It’s funny to think that only 50 years ago the Hollywood studio system nearly collapsed under its own weight, mired in the wake of several expensive box office flops. It seemed at the time that pouring exorbitant resources into the production of blockbusters was an unreliable financial gamble, and what followed was a decade-long rise of the independent film that brought with it some of cinema’s greatest achievements (Mike Nichole’s masterpiece The Graduate in 1967 being perhaps the most notable example). It took a sci-fi masterpiece, the original Star Wars trilogy, to return the studio system to prominence again, and things have remained more or less as they are ever since. [Read more…]
The Look of Silence is playing now at the Landmark Kendall Square.
I wasn’t shy about my love for Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. When I first saw it, it devastated me, and to this day I believe it is one of the best documentary films of the last decade. Its loss at the Oscars was the first time I began to take a hard look at the Academy’s treatment of documentary film, quickly realizing that this voting body has no idea what it was doing. Now with the release of Oppenheimer’s companion piece The Look of Silence, he has not only added texture to his original film, but produced a documentary of at least equal quality that manages to feel connected and all its own. [Read more…]
The Tribe opens in Boston on July 24 at the Brattle Theatre
A lot is often made of the propensity for films to surprise us. The idea of the reveal is something inherent to the lifeblood of cinema, for what greater unveiling is there than the slow pulling back of curtains from over a screen. But in this age of the spoiler-laden internet, the reveal is often minimized to the easy and lazy plot twist. In the same way that many horrors have been simplified to a series of jump scares, a surprise, to many viewers, equates to a twist of plot that no watchful eye could have possibly decipher. However, film is an expansive medium that need not rely on simple gimmicks. It can surprise us in new and exciting ways with a story that plays out devoid of ridiculous labyrinthine explanations.
The Tribe begins by being completely up front with its audience. No, your projectionist isn’t screwing up, there isn’t anything missing. This entire film is in Ukrainian sign language and there will not be a single subtitle. “But Derek, you were just bagging on gimmicks. What is this but just a different type of gimmick?” Ok, yes. This decision by first time writer-director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky could be belittled to the point of being described as a gimmick. And trust me, this was my initial impression. I knew nothing about The Tribe before seeing it besides this “gimmick.” I expected to sit there searching for understanding, to be frustrated and confused throughout the entire runtime, annoyed by this decision to put the audience on the outside. But, The Tribe is as much about Ukrainian sign language as Toy Story is about actual toys. If you think that’s all it is, then you’re kind of missing the point. [Read more…]
The 13th annual Independent Film Festival of Boston came to a close this past Wednesday evening with the incredible “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” (review forthcoming). With over 100 films, it was, as always, an amazing festival and it is always a privilege to cover it! Catch up on our coverage here.
IFFBoston Festival Winners
JURY AWARD WINNERS
Grand Jury Prize: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE
Special Jury Prize: WILDLIKE
Grand Jury Prize: WELCOME TO LEITH
Special Jury Prize: ROLLING PAPERS
Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing: WELCOME TO LEITH
Grand Jury Prize: ACTOR SEEKS ROLE
Special Jury Prize: ANOTHER MOONSCAPE
Grand Jury Prize: THE SURRENDER
Special Jury Prize: CROOKED CANDY
AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS
Narrative Feature: WILDLIKE
Documentary Feature: CALL ME LUCKY
Narrative Short Film: WORLD OF TOMORROW
Documentary Short Film: TASHI AND THE MONK
See you next year!
A short excerpt of the Q&A that followed the IFFBoston 2015 screening of I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS. Director and co-writer Brett Haley joined by co-writer Marc Basch answer questions about their great romantic dramedy. Read our full review.
Carol Petersen (Blythe Danner) is coming to terms with her twilight years. A widow of almost 20 years, Carol lives alone with her dog, and lives a relatively simple life. She meets her friends for bridge at the retirement community, she drinks wine, reads, and watches TV, and for all intents and purposes, she’s happy. But, things start to change when she has to put her dog down.
Following the screening of MORPHINE: JOURNEY OF DREAMS, director Mark Shuman is joined by members of the band for a Q&A!
“I Am What I Play,” from first time director Roger King take a handful of really well known DJs from prolific American Ardio Markets and tells their story. With personalities likes Charles Laquidara (Boston), Pat O’Day (Seattle), Meg Griffen (NYC), and Toronto legend David Marsden (aka David Mickie) – we move through their personal stories with a colorful backdrop of the music of the era.
Here’s an excerpt from the Q&A with the filmmakers behind BOUNCE: HOW THE BALL TAUGHT THE WORLD TO PLAY, Director Jerome Thelia, Writer John Fox, & Cinematographer David McLain.