A Sense of Crisis: Directors Paula Ortiz, Mercedes Moncada, and Hanna Sköld at the San Sebastián Film Festival

Paula Ortiz Paula Ortiz

“Life doesn’t have punch lines or a plot. It unfurls in ways that are somewhat random,” says Laurie Anderson. We’re sitting in a small room with fluorescent lighting and acoustically challenged walls. Anderson is wrapping up her last morning at the San Sebastián Film Festival with her newest hit, Heart of a Dog. She isn’t happy I showed up for the interview without having seen her film. I wasn’t happy myself, having missed the screening after several bus route missteps when I arrived in town the night before. If I hadn’t missed the film though, I wouldn’t have gotten the phone call that left me relatively indifferent about Anderson’s screening. My friend had died. And walking unprepared into an interview…  Read more


Chantal Akerman, 1950-2015


The great director and artist Chantal Akerman has died in Paris. Filmmaker will have more on Akerman in the days ahead, but here are several of her short(er) films, with the hope that you will all take to Hulu/Criterion, Fandor or even a video store to seek out her feature length masterpieces, a description that doensn’t begin to cover the work of one of the 21st century’s most significant artists. Her final feature, No Home Movie plays tomorrow and Thursday at the New York Film Festival.  Lastly, a word from J. Hoberman on his quest to cover Jeanne Dielman for The Village Voice — it didn’t arrive at New York’s Film Forum until seven years after its European festival tour. J’ai faim, j’ai froid (Chantal Akerman, 1984, KINOTE)…  Read more


“If That Kid Hits Me in the Face, I’m Going to Hit You in the Face”: Tony McNamara on Ashby

Mickey Rourke and Nat Wolff in Ashby Mickey Rourke and Nat Wolff in Ashby

In an early scene in Ashby, an English teacher asks the film’s young protagonist Ed (Nat Wolff) to expound on the themes of Ernest Hemingway. Wolff answers, “Proving you’re a man by trying to get killed,” tossing off the line as if it were an absurd relic of a less enlightened era. He then spends the remainder of the film embracing that antiquated view of American masculinity, whether it be in pursuing classmate Emma Roberts, taking a hit on the football field or befriending his terminally ill, ex-CIA assassin neighbor Ashby (Mickey Rourke). Ashby writer/director Tony McNamara describes the film as a “coming of age, facing your death” movie. Lovers of ’70s cinema might – with the helpful hint of the…  Read more


In the Sun by the Sea: The San Sebastian Film Festival

Sparrows Sparrows

With the late summer and autumn film festival calendar almost an embarrassment of riches — from the traditional splendor of Venice to the ever-expanding line-up in Toronto — filmmakers can be faced with a tricky choice of where to go. They will find plenty of reasons to pick Spain’s San Sebastian, which often screens films in a quick turnaround after their premieres in Toronto helping to consolidate their appeal, and offers a wealth of cash awards, including a €50,000 ($56,000)  purse for the New Directors winner, a €35,000 ($39,000) prize for a Latin-American film in the Horizontes Latinos strand and the €50,000 ($56,000) Audience Award. Filmmakers are also no doubt drawn by the beautiful beaches and bays on which the city sits…  Read more


Lolo’s Julie Delpy and Eugenie Grandval at the Venice International Film Festival

Julie Delpy in Lolo Julie Delpy in Lolo

“She’s an auteur,” Eugenie Grandval tells me. “She has a lot to do on set between directing other actors and creating as she goes. I’m just there to be supportive.” Grandval is the co-writer of Lolo, a comedy about a single-mom whose love life is sabotaged by her only child. The auteur whom Grandval is referring to is her co-writer and the film’s director and star, Julie Delpy. Together, the writer duo recently traveled from Lolo’s world premiere at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival to their North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Several decades ago, Delpy and Grandval also embarked on identical travel routes. Both were moving from France to study in New York — Delpy…  Read more


With Surreal Short Films and Spiky New Fonts, Jonathan Glazer and Neville Brody Rebrand U.K.’s Channel 4

Glazer Brand IDs

Under the Skin filmmaker Jonathan Glazer and design hero Neville Brody, alongside creative agencies 4Creative and DBLG have “rebranded” iconic U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 with jagged new fonts and a deliriously weird, vaguely Kubrick-ian series of station IDs. Glazer’s four narratively-linked shorts fit more comfortably into his recent film work than they do any kind of television advertising, with their mysterious creatures, magenta rock formations and high-tech science laboratories. As for the fonts, well, back in the day, we at Filmmaker used to spend late nights with our late, great designer Wayne Van Acker geeking out over Brody’s work for The Face and other publications. So, this whole campaign is a thrill. At Creative Review, Eliza Williams has all the…  Read more


NYFF ’15: In The Shadow of Women and No Home Movie

In The Shadow of Women In The Shadow of Women

Slotting a festival schedule is one of those tasks that falls subject to a number of outside variables, namely, filmmaker and celebrity availability. One would figure that less thought goes into structuring a press and industry schedule, where 10 AM screenings are decidedly void of glamour, and yet the occasional revelatory double feature presents itself, in which two disparate filmmakers appear in dialogue. Case in point: back-to-back screenings of Philippe Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women and Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie proved a joint exercise in obstruction, fostering a shifting interplay between objects and protagonists, despite their very different surroundings. Garrel isn’t exactly treading new territory with In the Shadow of Women; like last year’s Jealousy, it’s another exploration of struggling…  Read more


NYFF Critics’ Notebook: The Sky Trembles and The Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers

The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers

The Sky Trembles and The Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers (you can memorize the title after reciting it enough times — don’t fret) opens with a small fleet of ’80s Mercedes-Benz coupes, trailed by dune buggies, speeding across a desert. A chase scene entered in media res? The armed-escort arrival of dubious capitalists on the trail of some as-yet-underexploited resource? (Is there any more potent symbol of ostensibly removed colonialism’s lingering presence than the unkillable, diesel-fueled Mercedes that still stalk the globe?) As the sun sets and the caravan moves closer, the camera inches from a far-off, locked-down wide lens perspective to closer views moving around the procession, until we finally realize the dune buggies bear cameramen. This is a film shoot, and when…  Read more



Psycho (Illustration by Kent Osborne) Psycho (Illustration by Kent Osborne)

The Seven Arts of Working in Film: A Necessary Guide to On-Set Protocol

Welcome to your first day on a film set. Perhaps you’ve gotten a new job as a production assistant. Perhaps you’re still in school and have been given an opportunity as an intern, or you’ve recently been asked to help out with a friend’s production.…  Read more

Apr 14, 2015

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