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CANNES 2012: Yousry Nasrallah's AFTER THE BATTLE

Governments are inherently evil. Commoners are redeemable imbeciles. Academics are clueless do-gooders. These cookie-cutter generalizations about character motivation and social institutions define Yousry Nasrallah’s "After the Battle."
  • By Glenn Heath Jr.
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  • May 16, 2012 5:39 PM
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CANNES 2012: Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM

"Moonrise Kingdom" is a great success, both within the context of Wes Anderson's body of work and as a work unto itself. Initially, however, its Wes- Anderson-y-ness is almost off-putting.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • May 16, 2012 9:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

FESTIVALS: True/False 2012, Day Four: Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives

The movies I saw on the last day of True/False continued to intersect with the other movies I've seen this weekend. The festival taken as a whole functions as a kind of mosaic, in which the individual pieces add up to a larger whole. This is the first year I've really noticed this, even though I'm sure that past festivals have been similarly constructed. I just never saw enough movies in past years to get the full effect. I saw thirteen movies this year, counting Secret Screenings. My second favorite film of the festival was secret. So was the lone film I didn't really like. It's probably just as well that I don't get to write about that one.
  • By Christianne Benedict
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  • March 6, 2012 2:11 PM
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FESTIVALS: True/False 2012, Day Three: Strange Intersections

There's a strange sense of connectedness between the films I'm seeing at this year's True/False festival. Whether that's accidental or because of the way True/False is curated, I can't say, but some of the movies I'm seeing seem to be rhymes of other movies. Sometimes it's visual. Sometimes it's thematic. Often, it's both. This year's films seem to be grouped around intersections of race, healthcare, art, queerness, and activism. Having said this, I can't actually support this observation as well as I'd like, because the keystone film that ties all of this together in my own mind is one of those secret screenings I can't talk about. Listening to the buzz around the fest, I get the feeling that more than one of those secret films would supply the glue for this feeling of intersectionality.
  • By Christianne Benedict
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  • March 5, 2012 11:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments

FESTIVALS - True/False 2012, Day Two: The Influence Machine

"The thing is, directors and studios don't really like each other." Graphic designer Erik Buckham ought to know. He has a ringside seat. He designs movie posters. The nature of the business means that he deals with both studio marketing departments and control freak directors, but not always in equal measure. This comment explains a lot about why American movies look the way they do and a lot about why Buckham prefers to work on small films rather than big.
  • By Christianne Benedict
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  • March 4, 2012 10:10 AM
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FESTIVALS: True/False Day One: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

EDITOR'S NOTE: The True/False Film Festival, one of the leading showcases for nonfiction filmmaking in the US, unspools its ninth edition this weekend in Columbia, Missouri. We'll be featuring daily reports on the festival from film writer Christianne Benedict, a Columbia native who has attended and reported on the film festival since its beginning.
  • By Christianne Benedict
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  • March 2, 2012 7:08 AM
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FESTIVALS - Berlinale 2012 Final Report: The Tantalizing and the Taboo

What does it take to get your film into a world class festival? That's the question asked with gleeful irreverence by "The Woman in the Septic Tank," which screened at the recently concluded 2012 Berlinale, one of the world's foremost festivals. This hilarious satire of international art filmmaking finds two aspiring auteurs sitting in a Manila café, jealously regarding a rival's Facebook photos taken at the Venice film fest. They vow to devise the ultimate movie to win festival audiences and prizes: a single mother of five suffering in the slums is forced to sell her son to a rich pedophile. But like Mel Brooks' "The Producers," the project gets out of hand, and before we know it we're watching a musical version with the pedophile singing "Is this the boy / who'll bring me endless hours of joy?" It's one of many delightful detours taken by these filmmakers seeking the road to art house glory.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 21, 2012 6:46 AM
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FESTIVALS: Berlinale Decision Points Part 4: Golden Slumbers and Golden Showers

Part four (and the last) of my Berlinale coverage, focusing on decision points: the moment when I pretty much made up my mind about a film, and how that moment reflects on the film as a whole, capped by my Indiewire grade. Look for a summary report to follow on RogerEbert.com.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 15, 2012 9:48 PM
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FESTIVALS: Berlinale Decision Points Pt. 3: Billy Bob Thornton and Melissa Leo play to their own tune

Part three of my Berlinale coverage, focusing on decision points: the moment when I pretty much made up my mind about a film, and how that moment reflects on the film as a whole, capped by my Indiewire grade.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 14, 2012 10:50 AM
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FESTIVALS: Berlinale Decision Points Pt. 2 - Paul Dano, Zellner Brothers and the first great film of the festival

Part two of my Berlinale coverage, focusing on decision points: the moment when I pretty much made up my mind about a film, and how that moment reflects on the film as a whole, capped by my Indiewire grade. Read Part One
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 12, 2012 5:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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