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Among Locarno's Short Films, Vodka and Sorcerers

  • August 21, 2013 2:00 PM
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One of the best films I saw at Locarno Film Festival this year was a mere 20 minutes long. Part of the Fuori concorso Shorts section, The Green Serpent: Of Vodka, Men and Distilled Dreams (a Swiss-Russian co-production) documents the merits and demerits that vodka holds for three Russian men -- actor Aleksandr Bashirov, poet Mstislav Biserov and physicist Nikolai Mikhailovich Budnev. Written, directed and co-produced by Benny Jaberg, the film had me in stitches as it repeatedly nailed, with both poignancy and hilarity, that relatable contradiction that follows an alcohol binge: emotional fragility and a sympathy for something as banal as a fluffy pet on the one hand, and a desire to see humankind annihilated on the other. Receiving its world premiere at Locarno, Jaberg's film is also a coincidental ode to the recently deceased Russian filmmaker Alexey Balabanov, whose last film Me Too (2012) also saw a trio of vodka-swilling men in a doomed pursuit of happiness.

Talent to Burn in Locarno's New "Signs of Life" Section

  • August 21, 2013 1:00 PM
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New films from Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, Raya Martin, James Fotoupolos, Luis Lopez Carrasco and Lorenz Merz

Brazilian and Portuguese Masters Find Common Ground With 'The King's Body' and 'Sentimental Education'

  • August 21, 2013 10:00 AM
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With their new films, Brazil's Julio Bressane and Portugal's Joao Pedro Rodrigues bridge the gap between countries and generations.

Off to See the Wizard... in 3D

  • August 21, 2013 2:26 AM
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3D Technology has dominated cinemas for the past few years, and there's has been a recent surge in taking old, classic films and giving them the 3D treatment. One has to wonder how much this decision is based on actually trying to enhance the experience of these classic films, or if it is just a moneymaking ploy.

Sex, Disability and Videotapes: 'Gabrielle' and 'The Special Need'

  • By James Berclaz-Lewis
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  • August 20, 2013 5:12 PM
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Two new movies explore the intersection of disability and sexual desire.

Locarno Fetes '2001' and 'Silent Running's Douglas Trumbull

  • By Tara Karajica
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  • August 20, 2013 1:19 PM
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A report from the Locarno Film Festival's tribute to and masterclass with Douglas Trumbull, the effects guru behind '2001' and the director of 'Silent Running.'

Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinji Aoyama on Japanese Film and Why 'Oblivion' Should Be in the Art House

  • By Laya Maheshwari
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  • August 16, 2013 12:00 PM
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When I was on my way to attend a round table conversation at the 66th Locarno Film Festival between two Japanese directors, Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Real) and Shinji Aoyama (Tomogui/The Backwater), my intention was to hear the makers talk about their creations. I saw Aoyama's The Backwater on the 14th and was a huge fan. It's a twisted drama that reveals itself to be a revenge thriller at just the right moment, and is extremely entertaining.

Not Only the Young: 'Gloria' and 'Mr. Morgan's Last Love' Offer Different Takes on Late-Life Love Stories

  • August 16, 2013 9:30 AM
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In recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of films that focus on romance for the middle age. Films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Something's Gotta Give, and It's Complicated serve as comedic offerings on the subject, often poking fun at elements concerning old age. As dramatic fare goes, it is rare to see a love story between two elderly people that does not concern elements of sickness or loss. One of the most successful recent love stories, Michael Haneke's Amour, painted a beautiful portrait of an elderly couple's relationship, as have films such as The Notebook and Away From Her. These films however are all highly depressing, hopeless films about the inevitability of getting older. Although there are a handful of films that share love stories for those of an older age, it is still a rarity to see a film treat the relationship with as much honesty and rawness as younger romances are portrayed. Two films at the Locarno Film Festival this year tell stories of old romance, Gloria and Mr. Morgan's Last Love. However, these films could not be more different in their approach.

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.

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.