dwhudson's blog

Laurent Cantet: "The Classroom is a Place for Democracy"

Laurent Cantet By Jonathan Marlow

"The tendency of cinema now is to be more and more connected to reality. If you look at the selection of films at the Cannes Film Festival this year, it was obvious. I think it is because the world in which we are living is more and more complex. It is becoming difficult to find a place in this world where you can ask these questions. Cinema provides a good place to ask these questions."

That's Laurent Cantet, talking with Jonathan Marlow about, among other things, his Palme d'Or-winning film, The Class. At GreenCine Daily, we've been collecting accolades for The Class from Cannes, the New York Film Festival and just here.

The Class is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Laurent Cantet: "The Classroom is a Place for Democracy"

Ari Folman: "Animation, or Not at All"

Ari Folman By David D'Arcy

"Waltz With Bashir is a memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film," writes AO Scott in the New York Times. "Directed by Ari Folman, an Israeli filmmaker whose struggle to make sense of his experience as a soldier in the Lebanon war of 1982 shapes its story, Waltz is by no means the world's only animated documentary, a phrase that sounds at first like a cinematic oxymoron. Movies like Richard Linklater's Waking Life and Brett Morgen's Chicago 10 have used animation to make reality seem more vivid and more strange, producing odd and fascinating experiments. But Mr Folman has gone further, creating something that is not only unique but also exemplary, a work of astonishing aesthetic integrity and searing moral power."

David D'Arcy talks with Folman about what makes an animated film vital long after its technical wow-effect wears off.

Continue Reading Ari Folman: "Animation, or Not at All"

Gonzalo Arijon: "It's About Miracles"

Gonzalo Arijon By David D'Arcy

"Because the story has already been told in Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, the 1974 best seller by Piers Paul Read, and retold in its 1993 screen adaptation starring Ethan Hawke, why again?" asks Stephen Holden in the New York Times. "The short answer is that in [Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains], all 16 of the survivors, now middle-aged, tell the story in their own words." And Salon's Andrew O'Hehir finds the resulting film "intimate, terrifying and positively riveting... One way of explaining Stranded is that [director Gonzalo] Arijon's after not just the objective facts of what happened and when, which are dramatic enough, but also the subjective reality, the psychological and physiological desolation of the experience."

David D'Arcy talks with Arijon about why he's retelling a well-known tale.

Stranded is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Gonzalo Arijon: "It's About Miracles"

Tell No One: Guillaume Canet and Harlan Coben

Tell No One By James Van Maanen

"Hitchcock's 'Wrong Man' scenario gets an invigorating French update in Tell No One, a long-winded but gripping thriller based on American author Harlan Coben's bestseller," writes Nick Schager in Slant, reviewing "a film whose entertainingly fleet (and sometimes downright harried) pace... and enticing central mysteries deliver the tangy kicks one craves from juicy pulp."

James Van Maanen talks with Coben and actor-director Guillaume Canet about their César Award-winner. Tell No One is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Tell No One: Guillaume Canet and Harlan Coben

Steve McQueen: "A Reason to Live and a Reason to Die"

Steve McQueen By David D'Arcy

"Historical dramas often suffer from a certain stodgy remove, but in Hunger, conceptual artist and first-time feature filmmaker Steve McQueen takes his audience deep inside a particular place and time: Her Majesty's Prison Maze in Northern Ireland, circa 1981," writes Noel Murray at the AV Club. "McQueen wields his directorial control so tightly that at a certain point, his long takes start to look more like a stunt than the ideal way to convey information. But honestly, when a director has the eye and the feel of a McQueen, he earns the leeway to go down some blind alleys."

David D'Arcy talks with McQueen about the film that's won the Golden Camera in Cannes, among several other awards at festivals around the world.  Hunger opens in the US in NYC March 20 and in other cities soon thereafter.

Continue Reading Steve McQueen: "A Reason to Live and a Reason to Die"

Courtney Hunt: "As a Director, You Have Five Minutes"

By David D'Arcy

Courtney Hunt "When I heard that Quentin Tarantino handed the Grand Jury Prize for best feature to Courtney Hunt's Frozen River at this year's Sundance Film Festival, telling the audience that the movie 'put my heart in a vise and proceeded to twist that vise until the last frame,' my jaw went slack," recalls Ella Taylor in the Voice. "But Tarantino was raised by his mom, and if there's one thing this movie gets dead right, it's the desperation of impoverished single mothers trying to fend for their children. And if Frozen River finally gets the terrific actress Melissa Leo her place in the sun to boot, so much the better."

David D'Arcy talks with Hunt about the immigrant smuggling we rarely hear anything about: crossing the US-Canadian border.

Frozen River is now out on DVD so we're representing the interview.

Continue Reading Courtney Hunt: "As a Director, You Have Five Minutes"

Adam Resurrected: A Roundtable

Adam Resurrected By David D'Arcy

Reviewing Adam Resurrected for Screen, David D'Arcy noted that the "Holocaust is a new subject for director Paul Schrader, a Calvinist from Michigan, who infuses drama and physical comedy into Yoram Kaniuk's matter-of-fact tone in the novel. Yet the subject is not entirely foreign. As with the protagonists of Taxi Driver and Affliction, Adam Stein is consumed by grueling inner turmoil - in this case, by the guilt of a survivor whose family perished. Schrader navigates this emotional territory effectively."

Here, David talks with Schrader, Kaniuk ("one of the most innovative, brilliant novelists in the Western World," as the New York Times has put it) and producer Ehud Bleiberg about the challenges of adapting a novel Susan Sontag once compared to the work of Gabriel García Márquez.

Continue Reading Adam Resurrected: A Roundtable

DVD Spotlight: 11/18.

The General "The General is a peephole into history and by any definition an uncannily beautiful film," writes Gary Giddins at Slate. "Indeed, for a first-time viewer, I would emphasize the beauty over the comedy."

"With a star-powered trio of Roberts (Ryan, Mitchum and Young) sharing the one-sheet for a film noir produced by the studio that helped define the post-war style, Crossfire really should be a lot better than it is," finds Scott Marks. And then there's Flying Leathernecks. Nicholas Ray "possibly undertook the project in part as a preemptive defense against HUAC who viewed him as a left-leaning, Tinsel Town liberal. They were right, of course, but Ray never went down for them. Undoubtedly Ray and Robert Ryan, both leftist liberals, locked horns with the Duke and his favored GOP co-star Jay C Flippen. Sadly, very little of their off-screen tension found its way into the finished product."

Read more below!

Continue Reading DVD Spotlight: 11/18.

Benson Lee: "Fug film school, Make a documentary!"

bensonleer.jpg By Cathleen Rountree

"Planet B-Boy considers the international resurgence of breakdancing and closely follows five of the most prominent teams from Korea, Japan, France, and the US as they prepare for the annual Battle of the Year (aka the 'World Cup' of b-boying) at its home base in Braunschweig, Germany, which is attended by 10,000 spectators."

Cathleen Rountree talked with director Benson Lee.  The film is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Benson Lee: "Fug film school, Make a documentary!"

DVD Spotlight: 11/4.

The Films of Budd Boetticher

Let's face it, not too many of us are thinking about movies today. On the other hand, if the excitement's starting to get to you in an unhealthy way, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir is here to help - with a list, naturally: "You need diversion, mon ami. You need some powerful cinematic methadone to get you through the next several hours. We're not talking quality cinema here, at least not necessarily. We're talking some truly suspenseful shit, a movie-drug high strong enough to keep you off the Internet and disassociated from the outside world for a few hours, until the so-called real results come in."

With The Films of Budd Boetticher coming out today, the Parallax View is running a series that includes Sean Axmaker's introduction to the filmmaker, an overview of his career, a composite interview conducted between 1988 and 1992 and Richard T Jameson's appreciation of 7 Men From Now.

Continue Reading DVD Spotlight: 11/4.

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