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Béla Tarr Confirms At NYFF That He's Retired From Filmmaking

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 10, 2011 6:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We can't claim to be massive fans of everything that Béla Tarr's made; his work can be fascinating, but somewhat trying. But when he's firing on all cylinders, as in "Werckmeister Harmonies," the Hungarian director is an incredibly vital voice in cinema, and even when he's not, his films find a way of indelibly printing themselves on your mind. As such, we were disappointed to learn back in 2008, on the announcement of Tarr's latest project, that it was intended to be his last.

NYFF: Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky Talk Ethics, Media & Witch-Hunts In The West Memphis Three Docs

  • By The Playlist
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  • October 10, 2011 2:59 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Documentary Filmmakers Of The 'Paradise Lost' Movies Talk The Challenges Of Making Films About Wrongly Convicted MenIt’s not easy to distill the story of the West Memphis Three and the three “Paradise Lost” documentaries (though reading our review of “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” might provide some pretty good context).

Director Sean Durkin Talks Food, Violence And Open Endings In 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 10, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
All The Lowdown From The NYFF Screening Of One Of The Year's Best FilmsIt may feel like you've been hearing about "Martha Marcy May Marlene" all year; the film, the debut of director Sean Durkin (who was the producer of Antonio Campos' underseen "Afterschool"), bowed at Sundance, and has spent the last nine months picking up new fans at every subsequent festival, from Cannes to Toronto, and launching its young star, Elizabeth Olsen, into stardom. And take it from someone who finally saw the film last week; the praise is much deserved.

NYFF: "It Was A Very Slow Process" -- Michelle Williams Talks Challenge Of Portraying Marilyn Monroe

  • By Cory Everett
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  • October 9, 2011 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
And 5 Other Things Learned From The "My Week With Marilyn" Press Conference At NYFFWe've now reached the midpoint of the New York Film Festival, which means that tonight will see the World Premiere of the festival's Centerpiece, "My Week With Marilyn." While most of NYFF's films have stopped elsewhere on the festival carousel, this is one of the few films to make its world premiere at the fest. (It's certainly the one with the highest profile, that is, until Monday's secret screening anyway.) Based on two memoirs by Colin Clark, "The Prince, The Showgirl And Me: 6 Months On The Set With Marilyn & Olivier" and "My Week With Marilyn," the film is the author's account of working on "The Prince And The Showgirl," a Laurence Olivier-directed film that the acting great costarred in with Marilyn Monroe, who at the time was at the peak of her career. The film stars relative newcomer Eddie Redmayne as 23 year old Clark, Kenneth Branagh as Olivier and Michelle Williams as the iconic Monroe along with Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Dougray Scott and Emma Watson who round out the supporting cast.

NYFF ‘11 Review: A Slight & Superficial 'My Week With Marilyn' Often Resembles A Lifetime Movie

  • By The Playlist
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  • October 9, 2011 8:01 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Marked by an admirable, but certainly not spectacular performance by Michelle Williams -- in a role she's arguably not very suited for -- some wonderful costuming, set design and locations, and a stand-out supporting turn by Judi Dench, there aren't many other favorable things to say about "My Week With Marilyn," a slight drama with a reputable cast, that still feels through and through like a superficial Lifetime made for TV-movie.

NYFF ’11 Review: ‘Pina’ Is A Gorgeously Photographed, Three-Dimensional Sleeping Pill

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 9, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 5 Comments
It’s strange to be truly startled and taken aback by the powerful effects of properly utilized 3D not in some Hollywood blockbuster where half of a major Midwestern American city is blown to smithereens by giant transforming robots, but during a quiet, understated, impressionistic documentary/tribute to influential German choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch (directed by Wim Wenders, no less). In fact, this might be the most amazingly you-are-there use of the technology since James Cameron landed us on Pandora. It’s just that, along with the fantastical visas and bounding, leaping, protruding dancers, you wish that the movie were more than just pretty. Sadly, it’s not. And boring is boring, even while wearing silly plastic specs.

NYFF '11 Review: Bela Tarr's Swan Song 'The Turin Horse' Is Despairing But Unforgettable

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 9, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
If the name Béla Tarr rings any sort of bell in your head, chances are you've already formed an unwavering opinion of his work. He hasn't exactly shaken up his approach since 1988's "Damnation" (that said, this writer -- probably like most -- isn't familiar with his crop of '90s short films), and if despairing (yet deeply moving) minimalist films composed of stark black-and-white single takes doesn't tickle your fancy, this film won't change your mind.

NYFF: Michael Fassbender Hopes For A 'De Niro/Scorsese' Relationship With Director Steve McQueen

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 8, 2011 9:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments
And Nine More Things We Learned About 'Shame' From New York Film Festival ScreeningIt's no surprise considering how spectacularly good his feature debut "Hunger" was, but Steve McQueen's "Shame" has marched through Venice, Telluride and Toronto, winning more and more fans along the way. And while there's a few months yet to come, we're almost certain that it'll appear high up on a number of year-end lists of Playlist staffers come the end of 2011. Reteaming the British director with his "Hunger" star Michael Fassbender, along with "An Education" Oscar-nominee Carey Mulligan, it's an immaculately made, firmly controlled, no-holds-barred look at the life of a lonely thirtysomething who seeks solace in a string of anonymous sexual encounters.

NYFF '11 Review: 'Sleeping Sickness' A Morality Tale That Doesn't Fulfill Its Promise

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 8, 2011 2:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Poor Ulrich Köhler. His first feature "Bungalow" was a quiet, very reserved tale about a young soldier going AWOL. Instead of finishing his service, he gives into lethargy, laying around and doing nothing while hoping the military doesn't catch up with him. Once he's introduced to his brother's sweetheart, he finally finds his purpose: get in her pants at all costs. No, it wasn't terribly ambitious, but it was a relatively solid debut and was interesting enough to make those who actually saw it keep an eye on the new German filmmaker. Four years passed and finally his sophomore picture "Windows On Monday" was unleashed with a whimper. This film -- about a wife rejecting her routine middle-class life and responsibilities -- saw the director slightly refining his style, but also failing to make a truly deep impression in its festival run. Neither of these films were bad (in fact, this writer quite liked 'Windows'), but their meandering nature and unattractive simplicity didn't do them any favors when pitted against things like "The Free Will" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" at Berlinale. The ante had to be upped. Sensing this, Köhler uprooted and went to Africa for his latest endeavor. Would a fresh landscape invigorate his sauntering aesthetic? Now that his German brethren are stirring conversation and acclaim with their "Dreileben" trilogy series, it's an even greater chance to finally catch the attention of festival goers. Unfortunately, "Sleeping Sickness" is a lot like his previous films, much to its own detriment.

NYFF '11 Review: 'Once Upon A Time In Anatolia' A Masterful, Slow-Burn Epic

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 8, 2011 1:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Minimalist art filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan spent a long time crafting very personal and breathtakingly photographed tales. His work has never been big on plot, nor have they ever been anything other than glacially paced. Indeed, his general aesthetic isn't very welcoming to the impatient, though those willing to give their attention are always struck by something special. His black and white debut "The Town" is a real toughie, containing less of a story and more of a collection of moments -- but without the presence of a narrative, Ceylan is free to discover and exhibit universal beauty that isn't dependent on deep characters or drama. A "scene" in a classroom becomes magical when a feather floats into the room, with a few children continually blowing it to stay in the air. Let the tales be told elsewhere, because without being too pretentious, this was life he was capturing in its most undiluted form.

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