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Entries in Weekend Viewing (33)

Sunday
Aug092015

Weekend Viewing: El Capitan

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01. Directed by Fred Padula, 1978.

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I recently stumbled upon this film and was so intrigued I had to find out more. In turn, I came across an in-depth feature on the Alpinist magazine website and promptly ordered the DVD. Originally filmed in 1968, it languished in post production hangups for a decade before being edited into El Capitan by Fred Padula. Despite winning the Grand Prize at the 1979 Banff Film Festival, it virtually disappeared until 2012 when Padula initiated a Kickstarter campaign to fund its restoration. Shot by the renowned climber and photographer Glen Denny, it is not your average high-octane paean to the now popular adventure sport, but more a documentary clothed in the guise of a languidly moving and visually arresting art film. It is absolutely remarkable to see guys tying ropes around their waists in preparation to ascend the Nose route on El Cap, and hopping into sleeping bags on minuscule ledges – sometimes even forgetting to clip in. Ultimately, the film seems to distill exactly what an outsider activity it was to participate in the nascent years of big wall climbing at its Mecca: Yosemite Valley.

Available from Western Eye Press
Alpinist

Saturday
May302015

Weekend Viewing: Heaven Knows What

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Images

01. Theatrical poster.
02. Arielle Holmes.

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Directed by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, Heaven Knows What is a brutally honest look at the lives of young and homeless heroin addicts living among the affluent residents of Manhattan's Upper West Side. Having originally met the film's lead, Arielle Holmes, while researching another project, the pair encouraged her to write a memoir based on her life on the streets. Josh and Ronald Bronstein (who starred in the brothers' previous picture Daddy Longlegs) wrote a script based on her writings, while Benny edited the film alongside the latter. It was shot by Sean Price Williams, whose sparse and distant cinematography, employing long lenses and views across streets and down from rooftops, lends the film a lifelike, documentary quality. Having already had significant success on the festival circuit, Heaven Knows What has been met with high critical praise, including a piece in the New York Times, that's linked below. It opens this weekend in both New York and LA for a limited engagement, before a nationwide release shortly thereafter. If you happen to be in either city, and find the sun too bright, and the vibes too positive, I'd highly recommend taking in a wintery view of one of the darker sides of street and city life.

Heaven Knows What
The New York Times
Landmark Sunshine Cinema, New York
ArcLight Cinema, Hollywood

Sunday
Mar152015

Weekend Viewing: Stop Making Sense

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—01. Directed by Jonathan Demme, 1984.

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Stop Making Sense is arguably one of the the best and most universally acclaimed concert films ever released; the only other options I would personally single out for top honours are Don’t Look Back and The Last Waltz when taking into account the scope and innovation that all these films exhibit. This fresh take on the somewhat worked over concert documentary owes a huge debt to the filmmaking mastery of director Jonathan Demme, but Talking Heads are equally responsible for steering this document, comprised of three separate nights of concerts, to entirely unique and interesting places. The film starts with David Byrne bringing out a boom box, announcing "I've got a tape I wanna play," and then launching into 'Psycho Killer.' Subsequently adding a band member and more set pieces to the stage over the next few songs, it's an entirely individual introduction to one of New Wave’s most distinct acts. Complete with cinematic nods to Dr. Strangelove, Breathless and Japanese Noh theatre, Stop Making Sense even includes some delightful continuity errors that were unavoidable due to performances being edited down from the multi-night takes. Keep your eyes out for Tina Weymouth’s transforming bass guitar and a beach ball that never touches down.

Palm Pictures

Saturday
Jan032015

Weekend Viewing: Blow Out

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—01. John Travolta as Jack Terry.

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Blow Out, directed by Brian De Palma and released in the US in 1981, is a thriller of striking proportions and, in my opinion, by far the best film he’s made. Taking inspiration from Hitchcock and most obviously the ‘60s classic, Blow-Up, it trades a photographic recording of a murder for a sound recording of one. The film tells the gripping story of an assassination plot caught on tape and how those who witness the event piece it together after the fact. The opening is absolutely pitch-perfect B-horror that leaves you scratching your head for a moment before you’re taken on a taught and thrilling ride, rich with incredible shots and a surplus of costume and production design details.  

Available from Criterion

Saturday
Dec272014

Weekend Viewing: The Year in Nike Films

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—01. The Baddest.

Words

Beyond the product, Nike has always been a company that's pushed its visuals and marketing campaigns to exciting new heights. This year was no exception, and the brand recently published a survey of some 2014's most talked about videos. Click on the link below to see the full selection.

Nike

Saturday
Dec132014

Weekend Viewing: La Primavera Negra

Info

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

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