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Entries in Weekend Viewing (28)

Saturday
Dec132014

Weekend Viewing: La Primavera Negra

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Director: Esteban
Music: Summer by Max Richter
Dancer: Jackson Carroll

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Copenhagen-based photographer Esteban takes on film with a short featuring up-and-coming dancer Jackson Carroll. Set in an old fabric hall in Dusseldorf, with music by Max Richter, Carroll wears Dries Van Noten and Yohji Yamamoto for this personal piece.

Nowness

Saturday
Nov082014

Weekend Viewing: Bande à Part

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—01. Dance scene.

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With a drop in temperature and Ballet BC opening this weekend in Vancouver, it felt like an appropriate time to highlight this scene specifically. The styling in Godard's classic film is especially perfect and well-suited to the black and white aesthetic, but even more appealing is the casually choreographed improv dance sequence amongst friends.

Available from Criterion

Saturday
Oct182014

Weekend Viewing: A Man Escaped

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—01. François Leterrier as Lieutenant Fontaine.

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Robert Bresson is an unequivocal master of the art form. He is probably more admired and influential than he gets credit for, but those in the know definitely consider him in the same league as greats such as Kubrick, Kurosawa and Fellini. While those directors don’t hold back on style, Bresson favours a spare, more simplistic approach. The French filmmaker prefers themes on the human condition to speak for themselves, rather than grandiose set pieces and florid, impressionistic camerawork. A Man Escaped (1956) juxtaposes a methodical plan for a Nazi prison break with ruminations on incarceration and man's desire for freedom. The outcome is a tense, well-paced affair with the stakes rising as mounting death sentences are carried out around our protagonist, Lieutenant Fontaine, and doubt is ultimately cast on which inmates he can trust. If you have never seen a Bresson film and are looking for a jumping off point, this is a great place to start and it will surely leave you wanting to see the rest of his filmography.

Available from Criterion

Sunday
Aug102014

Weekend Viewing: La Grande Bellezza

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—01. Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella.

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I was recommended La Grande Bellezza recently, embarrasingly having never even heard of it, but now I'm quite grateful for the tip. The film opens with a beautifully shot, eerie scene featuring little dialogue, followed by a high energy party reminiscent of something by Baz Luhrmann – the tone was set. After 15 minutes I wasn't sure if my viewing partner would be okay to continue watching, but we pressed on and by the end of the film it had won us both over. The cinematography was stunning, but the conversations, metaphors and main character, played by Toni Servillo, were what made it so special. Some reviews only gave credit to the film for its romantic portrayal of modern Rome, but there is much more to take away on several different levels. Of course, I'm not the only one who felt this way as it won Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year at the 86th Academy Awards.

Trailer via YouTube

Saturday
Jul262014

Weekend Viewing: Zane Lowe meets.... Rick Rubin

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Facilities courtesy of Amos Clarke & Eric Lynn
Produced by Lee Edmenson

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Although it was published earlier this year, I only just got a chance to watch Zane Lowe's interview with Rick Rubin. As one of the music industry's most unsung heroes and influential contributors, he opens up about working with a variety of musicians, the different processes, his start with Def Jam and his admiration for the artists.

Via BBC Radio 1 on Youtube

Saturday
Jul052014

Weekend Viewing: Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton

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—01. DVD and CD set.

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This spring Stones Throw Records released a feature-length film documenting the birth and evolution of the label, and the people that made it possible. Peanut Butter Wolf can be credited with Stone Throw's direction and success – financially and artistically – so it's no surprise to find him narrating. The film provides intimate insight into an otherwise quiet group of musicians, from the early days and the death of Charizma to a peek at the prolific work of Madlib and the latest wave of artists to be signed. It's an inspiring and emotional look inside one of the most impressive independent record labels of our time.

Available at Stones Throw

Sunday
Jun292014

Weekend Viewing: Hearts of Darkness – A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

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—01. Francis Ford Coppola.

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Aptly titled, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse is culled from documentary footage shot on the set of Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor. It shows the unraveling of the director due largely in part to his having to finance the film out of his own pocket, but also under the constraints of a civil war, a typhoon, Martin Sheen’s mid-shoot heart attack, endless studio gossip and Marlon Brando’s unwillingness to cooperate. In the documentary, released on Showtime in 1991, Coppola is constantly shown doubting himself and the artistic merit of a monstrous film, initially scheduled for a 14 week shoot that lasted in excess of 200 days. Tied together with audio clips of Orson Welles’ 1938 radio play of the source material, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, much of the insight provided by the director was recorded surreptitiously, providing an unrestrained commentary on the project. The documentary now serves as an indispensable companion piece to one of the most epic and artful films ever made about war, brutality, madness and futility, and stands alone as an incredible piece of filmmaking in its own right.

Available from Amazon

Sunday
Jun222014

Weekend Viewing: Last Days

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—01. Michael Pitt as Blake.

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Sometimes you see a film at just the right time and it strikes an emotional chord. I'd been putting off watching Last Days, Gus Van Sant's 2005 semi-biographical account of Kurt Cobain's demise, but I was ready for it last Sunday. Michael Pitt stars as Blake, an often incomprehensible musician disenchanted with life, especially other people. Beautifully shot by longtime Van Sant collaborator, Harris Savides, the film follows Pitt around a sprawling Pacific Northwest estate, escaping conversations with friends and family. Restrained but gripping from start to finish, the most special moments are when he's alone and allows himself to open up through his music: the only way he knows how.

Trailer via YouTube
'That Day' performed by Michael Pitt

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