Ritual spectatorship and capitalism in Jarmusch’s THE LIMITS OF CONTROL.

limits

Review by Brad Nguyen

I’m always up in arms about empty film references but what distinguishes Jim Jarmusch from, say, a Quentin Tarantino, is how he uses his film references as a jumping off point to make something new and meaningful. The point of the exercise is not in ‘getting’ the reference but in where he takes it. In The Limits of Control, as in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Jarmusch is riffing off Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai but reconfigures it to create his most overtly political film yet. Continue reading

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

MIFF09 review: ABOUT ELLY (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

about-elly

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A group of friends go on a holiday by the sea, and after a while one member of the group, a young woman, disappears; the rest of the film chronicles the friends’ attempts to deal with this disappearance. If this description of the plot of Asghar Faradi’s About Elly might give the impression that Faradi is gunning for the position of ‘the Iranian Antonioni’ (as Abbas Kiarostami might be called the Iranian Rossellini, Jafar Panahi the Iranian De Sica, etc.), that turns out to not really be the case. Despite lifting its storyline straight from the art cinema classic L’Avventura, About Elly is very much a mainstream film with mainstream concerns; it has nothing in particular to do with the great Iranian cinema of Kiarostami, Mohsen Makmalbaf and others. Seen in this light, though, the film eventually reveals itself to be very good for what it is. Though I can’t say I exactly understand why both of its sessions at MIFF have been sold out days in advance – nor why, given this immense popularity of an Iranian film, the festival organizers couldn’t even bring themselves to program Kiarostami’s fascinating new work, Shirin (which screened at the Sydney Film Festival) – About Elly is certainly a sensitively acted, thought-provoking film. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

MIFF09 review: TONY MANERO (dir. Pablo Larrain)

tony-manero

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

When I first heard about this movie, a couple of months ago, I quickly skimmed the review and got the impression that it was a kind of uplifting documentary about a resilient guy living in Augusto Pinochet’s Chile who uses his love of disco to overcome oppression and fully express his individuality. Fortunately, a day or two before it was due to screen at MIFF, I decided to read about it more closely to see if it’d be worth getting to, and discovered that it was to be quite a different animal than I’d initially gathered. Both unrelentingly ‘realist’ in that gritty way of much ‘world cinema’ that gets currency on the festival circuit and at the same time offering itself and its central character, Raul, as a kind of social allegory of the Chile of Pinochet’s military dictatorship, Pablo Larrain’s Tony Manero is definitely not a documentary, and definitely not uplifting. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

MIFF09 review: ANNA (dir. Pierre Koralnik)

anna

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A film whose soundtrack I’ve known for a long time but which I never expected to get a chance to see, watching Anna at MIFF was a real treat. A little bit Funny Face and a little bit Blowup, as anarchic as Godard but also as loving an ode to the movie musical form as Demy, I guess Anna, which was made for French TV in 1967 and directed by Pierre Koralnik, could most succinctly be described as an extremely successful combination of Nouvelle Vague stylings and Serge Gainsbourg/Yé-Yé style rock’n’roll. With music by Gainsbourg and a cast featuring, aside from the man himself, Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy and Marianne Faithfull, the film is a zany, endlessly entertaining delight. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

MIFF09 report: Laura Mulvey probably wouldn’t have enjoyed ‘Anna Karina – In Conversation’

anna karina

Post by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A friend once remarked to me that, whenever he sees an advertisement for MIFF, he accidentally misreads it as ‘MILF.’ Upon entering the Festival Lounge for the conversation with Anna Karina today, one could have been forgiven for thinking that David Stratton, her interviewer, and many members of the audience had made a similar error. A weird, not terribly satisfactory, and occasionally rather sexist event, the conversation with Ms. Karina offered her a kind of adoration, but an adoration so totally defined by an understanding of her as ‘muse’ to a series of great men – Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Serge Gainsbourg – that there wasn’t much for her to do besides tell some stories about these great men as the private individuals she knew. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under News

MIFF09 review: OUR CITY DREAMS (dir. Chiara Clemente)

our city dreams

Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A fun idea for a documentary, Our City Dreams follows five female artists of different ages who have moved to New York City from a variety of locales, and made their lives and their careers there. Attempting to offer impressions of the personality, artistic sensibility and personal history of five different contemporary artists in the space of about ninety minutes, the film is not exactly Rivette’s Belle Noiseuse, but it’s impressive how much it manages to pack in given its limitations, without feeling at all cluttered. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

To do: Uhh MIFF of course!

philosoface

Post by Brad Nguyen

  • TUESDAY 21st: Ang Lee is speaking via satellite at a very early screening of TAKING WOODSTOCK. [Cinema Nova] The cooler kids will be at the PHILOS-o-FACE launch. PHILOS-o-FACE usually makes images of philosophers’ faces into brooches (I have the Deleuze one) but they are making a special batch of directors’ faces for MIFF. At Kids in Berlin, 472 Victoria Street. [PHILOS-o-FACE]
  • THURSDAY 23rd: Some exciting new releases this week: Legendary action director John Woo tries on his wuxia epic with Red Cliff, American independent director Jim Jarmusch tries on his existential art-noir with Limits of Control and Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots with Drag Me to Hell.

red_cliff_xlglimits-of-control-posterdrag-me-to-hell-poster

  • FRIDAY 24th: Opening night of the Melbourne International Film Festival which is running until August 9. I, of course, will be blogging and tweeting from the festival and, in the event that you should want to stalk and kill me, I’ve written up my MIFF schedule as a note on my Facebook page. Despite the slightly depressing popularist vibe of MIFF’s marketing campaign and the fact that most of the films are really just preview screenings for films that are being released this year by local distributors, there is still some interesting films on offer. I’m personally excited about the new Hirokazu Kore-eda film Still Walking and watching Willem Dafoe ejaculate blood and talk to a fox in Antichrist but, you know, to each their own. [MIFF]

still walkingantichrist-poster

  • SUNDAY: Really one of the best films of the year that no one is talking about, Summer Hours (dir. Olivier Assayas) is playing in a matinee session. [Astor]

summer_hours

Leave a comment

Filed under To do