Behind the Scenes


The Crimes of Caste                                                                                                                   Cinema as Interrogation

Interrogation: Vetri Maaran on Visaaranai, India, and Cinema

Many filmgoers today might be surprised to discover that over 60% of India’s cinema output is neither Bollywood in style nor Hindi in language but hails from South India where films of many genres are made in Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.  There, Tamil Nadu has been producing films for at least more...


In the Face of Oblivion                                                                                                                         A Classic Bulgarian Tragedy of Today


In the most cinematic way, The Judgment shows space and time: a precise location, a precipice in southern Bulgaria, and a specific moment, today; symbolically, it is any region where displaced peoples seek asylum and sustenance, and any time—ancient, communist-era, or since then—when individuals were punished, slain, more...


In the Land of Hou…                                                                                                                             Where Art and Philosophy Flow into the Same River

Hou Hsiao-Hsien and The Assassin: The Paradox of Poetic Realism

After making 20 feature films in 35 years, and writing, acting, and producing for filmmakers such as Edward Yang and Zhang Yimou, the celebrated Taiwanese writer-director Hou Hsiao-Hsien turned to two old loves — the chuanqi (legends) of China’s Tang Dynasty and the wuxia (martial arts) films from Hong Kong more...


Raising a Girl, Creating a Daughter                                                                                               A Mother and Filmmaker Shows Us How

Afia Nathaniel’s Dukhtar: In the Name of the Daughter

Set today in the northern mountains of Pakistan, Dukhtar is an intense road film of a mother and daughter fleeing a traditional practice of marrying off child brides.  “Dukhtar” means “daughter” in Urdu.  The mother, who suffered this same fate, now sees her much older husband, a powerful tribal leader, using ten-year-old more...


Librarians and Latinos                                                                                                Storytelling Breeds Cinematic Crossovers 

The Park Bench and After Words: Love and Language, Latin-Style

Late in August at the art-house venues of Southern California, small indie films pop up as feature film debuts.  Writer-director Ann LeSchander’s The Park Bench and writer-director-producer Juan Feldman’s After Words — true novelties that steal the heart — beg comparison as they bring literature to the screen more...


Film, Family, and Justice                                                                                                                     Israel’s Unflinching Courtroom Drama

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem — Calling for the ‘Elkabetz Law’

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is a keenly written, superbly acted film that chronicles the five-year process for an Israeli woman today to obtain a divorce from her neglectful but possessive and stubbornly resistant husband from whom she has been separated after raising their numerous children and working more... 

 

Image and Music in the Poetics of Cinema                                                                                   Tito Molina Hails from Ecuador

The Waves of Portoviejo: Tito Molina’s Silence in Dreamland

In his compact, 94-minute poetic inquiry into the space between life and death, past and future, memory and dream, Tito Molina brings us the music of the soul.  The entry from Ecuador, Silence in Dreamland is an unusual gem among the 83 films submitted from the world over for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar more...


Women, Family, Culture...                                                                                        And the Art of Animating Depression

Rocks in My Pockets:  Spirited Away by Signe Baumane

When New York-based filmmaker Signe Baumane takes us to “another reality,” at least in her latest film, Rocks in My Pockets, it is at once cultural and historical, spanning a hundred years of life in Latvia, the tiny Baltic republic where she was born.  That reality is also swimming in politics — internationally so, contending more...


The Gift that Keeps on Giving                                                                                                                                               Honoring the Integrity and Freedom of Artists

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts: Two Decades of Whole-Hearted Support

On May 9, 2014 in Santa Monica, the Herb Alpert Foundation and its juries and guests had plenty to celebrate — the most recent five (in fact, all 100 recipients thus far) of the distinguished grant, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, in five fields: Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theatre, and Film/Video.  A residency at CalArts is more...

 

Writing, Directing, and Producing a Love Story                                                                       Forging a Palestinian Film Movement

Omar, the Palestinian: Hany Abu-Assad Calls It “Othello, the Occupation


Omar
, an enthralling wide-screen drama of our times bearing classical storytelling and thespian verve, has been selling out in theaters.  Shot on location in Nazareth, Nablus, and Bisan with “first-feature” credits for most of the cast and crew, the work is all the more impressive, and the risks taken and fulfilled, all the more stunning
more...


From Her Little Camera to Her Big Installation                                                                       A Cinematic Gleaner Spreads Her Wings  

Agnès Varda at LACMA: In Search of the Heart-Shaped Potato

The Gleaners and I begins as Agnès Varda observes and follows and interviews people in the fields of France today picking up potatoes from the ground, much as peasant women who combed the harvested plots of land for leavings were painted by Jean-François Millet in 1867.  Today she finds them not only in the countryside more...


It’s All About Togetherness                                                                                                                Singing the Connection  

Los Angeles Master Chorale Celebrates Fifty Years

The pioneering Los Angeles Master Chorale will launch its 50th season with élan this Sunday, September 22nd, at 7 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall with a multi-media retrospective concert, a historical exhibition, and a champagne toast for the entire audience. Music Director Grant Gershon will be showcasing selections more...


A Chilean Author, A World-Renowned Artist                                                                             A Conversation about Writing and Politics, History and Memory

                            Isabel Allende and Dulce Rosa:                                         “I Want to Be the Girl — Aida, Tosca — But I Can’t Sing in the Shower”

She was introduced on May 17 at the Broad Stage as the most widely read author in the Spanish language today, with her works translated into 30 languages and selling over 57 million copies, but her short story of less than ten pages, “Una Venganza” (“An Act of Vengeance”), was the source of the opera , Dulce Rosa more...


Brazil’s Pioneer of Cinema Novo                                                                                                     Stepping in Tune with Tom Jobim

Nelson Pereira dos Santos and the Popular Art of Cinema

UCLA film and Television Archive's “Cinema According to Nelson Pereira dos Santos” hosts Brazil’s quintessential filmmaker for post-screening discussions April 20-21 about Rio, 100 Degrees and Music According to Tom JobimNo country has experienced filmmaking quite like that of Cinema Novo more... 


Chinese Americans in China                                                                                                              It’s Funnier than It Seems

Shanghai Calling: Janet Yang Answers

I was fortunate to attend Daniel Hsia’s uniquely beguiling new film at its Hollywood premiere at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood with members of the cast and crew present.  Last week I was also lucky to catch a sneak preview of Shanghai Calling at USC, where the film’s prolific producer, Janet Yang, discussed more...


Bence Fliegauf Takes Us to Hungary’s Romanies                                                                    And His Film Is Submitted for an Oscar

Just the Wind Opens the Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Working internationally in cinema and television and wearing many hats, from screenwriting and directing to set design and sound engineering, Bence Fliegauf returned to his native Hungary to make Just the Wind, his fifth feature film, which contributes to his rising reputation as one of the most respected and prolific of his more...


From the Spotlight to the Viewfinder                                                                                          From Ibsen to Alakosi

A Swedish Grande Dame at the SFFLA: Pernilla August and Beyond

Button up your overcoats — there’s a strong north wind whipping throughthe southland, a female voice that can ride as well on a whisper, that lets you see your own breath in the air when warmth and tenderness take over the chill.  On January 7th at 8 pm the Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. follows its gala buffet with Beyond  more...


Making an Award-Winning Film?                                                                                                   It’s Like Riding a Bicycle, If You’re the Dardennes

Along for the Ride: The Dardennes Discuss The Kid with a Bike

Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have been lauded worldwide as auteurs for their realistic dramas of everyday, contemporary life since the mid-90s when they launched their production company, Les Films du Fleuve (having already produced some sixty documentaries with their earlier company, Dérives) more...


The Epic Battle of Chile                                                                                                    And Forty Years of Documentaries                           

                                 Patricio Guzmán: The Watchful Eye                                    The Chilean Filmmaker in Dialogue at UCLA's Retrospective 

“Patricio Guzmán: The Watchful Eye,” from April 15 to May 11 at the Billy Wilder Theater, is a stunning retrospective by the UCLA Film and Television Archive showcasing nine films by Chile’s renowned documentarist, Patricio Guzmán, from his first internationally lauded work, The Battle of Chile more...


The French Icon Is More Winning than Ever

A Six-Film Retrospective Salutes Her

Catherine Deneuve, No Potiche, Reigning Supreme in Ozon’s Latest Opus

Amidst a mini-retrospective, “Beautiful Dreamer: The Early Films of Catherine Deneuve,” running from March 4-12 at the Bing Theater, the world-renowned actress paid a precious visit to avid fans at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on March 8, 2011, following a preview of her latest, Potiche by François Ozon more... 


When Money and the Mind Fail Us                                                                                                 A Comedy of Woe from Iceland

Mamma Gógó Looks Back: The Ghostly Tales of Fridrik Thór Fridriksson

His towering presence and husky voice are at odds with his quiet reserve and soft countenance. Shaking his hand, you feel he is at one remove from the world — or altogether too in-touch with it. Seemingly part Marlborough Man and part country preacher, he is an erudite, globe-trotting, go-getter from Reykjavik more...  


A Francophile Gets Out into the World                                                                                        An International Terrorist Falls under Scrutiny

The Paradoxical Carlos: Olivier Assayas Around the Globe

The sprawling lawn of the Résidence de France in Beverly Hills evoked the green gardens of Summer Hours, Olivier Assayas’ last film (2008).  Like the genteel characters in that crisply lyrical update of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard in the Parisian countryside, Assayas struck a fine profile.  His salt-and-pepper hair and more...


Fathers and Sons in Mexico

Humans in Harmony with Nature

This Is Cinema, This Is Life: Pedro González-Rubio’s Alamar 

In his uniquely intimate Alamar, Pedro González-Rubio approaches the lyrical narrative as no other filmmaker does.  This is a bold statement considering that comparisons abound: the first decade of this century sparkles with films from Mongolia to Argentina, from Kazakhstan to Colombia — just to hint at the many gems of  more...


UCLA Graduate Students Association Hosts the World's Cinema
Andrew Hall Fills the Screen

“M” Is for Movies — Melnitz Movies

For the film aficionado forever seeking kino caviar, a key venue becomes vitally important, since in more ways than one, it is likely to become a second home — or from time to time, even a first home, the same seats taken up by the same familiar faces, each there to feast on a reliable plat du jour.  So even more at the heart of more...


Acting on the Stage or Acting on the Screen?

You’re Asking Me If I Walk with the Left Leg or the Right Leg

Andi Vasluianu on The Other Irene: Inside the Curl of Romania’s Next Wave

At the South East European Film Festival Los Angeles (SEEFEST), April 29-May 3, 2010, held at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and UCLA’s James Bridges Theater, I discovered The Other Irene, a spellbinding new Romanian film directed by Andrei Gruzsniczki. The lead actor, Andi Vasluianu, was on hand to receive more...


War and Immigration in Everyday Life                                                                        Two Generations of Women’s Filmmaking in Iran

                Social Issues through Women’s Eyes in Iranian Cinema                 Arefpour and Bani-Etemad Talk about Heiran and Gilaneh

Shalizeh Arefpour’s sumptuous and sobering debut feature, Heiran, headed off the “20th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema” (February 5-20, 2010, screening eight features and four shorts) by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, which continually offers one of the oldest Iranian film festivals in the United States. Iran's  more...


South Korea’s Independent Cinema                                                                                 Jeon Soo-il Discusses the Time and Space Between

Himalaya and With a Girl of Black Soil: Jeon Soo-il and the Rhythms of Life

On January 15, 16, 17, and 24, the UCLA Film & Television Archive screens a six-film retrospective of the work of the internationally esteemed Jeon Soo-il, a series presented by the Ciné-Asie Film Institute of Montreal that travels to three Canadian cities and three American cities through April, 2010.  In the last thirteen more...


When All of Us Are Files for Someone Else                                                                               Romania's Post-Policier

Porumboiu’s Police, Adjective: Witnessing Our Times

Internationally lauded for his highly original 12:08 Bucharest (2006), a droll look at the quizzical moment of the Romanian Revolution as everyday citizens might have taken stock of it, Corneliu Porumboiu began writing and visualizing Police, Adjective by observing his local environment, this time by listening to the daily work more...


A Portrait of Forgiveness from Finland                                                                       An Auteur Wins the Fest’s Main Award

Klaus Härö Graces Mannheim-Heidelberg Fest with Letters to Father Jacob

The 58th International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg, where the “art of cinema” is upheld above all celebrity, box office, and entertainment values, screened 32 new films this season: 17 in the International Competition section, 8 in the International Discoveries program, and 7 in the Festival Highlights segment more... 


When Less Is More                                                                                                                              The Right Programmer Does Wonders for a Festival

A Lake at the AFI FEST: Where Downsizing Means Upscaling

It was cold enough to split stones.  We noticed a foot-warmer, then an easel, then a man, swathed in three coats, his hands in gloves, his face half-frozen.  It was M. Monet, studying a snow-effect.
The journalist who wrote this in 1868 was stunned by Claude Monet as an intrepid observer of nature more...



The Danish Resistance at Eye-Level

A Look at the Bigger Picture

Ole’s Reason -- A Love Story: A Talk with the Director of Flame and Citron


It’s a strange title for this article on Flame and Citron, the latest opus by one of Denmark’s leading filmmakers, Ole Christian Madsen.  Even more strange are the two epigrams, it might seem, in relation to a noir thriller about two Danish Resistance fighters in World War II.  But it’s my way of making sense of the magnetic pull  more...

 

Documentary Prize-Winners Hail from Mexico

Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman in Profile

Those Who Remain: Ethnography After Bach


A silence but for the chirping of birds gives way to the voices of small children as a hand-held camera enters their school in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.  As they draw pictures of men, their teacher asks how many of their dads have crossed over to the North.  Seven out of seventeen raise their hands.  Why do they go? “To work more...

 


Mastering the Game in Queen to Play

Caroline Bottaro’s Directorial Debut

When Two Heads Are Better than One: Caroline Bottaro’s Queen to Play

Five-and-a-half years ago, when Caroline Bottaro’s next-door neighbor dropped in to share a book she’d just finished creating and ask for a critique, could Bottaro, the screenwriting partner of Jean-Pierre Améris, possibly have known that she herself would turn this first novel into such an inspiring feat for her own first feature more...

 

Musical Chairs with a French Twist

A Profile of Emmanuel Mouret


Emmanuel Mouret Minds His Manners in Shall We Kiss?

With good reason, the word “finesse” comes from the French: for one thing, the Gauls are famous for finagling ways to follow their desires and manage the damage at the same time.  Strategy is needed, but manner is key.  And anyone familiar with The Art of Courtly Love knows that manners must grapple with morals.  From more...






 

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