The Cinema Of Horror: Avant-garde Program

Showing as part of the lecture series The Cinema of Horror: Maya Deren’s first film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, 18 min.), and four of the most famous short films of Kenneth Anger: Fireworks (1947, 15 min.), Scorpio Rising (1963, 29 min.), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969, 12 min.), and Lucifer Rising (1980, 29 min.). If you’ve never seen these highly personal and essential works, this should be an excellent introduction. (JR)

Published on 28 Feb 2003 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Published on 28 Feb 2003 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Black Cat, White Cat

There’s something almost wearying as well as exhilarating about the perpetual brilliance of Bosnian-born filmmaker Emir Kusturica. As with some of Fellini’s late works, the energy and inventiveness, not to mention the juicy vulgarity, are so consistent in Black Cat, White Cat that you feel you can slice into the material at almost any point. In this 129-minute slam-bang farce (1999) about Gypsies living on the Danube and lorded over by two rival patriarchs, there’s plenty to cherish and enjoy (at least if you can put up with all the cynicism), but I was especially impressed by Bajram Severdzan, hilarious as a nouveau riche gangster. In German, Romany, and Serbo-Croatian with subtitles. (JR)

Published on 21 Feb 2003 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Old School

I probably laughed harder at this collection of college slapstick sketches than I ever have at a film I didn’t really like, Dave Kehr once wrote in this paper about Animal House, and that’s pretty much my reaction to Old School. Directed, cowritten, and coproduced by Todd Phillips, this cheerfully vulgar low-comedy tale of three out-of-sorts 30ish blowhards (Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn) trying to rekindle the spark of their college days by setting up a frat house starts out silly, gets sillier by the minute, and frequently had me and most of the people around me in stitches. Don’t expect clever plotting or witty dialogue, but credit Phillips’s easy way with actors and his sharp sense of how to use or avoid pathos. (The film also shows the paw prints of Animal House producer Ivan Reitman.) With Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, and Jeremy Piven. R, 91 min. (JR)

Published on 18 Feb 2003 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Andrei Rublev

Andrei Tarkovsky’s first major film (1966, though banned and unseen until 1971), cowritten by Andrei Konchalovsky, about a 15th-century icon painter. This medieval epic announced the birth of a major talent; it also stuns with the sort of poetic explosions we’ve come to expect from Tarkovsky: an early flying episode suggesting Gogol, a stirring climax in color. Not to be missed. In Russian and Italian with subtitles. 205 min. (JR)

Published on 07 Feb 2003 in Featured Texts, by admin

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