Matt writes: While awaiting my early morning flight to the BendFilm Festival, all I could think about was every precious moment I shared with my dear friend and colleague, Sergio Mims. The news had just been posted of his passing last week at age 67. Sergio was the co-founder of the Black Harvest Film Festival, a contributor to this site, and a long-standing member of the Chicago Film Critics Association.
A look back at this past weekend's Telluride Film Festival, which included 9 in the main program directed by women.
An interview with writer/director Greta Gerwig from the Telluride premiere of her new film, "Lady Bird."
This is a free sample of the Newsletter members receive each week. It contains content gathered from recent past issues and reflects the growing diversity of what's inside the club. To join and become a member, visit Roger's Invitation From the Ebert Club.
Marie writes: Not too long ago, Monaco's Oceanographic Museum held an exhibition combining contemporary art and science, in the shape of a huge installation by renowned Franco-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, in addition to a selection of films, interviews and a ballet of Aurelia jellyfish.The sculpture was inspired by the sea, and reflects upon maritime catastrophes caused by Man. Huang Yong Ping chose the name "Wu Zei"because it represents far more than just a giant octopus. By naming his installation "Wu Zei," Huang added ambiguity to the work. 'Wu Zei' is Chinese for cuttlefish, but the ideogram 'Wu' is also the color black - while 'Zei' conveys the idea of spoiling, corrupting or betraying. Huang Yong Ping was playing with the double meaning of marine ink and black tide, and also on corruption and renewal. By drawing attention to the dangers facing the Mediterranean, the exhibition aimed to amaze the public, while raising their awareness and encouraging them to take action to protect the sea.
Marie writes: As TIFF 2012 enters its last week and the Grand Poobah nurses his shoulder in Chicago (having returned home early for that reason) the Newsletter presents the final installment of Festival trailers. There was a lot to chose from, so many in fact there was no room for theatrical releases; they'll return next week. Meanwhile, enjoy!
The Grand Poobah: The Sounds of Silents: Science finds that silent movies trigger mental soundtracks in our minds. Oddly enough, this may explain why they create a reverie state in me. I usually listen to them with a musical sound track, but after reading this I tried a little of "The Show Off" on Netflix streaming, and I see what they mean.The Guardian article "Can I hear the sound of silence?"So try a little of "The Show Off" yourself. Turn off the sound. Here's the complete movie via Google; though Netflix quality is better. Notice that whenever Louise Brooks is on screen, you simply can't focus on anyone else.
PRESS RELEASE — Roger Ebert is recovering at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after surgery to repair a hip fracture. He tripped and fell at the Pritikin Center in Florida, where he had gone to continue physical therapy in preparation for his film festival. The staff at Pritikin was very helpful in their quick response to the incident.
The Prince of Denmark, Yukio Mishima and the Incredible Hulk are planning to convene in Champaign-Urbana, IL, for Roger Ebert's Film Festival (April 23-27, 2008). Joining them (off-screen) for the Ebertfest No. 10 will be directors Paul Schrader, Bill Forsyth, Sally Potter and actors Christine Lahti, Aida Turturro, Joe Pantoliano, among others. The emphasis is still on the (re-)discovery of "overlooked" films (with that term defined however Ebert wants to define it), but the festival is now known simply as Ebertfest. The full schedule is here:
Some of the best things I've read about Ingmar Bergman's place in cinema, written since his death (UPDATED 8/01/07):
E-mails to Roger Ebert from filmmakers and writers including David Mamet, Paul Schrader, Sally Potter, Haskell Wexler, Paul Theroux, Richard Linklater, Gregory Nava, Studs Terkel, David Bordwell, David Gordon Green, Paul Cox...
Gregory Nava: This was not the escapist fare of Hollywood, or the pat spirituality of Biblical epic films where God spoke in hallowed tones from a burning bush. With Bergman, God was a spider that lived in the upstairs closet! A shocking and necessary jolt to my Catholic sensibilities. Yes, these films changed me forever -- they cemented my dream to become a filmmaker because if film could do this -- then surely it was the greatest art form of our time. I will never forget the first time I saw the horses standing in the surf against a setting sun, and death with his black cape raised approaching the world-weary knight. "I hope I never get so old I get religious." -- Ingmar Bergman
Peter Rainer, Los Angeles Times: He worked out of his deepest passions and, for many of us, this made the experience of watching his films seem almost surgically invasive. He pulled us into his secret torments. Looking at "The Seventh Seal" or "Persona" or "Cries and Whispers," it's easy to imagine that Bergman, who died Monday, was the most private of film artists, and yet, no matter how far removed the circumstances of his life may have been from ours, he made his anguish our own.
Another way to put this is that Bergman -- despite the high-toned metaphysics that overlays many, though not all, of his greatest films -- was a showman first and a Deep Thinker second. His philosophical odysseys might have been epoxied to matters of Life and Death, of God and Man, but this most sophisticated of filmmakers had an inherently childlike core. He wanted to startle us as he himself had been startled. He wanted us to feel his terrors in our bones. A case could be made that Bergman was, in the most voluminous sense, the greatest of all horror movie directors.
"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up!" -- Bergman actor Max von Sydow, in Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters"
View image Woody Allen's "Love and Death": A Bergman (and Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy...) parody from someone who loved Bergman.
Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com: What he saw as God’s refusal to intervene in the suffering on earth was the subject of his 1961-63 Silence of God Trilogy, “Through a Glass Darkly,” “Winter Light” (a pitiless film in which a clergyman torments himself about the possibility of nuclear annihilation) and “The Silence.” In his masterpiece “Persona,” (1967), an actress (Liv Ullmann) sees a television image of a monk burning himself in Vietnam, and she stops speaking. Sent to a country retreat with a nurse (Bibi Andersson), she works a speechless alchemy on her, leading to a striking image when their two faces seem to blend.
So great was the tension in that film that Bergman made it appear to catch in the projector and burn. Then, from a black screen, the film slowly rebuilt itself, beginning with crude images from the first days of the cinema. These images were suggested by a child’s cinematograph which his brother received as a present; so envious was Ingmar that he traded his brother for it, giving up his precious horde of 100 tin soldiers.
When I interviewed Joan Allen and Sally Potter about their new film "Yes," I assumed everyone who saw it would love it as I do. I was mistaken. Although it has many supporters, it has opened to some savage reviews ("Ideas of almost staggering banality" -- A.O. Scott, New York Times).
TORONTO -- Oscar season starts this weekend. The Toronto International Film Festival has become the showcase for ambitious autumn releases by studios hoping for Academy Awards, or at least for good reviews of movies that adults can enjoy without resorting to their child within.