Friday, August 31, 2007

Venice sighting: Vanessa Redgrave

Adding a touch of real class to the red carpet...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Venice opens with British film

The 64th annual Venice Film Festival opened yesterday with the usual crowds gathering to see the actors of the British film Atonement, the opening number of this year's edition. Early reports claim that the film got a strong reception.

One of the curios of this year's festival is the return of Peter Greenaway, who will be showing his new film Nightwatching, which revolves around Rembrandt's most famous work. Greenaway has an obsession with 19th century Holland, his residence country of many years.

Another curio is the fact that Greg Araki (pictured) will preside the Jury of the Orizzonti section and one of the people serving under Araki's chairing is documentarian Frederick Wiseman plus a few other international names. That's one of the interesting things about festivals, you get the most unlikely types under the same roof.

That said, the 2007 edition is markedly dominated by Anglophone cinema this year, which could indicate that the organisation of the event is aiming squarely at the commercial prospects of the event rather than artistic and national variety.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vagalume video festival

Vaga-Lume, which means glowworm, is a yearly video art festival that takes place in Porto Alegre, the southernmost Brazilian capital of Porto Alegre. I'm taking part of this year's edition as an invited artist with the videos Video Graffiti and The art of video art. The festival starts on Monday and runs until 6 September.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Helvetica, the film

On the jacket of my copy of Virginia Woolf's book Flush, her biography of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's aristocratic pet cocker spaniel (a great read, whose success displeased Virginia), there is a great quote by the author taken from a lecture she gave in Oxford in 1928:

"What is meant by "reality"? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun."

And of course it can also be found right under a writer, or filmmaker's, nose as the success of the documentary Helvetica seems to prove. A film about a font sounds like an unlikely subject but apparently everyone wants to see Gary Hustwit's itinerant film. Me too, I'm dying to see it now, after hearing so much about it. Hopefully I'll be able to get a seat next time it comes to London on 7 September at the ICA.

Here you can find whether it's screening anywhere near you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Video art: Art of Noise: Beat Box

Streaming: winners of Aarau festival

The winners of the One Minute Internationales Film & Videofestival in Aarau, Switzerland, which took place last weekend and whose programme included my video Video Graffiti, have been posted online and you can watch them here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reviewe: Mon oncle d'Amérique (My American Uncle) (1980)

I've just published a DVD review of Alain Resnais's My American Uncle. Check it out and see this film. It's a wonderful piece of cinema.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Trailer: 5,000 Fingers of Dr T (1953)

I saw this film once and it's one of the most delirious musicals ever made - apparently it was a resounding flop - too imaginative for the family audiences this kind of film would have been aimed at. If anyone ever finds a Pal DVD version, please write to me. I'd love to own a copy.

Sight and Sound

Sight and Sound magazine is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a list of 75 'hidden gems', or films that generally don't make it into official 'hot 100' type lists. The list is print-exclusive but it can be found here. The magazine's website has an interview made by Amy Taubin with Gus Vant Sant focusing on Andy Warhol's influence on his work.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nostalgia: Blondie, Heart of Glass

New on Kamera: DVD reviews

More good stuff on Kamera, the website I edit. There's a review of Cassavetes Directs, one of the latest releases on Kamera Books. We also have a fresh round-up of some of the latest DVD releases, which includes Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players, Bobcat Goldwaith's Sleeping Dogs and Tommy O'Have's Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss.

I have found clips and trailers of the films as well. Enjoy them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Béla Tarr and Mike Figgis

Artificial Eye has rung in to tell me that film director Béla Tarr (pictured) will be in conversation with Jonathan Romney after a screening of Tarr's 2o0o film Werckmeister Harmonies on 14 August (Tuesday) at 6.10pm at the Renoir Cinema. The Hungarian director's latest film is called The Man From London and includes indie heroine Tilda Swinton in the cast. According to IMDB, the film will be next seen at the Toronto Film Festival in September. So this London screening is a rare chance to see a Tarr film on the big screen.

I have also learned that
the artistic director of the theate company Complicite, Simon McBurney, will talk about his film work as both actor and director with director Mike Figgis on 15 September. The interview will be illustrated with film clips, including Weather Patterns his short film made for the 2006 London Film Festival and a preview extract from his new film of Measure for Measure. Early booking is recommended because events at the Barbican tend to get booked up very fast.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Selma e Denise on YouTube

I couldn't believe my luck today when I casually searched a video that I saw years ago at the Mix Festival in São Paulo, Selma & Denise, a parody of Thelma & Louise, and found it! It's hilarious and stars Marcelona, a punk-drag club celeb from São Paulo.

Enjoy it...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Video: meet William Kamkwamba

I just published a post on the alternative blog I contribute to about William Kamkwamba,a 19-year-old Malawian inventor who at the age of 14 built a wind mill with the instructions he found in a book. Read it here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cronenberg's Eastern Promises to open 51st London Film Festival

The 51st London Film Festival has announced that this year’s Festival will open on Wednesday 17th October with David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.

The London-set thriller, written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things), reunites David Cronenberg with Viggo Mortensen who worked with his in History of Violence, and also stars Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The plot centres on the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organised Russian crime families. A harrowing chain of murder, deceit and retribution is put in motion when he crosses paths with Anna (Watts), an innocent midwife, trying to right a wrong she accidentally uncovers.

Said David Cronenberg: "I’m thrilled to be returning to the scene of the crime. Eastern Promises is the first film I’ve ever shot entirely away from my home in Canada, and it makes perfect sense that it is set in London, home of so many of my most potent film influences."