's Fury and You Only Live Once, but it has a very different vision of violence and death. Malick spends no great amount of time invoking Freud to explain the behavior of Kit and Holly, nor is there any Depression to be held ultimately responsible. Society is, if anything, benign. READ MORE - The New York Times
*Originally published: October 15, 1973
1975 BAFTA AWARDS - NOMINATION (BAFTA Film Award, Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles | Sissy Spacek)
1974 SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - (Golden Seashell | Terrence Malick, Prize San Sebastián, Best Actor | Martin Sheen)
1993 USA FILM PRESERVATION BOARD - WINNER (National Film Registry)
Badlands is the third selection in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.
WALKABOUT | Dir. Nicolas Roeg | 1971 | 100 min
For many years now, one legendary film has appeared on every list of fine movies that are missing from distribution and home video. That film is Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout, the 1971 drama about a fourteen-year-old girl and her little brother, who are lost in the Australian outback and are saved by a young Aborigine who is, indeed, walking about as his rite of passage into manhood. No one who saw Walkabout has ever forgotten it.
Roeg was a cinematographer before he was a director, and this is one of the best-photographed films ever. It’s also a meditation about living on earth, which finds beauty in the way mankind’s intelligence can adapt to harsh conditions while civilization just tries to wall them off or pave them over. Walkabout is one of the great films. – Roger Ebert for Criterion, READ MORE HERE
1971 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - NOMINATION (Palme d'Or | Nicolas Roeg)
Walkabout is the second title in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.
RED DESERT | Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni | 1964 | 117 min
Presented in Italian with English subtitles
Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960's panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first colour film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another—of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships—Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age. – the Criterion Collection
1964 VENICE FILM FESTIVAL - WINNER (FIPRESCI Prize | Michelangelo Antonioni, Golden Lion | Michelangelo Antonioni, New Cinema Award, Best Film | Michelangelo Antonioni)
1965 NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - 2ND PLACE (NYFCC Award, Best Foreign Language Film | Italy)
1965 GOLDEN GOBLETS, ITALY - WINNER (Golden Cup | Angelo Rizzoli , Golden Goblet | Best Actress, Monica Vitti)
1965 ITALIAN NATIONAL SYNDICATE OF FILM JOURNALISTS - WINNER (Silver Ribbon, Best Cinematography, Color | Carlo Di Palma), NOMINATED (Silver Ribbon, Best Director | Michelangelo Antonioni, Best Score | Giovanni Fusco)
1967 KANSAS CITY FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - WINNER (KCFCC Award | Best Foreign Film)
Red Desert is the first work in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.