FNC 2017 : Saul Bass & S. Suzuki

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While its closing film (the Animated feature Loving Vincent) is today, 7PM at the Imperial Cinema, the FNC 2017 finishes this Sunday and there is still plenty to chose from. Perhaps two of the most interesting presentations that were not part of media highlights can be found in the Retrospective and special screenings.

There is showings of a 4k restoration of sci-fi cult item Phase IV, in which scientists discover that a collective intelligent army of Ants seem to have declared war on the human specie.

Released in 1974, Phase IV was the only feature directed by Prestigious and influential artist/ graphic designer Saul Bass who designed some of the most iconic logos of the 20th century and had a prolific Hollywood career in providing highly innovative title sequences for directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.

Bass precise and creative technical skills, Dick Bush photography and Brian Gascoigne’s eerie music, are among highlights of Phase IV, creating a chilling atmosphere. Key works include an Art department under supervision by John Barry (not the composer), Norman Reynolds and John Richardson, on special effects. All three would,  soon after,  contribute key work for the Star Wars franchise.

Showings:
Saturday October 14, 5:10 PM, Cinéma du Parc 2
Sunday October 15, 9:25 PM, Quartier Latin 16

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The other films to look for are part of the presentation of movies by master of the Yakuza film with a twist, Seijun Suzuki. The influence of this amazing film maker can be found in such works as Jim Jarmush’s Ghost Dog, Won Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love and countless others.

Featured Films:

Detective Bureau 2-3 – Go to Hell Bastards (3:30 PM Saturday – Quartier Latin 17),

Branded to Kill (9:00 PM Saturday – Quartier Latin 16),

Tokyo Drifter (13:00 PM Sunday – Quartier Latin 16)

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FNC 2017: Les Predatrices (France, 2016)

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What happens when Nosferatu and Dracula meet David Lynch (circa Blue Velvet, 1986) and Brian De Palma (circa Sisters, 1972)? One might guess, creepy but aesthetically pleasing decor and characters exhibiting bizarre fetishes. In former porn actress Ovidie’s Les Predatrices, sisters of a particular sort turn to murder in exchange for some life-prolonging elixirs. Creepy Dracula-dude is only a bit part, but he is an essential component to the sisters’ lifestyle and livelihood.

Meanwhile, the only thing the siblings seem to do in their shared existence is look for gullible men for at-home indulgences. They are modern-day vampires, temptresses, murderesses, but the viewer is never told why exactly. An air of mystery lingers about their past and about why murder is the price for their elixirs. Curiously, Ovidie has created a female-empowerment film where women are still at the beck and call of this Dracula-like figure. The codependence is a Continue reading

FNC 2017: Kwaidan – Cine Concert

 

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Imagine you are in a museum looking at a Picasso and suddenly some kid Tags it with spray paint all over.

Well it is exactly what a group of musicians did this Thursday, under the direction of composer Sarah Pagé, to Masaki Kobayashi’s visually striking Kwaidan (1964), originally scored by legendary Toru Takemitsu.

Takemitsu’s soundtrack, ranked # 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine list of Greatest Horror Soundtracks, gave the John Cage treatment of theories and paradigm-shifting sounds to Kobayashi’s collection of ghost stories from the Japanese folklore, distorting traditional instruments and other ingenious devices, carefully balancing sound and silence.

In Music for Movies (1994), the composer explained, about the Continue reading

FNC 2017 : Il Grande Silenzio (4K Restoration)

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Quentin Tarantino (and Cinematographer Robert Richardson) studied it before shooting The Hateful Eight. At the end of the 1960’s, 20th Century Fox Chief executive, Darryl Zanuck, was so offended by it, he refused to release it in America. It contains a superb score by Maestro Ennio Morricone and it stars screen legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski.

It took 50 years, but Sergio Corbucci’s seminal Spaghetti Western, Il Grande Silenzio (1968), has been finally restored (in 4K) by the Cineteca Nazionale of Rome using the film’s original negatives and sound elements. Corbucci’s film about outlaws, in late 19 century Utah, getting unexpected help from a silent gunslinger (Trintignant) against a group of bounty hunters, turns upside down numerous conventions of the Western genre.

A revisionist Western, Il Grande Silenzio was made by Continue reading

FNC 2017: New Media

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The FNC is known not only for its vast selection of films, but also its eye on new technologies. The events dot the city in several venues where the public can watch live experimental music performances, put on some VR goggles, or visit Severine Fontaine’s Lamparium. This planetarium-like immersive experience incorporates 3D animated lamps and light sources projected on a 360-degree dome-shaped screen, as well as physical lamps which turn on and off throughout the 45-minute presentation. While spectators recline on oversized beanbags mats, the show is at first relaxing and somewhat hypnotizing. Its pace picks up to Continue reading