Archive for June 23rd, 2009

Bjork this weekend

June 23, 2009

Don’t forget!

Bergman’s House and Belongings Auctioned Off

June 23, 2009
Cineuropa has the story:
Ingmar Bergman’s iconic home on the Baltic island of Färö and some of his personal belongings (including the famous magic lantern) are up for auction, in accordance to the Swedish legendary filmmaker’s last wishes.

“This is my wish and no discussion or emotional tumult must come as a result,” said Bergman.

His house on Fårö has been up for auction by Christies since May 18, and potential buyers have until August 20 to make an offer on the estate worth at least €4m.

Bergman’s personal possessions will go under the hammer of Bukowski’s in Stockholm on September 28. Interested parties will have three days (September 24-27) to view the historical items, including his magic lantern, which triggered his desire to become a filmmaker; a decorative figurehead, used for his company Cinematograph’s logo, and featured in the film Persona; a 1965 b&w portrait of Bergman by legendary photographer Irving Penn; and the desk at which he wrote his screenplays.

The auction of Bergman’s house has already created much furore amongst many Swedish political and cultural personalities who accuse the government of not doing enough to preserve Bergman’s legacy. “I think it’s a real scandal that Sweden cannot protect the home of one of our greatest and most celebrated artists around the world,” said production designer Anna Asp, who collaborated with the Swedish master on his later films and won an Oscar for Fanny & Alexander.

The Fårö Bergman Centre Foundation, which currently owns Bergman’s estate, has been trying to raise funds to turn his house into a museum. It also holds the annual Bergman Week in Fårö, which kicks off tomorrow and runs through June 28.

For special guests Wim Wenders, Mexican filmmaker Enrique Rivero (winner of the 2009 Ingmar Bergman Debut Award) and all the fans and friends of the Swedish director, this week’s gathering will feel like a second farewell to the iconic filmmaker who passed away on July 30, 2007 at the age of 89.

– Annika Pham

Amin Maher, Actor in Abass Kiarostami’s “Ten” and Son of Mania Akbari Arrested

June 23, 2009

This email just came across my desk from a colleague in Iran:

Amin Maher, the actor in Abass Kiarostami’s movie “Ten” and son of Mania Akbari artist and director got arrested. Mania states:” It was Tuesday around ten in the evening, when I first heard of my son’s arrest. I got shocked and I found myself in total despair. Amin is only seventeen years old and is currently in eleventh grade and attending the  program in his school. I immediately started to look for him, experiencing very hard and painful moments. Moments that neither cinema nor any other kind of art will ever be able to express. What I went through and witnessed that night is not easy to describe…I had no idea where they had taken my son to, therefore I stared looking in every ambulance, every police station and every
hospital in town. I came face to face with other parents looking for their children as well. Mothers screaming and calling the names of their sons and daughters. Fathers weeping silently. Terrified kids in police stations awaiting their faith…it was a total nightmare. A nightmare that will remain with all of us for the rest of our lives. It was early Wednesday morning when I finally found my son at the Pasdaran’s police station. The reasons for his arrest were that he was wearing a green band to show his support for Mr. Moussavi and also that he had been identified as an active participant during the presidential campaign. Finally on Wednesday he was released with the intervention of some friends, artists and some related police authorities. Amin had been  subjected to serious beatings and emotional disturbance. I felt ashamed of seeing him in his condition. I had created a false illusion for him regarding the country he had been born in, about prevailing humanism and democratic atmosphere. I had always encouraged him to consider going to top universities in Iran, instead of opting
for studying abroad. I remember talking to the press a while ago, mentioning humanity, the love for people, patriotism and the positive way of thinking towards a democratic society.

Unfortunately now I have to express my disagreement with the
ever-increasing violence in our society today. Violence is not the answer and freedom will only be attained through
respecting the democratic rights of each and every human being. Although my son took the beating from the opposition group, I as a mother and an artist oppose to any violence under any circumstances. Today I would like to take this opportunity to ask my fellow artists, friends and family to participate in promoting a peaceful approach and strongly condemn any kind of violence. Therefore I hope to be able to live in my country Iran, where I will never have to see another club nor another whip.

– Mania Akbari

Original 1969 reviews of “Duet for Cannibals”

June 23, 2009

It was tough to find any straightforward reviews of Susan Sontag’s directorial debut, but there was certainly a lot written about the film in 1969.

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times previewing the film, and discussing it’s creation (click for a bigger image):

The film itself is discussed in this Vincent Canby piece about the NY Film Festival. This is the heart of the Duet review:

“The key to the enjoyment of the film…can be found in Miss Sontag’s essays. It’s not becuase the film recalls either Godard or Bresson, about whom Miss Sontag has written with extraordinary insight. Rather it’s because the film adamantly refuses interpretation on any level but he surface one. It simply is what it is, a self-contained comedy of set pieces, some of which sort of remind you of events (political and psychological) out-side the film without ever actually representing those events.”

(On a related note, this article also talks about Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s, which is currently playing through Thursday at NWFF. Says Canby, “[Maud’s] was, for me, the finest film in the festival.”)

Finally, here is a negative review of the film from Films in Review. However, the description only makes me want to see the movie more. Sontag’s methods of filmmaking sound remarkably modern (“Her story-line is a pretzel she probably twisted around from day to day as she was shooting”) and intriguing. It’s also simply interesting to see a critic rip into Sontag so harshly.

Duet for Cannibals plays NWFF June 24-25 at 8pm.

Toronto Unveils 26 Titles

June 23, 2009

Toronto International Film Festival began disclosing its line-up today. As usual a number of titles perk my interest including new titles from Manoel de Oliveira, Alain Resnais, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Tsai Ming-liang, Hong Sang-soo, Corneliu Porumboiu, and Elia Suleiman. Here’s the announced line-up thus far.


Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl
Manoel de Oliveira, France/Portugal/Spain North American Premiere Famed filmmaker Oliveira, who celebrates his 101st birthday this year, tells the tale of Macario’s obsession with the enticing blond he spies from his window. Little does he know that she will end up stealing much more than his heart.

Les Herbes Folles
Alain Resnais, France North American Premiere From modernist master Alain Resnais comes a romantic adventure based around the simple act of losing a wallet.

Air Doll
Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan North American Premiere This compelling tale of a blow-up doll that becomes a real person and abandons her status of mere sex object comes to life with the superb performance of Korean actress Bae Doo-na.


Fish Tank
Andrea Arnold, United Kingdom North American Premiere Andrea Arnold’s assured follow-up to Red Road is a taboo-breaking love story about a violent teenaged girl transformed by desire for her mother’s new boyfriend.


Tsai Ming-liang, France/Taiwan/The Netherlands/Belgium North American Premiere A tableau vivant adorned with Tsai Ming-Liang’s signature aesthetic portrays a special homage to the Nouvelle Vague and the Louvre, which co-produced the film and hosted its shooting.

Raya Martin, France North American Premiere Mimicking early silent films, Independencia creates a lush metaphor that plays with cinematic illusions and the cultural and mythical history of the Philippines.

Alain Cavalier, France North American Premiere Filmmaker Alain Cavalier turns his personal grief of becoming a widower into a first-person subjective documentary that focuses on his diary entries.

Chris Chong Chan Fui, Malaysia North American Premiere Poetic, observant and allegorical, Karaoke juxtaposes a young man’s idealism with the reality of a changing Malaysia through karaoke videos.

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang,Thailand North American Premiere A haunting supernatural love affair set in a mysterious forest between a nymph and a couple who have drifted apart.

To Die Like a Man
Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France North American Premiere In order to forgive and be forgiven for the slights endured over a long life as a transsexual club performer, Tonia devolves her body back into a male form and seeks reconciliation with her estranged son.


Adrian Biniez, Uruguay/Germany/Argentina/The Netherlands North American Premiere Security guard Jara falls in love as he supervises staff through the closed-circuit cameras at a supermarket. First voyeur, then guardian angel, he protects and pursues the cleaning woman who has unknowingly captured his heart.

The Happiest Girl in the World
Radu Jude, Romania/The Netherlands North American Premiere Family conflict produces comedy in this story of a young girl who wins a car in a lottery and her scheming parents who insist on selling it.

Ermek Tursunov, Kazakhstan North American Premiere A love story among the ragged steppes of ancient Kazakhstan is told in beautiful and poetic images, as a young love struggles to survive in the face of uncontrollable external factors.

La Pivellina
Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria/Italy North American Premiere A small abandoned girl is sheltered by a circus woman in this tale of courage, loss and togetherness.

Samson and Delilah
Warwick Thornton, Australia North American Premiere Teenagers Samson and Delilah live in an isolated Aboriginal community in the Central Australian desert. Their outsider status draws them closer together and they come to depend on each other when tragedy strikes.

Should I Really Do It
Ismail Necmi, Turkey North American Premiere The concepts of real life and fiction, documentary and drama, are explored in this real-life feature which follows the unbelievable life of Petra, a German woman living in Turkey.

Contemporary World Cinema

Eyes Wide Open
Haim Tabakman, Israel North American Premiere A gay love story set in the heart of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, where the belief that love conquers all results in societal pressures and threats of violence.

Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, Chile North American Premiere A warm family saga which follows 24 hours in the life of a poverty-stricken provincial family in central Chile.

Like You Know It All
Hong Sang-soo, Republic of Korea North American Premiere Delightfully comic exploration of the emotional and social geography of an art-house film, directed by Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo.

Jessica Hausner, Austria/France/Germany North American Premiere In order to escape her isolation, wheelchair-bound Christine makes a life-changing journey to Lourdes, the iconic site of pilgrimage in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Men on the Bridge
Asli Oezge, Germany/Turkey/The Netherlands North American Premiere The stories of six men working on an Istanbul bridge are told by the original characters, in this mosaic depicting real persons exposing their lives and aspirations.

My Year Without Sex
Sarah Watt, Australia North American Premiere A tender story from Australia highlights the realistic ups and downs of a family in the year following a parent’s emergency medical procedure.

Police, Adjective
Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania North American Premiere A witty portrait of life in the small town of Vaslui, the sophisticated Police, Adjective builds on the promise of Porumboiu’s debut 12:08, East of Bucharest.

The Time that Remains
Elia Suleiman, France/Belgium/Italy North American Premiere This semi-biographic film, divided into four historical episodes, portrays the daily life of Palestinians in 1948 who were considered a minority, even in their homeland.

The Wind Journeys
Ciro Guerra, Colombia North American Premiere Ignacio, a former traveling musician, makes one final trip across the country following his wife’s death. He is joined by a teenaged fan, and together they explore the possibilities that life has in store for them.

For Those Who Saw Rembrandt’s J’Accuse

June 23, 2009

Can I recommend The New York Times piece today on Peter Greenaway’s series “Nine Classical Paintings Revisited”, a part of which Rembrandt’s J’Accuse screened this past weekend as part of SIFF’s best-of-the-fest.