Letizia Battaglia, her last name not incidentally means “battle,” has been a one-woman army fighting that decline. Through her photographs of the Mafia and the destruction it caused in her home city of Palermo — courageous because each one could have meant her death by execution, if only for having captured the soul of the unworthy, or the wrong moment in time — Battaglia has shown the world what courage, resilience and being Italian really does mean, at its highest form.Read More
It’s interesting that in the same year, two prominent Iranian filmmakers made films where the idea came from the perils of social media. Of course, Jafar Panahi got the inspiration for ‘3 Faces’ from the myriad of fans who send him messages wanting to connect somehow with his talent and rotate in the moons of his celebrity-dom. Mani Haghighi instead with his ‘Pig’ found the humor within the stalking of sorts that happens on the feeds of Twitter and Instagram. And how these days we’ll do just about anything to be famous.
Of course, these two filmmakers are as different as filmmakers can be, yet their latest oeuvres are both featured in the upcoming Iranian Film Festival New York, which will run from January 10th to the 15th at the IFC Center. An event not to be missed.Read More
Back in February during Berlinale, at the very start of this strange yet fateful year, I watched Laura Bispoli’s ‘Daughter of Mine’ and fell back in love with Italian cinema. I was then satisfied further in Cannes, where I got to watch three more fantastic Italian films — which included Matteo Garrone’s ‘Dogman’ and Alice Rohrwacher’s ‘Happy as Lazzaro’. Then Venice rolled around and there was ‘What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?’ by Roberto Minervini and my personal, patriotic soul burst with pride.
Well, London audiences will soon be able to experience all of these titles in one place along with a selection that will include Laura Luchetti’s ‘Twin Flower’, Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’ and Eduardo De Angelis’ ‘The Vice of Hope’. They are all part of the BFI’s London Film Festival Italian selection of cinematic picks from our peninsula.Read More
Grey Gardens. We’ve heard of the Maysles documentary, we’ve watched the TV fiction film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, we may even have attended the Broadway musical about them. Lets face it, those Beales girls are American icons. The grand royalty of dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships yet touched by elegance and undeniable status.
But all through the narrative, Big Edie and Little Edie have somehow been made campy and unreal. Yes the original 'Grey Gardens' is a documentary, but I've never felt the true connection with its characters, even though their story shared so much of my own American history, in both time, events and place.
Now, Göran Hugo Olsson, one of my personal favorite filmmakers and an all around cool human being, has made a new film about Grey Gardens. It is new, in the sense that it will be released in the US this week, yet Olsson's 'That Summer' uses the oldest footage available of the Beales, the original film made by Andy Warhol and Peter Beard and in the process, shows us how to fall in love. Because at the center of 'That Summer' there exists a love story between the filmmaker and his muse Lee Ratziwill, a tale of summer romance with a twist bound by the grand illusion of an ambiance -- that magical moment in time when friends, location and a certain scent in the air creates the impression that everything is possible.Read More
I believe there are two types of films. There are those that take you on an adventure -- meaning you go through a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement while sitting in the theater, surrounded by others who share the same thrills with you.
Then there are movies which bring you on a journey, one that can last you a lifetime. Egyptian filmmaker Tamer El Said's 'In the Last Days of the City' belongs to the latter category. Once you inhabit its well-shot landscapes and meet its unforgettable cast of characters, they never, ever let go of you. And that's a good thing! More than a year and a half later, after my first viewing they continue to color my dreams and tint my emotions, but most importantly, they have changed the way I think of Cairo, Egypt and its courageous inhabitants.Read More
Last weekend, Wes Anderson's latest, the stop-motion animated wonder that is 'Isle of Dogs' opened in the US. Soon it will be around the world and in the process, will have created trends for years to come. Some call it cultural appropriation, I call it complete and utter genius, since "turning Japanese" is exactly what I crave for here and now.
My first thoughts from Berlinale are featured in the video above. There is also a blog from the opening day of Berlinale, you can read it here.
The verdict? I LOVE DOGS! And you will too.
Check out the 'Isle of Dogs' website for all info and even buy movie tickets.
We’ve all experienced the positive power of cinema. It is that moment, at the end of a movie, right before the lights come back on and as the credits roll by, when we feel we can change the world. We feel invigorated, wish to do better, want to be better and walk out of the theater with a new spring in our step. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, that energy, the magic of the movies, stays with us in our daily lives and continues to inspire a change that can become momentous.Read More