Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2009 New Directors/New Films

"The standout of this year’s [New Directors/New Films] fest is So Yong Kim’s Treeless Mountain (pictured), the highly anticipated follow-up to Kim’s debut feature In Between Days, a Sundance and Berlin award winner from 2006. When a mother leaves her two daughters with their aunt in Seoul in order to finalize a divorce, she also leaves them with a piggy bank. When it is full, she tells them, she will return. And so they wait, grilling grasshoppers to sell to local youths, and counting their change. Kim saturates her film with the pregnant stasis of childhood, and her young actors, Hee Yeon Kim and Song Hee Kim, express more depth than any of this year’s leading or supporting Oscar noms."

Read my full coverage of the 2009 New Directors/New Films series here at The L Magazine.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eclipse Series 15: Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu

"Our understanding of pre-World War II Japanese cinema has been limited not merely to those few films in distribution, but to those even in existence. Between unstable nitrate stocks (used for early films), poor preservation and earthquakes —not to mention World War II — most of those films are irrevocably lost to history. Contemporary American audiences’ conceptions, in particular, are formed almost exclusively by Yasujiro Ozu’s playful formalism and Kenji Mizoguchi’s tragic heroines. All of which makes Eclipse Series 15: Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu not only an exciting, long-overdue release, but also a historically redefining moment. For the first time, American audiences will have access to one of the foundational artists of Japanese cinema, whose prolific output between 1924 and 1959 (166 films) well exceeds the combined filmographies of Ozu and Mizoguchi."

Red my full review of Eclipse Series 15: Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu here at The L Magazine.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Iron Mask (1929)

Douglas Fairbanks was the king of Hollywood in the silent era. Off-screen, he defined the dapper gentleman that was to be expected of Hollywood stars: his wife and queen was “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford, and their castle was Pickfair, a palace where all of cinema’s royalty gathered. On-screen, though, he was something else all together—he was the embodiment of all the magic that the movies promised to provide.

Read my full review of The Iron Mask here at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.