Posted tagged ‘walter reade’

The Bard Goes Global at the Walter Reade Theater with a Summer of Shakespeare

July 13, 2009

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Dig out that Complete Works of William Shakespeare anthology you have buried in your bookshelf and brush up on your “Romeo and Juliet,” because from July 15-26 the Walter Reade Theater will be playing eighteen film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays — ranging from the tragedies (“Macbeth,” “King Lear”) to the comedies (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Merchant of Venice”), histories (“King Richard III,” “Henry V”), and beyond — as part of the Bard Goes Global series.

While the excellent and expected such as Laurence Olivier and Franco Zeffirelli make appearances, the series offers a wide-ranging international palette through which to re-experience once familiar works, including films from India (Maqbool), New Zealand (The Maori Merchant of Venice), Russia (King Lear), Finland (Hamlet Goes Business), and Japan (The Throne of Blood). At the same time, a sampling of British and American directors make their presence in the series with a handful of English-language classic and revisionist works: Charlton Heston’s Antony and Cleopatra; Al Pacino’s Looking for Richard; Orson Welles’s Macbeth; Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet – and others. The varying cultural lenses allow new light to be shed onto Shakespeare’s plays, keeping the canonical works fresh and relevant.

Questions of how to transcend the stage-oriented material to suit the filmic world or when to show an image in place of one of Shakespeare’s perfectly-crafted lines are at the center of these films, exploring the boundaries set between great literature and great cinema in the attempt at arriving at a symbiotic whole. Moreover, specific issues relating to Shakespeare’s language and history present unique challenges which these international directors tackle in order to adapt the deeply-rooted Englishness of the Bard’s works without sacrificing their own national identity and history: consider Akira Kurosawa’s samurai interpretation of “Macbeth” in Throne of Blood or Don Selwyn’s Maori twist on “The Merchant of Venice” in The Maori Merchant of Venice. Without a doubt, the Bard is alive and well.

The summer Shakespeare slot starts this Wednesday, June 15th when the series kicks off with Laurence Olivier’s ageless Henry V.

-Kazu Watanabe

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Expressive minimalism: “Le fils” and “L’Enfant” during the Dardenne retrospective at The Film Society

June 1, 2009

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Calling the films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne “minimalist” is only the half-truth of their aesthetic sensibility. What gives the appearance of formal disinterestedness and coolness in “Le fils” (2002) and “L’Enfant” (2005), for instance, is really a desire to get close, to visually assimilate a wide range of complex emotions and feelings inside the movie frame. Both films, screened this month as part of the Film Society’s ongoing Dardenne Brothers retrospective, are exemplary in proving that silences still matter in the cinema, for certain, but their achievements are more vibrant and palpable than minimalism alone could potentially offer.

In “Le fils,” Olivier (Olivier Gourmet), a doleful, expressionless middle-aged carpentry instructor living alone in rural Liège, meets the once-incarcerated 16 year-old, Francis (Morgan Marinne). The boy is eager to learn Olivier’s trade, although Olivier is more eager to trace his past, which he soon learns played a significant role in the death of his son. “L’Enfant” is a film similarly concerned about traces – sometimes visible, sometimes hidden or ignored – as the young Sonia (Déborah François) struggles to mother a newborn child while Bruno (Jérémie Renier), the dismissive and reluctant father, pockets money pawning and thieving in the perpetually overcast Belgian town of Seraing.

Sharp and sensuous, both of these films resist cool-headed, altogether pernicious treatments of human situations. The situations, however, are the key; they give the Dardennes an opportunity to explore, to pay attention to foregrounds without neglecting the scales and intensities of more complicated experiences lying below. Hand-held cameras follow the characters of “Le fils” and “L’Enfant” with patience, moving close, wandering between hands and faces, looking for moments that shatter the surface before it freezes over. And yet, patience is often sacrificed for restlessness, for bursts spontaneity and expressiveness (as when Olivier chases the young Francis at the end of “Le fils,” or Bruno and Sonia roughhouse in “L’Enfant”). The surface shatters, to be sure, and from below come those moments of warmth and luminosity that make the Dardenne Brothers masterful observers and that prevent their silences from turning into white noise.

– Ricky D’Ambrose

A cinematic horn of plenty: this Monday’s Green Screens

October 31, 2008

Enlightenment, great flicks and organic produce? How often can you get all three in one place?

Let Monday’s Green Screens presentation of Farming the Future and Homegrown show you what’s at stake in the the production of what’s on your plate. Afterward, have your organic apples and eat them too when actual Long Island farmers bring the bounty of their fields straight to you.

Buy tickets to see Green Screens: Farming the Future, Homegrown and The Fridge: Mon Nov 3: 6

Check out Homegrown’s official site.

Check out Farming the Future’s official site.

Truth or Dare: The Films of Andrzej Wajda starts tomorrow night!

October 16, 2008

Visual, political, and often highly symbolic, the films of Andrzej Wajda are difficult to categorize. No single visual style or strategy characterizes his films: His early work often employed intricately illuminated deep spaces, while his work in the ’70s featured a looser, more documentary feel. When Socialist Realism, the Stalinist aesthetic of exemplary working class heroes and didactic narratives, was the order of the day, Wajda’s films served as alternative or counter-histories to the officially sanctioned versions of events.

See the director in person this weekend:

Fri Oct 17: 7:30 The Promised Land
Sat Oct 18: 6:30 Everything for Sale
Sun Oct 19: 4:50 Ashes and Diamonds
Sun Oct 19: 7:30 Katyn

What people are saying about the series:

“Not only Poland’s greatest filmmaker but one who, throughout his long career, has demonstrated a remarkable knack for making movies that double as political events…The most complete retrospective an American institution has ever given the 82-year-old director. It opens with characteristic Wajda brio: First day’s screenings include Wajda’s 1954 debut, provocatively titled A Generation; his 1958 triumph Ashes and Diamonds (the greatest of all ‘youth films,’ a game-changer not only for Polish cinema but for national film industries throughout Eastern Europe)” ” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“YOU NEVER KNOW QUITE WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A WAJDA PICTURE… The only thing, perhaps, that has prevented Mr. Wajda from becoming the sort of art-household name that Fellini and Bergman and Antonioni became is that his style, unlike those of his more famous contemporaries, is changeable, unsettled, hard to define.” – Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times

“Loooong overdue for a major retrospective, and Walter Reade is happy to oblige.” – Time Out New York

“A politically unflinching body of work that’s something like a contemporary and retroactive history-in-progress of the Polish nation.” – The L magazine

Welcome to the filmlinc blog

September 16, 2008

As the Film Society of Lincoln Center gears up for the 46th Annual New York Film Festival, we hope you’ll stop by this blog for:

  • Daily updates, photos and reports from the festival
  • Special content from Film Comment magazine like Site Specifics, a column that unearths vital web resources for film lovers
  • Feeds from our Flickr pool
  • Exclusive interviews and video content
  • The chance to win free stuff and tickets!
  • Links to other organizations that cover our programming

“I wanted to break all the rules” says Wadley director Matias Meyer

September 12, 2008
Marcela Goglio introduces Matias Meyer, director of Wadley, during Latinbeat '08

Marcela Goglio introduces Matias Meyer, director of Wadley, during Latinbeat

Matias Meyer’s Wadley had it’s first screening as a part of Latinbeat ‘O8 last night at the Walter Reade. The film, following the wanderings of one man, has almost no dialogue. It begins on the outskirts of town with a kind of jerky, handheld realism and as the central figure wanders into a long, peyote-fueled desert sojourn, the film shifts in tone, visuals and sound.

“I wanted the film to be hypnotic,” said director Meyer during a Q & A after the screening. “You have to be patient with the film in the first 15-20 minutes and then I take you on a trip through the Mexican desert.”

The shooting of Wadley was a trip in more ways than one. Director Meyer and his small crew drove from Mexico City and spent four days shooting their 60 minute feature in the north central part of the Mexican desert. The consumption of small amounts of peyote figured into the creative process, the director said.

The town of Wadley sprang up around a train station established when the region was a boomtown for miners, the director explained. Now the place is a kind of a ghost town, the perfect point of departure for the main characters hallucinogenic ramblings.

The filmmaker’s collaborative approach to production and post-production produces some stark effects in the film, such as the haunting sound of a buzzing cicada that reoccurs throughout the film, and in striking photographic depictions of the natural landscape.  Meyer explained that he presented his footage to a composer and sound designer and let them run with their inspiration. He credits his training as a photographer with this openness: “When you go out and observe, magical things happen.”

Wadley will screen at the Walter Reade on Sunday, September 14th at 1PM, and Wednesday, September 17th at 5:30 PM, as a part of Latinbeat, a month-long celebration of Latin American filmmaking.