In theaters now from Cohen Media, Les Cowboys is the directorial debut of acclaimed French screenwriter Thomas Bidegain, best known in recent years for his collaborations with French director Jacques Audiard. (He has co-scripted all of Audiard’s films following The Beat My Heart Skipped.) In an age when the value of the cinematic medium is being challenged, Bidegain has made a haunting and bold first feature that is both intimate as well as epic in scope. It’s a film steeped in the history of cinema, drawing both visual and narrative inspiration from classic American westerns. At the same time, Les […]
You may not know Miranda Bailey’s name, but you probably know her work. As an actress, writer, director and producer, Miranda Bailey has a hand in just about every aspect of the independent film business. Early in her career, she executive produced Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, and since then her producing credits have included Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind and the award-winning documentary Spinning Plates. Bailey’s production company Cold Iron Pictures was behind the award-winning 2015 Sundance sensation Diary of a Teenage Girl, in which she played a supporting role opposite Kristen Wiig. This summer two other films that […]
“Enjoy the ride,” said Eva Husson before she screened her first feature film in January at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Roughly 100 minutes later, a stumbling crowd poured out of the cinema as if collectively descending a roller coaster exit ramp, vertigo subsiding with each stabilizing step. Husson’s Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story , which opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 17 from Samuel Goldwyn, is about the sexual unleashing of French suburban teens and the boundaries that shape their relationships. An explosive score integrating electronic and classical music reverberates within the rhythm of the […]
When Tangerine was released in 2015, much of the press attention focused on the fact that it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. Though that technical feat is impressive, the raw beauty of the film is equally striking. Set on Christmas Eve, Tangerine follows transgender sex workers and best friends Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) on an odyssey through various Los Angeles subcultures. At Fandor Keyframe, a new video essay (above) by LJ Frezza examines the film’s unique aesthetic and how director Sean Baker and DP Radium Cheung found beauty from a position of marginalization.
George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, John Turturro, and composer Carter Burwell are among the talking heads who analyze the filmmaking brothers’ oeuvre in VICE Guide to Film‘s recent episode on the Coen Brothers (above). The segment, which amounts to an extended video essay, breaks down scenes from some of their most memorable films and delves into their collaboration process. Discussing the directing duo, Turturro says, “It’s like a two-headed monster.” Previous episodes of the show have focused on the work of Kelly Reichardt, Gus Van Sant, John Carpenter, Todd Haynes, and other directors.
For many directors, the thought of “directing actors” can instill panic. Directors who were once cinematographers, say, or who have worked on film sets, might be at ease working with crews or blocking shots but will freeze up when challenged to give notes to actors. Such performance anxiety is not surprising. Unlike the crew, with whom directors have the whole shoot to develop working relationships, many actors are only on set for a few days. So it’s understandable that directors may worry about “getting it right” when it comes to guiding them in their performance. But the thing is: there […]
Traditional film school is overrated, according to Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Werner Herzog, who has signed on to teach an online filmmaking class. “You spend way too much time in film school. It costs way too much money. You can learn the essentials of filmmaking on your own within two weeks,” said Herzog in the (above) trailer for his class. The new class, which will focus on the art of both feature and documentary filmmaking, will be offered as part of the online education platform MasterClass. Pre-enrollment is open to everyone and the class will become available this summer. “Werner Herzog vibrantly and charismatically […]
Straight from its premiere at New York City’s Metrograph theater, the new 35mm print of Titicut Follies screened at Portland’s Northwest Film Center on April 21 with director Frederick Wiseman in attendance. The controversial film portrays the wretched conditions at The Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Bridgewater, Massachusetts circa 1967. In unflinching cinema verite-style, Ttticut Follies presents a stark portrayal of the hospital’s predominantly naked inmates as they are mishandled, force-fed, taunted by guards, and locked in empty cells. Titicut Follies was famously banned prior to its planned premiere at the 1967 New York Film Festival. Though Wiseman had gotten the requisite permissions, the state of […]
The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off on April 14 with the opening night premiere of Justin Tipping’s Kicks, an ambitious coming-of-age film set in an inner city enclave in Northern California. Though it’s Tipping’s feature debut, he’s far from a novice filmmaker, having already won a Student Academy Award and the Lexus Short Film competition. The semi-autobiographical Kicks focuses on 15-year-old Brandon (newcomer Jahking Guillory in a breakout performance), who buys himself a sweet new pair of “kicks.” But when the local hood snatches them, Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his new stolen sneakers with his best buddies’ help. Along the […]
Raising Bertie follows three young men over the course of five years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a rural African-American-led community in North Carolina. Director Margaret Byrne had originally set out to make a short film about The Hive, an alternative school for at-risk students. But when the school was shut down due to lack of funding, she saw the potential for a broader project about the underfunded rural educational system and how it affects African American boys, in particular. Shot in intimate verité style, the film follows Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell […]