Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

‘Dr Strangelove, c’est moi’

June 5, 2006

Before he turned to film, Stanley Kubrick was the 'secret sniper', photographing showgirls, boxers and no-hopers all over New York. Frederic Raphael looks back on the director's first great love

Saturday November 26, 2005
The Guardian

Born in 1928, Stanley Kubrick was raised in the Bronx, the son of a respectable and successful GP, Dr Jacques Kubrick, and his wife, Gertrude. There was no manifest reason for young Stanley to regard himself an outsider; it was scarcely unusual to be a Jew in his neighbourhood, but he once told me – kidding, of course – "I'm not Jewish; I just had two Jewish parents." A loner from early on, irregular in attendance, and performance, at school, he didn't mix with the local gang and was, said one of them, "always a mystery". Unlike the no less mysterious (and secretive) artist Balthus, Stanley did not "escape" a defining identity by fabricating a non-Jewish lineage; he set out instead to transcend banal circumstance by making a name for himself as the highest possible form of invisible man: first photographer, then film director.

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From Russia with love

April 28, 2006

Mikhail Kalatozov's account of the Castro revolution, Soy Cuba, is more than Soviet agitprop. It's one of the great forgotten movies of the 1960s, says Richard Gott

Saturday November 12, 2005
The Guardian
 
They were making Soy Cuba when I first went to Havana in 1963, and my hotel seemed full of Russians. Even today this Soviet-Cuban film that purports to be about Cuba's revolution is a wonderful evocation of everyone's first-time impressions of the island, with the royal palm trees in the countryside and the Havana skyline taking pride of place. It remains one of the great movies of the 1960s, though it rarely appears in dictionaries of film. Few people outside Cuba or the old Soviet Union have ever seen it, and it was not shown in the US until the 1990s. Those who have had the chance to see it recognise it at once as one of the masterpieces of world cinema, the outcome of the Soviet Union's first exposure to the world beyond its frontiers since Eisenstein's encounter with the Mexican revolution in the 1930s which produced his unfinished opus Viva Mexico.

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Manderlay: the danger of do-gooding

April 18, 2006

by Philip Cunliffe

Manderlay is the sequel to Lars von Trier's Dogville, and the second in a trilogy exploring modern America. With a new cast, the film continues where the previous one left off, trailing a motley crew of itinerant gangsters searching for new hunting grounds in Depression-era America. Their search leads them to stumble upon the isolated Alabama plantation of Manderlay, where slavery continues unabated, complete with floggings, nearly a century after Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. The story follows the failure of the protagonist, the daughter of the mob boss, Grace (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), to bring freedom, community and democracy to the slaves of Manderlay.

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It was almost a night in Vienna…

March 16, 2006

Brigitte Timmermann does justice to a filmic masterpiece with her hotchpotch study, The Third Man's Vienna, says Simon Callow

Saturday February 25, 2006
The Guardian

The Third Man's Vienna
by Brigitte Timmermann
416pp, Shippen Rock, €49

All film schools should be closed down, Michael Winner once remarked, and aspiring directors simply made to watch Carol Reed's The Third Man over and over again. One of a handful of films which bear any amount of repetition, it is a cornucopia of delights: Orson Welles's incomparable cameo as Harry Lime, Anton Karas's maddeningly unforgettable zither theme for him (as well as his witty musical commentary throughout the rest of the film), Robert Krasker's dazzling black-and-white cinematography, Graham Greene's typically laconic and mordantly witty fable of crime, deceit and betrayal, Vincent Korda's superb designs. Yet no list of ingredients ever guarantees success: the very same elements could have been assembled to disappointing effect. What is it, finally, that makes a masterpiece in this most collaborative of mediums?

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