Jean-Pierre Melville

For what’s looking to be the last official programming announcement from this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi, the fest has revealed their special film retrospective as curated by Guest Artistic Director Pedro Almodóvar. The filmmaker has put together a program of five films (including one of his own) to form an essential cross-section of horror films and thrillers. Almodóvar’s picks include his own Law of Desire, saying that the film is “a fundamental title in my career…I don’t think I’d change a single shot, and not because it’s perfect but because I recognize myself in all of them…It’s true that my palette has darkened and, in the case of the latest film, the humor has almost disappeared. Fortunately I’ve changed sufficiently so that no one can accuse me of repeating myself, but I’m still the same.” The film’s screening will take place on Monday, November 7, and Almodóvar and star Antonio Banderas (also the star of that “latest film” Almodóvar mentions, the magnetic The Skin I Live In) will introduce the film, and it will be followed by a “conversation” about the auteur’s career. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting this Thursday, October 27). Even with parking fees in Hollywood, that’s still cheaper than a movie ticket. The complete schedule grid is now online for […]

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Culture Warrior

Masculinity has always been the major topic of concern in the work of Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. Just look at the series he made his name with, the Pusher trilogy, which in three installments provide three very different but equally compelling stories of occasionally brazen, often buffoonish masculinity within various facets of the Copenhagen illegal drug trade. So it is no surprise that the directors latest work (his ‘breakthrough’ years, if you will) are continuously concerned with the turbulent lives of men, culminating this weekend with his most ‘mainstream’ entry, Drive (in purely box-office terms, as Drive in its opening weekend made more than 84x what his previous two films made together, yet the film is still ripe with Refn’s eccentric signature). Refn’s thematic and narrative preoccupation with masculinity has produced three fascinating portraits in as many years. The temporal and social contexts of Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and Drive couldn’t be more disparate, but between them he’s produced an unofficial trilogy of sorts connected not only through his deliberate pacing and striking, almost invasive visual style, but more importantly through their shared concerns as portrayals of three aggressive men who wander their respective environments in solitude.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema, the weekly feature with that certain je ne sais quoi. No, wait, je sais afterall! That quoi is the nostril singing aroma of fried foods and stale Funyuns. If that’s what you smell too, then you’re in the right place. With the eyes of the film world on France for the annual wine festival armpit hair growing festival Nazi joke festival Cannes Film Festival, we here at Junkfood Cinema decided to set our sights on that classy nation as well. And by “we” I mean I, and by “decided” I mean your regular host, the Duke of Salisbury, is passed out on the floor again. He says it’s another diabetic coma, but I know he’s just faking it. Besides, we all know that diabetes is just a lie the vegans made up to keep us away from things that taste good. As always, I’ve selected a film of somewhat dubious quality but high entertainment value. I’ll begin by smashing it to bits and then taking the bits and smashing those into smithereens, but then I’ll pick up the broken pieces and lovingly put it back together with wood glue and duct tape. As if that weren’t enough, I’ll provide you with a delicious snack to stuff in your gaping maw, satisfying your cravings for bloodshed and trans-fatty hydrogenated oils. Anyway, France! They love food almost as much as we do, and, thanks in large part to guys like Jean-Pierre Melville and Luc Besson, they love […]

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Culture Warrior

Today is the day of the midterm elections, a day which will mark the stark transition from functionaries on the center who can’t accomplish anything holding office to functionaries on the right who are too busy yelling in every direction to accomplish anything holding office. Under that grand political tradition whose unwavering slogan is “Losing = Tyranny,” much has been made from candidates on the far right (who will become mainstream right if elected or exponentially grating windbags if not) about staging an armed revolution if, y’know, that whole democracy thing doesn’t work out for them. Well, before the pasty and overweight turn off the Fox News echo chamber and actually embody the daunting degree at which human action can precede human thought by taking arms against an administration that has done nothing to challenge their 2nd Amendment rights, I’d like to use the history of cinema to illustrate what true revolt against actual political oppression looks like.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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