Sunday Video Essay: Memories of Murder

Adrian Martin and Christina Álvarez López wonderfully elaborate on the visual motifs and themes of art-house procedural (and my personal favourite South Korean film) Memories Of Murder. They sagely compare it to Zodiac, even though, in fact, Bong Joon-Ho’s film came out half a decade prior. Obviously there are spoilers in here, nevertheless, much like David Fincher’s film, the film is a difficult one to spoil in conventional ways. Want to know why I always point out and highlight (on the Cinecast) that Song Kang-Ho as a brilliant actor, you can see it even in the short snippets and contextual clips presented herein.

Trailer: Miss Hokusai

I absolutely adored Keiichi Hara’s quiet and fierce animated portrait of artist Tetsuzo, a.k.a. Hokusai Katsushika, and his grown daughter O-Ei when I caught it at Fantasia in 2015.

Set in 19th century Edo, Japan. Miss Hokusai blends the magical realism sensibility of Studio Ghibli with Ozu Yasujirô-like framing. The film is a father-daughter tale, but really it extends its scope to cover the entire artist and publishing community (and spirit world) in the region at the time. It is as much about the rhythm of a city as it is about the subject insofar as Miss Hokusai is a film that you get so deeply lost in that it is difficult to discern beginning, middle or end. This is a good thing in a genre that is often mocked for its short attention span.

The lovely and sophisticated US Distributor GKIDS (who also brought Boy & The World, Ernest & Celestine, The Secret of Kells and When Marnie Was There in the US) is giving the lovely and sophisticated Miss Hokusai a domestic cinema release in October.

Friday One Sheet: La La Land

There is certainly nothing wrong with simplicity. This minimal poster for upcoming Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling musical, La La Land, still offers plenty of information. The posh clothing indicates a swanky night out, the stage door sign indicated that this is likely the two performing. Not sure what the cool blue tint is indicative of, but the text helpfully offers that the film is from, Damien Chazelle, the director of Whiplash.

The musical premieres in Venice and Toronto in the coming weeks before getting a limited theatrical release in December.

Sunday Video Essay: An Alternate History of New Zealand Cinema

After years of praising the wonderful Sam Neill documentary on New Zealand Cinema, Cinema of Unease, both on the Cinecast and beyond, I was exceptionally pleased when an astute Rowthree listener pointed out to me, the 2015 kind-of sequel (sidequel?) doc, Out of the Mist. This feature length documentary is certainly less personal than Neill’s survey and commentary, positioning itself in a more academic light; but it plays out far more like a feature length video essay. If you catch my meaning, it has the air of a Marc Cousins style approach to New Zealand representing itself onscreen.

What pleases me most about this new film is the devotion to the not-heralded-enough filmmaker, Vincent Ward (the one thing Out of the Mist does have in common with Neill’s doc – and if this is what the two will agree on, I am happy for that!)

Director Tim Wong and narrator Eleanor Catton offer some rewarding off-the-beaten-path digressions, such as George Rose’s Time is a Spider, Annie Goldson’s Wake, and Kathy Dudding’s Asylum Pieces – it is notable that none of these three films from the 80s, 90s and 2010 are even on the IMDB.)

Friday One Sheet(s): Sisters

It’s a slow and uninteresting week in movie posters this week. And did you know that the Row Three Cinecast has been doing discussions on Brian De Palma films all summer? This coming week will focus on 1973’s Siamese Twin Split-Screen Psychological Horror Picture, Sisters. So I give you some of the marvelous international posters for the film. Above is the lurid pulp novel styled one from Italy. Below the fold are some of the even more provocative and naughtier ones from Thailand, Germany and other countries.

Would you like to know more…?

Sunday Video Essay: The Wide Shots In Michael Cimino’s Cinema

Michael Cimino / Wide Shot from on Vimeo.

I have been watching a fair number of Sergio Leone films as of late, and the Italian director’s ubiquitous use of wide shots (particularly of various desert locales in Spain) spurred my interest in directors who have a desire for the best big-wide compositions. And this brings us to essayist Jorge Luengo Ruiz’s silent, almost melancholic, assembly of the wide angle photography from various films of Michael Cimino. Of course Heaven’s Gate is very well represented, being the height of Cimino’s power and spending power, but also some quite remarkable compositions from The Deer Hunter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Sicilian and even his lower budget works from the 1980s and 1990s.

Friday One Sheet: Complete Unknown

An esoteric, but interesting poster for the new Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon starring picture. When one considers this is the story of a woman who re-invents herself often (note the tagline: “You Are Who You Say You Are”), then the butterfly imagery, along with the play of shadows which compose noew shapes, makes a lot of sense. Whether or not one can figure this out without knowing anything about the movie is less important than that it is eye-catchingly different than most movie posters out there, and in a crowded multiplex lobby, this matters. It is also worth noting that Complete Unknown is the latest feature film from Joshua Marston, who made Maria Full of Grace to much acclaim, back in 2004.

Teaser: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Billed as an ‘announcement,’ but lets call it a teaser as Christopher Nolan’s World War II rescue picture, Dunkirk does not release until July 2017. Shot on 70mm, with all the production value and weight a film can muster, I am excited that Warner Brothers keeps giving him money to make whatever movie he pleases. Enjoy the rhythm and the photography of this handsomely cut teaser trailer.

Friday One Sheet: Demon

One of the best films I caught at this years Fantasia Film Festival was Marcin Wrona’s Polish wedding gone horribly awry tale, Demon. In the midst of his wedding celebration, the groom, one of the only celebrants not from Poland, becomes possessed by the ghosts that live on the property. The film is mounted with some impressive photography, and a delicate balance between genre and historical allegory, as the mother and father of the bride attempt to ‘keep the party going’ no matter how terrifying things become as the night goes on. The poster here reflects that as the Bride beckons while her family parties hard in the background, and the groom is blind to his fate.

The trailer also just dropped this week, and you can check it out below: