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Le Météore at Cinéma du Parc
March 11, 2014 to March 21, 2014


After winning the prize for best québécois film of 2013 Le Météore (dir. François Delisle) will screen on March 20, 7 pm, at the Cinéma du Parc (Salle Luc-Perreault), in the presence of le director Delisle. The film is being distributed by FunFilm Distribution.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Le Météore at Cinéma du Parc
March 11, 2014 to March 21, 2014


After winning the prize for best québécois film of 2013 Le Météore (dir. François Delisle) will screen on March 20, 7 pm, at the Cinéma du Parc (Salle Luc-Perreault), in the presence of the director Delisle. The film is being distributed by FunFilm Distribution.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Alain Resnais (Dies at age 91)
March 01, 2014 to April 30, 2014


On March 1, 2014 the great French filmmaker Alain Resnais passed on. Born June 3, 1922 Resnais lived a long, fruitful life balanced between integrity and populism. Although never a box-office magnate Resnais was always close to his love of comics (bandes dessinées) and that love of the popular form always made its way felt in his otherwise formally rigorous films. One of the ways this was manifested was in the playfulness of his films, beginning with one of cinema’s most playful exercises in cinematic reading, Last Year at Marienbad. I always thought of Resnais along with his contemporary, the Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni. Both helped shape the flowering of art cinema in the late 1950s, early 1960s, along with Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, making films that went hand in hand and almost seemed to speak to each other at a distance: Hiroshima Mon Amour, L’Avventura in 1959; Last Year at Marienbad/L’eclisse (1961/62), Muriel/Deserto Rosso (1963/64), Mon oncle d’Amérique/The Mystery of Oberwald (1980). RIP Alain.

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Harold Ramis, a Comedy Legend Dies too Early
February 24, 2014 to March 31, 2014


A sad day for lovers of comedy, as one of its most successful writers, producers, directors, and bit part actor Harold Ramis, passed away on February 24, 2014, at the age of 69. Ramis’ death was caused by complications from a rare disease autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. Ramis, based out of Chicago, had strong ties to Canada with his long-time involvement as a writer (and sometime actor) on SCTV. He leaves behind a legacy of box-office hit comedies as both director (Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day, Analyze This) and writer (Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School). Ramis was that rare comic talent that was able to succeed as both director and writer on television and cinema. His wit and irreverence will be sorely missed in the world of comedy.

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Riz Ortolani: 1926-2014
January 23, 2014 to February 28, 2014


The great Italian film composer Riz Ortolani has passed away on January 23, 2014, at the age of 87. Ortolani came from a gifted generation of Italian composers who made their mark on the world scene with their film scores, especially their scores for Italian popular genres such as Mondo, Spaghetti Western, horror, gialli and comedies. These contemporaries include such luminaries as Ennio Morricone, Stelvio Cipriani, Armando Trovajoli, Nina Rota, Bruno Nicolai, Piero Umiliani, Piero Piccioni, and Carlo Rustichelli. Ortolani’s work has come back into the spotlight thanks to the rebirth of cult interest in Italian genre films of the 1960s, 1970s, the whole lounge culture and paracinema explosion; and the re-use of his and other Italian music by contemporary American cinema, most notably Quentin Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn, who used Ortolani’s gorgeous 1954 song “Oh My Love,” sung by his wife Katyna Ranieri, to great emotional affect in Drive (2011). Ortolani’s greatest aesthetic triumph just might be his juxtaposition of musical melancholia with gut-wrenching imagery in Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, 1980. Ortolani’s music lives on but he will be sorely missed by the world of cinema and those who appreciate passion in their art.

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Amiri Baraka: RIP
January 10, 2014 to March 01, 2014


The great African-American playwright, poet, actor, and social activist Amiri Baraka passed away on January 9, 2014 at the age of 70. Born in 1934, Baraka was a spearheading figure promoting art as social activism during the Civil Rights period. As described in the Guardian obit linked here, “Perhaps no writer of the 1960s and 1970s was more radical or polarising than the man formerly known as LeRoi Jones and no one did more to extend the political debates of the civil rights era to the world of the arts.” His play “The Dutchman” was adapted by himself into a film in 1967, The Dutchman, directed by Anthony Harvey and starring Shirley Knight and Al Freeman Jr. In honor of Baraka, Offscreen plans to publish an essay on the The Dutchman in the near future.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Jia Zhang-Ke’s latest A Touch of Sin
January 08, 2014 to January 31, 2014


Peter Rist finally gets to see Jia Zhang-Ke’s latest film, the Cannes’ prize-winning A Touch of Sin, and the wait was well worth it. Please support your local indie theatres, where Jia A Touch of Sin will be playing.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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The Best of 2013
December 30, 2013 to February 01, 2014


Peter Rist gives us a round-up of his best films that screened for the first time in Montreal in the 2013 calendar year.

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Peter Wintonick: RIP
November 19, 2013 to December 31, 2013


Canadian director, cinematographer, editor and all round ambassador of documentary Peter Wintonick passed away from liver cancer on Nov. 18, 2013 at the age of 60. Wintonick made his mark in the field of documentary with the 1992 film Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, an invigorating Chomskian examination of the role of media in policy making, ideology and social action. Wintonick remained a student of documentary and helped keep its spirit and history alive with his documentary on the cinéma vérité movement Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment (2000), which featured another legend of the documentary who recently passed away, Michel Brault. Wintonick’s whimsical final film, a biographical, cinephilic road-movie, pilgrIMAGE (2009) was co-directed with his daughter Mira Burt-Wintonick. The Wintonick legacy lives on.

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Music and the Moving Image IX (Conference at NYU Steinhardt, May 30, 2014 – June 1, 2014)
October 24, 2013 to May 31, 2014


CALL FOR PAPERS

The annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music, sound, and the entire universe of moving images (film, television, video games, iPod, computer, and interactive performances) through paper presentations.

This year’s conference will include a keynote speech by the film orchestrator Patrick Russ (King Kong, Far From Heaven) and we invite abstracts that focus on the role and function of orchestration. The Program Committee includes Patrick Russ, Elisabeth Weis (Film Sound: Theory and Practice, The Silent Scream: Alfred Hitchcock’s Sound Track), Philip Carli (Synergy in America’s Early Talking Machine Industry and original orchestral scores for Captain Salvation [1925; Turner, 2005], Stella Maris [1918; Milestone, 1998]), and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Composing for the Cinema, Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron Sadoff (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation; Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood). The conference will run a few days before the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker (June 4 – 13, 2014).

MaMI Conference website: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/scoring/conference/

Abstracts or synopses of papers (250 words) should be submitted to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), by no later than Dec. 16, 2013.

E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Music and the Moving Image IX (Conference at NYU Steinhardt, May 30, 2014 – June 1, 2014)
October 24, 2013 to May 31, 2014


CALL FOR PAPERS

The annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music, sound, and the entire universe of moving images (film, television, video games, iPod, computer, and interactive performances) through paper presentations.

This year’s conference will include a keynote speech by the film orchestrator Patrick Russ (King Kong, Far From Heaven) and we invite abstracts that focus on the role and function of orchestration. The Program Committee includes Patrick Russ, Elisabeth Weis (Film Sound: Theory and Practice, The Silent Scream: Alfred Hitchcock’s Sound Track), Philip Carli (Synergy in America’s Early Talking Machine Industry and original orchestral scores for Captain Salvation [1925; Turner, 2005], Stella Maris [1918; Milestone, 1998]), and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Composing for the Cinema, Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron Sadoff (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation; Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood). The conference will run a few days before the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker (June 4 – 13, 2014).

Abstracts or synopses of papers (250 words) should be submitted to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), by no later than Dec. 16, 2013.

E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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FNC/Concordia special event on digital Restoration: De Seve, October 11, 6-8 pm/free event
October 08, 2013 to October 12, 2013


Performance/Installations/ Conférences/ Projections :

Histoires en mouvement
Oct 11 | 6 pm | J.A De Sève Cinema/Concordia University, SGW Campus

Preserving and Distributing Repertory Films: Carlotta Film (France) Vincent Paul-Boncour

Since 1998, French distribution company Carlotta Films has focused on the restoration of classic repertory titles from the 1950s to today and their distribution via theatrical re-releases, DVDs and video-on-demand. The company’s catalogue includes works by Pasolini, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlos Saura, Billy Wilder, Yasujiro Ozu and Fassbinder. Company co-founder and director Vincent Paul-Boncour will give a presentation about Carlotta Films’ mandate and strategies.

Persistence of Revision | Ross Lipman (UCLA Film and TV Archive)
Oct 11 | 6 pm | J.A De Sève Cinema/Concordia University, SGW Campus

“Just as cinema is based on a succession of still images that the mind reconstructs as continuous motion, our notion of history is constructed from random moments threaded into narratives by strings of memory. This presentation addresses the spectrum of my archival work, techniques of photochemical and digital restoration and an in-depth investigation of the Charlie Mingus’ score for John Cassavetes’ Shadows. Ross Lipman is Senior Film preservationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and an award-winning independent filmmaker.

http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/

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Giuliano Gemma: 1947-2013
October 03, 2013 to December 31, 1969


Italian character actor Giuliano Gemma died at the age of 75 on October 2, 2013, in a car accident. Gemma had a prolific career starting in the late 1950s before gaining popularity as a Spaghetti Western star, notably as the lead hero as Ringo in a series of films, and later with Dario Argento in Tenebre. Gemma also acted in some important art house films, such as Valerio Zurlini’s Desert of the Tartars and Visconti’s The Leopard. Gemma worked also with legendary Spaghetti Western director Sergio Leone, in his sequel For a Few Dollars More.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Pop Montreal
September 25, 2013 to September 29, 2013


Montreal most eclectic ‘big’ little festival is back for another five days of formidable diversity. Please check the Pop Montreal website for scheduling detail and more info on this year’s adventurous program.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Michel Brault: 1928-2013
September 21, 2013 to November 30, 2013


A huge chunk of Quebec and world cinema history comes to an end with the death of Michel Brault, who succumbed to a heart attack on September 21, 2013 at the age of 85. As has been often stated, Michel Brault was at the forefront of the great cinéma vérité movement of the late 1950s, early 1960s. As a cinematographer for such seminal films and figures as Jean Rouch (who asked him to come shoot his groundbreaking Chronicle of a Summer in Paris in 1960 after meeting him at a Robert Flaherty Seminar), Claude Jutra, Pierre Perrault, and others, Brault was arguably the most important single figure of this vastly important film revolution, helping to innovate techniques such as the hand-held camera (or shoulder-mounted is more accurate) and the lightweight sync sound camera/sound system which would become an integral part of the cinéma vérite filmmaker’s arsenal. Brault was there as one of the creative forces at the French Unit of the NFB in the 1950s and 1960s, which pioneered the techniques and strategies which would cement the French style/version of the cinéma vérité film movement (in English Canada and the United States this movement is usually called Direct Cinema and features a slightly different ‘less intrusive’ philosophical approach to the form). Brault’s legacy includes the collaboratively made Quebec cinéma vérité classics Les Raquetteurs (1958), Golden Gloves (1961), and La Lutte (1961); was a collaborator with Pierre Perrault and Marcel Carrière on the wonderful Pour la suite du monde (1964) and again with Perrault on L’acadie, L’acadie (1971). The cinéma vérité movement may have began as a non-fiction movement but quickly became appropriated as a stylistic trope in fiction film; and Brault himself moved easily between the worlds of fiction and non-fiction, shooting such important Quebec fiction films as Claude Jutra’s debut feature À tout prendre (1961), Jutra’s Canadian classic Mon Oncle Antoine (a film which is often voted as the greatest Canadian film ever), Jutra’s Kamouraska (1972), Les bons débarras (Francis Mankiewicz, 1980), his own directed feature Entre la mer et l’eau douce (1972), and brilliantly fusing fiction and non-fiction in his Cannes Festival award winning 1974 directed film about the October Crisis, Les Ordres (undoubtedly one of the ten great Canadian films of all-time). All in all Brault contributed to over 200 short and feature length films, a legacy which will be tough to surpass for any future Quebec-based filmmaker. I met the man briefly when he was at my University for a master class, and got to shake his hand and exchange a few pleasantries. More than this casual meeting, I am pleased to say that I appeared in a film with Brault, sort of. In 2006 I was interviewed for the Canadian documentary series “On Screen” for their episode on Mon Oncle Antoine (1971). In the documentary I make a point about how an establishing shot that pans across the mining area and then zooms into a close-up of the town’s church makes a political point visually by connecting the minority English owned mine to the Church hierarchy (for an extended reading of my thoughts on this film I point the reader to an essay I wrote on Mon Oncle Antoine linked below). The documentary aired on television once or twice and can now be seen as a supplementary feature on the Criterion DVD edition of Mon Oncle Antoine. I could not have been happier when I eventually saw the documentary in its final edited form and discovered that my segment was directly followed by Brault himself corroborating my point, saying, “A zoom is a very significant tool. It has to have a reason to exist. It has to mean something.” Fitting from a man whose life has meant a lot to the world of cinema.

Totaro_Antoine.jpg border=0 width=500 height=289

Brault_Antoine.jpg border=0 width=500 height=291

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Arthur Lamothe (1928-2013)
September 19, 2013 to November 01, 2013


Just heard that three days before Brault’s passing, Quebec (born in France) writer/director Arthur Lamothe also passed away on September 18, 2013, at the age of 84. Certainly a bad week for Quebec cinema. Lamothe’s debut film was the Bûcherons de la Manouane (1962). Although Lamothe had a stab at fiction films, most notably Poussière sur la ville (1965), he quickly settled into a productive career as a documentarist, making films with strong social messages and often dealing with First Nations peoples.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Otto Sander: 1941-2013
September 12, 2013 to October 31, 2013


One of the two angels from Wim Wenders’ standout Wings of Desire has passed away at the age of 72 on September 12, 2013. Sander was a constant presence on the Berlin stage and made films with Wenders, Eric Rohmer, Wolfgang Petersen and many others.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Call for Papers: Gender and Horror
August 23, 2013 to November 15, 2013


Special Issue on the theme of Issues of Gender within the horror film, guest edited by Molly Langill.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Vadim Yusov: RIP, 1929-2013
August 23, 2013 to October 31, 2013


One of the great Soviet artists, cinematographer Vadim Yusov died on August 23, 2013 at the age of 84. Yusov had worked with Andrei Tarkovsky on his first four films, including his diploma film Steamroller and the Violin (1959), and his first three features, all masterpieces, Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev</i> (1966), and Solaris (1972). Creative differences saw him break his working relationship with Tarkovsky for his next film, Mirror (1975) —he thought the film was too autobiographical. Not many cinematographers can claim to have filmed in sequence three such startlingly beautiful and magically inventive pieces of cinema. I have seen these films in total well over a dozen times and each new viewing reveals new bits of mystery and poetry.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Peter Rist Previews World Film Festival 2013
August 22, 2013 to September 03, 2013


Click here to read Peter Rist’s preview of what to watch at this year’s (2013) World Film Festival.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Karen Black RIP (1939-2013)
August 08, 2013 to October 01, 2013


Karen Black has died of cancer at the age of 74 on August 7. I’ll always remember Black as an actress who always gave it her all regardless of the film and who managed to emit a larger than life AND raw to the bone presence. Folks of my generation will always remember her for her turn in one of the most harrowing moments of TV horror, the Zuni doll episode from Dan Curtis’ Trilogy of Terror. Many forget that Black actually played three different roles in that film, appearing in each episode of the trilogy. Black worked non-stop since then and struck me again in another dual role, playing Sandra and Eleanor in teh much under-rated Steve Balderson 2005 film Firecracker. Black’s iconic presence in only a handful of horror roles (House of 1000 Corpses being another recent horror film she appeared in) led to her name being adopted as the stage name for glam rock, burlesque shock performer, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Clive Barker's History of the Devil (August 1-3)
July 30, 2013 to August 05, 2013


“As long as we do bad things we need somebody to blame.” So says Clive Barker on the premise of his play “History of the Devil,” in which Satan himself pleads innocence to a court of law overseeing his case for parole from damnation. Longing to return to the side of God where he once shone so brightly, he claims that the evil of the world is the work of humankind alone, that he has been our scapegoat for too long. And so we tour the history of atrocity in seven acts, each open to interpretation so that we might contemplate the nature of our own ideological orientations. Originally written in 1980 for Barker’s own theatre The Dog Company, the play has gone on to be staged numerous times over the last 30 years by various production companies, selling-out houses, often striking up controversy and occasionally being banned for blasphemy. But all accounts suggest that the current version mounted by the relatively new Title 66 troupe is the most riveting to date. The man who brought us the Hellraiser universe meets an upstart theatre company eager to re-vitalize the stodgy world of the contemporary stage, and the combination promises a stellar rendition indeed. Don’t miss their stop at Montreal’s Cinqueme Salle, three nights only – August 1-3 – in conjunction with the Fantasia International Film Festival. Tickets here.

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Pollygrind Underground Film Festival on the Map
July 22, 2013 to October 31, 2013


Taken from their press release, Pollygrind is becoming a leader in the support of offbeat, challenging and experimental genre cinema:

“Films from Peter Grendle, James Cullen Bressack and Eric Stanze will get special out-of -competition showcases at the 2013 PollyGrind Film Festival in October. PollyGrind director Chad Clinton Freeman excitedly announced during San Diego’s Comic Con Weekend that Grendle’s Blood Soaked, Bressack’s 13/13/13 and Stanze’s China White Serpentine will screen at the Las Vegas event.

“We’re still receiving entries for our competition films until July 31,” Freeman said. “We are also six weeks away from when the official in-competition selections are announced, but I thought it might be a cool tradition to start naming the special showcases each year during Comic Con.”

Blood Soaked, a small film from New Mexico that features zombies, Nazis and lesbians, will have a Special Wild Eye Releasing Showcase.

Featured recently in Fangoria magazine, Blood Soaked won Best SFX at the Jersey Gore Film Festival and played the Dark Matters Film Festival. It is also slated to screen at the Salty Horror International Film Festival.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am that we’ll be playing PollyGrind,” Grendle said. “I’m a big fan of your programming. You guys do great stuff.”

Blood Soaked recently signed with Wild Eye Releasing, who has been a sponsor of PollyGrind since 2011. In addition to the showcase, this year Wild Eye will be hosting a panel on distribution, and giving away distribution contracts and consultations to winners.

The demonic 13/13/13, a sequel to 11/11/11 and 12/12/12, gets a Special Asylum Showcase. The film will have its world premiere at the festival. Writer and director Bressack world premiered his found footage film Hate Crime at PollyGrind last year and won awards for Most Horrifying and Best Transgression Film.

“I’m really glad to have The Asylum on board PollyGrind as a sponsor and to be screening 13/13/13,” Freeman said. “I’ve been talking with them for some time, they recently had some success with Sharknado on the SyFy channel and had a film from a PollyGrind alumni in the pipeline, so the timing worked out really well.”

China White Serpentine will have an Underrated Gem Showcase. It was originally released in 2003 and is currently out of print.

“I’m a huge fan of Stanze,” Freeman said. “And this is probably his least-seen and least-talked-about movie. It’s a great piece of experimental art filled with sex, drugs and death. I am very happy to be showcasing this.”

Stanze’s Ratline won Best Crime Film and Best Use of Music at the festival in 2011.

Currently revisiting a few of his older titles, hoping to give them a new spotlight, Stanze, who also directed the cult classics Ice from the Sun and Scrapbook, had many praises for PollyGrind, which screens everything from arthouse to grindhouse.

“Few film fests in the world champion truly independent cinema the way Pollygrind does,” Stanze said. “Due to its exhibition of cutting-edge indie flicks and on-the-rise filmmakers, Pollygrind is an essential part of the independent film landscape.”

An international film festival steeped in artistic freedom, PollyGrind celebrates individuality, diversity, creativity, and empowerment by showcasing the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions.

Named one of 2012’s “25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker, PollyGrind has seen its official selections earn distribution deals from LionsGate, Alternative Cinema, Showtime, IFC Midnight, Wild Eye Releasing, Hannover House, Troma, Synapse Films, Cult Epics, Autonomy Pictures, and a slew of other outlets.

An IMDb qualifying event, PollyGrind has been said by Withoutabox.com to revel “in the bold, the exciting, and the avant garde” and “single-handedly redefined what to expect during the film festival experience.” Past festivals have included concerts, burlesque and art shows, as well as a zombie red carpet walk and cupcake eating contest.

As one of the first festivals to screen, embrace, and award the underground gems Slime City Massacre, The Bunny Game, Dear God No!, The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol, and Adam Chaplin: Violent Avenger, PollyGrind “lives to champion underdogs by turning them into beloved sensations,” Withoutabox wrote in this year’s spotlight on the festival.

Before Jen and Sylvia Soska’s American Mary success, their debut Dead Hooker in a Trunk won numerous awards at PollyGrind. Before Calvin Lee Reeder starred in the hit V/H/S or directed The Rambler feature, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, he won best director at PollyGrind.

Additionally, Randy Moore’s 2013 Sundance film Escape from Tomorrow was a 2012 official selection and Craig McIntyre’s L.A. Maniac (formerly The Los Angeles Ripper), which is slated to be released this fall by Lloyd Kaufman’s distribution company Troma, played the festival in 2011.

PollyGrind, which has more than $30,000 in cash, prizes and swag to give away this year, was founded in 2010 as a festival that pays homage to the spirit of the highly creative and innovative works of indie film pioneers of the past such as Herschell Gordon Lewis, Ted V. Mikels and Doris Wishman.

Scheduled to take place October 9-13, the festival offers special discounted categories for women and girl filmmakers, all filmmakers under 18, Nevada filmmakers and films, debut and sophomore features that have not had world premieres, as well as films that have been rejected from other festivals. New this year is also the addition of a screenplay competition.

PollyGrind selections have screened at Sundance, Telluride, Another Hole in the Head, Fantasia, Raindance, Fantastic, Toronto International, Arizona Underground, Chicago International, Austin and more. Its films and filmmakers have been covered by Variety, Hollywood Reporter, National Lampoon, Fearnet, Fangoria, Dread Central, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Indiewire, Diabolique Magazine, HorrorUnlimited.com and Arrow in the Head.

Aside from The Asylum and Wild Eye Releasing, other sponsors this year include Afternoon Innovations, Footage Firm, Video Blocks, Sony Creative, Glidecam, Alternative Cinema, Apprehensive Films, theatre7, Quick Film Budget and Atomic Liquors.”

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Fantasia International Film Festival
July 18, 2013 to August 07, 2013


Fantasia is back with a bang, returning to the Imperial Theatre while its new home, Concordia University, undergoes some much needed renovations. Highlights for this edition include a lifetime achievement award to Poland’s dark genius Andrzej Zulawski, which includes rare screenings of select films from his back log (Szamanka, L’amour Braque), and a career retrospective talk moderated by scholar East European scholar Daniel Bird. Fantasia returns to its initiative of stepping beyond cinema with a theatrical presentation of Clive Barker’s play, “Clive Barker’s A History of the Devil.” Fantasia opened James Wan’s terrific The Conjuring a day before wide city release. I was lucky to catch the film on the opening night and can vouch for it being one of the creepiest haunted house films in years, reaffirming director James Wan’s position as one of the most formally inventive horror masters of his generation. The film is a heady blend of The Exorcist, The Haunting, Poltergeist, and The Amityville Horror. Takashi Miike’s Lesson of the Evil sees him return to his shocking roots, with an audacious attempt to reconnect with the slow burn build-up of Audition. Much more to savor at Fantasia so check their website for details and updates.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Lau Kar-leung (28 July 1934 – 25 June 2013)
July 01, 2013 to August 31, 2013


One of the premier, if not THE master, of Hong Kong action, kung fu and wu xia film, as both fight choreographer and director, passes away just shy of his 77th birthday.

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Richard Matheson: RIP (February 20, 1926 - June 23, 2013)
June 23, 2013 to July 31, 2013


Only a few weeks after the loss of Ray Harryhausen, the world of the Fantastic has lost another of its legends when writer Richard Matheson passed away on June 23, 2013 at the age of 87. Even is you never read one of Matheson’s novels, you no doubt saw one of his novel adaptations into film or saw one of his many screenplays for televison (notably Twilgiht Zone and Night Gallery) or cinema. His story “I am Legend” (1954), a ‘last man standing’ scenario pitting man against marauding, blood drinking undead, stands as one of most influential and important horror/SF novels of all time.

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UHF (Untitled Horror Film) Kickstarter Program
June 12, 2013 to January 31, 2014


Director Jp Banks-Mercer needs 5000 British Pounds to complete post-production on his indie found footage horror film. Check out his kickstarter page for his pitch, and teaser footage. Found footage horror has been done to death, but this one seems to have a unique spin (blending snuff film with supernatural haunted house mythology) on the tired formula and just might be what horror fans are craving. Donate 15 pounds and you get a free digital download of the finished film.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Project Django!
June 06, 2013 to October 20, 2013


A retrospective on the spaghetti western programmed around the notion of a ‘parallel history of the western.’ A not too be missed event organised by the joint efforts of The Fantasia International Film Festival and the Festival of New Cinema.

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Françoise Blanchard: 1954-2013
May 31, 2013 to July 25, 2013


Former adult actress who made the transition to feature film, largely through the tutelage of French horror master (who also made adult films during his lean days) Jean Rollin. Blanchard passed away at the young age of 58. Blanchard’s non sex films were almost exclusively made with Rollin, who gave her her debut in La Morte Vivante (1982), in which she played a young woman Catherine Valmont who comes back to life a blood craving zombie/vampire. Blanchard’s almost mute performance touches on many emotional nerves (childhood memory, friendship, class, etc.) and builds to a startlingly violent & sexual climax where her child-hood best friend Helene sacrifices herself to satiate Catherine’s ‘hunger.’ Blanchard’s last film was Rollin’s semi-autobiographical La nuit des horloges.

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Ray Harryhausen: 1920-2013
May 07, 2013 to June 30, 2013


The last survivor of the three muskateers of the fantastic, Ray Harryhausen (1920-May 7, 2013), has died at the age of 92. The first to die was Forrest J Ackerman at same age 92 on Dec. 4, 2008, followed by Ray Bradbury age 91 on June 5, 2012. These three giants of the field of the Fantastic did more to shape and promote the field of the popular Fantastic than perhaps any other people in their field. Ackerman as a writer’s agent, ambassador and founder of the first ever monster magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Ray Bradbury as a science-fiction and fantasy writer and Harryhausen as the greatest ever stop motion animator and visual effects creator, an art that has now given way to digital animation. These three figures met in the late 1930s and remained close friends until the end. Harryhausen was inspired by the stop mositon animation work of pioneer Willis O’Brien, noting in particular King Kong as the film that inspired him to take up the field. Harryhausen first solo film was loosely based on a Bradbury short story, “The Fog Horn,” The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), which quickly established him as the heir apparent to O’Brien. Over a dozen key works in the genre of fantasy/science-fiction followed in the 1960s, 1970s, including the classics Mighty Joe Young<i> (1949), <i>20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts, and The Valley of Gwangi (1969). Although a cliche, an era has well and truly come to pass.

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Jesus Franco (May 12, 1930 - April 2, 2013)
April 04, 2013 to July 31, 2013


The passing of prolific (over 200 films, an apparent Guinness Book of World Records for most films) Spanish director Jesus Franco, revered by some, reviled by others, marks the end of a wonderful era of Euro-horror, of which he was one of its prime movers and shakers. Euro horror is hot right now (with the first ever dedicated book just out by Ian Olney, entitled Eurohorror, 2013, published by Indiana University Press) and the deaths now of Mario Bava (1980), Riccardo Freda (1999), Lucio Fulci (1996), Paul Naschy (2009), Jean Rollin (2010), and now Jesus Franco leaves only a handful of younger directors who made films at the tale end of the euro-horror boom alive and kicking (Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, Pupi Avati, Harry Kumel, Sergio Martino, and others). The recent passing of both Franco and Rollin is most strongly felt because they, perhaps, are two filmmakers who best exemplified the highs and lows of the euro-horror film: unabashedly personal, without care for taste or decorum, yet marked by a tasty streak of exploitation that made their films ultimately populist (if not for all tastes); at times veering toward artfully sublime, other times marred by the affects of time and budget restrains; never afraid to mix the once taboo elements of fierce violence and naked sexuality. The works of Franco and Rollin challenged the way films were told, the roles of women (who were often cast as powerfully iconic figures, dangerous, Amazonian, lethal, sensual, seductive, ‘monstrous’ female fatales, lesbian or bisexual lovers, and tragically fated to repeat the sins of their past incarnations), and the limits of what constitutes horror. With the recent boom in interest, academically and by ‘fan scholars’, the groundwork laid out by figures such as Franco and Rollin will only grow in historical stature.

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Donald Richie (1924-2013)
February 19, 2013 to March 31, 2013


One of the foremost advocates of Japanese cinema and culture for the West, Donald Richie, passed away on February 19, 2013 at the age of 88 in Japan, where he lived since the late 1940s. Richie’s goal in life was to open up the west to the art of the great Japanese filmmakers, notably Ozu, Kurosawa and Mizoguchi and did so across numerous books and essays. His advocacy of Japanese art and culture will be sorely missed.

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Acting Workshops (Starting May 18, 2013)
February 16, 2013 to June 02, 2013


After a 3 year absence, Carole Zucker will be back in Montreal, teaching an acting workshop. The workshops are taught to develop the actor’s imagination, flexibility, focus, concentration, responsiveness, emotional intelligence and vitality. The workshops only work in so far as the student is committed to the process; you must be willing to do the work. We often start the workshops with breathing and meditation exercises to help students to focus on the day ahead of them. The workshops are offered to those with an interest in acting, amateur theater, those who may wish to go on to drama school and people who want to explore their creativity. Experience is not necessary.
The workshops have been given annually in Montreal, Canada, Burlington, VT, and in the UK since 1999. They are not intended as a substitute for the full conservatory experience, but are offered to those with an interest in acting, amateur theater, those who may wish to go to drama school and those who want to explore the acting process and their creativity. The workshop is invaluable for film makers who want to learn more about the acting process and how to direct actors. Commitment to the process is all that is required of the student. The Beginners Meisner Technique Workshop will be held in the Faubourg Building, starting on May 18th. A special discounted rate is available for all students in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Check out the website to find out more about the technique, the dates, and the instructor. Check the website for more information.

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Michael Winner: 1935-2013
January 21, 2013 to March 31, 2013


Prolific British director Michael Winner passed away on January 21, 2013 at age 77. I reviewed one of my favorite Winner films, The Sentinel, a few years back on Offscreen. Winner is perhaps best known for his classic vigilante action revenge film starring its iconic star Charles Bronson, Death Wish, and its two sequels. Winner formed a strong working bond with Bronson, who he would direct in several other action/crime films (The Stone Killer, The Mechanic). Horror fans will also remember his take on James’s story Turn of the Screw, The Nightcomers, starring Marlon Brando.

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Mariangela Melato (1941-2013)
January 13, 2013 to March 31, 2013


One of the greatest female comedienne’s at the tail end of Italy’s ‘golden era’ of film comedy, Mariangelo Melato, passed away on January 13, 2013 at the age of 71. Melato starred on the stage and screen since the 1970s and lit up both with an intelligence and vigor that made it appear as if she were living life at a constant full throttle. International fame came to her in her roles starring opposite Giancarlo Giannini in Lina Wertmuller’s Mimi the Metal Worker (1972) and Swept Away (1974). Melato worked with other great directors such as Luchino Visconti (Monaca di Monza, 1967), Elio Petri (The Working Class go to Heaven (1971), Steno (La polizia ringrazia, 1972), Vittorio De Sica (Lo chiameremo Andrea, 1972), Claude Chabrol (The Nada Gang), Sergio Corbucci (Di che segno sei?, 1975), Fernando Arrabal (The Tree of Guernica, 1975), and Luigi Comencini (Il Gatto, 1977).

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Film Studies For Free
December 10, 2012 to February 28, 2013


Nice to see that Offscreen has once again made the cut in the indispensable Film Studies For Free year end poll of Top 12 Established online Film Studies Journals. Thanks to Catherine Grant again for her continued amazing work in holding together the single most amazing online film studies resource. FSFF rules.

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Gualtiero Jacopetti: 1919-2012
November 29, 2012 to January 31, 2013


With the popularity of the documentary continually on the rise due to its permeability to splinter out into fictional terrains such as mockumentary, fake documentary, and reality programs, a special mention should go to one half of the co-founder of what he called the “anti-documentary,’ the mondo film, Gaultiero Jacopetti. Jacopetti worked in tandem with Franco Prosperi and Paolo Cavara to make the first mondo film, Mondo Cane, in 1961, and then a slew of follow-ups that would go on the influence a generation of even more lurid and more staged films in the 1970s and 1980s. Jacopetti died on Wednesday, Nov. 28 in Rome at the age of 91.

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The Film Society
November 20, 2012 to January 31, 2013


There is a new event being hosted at Concordia, in VA-114 and JA De Seve, The Film Society screenings. The Film Society is run by Phil Spurrell, who has been serving the film community in Montreal for 20 years, hosting monthly or bi-monthly screenings of 16mm (and sometimes 35mm) old, classic and contemporary films. The nice thing about The Film Society is that with the transition to digital projection, this is one of the few places where you can still see actual celluloid in Montreal, where right now there are very few remaining venues that still screen 35mm (Cinema du parc, Ex-Centris and the Cinémathèque). Thisi Friday, Nov. 23, the FS is having a special 20th anniversary event to launch its new Concordia Partnership, at the J.A. deSeve theatre at 7:30pm. It is a surprise title of a 35mm cinemascope (BIG) film. The actual regular screenings will be held normally on Sunday nights.

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Cinema Politica
November 20, 2012 to December 31, 2012


A listing of upcoming November and December 2012 screenings.

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MUSIC & THE MOVING IMAGE VIII
October 28, 2012 to June 02, 2013


Conference at NYU Steinhardt: May 31-June 2, 2013

CALL FOR PAPERS

The annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music, sound, and the entire universe of moving images (film, TV, video games, mobile media, and interactive performances) through paper presentations.

This year’s conference will feature two roundtables: “Film Scoring: Teaching The Practice,” chaired by Dan Carlin, Dir. Scoring for Motion Pictures & Television Program, USC. The panel will include Paul Chihara, Head of Visual Media Program, UCLA; George S. Clinton, Chair of Berklee College Film Scoring; Halldor Krogh, Dir. Film Scoring, Lillehammer University, Norway; and Ron Sadoff, Dir. NYU Steinhardt Film Scoring.

A panel dedicated to “Music Production Libraries in Television” will feature Doug Wood (composer, COO Omnimusic). We welcome submissions that address TV music.

The Program Committee: Krin Gabbard (Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema); Raymond Knapp (The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity); Katherine Spring (Saying It With Songs (forthcoming)); and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron Sadoff (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation).

MaMI follows the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop, May 21-30, 2013.

Abstracts or synopses of papers (250 words) should be submitted to: Dr. Ron Sadoff, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) chair of the program committee, no later than Dec. 17, 2012.

E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

Dept. of Music and Performing Arts Professions, Program in Film Scoring: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/scoring/

NYU – 35 West 4th St, New York, NY 10012

Conference fee: $185.00 – Students: $85.00; NYU Housing Available

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Koji Wakamatsu: 1936-2012
October 17, 2012 to December 31, 2012


On October 17, 2012, iconoclastic Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu has died after complications following being hit by a taxi cab. This is tragic news, which uncannily recalls Theo Angelopoulos dying by a similar cause earlier this year, 24 January 2012, at the same age as Wakamatsu, 76. Wakamatsu had just completed his latest film, The Millenium Rapture (2012), which is playing at Montreal’s FNC (Festival de nouveau cinema). Offscreen has written on two of Wakamatsu’s seminal political Roman Porno films, Ecstacy of Angels and Go, Go Second Time Virgin. Wakamatsu had made another film in 2012, which also played in Montreal, at Fantasia 2012, about Yukio Mishima 11:25: The Day He Chose His Own Fate. A sad day indeed for world cinema.

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Chris Marker: 1921-2012
July 29, 2012 to September 30, 2012


Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, the great French filmmaker Chris Marker passed away on July 30, 2012 at the age of 91. Marker was part of the golden age of French intellectual and artistic experimentation in France circa the 1950s, becoming an important figure among the Left Bank artistic community. France in the 1950s was a heady place to be, influenced by the recently deceased philosopher Henri Bergson, and other philosophers and film thinkers Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Emmanuel Mounier, Andre Bazin, and Alexandre Astruc. Marker soaked in all of these ideas into what would become one of the most unique contributions to cinema, forming an original essayistic style of filmmaking that shred through established boundaries such as fiction, documentary, and experimental. If Marker would only have made one film, La Jetée (1962) he would have earned his place in film history. Composed almost entirely of still images (showing the influence of photography, the photo-roman, and comic books on Marker), the nearly thory minute La Jetée is arguably one of the greatest meditations on time, memory, and by extension, science-fiction time travel. The themes of time and memory would haunt Marker (as well as his colleague Alain Resnais) for the rest of his life, even extending to the medium of interactive CD art with his now classic ‘Immemory” CD. I urge you to read The Guardian obituary for the details of Marker’s fascinating life history.

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Ernest Borgnine: 1917-2012
July 09, 2012 to December 31, 1969


I must admit to being one of those people who in the past had prematurely thought of Borgnine as being dead. Well, life has caught up. One of the greatest American character actors ever has passed away at the age of 95 on July 8, 2012. His list of film roles is as long (over 200 films) as it is impressive. My favorite of his standout performances include From Here to Eternity (he’s the guy that beat the stuffing out of Sinatra), Marty, The Wild Bunch, Dirty Dozen, Willard, and I briganti italiani, RIP Ernest.

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Is Canadian Cinema Sexy?
July 09, 2012 to October 01, 2012


New issue of the Montreal-based online journal Montreal Serai on Canadian cinema. Articles include:“Canadian Cinema: Sexy?” by Mirella Bontempo, “Canada: Culture or Coma?” by Mark Krupa, and “Notes on Film and Concsiousness”</a> by Patrick Barnard.

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Ray Bradbury 1920-2012
July 04, 2012 to September 01, 2012


The world of fantasy has lost one of its greatest figures, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2012 at the age of 91. Bradbury spanned the golden age of Fantasy and carved himself a huge place in the annals of what he would describe “science fantasy” (as opposed to science fiction, hard science or fantasy). His work touched every possible medium, pulp fiction, radio, literature, theater, poetry, television, motion pictures, including great shows like The Twilight Zone, as a mini-series (The Martian Chronicles, his own anthology TV series, the films Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man, and many more. I will always remember him along with two of his favorite long time friends, Ray Harryhausen and Forrest J Ackerman. Only Harryhausen the —the only one of them I’ve actually met— is still alive. Soon, but hopefully not too soon, a real era of fantasy will be over.

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Andrew Sarris: 31 October 1928 – 20 June 2012
June 20, 2012 to August 31, 2012


One of America’s most important and influential film critics/teachers Andrew Sarris passed away on June 20, 2012 at the age of 83. Sarris is survived by her film critic wife since 1969, Molly Haskell. Sarris’ defining achievement was his groundbreaking book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968, which helped re-define a generation of cinephiles around the notion that film was an art born out of the same artistic juices of painting or literature: the singular vision of the artist. Throughout the 1970s Sarris engaged in famous critical battles with notorious anti-auteurist Pauline Kael. Sarris wrote for nearly thirty years for the Village Voice (where his student Jim Hoberman also toiled for many years until his recent dismissal), taught film studies at several universities and continued to write in his usually witty and urbane style right up until his death.

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Kaneto Shindô 1912-2012
June 11, 2012 to August 01, 2012


The great Japanese director, a contemporary of Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, Naruse, and others, passed away on May 29, 2012 at the age of 100 (born April 28, 1912). As noted in the Guardian obit, Shindo was influenced by his mentor Kenji Mizoguchi (on whom he did an over two hour long documentary, Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director, which is available on the Criterion DVD of Ugetsu), and in terms of his outlook on life and art, the bombing of Hiroshima (where he was actually born). My own lasting impressions of Shindo were based on two striking black and white, cinemascope films, Onibaba (1964) and Kuroneko (1968), powerful horror films centered around Japanese supernatural stories of war-time greed, jealousy and retribution.

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Cinéma dans la rue
June 04, 2012 to June 06, 2012


Following budget cuts by Harper’s Conservative government the decision was taken to shut down the venerable NFB location on St. Denis street, including its groundbreaking, innovative CinéRobothéque. Local filmmakers, cinephiles, critics, teachers and activists have joined together for a three-day celebration of what will be missed if the cuts proceed. The public is invited to partake in a conference, a symbolic ‘joining of hands’ outdoor screenings and more. For info: PRESS_RELEASE_Conference_Cinéma_dans_la_rue_June_4_2012.pdf

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Peter Mettler Retrospective: May 2-May 6
April 28, 2012 to May 07, 2012


May 4, 2012 to May 6, 2012

The Cinematheque Quebecoise is mounting an impressive complete retrospective of Canadian-Swiss filmmaker/artist Peter Mettler. The event, which will project the films in print versions (16mm, except for two filmed in high definition), also includes an intriguing life musical improvisation with Mettler himself (also a musician) and experimental guitarist Fred Firth, and a Mettler masterclass.

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Amos Vogel: April 18, 1921-April 24, 2012
April 26, 2012 to May 31, 2012


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Austrian born film critic, writer, teacher, programmer Amos Vogel passed away in his Greenwich Village apartment in New York City, where he lived since the 1940s, at the age of 91. Vogel’s idiosyncratic book Film as a Subversive Art (with one of the greatest film book coves ever, pictured above) in a way helped shape my own eventual interest in the more bizarre and esoteric aspects of cinema, and the appreciation of a border less notion of cinema where art house, politics, sex, horror and neurosis lived together happily. In a way, Vogel’s understanding of the myriad psycho-sexual, socio-political links between all form of cinema, avant-garde and popular, foreshadowed what is more commonly known now as ‘psychotronic’ cinema or ‘trash cinema’ or ‘paracinema.’ Vogel was instrumental, along with Jonas Mekas and Film Culture, of promoting the avant-garde and experimental cinema as founder and programmer (along with his wife Marcia) of the repertory house Cinema 16 from 1947 to 1963. “After the demise of Cinema 16, Vogel founded the Lincoln Center Film Department and was co-founder of the New York Film Festival, of which he became the first director where he programmed until 1968” ( Paul Cronin, The Sticking Place).

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Marc Gervais: RIP, March 25, 2012
March 28, 2012 to May 01, 2012


Marc Gervais, who was described in the linked The Gazette obit piece, as a “priest with a passion for film,” died on March 25, 2012, at the age of 82. As noted in The Gazette obit, Gervais became a Jesuit priest in 1963 and an academic in 1967. When one thinks of religion and cinema as professions, perhaps Scorsese comes to mind, as someone who had planned to become a priest but changed to cinema instead. In both professions, passion is a must, and it is something that Marc definitely had. I can attest because I was one of the many who took one of his famed cinema courses at the Loyola Campus, this going back to the early 1980s. I took two courses with him, one on the French New Wave, the other on Hollywood Genres. The double bill screenings were one night, the analysis/lecture the next. What I remember most was during the analysis nights, when he would freeze an image on the (now defunct) Athena Analyzer Projector (a 16mm projector which allowed you to stop, go back/forward one or more frames at a time), say a few words, stop, then gesticulate with his arms while repeating, “TSL, TSL” (short hand for texture, structure, language). At times I yearned for a more direct approach (“ok, TSL, but what does that shot mean!), but now I realize his approach was also to keep cinema, like a religion, somewhat of a mystery. I will remember him fondly (ed. Donato Totaro).

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Tonino Guerra
March 22, 2012 to June 01, 2012


One of the greatest screenwriters of art cinema, Tonino Guerra, passed away on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at the age 92. I first became aware of his name after it appeared on the credits of two of my favorite filmmakers, Michelangelo Antonioni (L’avventura, La notte, L’eclisse, Deserto roso, Blow-up, Zabriske Point, Beyond the Clouds) and Andrei Tarkovsky (Nostalgia, Voyage in Time). Once I looked further I realized that this name was associated as an important collaborator with a great number of some of my favorite filmmakers, making him, quite against my will, my “favorite” screenwriter. The list of names he wrote with is impressive indeed: (along with the above) Mario Monicelli, Theo Angelopoulos, Francesco Rosi, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Dino Risi, and Paolo Cavara. Perhaps some of the credit behind the mood of stillness and aesthetic “ennui” so much a part of Antonioni, Tarkovsky and Angelopoulos should now be given to this late, great screenwriter.

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Lina Romay: 1954- February 15, 2012
February 24, 2012 to April 01, 2012


Long-time companion and muse of Spanish director Jess Franco, Lina Romay, has died at the young age of 57. Romay acted primarily in the films of Franco, and although her acting talents weren’t celestial, she had a certain animal magnetism on screen, had no qualms about bearing all, and had a strong cult following among fans of the erotic (or, to borrow a Japanese term that doesn’t quite work for her films, but gets the idea across, ero guro). Sadly, this is the second time director Franco has had to suffer the loss of his partner/collaborator, as his one-time lover and muse Solidad Miranda died at the tender age of 27 in 1970. Romay starred in dozens of porn film, both soft and hard, but will probably be best remembered for her horror and action films (see link for titles).

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Theo Angelopoulos 1935-2012
January 24, 2012 to March 09, 2012


Shockwaves around the world of cinema, as the great Greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos has died from injuries incurred after being hit by a motorcycle on Tuesday, January 23rd. Apparently he was working on a film and the accident occurred near the film set. Angelopoulos had established himself as one of the most uncompromising filmmakers in contemporary cinema, making works that were heavily steeped in detailed historical discourse and a highly mannered mise en scene and long take, moving camera visual style. Angelopoulos’s greatest works include The Travelling Players (1975), Landscape in the Mist (1988), The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991), Ulysses Gaze (1995) and Eternity and a Day (1998). Offscreen has had an Angelopoulos special issue in the works for a very long time, placed on the back-burner, but this tragic news will hopefully inspire me to complete it sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.

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Donald Sharp: April 19, 1922-Dec. 18, 2011
December 19, 2011 to January 23, 2012


One of the most prolific of the British Hammer Studios directors, Don Sharp, has passed away at the age of 89. His films for Hammer included the remarkable The Kiss of the Vampire (1962), four interesting Christopher Lee vehicles Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1965) and The Face of Fu Manchu (1965) and its first sequel The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966) and Dark Places (1973). Among his other horror/SF credits are Witchcraft (1964), Curse of the Fly (1965), Rocket to the Moon (1967), and Sharp’s contribution to the 1960s counter-culture/beatnik movement, Psychomania (1971).

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Ken Russell: 1927-2011
November 28, 2011 to December 31, 2011


The irreverent and iconoclastic British director Ken Russell passed away on November 27, 2011 and the age of 84. Russell was an invited guest of the Fantasia International Film festival in July of 2011 to receive a special lifetime achievement award. I had the good fortune to interview Mr. Russell and his wife Lisi Tribble, with my colleague Peter Rist. Although we could both tell that Russell’s mental state at this time was not at 100% he was very courteous and good-natured, not what we had perhaps expected given his reputation. But at 84 I’m sure the lion that roared within the younger soul had found some peace and tranquility. As his son Alex Verney-Elliott said Monday, “My father died peacefully… He died with a smile on his face.” With his vast range of idiosyncratic films across all genres (documentaries, science-fiction, horror, musicals, biopics, period pieces) there will certainly never be another one like him. RIP Ken.

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Recontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal
November 09, 2011 to November 20, 2011


The RIDM is back from November 9 to 20, 2011

Montreal, August 31, 2011 – The 14th edition of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will be held from November 9 to 20. Screenings of close to a hundred films and many related activities will take place at various Montreal venues, after which the proceedings will move on to Quebec City.

Audiences will be treated to the standouts from this year’s festivals, including Position Among the Stars by Leonard Retel Helmrich, which won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Film in Sundance and Best Feature Length Documentary at IDFA, and Dragonslayer by Tristan Patterson, Grand Jury Award Winner at South by Southwest and Best International Feature at Hot Docs.

The Canadian selection will include such long-awaited films as United States of Africa by Yanick Létourneau, a portrait of African hip hop artists fighting for social justice, and Inside Lara Roxx by Mia Donovan, a frank depiction of the nightmare experience of a Montreal porn actress who contracted HIV on a film set.

Three major retrospectives will be part of the official selection. First off, the RIDM pays tribute to famous American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman by presenting ten of his most influential films. The works of Jørgen Leth, a leading figure in Danish cinema and co-director with Lars von Trier of The Five Obstructions, will also be featured. Audiences will also get a taste of one of the greatest Czech filmmakers, Helena Třeštíková, winner of two awards for her film Katka during the last edition of the festival.

As the festival wraps up, a number of awards will be handed out to the best films, including a new, highly unusual award, the Female Inmates’ Prize by a jury made up of five female inmates of the Joliette Institution.

The RIDM, the only Quebec festival entirely focused on documentaries, offers audiences the best of non-fiction film by bringing together respected veterans and up-and-coming talents. The full program will be unveiled during the October 26 press conference at the Cinémathèque québécoise.

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Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema if Ishiro Honda
October 27, 2011 to November 30, 2011


MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MENTHE FANTASTIC CINEMA OF ISHIRO HONDA” by Peter H. Brothers.

For the first time in America, a book has been published on Japan’s foremost director of Fantasy Films: “MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MEN – The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda” (AuthorHouse, ISBN: 978-1-4490-2771-1).

Known primarily for directing such classic Japanese monster movies as Rodan, Mothra, Attack of the Mushroom People and the original Godzilla, Ishiro Honda (1911 – 2011) has been an undeservedly overlooked figure in mainstream international cinema.

MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MEN is the first book to cover in English print Honda’s life as well comprehensively evaluates all 25 of his fantasy films. It is also gives objective and critical analysis of Honda’s filmmaking methods, themes and relationships with actors and technicians.

Making use of extensive interviews from Honda’s colleagues as well as a wealth of original source material never before gathered into one volume (including previously-unpublished essays) and nominated in 2009 for a “Rondo Award,” MUSHROOM CLOUDS AND MUSHROOM MEN is an affectionate tribute to the most-prolific and influential director in the history of fantasy films.

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David Hess: 1942-2011
October 09, 2011 to November 16, 2011


Horror, grind-house and exploitation fans were dealt a cruel blow with the news of the passing David Hess, respected for his ability to inject true menace into his depiction of screen meanies. I don’t know of too many people who would argue with the assessment of Hess’ Krug Stilo and Alex of The Last House on the Left and The House on the Edge of the Park as two of the most terrifying screen bad guys/villains. As the leader and surrogate father figure of a gang of sociopaths in Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left Hess brought a touch of humanity and vulnerability to his role that made his character edge in memory. Hess had a second (first in fact, followed by his acting career) as a songwriter, writing songs for such luminaries as Elvis Presley, Andy Williams and Pat Boone. I had the good fortune to meet him when he was in Montreal at The Fantasia International Film Festival with the film Smash Cut, co-starring Sasha Grey and directed by Lee Demarbre, and he was ever the gentleman, courteous, fun and charming. My memory of him was standing with Buddy Giovinazzo and his German partner outside the theatrre after a screening of Smash Cut and overhearing the three of them speaking fluid German. I knew that Buddy had been living in Germany for many years, and imagined that Hess must have some German origins or himself had lived in Germany. Condolences to his children, family and all his fans.

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Hess with Sasha Grey introducing Smash Cut

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Ça prend des couilles (It Takes Balls)
October 07, 2011 to October 31, 2011


Congratulations to Benoit Lach for winning the prize for best short film at the San Diego Film Festival 2011, Ça prend des couilles (It Takes Balls).

“Le scénario du film nous transporte dans l’univers d’un jeune homme en attente d’une opération de changement de sexe et qui se voit confronté à sa conscience masculine, qui tentera de le convaincre de ne pas passer à l’acte. De nombreux talents donnent vie à ce premier court-métrage, dont Antoine Portelance, dans le rôle principal, Tammy Verge et Nicolas Canuel. « Je savais que le sujet de mon film était délicat, complexe, mais combien fascinant. Décider de changer de sexe représente pour moi l’ultime décision à laquelle un homme peut être confronté », résume Benoît Lach qui a écrit, réalisé et produit ce premier court-métrage.” [The script brings us into the universe of a young man waiting for a sex change operation who confronts his masculine conscience, which tries to convince him against doing the operation. Many talented performers brought this short film to life, including Antoine Portelance, in the principal role, and Tammy Verge and Nicolas Canuel. Director Lach, who wrote the script, directed and produced this first short film, states: “I knew that the subject of my film is very delicate and complex but also fascinating. Deciding to change one’s sex represents for me the ultimate decision a man can confront.”

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Franco-Chilean Director Raoul Ruiz Dies at 70 (1941-2011)
August 19, 2011 to September 20, 2011


On the same day as Jimmy Sangster, Raoul Ruiz has died at the age of 70. Ruiz, a staunch leftist, left Chile in 1973 after the military coup for France and never looked back, taking advantage of the respect in France for art and experimental cinema to forge one of the most idiosyncratic careers in cinema. Ruiz worked in all film formats and mediums (16mm, 35mm, video) and was an eccentric visual stylist and narrative innovator.

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Jimmy Sangster Dies (2 December 1927 - 19 August 2011)
August 19, 2011 to September 19, 2011


One of the venerable figures of the great British studio Hammer has passed away at age 83. Sangster’s name was associated as either writer or director with some of the most important British horror and thriller films of his generation, and worked with all the great Hammer pros (Lee, Cushing, Fisher, Reed, etc.).

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The 35th Montreal World Film Festival Preview
August 18, 2011 to August 28, 2011


For the third year in a row, we are taking on the difficult task of picking a few must-see films for you at this year’s 35th anniversary World Film Festival/Festival des Films du Monde. Even though the press release claims that 230 feature and medium-length films will be showing this year, we count 196 in total, down slightly on the last two years. However, we agree on the number of international premieres: well over 100, including 45 world premieres. (Although such figures can be misleading: this year, TIFF are claiming to be doing the “North American Premiere,” of Starbuck, in Toronto, a film which has been in Montreal theatres for a while).

A good place to start would be Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film (In film nist, Iran)—co-directed by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb—a digital film, partially shot on a cell phone, that famously showed at the Cannes International Film Festival, out-of-competition, this year. Remarkably, Mark Peranson, the editor of cinema scope, the best English-language film journal these days, considered This Is Not A Film to be the finest work at Cannes this year, bar none. Obviously his rating is impossible to top, but, we were fortunate enough to be able to see a press screening yesterday. And, given Panahi’s desperate situation in Iran, awaiting a verdict on how long his jail sentence is going to be, and waiting to learn if his 20-year ban on filmmaking will be upheld, This Is Not A Film is surprisingly witty a lot of the time. He poses himself the question: How do I make something for Cannes if I’m not allowed to write or direct a film? Panahi’s answer was to get his friend, Mirtahmasb to film him acting out part of the script that got him in trouble—he hasn’t been banned from acting or reading a script! Cleverly, all of the action, except for the ending, takes place in his apartment, while all the activity around “No Rouz,” the Iranian New Year (March 21, 2011) is occurring outside. Panahi also has to contend with his daughter’s pet iguana, “Iggy,” and a number of important phone calls, including one from his (female) lawyer. I realize if one doesn’t know about Panahi’s situation, or care for his plight, than This Is Not A Film may not be for you. But, it is a brilliant example of how a really interesting film work can be shot and constructed with minimal means—a small tape of it was smuggled out of Iran and into France concealed inside a cake!

This Is Not A Film is showing in the small Hors Concours/Out of Competition section of the WFF, along with another Cannes selection, Michel Hazanavicious’ The Artist (France). We haven’t seen this film, but as soon as I learned of it not only being a film that is set in Hollywood during the late-1920s when the art of the silent film was coming to an end (one of my favourite eras) but is a silent film itself, and pines for that era, I knew I must go and see The Artist. Also, for a cinephile friend of ours, Alice Black who runs the “art cinema” in Dundee, Scotland, and who visits Cannes to choose films for exhibition in her theatres, it was her favourite film this year! We are highly recommending another film in the Hors Concours section, Dervis Zaim’s Gölgeler ve suretler (Shadows and Faces, Turkey). Set in Cyprus in 1963, when communities were seriously split along ethnic lines—Turkish and Greek—Shadows and Faces takes a while to get going, but, throughout, its cinemascope compositions brilliantly combine reality and fantasy through the use of shadow puppets, and, gradually, by staging the action in depth, Zaim and his cinematographer, Emre Erkmen, dramatically represent a bitter struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Shadows and Faces won seven awards at the Ankara International Film festival, this year, including Best Film and Best Director. Indeed, Turkish cinema is currently one of the most creatively vibrant in the world and is well represented at the WFF this year with seven features. Two of the other six, Press directed by Sedat Yilmaz and Atlikarinka (Merry-Go-Round), directed by a woman, Ilksen Basarir, showing in the “Focus on World Cinema” section, come highly recommended through our Turkish connection, Mustafa Usuner. One of these films might promise to be a popular hit at the WFFAtlikarinka was the “people’s choice” of Turkish films at this year’s Istanbul International Film Festival—but one other film in Hors Concours will surely fit the bill, Agustí Valleronga’s Pa negre (Black Bread, Spain), if for no other reason than it swept the Spanish film industry Oscars, that is, the Goyas by winning ten of them, including Best Film, Director & Screenplay (also Valleronga), Best Actress (Nora Navass), and Best Cinematography (Antonio Riesta). This film is sure to be a crowd pleaser, although I’m not sure that I’m personally ready for yet another father/son tale.

We haven’t been able to see any films in the main competition in advance of the festival, and therefore, it is extremely difficult to make useful recommendations. Understandably reluctant to suggest any of the titles she has selected, WFF General Director Danièle Cauchard did single out, Tage die Bleiben (A Family of Three) directed by first time German filmmaker, Pia Strietman. Once again the festival is very rich in films directed by women. There is only one other in the main competition, Der Brand (The Fire), directed by Brigitte Maria Bertele, also German, but seven in the First Films competition, and a total of at least 43 feature films directed or co-directed by women, 22% of the total, are included, arguably a stronger representation than in any other category A film festival, in the world!) Our pick this year, a risky one, goes to Corações Sujos (Dirty Hearts, Brazil) directed by Vicente Amorim. We are picking it for its unusual subject, the plight of Japanese Brazilians after World War II, rather than for Amorim’s track record as a director—two ambitious features, O Caminho das Nuvens (The Middle of the World, 2003) and the English-language, Good (2008), which didn’t quite realize their promise—although he has an impressive record as an assistant director to Bruno Barreto, Carlos Diegues, Hector Babenco, and others.

We will make our fifth pick from the 26 titles of films in the First Films World Competition, and with such a large number being selected, we hope that there are quite a few really good works to be seen. Only one of the films in this section was granted a press screening, A Halàlba Tàncoltattot Leàny (The Maiden Danced to Death), a Hungary/Canada/Slovenia co-production, and we are pleased to recommend it, especially for its showcasing the River Danube and the fortress cities of Buda and Pest (and we see some of Montreal, too). The director, Endre Hules is a veteran Hungarian-born actor, theatre director, and video game voice artist, who clearly brings his understanding of the business side of entertainment to his role of theatrical entrepreneur, Istvan Udvaros who has changed his name to “Steve Court” to give more clout to his work in North America. The film continually contrasts this character’s life with his brother Gyula’s who stayed in Hungary, and continued to try and operate his traditional dance company in Budapest. Remarkably the film posits that there is very little difference between the ruthlessness of Court’s North American show business approach and his brother’s alcoholic womanizing posing as an uncorrupted artist. Clearly, Hules benefits from having a brilliant d.o.p. in Vilmos Zsigmond, but his writing and narrative structuring are well articulated, and, ultimately, for those who disliked Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) for its stylistic hyperbole, potential for misogyny and its representation of the world of ballet, The Maiden Danced to Death might well provide an antidote (although I’m not sure that the dancing is necessarily any better).

We are recommending two films from the largest section, “Focus on World Cinema,” one seen, Un cuento chino (Chinese Take-Away) an Argentina/Spain co-production, directed by Argentine Sebastián Borensztein and one unseen, Almanya – Wilkommen in Deutschland (Almanya – Welcome to Germany), directed by an ethnically Turkish German woman, Yasemin Samdereli. A better English title for Chinese Take-Away would be a direct translation of the Spanish title, “A Chinese Tale,” especially because the film begins with a surreal story of a cow falling from the sky to destroy a romantic moment on an idyllic Chinese lake. Fortunately for Borensztein, he was able to call on the great Riccardo Darín to play the central character of a miserable store owner who is faced with taking care of a Chinese immigrant, Jun (Huang Shen Huang), looking for his uncle, but not understanding a word of Spanish. It is a droll and subtle comedy. Argentina has one of the most interesting national cinemas at the moment and the WFF has smartly chosen nine features produced or co-produced there, this year. Germany is definitely experiencing a renaissance of creative filmmaking right now, and there are no fewer than 17 German feature films included in the 35th WFF (20 including co-productions) topped only by Canada with 19. Almanya, also a comedy, was shown at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, and two of the other German films in the Focus on World Cinema section have also been recommended to me: Über Uns das All (Above Us Only Sky), directed by Jan Schomburg, and, Romeos directed by Sabine Bernardi.

If one scans the short film descriptions in the schedule, one is really impressed by the range of interesting subjects covered by the “Documentaries of the World.” In fact, in recent years, this section has contained many excellent works. We expect most of the documentary films, which have been shot digitally, to also be projected digitally, and one hopes that higher resolution projectors have been installed in Cinemas 11 and 16 of the Quartier Latin multiplex where most of the documentaries are scheduled to be screened. (We know there is no problem with the ONF/NFB theatre’s digital projector.) One of the selected documentaries that we’ve already seen, Shahin Parhami’s Amin is surely one of the best Canadian films of the year. The director continues to document aspects of the Iranian diaspora, and for this film he traveled to the Ukraine to meet Amin Aghaie, a Qashqai (linguistically Turkic, nomadic Iranian) musician, and ethnomusicologist, who has taken upon himself the task of collecting and preserving the Qashqai musical culture by traveling each year to remote parts of Iran. Parhami, based in Montreal secured funding for his project at the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea, and has recently learned that Amin will be shown in the next edition of the world’s premier documentary film festival in Yamagata, Japan. Shame on Toronto’s Hot Docs for ignoring this exciting, poetically structured and revelatory musical journey film! Not as creative as a work of cinema, but equally interesting in linguistic terms, is another film that we have screened in advance (in its shorter, television version), Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín’s A Boatload of Wild Irishmen (Ireland/United Kingdom), an unusually critical portrait of Robert Flaherty, the “father” of the documentary (narrative) film, focusing on the making of Man of Aran (1934). Even more unusually, the film includes many interviews in the Irish language! We recommend that you might try and see more than two selections in this section; the line-up looks really promising.

Our final, tenth pick (all highlighted in bold)—you should still be able to purchase a ten film coupon booklet for only $65—is more of a series than a single film: French film director and extraordinarily knowledgeable film historian, Bertrand Tavernier is introducing six retrospective screenings at the NFB theatre on St. Denis St., from Saturday, August 20 to Monday, August 21. There will be three virtually unknown classics being shown in French (with no English sub-titles), including much-maligned director Claude Autant-Lara’s Douce (1943), and three American film noirs, including the excellent Pitfall (1948) directed by Andre de Toth, which is an important and generally underestimated film in the 1940s cycle. Tavernier will probably talk in French, but his command of English is excellent, and he’s sure to answer English questions in English.

Bon cinema, Peter Rist

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Fantasia 2011 Mini Reviews: Red State
July 15, 2011 to August 07, 2011


Read Mark Penny’s mini-review (in Capsule Reviews) of Kevin Smith’s eagerly awaited attack on right wing American horror thriller, Red State.

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New Releases From the University of Mississippi Press
July 09, 2011 to August 31, 2011


In the July 2010 issue,14/7 in the essay “The Art of the Interview” I highlighted the excellent publishing work of the University of Mississippi Press and their many books featuring director interviews (Maddin, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Penn, De Palma, Keaton, Lynch, etc.). UMP also publishes books on actors, and two of their more recent are Forever Mame: The Life of Rosiland Russell and Alice Faye: A Life Beyond the Silver Screen. These books do not follow the interview format but are single author, extensively researched critical biographies.

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Mani Kaul (1944-2011)
July 07, 2011 to August 01, 2011


One of India’s greatest directors Mani Kaul, student of Ritwak Ghatak, passed away at the age of 66 on July 6th, 2011. The Friday July 8th entry of the wonderful blog Film Studies for Free has a lengthy list of linked pieces on or by him, as well as some obits.

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Robert Sklar (1936-2011)
July 06, 2011 to August 06, 2011


Film academic/writer Robert Sklar died from injuries sustained in a cycling accident in Spain, on July 7, 2011, at the age of 74. I remember Sklar’s now seminal book Movie Made America being a required reading for one of my first ever film courses, a film history class, and even as a newbie I sensed a book that would become a classic in its field. Sklar became (and still was at the time of his death) a founding pillar of the NYU Film Studies department, a school which was instrumental (through its former students John Locke, Mario Falsetto, Carole Zucker, Peter Rist, Catherine Russell) in guiding the development of the University where I studied and currently teach, Concordia.

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Anna Massey (1937-2011)
July 04, 2011 to August 01, 2011


Daughter of Raymond Massey, Anna Massey passed away on July 3, 2011 at age of 73 (from complications due to cancer). Massey remained active until the end, but will be best remembered for her key roles in such important horror/thrillers as Peeping Tom, Bunny Lake is Missing, Frenzy, Vault of Horror (the first segment) and, much later, The Machinist.

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Film Past, Film Future: an enquiry into cinema and the imagination
June 29, 2011 to August 24, 2011


Tim Cawkwell, former filmmaker, now writer, thinker, has been exploring his ideas on cinema for years now, using his website Tim Cawkwell’s Cinema as a sounding board. Cawkwell has also published print material, such as his book The Filmgoer’s Guide to God. He has taken on a new initiative, a book for the new electronic book age (Kindle, ipad, etc.), an intriguing study of how cinema is both shaped by and shapes imagination, Film Past, Film Future: an enquiry into cinema and the imagination, which is now available to purchase at a very affordable price for electronic book platforms.

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Peter Falk: 1927-2011
June 24, 2011 to August 18, 2011


The death of Peter Falk no doubt has touched countless people of different generations and of different ages, such was his unassuming ‘star’ personality. Falk was the archetypical character actor, who could easily slip into a secondary role and make it monumental. My father (born two years after Falk) rarely watched TV shows with any regularity, except for Columbo, which he loved. Watching the show with him I can tell that what attracted him to Falk was the way he would trap people into a false sense of security and sense of superiority by playing his character deceptively ‘dumb.’ The coy way he would fool people into giving away clues and evidence no doubt reminded my Italian father of a particular Italian character trait of the sneaky deceiver, il furbo. My own favorite Falk roles are his many gangster roles and his performances under Cassavetes. His small stature and ethnic look always reminded me of Edward G. Robinson, a great character actor of many gangster roles (who will forget his turn as Little Rico in Little Caesar) in the generation before Falk. And his searingly emotional performance in Woman Under the Influence remains one of my favorite working class performances ever. And he shone as the sympathetic (to angels) human in Wim Wenders’ last great film, Wings of Desire. Hopefully Falk has now joined the angels. (Donato Totaro)

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The 21st Century Superhero
June 15, 2011 to July 31, 2011


Frequent Offscreen contributor Betty Kaklamanidou has just published a book she has co-edited with Richard J. Gray II entitled The 21st Century Superhero: Essays on Gender, Genre and Globalization in Film. Click through below to read the table of contents.

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Never Lost Premiere
June 10, 2011 to July 01, 2011


Neverlost was an interesting indie Canadian psychological horror film that played at last year’s (2010) Fantasia festival. The cut that showed at Fantasia ended up being altered from an original ending I had seen in a preview screening, against (I thought) the better interests of the film. I am happy to see that the film has been subsequently cut back to its original ending, and this version, with completed sound, will be playing across Canada on a National junket.

BLACK FAWN FILMS PRESENTS
Neverlost at Cinema Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin
350 Rue Émery, Montreal, Quebec
Part of the Canada wide Never Lost Tour
THURSDAY JUNE 16th 2011 – 7:00PM – $10.00

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Fundraiser for Japan
May 28, 2011 to May 31, 2011


This Sunday, 29 May at Concordia Hall theater
Academy Award winning Animated short Film screening – Fundraising for relief in Japan
With the help of the Concordia University Animation club, an animation student from Japan are holding a screening of four Academy Award nominated and Oscar winning animated short films for only 10$.
The money raised will go to the Red Cross efforts in Japan

The filmes are;

-The man who planted trees (Frédéric Back)
-Atamayama, Mt.Head (Koji Yamamura)
-Tsumiki no Ie, La Maison en Petits Cubes (Kunio Kato)
-The Danish Poet (Torill Kove)

Ticket: 10$ (at the door from 12:30pm)
first screening 14:00 to 15:30 (for 4 films)
second screening 17:00 to 18:30 (for 4 films)

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Sidney Lumet: 1924-2011
April 10, 2011 to May 16, 2011


American luminary Sidney Lumet passed away on April 9th at age 86. Lumet will be remembered not as a great visual stylist (although he showed signs in his 1965 film The Pawnbroker of some expressive touches) but as an actor’s director who coaxed some great performances from some of the biggest and best actors of his generation. In particular Lumet excelled at directing ensemble casts, such as in Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Katherine Hepburn, Jason Robards, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell), Twelve Angry Men (Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, L.J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden), Network (Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Ned Beatty), and Murder on the Orient Express (Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Balsam, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bisset, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Anthony Perkins). I will remember him most fondly for getting perhaps the best out of Al Pacino when he was at the very peak of his powers, in Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Farley Granger: 1925-2011
April 02, 2011 to April 30, 2011


Actor Farley Granger passed away on March 27, 2011 at the age of 85. Granger will be best remembered for his wonderful performance as the nervous half of the Nietzschean murdering gay couple in Hitchcock’s fictional account of the Leopold and Loeb case. Outside of his mainly television roles Granger’s best roles came in an Italian period in the early 1970s where he made a series of popular genre films (westerns, crime, horror).

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Alejandro Jodorowsky
March 28, 2011 to April 04, 2011


L’Université de Foulosophie has organised a major event/screening of the Mexican maestro of surreal and cult art, Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose works helped cement and typify the midnight movie. I can vividly remember going to one of the many Montreal repertory theatres in the 1970s to watch Holy Mountain, El Topo or Santa Sangre. Jodorowsky is in Montreal to take part in conferences covering his film and theatre work (Panic theatre) and screenings.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011
March 28, 2011 to April 11, 2011


One of the greatest of the Hollywood stars, Elizabeth Taylor, is dead at the age of 79. Taylor had not made a theatrical feature since 1980 (The Mirror Cracked) but managed to keep herself in the limelight with her ongoing support for various charities, plus her friendship with Michael Jackson. A child star since the 1940s, Taylor worked hard through her career to develop into more than just a stunning face, but an impressive actress and on-screen presence. Her best work can be found in the comedy Father of the Bride, the drama A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Suddenly Last Summer and Ash Wednesday.

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Michael GoughL 1917-2011
March 18, 2011 to April 19, 2011


Hammer legend Michael Gough has died at the age of 94. Although most people will remember him for his quaint turn as Batman’s butler in Batman, older fans will most likely remember Gough for his sterling work in Hammer horror films, most notably in Fisher’s Dracula, but also other horror pics Konga, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Skull, Horrors of the Black Museum, Berserk, Curse of the Crimson Altar, and (well, they can’t all be great) Trog. Never a leading man, Gough was the ideal understudy, quiet authority figure, or dependable ally.

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Digitalarti
March 05, 2011 to March 31, 2011


Your one-stop online source for everything digital art. Portal to events across Canada and Europe, live performances, lectures, and online journal dedicated to digital art. Latest events posted.

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The Edifice at Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois
February 08, 2011 to February 18, 2011


THE EDIFICE reveals the mysterious road-trip of a man and woman set out to find a plot of land. Within an ambience of sacred/profane tension, nonlinear narrative embraces magical realism as a mythic contemplation of the human condition.” (Press Kit)

Plays at Le Rendez-vous on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 ~ 14h 30 (2:30pm)
Cinémathèque québécoise, salle Fernand Seguin : 335, boul. de Maisonneuve Est

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Blake Edwards: 1922-2010
December 22, 2010 to February 01, 2011


The world of comedy keeps getting hit with hard blows. First was the death of Leslie Nielsen on November 28, then Mario Monicelli on the day after, and then on December 15, writer, producer, director Blake Edwards dies at the age of 88. Edwards will be best remembered for his wonderful collaborations with the great comic actor Peter Sellers, which include all of Sellers’ Pink Panther films, plus one of the funniest films of the 1960s, The Party. I remember feeling quite depressed one New Year’s Eve when things conspired to keep me home for the night. I turned on the television and happened across The Party, and ended up laughing myself out of any funk.

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Jean Rollin: 1938-2010
December 18, 2010 to January 31, 2011


Sad news for fans of Euro-horror, as one of its very tallest giants, French director Jean Rollin, passed away on December 15, 2010, at the age of 72. Rollin was one of the most unique stylist among a group of Euro-horror directors known for their style (Jesus Franco, Amando de Ossorio, Paul Naschy, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, etc.). Rollin’s style was shaped by an openness to nudity and a conception of the nude body (usually female) as a tool of his painterly and poetic approach to the cinematic image. More than the other noted directors Rollin showed the influence of Surrealist cinema (Georges Franju, Luis Bunuel) and art (especially the art of Paul Delvaux). Scythe wielding women, vampires stepping out of clocks, comatose women walking along train tracks, twinned vampires moving through Gothic landscapes, and many more such imagery comprised Rollin’s visual (and not to discount the aural, since his use of music was also innovative) imagination. The latter perhaps best defines Rollin’s contribution to cinema, and the horror genre: an imagination unfettered by confines of narrative protocol or commercial cinema. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Jean Rollin in Montreal when he was an invited guest at the 2007 Fantasia International Film Festival, where he was given a lifetime achievement award, and his then latest film was shown, La nuit des horloges, a wonderful panorama of Rollin’s past film’s themes and images. Already then his fragile health was in evidence. When I have the time I will do a proper essay in homage of this filmmaker who has touched me (and like-minded) in ways few have. In the meantime I encourage you to read the Offscreen essay on Rollin written by one of Fantasia’s festival programmers, Simon Laperrière, entitled “Cinematic Nostalgia and Blue Nights: On Jean Rollin’s Two Orphan Vampires.” Please visit the site linked, “Fascination: The Jean Rollin Experience,” which is gathering links to Rollin tributes as they come in. He will be sorely missed. (Donato Totaro, editor)

rollin_meCopy.jpg border=0 width=228 height=171

Offscreen editor Donato Totaro with Jean Rollin

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Raro Video in North America
December 08, 2010 to January 31, 2011


The Italian DVD label Raro Video has been ‘secretly’ providing fans of important (mainly) Italian cinema treasure after treasure for many years now, and is about to expand their horizon with the recent news of a partnership deal with Cult Epics to distribute their films in North America. To launch this initiative Raro Video is strategically releasing work from a more established filmmaker, Federico Fellini, which should no doubt sell itself, and a lesser known filmmaker, Fernando Di Leo. The Fellini film is the hard-to-find The Clowns (1970), while the Di Leo package involves a more ambitious 4-disc “The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection.” Well informed fans of the Italian crime film, which were extremely popular during the 1970s, will be aware of the importance of this release. Three of the four films in this set are absolute gems, marked by riveting characters, visceral action, and melancholic atmosphere. These three, which comprise the “Milieu Trilogy,” are Caliber 9 (Milano Calibro 9), The Italian Connection (La Mala Ordina) and The Boss (Il Boss). The set’s final disc includes 1976’s Rulers of the City, which stars Jack Palance as a mob boss. There are good times ahead indeed, for fans of both popular Italian filone and art house classics. Future releases include: Antonioni’s The Vanguished (I Vinti), Pasolini’s The Anger (La Rabbia) and Carmelo Bene’s Our Lady of the Turks (Nostra signora dei Turchi).

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Charlie Chaplin: From Laughter to Tears: Dec. 10-23
December 06, 2010 to December 23, 2010


Charlie Chaplin does not really need an intro, but his major retrospective playing at the Cinema du parc comes at a good moment for the world of film comedy, which has lost two giants in the weeks leading up to the retrospective: Leslie Nielsen and Mario Monicelli (see obits in Offscreen below). So we can all use a good laugh. And who better than Mr. Chaplin to provide it. The retro is showing restored 35mm prints of all Chaplin’s major feature films (except for A Countess in Honk Kong, which is being projected digitally). This alone is a cause of celebration, to have the opportunity to see these classics of (mainly) silent cinema in good 35mm copies, and with a crowd (comedy is, if anything, a social gesture and thrives, excels when seen in a large group). It is hard to pick out which films to see from the group, but for this viewer, the ones not to miss are The Gold Rush, Modern Times, my personal pick for his masterpiece, and The Great Dictator, his most debated, discussed, and talked about film at its time of release. But they are all great films, each having their own specific historical and cultural reason for being included.

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Mario Monicelli: Italian Cinema Legend Dies
December 03, 2010 to December 31, 1969


A strange turn of fate. One day after the death of comedy giant Leslie Nielsen on November 28, 2010, the cinema loses an even greater figure in the annals of film comedy, director Mario Monicelli, on November 29, 2010, at the ripe age of 95. I say strange because Monicelli is along with Nielsen, two of the greatest figures in film comedy that I had the good fortune to interview for Offscreen, see link below for interview. For someone who was at the forefront of creating the particular brand of ‘commedia all’italiana’ that was marked by tragedy and misfortune, it is a bitter irony that Monicelli threw himself from his 5th floor Lazio Hospital balcony as a quick respite from his terminal prostate cancer. I knew I was in the hands of a genius the first time I saw his groundbreaking comedy I Soliti Ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street, 1958), with its wonderful moody lighting by Gianni Di Venanzo (another tragic figure, who died in a car accident at the peak of his career at age 45 in 1966), brilliant comic timing and brilliant ensemble acting from a young Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassmann, and an oldish Totò. The world is definitely a sadder place.

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Leslie Nielsen: R.I.P. 1926-November 28, 2010
December 03, 2010 to January 06, 2011


A very sad day for Canadians and lovers of absurd, non-sequitur (Nielson was a master) comedy, with the passing of Leslie Nielsen on November 28, 2010 at the age of 84 (born in Regina, Saskatchewan, 1926). Nielsen was in his mid-forties when he decided to take on the role of Dr. Rumack in the Zucker brothers’ Airplane! in 1980. The rest, as they say, is comic history. His nutty portrayal as Det. Frank Drebin in first the TV series Police Squad! and the Naked Gun series should be remembered as the finest example of the ‘straight-faced” comedian. I had the great pleasure of interviewing the man when he was in Montreal shooting a film that will not go done as one of his better ones, 2001: A Space Travesty, actually one of his worse, but he was ever the gentleman, relaxed, cordial, and every the professional (click below for link to the interview).

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INDEX035 FERRY RADAX THOMAS BERNHARD – THREE DAYS / DREI TAGE
December 02, 2010 to December 31, 2010


Thomas Bernhard – Three Days
A film by Ferry Radax
Original version with English, French and Spanish subtitles I Germany 1970, 52 min
Concept & Image: Ferry Radax I Cinematography: Michael Wingens (film), Ferry Radax (video) I Sound: Ben Janse
Editing: Ferry Radax I Editorial Journalist: Christhart Burgmann I Executive Producer: Günther Herbertz
Production: IFAGE-Filmproduktion, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

This portrait of the great Austrian writer combines a brilliant monologue delivered by Thomas Bernhard and
the artful film work of Ferry Radax. The location chosen for three summer days is a park in Hamburg full of
huge old trees. While sitting on a white bench, Bernhard talks about dark childhood memories, his youth, and
his struggles with writing. A striking element is his high praise of obstacles as “material for the brain.”

Ferry Radax about his film Thomas Bernhard – Three Days
An interview with Ferry Radax by Georg Vogt in 2006
Original version with English subtitles I Austria 2010, 40 min
Moderation: Georg Vogt I Cinematography: Christian Karst I Production, Editing: AUTOCHTHON (Otto Mörth)

In an interview conducted by Georg Vogt, Ferry Radax talks about the work process during the production of the
film and how his shooting concept enabled Bernhard to open up and talk about his past for the first time, which
later appeared in his autobiographical prose. (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)

“The original intentions gave way to an experiment whose unknown outcome could only arise from the performative
moment created by the interaction of participants and location. Similar to Sonne halt! and Mosaik im Vertrauen before it,
this allowed improvisation within an extremely open context to generate a film from the reaction to the situation,
from the acknowledgment of what Radax called “what the film called for.” (Georg Vogt)

Extra:
20 pages booklet, bilingual English-German. “Resistance and Productive Inefficiency – On Ferry Radax’
television portrait Thomas Bernhard – Three Days”, by Georg Vogt

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Ingrdi Pitt (1937-2010)
November 24, 2010 to December 31, 2010


The woman dubbed the “first Lady of British horror” by her fans died Nov. 23, 2010, at the age of 73. Born in Poland, and with a life history fraught with more drama than her films (see bio linked), Pitt exploited her ‘exotic’ (i.e. East-European) looks for a successful career during a period and studio (Hammer) which introduced busty women, sexuality, and carnality to the horror film. Perhaps best known for her lesbian turn in the Sheridan Le Fanu-influenced Carmilla role in The Vampire Lovers (1970, Roy Ward Baker) and her portrayal as Countess Bathory-like Countess Elisabeth Nodosheen in Countess Dracula (1971, Peter Sasdy). Visit her official website for memories and condolences.

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Dino De Laurentiis: 1919-2010
November 16, 2010 to December 31, 1969


One of Italy’s most successful producers, Dino De Laurentiis, has died on November 11, 2010, at the age of 91. In North American De Laurentiis is best known for such popular as Serpico, Death Wish, King Kong and Ragtime, but in his home country De Laurentiis worked with some of the most artistically accomplished directors, including Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, and Alberto Lattuada.

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The Savannah Film Festival
October 31, 2010 to November 07, 2010


SAVANNAH, Ga.—Acclaimed actors Liam Neeson, Sir Ian McKellen and Isabella Rossellini will be honored as part of the 13th Annual Savannah Film Festival, which will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 6. McKellen will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 4, Neeson will receive an Achievement in Cinema Award on Nov. 2 and Rossellini will receive a similar award on Nov. 5.

With more than a month to go, the Savannah Film Festival is currently scheduled to host Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen, who will present the documentary “I Know a Woman Like That,” directed by her mother Elaine Madsen, who will also be in attendance; Ed Burns, showing his new film “Nice Guy Johnny;” writer/director Neil LaBute, who will participate in a workshop; Zach Gilford, who will attend a screening of his film “The River Why” and Tony Goldwyn who will be attending a gala screening of his latest directorial effort “Conviction.”

Other gala special screenings this year will include Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Nigel Cole’s “Made in Dagenham” and Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine.” This will be the first year the Savannah Film Festival will present films in Digital Cinema Projection.

ABOUT THE SAVANNAH FILM FESTIVAL

Featuring the best in independent and innovative film from around the world, the Savannah Film Festival presents a full-range of cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers, bringing world-renowned filmmakers, producers, actors and journalists, as well as other film enthusiasts, to SCAD and Savannah for eight days of feature films, lectures, workshops, panels and competition films from a range of genres.

Highlights of the festival include intimate “coffee talks” with film professionals, question-and-answer panels, lectures and special screenings.

Passes to the Savannah Film Festival will be available for purchase through the SCAD box office, 216 E. Broughton St., online at http://www.scadboxoffice.com or by phone at 912.525.5050.

Individual tickets to screenings and workshops will be available through the SCAD box office beginning Friday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. Morning and afternoon screenings and panels will be $5 for the general public; $3 for students, seniors and military; and free for SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD ID.

The price for tickets to the evening screenings will be $10 for the general public and $5 for SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD ID.

The Savannah Film Festival schedule is subject to change.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution that offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 43 majors. Visit scad.edu.

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NFB celebrates 40 years of China-Canada relations
October 03, 2010 to October 14, 2010


Friday, October 8 at 7 pm
Forever Enthralled by Chen Kaige, 2008
An epic film on the life of the famed Chinese opera singer Mei Lanfang, starring Zhang Ziyi and Masanobu Ando, rising star Shaoqun Yu, who gives a remarkable performance, and Xueqi Wang in a supporting role. Named Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2009, Forever Enthralled has been presented in several competitions, including the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009.

Saturday, October 9 at 3 pm – program for the whole family
The Dream of Jinsha, animated film, 2010 (Canadian premiere)
Xiao Long, a schoolboy around ten years old, accidentally goes back in time to an ancient Chinese empire that existed 3,500 years ago. That’s when the problems start…

The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB animated film The Chinese Violin.

Saturday, October 9 at 7 pm
Confucius by Mei Hu, 2010
A sweeping historic epic about the life of the great thinker Confucius from his early years as an ordinary accountant to his transformation into a philosopher and sage, including his prophetic travels to China’s northern kingdoms. Confucius is played by renowned actor Chow Yun-Fat.
The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB film Fragrant Light.

Sunday, October 10 at 3 pm – program for the whole family
Screening of the NFB films The Friends of Kwan Ming and Roses Sing on New Snow from The Talespinners collection, a vibrant and exceptional series of short animated films for children from five to nine years of age, plus Mr. Mergler’s Gift, the touching and unique story of a student and her mentor, a lyrical homage to the transcendent power of music.

Sunday, October 10 at 7 pm
Go Lala Go! by Xu Jinglei, 2010 (Canadian premiere)
Du Lala is a determined woman who begins her career as a humble receptionist. Little by little she moves up the ranks, overcoming stress and frustration to reach her goal. A comedy about the ruthless business world.
The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB animated film The Chinese Violin.

Monday, October 11 at 7 pm
Walking to School by Peng Jiahuang and Peng Cheng, 2009 (Canadian premiere)
Children of the Lisu tribe in the Yunnan mountains have a strange way of getting to school: they have to dangle from a hook above the gorges of the Nujiang River and slide along a steel cable. Young Wawa will defy authority to gain access to the education that he deems so invaluable.
The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB animated film The Chinese Violin.

Tuesday, October 12 at 7 pm
Bodyguards and Assassins by Teddy Chen, 2009
The story is set in the early 20th century. Hong Kong is a British colony and the corrupt Qing Dynasty rules China. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, who will later be called “the father of the nation,” the founder of the Chinese Republic, has arrived to organize the revolt. He must fight to survive in a city where danger lurks at every corner.

Wednesday, October 13 at 7 pm
The Message by Chen Kuo-Fu and Gao Qunshu
In 1942, during the Japanese army’s occupation of China, Japanese officers in Nanking are threatened by a series of assassination attempts. The head of the intelligence agency gathers a group of witnesses for some heavy-duty questioning. A game of cat and mouse ensues and the tension is palpable.
The film will be preceded by a screening of the NFB film Fragrant Light.

NFB CineRobotheque
1564 St-Denis Street
Montreal, Berri-UQAM Metro
514-496-6887

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Call for Papers for 'Music and the Moving Image VIl, June 1-3, 2012
September 29, 2010 to May 01, 2011


MUSIC AND THE MOVING IMAGE VII
CONFERENCE at NYU Steinhardt, June 1-3, 2012

CALL FOR PAPERS

The annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music, sound, and the entire universe of moving images (film, television, video games, iPod, computer, and interactive performances) through paper presentations.

This year’s conference will include practitioner roundtables on “Songs in Film,” featuring leading music supervisors and chaired by Grammy-nominated NYU Songwriter-in-Residence, Phil Galdston (Save the Best for Last). We also encourage abstract submissions on “Songs in Film” for panels. We will present our second year of panels dedicated to papers on Film Music Pedagogy chaired by Philip Tagg and Ron Sadoff, and we invite those who teach within film, media, and/or music curricula to submit abstracts about applying particular theoretical approaches to the practice of teaching soundtracks. Streaming video of the presentations will be available only at NYU from June 1-11, 2012.

The Program Committee includes Roberto.Calabretto (Lo schermo sonoro. La musica per film); Jeongwon Joe (Wagner and Cinema; Between Opera and Cinema); Philip Tagg (Kojak: 50 Seconds of Television Music; Ten Little Title Tunes); Emile Wennekes (Chair of the Music and Media Study Group of the International Musicological Society); and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron Sadoff (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation; Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood). The conference will run in conjunction with the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker (May 22-31, 2012).

MaMI Conference website.

Abstracts or synopses of papers (250 words) should be submitted to: Dr. Ron Sadoff, [ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ] chair of the program committee, by no later than Dec. 16, 2011.

E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

Ron Sadoff
New York University
35 West 4th St
Suite 777
New York, NY, 10012

MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS PROFESSIONS
Conference fee (June 1-3, 2012): $175.00 – Students: $85.00 – Housing Available

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World Film Festival 2010: A Preview
August 26, 2010 to September 06, 2010


Once again we are faced with the biggest challenge of the film-going year in Montreal: which films to see at the World Film Festival (WFF)? In terms of feature-length films, there are fewer new titles—exactly 200 if one counts the two Canadian student features (a first); 208 including all new films over 45 minutes long. At first glance, the line-up doesn’t look as strong as last year, although the same could be said about TIFF’s screening list in Toronto. As we know, the WFF can’t possible compete for the year’s hot films (from Cannes, let’s say), but there are surprising omissions from both festivals this year: Kiarostami’s new film starring Juliette Binoche, for example. According to the catalogue, there are 52 World Premieres and 69 International Premieres in Montreal—well over half of the films—and, obviously it is tough to select films no-one has seen, but we’ll do our best to recommend 10 films this year. You can still purchase a 10 coupon book for $65.

Starting with the Official Competition—and we haven’t been able to see any of these, as they are all World or International Premieres—we would definitely take a chance on the Opening Film, Luis Bélanger’s Route 132, from Québec. I found his Gaz Bar Blues (2003) to be one of the four or five best Canadian films of the last decade, and, considering that his latest film is also being showcased at TIFF, we are tipping this to be the best bet, and likely one of the few films to sell out. You might have to move fast to get a ticket…

The strongest national selection this year looks to be the Japanese. There are new films by a number of well-known directors, including the outrageous “new wave,” “pink” director Wakamatsu Koji (Caterpillar), Morita Yoshimitsu (Bushi no kakeibo/ Abacus and Sword, a World Premiere), best known for The Family Game (1983), both in the Hors Concours Section, and Nakata Hideo, of Ringu (1998) fame with Inshite miru: 7-kakan no desu gêmu (The Incite Mill), a World Premiere in the Focus on World Cinema section. But, I am recommending a competition selection, Hisshiken torisashi (?? Sword of Desperation??), directed by Hirayama Hideyuki who, according to young Japanese film scholar, Alexander Jacoby, “has been responsible for some of the more original and diverting Japanese films of recent years.” (Warning Jacoby also calls Hirayama’s Samurai Resurrection (2003), “a large, dumb action movie…”)

I should mention that both Japanese films that were given press screenings were good: Yazaki Hitoshi’s Suîto ritoru raizu (Sweet Little Lies) is a very sophisticated treatment of adultery, starring the amazing Miki Nakatani (Memories of Matsuko, 2006), and our next recommendation in the First Films World Competition is a co-production filmed entirely in Taiwan, Torocco (Rail Truck), directed by Kawaguchi Hirofumi. A remarkably accomplished 1st feature, Torocco presents an interesting critique of Japan’s colonial past in Taiwan, while featuring a gorgeous treatment of the rural, island landscape, aided considerably by Mark Lee Pin Bing’s cinematography. (Pin Bing is a veteran of over 50 films, including most of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films).

Our fourth recommendation is a fairly conventional historical melodrama focusing on a troupe of performers in 1930s Spain who struggle to survive the interventions of Franco’s fascist forces. It is hard to believe that Emilio Aragón’s Pájaros de papel (Paper Birds) won’t win a major prize in the First Films Competition. The acting is uniformly excellent, and, apart from a passage near the end, in a train station, which is un-necessarily “over-the-top,” Paper Birds is consistent and sober in its emotional tenor and does a good job on the political front, too. According to the WFF catalogue, Cuban- born Aragón is something of a renaissance man, having been a TV presenter and actor, series creator, producer, humorist, manager, musician, clown and screenwriter!

Our fifth recommendation goes to the first half of Tehran Tehran, an Iranian film in the World Cinema section, which is a World Premiere. It is a two-part anthology film, the second of which, “The Last String,” directed by Mehdi Karampour, contains a very strange build up to a contemporary music video. But, the first part, “Days of Acquaintance” directed by Dariush Mehrjui, shows us things we don’t think we’ve ever seen in a post-Revolutionary Iranian film. Mehrjui is nothing if not a “survivor,” having continuously made films in Iran since the late-1960s, and here, maintaining his gaze on the bourgeoisie, he shows us an architectural portrait of the rich, golden, brightly colored world of the Shahs! It is also a comedy.

A film in the Focus on World Cinema section that arrives with strong “word-of-mouth,” is a Cuba/Russia co-production, Lisanka, directed by Daniel Díaz Torres, who is best known as the man who made Alicia en el pueblo de Maravillas (Alice in Wonderland, 1991), the first Cuban fiction feature to be banned on the island. Remarkably, the director’s career in Cuba flourishes. He is one of the most highly respected teachers at EICTV, the independent film school at San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. Lisanka promises to be a political/romantic comedy, set during the Cuban Missile Crisis!

Something that the WFF continues to do well is showcase films directed by women. This year, some 42 features are directed or co-directed by women. One that I am looking forward to watching is the historical epic, Kongzi (Confucius), directed by Hu Mei. Ms Hu was one of two women who were members of the 1983 Beijing Film Academy “Fifth Generation” to become immediately successful as film directors. The other was Li Shaohong. Interestingly both have become even more famous as directors of hit TV, historical epic series, and Confucius marks Hu Mei’s return to the big screen. It will also be interesting to see Chow Yun-fat in the starring role, and to note if there is any resemblance to the 1940 film, directed by classical Chinese film director, Fei Mu.

Brasilian Sandra Werneck is no stranger to the WFF, having had her films Little Book of Love (1996) and Possible Loves (2001) play here. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any of her work, and perhaps I have been mistaken in not watching her films. Her latest, Sonhos roubados (Stolen dreams), which concentrates on the adventures of three poor, but trendy, young women who live in a favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro, could be a good place to start…

We have already seen our third choice of a film directed by a woman: Montreal resident He Xiaodan’s The Fall of Womenland. This documentary on the matriarchal Mosuo Culture of Yunnan province (where Ms He is from) is extremely well structured and quite surprising in its trajectory. It is a fairly conventional, but important, feminist addition to ethnographic film work, and needs to be seen more widely. Martin Doepner’s digital cinematography complements the power and beauty of the Mosuo culture and landscape.

To be fair, we should give a recommendation to at least one of the 33+ French films in this year’s WFF. Surely, it isn’t necessary to mention Bertrand Tavernier’s La princesse de Montpensier, one of the very few selections to have been shown at Cannes this year. No doubt I will be among a large crowd flocking to see this film, as well as the latest by Georgian-born Otar Iosselliani, Chantrapas, also at Cannes, which promises to be one of the most experimental films on view. But, we reserve our final recommendation for a film I barely glimpsed this Monday: I saw the first two long takes of the striking, yet weird Dooman River, a Korea/France co-production, directed by Zhang Lu (who is a Chinese poet). If you are interested in watching at least one “experimental” film at the WFF, this could be a very rewarding experience (or not…).

Bon cinema, Peter Rist

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Fantasia Metropolis Screening
July 30, 2010 to August 20, 2010


Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at Fantasia, July 28

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival out did itself with the special event screening of the recently restored (with the new footage found in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008), that played on the final night, July 28, at the ritzy 3000 seat Salle Wilfred-Pelletier, Place des Arts (an Eastern Canadian Premiere). I arrived just at the screening time, 7:30pm, so missed the cue entering the theatre. I was expecting to find a theatre with many empty seats, but when I stepped through the last door with my reserve seat ticket into the theatre to discover a full house (or very nearly), I was flabbergasted! It is proof again at how sophisticated Montreal audiences are, and a testament to how Fantasia has hit the big time. The buzz of this event will surely be heard all the way to the government cultural funding agencies and should mean an increased profile for Fantasia in future years. Kudos to all the people at Fantasia who worked hard to make this event happen. And what about the screening? The highlight was certainly Gabriel Thibaudeau’s live score, which saw him conduct a 13-piece Orchestra through the newly restored 147 minutes. Thibaudeau’s score took its cue from Metropolis‘ visionary, experimental aesthetics, which ranges from the modernist machine montage opening to the Expressionist-tinged Art Deco styling, Futurist/Constructionist technology (the science-fiction elements), and quasi-Gothic touches (the seven deadly sins skeletons, the chase through the catacombs). In other words, Thibaudeau’s score was also on the experimental side, in terms of musical scope, ranging from searing, full orchestration to more subtle, nuanced flavoring. There were a few beautiful, romantic, almost Morricone-like motifs during the more human moments, played briefly enough so as to make you yearn for them. I loved the fact that the electric organ was dominant and that the score resisted the trap of always trying to emulate sound effects for the on-screen actions (of course there was some of this but it did not go overboard). All that remains now is the over-all impression of the score, so I would love to hear it again with a more critical ear. It was easy to detect the 25 newly restored minutes because of the degradation in image quality. In terms of content, the new footage included a whole sub-plot concerning a spy implanted by the father Joh Fredersen to over-see the goings on of his son, an ex-employee whom he fired Joshapat, and the workers. At times the spy, nicknamed “The Thin Man” (played by Fritz Rasp), added a touch of comic relief. In general the new footage seemed to fill in elements of character and plot surrounding the father’s attempt to sabotage the worker’s unity, and takes away from the science-fiction element; however, a full appreciation of the impact of the new footage will have to wait until the imminent DVD & Blu-ray release (I just hope that it has Thibaudeau’s score). The Salle Wilfred-Pelletier is not normally used as a film screening facility, and the digital projection of the film was far from ideal. To begin, the film was projected from behind the back of the screen, which meant it must have been projected off a mirror, which could mean a loss in image quality (read here for an in-depth description of rear screen projection technology). Aside from being rear projected (which can be excellent if projected in the best possible way), the screen itself had three horizontal scratches or creases running the full horizontal length which were visible as hair-line information loss in the image. Depending on the dark/light levels of the action (it was more noticeable in lighter scenes), at times it was barely noticeable, and I’m sure the average viewer may not have noticed it at all; but cinemaphiles who take their projection technology very seriously would have noticed. This minor criticism (of the venue) aside, it was a marvelous night of film magic.

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New York Asian Film Festivals
July 25, 2010 to July 08, 2010


In term of festivals that feature Asian cinema exclusively this is one of the best, and certainly so when it comes to North America.

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Fantasia International Film Festival, July 8-28, 2010
July 08, 2010 to July 28, 2010


Fantasia is back in its usual latish summer slot for another bonanza of films, events, and added attractions. There is no doubt that with its increasing profile with the governmental granting agencies, Fantasia is stepping up as one of the big players in Canada’s festival scene. This year’s catalog is much thicker than it has ever been, a testament to its increased advertising dollar (not that fans care about these matters, but money does make the overall spectacle better). And it doesn’t get much bigger than having the restored Metropolis with a full orchestra at the posh Place Des Arts theatre as the closing film. The films are always what really matters at a festival, but having guests on hand to introduce their films, host Q & A, and do interviews adds the all important ‘buzz’ that festivals love, and this year has a fascinating round-up of guests, including Ken Russell (and a rare 35mm screening of his notorious The Devils), Jeffrey Combs, H.G. Lewis (the man who innovated blood and cuts to the arsenal of cinema), Neil Marshall, and Stuart Gordon.

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Blue Sunshine: Home of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies
June 26, 2010 to September 01, 2010


Festival programmer, writer, author Kier-La Janisse has moved to Montreal and is about to launch an intriguing new venture that will surely bring back a bit of the 1970s repertory madness that I lived through and loved. Kier-La has great ambitions for a loft space she envisions as a meeting ground for like-minded fans of esoteric cinema to watch movies (both 16mm prints and digital) and engage in talk and discourse. Along with screenings, Kier-La has plans for educational nights where practitioners, artists, and scholars can lead discussions on a variety of subjects related to horror culture in its broadest sense. Offscreen wishes Kier-La the best for her new ventures.

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Dennis Hopper: 1936-2010
June 01, 2010 to December 31, 1969


The great cult actor Dennis Hopper passed away on Saturday May 29, at the age of 74. Hopper’s career spanned over 50 years, and included roles with some of the greatest actors and directors. His career was filled with risks, taking on independent, controversial roles (Easy Rider, The Trip, Kid Blue, River’s Edge, Out of the Blue, and Blue Velvet. His performance as psychotic Frank Booth in the latter is still many people’s choice for the creepies ever, get-under-your-skin villain. Hopper battled through alcohol and drug addictions during the 1970s to revitalize his career in the 1980s, and continued to breakthrough into more conventional films right up until his death.

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Rue Morgue 100th Issue
May 30, 2010 to June 30, 2010


The May 2010 issue of the Canadian-made (all-entertainment) horror magazine Rue Morgue marked its 100th issue, a laudable achievement in today’s difficult era for print magazines of all type. Rue Morgue joins a select few horror magazines yo have achieved a similar longevity in publication, notably Famous Monsters (the granddaddy of all horror mags), Fangoria and The Dark Side. Congratulations.

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New Sergio Leone Book
February 20, 2010 to April 30, 2010


Offscreen contributor Roberto Donati has had a book on Sergio Leone recently published, alas only in Italian for non-Italian readers, by Falsopiano publishers. Donati’s book Sergio Leone: L’America, la nostalgia e il mito (Sergio Leone: America, nostalgia, and myth) is split between an intelligent close textual analysis of three films which he identifies as being part of a ‘trilogy of time,’ Once Upon a Time in the West, Duck You Sucker, and Once Upon a Time in America, and new interviews with fourteen people who worked with Leone, including key collaborators such as composers/musicians Ennio Morricone, Alessandro Alessandroni (the whistler!), Franco De Gemini (the harmonica man), writers Sergio Donati, Luciano Vincenzoni, Franco Ferrini, film critics Sir Christopher Frayling, author of several important books on Leone and the spaghetti western, including Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans, From Karl May to Sergio Leone, Luca Beatrice, author of the excellent Italian book Al Cuore, Ramon, al cuore, Western all’italiana, Antonio Monda, Carlos Aguilar, and actress Claudia Cardinale. The first 121 pages consist of Donati’s critical analysis of the works, followed by about 100 pages of interviews, ending with some wonderful pencil drawings on Leone and his works (which are worth the price of admission alone) by Luca Zampetti. I hope that out there somewhere is an enterprising publisher that would take on an English translation of this important book (Harvey from FAB Press, are you listening!). If you would like a sampling of what to expect in terms of the book’s critical approach, I suggest you read the following essay by Donati on Leone published on Offscreen, entitled “Once Upon a Time….Introduction to the Theme of Nostalgia in the Films of Sergio Leone”.

leone_book_donati.jpg border=0 width=275 height=388

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The Wooden Lightbox / Alex MacKenzie
February 11, 2010 to February 17, 2010


THE WOODEN LIGHTBOX: A SECRET ART OF SEEING / ALEX MACKENZIE

Monday, February 15, 2010. 7:30 pm
Engineering-Visual Arts Building
Black Box, sub-basement room OS3-845

Concordia University
1515 St. Catherine West, at Guy

Free admission.

Alex MacKenzie performs The Wooden Lightbox live in an intimate setting with a hand-cranked 16mm projector built from various relic parts and framed in an austere wooden box. The manual operation of the projector, placed in the middle of the audience, invokes a pre-electronic, pre-digital era of moving pictures, when aesthetic astonishment was achieved through stagecraft and mechanical mastery. In the role of travelling projectionist, MacKenzie renews a tradition of itinerant exhibition from a time when the endurance of cinema was not seen as a given, and the shape of the medium’s future was yet undetermined. Through this invocation of the early days of cinema, The Wooden Lightbox confronts our taste for novelty and challenges the amnesia of new media discourses, demonstrating how concepts of mobility, interactivity, and visual wonder have long been central to moving image innovation.

Following the performance, MacKenzie will talk about his practice and take questions from the audience.

Alex MacKenzie is a Vancouver-based media artist working in film, video, light projection, and performance. He was the founder and director of The Edison Electric Gallery of Moving Images, The Blinding Light!! Cinema, and the Vancouver Underground Film Festival. He currently works as an independent curator, graphic designer, and writer. His works have been screened internationally. This event was made possible with the generous collaboration of the Studio Arts & MFA Visiting Artist Program, Mobile Media Lab, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Spectral Media Lab, and Hexagram.

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Mamori, by Karl Lemieux
January 13, 2010 to March 14, 2010


World Premiere of Mamori by Karl Lemieux, presented by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada. Montréal, January 5, 2009 – As part of the Projections series, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is proud to present, in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the world premiere of Mamori (2010), an experimental animated film by artist Karl Lemieux. This original work will be screened continuously in Beverly Webster Rolph (BWR) Hall at the Musée d’art contemporain from January 13 to March 14, 2010. At the end of January, Karl Lemieux be showing this new work at the upcoming edition of the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam, devoted to innovative, independent and experimental films. Musée Director Paulette Gagnon is delighted to have Mamori on the Projections series program: “This series introduces the Montréal public to works by artists on the local and international scenes who are building and enriching the art of film. Lemieux’s work fits in perfectly with this tradition.” According to Monique Simard, Director General of French Program at the NFB, “Mamori is being presented in one of the most conducive places for discovering its artistic qualities, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. In keeping with its mission, the NFB supports innovation in all types of cinematic practices, including experimental films, and is proud to work all across the country with bold creative artists like Karl Lemieux.”

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Eric Rohmer RIP: April 4, 1920-January 11, 2010
January 11, 2010 to February 28, 2010


One of the original film critics turned filmmakers who helped establish the French Nouvelle Vague, Eric Rohmer, has passed away at the age of 89. Rohmer was well established as the editor of Les Cahiers du Cinéma from 1956 to 1963 and, perhaps more than his colleagues, was influenced by the more spiritual/metaphysical leanings of its founding father, André Cinéma. Rohmer’s films were markedly different from the films of other New Waver directors, such as the more rigorously political/theoretical/polemical works of Jean-Luc Godard, or the more self-reflexive/intertextual/populist works of François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, or the more formalist/intellectual films of Alain Resnais, Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Marguerite Duras. Although Rohmer was active until his death (his last film coming in 2007), he will be best remembered for his philosophical series of six ‘Moral Tales’ films, which began in 1969 with Ma Nuit Chez Maude and ended in 1998 with Conte d’automne.

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Robin Wood: 23 February 1931 - 18 December 2009
December 20, 2009 to March 31, 2010


It’s has been a terrible last few weeks for cinema, especially horror cinema, with the recent deaths of Spanish horror legend Paul Naschy (November 30, 2009), American horror and science-fiction writer, director and special effects artist Dan O’Bannon (December 19, 2009) and the great British-born Canadian resident film educator, critic, theorist Robin Wood. Wood stands tall as one of the most important and influential film writers of his generation. I had the good fortune of taking a class with him during my Masters Degree at York University in the late 1980s. It was a course at Atkinson College on Images of Women in Cinema. I remember one class where he was discussing the doppelganger and mentioned how rare it was to come across a female doppelganger and that he was hard pressed to think of one. I put up my hand and mentioned the two Maria’s from Metropolis, to which he quickly replied with a retroactive “Ah yes, of course!” The class consisted of a mix of film students and students from Women Studies, which created somewhat of a divide within the class which reared its head in one particular class, on Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing. After his lecture, Wood warned the class that the film contained some harsh, misogynist imagery, at which point a sizable group of students stood up and left the class. Wood was hit so hard by their departure, saddened that they were not willing to see a film which he had programmed for the course. He was hurt by their lack of confidence in his ability to properly contextualize and analyze the film from a ‘feminist’ perspective. I remember the day so well because of the mixture of sorrow and pain on Wood’s face. And this was at the core of Wood’s strength: his ability to understand both a film’s social and cinematic significance. In this respect he remained forever influenced by his tutelage under the great humanist literary critic F. R. Leavis. Wood had an amazing range of tastes and critical skills, delving into great auteurs (Hitchcock, Antonioni, Bergman, Penn, Satyajit Ray), critical theory (specializing in Freudian, Psychoanalytical and Marxist theory), and genre (especially the Horror genre, but also the Western and, more recently, the teen film). Wood’s critical focus and commitment changed dramatically in the late 1970s, after the public acknowledgment of his homosexuality (he divorced his wife, with whom he had three children, in 1974 and then lived for the better part of his life with his partner Richard Lippe.) This shift was first stated in his essay “Responsibilities of a Gay Film Critic”, which was originally a speech at the National Film Theater and later printed in Film Comment in 1978. Perhaps his most groundbreaking work was on the horror film, which grew out of a catalogue of essays written to accompany a program of horror films at the Toronto Festival of Festival. The pamphlet, entitled The American Nightmare, was edited by Wood and Richard Lippe and published in 1979 by the Toronto Festival of Festivals. Although the essays were written and evaluated from the perspective of a (gay) Freudian-Marxist-Psychoanalytical bias, which not everyone would have agreed with, what was important (beyond the fact that this normally disparaged genre was being treated with such intellectual rigor) was the distinction made that horror films could have socially and politically progressive messages, themes, and subtexts. Out of this grew Wood’s ‘good’ (progressive) and ‘bad’ (reactionary) list of horror films. People argued with Wood’s position, but the gauntlet was thrown. Horror films would no longer be thought of as being only sensationalist, violent, juvenile, or misogynist. Wood’s essay “An Introduction to the American Horror Film” was to horror scholarship what Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” was to feminism. What I’ll always retain from Wood was his commitment to formal and stylistic analysis; no matter how passionate and social his criticism, he never forgot about cinema. I recommend the wonderful “A Tribute to Robin Wood” that appears in the film journal he co-founded, Cineaction, Issue 71, 2007, p. 22-30 (reminiscences rom Kass Banning, Scott Forsyth, Peter Harcourt, Bart Testa, Bruce LaBruce, and Janine Marchessault).

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Paul Naschy: RIP
December 16, 2009 to February 28, 2010


Paul Naschy, born Jacinto Molina on 6 September 1934, Madrid, Spain, died on November 30, 2009. Naschy was by far Spain’s most iconic horror figure, and his death means that only a scant few remain of his ilk in Spain (notably Jesus Franco). Naschy was a huge fan of Universal horror and fashioned his career around the classic monster figures of that studio (Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, Zombies, etc.). The figure most representative of Naschy’s mystique was the wolfman, which he portrayed (as Waldemar Daninsky) no less than thirteen times. As an actor and then director and screenwriter, Naschy was instrumental in producing works that would be so strongly identified with ‘eurohorror’. In many respects, Naschy is synonymous with all the idiosyncratic qualities that fans of cult cinema and the eurohorror have come to love: perverse mixture of sexuality and horror; brass, daring musical scores that are not afraid of veering from traditional score templates; emphasis on stylish visuals and elaborate set-pieces over plot; touches of surrealistic violence; and (especially for Naschy during the Franco era in Spain) subtle yet subversive social (gender) and political overtones. November 30, 2009 marks a sad day in the history of European horror, but thankfully Naschy has left behind a lasting legacy that will certainly grow in critical esteem over the years. Watch this moving tribute (uploaded in 2006) entitled The Molina Fantasy to get a sense of Naschy’s unique persona.

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Gilles Carles (1928-2009)
December 01, 2009 to January 15, 2010


One of Quebec’s greatest filmmakers, Gilles Carles, passed away on November 28th at the age of 80. Carles was a principal player involved in all the great movements in contemporary Quebec cinema, starting at the NFB and its heralded French Unit and then directing some of the most important feature fiction films of the late 1960s and 1970s, including his first feature La Vie heureuse de Léopold Z (1965), made while at the NFB, and his greatest commercial success, La Vraie Nature de Bernadette (1972). Carles remains one of the most decorated and Internationally reknown Quebec filmmakers the world over.

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Inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival
October 29, 2009 to November 01, 2009


October 29 – November 1, 2009

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Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
October 29, 2009 to November 16, 2009


Festival Runs at the American Museum of Natural History from November 12-15, 2009

“The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is the longest-running, premiere showcase for international documentaries in the United States, encompassing a broad spectrum of work, from indigenous community media to experimental nonfiction. The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a range of issues and perspectives, and by the forums for discussion with filmmakers and speakers.”

Highlights of this year, taken from the festival’s official website ‘news and press’ include: “a series of films presented in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Traveling the Silk Road – including Cooking History (Péter Kerekes in person, NY Premiere), an exploration of the customs and conflicts of food on the frontlines, from serving up savory blinis to Soviet soldiers fighting off Nazi armies to feeding French forces during the Algerian War and Hair India (Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, NY Premiere), a stirring tale about a destitute family’s religious sacrifice of hair that is processed and ultimately sold for profit.

Other Festival highlights include Babaji, an Indian Love Story (Jiska Rickels in person, US Premiere), a captivating tale about a centenarian man who has dug a grave next to his late wife’s and descends into it each morning to await death; Beyond the Game (Jos de Putter in person, US Premiere), a behind-the-scenes look at the tight-knit and competitive community of cybergamers that follows the top players of Warcraft III, the most popular game globally, on their way to the professional world championships; Blind Loves (Juraj Lehotsky, NY Premiere), an innovatively told story of four non-sighted subjects as they reveal their passions and anxieties while managing independent lives.”

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Celluloid Horror DVD Release
September 28, 2009 to November 30, 2009


“Even though she is a sweet-natured girl, she’s a total fucking freak!” (Ant Timpson on Kier-La Janisse)

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In my Fantasia festival report of 2003 I wrote about “an engaging” low budget documentary by Ashley Fester entitled Celluloid Horror. The subject of the film was a frequent attendee of Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival, festival programmer (and film writer/scribe) Kier-La Janisse, who returns to the 2009 edition of Fantasia as their official “Web News Editor,” which means festival goers will be able to read Kier-La’s critical reaction to select Fantasia films, as well as interviews. Celluloid Horror provides an insider’s look into the fertile mind of dynamo Kier-La Janisse, who single-handedly, and against all odds, started Canada’s first all-horror Film Festival, Vancouver-based CineMuerte, which ran for six editions between 1999 and 2005. Although the film is aimed at the tried and true horror fan, Kier-La’s infectious enthusiasm for all things horror, and her single-minded see-the-show-through-at-all-costs determination will win over anyone with a weakness for the underdog. Consciously or not, the notion of the underdog forms a sort of structuring device for the film, as we see Kier-La take on the Vancouver Censorship board, greedy distributors, an indifferent media, and unheeding government funding bodies; we also hear her talk about her troubled childhood and witness the quick deterioration of her marriage. But not all is doom and gloom, as Fester includes interviews of friends, festival guests, and festival goers who offer words of encouragement and heap praise on Kier-La’s festival and her dedication to the cause (including Udo Kier, Jeff Lieberman, Jorg Buttgereit, Mitch Davis, and Buddy Giovinazzo). The documentary also includes many film clips from CineMuerte screenings that validate Kier-La’s inclusive (of what defines horror) programming philosophy (Possession, The Isle, Nekromantik, The Moor’s Head, Cannibal Holocaust, etc.). This is anything but an ‘objective’ documentary because the director’s admiration for Kier-La shines through loud and clear, which is easy to understand if you’ve met Kier-La. Four years after its theatrical release, director Fester has independently released Celluloid Horror on DVD through Reel 33 Releasing company. One thing is certain: the same energy and enthusiasm that Kier-La brought to her projects is visible in the DVD release of Celluloid Horror. According to Fester, the cost of the DVD’s production was three times the average. The version on the DVD release is a slightly different cut of the film, eight minutes shorter than the version shown at Fantasia, but with different material and longer film extracts. Fester has also edited a 43 minute cut of the film, with the aim of a potential television sale. Along with the film, there are loads of special features, including a director’s commentary, an episode of a local Vancouver interview show, Urban Rush, featuring Udo Kier and Kier-La Janisse, over 30 minutes of extended scenes and a nice photo gallery of special guests at CineMuerte. The real treat for people who buy the DVD will come when they crack open the actual DVD box –a surprise which I won’t spoil. I’ll only say that, according to Fester, the feature is so unique that the Canadian and US Patent offices are considering the device as a new invention. Once inside the DVD cover you’ll find post card size reproductions of the six CineMuerte posters, which have select bios on the back, along with the nicely designed DVD. A small price to pay for such packaged obsession.

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Breed Productions Website

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World Film Festival 2009 Preview
August 28, 2009 to September 11, 2009


Every year, Montreal filmgoers face the extremely difficult decision of choosing films to see at the World Film Festival/Festival des Films du Monde (WFF/FFM). No matter how cinephiliac one is, it is virtually impossible to predict what films by unknown directors, that have never shown anywhere, are going to be like. Although the “Class A” international film festival rules dictate that no film in the official competition can have been shown internationally or at another festival, previously—they must be “world” or “international premieres”—in the past, the WFF had shown few films in other sections in these “permiere” categories. According to my calculations, now fewer than 72 of the new 212 feature films showing (34%) at the WFF are billed as “world premieres” and a further 64 are “international premieres.” With only 2 films having been screened somewhere in Canada before, this leaves a mere 74 feature films (less than 35% of the total) that are receiving their Canadian or North American premieres and that are likely to have been reviewed in the media. We, at Offscreen have only viewed 10 of the WFF feature films (on screen), but, we have also done some research, and, we hereby boldly give our recommendation to 10 films. Readers can still buy a 10 film sheet of coupons for $60, and we believe you can do far worse than taking a chance on the following titles:

Tatarak (Sweet Rush) is surely Andrzeij Wajda’s finest film in over 25 years. Starring the great Krystyna Janda, Poland’s senior filmmaker has crafted a beautiful, but extremely sad homage to those who die, old and young alike. Don’t read the catalogue copy, because it gives away too much of the plot (and is also wrong on at least one point). It was in competition in Berlin (winning the Alfred Bauer prize), and is showing here in the “Hors Concours/out-of-competition” (HC) section.

Poltory Komnaty Ili Sentimentalnoe Puteshestvie Na Rodinu (A Room and a Half) by first time director Andrey Khrzhanovsky (Russia) showed in both the Rotterdam and Istanbul festivals and, like Tatarak, has been included in the very tight and sophisticated line up for this year’s New York Film Festival; which is why we are recommending it, sight unseen. It is also in the Out-of-competition section of the WFF.

Villa Amalia (France), may not be Benoît Jacquot’s best film, but is a very credible entry in the HC section. It features yet another brilliant performance by Isabelle Huppert, and, after a harrowing opening, it documents the picturesque flight of an aggrieved woman to a remote Italian island, in attempting to obliterate her past. The film was in competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary festival.

Lille Soldat (Little Soldier) directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark) is our 4th and final HC selection. I am picking this film based on my experience with Ms Olesen’s earlier work, including her first feature, Minor Mishaps (2002) which received a brief, unattended commercial run in Montreal, and, which struck me as being exactly the kind of realist “no-style” film that should be representative of the Danish, Dogme movement. Continuing the tradition set by her other films, Little Soldier won an award at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

Bist (Twenty), directed by Abdolreza Kahani (Iran) won the Special Jury Prize at Karlovy Vary. Although it begins very depressingly, this film gradually emerges as being a relatively optimistic view of class and gender relations in the contemporary Iranian workplace. Somewhat reminiscent of Bahman Famanara’s films, Bist is showing in the large, “Focus on World Cinema/Regards sur les cinemas du monde” section (REG).

Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops), Riri Riza (Indonesia) is my 2nd choice in REG. We don’t get to see very many films from Indonesia in Montreal, and this one showed in the Berlin Panorama and won the Signis Award at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival.

The Bend, a first fiction feature by Jennifer Kierans, is my Canadian film pick this year (and 3rd and final selection in the World Cinema section). Ms Kierans has a great track record as a short filmmaker, and, we’re hoping that The Bend lives up to its promise. Interestingly, more than 40 of the feature films at this year’s WFF are directed by women, approximately 20%. We don’t think that festival president Serge Losique, or the “Directrice générale” Danièle Cauchard are exacyly “feminist” but, something unrecognized this year and last, is the inclusion of so many female directors. Well done!

Dia Dokutâ (Dear Doctor), Nishikawa Miwa (Japan) is the lone choice from the main, World Competition. Both of the Japanese entries this year seem interesting from their catalogue descriptions. And we can only assume that after winning last year, with Departures, the Japanese would not want to put on a lesser show this year. Nishikawa is yet another female director, and I’m counting on her to put on a good show.

Los Canallas (Riff Raff), Cristina Franco, Jorge Alejandro Fegan, Diego Coral López, Nataly Valencia (Ecuador), will be my risky choice of film in the First Films World Competition, if for no other reason than it is co-directed by four film students (at INCINE in Quito). The catalogue description of the plot makes it seem very convoluted—could it be that all four young directors worked independently?—but, it could turn out to be a very interesting experiment. Also, two directors are male, and two female (a good gender balance). And, I wanted to include at least one film from Latin America, a region which always produces one or two nice surprises. Our final choice should fit the bill.

Garapa, José Padilha (Brazil), my last choice, and the only film in the Documentary section, is unlikely to be the least of the choices. Indeed, I am predicting that some of the very best work this year might be found under the heading “Documentaries of the World.” Padilha made the great Bus 174 (2002), and the trustworthy critic, Amy Taubin has this to say about Garapa in the latest issue of Film Comment: “And then, in a class of its own [at the Tribeca film festival] there was José Padilha’s Garapa, a documentary that depicts the day-to-day struggle against starvation by three families living in northeastern Brazil who survive on a government allowance of $50 a month. Garapa is more than a great film—it makes almost all other films seem beside the point.” (Peter Rist)

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SP Terror 2009
June 25, 2009 to July 02, 2009


São Paulo will host its first International Fantasy Festival

SP Terror –International Fantastic Film Festival 25th June – 02 July

The programme includes over 40 titles most as Premiere in Brazil.

The Programme consists of two Competitive sections, Official International and Iberoamerican, a non competitive section of short films and Special Section showcasing films from the most sublime to the most ridiculous genre bending and cult classics.

Taking residence at the prestigious Reserva Cultural Cinema, at the Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo’s student, financial and touristic epicenter, SP TERROR is set to become, according to Director Betina Goldman, a mark in the city’s calendar.

The International Official Section includes Brazilian premieres such the controversial French high art Eden Log (dir: Frank Vestilel), and Humains ( dir: Jacques Olivier-Molon and Pierre Olivier-Thevenin ) the British Lesbian Vampire Killers (dir: Phil Claydon) The Descendents (dir Jorge Olguin) regarded as the enfant terrible of Chilean cinema, the American independents Strange Girls (dir Rona Marks) and Dead Girl (Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel), the Japanese Yoroi Samurai Zombie , (dir.: Tak Sakaguchi).
Other highlights include the most awarded genre film of recent times the Swedish Let The Right One In (dir Tomas Alfredson) and an eclectic programme, amongst these Sex Galaxy and Pervert both by (dir Mike Davis) and Big Man of Japan (Dir (dir.: Hitoshi Matsumoto), the Argentian genre bending dark psychological horror The Owner and the hilarious splatter comedy 36 Steps (dir Adrian Garcia Bogliano). Brazilian titles competing in the Iberoamerican section include the already internationally awarded Mud Zombie (dir Rodrigo Aragao), Brazil’s first eco zombie film (Best New Director Chile Rojo Sangre, Best Film Audience award Rojo Sangre Buenos Aires), and Fim da Picada (dir Christian Saghaard).

The Jury will be presided by the Iconic Master of Horror Mojica Marins and Festival judges among the most representative local luminaries film critics and filmmakers, including Dennison Ramalho, Erico Borgo e Leopoldo Tauffenbach.

“Cinema is the most perfect medium for the Fantastic, and Fantastic Cinema appeals to a wide audience who enjoy its sub genres – supernatural, horror, sci fi, zombie, vampire, action hero, psycho thriller,” confirms Festival Director. SP Terror’s plan is to create an eclectic window from the sublime to trash and splatter. “The experience of the Fantastic in the Cinema, particularly horror, is a kind of a cathartic nervous experience,” explains Betina Goldman. “In the most important international film festivals such as Sitges, Brussels (BIFFF) , Imagine (Amsterdam), festivals which have inspired us, is frequent to see the audience reacting to the most horrific scenes laughing,’’ says Betina Goldman.

“We believe , she continues , that SP TERROR comes at the right time to Sao Paulo, the city has a high percentage of young people, an urban cosmopolitan population, who enjoy fantastic cinema, and horror as amusement and not as a vehicle for propagation of violence. Whereas in the 60’s young people were countercurrent through radical politics today the young and older enjoy horror cinema a cultural transgression.”

SP TERROR is being organized by Veras Imaginario a Brazilian arm of ONE EYED FILMS a UK based sales agency in partnership with ROCK COMUNICAÇÃO, a Sao Paulo based promotional marketing company.

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Eisenstein on the Audiovisual
April 20, 2009 to June 30, 2009


Eisenstein on the Audiovisual: The Montage of Music, Image and Sound in Cinema
by Robert Robertson
I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2009, p. 239

It has been a good week for Offscreen contributors. Only yesterday I posted notice of a new book by Roberto Curti, and a day later I receive a brand new book by another long-time Offscreen contributor, Robert Robertson, who has just published a new book of illuminating research and scholarship on the ideas in and around Sergei Eisenstein’s sound-music-image (audiovisual) montage theories. As a filmmaker and composer himself, Robertson brings to Eisenstein’s complex Chinese Box of ‘facets’ the right blend of theoretical and practical knowledge (as Robertson writes, when studying Eisenstein you soon notice that “this facet inter-reflects with other facets, which in turn relate organically to other aspects of his achievements”). Offscreen is especially proud of this book because of the tiny (and I stress tiny) role we have played in its development, having published several essays (six in fact) dating back to 2005 which bore the fruit of Robertson’s research in this area (and Robertson gives Offscreen a gracious notice in the Acknowledgements section). The bulk of Robertson’s ongoing research (since 1977) on Eisenstein is broken up into four major chapters in the book: 1. Audiovisual Counterpoint 2. Organic Unity 3. Nonindifferent Nature 4. Synaesthesia. If you do a ‘keyword’ search on Offscreen on Sergei Eisenstein you will come up with the six essays, and if you read them you will get a flavor of Robertson’s book (and its breadth and scope, covering Eisenstein’s affinities with architecture, music, philosophy, religion, the Occult, and literature). Offscreen will be publishing a review of Robertson’s book by Randolph Jordan in an upcoming issues. Please stay tuned for it.

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Demons and Gods: God, the Devil and Religion in the American Horror Film
April 18, 2009 to May 31, 2009


Demoni e dei. Dio, il diavolo, la religione nel cinema horror americano
(Demons and Gods: God, the Devil, and Religion in the American Horror Film)
by Roberto Curti
Lindau Publishers, 2009, 514 p.

This is becoming a bit of a habit (although a pleasurable one), the announcement of yet another new book by the prolific Offscreen contributor Roberto Curti. This time around Curti has tackled a subject which is potentially intimidating in scope: religion in the American horror film; but Curti is more than up to the challenge, covering American cinema from the 1920s to films as recent as The Village, 2004, I Am Legend, 2007, Diary of the Dead, 2007, and Cloverfield, 2008. Curti’s approach is thematic rather than strictly historical, grouping films together according to broadly based parameters that stem from both conventional religious thought (the Bible, the Apocalypse, the Church, the Devil, religious ritual, eschatology, etc.) and how social and political constructs are influenced by Christian thought, or reflect particular emerging or changing attitudes toward religion (race, gender, the family, cults, Reaganism, 9/11). Curti’s book (albeit written in Italian) makes a perfect companion piece to another recent book on the same subject (though Cowan’s book is international in scope), Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen by Douglas E. Cowan (2008). Like Cowan, Curti takes his subject seriously, rendering a constructive analysis to the role of horror cinema in helping us understand and give form to humanity’s horrors, fears, frailties, hopes, and weaknesses.

“Trasponendo in immagini l’esistenza del male nel mondo, fisico o metafisico, il cinema dell’orrore mette in scena le possibilita spettacolari e distruttive del dolore e della sofferenza: a finisce per interrogarsi sul rapporto tra finito e trascendente” (p. 23)

“Translating into images the existence of evil in the world, physical or metaphysical, the cinema of horror gives life to the spectacular and destructive possibilities of pain and suffering, and ultimately questioning the relationship between the finite and the transcendent.”

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Acadiana Film Festival
April 16, 2009 to April 19, 2009


Acadiana Film Festival (Running from April 16 to April 19)

Many of us enjoy films about buddies, romance, space aliens, and even about various forms of social transgressions (relationships others disapprove of, people who break laws for money or sex), but we do not always think of films as art. However, it is true that films can express unique perspectives and change the way that we see and think about the world, some of the fundamental goals of art. It is an added pleasure to see the concerns of our own lives in films, and that is something offered to Louisiana residents by the Acadiana Film Festival. “Our line up is great this year. We have so many feature films, shorts, documentaries, panels, workshops, parties, networking opportunities,” answered festival director Jana Godshall, when asked by this writer about the festival, occurring in Lafayette from April 16th through April 19th. It is a festival with attractions for the novice as well as the expert, and can be expected to appeal to “anyone who enjoys independent cinema as we have tons of free screenings.”

The Acadiana Film Festival has events scheduled at different area locations and it will begin on Thursday, April 16, with an afternoon film editing seminar at Lite (537 Cajundome Blvd.) and an evening premier, at the Grand 14 theater, of Alex Holdridge’s film In Search of a Midnight Kiss, about a young man’s chaotic New Year’s Eve spent with a woman he met through the online advertising site Craigslist. Other film subjects include rural Mardi Gras, novelists Kate Chopin and James Lee Burke, the Creole heritage, Louisiana plate lunch houses, coastal land loss, and hurricane Katrina. There are full-length feature films and short films, films of fiction and of fact, and the festival includes instructive workshops on documentary filmmaking and on acting, as well as on sound recording/editing and marketing film projects. There will be—on April 18th—a screening of University of Louisiana students’ short films, too. One of the last festival events will be a zydeco brunch and awards ceremony recognizing a filmmaker of great impact, and named will be the best feature film and best documentary, among other award categories.

One of the goals of the festival is to support current efforts to develop a lasting film industry in Louisiana. In an e-mail exchange with this writer, festival director Jana Godshall stated, “Right now, many filmmakers are traveling to Louisiana to take advantage of our tax incentives…they’re staying in our hotels, but we want to help educate and offer the tools so we can have filmmakers staying in our homes.” It has been impressive just how many film productions already take place in Louisiana. The best known film shot in Louisiana these days is The Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button, but some of the other recent films that have been made here are Cadillac Records, Jumper, Soul Men, W, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, In the Electric Mist, The Great Debaters, Déjà Vu, Pride, and All the King’s Men. Although the film Ray was shot in Louisiana, the film’s storyline settings were places such as Chicago and Atlanta, proof of Louisiana’s versatility as a location. (The Acadiana Film Festival will include location tours for interested attendees.) It has been reported that more than eighty projects were filmed in Louisiana in 2008 alone. The website for the Louisiana Office of Film and Television declares, “Since 2002, when the first tax credits were introduced, the incentives have generated more than $2 billion in new revenue and spurred creation of thousands of high-wage jobs, state-of-the-art infrastructure development and new business opportunities.” Will it be possible, as Godshall suggests, for Louisiana to have an “indigenous” film industry?

If one considers the commitment of festival director Jana Godshall and festival coordinator Julie Bordelon, the answer is yes. Says Godshall, “This is a year-round job. Julie Bordelon and myself eat, sleep and drink the film festival. It’s more than a job for us. It’s a mission. It’s something that we want those in the state to take advantage of. This is why we bend over backwards so we can offer free workshops, panels, seminars.” If one considers the many student films in the Acadiana Film Festival, the answer is Yes, there will be an indigenous Louisiana film industry. If one considers Louisiana natives, such as Susan Labry, an actress, singer, and film community activist, who gain experience in film and share that experience with others the answer is yes. Susan Labry had speaking parts in films such as Hood Life and Hearts of Men and worked as an extra in Walk the Line and Monster’s Ball. Months ago, I asked Labry about “film in Louisiana” and she sent me much material, particularly information on groups (Louisiana Produces Meet-up, Baton Rouge Film and Music Meet-up) interested in the development of the Louisiana film industry. Susan Labry declared, “I would like to see more professionalism in the film industry. I want to see our culture preserved and maintained and respect for one another’s cultures as we are a diverse culture and that is what makes it interesting.”

For those who feel the same way, they can begin by viewing the schedule for Lafayette’s Acadiana Film Festival and attending films there they might see nowhere else, films that reflect some of the events and issues of their own lives and heritage. The 56-minute documentary on Mardi Gras, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, screens April 17th, Friday morning, at the Natural History Museum on Jefferson Street; and the James Lee Burke documentary, directed by Frederic Le Clair and Jacques Levy, screens Friday at Cite Des Arts on Vine Street, in the early evening; and there’s much more. (Search online: Acadiana Film Festival.) Film enthusiasts can further cultivate their knowledge by looking for the print publication Louisiana Film and Video, and film critic Alex Kent’s excellent blog Louisiana Movies. (Daniel Garrett)

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Poe's 200th Birthday
December 31, 2008 to January 20, 2009


As part of the world wide celebration of Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday writer director Brent Fidler is planning an innovative event: he will have the world broadcasting premiere of his Poe feature film, Poe: The Last Days of the Raven online, Monday, January 19. Details are available on the film’s official website and in the media release. The film screened at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival, where technical delays did not dampen the spirit of the director, and a sizeable amount of the audience remained during the long delay to watch Fidler’s unique dramatization of a part of Poe’s life. Fidler, who stars as Poe, blends autobiography and fiction into a reflexive (theatre-within-a-film) account of the final days of Poe.

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Secret Sunshine Screening
December 15, 2008 to January 18, 2009


“You are invited to a special (free) Christmas/holiday screening of the multiple award winning Korean film, MILYANG (Secret Sunshine, 2007) directed by Lee Chang-dong (Green Fish, Peppermint Candy, Oasis), which won the Best Actress prize at Cannes last year for Jeon Do-yeon, and which has never been released in Canada. (It only screened once, here, earlier this year at the Cinematheque.) This is a rare opportunity to watch the best-reviewed Korean film of the last three years. The 35mm print comes to us courtesy of the distributor CJ Entertainment and Mijeong Lee (of FanTasia and CineAsie).”

The Place: Webster Library building, LB-125, The Cinéma De Sève
The Time: 7:00pm, Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jingle Bells, Peter Rist, The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema

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The 8th International School of Sound Symposium
December 08, 2008 to April 18, 2009


THE SCHOOL OF SOUND: Exploring the art of sound with the moving image
15 – 18 April 2009
Southbank Centre, London

“The School of Sound presents a stimulating and provocative series of master classes by practitioners, artists and academics on the creative use of sound with image. Directors, sound designers, composers, editors and theorists working at the highest levels of film, the arts and media show us the soundtrack from unexpected perspectives. They reveal the methods, theories and creative thinking that lie behind the most effective uses of sound and music. If you work in film, television, commercials, radio or multimedia – this event will convince you of the extraordinary potential of the soundtrack.

We have devised a programme that is as useful for the director, screenwriter or artist as it is for the sound designer and composer. Sound in storytelling, sonic environments, human sound perception – the topics range from the practical to the aesthetic to the abstract during these intense four-day meetings.

The April programme highlights the use of sound in documentary, animation and feature productions. It covers both narrative and experimental work, investigating the connections between sound, music and images. But, key to each presentation is an awareness of the subtle process of listening.

In its previous editions, the SOS has attracted delegates from over 25 countries. Join us for our eighth event in 2009. At the SOS you will not learn about hardware or software. But we can introduce you to the ideas of creators working at the cutting edge of sound production and inspire you to say, “I never thought of working that way.” “

Invited speakers
ROGER CRITTENDEN
Drama editor, former Head of the MA Programme at the NFTS and author of Fine Cuts: The Art of European Film Editing

DANIEL DESHAYS
Sound Designer and Music Producer for film, radio, dance and theatre, collaborating with Chantal Akerman, Agnes Jaoui and Philippe Garrel

MICHAEL GRIGSBY
British documentary filmmaker who began with the 1950s Free Cinema movement, continued at Granada TV and continues today (Before the Monsoon, The Time of Our Lives, Rehearsals)

PAT JACKSON
Features Sound Designer (Jarhead, The English Patient,The Talented Mr. Ripley) and Film Editor

GIDEON KOPPEL
Filmmaker, artist and lecturer whose work spans installation, commercials and documentary (Sleep Furiously)

KIM LONGINOTTO
Documentary filmmaker (Divorce Iranian Style, The Day I Will Never Forget, Sisters In Law)

STEVE MUNRO
Film Sound Designer known for his longtime collaboration with Atom Egoyan

DAVID McALPINE
Professor of Auditory Neuroscience and Director of the Ear Institute at University
College London

PIERS PLOWRIGHT
Radio features producer

NITIN SAWHNEY
A songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sawhney composes and performs across music, DJ-ing, film, videogames, dance, theatre and the concert hall

PHIL SOLOMON
Avant-garde filmmaker, video and installation artist

AKIO SUZUKI
The unique Japanese sound artist whose performances and installations explore the process of listening

HILDEGARD WESTERKAMP
Composer, radio artist and sound ecologist

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Cinema Abattori: Rip in Pieces USA & Sexualities/Frontieres (December 11)
December 07, 2008 to December 13, 2008


Presents: Rip in Pieces USA & Sexualities/Frontieres. Thursday December 11, 2008, 9pm at (5$) at L’Envers – 185 Van Horne (Montréal, QC, Canada)

Rip in Pieces USA is a work in progress by Dominic Gagnon, Qc, 2008, 69 min:

“I was watching video on the Internet and I noticed that certain homemade clips were flagged for their content and quickly disappearing from free hosting sites. I started to save and edit them in a capsule format. Working in a gray zone about copyright, I nevertheless fulfill the authors’ will to contextualize their situation by grouping their videos together and then diffuse / preserve their messages.” –DG

when this thing goes down
and the crack-down happens
all this information that is on the internet
all these documentations… not going to be there anymore, man
they are going to cut off the main frame
delete all this information
that’s it
you’re not going to know anything

-Preceded by Sexualities/Frontieres, a program of short films:

Dead Man II: Return of the dead man (Aryan Kaganof, Netherlands, 1994, 25min)

J. (Solomon Nagler & Alexandre Larose, Canada, 2008, 7min)

Nymph (Ken Jacobs, USA, 2007, 3min)

Antékid (Serge de Cotret, Québec, 2008, 6min)

The sister and the priest (Istvan Kantor, Hungary, 1998, 11min)

Day’s Night (Catherine Corringer, France, 2005, 18min)

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Il Mio Nome È Nessuno
December 04, 2008 to January 07, 2009


Frequent Offscreen contributor Roberto Curti has added another intriguing book to his lengthening bibliography, with an excellent critical survey of the works of Tonino Valerii, entitled Il Mio Nome È Nessuno: Lo Spaghetti Western Secondo Tonino Valerii (My Name is Nobody: The Spaghetti Western According to Tonino Valerii. The book’s title would suggest that Curti deals only with Valerii’s five (out of his fourteen feature films) westerns: Per il gusto di uccidere/For the Taste of Killing, 1966, I Giorni dell’ira/Blood and Grit, 1967, Il Prezzo del potere/The Price of Power, 1969, Una Ragione per vicere e una per morire/A Reason to Live and a Reason to Die, 1972 and his most well known work, Il Mio Nome è Nessuno/My Name is Nobody. However, Curti spends an equal amount of time on Valerii’s other varied works, including his single giallo, Mio caro assassino/My Dear Killer, 1972, his dark romance La ragazza di nome Giulio/A Girl Called Jules, 1970,, and his crime films Vai Gorilla, 1976, The Sicilian Connection, 1987, and Sahara Cross, 1977, the latter, as Curti discusses on pages 74 to 78, being one of the first Italian films to extensively use the Steadicam. Curti feels that Valerii is underestimated as a director and argues convincingly for a re-evaluation of Valerii’s position within the landscape of popular Italian cinema. To this end, one of the goals of Curti’s book is to rescue Valerii from under the shadow of Sergio Leone, who produced his most popular film, My Name is Nobody. Curti writes:

“I temi preferiti da Valerii non sono pero l’epopea della Frontiera, il mito del progresso o la necessità di “stampare la leggenda”: al centro dell’attenzione c’è l’uomo, non l’icona leoniana dello “straniero senza nome”. Gli antieroi western del regista –con l’importante, significativa eccezione di Nessuno– sono outsiders tormentati e irrequieti, più vicini ai personaggii interpretrati da James Stewart nei western di Anthony Mann, segnati da conflitti interiori non meno laceranti di quelli a fuoco che punteggiano il loro cammino” (p. 15).

“Valerii’s preferred themes are not the Epic West, the myth of progress, or the classic ‘printing of the legend.’ At its center is man, but not Leone’s mythic ‘Man with no Name.’ His western antiheroes –with the significant exception of Nobody– are outsiders, tormented and restless, more in common with the characters played by James Stewart in the westerns of Anthony Mann, marked by interior conflicts which are no less lacerating than the fires that dot their path.”

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Mapping Cinematographic Territories: A Cybercartographic Atlas of Canadian Cinema
November 25, 2008 to December 05, 2008


GPE Departmental Seminar Series Presents on Friday December 5th, 2008 at 11 am in H1252:

“The overall goal of this atlas is to better understand the influence of cinema in the construction and dissemination of geographic identities. To reach this goal, this atlas maps Canadian cinematographic territories, including the territories of film production (e.g. shooting location), of film audience (e.g. revenues of films and socio-demographic profiles), and of film action. Simultaneously, this atlas serves as a laboratory to explore new forms of cartographic techniques inspired by cinema, including jump cut framing, and audio-visual mapping.”

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Time and Place: The Films of Ernie Gehr
October 28, 2008 to October 01, 2008


In collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise, the Web Journal Hors champ will be presenting a cycle of films by New York experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr on the evenings of Octover 30, 31, and November 1, 2008: a rare occasion to discover the work of a true pioneer of the American Avant-Garde. Ernie Gehr will be in Montreal to present the three evenings of screenings (9 16mm gems) and a « Master Class » (in English) on the relationship between experimental cinema and early cinema.

Ernie Gehr and André Habib (organizer of the event and co-editor of Hors champ) will be also available for interviews.

“Ernie Gehr is, alongside Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow and Peter Kubelka, one of the pillars of experimental cinema. His films, and more recently his video and installation works, reveal a fascination for urban landscapes, sites of memory (Passage, Signal-Germany on the Air), perspective and the limits of perception (Serene Velocity), as well as optic toys (Cotton Candy), the origins of cinema (Eureka) or simply the tracing of light on film (Wait, Mirage). The conceptual rigor and the visual power of his films seem to operate a reduction of cinema to its fundamental elements, as if starting anew, each time, and rediscovering the destabilizing shock of the origins of cinema as well as its radical transformation of the visible. His films, that we could wrongly consider “minimalist”, are on the contrary the site of profound interior experiences. Made up of light, space, duration, movement, Ernie Gehr’s films also bare a documentary trace, always at the precise intersection of a specific time and place, whether it be a street in New York in 1971 (Shift), of San Francisco at the turn of the XXth Century (Eureka) or in the early 90’s (Side/Walk/Shuttle), or of Berlin in 1989, right before the fall of the Wall (This Side of Paradise). Although it is quoted in all the anthologies of avant-garde cinema, has been regularly written about by the most important scholars (Sitney, Gunning, Skoller, Michelsson, etc.) and praised by critics and film historians, the films of Ernie Gehr are proverbially hard to see. Hors champ has tried to modestly remedy this situation, by presenting, for the first time in Montreal, some essential “moments” of his vast filmography. Ernie Gehr will be in Montreal to present to programs and take part in a ‘Master Class.” (Double Negative Collective)

Hors champ receives the support of the Canada Arts Council and the Montreal Arts Council. This specific programme was made possible thanks to a contribution by the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of Concordia University, as well as the Département d’Histoire de l’art et d’études cinématographiques of the Université de Montréal.

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Madison Horror Film Festival
October 20, 2008 to October 25, 2008


One day (October 25, 2008) horror film festival taking place at Madison, Wisconsin.

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FNC 2008 –Mid-Festival Round-Up
October 14, 2008 to October 31, 2008


It’s autumn in Montreal, and with it comes so many of my favourite things in life, not the least of which being the Festival de Nouveau Cinema (October 8-19, 2008). Locals know that this is the city’s premiere showcase for the best in international cinema across all genres and styles, and this year has not disappointed. Beginning with a bang, the first film I saw was Steve McQueen’s Hunger, plunging viewers into the plight of imprisoned IRA terrorists struggling against a violent administration to have their rights as political activists recognized within the penitentiary system. Rather than a moralizing tale seeking to justify any particular side of the conflict, the film unfolds as a brutal exercise in cause and effect. We live in the squalor of the feces infested cells of inmates refusing to clean themselves or their quarters, only to then witness their forced bathing at the hands of the prison guards. When the inmates destroy their few bits of furniture in a contained riot, the riot squad is called in to administer beatings to each and every IRA inmate as they get tossed down a corridor lined with shielded club-toting cops. Finally, Bobby Sands initiates a hunger strike, and in a remarkable shift in tone the final third of the film follows him to the hospital ward as he gently fades to nothingness. Difficult though it may sound, the film is brilliantly executed, and is well deserving of the Camera D’Or it won at Cannes this year.

Things lightened up a bit the following day with the Bruce Connor retrospective featuring 11 films by the acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker known best for his repurposing of appropriated material as epitomized by A Movie and Report. Indeed, seeing these films as they were meant to be seen was a rare treat, and kicked off what is turning out to be a rich festival for lovers of found footage, including Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City, Luc Bourdon’s La Memoire des Anges, and various short films – including Belgian filmmaker Nicolas Provost’s Gravity exploring Hollywood kissing scenes through a new lens; and Fontage, a notable entry from Mike Hoolboom and Fred Pilon continuing in Hoolboom’s tradition of processing his identity through the processing of exposed film stock. But for me, the highlights of the Connor programme were his later films. Looking for Mushrooms and Easter Morning are both relatively recent re-workings of material Connor shot himself in the 60s, and both are structured as series of still images passing quickly enough to suggest movement without succumbing to the illusion of motion that begins somewhere around 16 frames per second. Both set to the music of Terry Riley, these films gesture in a psychedelic direction fostered by his interest in Peyote at the time the images were captured. Easter Monday, finished just before he died this year, is a probing journey through an unrecognizable San Francisco consisting of abstracted bits of garden flowers and other corners of experience ordinarily neglected by the average passers-by. With their careful attention to the relationships between the formal qualities of all the fragments brought together here, Mushrooms and Monday demonstrates how Connor’s understanding of montage – demonstrated so wonderfully in his found footage films – can be applied to more personal material seeking to craft an experience of interiority rather than restructuring the world as projected through the media.

Though Connor’s San Francisco likely won’t end up in any tourist videos for its lack of recognizable landmarks, this year’s festival is a pleasure ground for lovers of city films that pay as much tribute to the world’s great urban centers as to whatever action might be taking place within them. The aforementioned Of Time and the City and La Memoire des Anges are loving film poems dedicated to London and Montreal respectively, constructed from archival materials featuring these two wonderful cities. Though I haven’t had the chance to see it yet, James Marsh’s Man on the Wire promises to be a similarly beautiful portrait of New York City in the 70s as captured by the team documenting Philippe Petit’s tight-rope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Nicolas Provost’s short film Plot Point is a methodical study of street-level security on the island of Manhattan. First capturing shots of various police and security guards around the Times Square area, the film builds increasing tension through editing strategies that points to a major event brewing, with creative use of dubbing to suggest communication between disparate factions. The film culminates in an epic parade of police vehicles streaming out of the central station towards a catastrophe that remains unspoken but one that 21st Century New Yorkers can sadly imagine all to well. As such, the film develops a portrait of the intensity of police presence on the streets of New York City as part of the daily routine of life on the island. And Tokyo is also well represented this year. Though you might not expect it from an anime film featuring a mini-donkey bent on disrupting a young couple’s budding romance, Tokyo Marble Chocolate from Japan’s famed IG studios turns out to be a wonderful homage to the unrepresentable city. Known for it’s unfathomable density and general lack of holistic coherence, Tokyo is here rendered almost quaint with a focus on parks and cafes in which the bulk of the action takes place. What is most striking is that the city takes on an air of definitive manageability through the grounding effect of Tokyo Tower, the central point where the narrative begins and ends and around which the story of two social misfits trying to find love revolves. Frequently visible in the background, the film maintains a consistent orientation with respect to the tower throughout. Because of the tower’s importance to the development of the plot, its omnipresence serves as a spatial device that drives the narrative forward while creating a sense of core for a city so often described as being without center. And so Tokyo becomes a place where people might find love and companionship within the context of urban sprawl, rather than a bewildering environment that fosters a fragmentation of experience and attendant deterioration of social relationships.

One of this year’s most anticipated films also features the legendary Japanese metropolis: Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata. Known for his masterful contributions to the J-Horror phenomenon and a favourite son of Montreal’s Fantasia genre-film festival, this year his absence from Fantasia was keenly felt. After seeing the new film, it is clear that it wouldn’t have been as appropriate in a fantastical setting as previous outings like Cure or Séance, for here Kurosawa takes a couple steps back from the supernatural in order to focus on a family disintegrating at the hands of Japan’s social and economic difficulties. But make no mistake: there is real magic here, enough to warrant its inclusion as part of the Temps Zero programming by Fantasia alumnus Julien Fonfrede. The film sets up a family being pulled apart at the seams by a father’s job-loss, a mother’s increasing frustration with home-life, and children whose needs aren’t being met by their parents. Then about three-quarters of the way through, a bit of mayhem is injected which forces the family apart, only to bring them back together under slightly suspicious circumstances. Whatever one makes of the film’s ending, it is clear that Kurosawa’s downplay of the overtly supernatural here serves only to emphasize the strangeness that the cold reality of urban life can engender. Fans will recognize approaches to mise-en-scène, montage, and sound that are characteristic of Kurosawa’s previous work, set here a bit more simply than usual so that the richness of the film’s understatement might be elevated to a new level. And amidst all this the film manages an acute critique of certain contradictions inherent to Japanese culture as made manifest by recent engagement with the US on matters of foreign policy. Though I love his genre work, I was not at all disappointed by the turn Kurosawa has taken here. Great stuff.

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Much as I love city films, my pick of the festival is set far from any hint of civilization. I cannot overstate the level of my anticipation for Philippe Grandrieux’s Un Lac. His first two films, Sombre and La Vie Nouvelle – both of which have played this festival in the past – are amoung the strongest cinematic works of the past decade. Grandrieux has developed an aesthetic that is more genuine and visceral than can be said of most filmmakers, and the experience of his films leaves me breathless every time. Like Kurosawa, however, in the new film Grandrieux takes a step back from certain of his characteristic strategies. Where Kurosawa has toned down the supernatural elements he has become known for, here Grandrieux moves away from the intensity of corporeal violence that has been such a dominating force in his previous works. Those who find the breast roping and forced coiffure of his previous works difficult can here breath a sigh of relief without worrying that the director has lost his edge. While devoid of the urban environments that allowed for his signature use of incredible outbursts of nightclub sound, environments which fostered the festering misogyny at work in his last two films, here the forests of Lapland provide a subtlety that renders the simple act of chopping wood into an experience equally moving in its intensity as anything he’s achieved in the past. The film unfolds like an onion revealing an ever-increasing cast of characters, each bringing their own potential for agitation and violence to the table. Yet amazingly, the film withholds the eruptions of its predecessors while developing a remarkable tenderness that would be stripped of its effectiveness if presented outside of this environment. In this film Grandrieux proves that the good, the bad and the ugly don’t always need to be represented in equal measure in order to create the tone he has mastered across his three feature films. Un Lac is a real achievement, and if I had to make one recommendation for the festival’s final weekend it would be to get your ticket for Saturday’s screening of the film before it’s too late. I’ll be there again without question. (Randolph Jordan)

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Festival of Nouveau Cinema: Choice Picks
October 07, 2008 to October 19, 2008


With so many excellent films and programs on offer at the FNC (which runs from October 8-19) some guidance is always helpful to make best use of one’s time. With this in mind, here are some recommendations based on advance notice, intuition, or previous track records. One of my most eagerly anticipated films is Gomorra by Matteo Garrone. Gomorra is confirmation that one of Italy’s most trusted and popular 1970s genres, the gangster film, is back with a vengeance. These films, made during what was called “Anni di Piombo” (“years of lead”), reflected one of the most troubling and violent periods in recent Italian history, with both far-left and far-right political groups terrorizing urban centers with bombings, kidnappings, and murders. There have been many recent Italian films dealing with this period, roughly from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, including La Scorta (Ricky Tognazzi, 1993), Michele Soavi’s masterpiece Arrividerce Amore, Ciao, 2006 (which played at the FNC two years ago) and his made-for-television epic, Uno Bianca, 2000, Romanzo Criminale (2007, Michele Placido), I Cento Passi, 2000, La Meglio gioventù (The Best of Youth), 2003, and Sanguepazzo, 2008, the final three all directed by Marco Tullio Giordana. Gomarra deals with the mafia in Naples, and comes with great advance notice from other film festivals. I was impressed by Garrone’s earlier film L’Imbalsamatore (2002), which played at the Montreal World Film Festival, and I described as follows in my brief discussion of the film in my festival report of that year: “The Embalmer presents a vision of Italy far removed from tourist pamphlets: dark, tenebrous, foggy, overcast, lonely, and dreary are the tones of the day. Director Garrone’s use of architecture and space, the lonely beaches, block-styled project tenements, and desolate border towns, coupled with a restless camera, recalls the great Michelangelo Antonioni.” Another hotly awaited film with an Italian link is the Korean The Good, the Bad, the Weird by the director of the excellent J-horror A Tale of Two Sisters and Quiet Family, Kim Ji-Woon. Kim’s film is the second recent high profile Asian film to cast an admiring wink at popular Italian cinema, along with Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Django Western (the latter referencing Sergio Corbucci’s masterpiece Django and the former referencing, obviously, Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Italy is also involved in longtime FNC festival fave Wim Wenders’ return to his existentialist road-movie roots with Palermo Shooting. Fans of the avant-garde should not miss the special homage screening (October 10, 7:20pm) of the short films of Bruce Conner, one of the most important US found footage film artists. For those who appreciate technical challenges, the Brazilian Still Orangutans (Gustavo Spolidoro) should be worth a (long, stared) look, as it is described as a sequence shot of 81 minutes, recalling other single, real time long take films as The Russian Ark (2002, Alexander Sokurov), Time Code (2000, Mike Figgis), Rope (1948, Hitchcock), and Running Time (1997, Josh Becker). Terence Davies casts his reflective, poetic eye on his hometown of Liverpool, England in the documentary Of Time and the City. J-horror master and Fantasia Festival regular Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns up with a change of pace drama entitled Tokyo Sonata, which sounds closer to Ozu than Nakata. These are but a few choice selections from the bountiful programming at this year’s FNC. Happy hunting.

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Ken Ogata (1937-2008)
October 06, 2008 to December 01, 2008


Japanese actor Ken Ogata passed away on October 5, 2008, after battling with liver cancer. Ogata was a mainstay in Japanese cinema since the 1960s, working in both modern and period dramas and action films. Ogata worked with some of the most idiosyncratic Japanese directors of his time (Shohei Imamura, Takashi Ishii, Kaneto Shindo, Kinji Fukasaku, Kenji Misumi) also had a successful though limited crossover career working with international directors Paul Schrader (Mishima) and Peter Greenaway (Pillow Book).

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The Time Machine
September 25, 2008 to October 15, 2008


Festival grouping together films that in different ways reflect the omnipotence of time as a central element of cinema.

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Humbero Solas: 1941-2008
September 01, 2008 to October 31, 2008


One of the greatest Cuban directors of the post-revolution era passed away on September 17, 2008. Solas’s best known film, and perhaps masterpiece, was Lucia (1968), a tour de force, nearly three hour film divided into three stories covering important points in Cuban history: 1895, 1933, and 196?. Solas employs a different visual style for each section, leading some film critics to read the visual style as a reflection/commentary on the famous Solanas/Getino essay “Towards a Third Cinema.”

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Manny Farber (1917-2008)
August 18, 2008 to September 18, 2008


One of the greatest American film critics, known for his originality and eclectic interests, passed away on August 18, 2008, at age 91.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Fantasia International Film Festival
July 03, 2008 to July 21, 2008


The irrepressible Fantasia International Film Festival returns for nearly three weeks (July 3-21, 2008) of varied genre programming, from action, horror, science fiction to fantasy, from Asia to Europe to North American.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Palestinian Perspectives
May 13, 2008 to May 16, 2008


An evening (May 15) of Palestinian films, including Pasolini pa* Palestine, A Palestinian Journey, Sons of Eilaboun, and many others.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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One-Eyed Films
May 12, 2008 to June 30, 2008


Offscreen is a huge fan of the Brazilain horror maestro Jose Mojica Marins (better known as Coffin Joe), as witnessed by this in-depth interview published in 2005. Hence we would like to help promote One-Eyed Films and their effort to produce the first English language film starring Coffin Joe. Read the press release from Betina Goldman below:

Uk based ONE EYED FILMS and VERAS o IMAGINARIO recently set up a Brazilian production company and have signed an option to produce the first English language feature based on the infamous cult character Zé do Caixão (known in the English speaking world as Coffin Joe) created by the Brazilian iconic Director Mojica Marins.

Household name Director of over forty films during the 60’s and 70’s, and with a come back after 30 years in a Brazilian production of Embodiment of Evil, to be released by Fox in Brazil in 2008, Mojica Marins’ character Coffin Joe is a Latin American Horror legend with a committed legion of fans worldwide and celebrated by critics as one of the few auteurs of horror.

“As his agent for over ten years we have been able to witness the continuing fascination that Mojica Marins/Coffin Joe exerts over the international horror community” says Betina Goldman, ONE EYED FILMS’s MD. “The Cult Horror Collection has been sold to over twenty broadcast territories including IFC, Film4, SBS, CanalPlus, Cine Cinema, TPS and Universal Spain among others. We are in advance negotiations for a package of 9 titles for the USA.”

“The concept (working titled) The Bitter Garden is a loosely based script on the character, to introduce him to new audiences unfamiliar with the phenomenal Coffin Joe in a new contemporary arthouse twist.”

The Bitter Garden is to be produced in Brazil by VERAS O IMAGINARIO, and is seeking engaged and hands on co-producers in Canada/Spain to co-develop the project.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Inflexions
May 09, 2008 to May 31, 2008


Launch of a new interdisciplinary webjournal whose goal is to “promote experimental practices combining research and creation in such a way as to foster symbiotic links between philosophical inquiry, technological innovation, artistic production, and social and political engagement.”

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Screening of Shahin Parhami's Faces
March 30, 2008 to April 02, 2008


The Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Invites you to a screening of FACES (2007), by Shahin Parhami, followed by a conversation with the director

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
3-5 PM
Morrice Hall
Room 023

FACES (100 min. Canada, Quebec, 2007) is an experimental documentary exploring the life and work in exile of 10 Iranian-Canadian artists as they represent themselves through art, performance, and monologues. This multi-layered documentary reflects on politics, pop-culture, history and the power of popular media as it crafts a new face for contemporary Iranian art and culture. FACES was premiered at Montreal World Film Festival and won the best feature film award at the Cinewest Experimental Film Festival 2007 (Sydney,
Australia).

Iranian-Canadian filmmaker SHAHIN PARHAMI was born in Shiraz, Iran. After his arrival in Canada in 1988, along with contributions of his poetry and essays to local Persian and English cultural/art journals, he pursued film studies and production, first at Ottawa’s Carleton University and later at Concordia University in Montreal. He has directed several award-winning short and feature films which have been screened in festivals, art galleries, and universities. From 1997 he worked on a trilogy: Nasoot (1997); Lahoot (1998); and Jabaroot (2003). The last part of the trilogy is a 60-minute poetic documentary on Iranian traditional music. His films have been selected by many prestigious international film festivals such as Montreal World Film Festival, Thessaloniki, Hot Docs, and Montreal International Festival of New Cinema.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Cinefest
March 13, 2008 to March 16, 2008


A one-of-a-kind film festival that features silent and early sound films (mainly American) screened on (mostly) 16mm from morning until night. A real cinephiles mecca which shows rare and as yet unavailable films on video films. Also includes large dealers rooms featuring videos, dvds, books, posters, super 8 and 16mm film, equipment, etc.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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On Screen! A Celebration of Canadian Cinema
February 10, 2008 to March 16, 2008


“On Screen! is a documentary series that explores and celebrates the Canadian film industry’s most important cultural milestones. Each one-hour program showcases a quintessentially Canadian feature film and the work of the people who made it; artists and auteurs who blazed new paths, opened doors and set new standards for a modern generation of story tellers yet to come. Along with clips from the films, each episode features interviews with members of the cast, crew, and nationally known critics, who reveal the behind-the-scenes trials of how each movie evolved from page to screen. Occasionally sad, sometimes hilarious, but always poignant, these are the stories that changed the face of Canadian film forever.”

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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WJT Mitchell Lecture
January 10, 2008 to January 17, 2008


The Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture is happy to invite you to its inaugural public lecture Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 19h00, in H-763 (1455 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, Quebec).

WJT Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago and well know theorist of media and visual art, will present some of his recent work. His lecture is entitled “Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9-11 to Abu Ghraib.” A reception will follow.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Télé-Utopie : Godard, Rohmer, Rossellini, Ruiz
January 09, 2008 to March 28, 2008


The following series has been programmed by Viva Paci (Université de Montréal) and Karine Boulanger (Cinémathèque Québécoise), with financial and grant assistance from The Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal, The René Malo Chair, the National Audiovisual Institute (INA), the online film journal Hors Champ and the Art History and Film Studies Department of University of Montreal. All proceedings (introductions, round table panels) are conducted in French.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 7PM: Mai en décembre (Godard en Abitibi), Julie Perron, Qué., 2000, + La Dernière Utopie : La télévision selon Rossellini, Jean-Louis Comolli, Fr., 2006. Introduced by Viva Paci (UdM) and Paul Tana UQAM)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 7PM: France Tour Détour Deux Enfants (episodes 1 to 4), Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville, Fr., 1979. Introduced by André Habib (UdM and online journal Hors Champ)

Wednesday, Janaury, 2008, 7PM: France Tour Détour Deux Enfants (episodes 5 to 8), Godard, Miéville, Fr., 1979

Friday, Janaury 25, 2008, 7PM: France Tour Détour Deux Enfants (episodes 9 to 12), Godard, Miéville, Fr., 1979

Wednesday, Janaury 30, 2008, 7PM: Petit Manuel d’histoire de France (part 1 and 2), Raúl Ruiz, Fr., 1979

Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 7PM: “Éric Rohmer et la télévision pédagogique, 1964-1965 », Les cabinets de physique: la vie de société au XVIIIe siècle; Les histoires extraordinaires d’Edgar Poe; Perceval ou le conte du Graal; Les “caractères” de La Bruyère

Friday, February 8, 2008, 7PM: Ville nouvelle (episodes 1 and 2), Rohmer, Fr., 1975

Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 7PM: Ville nouvelle (episodes 3 and 4), Rohmer, Fr., 1975

Wednesday, February 27, 2008, 7PM: Socrate, Roberto Rossellini, It.-Fr.-Esp., 1970. Introduced by Adriano Aprà (Fondation Rossellini et Università di Roma 2)

Thursday, February 28, 2008, 1PM: Round Table on Roberto Rossellini and television, with Adriano Aprà (Fondation Rossellini and Università di Roma 2), Elena Dagrada (Università di Milano), Stefano Roncoroni (director and independent researcher), Viva Paci (UdM) : Roberto Rossellini placed great hope in television as a medium to reflect and transform the world. This round table will be an occasion to discover these television works and discuss the elements which the project as a whole share: namely a didactic and encyclopedic approach to human history. Admission is free.

Thursday, February 28, 6:30pm: India Matri Bhumi, Rossellini, It.-Fr., 1959. Introduction by Elena Dagrada (Università di Milano)

Friday, February 29, 2008, 7PM: Blaise Pascal, Rossellini, Fr.-It., 1972. Introduction by Stefano Roncoroni (director and independent researcher, Roma)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 7PM: La Prise du pouvoir par Louis XIV, Rossellini, Fr., 1966

Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 7PM: Cartesio (Descartes), Rossellini, It., 1974

Friday, March 21, 2008, 8:30PM: The Age of the Medici: Cosimo de’ Medici, Rossellini, It., 1972

Saturday, March 22, 2008, 7PM: The Age of the Medici: The Power Of Cosimo, Rossellini, It., 1972

Friday, March 28, 2008, 8:30PM: The Age of Cosimo de’ Medici: Leon Battista Alberti, Humanist, Rossellini, It., 1972

Click here for an introductory essay on the program by Viva Paci and Karine Boulanger.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Ferdinando Baldi (1917-2007)
November 12, 2007 to December 12, 2007


Italian director of many important popular genre films, Ferdinando Baldi, passed away on November 12 at the age of 90. Some of Baldi’s best works include the spaghetti western Texas, Addio (1966), starring Franco Nero, one of the many Django spin-offs, Viva Django (1968), and The Sicilian Connection (1972). One of his last ‘public’ appearances was as himself interviewed in the documentary Spaghetti West (2005).

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Music and the Moving Image III: May 30-June 1, 2008
November 12, 2007 to January 15, 2008


Conference at NYU, May 30 – June 1, 2008
Call for Papers

The third annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music and the entire universe of moving images (film, television, computer, video games, and interactive performance) through paper presentations, roundtables, and plenary sessions. This year live performance/screenings will be a featured part of the evening program. Streaming video versions of every presentation will be available only at NYU from May 30 – June 3, 2008.

Accepted papers will be considered for inclusion in the new peer-reviewed online journal Music and the Moving Image.

The Program Committee includes Macquarie Univ. faculty Rebecca Coyle (Reel Tracks: Australian Feature Film Music and Cultural Identities); NYU artist faculty Ira Newborn (The Naked Gun); NYU faculty Robert Rowe (Machine Musicianship); Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison faculty Jeff Smith (The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music); and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron Sadoff (The Moon and the Son).

For more detailed information about last year’s conference, click on the link below.

The conference will run in conjunction with the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker (May 16-23, 2008) and the NYU Song Writing Workshop [ May 27-30 ].

Abstracts or synopses of papers (250 words) should be submitted to Dr. Ron Sadoff, chair of the program committee, by no later than Jan. 14, 2008. For more information contact Dr. Ron Sadoff.

Ron Sadoff
New York University
35 West 4th St
Rm 777H
New York, NY, 10012

Conference fee (May 30 – June 1): $135.00, Students: $65.00, Housing Available.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Maldoror Screening (2000)
September 28, 2007 to October 08, 2007


Rare screening of the 16mm print of Maldoror (2000), a unique collaborative epic super 8 collage made by 15 individual directors working with one of either two underground film collectives, Filmgruppe Chaos (Germany) or Exploding Cinema (London). Another in a long line of important esoteric programming ventures by Montreal’s film co-op, Cinema Abattoir.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Hong Sang-soo Retrospective
September 05, 2007 to September 14, 2007


A retrospective of one of Korea’s most high profile ar thouse directors, Hong Sang-soo. Director Sang-soo made his mark as a rigorous formalist with such films as The Day the Pig Fell Into the Well (1996) and The Power of Kangwon Province (1998). The program, which is curated by Mi-Jeong Lee at Cinematheque Quebecoise, will feature all seven of his feature films, including his most recent from 2006, Woman on the Beach.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Sex and Violence 2nd Edition
July 31, 2007 to August 31, 2007


Regular Offscreen contributor Roberto Curti has released his fourth book, Stanley Kubrick: Rapina a mano armata, a close formal-textual analysis of Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing. Although the book is smallish at 155 pages and restricts itself to the one film, it is ambitious in breadth, contextualising the film within film noir (both classic film noir made before the film later neo-noir) and Kubrick’s other works (and critical history). In the same year, 2007, Curti has seen the release of the second edtion his co-authored (with Tommaso La Selva) book Sex and Violence, which was reviewed here in Offscreen. The second edition is not simply a touch-up but a major revision, with approximately 130 extra pages (620 up from 490). Chapter 7 on extreme Asian cinema and the concluding chapter 10 have been rewritten from scratch and considerably lengthened. The final chapter has been completely updated to incorporate the cycle of recent ‘survivalist’ and ‘hardcore’ (or ‘hardgore’) horror (Fred Vogel’s August Underground trilogy, Hostel, Wolf Creek, etc.). Sections have been added on Greek cinema, Brazilian sexploitation (the pornochanchadas), and Ken Russell. An indispensable book has become even more so.

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+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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The Passing of Antonioni and Bergman: Cinema Loses Two Giants
July 30, 2007 to August 30, 2007


By some strange, cruel fate, two cinema giants were taken from us on the same day, July 30, 2007, at the respective ripe ages of 89 and 94, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. They were contemporaries whose careers followed each other closely, with their first and last films coming only a few years apart (1943/2004 for Antonioni and 1946/2003 for Bergman). The modern cinema associated with the influx of post-World War 2 New Wave cinema could not be thinkable without these two directors, whose respective visions of a humanity at odds with this modernity shaped the language of cinema forever. Antonioni’s rupture from classical narrative was so abrupt that his film L’Avventura was hissed at and jeered by a hostile Cannes audience when it showed in 1960. Such was the power of Antonioni’s daring use of formal language to express characters at odds with their physical (and emotional) surroundings. While Bergman concerned himself with the world of the sacred —religion, faith, the existence of God— Antonioni was preoccupied with the growth of the rational and scientific world and its relationship to the growth of the human moral world. As one Italian critic aptly put it, Antonioni was the only secular Italian director. And while Bergman may have begun at a profane place, he slowly worked his way through his Lutheran Protestant upbringing toward a position of bleakness and hopelessness not that far removed from Antonioni’s. As one person wrote in their eulogy for Bergman and Antonioni, in their own different ways they were both ‘searchers’ of the proverbial ‘mysteries of existence’. Looking back at their careers one can see parallels: both made their international marks with ‘trilogies’ at approximately the same time. Bergman with his ‘faith trilogy’ –Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light (1962) and The Silence (1963)– and Antonioni with his ‘alienation’ (or ‘sick eros’) trilogy –L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse (1962). Both directors also had a preference for female protagonists, with some critics going as far as referring to these actresses as important ‘muses’ (Monica Vitti for Antonioni and several for Bergman, including Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thullin). Because of this, their films were strongly championed by the first wave of feminists in the late sixties/early seventies (although they also had their enemies among feminists, especially Bergman). Offscreen is truly saddened by this tremendous loss of human, artistic expression. When the dust settles we will plan a proper tribute to these important filmmakers.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Tomoya Sato on DVD
July 27, 2007 to August 28, 2007


This extremely independent DVD label has put out three interesting medium length films by Japanese director Tomoya Sato, L’Ilya (16mm, 2000, 39 min.), Shita/??A Deadly Silence?? (HD, 2004, 38 min.), and Marehito (16mm, 2005, 30 min.). Each film comes attractively packaged in a slim jewel case with tasteful cover art and sold individually. Although the films are less than feature length each DVD is accompanied by a nice selection of special features including other short films, interviews, trailers, and poster art. L’Ilya was reviewed as part of the Fantasia Small Gauge Trauma DVD. Crippled Brothers also has a fourth film in its catalogue, the unique stop motion animation fantasy/science-fiction film Mecanix, which is a cross between silent cinema fantasy (Georges Méliès and Lang’s Metropolis come to mind) and modern Kafkaesque surrealism (the claustrophobic worlds of Eraserhead, the Quay Brothers, and Jan Svankmajer are invoked).

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Rudolf Arnheim
June 14, 2007 to July 31, 2007


Psychologist and art critic Rudolf Arnheim passed away on June 14 at the age of 102. Arnheim wrote eloquently about the aesthetics of visual arts from the standpoint of perception and cognition. His contribution to film theory and aesthetics included the seminal Film as Art, first written in German in 1932 and translated to English in 1933. Arnheim’s book was the first important contribution to film theory since Hugo Munsterberg’s The Photoplay: A Psychological Study in 1912 and stands as a pillar of the formalist approach to film theory (along with the writings of Munsterberg, Béla Balázs, and the Russian theorists Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Vertov). For an interesting account go to David Bordwell’s blog and read his tribute to Arnheim.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Cannibal
June 13, 2007 to July 13, 2007


Cannibal is a 15 minute short film by the Nova Scotian filmmaker Rod Marquart which was made on April 25, 2007 and is presently being submitted to festivals. Marquart, who filled many of the other creative and technical roles in the film, does not hide the fact that it was shot in one day, with zero budget using a MiniDV camera. The film does not try to escape from these limitations, but attempts to explore other creative dimensions not necessarily affected, such as mood and style; and in this regard the film is an interesting little exercise in sustained visual dementia. There are only two story actions that occur in the 15 minute running time, both of them extremely violent: a derelict man living in the woods kills, dismembers, cooks, then eats an infant; later he repeatedly hacks away with a machete at the body of a man hog-tied to a tree. However, it is not these two acts –the first graphic, the second kept off-screen– that demands our attention, but the mood of the remaining 10 or so minutes of screen time. There is no dialogue and most of the action happens at a non-real speed, either too slow or too fast for normal human locomotion. The color scheme is either garishly saturated colors that give the natural scenery a strange painterly quality, or monochrome/black and white. There is even a few seconds of pure abstraction which gives the image the look of an abstract expressionist painting.

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At times, the texture reminded me of Super 8mm films from the seventies with the color stock starting to go bad. There are moments when the digital color manipulation goes too far, especially with the solarization effects, but for the most part the abstract colors, unreal shooting speeds, and intensely brooding experimental music (by “Drums & Machines”) combine to form a hyper-stylized aesthetization that offsets the realist impact of the atrocities (especially the first killing). The film opens with selected freeze frame images which foreshadow the second killing (we see a brief black & white image of the second victim tied to a tree). The opening intertitle informs us that a man and his infant daughter have gone missing in the woods of Goodwill Nova Scotia, and that locals believe they were abducted by a rarely seen mountain man. A few shots later tension is created when we hear the off-screen sound of a crying baby, as the hand-held camera pans across the picturesque scenery and then cuts to ominous shots of a man’s boots. A cut to an infant wrapped up in a bundle confirms our worse fear. The baby is shot, dismembered with a hacksaw, cooked over an open fire, and eaten. For the next 5 or so minutes we are treated to a symphony of wailing sounds, shots of the man moving through the woods, a helicopter flying above (will he be found?), point of view shots peering through the woods, until the killer arrives at his second, tree bound victim. What makes this sequence of trivial action effective is that each shot has a different texture (shifting in light, color, focus, speed, sound, etc.). Unfortunately, this sequence is far more powerful than the murder of the man, which suffers from poor choreography (neither the killer’s machete thrusts nor the editing are convincing). However, it improves when it moves away into abstraction. At times the film recalls Night of the Living Dead (with the black & white freeze frames), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the cannibalism, backwoods horror, slow zoom-ins to flesh) and the short works of Jim Van Bebber (Roadkill and My Sweet Satan), which is not bad for a film made on such minimal means. It will be interesting to see what Rod Marquart can achieve with some time and money.

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+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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First Peoples' Festival
June 10, 2007 to June 21, 2007


An impressive collection of films and videos by people of first nations, including films from Canada, the United States, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, Mexico, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Eurofest Film Festival
May 25, 2007 to June 02, 2007


The Eurofest Film Festival, in partnership with Cinema du Parc, presents from May 25th to June 2nd 2007 recently awarded films from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Ukraine as well as Canadian documentaries and shorts by young directors of Eastern and Central European origin.

The program includes fiction films, short films, animation, documentaries and experimental films, with English or French subtitles, featuring, among others, four experimental documentaries by Peter Forgacs (Hungary), three by Jan Sikl (Czech Republic), and films by
Eldora Traykova, Yuli Stoyanov and Andrey Paounov (Bulgaria).

Dr. Christina Stojanova, Department of Media Production and Studies, University of Regina, is the Guest Curator of the Bulgarian, Hungarian and the Czech Film Programs.

The screenings will take place at Cinema du Parc, 3575 av. du Parc, from Friday, May 25th to Saturday, June 2nd; ticket price: $7 . Tickets will be on sale starting May 11th 2007 at Cinema du Parc. Free parking for 3 hours. Please ask for your parking stub at the box-office.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Curtis Harrington: 1930-2007
May 08, 2007 to May 31, 2007


Film critic, filmmaker, actor, and writer Curtis Harrington passed away in his Hollywood home on May 6, 2007 at the age of 80. Harrington had a varied career which saw him leave his mark in many areas of film history. Harrington began as a film critic, writing several essays on the horror film, most notably “Ghoulies and Ghosties” in Focus on the Horror Film. Harrington then befriended filmmakers Kenneth Anger and Gregory Markopoulos to form the central impetus to the second wave of American experimental cinema in the 1940s (initiated by friends and colleagues Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid). Like Anger, Harrington loved Hollywood lore and they incorporated cinema history into their own personal, ‘mytho-poetic’ (term coined by P.A. Sitney) dreamscapes. Harrington worked on several Anger films (Puce Moment, 1949, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954) and made several of his own experimental shorts, including Fragment of Seeking, 1946 and On the Edge, 1949. Harrington then left the underground for the mainstream, beginning with a debut film which carried over some of the surreal and poetic quality of his experimental work, Night Tide, 1962, starring a young Dennis Hopper as a sailor who falls in love with a woman who thinks she is a mermaid. Harrington is probably best remembered for his contribution to the minor sub-genre of gothic horror popular in the 1970s, which included How Awful About Allan, 1970, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, 1971, and What’s the Matter With Helen, 1971. Harrington then moved into television, directing episodes of Baretta, Wonder Woman, Dynasty, and Charlie’s Angels. He made a return to feature films in 2002 with his Edgar Allen Poe adaptation, Usher, which he wrote, directed and starred in as the titular character, Roderick Usher.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Befilm: The Underground Film festival
May 01, 2007 to May 05, 2007


“Now in its fourth year and on its way to becoming one of the largest short film festivals on the East Coast, BEFILM has quickly garnered the reputation of showcasing the world’s finest live action (narrative, documentary, experimental) and animated shorts. Focusing on the belief that “shorter is better”, BEFILM provides a cultural and entertaining forum that recognizes and honors independent, emerging, and established filmmakers. Selected from over 500 submissions from around the world, the competition films are distinguished by genre, not country, and a panel of judges from the entertainment industry reviews the films and selects the winners. First-time and well-established filmmakers screen side by side in an environment designed to support creativity.”

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Carte gris a Michael Snow: Carl Brown: Visual Alchemy / Ocular Alkahest
April 19, 2007 to June 02, 2007


An exhibition of photographs and films selected by Michael Snow on the work of Carl Brown, an artist he has collaborated with on many occasions. Photographs and installation films are on exhibit at the Dazibao Gallery and a series of film screenings at the Goethe Institute:

Wednesday April 25 at 7:30 pm

Triage
Carl Brown and Michael Snow, 2004, 30 min

To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror
Michael Snow, 1991, 53 min

Urban Fire
Carl Brown, 1982, 15 min

Wednesday May 2 at 7:30 pm

Blue Monet
Carl Brown, 2006, 60 min [in the presence of Carl Brown]

See You Later / Au revoir
Michael Snow, 1990, 18 min

Wednesday May 9 at 7:30 pm

Brownsnow
Carl Brown, 1994, 134 min

The Living Room
Michael Snow, 2000, 21 min

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Bob Clark
April 05, 2007 to April 30, 2007


A sad day for the film industry with news of the tragic (because utterly avoidable) death of American-born director Bob Clark, best known (at least in Canada) for his valuable contributions to genre cinema at a time when such cinema was rare in Canada. Clark, along with his 22 year old son, were killed in a head-on car collision with a drunken driver. We’ve all done dumb things in our life, but driving a vehicle while inebriated is a needless crime which must be treated much more seriously than it is so tragedies such as this will become rare (they are not). Clark made a key contribution to the horror genre, with his loveable comic horror debut <cite>Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things</cite>, and then three successive minor masterpieces, <cite>Deranged</cite>, <cite>Deathdream</cite> and <cite>Black Christmas</cite>. Click here to read my discussion of Clark’s pioneering contribution to the stalker film in the essay “Documenting the Horror Genre.” Clark also made one of the best films on the Jack the Ripper myth/conspiracy, <cite>Murder by Decree</cite>, and one of the best holiday films, <cite>A Christmas Story</cite>.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Cinéma Abattoir
March 22, 2007 to March 24, 2007


March 23rd at Midnight
1571 Sanguinet St.

Program

<cite>Liar</cite> Anne Hanavan, US, 2006, 3 minutes

<cite>La Femme Phallique</cite> Frédérique Marleau et Serge de Cotret, Québec, 2007, 7 minutes

<cite>God’s Little Girl</cite> Mitch Davis, Québec, 2006, 16 minutes

<cite>Merzbow Beyond Snuff</cite> Aryan Kaganof, Japon / Afrique, 1997-2005, 22 minutes

<cite>Pandrogeny manifesto</cite> Dionysos Andronis et Aldo Lee, Grèce / France, 2005, 11 minute

<cite>Theocordis</cite> Serge de Cotret, Québec, 2007, 10 minutes

<cite>Western Sunburn</cite> Karl Lemieux, Québec, 2007, 10 minutes

“Nails in the eyes. And also an opposition to the film festivals circuit as an alternative space of diffusion: Cinéma Abattoir is a film society that deals with experimentation and documentation of iconoclastic film work. The subject here is the exploration and transgression of cinema by the subversion of its aesthetics and ethics” (Programmer, Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt)

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Nanni Moretti Retrospective
March 21, 2007 to March 31, 2007


A retrospective of Italian documentarist and fiction filmmaker Nanni Moretti, which includes his latest film <cite>The Caiman</cite>, a not-too-loosely based satire on the life of Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

+ Click here to see the website for more information.

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Re-politicization of Art From (the East of) Europe: Creativity and Resistance
March 09, 2007 to March 11, 2007


Thursday March 8th at 7:30pm
The Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, Saidye Bronfman Centre

“Re-politicization of Art From (the East of) Europe: Creativity and Resistance”

“For the second event of the Crash Course lecture series, in which we present a major issue, theme or movement in contemporary art, Slovenian artist, philosopher and theoretician Marina Grzinic will outline key ideas and themes being taken up by some of the leading contemporary artists from Eastern Europe. Specifically, Grzinic will investigate the role of practitioners who maintain a form of critically engaged activist art.”

Sunday March 10th at 7:00pm
De Sève Cinema, Concordia University (McConnell Bldg ground floor, 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd W)

The Liane and Danny Taran Gallery in collaboration with Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University presents a selection of video works by Marina Grzinic and Aina Smid.

Dr. Marina Grzinic is a research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy at the ZRC SAZU (Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art) in Ljubljana. As well she teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Grzinic also works as freelance media theorist, art critic and curator, and has been involved with video art since 1982. In collaboration with Aina Smid, Grzinic has produced more than 40 videotapes, and has exhibited media art installations and screenings internationally – such as the Art Center in Seoul, The Kyoto Biennale, The Freud Museum in Vienna, The Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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Enthusiasm. Artists: Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska
February 08, 2007 to April 01, 2007


“For ten years, British artists Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska have been exploring forms of collaborative cultural production. The projects they have been engaged in research new ways of artistic practice, particularly in relation to cultural institutions that define, promote and distribute art. On this occasion, these collaborators have created an exhibition and archive of films produced by the Polish amateur film movement between the l950s and l980s. In Poland, in the Socialist era, leisure was organized through factory clubs sponsored by the state. In this project developed over three years, the artists explore the unexpectedly creative response of ordinary people to the oppressions of official culture. The exhibition comprises a reconstruction of a film club interior and three cinemas, screening found films divided into three subjects (Love, Labour, Longing), as well as an archive room of found films. This will be the first North American presentation following its appearance at Warsaw’s Centre for Contemporary Art, the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Tapies Foundation in Barcelona.”

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Carlo Ponti: 1912-2007
January 17, 2007 to February 20, 2007


Venerable Italian producer of approximately 150 films died at the ripe age of 95 on January 10, 2007. Perhaps being married to Sophia Loren had something to do with his longevity, but Ponti started his career in 1941, producing Piccolo mondo antico and never looked back, producing his final film in 1998 (<cite>Liv</cite>). Along the way Ponti produced a range of important art films and popular genre (filone in Italian) films. Highlights include <cite>Senza pietà</cite> (1948, Alberto Lattuada), <cite>Il Mulino del Po</cite> (1949, Lattuada), several films with Totò, <cite>La Strada</cite> (1954, Federico Fellini), <cite>Il Ferroviere</cite> (1956, Pietro Germi), <cite>Matrimonio all’italiana</cite> (1964, Vittorio De Sica), and such non-Italian films as <cite>Heller in Pink Tights</cite> (US, 1960, George Cukor, starring his wife Loren), <cite>Cléo de 5 à 7</cite> (France, 1961, Agnès Varda), <cite>Le Mépris</cite> (France, 1963, Jean-Luc Godard), and Michelangelo Antonioni’s American films, <cite>Blow-Up</cite> (1966), <cite>Zabriske Point</cite> (1970) and <cite>Professione: Reporter</cite> (1975).

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Hou Hsiao-hsien Retrospective
December 06, 2006 to December 21, 2006


At the end of 1999, the Village Voice conducted its first poll of North American film critics, whom they asked to pick their “bests” of 1999, and also of the decade. Of the 50 plus respondents, 9 chose Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien as the “Best Director of the Decade.” (Abbas Kiarostami and Krzysztof Kieslowski finished second with 6 votes each.) Remarkably, at that time, none of his films had ever been released in the U.S. or Canada, and, even more remarkably, Hou finished as 2nd Best Director of 1999 for <cite>Flowers of Shanghai</cite>/ Hai shang hua (1998), the film which placed as the 3rd best film of the decade, even though it had never received a North American theatrical release! In a similar manner, the prestigious French film journal, Cahiers du Cinéma voted Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Goodbye South, Goodbye/ Nanguo zaijan, nanguo (1996) the best film of the 1990s, having previously named Flowers of Shanghai the best film of 1998. At least Hou’s films were being released in France, and, it wasn’t until 2003, that his next feature, Millenium Mambo/ Quanxi manbo (2001) received a limited release in the U.S., after it was voted the #2 “Best Unreleased” film in the 3rd Voice poll at the end of 2001. The pattern continued. Hou’s next film, a tribute to Ozu on his centennial, Café Lumière (Japan, 2003) was voted the “Best Undistributed Film” in the 2004 Voice poll, receiving 26 mentions, and was released the following year. Then, Three Times/ Zui hao de shi guang (2005) a great overview of three stages in his career was voted “Best Undistributed Film” of 2005 (by 34 respondents no less) and was then released in 2006. (Both films were released on time in France and were placed in the Cahiers top ten in 2004 and 2005, respectively).

Unbelievably, Three Times is the very first of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films to be theatrically released in Quebec, and so, it is with enormous pleasure that we are able to announce that the Cinémathèque Québécoise is mounting a complete retrospective of Hou’s work as a feature-film maker in December. His first two films, Cute Girl/ Jiushi liuliu de ta (1980), and Cheerful Wind/ Feng er ti cai (1981), both filmed in cinemascope and made within the “healthy realism” dictates of the repressive Guomindang government at the time, have never been screened publicly in Quebec, we are sure. Almost as rare is the groundbreaking portmanteau feature, The Sandwich Man (1983) co-directed by Hou, Ren Wang and Zeng Zhuang Xiang, which ushered in the Taiwanese New Wave, the strange Daughter of the Nile/ Niluohe nuer (1987), and the first film in his Taiwan history trilogy, City of Sadness/ Beiqing chengshi (1989). This is essential viewing, as is the 2nd film in the series, The Puppetmaster/Hsimeng jensheng (1993), which, with its puppet shows and on-screen appearances of the octogenarian narrator, brilliantly re-invents narrative film structure. Although many of Hou’s films are available on DVD, including his autobiographical, realist work of the 1980s, from The Boys of Fengkuei/ Fengkuei-lai-te-jen (1983) to Dust in the Wind/ Lianlian fengchen (1986), the “history trilogy” and most films that have followed need to be seen on the big screen to properly appreciate the detail of their intricate compositions. This is certainly the case for Flowers of Shanghai wherein the director tried to recreate the ironic beauty of unbalanced male/female relations of 100 years ago.

Filmography of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films as a director with screening times in the Salle Claude-Jutra at the:
Cinémathèque Québécoise

1983: The Boys of Fengkuei (Fengkuei-lai-te jen) [Fr. s.t.’s , Dec 9; 17:00, 14; 16:00]
1984: A Summer at Grandpa’s (Dongdong de jiaqi) [Dec 9; 21:00]
1985: A Time to Live and A Time To Die (Tong nien wang shi) [Fr. s.t.’s, 10; 19:00]
1986: Dust in the Wind (Lianlian fengchen) [Fr. s.t.’s, Dec 10; 17:00, Dec 21; 16:00]
1987: Daughter of the Nile (Niluohe nuer) [Dec 13; 18:30]
1989: City of Sadness (Beiqing chengshi) [Dec 14; 20:30]
1993: The Puppetmaster (Hsimeng jensheng) [Dec 15; 20:30]
1995: Good Men, Good Women (Haonan haonu) [French s.t.’s, Dec 13; 20:30]
1996: Goodbye South, Goodbye (Nanguo zaijan, nanguo) [Fr. s.t.’s, Dec 16; 17:00]
1998: Flowers of Shanghai (Hai shang hua) [Dec 16; 21:00]
2001: Millennium Mambo (ianxi manbo) [Fr. s.t.’s, Dec 6; 18:30, Dec 7; 16:00]
2003: Café Lumière (Japan, Kohi jiku) [Fr. s.t.’s, Dec 16; 19:15]
2005: Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang) [Dec 17; 17:00]

There will also be a screening of Olivier Assaya’s documentary, HHH, portrait de Hou Hsiao-hsien (1996), on December 17 @ 19:30

p>. Peter Rist

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A View on the Exotic: Travel in Early Cinema
November 24, 2006 to November 26, 2006


Two sets of early film programmes organized around the theme of travel, tourism and colonialism. The event gets kick started with an academic panel on the subject featuring members of GRAFICS and the universities of Concordia and University of Montreal. The event is co-programmed by GRAFICS (a research group studying the history of early/silent cinema) and Hors Champ (online sister film journal to Offscreen).

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Robert Altman [1925-2006]
November 21, 2006 to November 30, 2006


Iconoclast maverick American filmmaker Robert Altman passed away on November 20, 2006 at the age of 81. I guess it was in the cards, when the Academy honored Altman with their honorary award this past March (it seems like the touch of death). Altman’s heyday was no doubt the 1970’s, when he directed a string of remarkably innovative and entertaining revisionist genre films: War satire, <cite>M*A*S*H*</cite>, 1970, Western, <cite>McCabe & Mrs. Miller</cite>, 1971, psychological horror, <cite>Images</cite>, film noir, <cite>The Long Goodbye</cite>, 1973 (the latter two also wonderful for their expressive use of the telephoto lens), crime film, <cite>Thieves Like Us</cite>, 1974, and epic drama, <cite>Nashville</cite> 1975. Altman had a late career comeback (not that he was ever inactive) in 1992 with the clever, reflexive <cite>The Player</cite> (with its playful opening rendition of <cite>A Touch of Evil</cite>) and once again in 2001 with his loosely veiled remake of Renoir’s <cite>Rules of the Game</cite>, <cite>Gosford Park</cite>, where he reminded everyone of how instrumental he was in refining the use of overlapping dialogue. One of the genuine foot soldiers of cinema is gone.

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Phone Sex
November 02, 2006 to December 10, 2006


The documentary genre continues to be one of the hottest around, and its definition and meaning continually stretched and manipulated. A recent example is <cite>Phone Sex</cite>, directed by Steve Balderson, whose previous three films were two quirky and compelling indie narratives, <cite>Pep Squad</cite> and <cite>Firecracker</cite> and the documentary on the making of the latter film, <cite>Wamengo: Making Movies Anywhere</cite>. <cite>Phone Sex</cite> is a unique pop art styled collage of image and sound, structured around the question, “What is Sexy?” Phone recorded messages of people responding to Balderson’s open ended question are accompanied by images which range from literal to figurative. Can we say this film is sexy? One thing is certain, the documentary is. <cite>Phone Sex</cite> is slated for release on Dec. 5, 2006.

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6th Annual Accented Cinema Film Festival
October 18, 2006 to October 22, 2006


A film festival focusing on diasporic films and filmmakers, with its festival title lifted from Hamid Naficy’s important critical study of diasporic and exilic cinema, <cite>An Accented Cinema</cite>.

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Danièle Huillet [1936-2006]
October 12, 2006 to July 14, 2009


Sad to report the passing away of French born Danièle Huillet at age 70 on October 9, 2006. Known for her seamless collaboration on over 20 films with her partner Jean-Marie Straub, many of them classics of New German cinema (like The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, 1968, History Lessons 1972). The film that struck me the most was their 1999 film <cite>Sicilia!</cite>, which I wrote about when it showed in Montreal at the 1999 Festival of New Film and Media. Some who know Straub well are speculating that Huillet’s death will signal the end of his filmmaking. If so, the world of cinema is a poorer place.

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On Screen! A Celebration of Canadian Cinema
October 09, 2006 to November 13, 2006


A Canadian (out of Vancouver) documentary series of one hour programs celebrating classic and important Canadian films. The series is in its second season. Some of the films that already aired in season were <cite>Tales From the Gimli Hospital</cite>, <cite>Black Christmas</cite>, <cite>Goin’ Down the Road</cite>, and <cite>The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz</cite>. Each episode features film clips and interviews with crew and cast members, critics, academics, and fans. Season two highlights include <cite>Nobody Waved Goodbye</cite>, <Cite>Mon Onlce Antoine</cite>, and <cite>Roadkill</cite>.

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Film Pop
October 05, 2006 to October 09, 2006


Unique cultural jam festival which combines the worlds of music and film and re-imagines the conventional theatre film space. Highlights include Live Music by guitar wizard Gary Lucas accompanying the German expressionist classic <cite>The Golem</cite>, Deco Dawson’s live re-interpretation (“re-filming and re-imagining”) of his film <cite>Dumb Angel</cite>, and much more. As much a social event as a cultural event.

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Touching Politics Film Series and Workshop
October 02, 2006 to October 06, 2006


The Centre interuniversitaire des arts médiatiques (CIAM),
The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and the Goethe-Institute present:

Touching Politics Film Series and Workshop

October 2 – 6, 2006, 7:30 pm.
Goethe-Institut Montreal
418, rue Sherbrooke Est
$ 7, $ 6 for students, free for Amis de Goethe
(514) 499-0159 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

A film series curated and presented by Florian Wüst thematically linked around groundbreaking, social and political documentary, experimental, and avant-garde short films. Series is broken up into five thematic programs:

Oct. 2 at 7:30 pm.: Program 1: Circumstances of Depiction
Oct. 3 at 7:30 pm.: Program 2: Radical Bodies
Oct. 4. at 7:30 pm.: Program 3: Education and Resistance
Oct. 5 at 7:30 pm.: Program 4: Beyond Words
Oct. 6 at 7:30 pm.: Program 5: Economy of the Modern

Rare opportunity to view such important films (projected on film) as <cite>Mass for the Dakota Sioux</cite> (Bruce Baillie), <cite>Report</cite> (Bruce Conner), <cite>Now!</cite> (Santiago Alvarez), <cite>Perfect Film</cite> (Ken Jacobs), <cite>T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G,</cite> (Paul Sharits), <cite>Lehrer Im Wandel<cite> (Alexander Kluge), and <cite>Critial Mass</cite> (Hollis Frampton).

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Sven Nykvist (1922-2006)
September 21, 2006 to October 01, 2006


Sad day for lovers of light, with the passing of one of the world’s greatest ever cinematographers, Sven Nykvist. Best known for his groundbreaking work in both black and white and color with Ingmar Bergman, Nykvist also worked with Woody Allen and Andrei Tarkovsky. Click below for an <cite>Offscreen</cite> review of his son’s documentary, <cite>Light Keeps Me Company</cite>.

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Quand le cinéma d’animation rencontre le vivant
September 14, 2006 to September 16, 2006


Launch of the book, Quand le cinéma d’animation rencontre le vivant [When Animation Cinema Meets the Living], edited by Marcel Jean, on September 14 at 5:00pm at the Cinematheque Quebecois in Montreal, followed by a screening of selected animated films at 6:30pm. The program will be introduced by Marcel Jean. Film schedule as follows:

Le Mobilier fidèle dir. Émile Cohl, Fr., 1910, 7 min à 18
Opening Speech McLaren dir. Norman McLaren, Qué., 1960, 7 min
À travers champs (Przez Pole) dir. Jerzy Kucia, Pol., 1992, 17 min
Une artiste dir. Michèle Cournoyer, Qué., 1994, 5 min
At One View dir. Menno et Paul de Nooijer, P.-B., 1989, 7 min
Les Colocs : La Rue principale dir. André Fortin, Qué., 1993, 3 min
Aphex Twin: Come to Daddy dir. Chris Cunningham, R.-U., 1997, 5 min
Jona Tomberryir. Rosto, P.-B., 2005, 12 min
Home Road Movies dir. Robert Bradbrook, R.-U., 2001, 12 min

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Mike Hoolboom: The Invisible Man
August 25, 2006 to October 07, 2006


Exhibition of a four-part video installation and selected short films by Canadian experimental filmmaker and critic Mike Hoolboom. The exhibition takes place in the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery located in the Concordia University Library building (J.A. De Seve Building). Vernissage is on the evening of Wednesday, August 30th 5:30pm-7:30pm and then the exhibit runs from August 31 to October 7, 2006.

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New NFB Documentaries
August 24, 2006 to September 04, 2006


NFB Documentary Films Premiering at the 30th World Film Festival are: <cite>Waban-Aki</cite> by Alanis Obomsawin, which sees the reknowned First Nations (Abenaki) filmmaker return to the village where she was raised; <cite>Shameless: The Art of Disability</cite> from the director of <cite>Not a Love Story</cite>, Bonnie Sherr Klein, which attempts to dispell the myths of and prejudices against people with disabilities (Klein being one of her own subjects); <cite>Unspeakable</cite> by John Paskievich, which takes a humorous look at his own speech impediment: stuttering; <cite>Breaking Ranks</cite> by Michelle Mason, a film about US soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their resistance to the war in Iraq; <cite>Mike Birch, le cow-boy des mers</cite>, by James Gray, which chronicles the life of 72-year-old Canadian Mike Birch, one of the world’s greatest sailboat racing skippers: and <cite>Wal-Town</cite> by Sergeo Kirby, which “follows a group of six students as they travel across Canada to raise public awareness about Wal-Mart’s business practices and the effects of the company’s policies on cities and towns in Canada.”

Schedule of the above films at the WFF:
Breaking Ranks August 30, 9:30 pm, Quartier Latin, theatre 13; September 1, 10:00 am, Quartier Latin, theatre 13
Mike Birch, le cow-boy des mers (original French version with subtitles – 50 min) August 26, 7:10 pm, NFB Cinema; August 29, 12:30 pm, NFB Cinema
Shameless: The Art of Disability (original English version – 72 min) September 1, 7:20 pm, Cinémathèque québécoise; September 2, 12:40 pm, Cinémathèque québécoise September 3, 3:20 pm, Cinémathèque québécoise; September 3, 9:40 pm, Cinémathèque québécoise
Unspeakable (original English version – 89 min) August 30, 7:20 pm, NFB Cinema; August 31, 1:00 pm, NFB Cinema
Waban-Aki: peuple du soleil levant (French version – 104 min)
August 31, 7:20 pm, Quartier Latin, theatre 12
Waban-Aki: People From Where the Sun Rises (English version – 104 min) August 31, 7:20 pm, Quartier Latin, theatre 11
Wal Town (original English version – 66 min 30) September 1, 3:20 pm, NFB Cinema; September 2, 7:30 pm, NFBCinema

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Italia Odia: Il cinema poliziesco italiano
August 19, 2006 to October 01, 2006


Hot off the presses is long-time <cite>Offscreen</cite> contributor Roberto Curti’s latest book, <cite>Italia Odia</cite>, an-in depth (over 400 pages) critical analysis of the Italian <cite>policier</cite>, one of the most prolific genres during the heyday of Italian genre filmmaking, the 1970s. Although written in Italian, English-only readers can get a glimpse of Curti’s book in an upcoming essay written by Curti exclusively for <cite>Offscreen</cite>, “Naples by Calibre 9.” odia.jpg border=0 width=200 height=297

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Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
August 19, 2006 to September 10, 2006


If you happen to be in Philadelphia on the 8th of September, don’t miss the special screening of Jaromil Jires’ enchanting coming-of-sexual age film, <cite>Valerie and Her Week of Wonders</cite> (Czech, 1970). The screening will be accompanied by a live musical performance by members of Espers, Fern Knight, Fursaxa and Grass (also featuring Mary Lattimore, Charles Cohen and Jesse Sparhawk). Presenting this event is Joseph A. Gervasi, co-owner of Diabolik DVD, who says of the event: “This will be a one-time performance in Philadelphia and will be a part of the Fringe Festival. Scrumptious vegan food will be provided by Zinnia Piotrowski and drinks and snacks by Bull and the Mariposa Food Co-op of West Philadelphia. A wide variety of DVDs will be sold in the lobby by Philly’s own Diabolik DVD. Right now a documentary is being shot about the production and there will be a multi-camera shoot of the live performance. All of this should appear on a DVD to be released by Drag City Records, home of Espers and many other bands. The hope is that the DVD release will feature the film from a 35mm source (unlike the current Facets DVD) with multiple sound options, the live performance, documentary, amazing cover art by Tracy Nakayama, etc.”

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Young Cuts
August 17, 2006 to August 20, 2006


A festival featuring the long-standing, yet underappreciated film format, the short. A very ambitous festival, with 50 films from over 40 countries, with many filmmakers present, awards, and gala events. The festival tours to Toronto for a one-day jaunt on August 26. The festival program can be downloaded from the website.

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Auckland Film Festival
July 11, 2006 to July 30, 2006


Founded in 1970 as a component of the Auckland Festival, the Auckland International Film Festival in time became a fund-raising event subsidising live arts. Rescued from this role by the intervention of the Federation of Film Societies in 1984, the 34th Festival in 2005 achieved an audience in excess of 100,000.

Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley, winner of cinema’s most prestigious award, the Cannes Palme d’Or, will open this year’s Telecom New Zealand International Film Festivals and screen in the country’s four main centres. It is just one of many Cannes winners to play at the Festivals. “We are delighted to have scooped this controversial film for the opening of the 2006 Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival. This year’s programme is clamorous with films of activism and protest, so it’s the perfect year to be celebrating this richly deserved accolade to one of cinema’s most persistent agitators,” says Bill Gosden, Festival Director.
Other films include, Korea’s A Bittersweet Life, Canada’s C.R.A.Z.Y., Hard Candy and many more major films of the past year.

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