Daily Archives: September 12, 2021

The Territory

From the April 1, 1990 Chicago Reader (I think). — J.R.

“““““““““““

Something of a film maudit for director Raul Ruiz, whose career is already pretty subterranean. Done in English (coscripted by the English novelist and film critic Gilbert Adair), shot in Portugal (though set in southern France), and coproduced by Roger Corman, it concerns a group of Americans who wind up in a small medieval town, get lost when they go on an excursion, remain lost for several months, and eventually revert to cannibalism. In the middle of the shooting, Wim Wenders turned up at the same location to start filming The State of Things, and a good many of the cast and crew members decamped for the Wenders film. That meant Ruiz’s film had to be completed well ahead of schedule, and unfortunately the picture suffers from the haste. But the plot and ambience are still intriguing, and the picture is certainly recognizably Ruizian in both its metaphysical framework and its dark humor (1971). (JR)

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Crass Consciousness (BARTON FINK)

From the August 23, 1991 Chicago Reader. This review is also reprinted in my first collection, Placing Movies (1995). — J.R.

BARTON FINK

*** (A must-see)

Directed by Joel Coen

Written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

With John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, and Jon Polito.

I’m not one of the Coen brothers’ biggest fans. I walked out of Blood Simple, their first feature. The main sentiment I took away from Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing — their second and third efforts, both of which I stayed to the end of — was that at least each new Coen brothers movie was a discernible improvement over the last. Raising Arizona may have had some of the same crass, gratuitous condescension toward its country characters as Blood Simple, but it also had a sweeter edge and more visual flair. In both craft and stylishness, Miller’s Crossing was another step forward, and even if I never really believed in either the period ambience or the characters — the dialogue bristled with anachronisms, and Albert Finney’s crime boss seemed much too blinkered and naive for someone who was supposed to be ruling a city — the film nevertheless demanded a certain attention.… Read more »

IL CINEMA RITROVATO DVD AWARDS 2011 (Bologna, Italy)

IL CINEMA RITROVATO

DVD AWARDS 2011

VIII edition

Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Peter Von Bagh.

BEST DVD 2010 / 2011

Segundo de Chomón 1903-1912 (Filmoteca de Catalunya [ICIC]/Cameo Media s.l.) EL Cine de La Fantasia. A production by Cameo and Filmoteca Catalunya.

The first edition of a long awaited series devoted to the great Spanish master of magic films, hand coloring and technical special effects. Offering 114 minutes of 31 astonishing titles, complete with a 111-page tri-lingual book containing an informative essay by Jean M. Minguet and credits on each film and the 12 different archives that provided restored prints. (http://www.cameo.es/portal/tabid__13173/consulta__De%20Chomon/default.aspx)

BEST SPECIAL FEATURES (BONUS)

The Night of the Hunter (Criterion: www.criterion.com)

For the invaluable and detailed film record of Charles Laughton directing his only feature, drawing from the more than eight hours of outtakes discovered by Bob Gitt and including fascinating rehearsals in which Laughton acts out some of the roles himself.

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MOST ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION TO FILM HISTORY

Orphans 7 – A Film Symposium (New York University’s Orphan Film Symposium, www.orphanfilmsymposium.blogspot.com)

For bringing to the attention of DVD watchers a rich and fascinating area of film history: so-called “ephemeral” films, including amateur films, activist filmmaking, industrial films, etc.,Read more »

IL CINEMA RITROVATO DVD AWARDS 2012

IL CINEMA RITROVATO

DVD AWARDS 2012

IX edition

Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark

McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

 

BEST DVD 2011 / 2012

THE COMPLETE HUMPHREY JENNINGS (BFI). An ongoing

series that has recently released the second of its three prefigured

volumes. Jennings was the documentarian who witnessed

British history with a deep and poetic gaze during the 30s

and the 40s.

***

 

BEST BLU-RAY 2011 / 2012

A HOLLIS FRAMPTON ODYSSEY (Criterion). Including

early films from1966 to 1969, films from 1966 to 1969,

films from HAPAX LEGOMENA, and selected films from

the unfinished MAGELLAN series.

***

 

 

BEST SPECIAL FEATURES (BONUS)

 

GODZILLA (Criterion), for its historical contextualization.

 

MOSES UND ARON (New Yorker Video), especially for

inclusion of the libretto in German and English).

 

 

THE DEVILS (BFI), for documentation of the various

 

controversies surrounding the film.

***

 

 

 

BEST REDISCOVERIES

 

PROVOKING REALITY: DIE “OBERHAUSENER”(Editions

 

Filmmuseum München), for a “famous” moment in film history

 

–- The Oberhausen Manifesto of 1962 –- a presentation of 19

 

forgotten shorts made by artists who signed this manifesto.

 

 

LANDSCAPE OF POSTWAR PERIOD (Korean Film

 

Archive), for four Korean features (THE WIDOW,

 

THE FLOWER IN HELL, THE MONEY, A DRIFTING

 

STORY) by four major directors during a very

 

troubled era–an era which is analyzed in the

accompanying booklet.

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