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Showing posts from November, 2009

The Road - Movie Review

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By Moira Sullivan

Films with apocalyptic themes are showing up of late, so add The Road to the list. Based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, we are taken to some distant future where the sun never shines. Kind of like Scandinavia during the winter. Those wall-to-wall grey clouds with no patchwork greet everyday, an everyday with rain and wind and the earth hurling up violently in some kind of repulsion to the poisons in the atmosphere. There are few survivors and with food scarce some revert to cannibalism. The Road shows how crime and greed develop from cataclysmic occurrences and the dark paths that some choose in order to survive. Viggo Mortensen plays "Man", Charlize Theron is "Woman" and Kodi Smit McPhee is "Boy". The breakup of the nuclear family is one of the consequences of a disaster that has no name, or explanation. Kinship takes on new meaning. The man and the boy and the woman try to survive and the woman gives up first for the story is about fath…

Scenes of Love and Murder: Renoir, Film and Philosophy - Book Review -

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By Moira Sullivan

Colin Davis’s Scenes of Love and Murder: Renoir, Film and Philosophy combines the author’s interest in Jean Renoir’s greatest films from the 1930s such as Le Règle du Jeu - The Rules of the Game with some of the ideas of the American philosopher Stanley Cavell. Cavell’s philosophical reading of film is a current fashion in academic studies. But whether or not Renoir had philosophical ideas as a filmmaker is left up to the spectator. According to film theorist Peter Wollen, underlying structures such as philosophy is something that can be decoded in film. According to Davis, Renoir believed that the artist was the source of his or her creations, as he said so in Ma Vie et Mes Film, (My Life and My Films) “I dream of a craftsmen’s cinema in which the author could express himself as directly as the writer through his books or the painter through his pictures”. Even so, as Davis points out. a film has other influences, for example Renoir’s The Human Beast was adapted fro…

New Italian Cinema at the San Francisco Film Society - Special Report

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By Moira Sullivan

The San Francisco Film Society New Italian cinema program, now in its 13th year, will screen from November 15-22.
All of the directors of the films will be present for the screenings. There are four films by Marco Risi and his latest film will be presented on opening night - Fortapàsc. In English this means Fort Apache, a violent part of Naples. The film is about the life of the journalist Giancarlo Siani who was murdered for writing about mobsters such as Valentino Gionta and clashes between clans.
The Sicilian Girl by director Marco Amenta tells the story of a young girl who testifies against the mafia after her father and brother are executed. On closing night November 22, Vincere by Marco Belluchio will screen, a film in an innovative opera form with newsreel footage about Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), the mother of Benito Mussolini’s illegitimate child and her tragic love affair with the Fascist dictator (Filippo Timi). ( Note: a review of this film and an …

Visual Acoustics - Movie Review

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By Jonathan W. Wind


Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Visual Acoustics is the story of Julius Shulman, the world’s greatest architectural photographer,who died in July of this year. Shulman photographed nearly every well known architect's creations, beginning in the early 1930s.

Such luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Frank Gehry created the modernist architectural movement, centered in Southern California. In the 1950s and 1960s Shulman's iconic images showed the rest of the nation the mystique of Beverly Hills and the “Southern California lifestyle.”



Modernism draws on the formula that form follows function meaning that the form of a building or object should be foremost based upon the function or purpose for which it is intended. Interestingly, though this would seem to always makes good sense, often there are aesthetic issues, the form of an object and its intended purpose is not by itself a entire design solution. If only the film…

21st Cineffable Film Festival, Paris - Special Report

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By Moira Sullivan

The Cineffable Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival continues to excel in bringing to Paris an excellent program of international documentaries, features, and shorts, including experimental and animation. This year the audience awarded best feature to Rain, by Maria Govan of the UK and the Bahamas. The film is about a young girl who goes to live with her drug addicted mother after her grandmother dies, and sets her hopes on becoming a champion runner. Best documentary went to the U People, by Hanifah Walidah, an exceptional music video about 30 women and transmen of color in Brooklyn. Short films that won audience awards include Canadian Claudia Morgado Escanillas' No Bikini won best short about a young girl who experiences seven years of bliss posing as boy so that she can swim without a top. In Melanie McGraw’s Pitstop from the US a young girl is accidentally left behind at a gas station and becomes inspired by the woman who owns it who encourages her to take phot…