Reluctant Habits

Liv Ullmann (The Bat Segundo Show)

Posted by in Bat Segundo, bergman-ingmar, Film, New York Film Festival, ullmann-liv

In this 25 minute radio interview, the legendary Liv Ullmann discusses her relationship with Ingmar Bergman, the distinction between storytelling and lies, Kierkegaard, and why she loves The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

NYFF: Charlie is My Darling

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival, Rolling Stones

In this recently restored 1965 documentary, the Rolling Stones have established their raw sexual power, just before the more explicit dissolution has kicked in.

NYFF: The Savoy King: Chick Webb & The Music That Changed America

Posted by in Film, kaufman-jeff, New York Film Festival, The Savoy King, webb-chick

In this first dispatch from the New York Film Festival, we revisit Chick Webb’s legacy in a flawed but engaging documentary.

NYFF: Le Havre

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

Aki Kaurismäki’s latest film tinkers with the idea that our fantasies are more rooted in our heart, existing before we can sculpt them into visual submission.

NYFF: You Are Not I (1981)

Posted by in bowles-paul, Film, New York Film Festival

This spellbinding 1981 adaptation of a Paul Bowles story was nearly lost, but is now playing as part of the New York Film Festival.

NYFF: The Loneliest Planet

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

A consideration of Julia Loktev’s adaptation of the Tom Bissell story, “Expensive Trips Nowhere,” which includes press conference audio, comparison with Paul Bowles, and an email exchange with Bissell.

NYFF: Mud and Soldiers (1939)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

Approximately 72% of this 1939 film involves marching. I am not quite certain that this makes for compelling narrative.

NYFF: Intimidation (1960)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

This highly enjoyable 1960 movie about a botched blackmail suggests Japan’s answer to a scrappy film noir bankrolled by RKO.

NYFF: Woman with Red Hair (1979)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

In our first dispatch from the New York Film Festival, we ask whether a Nikkatsu pink film measure up to its alleged intellectual ambitions.

The Bat Segundo Show: Joe Dante

Posted by in Bat Segundo, dante-joe, Film, New York Film Festival

In this frank 25 minute radio interview, director Joe Dante discusses The Hole, the problems with creative control, 3-D, Mario Bava, the Hollywood system, and surviving as an independent director.

NYFF: Another Year

Posted by in Film, leigh-mike, New York Film Festival

It is a ubiquitous truth that distinctive art often polarizes. But Mike Leigh’s films often cause some of the more catholic critics to reveal their unadventurous sensibilities.

NYFF: Hereafter

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

It seems inconceivable that Clint Eastwood would direct a film that uses the facile falsehood of psychic ability to drive its story, and that Peter Morgan (Peter Morgan! The man behind Frost/Nixon!) would write the screenplay.

NYFF: Old Cats

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

If you’re making a film featuring an older woman with a middle-aged narcissistic daughter who enjoys snorting up coke in her mother’s bathroom, then a little perspective is in order.

NYFF: Foreign Parts

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

A documentary that concerns itself with the outskirts of life has the obligation to make more concrete connections to its privileged audience.

NYFF: The Social Network Press Conference

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival, Uncategorized

[This is the sixth in a series of dispatches relating to the 2010 New York Film Festival.] “It’s fundamentally the same application for myself. It became clear to me after my first reading of the script that, uh, there was going to be, uh, the version of this person, my character in the film, that he wasn’t sort of the hero, so to speak. And, but, no one sits behind a – you know, I obviously, I’m not, you never play anything sitting behind a laptop, you know, twirling your…read more

NYFF: The Social Network

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

One of David Fincher’s best movies also includes some of the sharpest material that Aaron Sorkin has ever written for film or television. It’s a highly entertaining movie possessed of stones.

NYFF: Oki’s Movie

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the third in a series of dispatches relating to the 2010 New York Film Festival.] It’s often a wise move to distrust any movie featuring a moviemaker as the protagonist, even the ones offered by interesting directors – just as one avoids reading novels involving novelists. It’s the easiest and most cannibalistic creative decision imaginable, akin to a fresh father barraging you with buckets of baby photos. You smile politely, but after the sixth hour flicking through photo albums, you courteously explain that there’s a little more to…read more

NYFF: The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the second in a series of dispatches relating to the 2010 New York Film Festival.] “The film we just saw,” muttered a nameless tastemaker just after the screening. “Who is it for? Romanians? Political junkies?” “Humorless film geeks? Cultural masochists? Those who view watching paint dry as too adventurous?” I was tempted to rejoin. Some random canvassing revealed I wasn’t alone in my assessment. Even so, who was I to judge this film when my own grasp of Eastern European history was so tenuous? My knowledge of Ceauşescu…read more

NYFF: Nuremberg / Holocaust Survivor Ernest Michel

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

At the Nuremberg press conference, Ernest Michel describes being the first Holocaust survivor to cover the war trials.

Coverage Interruptus

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

A last-minute deadline for a very fun and entirely unanticipated eleventh hour project has cropped up. This development means a break in New York Film Festival coverage. I have quite a number of films that I still have to write about (and not just NYFF offerings), and my plans are to attempt to unroll as much of this as I can in the next week. But for folks still on the fence about the films that are playing in the final days, here’s a quick rundown of immediate thoughts. Todd…read more

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NYFF: Ally Sheedy

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the fourth in a series of posts relating to the 2009 New York Film Festival.] The above video was taken from an October 8, 2009 press conference in relation to Life During Wartime. My thoughts on the film will be appearing on these pages soon.

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NYFF: An Impromptu Interview with Ed Lachman

Posted by in Cinematography, Film, New York Film Festival, Photography

[This is the third in a series of posts relating to the 2009 New York Film Festival.] At the Life During Wartime press conference, I noticed that director of photography Ed Lachman was a bit grumpy about differences between shooting on film and shooting digital. Life During Wartime had been shot, like Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!, on the RED digital system. Now Soderbergh’s film looked a bit soft and strained to my eye. Lachman, on the other hand, had managed to beef up much of Life During Wartime using color…read more

NYFF: Broken Embraces (2009)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the second in a series of posts relating to the 2009 New York Film Festival.] There once was a time in which I flocked to a new Pedro Almodovar film with a mad and unstoppable gusto, wondering just what iconoclastic ideas Almodovar would unleash upon the screen. You never knew if you were going to get an extended rape scene brazenly challenging gender assumptions (the notorious sequence in Kika) or Antonio Banderas confronting some dormant and out-of-left-field sexual feelings (well, just about every Banderas-Almodovar road show). But then…read more

NYFF: The White Ribbon (2009)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the first in a series of posts relating to the 2009 New York Film Festival.] (This post will be updated. Review of The White Ribbon TK.) On October 7, 2009, the New York Film Festival held a press conference with writer/director Michael Haneke. To listen to the press conference, as recorded and mastered by Edward Champion, click on the podcast below. Haneke answered questions in German, with English translation by Robert Gray. Press Conference; Michael Haneke — October 7, 2009 (Download MP3) This text will be replaced

The Bat Segundo Show: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Film, New York Film Festival

Filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #244. Kurosawa is most recently the co-writer and director of Tokyo Sonata, a film that played the New York Film Festival and that will be released by Regent Releasing in the United States on March 17, 2009. For more information on this extraordinary film, please see our review. We also wish to express our many thanks to translator Linda Hoaglund, who assisted us during the course of this interview. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Voiceless, per the requirements of a sonata. Guest:…read more

Wrapping Things Up

Posted by in New York Film Festival

Okay, folks, after about seventeen or so films (and manifold shorts) in two weeks, I’m officially finished with the New York Film Festival. I have seen two films devoid of dialogue (save a handful of lines). I have seen a ten-minute long take of a sheep giving birth. I have watched actors lose considerable weight for the sake of their art. I have witnessed Jonathan Rosenbaum’s eloquence stand out on an overcrowded panel. And I’ve written close to 15,000 words on all this. So I think it’s safe to say…read more

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NYFF: Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Posted by in Film, Israel, New York Film Festival, War

[This is the thirteenth part in an open series of reports from the New York Film Festival.] About a week ago, fearing that all of the films were turning my mass into flabby mush, I walked two brisk miles in twenty minutes to take in Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, my fourth film of the day. The movie had been described to me by one critic, who purportedly writes for a newspaper, as “a little fiesta” — a qualification that I certainly quibbled with at the time. I’m not sure…read more

NYFF: The Headless Woman (2008)

Posted by in Film, New York Film Festival

[This is the twelfth part in an open series of reports from the New York Film Festival.] Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel — sadly one of the few women represented among the predominantly male auteurs in the New York Film Festival — doesn’t wish to spell out her entire scheme to the audience. She does have a crackling knack for presenting her muzzled puzzle from a subjective viewpoint. In The Headless Woman, Martel’s characters are often photographed from the passenger seat or the back of a car, suggesting that the audience…read more

A Brief Interlude

Posted by in Journalism, New York Film Festival, New York Times

Some brief housekeeping between these longass NYFF reports: I had intended to write a report on Saturday afternoon’s panel, which I believe was called “Holy Shit! The End of Film Criticism is Nigh! It’s the End of the World!” But it appears my work has already been done for me. Details of what went down, not as hysterical as the title implied, can be found over at Mr. Hudson’s place. There are links to reports and even an MP3. Last I checked the thread at Mr. Hudson’s, there was some…read more

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The Bat Segundo Show: Jerzy Skolimowski

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Film, New York Film Festival

Jerzy Skolimowski appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #239. Skolimowski is a filmmaker, and is most recently the director of Four Nights with Anna, which is currently playing at the New York Film Festival. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Waiting for the fifth night. Guest: Jerzy Skolimowski Subjects Discussed: Moonlighting (1982), starting from a home to get the lay of the land, the importance of place, how location dictates character motivations, Bruce Hodsdon’s observations about Skolimowski’s objective-subjective dialectic, the importance of story, Leon’s movement in Four Nights with Anna, using sparse…read more