CONTENTS PAGE 3 4-7
Editorial The Booksellers. The Booksellers is a lively, behind-the-scenes Look at the New York Rare Book World and the fascinating people who inhabit it. Executive produced by Parker Posey and featuring interviews with some of the most important dealers in the business as well as prominent collectors, auctioneers, and writers.
Tenet Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, The Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Citizens of the World Three men in their seventies decide to leave their neighborhood life in Rome and find somewhere to relocate abroad.
Girl With A Bracelet Things turn dark for 17-year-old Lise when she comes under investigation following the death of her best friend. As her parents deal with the trauma in different ways, Lise is required to account for a way of life that does not always fit the morality approved by the justice system.
Buñuel In The Labyrinth of The Turtles The true story of how Luis Buñuel made his third movie.
Family Romance A man is hired to impersonate the missing father of a young girl.
EXTRAS – DVDs of the Month: Army of Shadows. Husbands. The Last Full Measure. The Leopard.
Poster: Tenet. Photo credits: Central City Media: 1,4,6,7 Warner Bros: 8,10,11,32 Le Pacte: 12,14,15,16,18,19 BFI Films: 20,22,23
Acknowledgement’s: We would like to thank the following for the help in providing material for this magazine: Jill Reading at BFI, Harriet Black at MargaretLondon.com. Publicity team at Warner Bros. Jon Rushton, Chris Hagen at Premier.
EDITORIAL Hello Film Lovers! Here we are for another issue of Movies by Mills. Our cover feature and main review is a nostalgic look at New York’s book world in a fascinating documentary “The Booksellers”. An image of Park Avenue Amory’s annual Book Fair adorns our cover. Other feature reviews: Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, a time-bending action-packed thriller. “Citizens of the World” A joyous comedy about three pensioners journeying to a tax haven. “Buñuel: In the Labyrinth of the Turtles”, an absorbing animated film on the director Luis Buñuel. “The Girl With A Bracelet”, a courtroom drama, and “Family Romance”, a curious and intriguing romantic drama from Japan. Plus EXTRAS: Jean–Pierre Melville’s “Army of Shadows”, John Cassavetes “Husbands”, Todd Robinson’s “The Last Full Measure”, and Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard”.
We offer a passion-packed issue. Enjoy the read
THE BOOKSELLERS Directed by D.W. Young Featuring: Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese People always ask him – “How did you get all three daughters to work for him and he would say, I guess I’m just lucky”. - Susan Benne.
A behind-the-scenes look at the New York Rare Book World. In 1950, there were over 350 booksellers, today there are 79. The story is a rich allegory for literature and the threats that the book world is facing in New York and this lovely film highlights it. However, it will also remind you of the times that you have spent in bookshops and the books you read, the authors you treasured and ones that you are yet to discover. Fran Lebowiitz describes the joy in “crawling around” bookstores in search of just the right one. She recalls the days when bookstores lined 4th Avenue, in what had been labelled “Book Row.” These days, only one remains – The Strand, which was founded in 1929. As aforementioned that in the 1950s, there were 358 bookstores in New York City and your search for a good read is limited to 79. The oldest remaining NYC bookstore is Argosy. Director Young takes us inside the beautiful and historic Park Avenue Armory for the NYC Antiquarian Book Fair. It is here where we see a Fidel Castro doll and more importantly get a feel for how the rare book trade works. These collectors are obsessive about their book and compulsive in their mission of the next rare discovery. We see warehouses, apartments, offices, and stores jam packed with books, and to cap it off, we hear from the folks who have made this their passion. Not just bibliophiles like Ms. Lebowitz, Gay Talese, and Susan Orlean, but the boots-on-the-ground booksellers and collectors. More about book dealers are discussed, which includes clips from “The Big Sleep” and “Unfaithful”; and a clip of Larry McMurty‘s speech championing book reading and bookstores. This is an absorbing documentary and a lively tour of New York’s book world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers, past and present from Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars: to the Strand and Argosy bookstores, still 4
standing against all odds, to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers.
The film, executive produced by Parker Posey, features a range of commentators, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers and collectors who strongly believe in the wonder of the object and what it holds within. We see beautifully bound book volumes which are treasured by the collectors. Unfortunately, as aforementioned, so many book dealers can no longer afford to operate and have gone out of business and that is mainly because of the internet and people buying books online and also due to the sad statistics that tell them that there are fewer reading books today as the younger generation prefer kindle or other technical devices which be used quickly and efficiently. D.W. YOUNG: Director. Mainly earnt his reputation for making numerous documentary shorts. But two feature films gained attention too: “A HOLE IN THE FENCE” It is about a relationship that hits the rocks and the young Brooklyn couple head to a remote B&B to work things out. But the moment they arrive at The Happy House, it is one disaster after another. “Too Cold to Swim”. A man crossing Maine at the end of a solo cross -country bicycle trip strikes up am unlikely friendship with an exMarine and his oddball younger sister. At the same time, he reconnects remotely with his estranged but dying father in Germany. PARKER POSEY: Executive Producer of “The Booksellers”. Born two months premature in Baltimore, Maryland in 1968. Nickname: Missy & Queen of the Indies. Prefers working in independent film versus the studio system because of the more varied roles it may offer. On independent film in general she says: “I don’t want my movie to be judged on how much money it makes. This is a great country. Where are those values of those pioneers? Where are those values? They aren’t in the film industry anymore. Where’s the responsibility? The arts aren’t subsidized. You see what the culture focuses on and its disturbing. As easy as it is to be nostalgic in these times and come here (Sundance Film Festival) and bemoan the old indie days…” In August 2009, she revealed she was suffering from Lyme disease. In 2005 she starred in the acclaimed, off-Broadway revival of David Rabe’s “Hurlyburly”. The production also stars Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale, Elizabeth Berkley, Wallace Shawn, and Josh Hamilton. Has a song named after her, written by “apocalyptic folk artist”, Steve Davis. The song appears on his 2006 album. Parker was considered for the role of Dorothy in “Jerry Maguire” (1996), but it was given to Renee Zellweger. One of Parker’s closest and most influential friends is Zoe R.Cassavetes, daughter of actor-director John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. Younger sister of actors Nick Cassavetes and Xan Cassavetes. Like Parker Posey, Zoe works hard and supports herself, but she has struggled too, but was fortunate enough to grow up in an incredibly artistic family. She has said that talking to the people who make low-budget movies, everyone kind of has the same struggle.
TENET Directed By Christopher Nolan Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh How would you like to die? - Russian Agent Old. - Protagonist You chose the wrong profession. - Russian Agent Christopher Nolan’s mindbending blockbuster “Tenet” hits cinemas on July 31st. IMAX placed a six-minute prologue ahead of “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker to promote the upcoming film. Like many of Nolan’s other films, it is partially shot on 70mm IMAX film, thus making the IMAX viewing experience the best with the expanded aspect ratio filling the entire screen. The prologue does not offer too much in the way of plot or character when it comes to “Tenet”, but it does make an interesting teaser for the film. Essentially, it is a six-minute action set-piece, following John David Washington’s unnamed protagonist as he embarks on a covert mission in an opera house. Who he is up against, who he’s working for and exactly what is going on isn’t explained in the prologue, but the scope is spectacular and we do get a brief tease of some of the timebending action seen in the teaser trailer. On display here is Christopher Nolan’s craft as a seminal filmmaker of his generation. “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” showed his skills as a director: his emphasis on practical filmmaking and his dedication to shooting on film, representing a very different kind of filmmaking than we’re used to in a digital age where almost anything is possible with computer-generated effects. “Tenet” looks incredible, the sequence we see was shot entirely on 70mm IMAX film, it fills up the entire screen making for an incredibly immersive viewing experience. There’s so much detail exposed on the huge IMAX screen and it’s difficult not to feel drawn in, even if this is the prologue, you will have no idea what is going on storywise, though it is clear who we are meant to root for.
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN: He began to be critically noted as a director of character-driven dramas and narrative trickery and serendipitous endings. “Memento” (2000) Its narrative was about an anti-hero who cannot form any new memories. All of this could have appeared to have been gimmicky, but Nolan used it to work in the service of a well-planned thriller. From its opening shot, the film offered a rare style and substance in consummate harmony. After “Memento”, Nolan developed his core directional interests, focusing on dark character-driven psychologies and damaged masculinity. Ten years later came “Inception”, which had an international cast: Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine. It invites you the audience to travel around the world and into the world of dreams. Don Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) is the best there is at extraction, stealing valuable secrets inside the subconscious during the mind’s vulnerable dream state. His skill has made him a coveted player in industrial espionage but has also made him a fugitive and cost him dearly. Now he may get a second chance if he can do the impossible: inception, planting an idea rather than stealing one. If they succeed, Cob and his team could pull off the perfect crime. But no planning or expertise can prepare them for a dangerous enemy who seems to predict their every move. An enemy only Cobb could have seen coming. Seven years later, and prior to directing “Tenet”, Christopher Nolan made “Dunkirk”. Once again, he assembled a coveted cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy. The tagline for the movie: “400,000 MEN COULDN’T GET HOME, SO HOME CAME FOR THEM”. The story unfolds on land, sea, and air, as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk with enemy troops closing in. RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenceless men below. Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military officers and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save a fraction of their army. JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: Actor and Producer and star of “Tenet”. He rose to fame in 2018 in Spike Lee’s “Black Klansman”, starring as Ron Stallworth an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, who successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes their leader. The story is based on actual events. His co-stars: Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Alec Baldwin. Initially Stallworth assigned to work in the records room, where he faces racial slurs from his coworkers. Stallworth requests a transfer to go undercover and is assigned to infiltrate a local rally at which national civil rights leader Kwame Ture is to give a speech. Stallworth meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), the president of the black student union at Colorado College. While taking Ture to his hotel, Patrice is stopped by patrolman Andy Landers (Frederick Weller), a corrupt, racist officer in Stallworth’s precinct, who threatens Ture and sexually assaults Patrice. John David Washington is the son of Denzel Washington, who appeared in four films by Spike Lee. JD, as he is nicknamed, has said: “I’ve failed a lot, you know, in football, and I‘ve gone on a lot of auditions, been told no, been told I’m not right, so I know what failure feels like. It’s about the work”.
The Protagonist (John David Washington) & Unnamed (Robert Pattinson) in “Tenet”.
The Protagonist (John David Washington) & Unnamed (Robert Pattinson) in “Tenet”. 10
The Protagonist (John David Washington) & Unnamed (Michael Caine) in Tenet
Christopher Nolan & John David Washington on the set of â€œTenetâ€?
CITIZENS OF THE WORLD Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio Starring: Gianni Di Gregorio, Gianni Colangeli, Ennio Fantastichini Three men in their seventies decide to leave their neighbourhood life in Rome and find somewhere abroad.
Twelve years have passed since Gianni Di Gregorio directed “Cena di Ferragosto”, his first work. Since then, the actor, screenwriter and filmmaker has done all right and, nowadays, has now reached his fourth direction. And in his latest feature – “Citizens of the World”, as usual he plays the role of one of the protagonists, for a tender road movie in which at the centre of the story are three pensioners, friends for a long time, who out of the blue, decide to give their lives a definite turn. The three protagonists are therefore Attilio (the unforgettable Ennio Fantastichini), a bizarre junkie, Giorgetto (Giorgio Colangeli), former employee who is struggling to make ends meet, and the so-called Professor (the same Gianni Di Gregorio), Latin teacher retired who no longer knows how to spend a lot of free time. To work harder to get to the end of the month, the three decide to move to what is referred to as a real tax haven. And so, to a long journey to the Azores begins. A journey that however will not be unforeseen. Gianni de Gregorio, during his long and prolific career, has undoubtedly had satisfactions, yet based exclusively on his career as a director, if we think of the lucky and well-liked “Mid-August Lunch”, we cannot fail to notice how the quality of the films he directed has not always remained on the same level as his first work. If the next “The Salt of Life”(2011) and “Buoni a Nulla” (2014) had from time to time, people turn up their noses a lot, despite the undoubted presence of interesting ideas. “Citizens of the World”, however, is a polite, pleasant and delicate story, typical of de Gregorio’s cinema, in that there is welcome sense of déjà vu. Above all the script and the related numerous episodes and encounters, which happen to the three protagonists from the moment they decide to travel, topically epitomises a financial crisis; an Italian one, in which it is not always easy to reach the end of the month and the issue of immigration is also dealt with. Themes that, in fact, have already been dealt with repeatedly in feature films but crop up every time in different ways. The same can be said to the tried and tested “on the road” formula. 12
One cannot fail to recognize a certain underlying lyricism in the film which, combined with a genuine honesty, manages to give the whole work its own marked personality. A question, however, arises how many films similar to each other will we have to see, even before we start to take new paths? A saving grace the film has is the star and director: Gianni de Gregorio; he totally dominates every scene he is in. What really comes to the fore is that Gianni personises his films, which if we replay his films, we will see clear evidence of what I mean. In 2000, after a decade of caring for his ailing mother in her large flat in Rome, Gianni wrote a comedy about a man called Gianni who looks after his 93-year-old mother in a large flat in Rome. No one was interested in the story, in which the unemployed bachelor ends up running around after a cohort of old ladies whose spirit and vigour remain undimmed despite various ailments. Everyone thought he was crazy who would be interested in a funny film about four old women and a middle-aged bloke? Then, after a life working in the theatre and as assistant director, Di Gregorio co-wrote the celebrated mafia drama, “Gomorrah”, with Matteo Garone, and his fortune changed. Garrone encouraged him to resurrect his earlier film idea and offered to produce while Di Gregorio starred and directed. “Mid-August”, a glorious, unsentimental comedy in which the collective naughtiness of the old ladies entertains more with each viewing. It went on to win the debut director prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2008 and became an Italian arthouse hit. Two more films starring “Gianni” followed: “The Salt of Life”, the celebrated sequel to “Mid-August Lunch”, in which Gianni’s 96-year -old on-screen mother plays poker with her friends while her son laments his increasing invisibility to women (without, thank God, ever being lascivious) and the lesser known “Good for Nothing”, in which Gianni is a put-upon civil servant who has to learn to say no. Now there is “Citizens of the World”, a tender comedy in which yet another version of Gianni, this time a retired Latin professor, plots with two other pensioners to move to a country where their state pensions will go further. Until, that is, a young African migrant makes them rethink their plans. Di Gregorio laughs about the fact that “Mid-August Lunch” could never have been made with old men because “they would have spent the entire film crying and being hypochondriacs! The men you see sitting in the bar in “The Salt of Life” won’t even go to the cinema to see the film they’re in, whereas the women in “MidAugust Lunch” were planning trips to Venice. During the decade that followed “The Salt of Life”, he changed his mind and made “Citizens of the World”. The reasons for doing so was that Matteo Garone called him and said: “You are the specialist when it comes to making films about old guys. You have to make a film about a group of male pensioners with very small pensions”. Di Gregorio, now 71, thought it was a brilliant idea. “There aren’t enough portrayals of adventurous pensioners on screen, nor explorations of friendship between men. “The older I get, the fewer fears I have. Nowadays 70 is young! There is still so much to do, so much to explore”. After “Citizens of the World”, one can hardly wait for what comes next!
The Professor (Gianni Di Gregorio) & Uncredited woman in bar in “Citizens of the World”
Attilio (Ennio Fantastichini), Giorcetto (Giorgio Colangeli), The Professor (Gianni Di Gregorio) in “Citizens of the World”. 14
Attilio (Ennio Fantastichini), Giorcetto (Giorgio Colangeli), The Professor (Gianni Di Gregorio) in “Citizens of the World”.
Allio (Ennio Fantastichini), Giorcetto (Giorgio Colangeli) The Professor (Gianni Di Gregorio) and Advisor in “Citizens of the World”.
THE GIRL WITH A BRACELET Directed by Stéphane Demoustier Starring: Melissa Guers, Roschidy Zem, Anais Demoustier, Chiara Mastoianni Where is the red knife? -Advocate general I do not know - Lisa Bataille This courtroom drama is really about the old maxim of one should never judge a book by its cover, or in the film’s narrative of never judge a murder suspect by her outward emotional bearing. The titular bracelet has nothing to do with a band from Cartier or Chanel, referring instead to the electronic ankle monitor worn by 16-year old Lise, a French teenager charged with killing her best friend. Much of the film, adapted from the Argentine thriller “The Accused”, which premiered in Venice last year, focuses on how others perceive Lise during a trial that lasts for most of the running time. It is a subtle and psychologically resonant take on a -your-seat thriller, concentrating less on the minute crime than on how Lise’s family, friends and those in react to Lise’s own reactions. It is not really about guilty, but whether she’s acting like she’s guilty.
typically edge-of details of the the courtroom whether she’s
The film is carried by newcomer Melissa Guars’ performance, which cannot be faulted. We, the audience, are put in the role of the judge along with the rest of the courtroom, whose main players include a combative public prosecutor (played by the director’s sister, Anais Demoustier), a wise defense attorney (Annie Mercier) and Lise’s parents (Roschdy Zem) and Chiara Mastroianni) who do their best to help their daughter, yet may harbour some doubts themselves. Numerous times Lise is asked to show no expression at all. In the film’s opening sequence, we see Lise on the beach with her family, enjoying a day in the sun. Without warning, a pair of gendarmes descends on their quiet gathering. We can’t hear what they’re saying, but soon Lise marches off with them. And then we cut to two years later on the eve of the murder trial, with the remainder of the film taking place inside the courthouse or in Lise’s own home. 16
The first scene is the key to the drama. While she’s on the stand, Lise is accused of being too passive at the time of her arrest. In many other instances, the prosecutor and the magistrates (in a French homicide trial, the judges have the right to directly interrogate suspects and witnesses), her behaviour is deemed inappropriate for someone who claims to be innocent. Why doesn’t she break down under questioning? Why doesn’t she cry? Why is she so cold? These questions are coupled with snippets of information that come out during the trial, such as the fact that Lise and the victim were best buddies until the latter posted a sex tape of Lise online, seemingly out of jealously. Other details of Lise’s private life emerge. We learn that she is a promiscuous teenager and is seeing a guy who sneaks into the house while she’s under house arrest. Later, it emerges that Lise and the victim dabbled in sexual experimentation together, which Lise sees as completely normal. Rather than judging her for the case at hand, most of the adults in the room, and by extension, we the audience, begin to judge Lise for her behavior, which appears to be that of a typical teenager in France 2019. It is those suppositions that make her seem like she could be the culprit, rather than the scant evidence presented in court or the testimony heard from a handful of witnesses. Even if we try to convince ourselves that Lise is innocent, Demoustier cleverly keeps the guessing going until the last reel, leaving us doubting our own doubts and never fully assuaging our suspicions once the trial is over. Even when Lise finally reveals the emotional side we’ve all been waiting for, even then, you can’t help but wonder if she’s been playing us all along, delivering the performance that will get her acquitted. “The Girl With A Bracelet” is different from most films of this genre. It takes a basic a basic mystery plot and uses it to ponder how each of us could react to a ghastly crime, and how we expect others to react in turn. It is a film that asks more questions than answers them, with the ultimate question being: Is Lise guilty of committing murder, or simply being guilty for being herself?
Director: Stéphane Demoustier Known for “40-Love” (2014). Storyline: Jerome, a senior executive, has left his company, come what may. Starring: Olivier Gourmet, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Four years later Stéphane directed another critically acclaimed film: “Cleo & Paul”. The storyline: Lost in Paris, Cleo is looking for Paul and Paul is looking for Cleo. It is a poetic adventure loved in 3-year old kids’ shoes.
Actress: Melissa Guers: Prior to starring as the leading actress in “The Girl With A Bracelet”, Melissa had only appeared in the successful TV Series “Recontres de Cinema”. As a virtual newcomer, Melissa dominates every scene she is in and makes “The Girl With A Bracelet” an unforgettable viewing experience. Make note of her name – Melissa Guers, you will be seeing a lot more of her as a leading actress in the future – that I guarantee.
Lise Bataille (Melissa Guers) escorted by two gendarmes in “The Girl with a Bracelet”
Bruno (Roschdy Zem) and Celine Bataille (Chiara Mastroianni) in “The Girl with a Bracelet” 18
Lise Bataille (Melissa Guers) escorted by two gendarmes in “The Girl with a Bracelet”
Public Prosecutor (Anais Demoustier) in “The Girl with a Bracelet”
BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES Directed by Salvador Simo In 1930, surrealist Spanish-born filmmaker and his tiny crew journey to Las Hurdes, the poorest of poor in Spain, for his third documentary, “Land Without Bread”. Animator Salvador Simo tells the young maverick’s story of this adventure in “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles”. The title of this animated film refers to the twisty streets of Las Hurdes, the small stone homes’ roofs remarked upon as looking like turtle shells. Director Salvador Simo, who has done visual effects on such films as “The Jungle Book” and animated segments in 2010’s Allen Ginsberg movie “Howl”, has made an illuminating look into the making of one of Buñuel’s earliest films, “Land Without Bread”. It reveals a Buñuel consumed with jealously of Dali, insistent that he is the preeminent Spanish surrealist as well as obsessed with death, morbidly so when it comes to the animals of the mountainous northern territory. Simo emphasizing Buñuel’s disregard for documentary truth by recreating horrific regional animal fate he hears about by inserting footage from the documentary itself. Another passage shows Buñuel exploiting inbred locals, opening their mouths like horses, then purposely frightening them when they demand a car ride in return for being filmed. Buñuel is tyrannical, paying no heed to the limits of his budget. In “Labyrinth of the Turtles,” there is a flashback to Luis Buñuel’s childhood, and we see him racing to catch-up with a group of drummers in a square. He falls over and his hands are bloodied. When he finally gets the front of the group and starts drumming again, his blood splashes the drum. This leads up to what becomes a very non-traditional way telling of film history. What comes out in this film more than anything else is that it shows Buñuel’s barbaric nature, as well as his eventual sense of redemption. The film regularly returns to dreamscapes that Buñuel would admire, in a way that underlines the internal struggles of the filmmaker at the time, and showing how his visions co-existed with reality. On the plus-side, this documentary is well-made and will appeal to Buñuel afficionados. The second half is much more appealing than the first and warrants to staying in your seat for, but alas not one that I would recommend seeing again.
Directors: About Salvador Simo: Attracted to documentaries and visual effects. Prior to the documentary on Buñuel, Simo had worked on the visual effects as a layout artist on – “The Wolfman” & “Two Passengers” “The Wolfman” (2010) Starring: Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving. After his brother is murdered by a werewolf in the woods, haunted Yorkshire nobleman Laurence Talbot (Benicio del Toro)is called back to his family estate by his brother’s fiancée Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) and is reunited with Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). Unfortunately, Del Toro is soon bitten himself and turns into a Wolfman. He falls for Blunt and she for him. The Scotland Yard inspector (Hugo Weaving) who probed the Ripper case comes to investigate, and Hopkins turns out to be a werewolf too. “Two Passengers” (2016) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Lawrence Fishburne, Andy Garcia A love story. Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) is prematurely roused from a state of suspended animation. Her awakener, Jim (Chris Pratt), a mechanical engineer who is jolted to consciousness when an asteroid hits the their spacecraft and is aghast find himself alone. Realizing that he faces 90 years of solitude on the spacecraft and cannot return to his hibernation pod and will never live to reach his destination, he begins to fall apart. But the he revives Aurora…
About Luis Buñuel: The father of cinematic surrealism and most original narratives which courted controversy that were obsessed with subversive behaviour that was intended to shock. He made 29 feature films and thirteen of these titles were critically acclaimed. The first of these, “L’Age d’Or” (“The Golden Age”) which was first and foremost an attack on the Roman Catholic church. Buñuel was an atheist. Returning to Spain, he made “Land Without Bread” a documentary about peasant life in remote rural areas. The Spanish Civil War exiled him to Mexico where he contented himself with underrated Mexican melodramas in which surrealism is surpassed by the cruelty of life itself. It was “Viridiana” that once again caused controversy and was initially banned in Spain and completely denounced by the Vatican. The script was approved by the Spanish authorities with a few minor changes. They had no opportunity to view the finished the film until it played at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palme d’Or. Nevertheless, they were horrified enough by what they saw to ban the film. Storyline: Viridiana (Silvia Pinal), on the eve of taking her final vows and entering a convent, visits her uncle (Fernando Rey), a rich landowner. Excited by the resemblance to his dead wife, he plots to rape her, but repents at the last moment. In his remorse he kills himself, leaving Viridiana as co-heir to his estates with his cynical natural son. Zealous in her efforts to better the world around her, Viridiana adopts a monstrous group of thieves and whores. Inevitably her charity leads to disaster and her own undoing. In Buñuel’s oeuvre, “Viridiana” is still stands as the one film that perfectly expresses the irredeemable follies of human nature and the irrepressible comedy of life. There will always be an esthetical curiosity about Buñuel’s films, and in “Buñuel: In The Labyrinth of the Turtles” plays an important role in helping to address that.
BuĂąuel at a production meeting of his next film
BuĂąuel looking at a book which will inspire him and believes he can make into a film.
On the shoot of his film
BuĂąuel finally realizes what he has done and must redeem himself and decides to reshoot the film.
FAMILY ROMANCE LCC Directed by Werner Herzog Starring: Mahiro Tanimoto, Ishii Yuichi People say I’m a bit of a chameleon. Everyday I must play many different roles. My business is called Family Romance. - Yuichi Ishii
This documentary/drama from Werner Herzog offers a glimpse of Japan’s rent-a-family business by conveying a sympathetic approach to the subject at hand by casting Yuichi Ishi, the owner of the Tokyo-based company Family Romance LLC, as himself. Herzog observes the quirks of Japanese culture from a Western viewpoint. He shows his subjects in a deceptively simple and calm manner. Basically, it is an investigation into loneliness. The film begins with Ishli waiting for 12-year-old Mahiro, on a busy Tokyo promenade; he has been employed by her mother to pose as her father, a man who has been absent her entire life. Mahiro has no idea what is going on, and the film follows their story to its bittersweet conclusion, while diverting to include excerpts of other client’s encounters. He is playing a fatherfigure for Mahiro. You will be heartbroken to see an outcast toddler who has been shunned by her fellow classmates due to her dark skin tone, whom Ishii cheers up with a visit to a hedgehog petting sanctuary and the Tokyo Skytree. Family Romance LLC rents out a fake father for a wedding when the bride’s dad, an unreliable alcoholic, cannot be counted on to be there. Another man is hired to get berated by an angry boss, taking the heat for a railroad employee who allowed a train to leave 20 seconds early. As expected of Herzog, the setup soon reveals troubling dimensions. Family Romance employees are not encouraged to love or be loved, though Ishii’s character does get close to his work. The root of the story reflected in the company’s business mantra, is that everything is an illusion. Says Herzog: “You exaggerate the importance”. Werner Herzog is multi-talented as a director and as an actor, writer, cinematographer. It was the money he made from acting in “The Mandalorian”, a TV series, which enabled him to bankroll “Family Romance LCC”, which he shot on video in Japan.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: WERNER HERZOG: At the age of seventy-seven, Werner Herzog states he has never been his actual age. He lives in Los Angeles and loves the digital world. He streams his films to audiences in Africa and Asia, despite the cinemas being closed due to Covid-19. He can converse over Skype, looking into each other’s houses from a 5,000-mile distance, he finds quite wonderful. He is doing fine and staying positive. Of course, Werner has the occasional sideline as an actor. He played a crime boss opposite Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher” and the owner of a haunted house on “Parks and Recreations”. The theme that flows like blood through the veins of his films – is ecstasy. There is a romantic belief in meaning beyond the material at hand and with the intervention of madness upsetting the manner of determination. Seemingly he enjoys working under extreme conditions which invariably means him travelling to remote and barren corners of the world providing impressive landscapes.
AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD. (1972) Starring: Klaus Kinski, Ray Guerra, Helena Rojo A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Lope de Aguirre, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to “the golden city”, or to certain destruction? This is a rich and powerful film set in the South American rain forest. An historical fiction based on the fragmentary evidence concerning one of the many ill-fated attempts to find and conquer the mythic El Dorado. Aguirre reflects so many aspects of its story that it is difficult to convey what the film is all about. It does not fit comfortably in the historical fiction pigeon-hole. The film is both invigorating and painful. In a few moments, the nobleman leader of the expedition appoints a small number of participants to go forward into the jungle. The opening scene depicts a caravan of Spanish soldiers, African and South American, Indian slaves, burros, horses, cannons, and provisions making their way down a steep mountain path surrounded by miles of rain forest. It is soon clear that Lope Del Aguirre, a career soldier with vast ruthless ambition, and Ursua, a gentle nobleman, are really leadership material. As the party continues it becomes clear who will emerge as its sole leader in the end. Herzog develops some of his usual themes and conveys with poignancy and beautiful cinematography. The film is about power, madness, religion, oppression, nature, and culture, high art, and ambiguous as real life.
KLAUS KINSKI: A great actor, but undoubtedly Wender’s bete noir. According to Wenders, Kinski threatened to abandon the film entirely at one point during the shooting over Herzog’s refusal to fire a sound assistant. Herzog says he threatened to kill Kinski and then turned the gun on himself if Kinski left. He later declared he was quite prepared to do so, knowing that the authorities would write it off as a hunting accident. Kinski stated in interviews that Herzog wielded a pistol to emphasize the threat, but Herzog denies this.
The film is not for everyone, but for cinephiles it is worth viewing.
Ishii Yuichi and Mihiro in “Family Romance LCC”
Mihiro and Ishii Yuichi in “Family Romance LCC” 26
Mihiro and Ishii Yuichi in Family Romance LCC”
Werner Herzog, director of “Family Romance LCC”
EXTRAS DVDs OF THE MONTH
ARMY OF SHADOWS Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville Starring: Lina Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret The most personal film by the underworld poet Jean-Pierre Melville, who had participated in the French Resistance himself, this tragic masterpiece, based on a novel by Joseph Kessel, recounts the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought in the Resistance as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honour in their battle against Hitler’s regime. Long underappreciated in France and unseen in the United States, the atmospheric and gripping thriller Army of Shadows is now widely recognized as the summit of Melville’s career, channelling the exquisite minimalism of his gangster films to create an unsparing tale of defiance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
TWO-DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
High-definition restoration supervised by director of photography Pierre L’homme. Alternate 2.0 surround soundtrack Audio Commentary from 2006 featuring film scholar Ginette Vincendeau. Interviews from 2007 with L’Homme and editor Francoise Bonnot. On-set footage and excerpts from archival interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville, cast members, author Joseph Kessel, and real-life Resistance fighters. Jean-Pierre Melville et “L’armee des ombres” (2005), a short programme on the director and his film ”Le journal la Resistance” (1944), a rare short documentary shot on the front lines during the final days of the German occupation of France. Restoration demonstration by L’Homme Trailers PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin
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HUSBANDS Directed by John Cassavetes Starring: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes The trailblazing independent auteur John Cassavetes pushes his raw, uncompromising emotional realism to its limit in this unflinching portrait of masculinity in crisis. Cassavetes joins Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk – both of whom would become key collaborators of the director’s playing a trio of middle-aged Long Island family men who, following the death of their close mutual friend, channel their grief into an epic, multiday bender that takes them from Manhattan to London in a desperate debauched quest to feel alive. By turns painfully funny and woundingly perceptive, this “comedy about life, death and freedom” (as its tagline stated) stands as perhaps the most fearless, harrowingly honest deconstruction of American manhood ever committed to film.
TWO-DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4k digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Audio commentary from 2009 featuring critic Marshall Fine New interviews with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre New video essay featuring audio recordings of actordirector John Cassavetes discussing his approach to working with actors. The story of “Husbands” – A Tribute to John Cassavetes (2009), a half-hour program featuring Ruban, actor Ben Gazzara, and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper. Episode of The Dick Cavett Show from 1970 featuring Cassavetes, Gazzara, and actor Peter Falk. Trailer PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Andrew Bujalski.
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THE LAST FULL MEASURE Directed by Todd Robinson Starring: Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson Led by an all-star cast, “The Last Full Measure” is the true story of William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force medic who personally saved over sixty men before making the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam’s bloodiest battle. Three decades later, Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan)investigates a Congressional Medal of Honor request made by Pitsenbarger’s mission partner and parents. Huffman interviews Army vets ro learn more about Pitsenbarger’s courageous acts – and uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the medal’s denial.
The Women of The Last Full Measure
Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot
That Others May Live: Remembering Operation Abilene
USAF Museum Screening with Veterans and Pitsenbarger family
The Music of The Last Full Measure
William Pitsenbarger Tribute Gallery
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THE LEOPARD Directed by Luchino Visconti Starring: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale
Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece is now available on DVD for the first time. Featuring the complete and uncut version of the film, with fully restored picture and sound, this stunning high definition digital transfer from the film’s original 70mm negative materials, overseen by the film’s director of photography Giuseppe Rounno, is presented here in its original widescreen aspect ratio. This is a gorgeous evocation of an era – beautifully photographed, designed and costumed, with a rousing score by Nino Rota – glitters with superb set pieces, culminating in the climatic 45-minute ballroom section where we can see and feel a society in transition. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, 1963 “One of the films I live by”.— Martin Scorsese
Full feature commentary by David Forgacs and Rossana Capitano
Interview with Claudia Cardinale
Subtitles for the hearing-impaired
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