The Films of Wong Kar-wai
As Tears Go By | Days of Being Wild | Chungking Express | Ashes of Time | Fallen Angels | Happy Together | In the Mood for Love | 2046 | My Blueberry Nights | The Grandmasters
3 Films by Wong Kar-Wai
Designed by: Adam Juresko
Adam Juresko’s trio of posters, designed for San Francisco’s Castro Theatre. these bad boys are small (12 x 16) but look especially gorgeous when collected together. there’s only 100 of each, but the whole set can be yours for $60 over at Spoke Art.
THE POSTERS FOR ROBERT BRESSON
this assembly of these remarkable (and remarkably varied) posters is the good work of the great Adrian Curry, and you should really just hop on over to mubi.com to read his original post on the matter.
as for me, i need to go occupy Film Forum for the 2-week Bresson retrospective that’s already up and running. Although if I miss A MAN ESCAPED on the big screen, at least i might get a chance to check it out on Blu-ray later this year…
Contempt (1963) and A Woman Is a Woman (1961) - Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Notable Kubrick Films
International Poster Tour: ONIBABA & KURONEKO (dir. Kaneto Shindo)
“I’m not a demon! I’m a human being!”
KANETO SHINDO. April 22, 1912 - May 29, 2012.
as you might be aware, the great (and only recently retired) filmmaker Kaneto Shindo died last week — he was 100 years-old. i’ve been overjoyed to see The Criterion Collection shine a spotlight on Shindo’s work, especially because his films — which were often tinged with cagey genre elements — eluded the sort of critical acclaim that western critics were so eager to afford the more austere work of Shindo’s contemporaries. but you better believe that Mizoguchi’s protegee earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath with his master.
Children of Hiroshima was the first Japanese film to address the lingering horrors of the bombing that ended WWII, The Naked Island is a stark and harrowing ode to life on the brink, and his two Criterion films — Onibaba and Kuroneko — are masterfully delirious slices of psycho-horror, both of which reflect how cultural trauma begets personal terrors.Kuroneko is a rapturously dark delight, but Onibaba may eventually be considered one of the finest films of the 20th century.
in a post last week, Adrian Curry (who runs the poster beat over at Mubi’s essential Notebook blog, and the equally essential Movie Poster of the Day Tumblr), contributed to the collective eulogy by assembling the finest promotional art that Shindo’s films ever inspired, and damn are they pretty. up top you’ll see my favorites of those pertinent to this site.
Director Portraits by Gizem Vural
these super snazzy and insightful posters — designed for the 30th International Istanbul Film Festival (which went down back in April of 2011) — are the work of a Turkish graphic designer named Gizem Vural. she is awesome. don’t implicitly believe everything i say? visit her website. there is some exceptionally delightful art available in her store.
alright, it’s friday night. go have fun. if you’re going to the movies, Ghost Protocol is a right bit of fun, but absolutely MUST be seen in true-blue IMAX.
you probably shouldn’t spend your friday night seeing Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. i explain why for Box Office Magazine.
CRITERION’S DECEMBER 2011 LINE-UP ANNOUNCED!!!
December is traditionally Criterion’s quietest month of the year, given that they usually go all out in November to ensure that their biggest releases are all on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season. last December brought us only Guillermo del Toro’s cute but hardly essential first feature CRONOS and a blu-graded edition of VIDEODROME, and it looks like this December is going to be kinda along those lines… pretty much what we were expecting, but not exactly what we were expecting (in that of the widely predicted titles, only a blu-grade release of THE LADY VANISHES was actually announced). so let’s get down to it, shall we?
#592 DESIGN FOR LIVING (dir. Ernst Lubitsch) 1933
“ Gary Cooper, Fredric March, and Miriam Hopkins play a trio of Americans in Paris who enter into a very adult “gentleman’s” agreement, in this continental pre-Code comedy freely adapted by Ben Hecht from a play by Noël Coward…”
the only film new to the Collection this December is an unexpected treat, another dose of Ernst Lubitsch for the mainline after most of my favorite films of his were lumped into an Eclipse box set a few years back. despite the fact that Design for Living is peak-era Lubitsch, this is one of those curious films that has largely escaped mass adoration, and Criterion is doing it a tremendous service by reintroducing it to the world in such grand fashion. selected-scene commentary, a Lubitsch short, and some fetchingly elegant cover art make this look like some tasty icing for the tremendous year Criterion has put together.
#3 THE LADY VANISHES (dir. Alfred Hitchcock) 1938
the first Hitchcock film to which Criterion has given the HD treatment, this is pretty much a direct blu-ray port of the spiffy deluxe DVD set Criterion released fairly recently. this Hitchcock romp is widely considered to be amongst his best but, for me it tends to run out of steam a bit, despite a rivetingly frenzied opening salvo. give me NOTORIOUS (or The Guess Who)! whatever, i’m not quite stupid enough to complain about Hitchcock on blu-ray, and… ya know, at least it’s not SPELLBOUND.
#38-39 BRANDED TO KILL & TOKYO DRIFTER (dir. Seijun Suzuki) 1966-1967
YESSSssssszzzzzzz. Seijun Suzuki’s twin acid-jazz yakuza classics were first released on Criterion DVD over 10 years ago, so these feverish and feverishly beloved gangster yarns were long overdue for an upgrade. in direct defiance of conventional cinema, Suzuki’s violent sagas — equal parts scrambled and stoned — are among the most demented and inventive (was that a Pavement album?) slices of WTF cinema you’re ever likely to encounter, so deliriously true to their own vision that they barely seem aware of how cool they are. the segmented, bebop artwork on the original editions was some of Criterion’s most memorable and stylized, but these new covers are simply among Criterion’s best. the Branded to Kill cover, black and white and pink all over, looks like a drawn-over still from High and Low with a splash of Koreyoshi Kurahara’s nihilistic energy, while the art on Tokyo Drifter gives us Tetsuya Hondo going all Muybridge on us, the pink text and gun-flares nailing the film’s mad neon violence. it doesn’t matter if the transfers are muddied into oblivion (note: they won’t be), you’re gonna need these on your shelf.
Posters for Andrei Tarkovsky’s films: Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Stalker (1979, Nostalghia (1983), & The Sacrifice (1986).
Eclipse #28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara
As essential as any Criterion mainline release — the most vital and revelatory Eclipse series yet.
Criterion has released stuff like Salo (several times) without blinking an eye, so when they make a point of calling something “Warped,” it’s wise to take notice. And while the invigorating mid-60s cinema of Koreyoshi Kurahara features none of the grotesque spectacle that made Pasolini’s film so infamous and reviled, it is most certainly warped. From stories of wild teens to lurid, sexually-charged melodramas to whatever Black Sun is, Kurahara captured the frenzied pulse of a post-war people unmoored from the restraints of the past. His irrepressibly excitable camera moving too fast to be awed by the power of its own invention, Kurahara detailed a country splintered and angry, but also feverishly stoked to rebuild a culture in their own image, one finally at the mercy of their own whims.
These are five giddy and perversely accessible films about people on the brink of control who eagerly plunge into the void of abandon, never to resurface, and together they form what might be the most vital and important Eclipse set Criterion has released thus far. Kurahara — who later in life was responsible for blockbuster fare like Antarctica, which held the Japanese box office record for 14 years — has never enjoyed the sort of international awareness that has come to Nikkatsu peers of his like Masahiro Shinoda, but this collection should vault him into a stature all his own (or at least see him recognized as the Samuel Fuller of Japan).
i’ll stop there, as i don’t want to chunk up your dashboards too much, but come back over the next few days for brief reviews of the set’s individual films.