New cinema releases include Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs and Japanese debut Asyl, which centres on an unusual â€˜love hotel’ in Tokyo. We examine how Takeshi Kitano confronts his â€˜Beat’ Takeshi persona in the long-awaited Takeshis’ to offer an iconoclastic dissection of fame. We also have a profile of veteran cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky. In our blog, we discuss our favourite Hitchcock blondes in anticipation of the Blonde Crazy retrospective at Birds Eye View next month and we have reports on the Berlinale and the Himalaya Film and Cultural Festival.
In Short Cuts, we have a report on the 7th London Short Film Festival, which once more offered many memorable moments, while in our Alter Ego column Welcome to Mars author Ken Hollings tells us why he would be Astro Boy if he was a film character. Finally, quirky pop genius Lightspeed Champion picks his favourite films in the Film Jukebox.
PODCASTS: Alex Fitch interviews celebrated actress Susannah York about her career, focusing on her performances in war-themed productions and her interest in peace activism.
The cinematic year is off to a promising start with some excellent new releases. First off is Breathless, an explosive, unforgettable South Korean drama about the unlikely love story between a gangster and a school girl â€“ an absolute must-see. Also worthy of attention are John Hillcoat’s stunningly bleak adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Jacques Audiard’s accomplished gangster saga A Prophet, as well as Mexican new wave gem I’m Gonna Explode, a fresh take on the young lovers on the run storyline. We have an interview with Stuart Hazeldine, director of cerebral thriller Exam while the testosterone-overloaded British gangster drama 44 Inch Chest is also out this month.
In the DVD releases we look at Peter Watkins’s 1967 musical/political conspiracy film Privilege starring Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones, and jaw-dropping 70s Japanese bubblegum horror movie House. We also have an interview with Park Chan-wook about his latest film Thirst, released on DVD this month.
Following on from the Sheffied Doc/Fest in November 09, we have an interview with Kazuo Hara about his landmark 1974 documentary Extreme Private Eros. We also talked to Michel Negroponte who explained how he got personally involved in I’m Dangerous with Love, a documentary in which he explores the â€˜ibogaine underground’ â€“ drug addicts using a West African hallucinogen as unofficial detox treatment.
In the Short Cuts, we have an article on the London Short Film Festival Rich Pickings event, which explores the Lolita figure through a mixture of short films, music videos and discussions. We review the latest instalment of the Tateshots series of film podcasts, which explores the links between music and art through interviews with musicians such as Billy Childish and Lydia Lunch. Canadian punks Fucked Up are our guests in the Film Jukebox and their frontman Pink Eyes tells us about his 10 favourite films. And finally here’s our pick of the best and worst films of 2009.
PODCASTS: Alex Fitch talks to writer, editor and raconteur Ian Rakoff about his experiences working on The Prisoner.
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