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New and Coming Releases: October 9, 2007 (Updated 10/12)

Sakes alive, this is a neat little week for diverse DVD releases from around the globe! From the long awaited DVD release of the omnibus Twilight Zone movie to Gus Van Sant's first to killer Kiwi sheep and much more, there's something here for all tastes and moods. Read on for more!

Updated 10-12!

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: October 9, 2007 (Updated 10/12)

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Corneliu Porumboiu: 12:08 East of Bucharest

By Jay Kuehner

Before Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days took the coveted Palme d'Or at the 60th Cannes Film Festival, the declaration of a Romanian new wave seemed to rest on the singular success of Cristi Puiu's quotidien epic The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.

Modest by design but no less ambitious in its formal conception, Corneliu Porumboiu's 2006 Camera d'Or-winning 12:08 East of Bucharest stakes out the relative calm amid the Balkan tide. Where Puiu's long day's gurney into night is indebted to ER and Eric Rohmer, as envisioned by a painter, Porumboui's droll evocation of the Romanian revolution owes something to the narrative torpor of Jarmusch and the tableaux of Vermeer.

Jay Kuehner spoke with the filmmaker about his work and about the new wave of Romanian cinema.

12:08 East of Bucharest is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Corneliu Porumboiu: 12:08 East of Bucharest

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Catching Up with Christoffer Boe

By Sean Axmaker

In Christopher Boe's Allegro [official site], a world acclaimed concert pianist (played by Ulrich Thomsen) is formally invited to reclaim his lost past. You see, it's preserved in an impenetrable and inexplicable bubble in the center of Copenhagen. Imagine a cross between Andrei Tarkovksy and The Matrix, with a whimsical flair and a mischievous narrator (Henning Moritzen) who may be a guardian angel, an ironic devil, or simply an existential master of ceremonies.

Boe's latest feature Allegro is now on DVD.

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Ang Lee: "I Like to Keep That Mystery"

Ang Lee

By Sean Axmaker

"I think I'm running out of things to make film about in my conscious world," Ang Lee tells Sean Axmaker in a conversation about Lust, Caution that quickly moves to the Oscar-winning director's entire oeuvre. "Starting from The Ice Storm, I started to go the other side. I think up to Sense and Sensibility, I did everything that I know of myself consciously... But I like to keep that mystery and make movies about what I need to find out."

Continue Reading Ang Lee: "I Like to Keep That Mystery"

AJ Schnack: "We hope that we've given a true sense of him."

By Francine Taylor

AJ Schnack

"Taped conversations between Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain and music journalist Michael Azerrad form the attention-grabbing center of director AJ Schnack's otherworldly documentary Kurt Cobain About a Son," writes Steve Ramos at indieWIRE. "The true highlights of the film, more than Cobain's never-before-heard commentary on life, death and the price of sudden fame, are Schnack's artful technique, pinpoint editing, clever animation and beautiful collage of Pacific Northwest landscapes and everyday Seattle people."

Here, Francine Taylor talks with AJ Schnack about his unique approach to a tragic story, the differences between documentaries and nonfiction films and what he hopes audiences will take away from Kurt Cobain About a Son.

Continue Reading AJ Schnack: "We hope that we've given a true sense of him."

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New and Coming Releases: October 2, 2007

We usher in October with a weird but good mix of new releases, including some great stuff from TV (cable and PBS), a cool music set, indie sleepers and more. Click on for all the good stuff (and some not so good).

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: October 2, 2007

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Julia Loktev: Day Night Day Night

By Jay Kuehner

The latest issue of Sight and Sound is devoted to the state of American independent cinema and the apparent dearth of genuine US indie talent. While a host of usual suspects is nominated to make or break the argument, there is no mention of Julia Loktev, the Russian-born but US-bred filmmaker whose work to date has included audio and video art installation pieces, as well as the prize-winning documentary Moment of Impact (1998), which deals with the quotidian aftermath of her father's debilitating car accident.

Loktev's first feature length film Day Night Day Night, is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Julia Loktev: Day Night Day Night

Béla Tarr's Man from London

Bé Tarr

Perhaps no other director is more immediately associated with the long take as Bé Tarr. In his latest film, The Man from London, Tarr couples his unique aesthetic with, of all things, a murder mystery written by Georges Simenon. Michael Guillé/a> asks him about his emphasis on his characters' situations - as opposed to the story he's telling.

The Man from London premiered in Cannes, screened in Toronto and is part of this year's New York Film Festival, screening Sunday and Wednesday.

In an earlier interview, Jay Kuehner spoke with Tarr about Werckmeister Harmonies.

Continue Reading Béla Tarr's Man from London

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Verhoeven Returns

Interview By David D'Arcy

Paul Verhoeven should not be so misunderstood, since his films are efforts to tell simple truths, usually in the simplest cinematic language. The truths are painfully simple in the case of Black Book, which looks at survival and betrayal in the Dutch resistance to the Germans, as World War II was drawing to a close and the Dutch were preparing to govern themselves once again. The title comes from a black book in which the names of Dutch collaborators with the Nazis are listed. Let's just say that the top priorities as the war ends are not truth and reconciliation.

Black Book is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Verhoeven Returns

Robert Benton: Character Determines Action

Robert Benton

Bonnie and Clyde. Kramer vs. Kramer. Nobody's Fool. As a screenwriter, and often as a director as well, Robert Benton has had a hand in more than a few landmarks of American cinema. His latest, Feast of Love, is an adaptation of a novel by Charles Baxter, recommended to him by novelist Richard Russo.

Sean Axmaker talks with Benton about his genre-tweaking background, about what all he owes Robert Altman, about the ongoing debate over violence in movies and about what he's after in Feast of Love: "My interests have shifted away from film and more toward life, and that what interests me are those things that I don't understand. Love is one of those things."

Continue Reading Robert Benton: Character Determines Action

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