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Locarno Pays Tribute to George Cukor With a Retrospective

  • By Tara Karajica
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  • August 15, 2013 4:28 PM
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The Cukor clock is ticking in Switzerland as the 66th Festival del Film Locarno presents -- in collaboration with the Cinematheque Suisse, Turin's National Cinema Museum, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York -- a retrospective on George Cukor.

'The Butler,' 'In a world...,' and Why Cultural Politics Matters

  • By Sam Adams
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  • August 15, 2013 1:52 PM
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Lee Daniels' melodrama and Lake Bell's romantic comedy turn disrespected genres to smartly political ends.

Blurred Lines: Claire Simon's 'Gare du Nord' and 'Human Geography' Challenge the Boundaries Between Fiction and Doc

  • By Ronan Doyle
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  • August 14, 2013 4:36 PM
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How appropriate it is that Claire Simon's complementary pair of pictures, the narrative Gare du Nord and the documentary Human Geography, should take place at the train station that lends the former its name. Railways have occupied a pride of place in cinema since its birth: We all know, of course, the famous (if apocryphal) tale of the brothers Lumiere causing audiences to leap from their seats when The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat was screened. Ever since those days, the distinction between the Lumieres' "actualities" and the trick films of their contemporary Georges Melies has remained engrained in audiences' view of cinema. Documentary and narrative, many would seem to believe, are mutually exclusive modes.

More Than 'Honey': Has the Swiss Documentary Renaissance Peaked?

  • By James Berclaz-Lewis
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  • August 14, 2013 4:14 PM
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Imagine not only trying to do a documentary on beekeeping around the world, but also trying to fascinate audiences with that most uninviting of subject matters. The more cautious among us would surely walk away from such a daunting project. Yet in 2012, swiss director Marcus Imhoof bravely accepted the challenge and ultimately ended up mesmerizing audiences the world across with his sublimely shot More Than Honey. Little did he know that his film would prove the beating heart of a nation's bright revival in documentary filmmaking. That most vintage of years would also see the release of Manuel Von Sturler's Hiver Nomade, the poetic journey of two shepherds as they journey through the changing mountainous landscapes for which he took home the Best Documentary Award at the European Film Awards. Both examples set themselves apart from the mass with their ability to weave the most unlikely, and decidedly anti-hype, subjects with truly astounding imagery. Imhoof and Von Sturler were confirming, if you will, A Certain Tendency of Swiss Documentary Cinema.

Short Term, Longwave: Coming of Age in Locarno

  • By Laya Maheshwari
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  • August 13, 2013 4:54 PM
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"Short Term 12"
Destin Cretton's Short Term 12 and Lionel Baier's Les Grandes Ondes (a L'ouest) (English title: Longwave), screened on the same day at the 66th Locarno Film Festival, underway right now. First glances may imply that the two share little in common, with the former an unflinching American indie drama about a foster care facility and the latter a light and frothy European period piece about a work assignment for two radio journalists.

Corneliu's Comic Catharsis: 'When Evening Falls on Bucharest' Looks Back With Laughter

  • By Ronan Doyle
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  • August 13, 2013 3:53 PM
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"I've been formed by this limit." These words, spoken by the film director protagonist of Corneliu Porumboiu's When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism about his fondness for the time restrictions imposed by shooting on celluloid, could just as well describe the emergence in the last decade of the particular breed of Romanian cinema which this new effort exemplifies. Limitation, in the form of censorship, is pivotal to the origin story of this distinctive strand of national cinema: Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist dictator whose rule was overthrown in 1989, withheld from filmmakers the freedom to explore socio-political issues. His fall, and the eventual arrival of digital technology's democratization of media, allowed the country's collective concerns to spill forth into its cinema, where latent traumas could be addressed.

The World Is Flat: How 'Elysium's Under-Imagined Dystopia Kills Its Would-Be Allegory

  • By Sam Adams
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  • August 13, 2013 12:10 PM
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The under-imagined world of Neil Blomkamp's sci-fi allegory kills any attempt at political commentary.

'Breaking Bad' Watch: In 'Blood Money,' Tempers Flare and Bills Come Due

  • By Sam Adams
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  • August 11, 2013 9:43 PM
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Tempers flare and bills come due in the first of the show's final eight-episode run.

Barbed Wire: 'Planes'

  • By Steve Greene
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  • August 9, 2013 1:59 PM
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"I assure you, we won't try anything new. Nothing."

Early Indications Show 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' is a Directorial Readjustment

  • By Steve Greene
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  • August 9, 2013 12:30 PM
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Despite its title, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" doesn't feel like a Lee Daniels film. For some critics, that may actually be a plus.