PODCAST: The Antonioni Project: Alex Fitch talks to director Ivo van Hove about his innovative theatrical production The Antonioni Project, which combines elements of cinema and theatre as it blends three screenplays by Michelangelo Antonioni with the latest technological achievements.
Bitterness: Fallen women, sour love and toxic memories
Dreamy Belgian neo-gialloAmer leads us to ponder cinematic bitterness this month with articles on Mizoguchi’s Street of Shame, Michael Haneke‘s anatomy of hatred and the bittersweet cinema of late period Billy Wilder while a review of forgotten 60s surreal nightmare Duffer is the occasion to lament the British cinema that might have been. And writer John Niven explains why his bitter cinematic alter ego is Don Logan in Sexy Beast.
In cinemas, Darren Aronofsky’s extravagant ballet melodrama Black Swan is itself not devoid of acrimony and frustration, all wrapped up in gorgeous obsessiveness and sweaty sensuality. Read our interview with Aronofsky.
In Short Cuts, we have a preview of the Leftfield and Luscious programme showing at the always brilliant London Short Film Festival, which starts on January 7. Watch Paul Cheshire’s The Cursed Cassette, which screened at LSFF’s Music and Video programme.
PODCAST: Tetsuaki Matsue in Conversation at the Zipangu Festival: In the first Electric Sheep podcast of 2011, Alex Fitch presents a Q&A conducted by Jasper Sharp with director Tetsuaki Matsue recorded at the Zipangu festival in November 2010. The director discusses his work in independent documentary cinema, focusing on his two most recent films, Annyong Yumika (2009), a documentary portrait of the adult performer Yumika Hayashi, and Live Tape (2009), the acclaimed one-guitar, one-camera, one-tape and one-take live concert film of Kenta Maeno’s street performance.
This month sees the release of the much talked-about A Serbian Film, which was heavily cut by the British censors â€“ read the interview with director Srdjan Spasojevic. Norwegian black metal documentary Until the Light Takes Us also provoked controversy at festival screenings this year. Also out is Mathieu Amalric’s acidic burlesque comedy On Tour and charming British sci-fi romance Monsters.
PODCAST: Guerilla Filmmaking and Fleeing Monsters: In a Q&A recorded live at this year’s Sci-Fi London Oktoberfest and broadcast on Resonance FM, Alex Fitch talks to British director Gareth Edwards about his genre-crossing film Monsters, which features a photo-journalist escorting a spoilt rich girl across Mexico following an alien invasion. Gareth Edwards discusses his use of special effects and the pros and cons of shooting guerrilla-style with a small cast and crew South of the Border.
Women on the Verge: Psychotic spinsters, possessed housewives, troubled temptresses
This month is dominated by fraught females, from the homicidal young professional in Dream Home and the desperate Serbian spinsters of Tears for Sale to Isabelle Adjani’s unhinged demon lover in Possession and the murderous sister in Czech extravaganza Morgiana. Plus our Reel Sounds column focuses on The Innocents‘ soundtrack to a governess’s unravelling.
Possession was banned as a â€˜video nasty’ and new documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide provides a timely context for its UK DVD debut. Another notorious film vilified on its release is celebrating its 50th anniversary: Michael Powell’s seminal Peeping Tom.
PODCAST: Dangerous Women and Foxy Heroes: To complement this month’s theme, we present a pair of Q&As recorded at Electric Sheep film club screenings. Alex Fitch talks to Zoe Baxter, the presenter of Resonance FM’s radio show about Asian culture in the UK, and they discuss the epic â€˜wuxia’ film Hero, which featured memorable roles for female action heroes Maggie Cheung and Ziyi Zhang. In the main interview, Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy talks to Brixton-based filmmaker Rebecca Johnson, director of Top Girl, about the classic â€˜blaxploitation’ film Foxy Brown, starring Pam Grier.
Animated features are fairly rare but this month sees the release of two on the same day: Hammer and Tongs’ surreal tale A Town Called Panic and Jackboots on Whitehall, an alternative history of the Second World War. Also on UK screens is French 70s terrorist saga Carlos. The Colonial Report from the Dominion of Canada focuses on Kashmiri film Autumn, and we have a review of Raindance highlight Legacy. Watch the trailer for Confessions, Tetsuya Nakashima’s superb new revenge tale, which premieres at FrightFest Halloween All-Nighter.
New DVDs include Bong Joon-ho’s fantastic Mother, Richard Fleischer’s take on the Leopold and Loeb murder case Compulsion, starring Orson Welles and we have a comic strip review of Pet Shop of Horrors, courtesy of the Queen Mum. We also have an interview with Joe Dante about his new interactive series Splatter.
PODCAST: Filming the Last Exorcism: During Film4 FrightFest, Alex Fitch interviewed producer Eli Roth and director Daniel Stamm about their new â€˜mockumentary’ horror film The Last Exorcism. Daniel Stamm talks about how using a documentary style to make supernatural movies helps break the fourth wall for the audience to help draw them into events, while Eli Roth talks about how his experience of producing his own movies Cabin Fever and Hostel differs from his more advisory role on this film.
PODCAST: The Films of Vincenzo Natali: Alex Fitch talks to director Vincenzo Natali about Splice, his previous films with actor David Hewlett, and his forthcoming adaptation of William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.
Outlandish Westerns: a wild bunch of demented gunslingers, mystic outlaws and revolutionary bandidos
To celebrate the release of a box-set including Django, Keoma and A Bullet for the General, we have an article on Italian Westerns. We also look at Glauber Rocha’s take on the holy bandit, Antonio das Mortes, and admire Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to Corbucci’s The Great Silence while writer Patrick Hargadon imagines being Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger in Futureworld.
PODCAST:alt.cowboy: Alex Fitch talks to BFI programmer Emma Smart about gay themes in Westerns after a screening of Midnight Cowboy and to Ian Rakoff about the crossover between Western-themed comics and movies before a screening of For a Few Dollars More.
PODCAST:The Polish New Wave?: Alex Fitch talks to Andrzej Żu?awski about his struggles in getting his esoteric sci-fi epic On the Silver Globe released and the travails involved in making his horror films The Third Part of the Night (1971) and Possession (1981) under the eyes of a communist regime. Alex Fitch also talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and his wife Danusia Schejbal about working on the fringes of Polish filmmaking in the late 1970s.
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