Ryan’s Criterion Link Collection: Monday, December 15th 2014

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Here is your daily digest of Criterion-related links.


NEWS

Terrence Malick’s Knight Of Cups is heading to Berlin

Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett – who looks set for a busy Berlin – and Natalie Portman, and sold by Glen Basner’s FilmNation, “Knight of Cups,” described as a story of celebrity and excess, will world premiere at Berlin, where Malick won a Golden Bear in 1999 for “The Thin Red Line,” which was also nominated for seven Academy Awards. Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda produce.

Michael Fassbender might have a part in Steve McQueen’s Paul Robeson film

It’s important to me to keep my original group of British and Irish-born creative people close to me wherever I work, whether it’s my producers, cinematographers, or indeed Michael Fassbender. They are instrumental to what I do, they’re not going to change.


REVIEWS

For NonFics, our friend Landon Palmer has reviewed the Les Blank: Always For Pleasure box set

Examined individually, Blank’s films are rich, detailed and engrossing portraits of people living within an increasingly rare milieu of American regionalism. But taken together, his films turn into a tapestry that collectively represents a beautifully unconventional philosophy of life.

Jonathan Rosenbaum has republished his 1992 review of Akira Kurosawa’s Rhapsody In  August

At no point in Rhapsody in August is any historical or political explanation for the Nagasaki explosion offered, much less refuted, apart from “war”. While it’s been argued against the film that this omission coincides with the gaping deletions on this subject found in school textbooks in Japan — deletions that I suspect are worse but still not radically different from those found in U.S. textbooks — I think it can also be argued that historical finger-pointing about the bomb is irrelevant to Kurosawa’s purposes.

At The Dissolve, Tasha Robinson reviews the new Time Bandits Blu-ray

…the individual setpieces are often giddy good fun, midway between Monty Python sketches and a longer-form story; Gilliam was still learning how to streamline here, and while some bits stand out more than others, Time Bandits feels more of a single piece than his pure Python films, Monty Python And The Holy Grail and The Meaning Of Life. Gilliam and his designers capture a range of striking isolated images: the angry floating face of God, demanding His map back; a series of giant cages dangling in darkness above an endless black abyss; a giant huge enough to stomp houses flat, and wear a mid-sized schooner as a hat. And Gilliam wraps up with one of his signature bleak, offbeat endings, one designed to cut through the film’s junkyard aesthetic and bring home the fundamental insanity of a universe built to order by rambunctious thieves at the behest of a dotty old man with no particular interest in human life.

Dave Canfield continues his look at the films of the Criterion Collection over at Twitch Film, this time focusing on the new Rififi Blu-ray:

Dassin’s take on noir was concerned with far more than shadows, often fully embodying the notion of people trying to go straight and give up their life of crime but who are too far along the road they’ve traveled to turn back. As I’ve encountered them, I’ve had an almost irrational desire to reach into the screen and save his characters, protecting them from the world that has finally said, “Enough.”

Over at AkiraKurosawa.info, Vili Maunula reviews Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai

The premise of the book is intriguing, and it could perhaps be best described as a commentary track in the written form. Pepperman moves through the film, scene by scene, explaining what is happening and what techniques Kurosawa has used to tell the story. The discussion covers both the technical aspects of filmmaking as well as story techniques and takes altogether 160 pages, plus various forewords, appendices and a pretty good index.


INTERESTING

Over at The Film Stage, Jack Giroux chats with Todd Haynes’ about Safe

I’m guessing you’ve revisited the film a few times now for the Blu-Ray?

Yes, I did. I was in New York while they were doing color timing and correction. We weren’t able to locate the original soundtracks of the sound elements, but they did the best possible polish they could do on what we had. It was a great process. Everyone involved was so engaged and cared so much.

Check out Sam Smith’s favorite film posters from 2014

Take a closer look at the US one-sheet of David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers

Criterion Collection As Haiku has conquered Grey Gardens

Agnes Varda, on the state of women in the European film industry

What I have noticed is that it is very sweet to receive this award but when I see the nominees here, I feel there are not enough women, she said. I think more women should be included. I know a lot of very good female directors and women editors and I would like them be more represented and helped by the European film academy.


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