Tag Archives: Larry Gleeson

Scorcese film ‘Silence’ about 17th century Christians in Japan set for December premiere

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Jardine Malado

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese announced that his the long awaited film Silence will be released in theaters on Dec. 23.

Silence, based on a novel by Shusaku Endo, tells the story of two Jesuit priests who encountered brutal persecution when they attempted to spread Christianity in 17th century Japan.

The production of the movie has been delayed several times. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film took 26 years to make and it has been the subject of various legal battles.

Martin Scorsese

Scorsese was sued multiple times by Cecchi Gori Pictures for choosing to finish other films ahead of Silence. Court papers revealed that he blamed the delay partly on “a cloud on the title to the Picture.”

The film was almost shutdown during its pre-production in Taiwan in 2014 for lack of funds. Filming began in early 2015 after Fabrica de Cine and Morah Media offered to provide capital.

There was also a lawsuit regarding the writing credits of the film but the parties involved decided to settle the case in order to avoid causing a delay in the release of the movie.

Scorsese said that he went to the places that were mentioned in the book and interviewed the descendants of hidden Christians. Japanese Christians practiced their faith underground during the 17th century due to severe persecution. They only came out of hiding in the 1860s when Japan ended its self-imposed isolation.

“What came out of that for me was the extraordinary power and sacrifice, the commitment and conviction of their ancestors who were martyrs to the faith,” the filmmaker said to AFP. “For me this was almost like meeting one of the hidden Christians from the 17th century and it changed my perception of how to deal with those scenes and the characters,” he added.

Slash Film reported that the movie was initially supposed to run for 195 minutes but it has been cut down to 159 minutes.

The cast of “Silence” includes Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Tadanobu Asano.

(Source: http://www.christiantimes.com)

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FILM REVIEW: Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1976): USA

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson. Viewed at the Egyptian Theatre, AFI film festival, Hollywood, Calif.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-4-47-43-pmEraserhead, directed by David Lynch, the 2010 AFIfest’s guest director, continues to mesmerize audiences with its stark portrayal of the many all too human desires. As NY Times’ Manohla Dargis so eloquently writes “The black-and-white world of Eraserhead disturbs, seduces and even shocks with images that are alternately discomforting, even physically off-putting. It also amuses with scenes of preposterous, macabre comedy, among them a memorable family dinner involving a cooked bird that wiggles obscenely on its plate while it gushes forth a menacing dark liquid.” Consequently, Henry Spencer, played by John Nance is informed that he has fathered a child with girlfriend Mary X, played by Charlotte Stewart. However, the child is born as a mutated fetus. The doctors aren’t even sure the baby is human any longer. The baby appears with shuffling eyes and a bulbous wet head that looks like a skinned lamb and just lies on a table, cackling and cooing – more an emblem of dread than a bundle of joy. Henry and Mary move into Henry’s single-room apartment where the baby’s constant crying keeps them awake at night. Their existence is dominated by the overwhelming banality of Henry’s single apartment and its outlook onto a brick wall. Eventually, Mary walks out, leaving Henry with sole charge of the baby. Henry is left with what is some men’s greatest nightmare – of being left with the sole responsibility for  raising an unwanted child.

Throughout Eraserhead, Lynch plays with a good deal of sexual imagery and sexual energy which seems to be the through action of the film. In the opening moments, we see Henry floating through space dreaming and what look like sperm emerging from his mouth. When domestic life with the baby starts going wrong, Henry is seen pulling sperm out of the sleeping Mary’s mouth as though trying to symbolically reverse the pregnancy. The sex in the film seems tinged with disgust – Henry’s future mother-in-law questions Henry about whether he and Mary have had sexual intercourse and proceeds to come onto Henry by slobbering on his check and neck. Later  Henry hooks up with the seductive, attractive woman from across the hallway. However,  Henry’s bed turns into a glowing swamp. Henry’s pick up attempt comes full circle as he sees the woman seducing another man. She teasingly turns to Henry and laughs at him somewhat menacingly. The only happiness Henry seems to find is in his radiator dream-land where a girl with puffy pock-cheeked cabaret-style dancer  nervously sings and moves on stage as sperm drop on her. Perhaps as Richard Schieb suggests “this latter seems to be arguing that masturbation is the only safe form of sex – certainly, this would seem to be the case at the climax of the film, which sees Henry going off to join the pure and innocent puff-cheeked girl in radiator dream-land in a blaze of white light that may be the hereafter.” And who is the mysterious man depicted at the beginning and at the end of the film? He appears to be “the man behind the curtain” pulling the lever that controls Henry’s fate. Moreover, he quite possibly may represent Henry’s bloodline with his disfigured appearance shadowed by the flying sperm-like images. Or, maybe he represents a higher duality of fear and omniscience as Henry, in the opening scene, is seen confessing a wrongdoing and receiving forgiveness. This first scene sets the tone for Eraserhead. It is open to your interpretation.

Eraserhead certainly defies any type of classification. Lynch literally seems to have tapped into his subconscious. He uses dreams and dream-like imagery. Overall, Eraserhead  seems to symbolize industrial dehumanization to a post-holocaust nuclear proliferation era with powerful sexual overtones. Henry lives in the midst of an industrial wasteland. The only views we get of the outside world are of cold, dirty factories. The only greenery we see is in Henry’s room consisting of two piles of dirt, one on his dresser and one on his bedside table where branches have sprouted. And, as Scheib so poignantly asks, “What do the pencil erasers represent – do they, as some pedantic academic suggested, symbolically represent the mind’s ability to repress or ‘erase’ matter?” Indeed.

Eraserhead was produced by the American Film Institute (AFI). AFI is known for its Lifetime Achievement Awards and for its production of over 250 short films.  Eraserhead appeared at the 1976 Chicago International Film Festival, at the Filmex Film Festival in 1977 and at the 1978 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival garnering the Antennae II Award. In 2004, The USA National Film Preservation Board named Eraserhead to the National Film Registry. It took Mr. Lynch five years to complete it. Other notable films by Mr. Lynch include Mulholland Drive (2001), Blue Velvet (1986), Twin Peaks: Firewalk with Me (1992). Recommended.

‘Michael Moore In TrumpLand’ Lands On iTunes & Sets Global Airdates – Update

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Greg Evans

Michael Moore In TrumpLand is now available on iTunes, and the surprise self-distributed documentary has also lined up presentations around the globe. The film will air on October 30 in the UK (Channel 4), Australia (Ten Network), Netherlands (VPRO), New Zealand (TVNZ), Denmark (TV2), Sweden (SVT), Finland (Nelonen), Norway (NRK) and Iceland (365).

The film, currently available on iTunes for $4.99, broke the house record at the IFC Center cinema in New York on Wednesday, according to a Moore spokesman, who reported ticket sales of $6,972. The film, dubbed Moore’s October Surprise, is also playing at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino in Los Angeles, where it has been the top-grossing film since it opened.

Moore was expected to make appearances at New York screenings this weekend.

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-8-46-10-pm

(Source: http://www.deadline.com)

 

‘Barry,’ The Young Obama Netflix Movie Will Tell Things People Don’t Know About The Outgoing President

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Joseph S.

Barry, the young Obama movie is just right on the dot as President Barack Obama is cleaning out his desk at the oval office before he finally returns to private life. Some people are already feeling nostalgic about him leaving the White House. This movie would be an apt tribute to the first black President of what is regarded as the most powerful nation on earth.

The Movie’s Premiere Was A Hit

When Barry premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, it was an instant hit. The role of the president was played by Devon Terrell, a newcomer. The story revolves around the president’s younger years while he was studying at Columbia University in New York City in the early ’80s.

This Is The Official Plot Summary

The plot of the real-life story of the U.S. President goes like this: “In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates. Barry is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.”

The Trailer Is A Real Teaser

In the trailer, young Obama is always showing his back to the viewer.He is constantly moving forward, perhaps giving the image that his life’s approach is always to look and move forward. It is only at the end of the teaser where the young Obama’s face was revealed – in the mirror – since his back is still on the viewer. He was arranging his tie before he goes out.

A report from Entertainment Weekly indicated that Netflix has just acquired the film last month when it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival. IMDB rates the film at 7.8 while Rotten Tomatoes gave it 92 percent. It was directed by the director of “Vice,” Vikram Gandhi and written by Adam Mansbach. Netflix will air the movie on Dec. 16. Take a peek at the first trailer below.

(Source: http://www.itechpost.com)

FILM REVIEW: GIGOLA (CHARPENTIER, 2011)

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2011.

Gigola, directed by Laure Charpentier, is a French film with subtitles set in the early 1960’s Paris containing themes of adult sexuality and gender issues. The film made it’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival. From there Gigola was shown at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany and finished out the year at the Paris Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, in Paris, France. The mise-en-scene is in Gigola is remarkable. The costumes, make-up, and lighting are spectacular conveying images reminiscent of That’s Entertainment (1974), and Moulon Rouge (2001).

The film opens with a teenage school girl named George, played by Lou Dillion, as a  young and slender coming of age debutante, and her teacher, an attractive mid 30ish woman. Playful background music provides energy for a highly sexually charged, sensual transaction between George and her teacher.

Charpentier jumps ahead to 1963 Paris nightlife scene. George’s boy friend has committed suicide. George has decided to withdraw from school and announces to the night-time partiers that she has flunked out of medical school seemingly intentionally.

Next time we see George she is in a Parisian bistro and we are introduced to a Carol Channing like character. George has reinvented herself.

A comment is made  to George, “You look like a gigolo.”

George coolly replies, “Gigola.”

We now see George as Gigola, the name she has given her new self. A well-to-do matron comes to the bistro and Gigola is into action. Dressed in a black tuxedo, Gigola escorts the matron onto the dance floor for a spin. Soon the pair leave the bistro together and head to the matron’s estate. With grace, elegance and a touch of class Gigola seduces the matron in an erotic bedroom scene with a snake-headed cane and white gloves.

Gigola, if nothing else, knows what she wants and she goes after it. She threatens to leave her new found matron unless she receives more money. The matron has already given Gigola a signet ring and a red MG convertible. The matron capitulates handing over to Gigola a large cache of currency. We now witness Gigola expanding her “business” with new girls working under her discretion.

Meanwhile, Gigola’s father, an opium addict, is squandering away the family’s estate as he cogently leads the life of a Parisian gentlemen. Eventually Gigola confronts her father brandishing a loaded revolver after repeatedly warning her father to stay away and, in turn, pleading with her mother to cut him off.

After an attempted suicide, Gigola finds herself under the care of a psychiatrist who bears a striking resemblance to her former teacher. She suggests having a baby to Gigola. Gigola is less than optimistic but the psychiatrist is able to connect with Gigola. Never one to miss an opportunity, Gigola deftly makes clear her intentions to the attractive psychiatrist. When the psychiatrist makes a “house call” Charpentier uses a wrestling take down move to portray the mixed emotions the psychiatrist has – she is attracted to Gigola but she is married and lives according to her principles as a married woman – a defining characteristic of the times. The psychiatrist cares about Gigola and they have dinner together where she tells Gigola that Gigola needs to let go.

Again without missing a beat Gigola moves deeper into the nightclub scene in Paris meeting a Mr. Tony Pasquale, a Sicilian. The two gain a mutual respect for each other and Tony ends up impregnating Gigola. Gigola has the baby and it seems as though Gigola has accepted normalcy and is conforming to societal norms. Gigola has left and George has come back.

However, before a sigh of relief can be expressed, in tromps the cast from the bistro. A raucous scene ensues in the hospital room with Gigola consenting to have her locks cut – a symbol of Gigola’s re-emergence.

The film closes with Gigola adhering to her somewhat circular, misguided idealism. She has turned over the care of her child to her mother and she is shown in tuxedo walking down a Parisian cobblestone alley way with her back back to the camera just before sunrise.

Amazing Friday night film for the right audience. Gigola is currently available on Amazon Prime.

AFI and 20th Century Fox Strike Partnership Aimed at Female Directors

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Twentieth Century Fox Film and the American Film Institute have entered a new partnership to help increase the number of female directors working on major studio films. The initiative will provide alumnae of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) — the American Film Institute’s unique female filmmaker training program — the opportunity to direct short films based on the Studio’s film franchises.

With the necessary expertise, tools and access to the Studio’s extensive intellectual property, the filmmakers will be invited to contribute to building the narrative world of Fox’s film franchises, and in the process, create sample work in genres, particularly action and science fiction, in which female filmmakers are often underrepresented.

Fox is committed to providing significant resources to the projects, to reflect the quality and scale of the franchise films that they support. Fox will finance, produce and distribute the short films, via its many platforms. The filmmakers will be able to add the projects to their portfolios and pitch Fox feature films unrelated to the shorts in the future.

Kicking off the trailblazing partnership, 35–50 graduates will be selected for an introduction to the terms of the initiative. Ten finalists will present original pitches to senior executives at 20th Century Fox. One or more filmmakers will be chosen to make their concept into a short film.

“The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent,” said 20th Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, who made the announcement today. “Instead, it’s often a question of access and resources. We’re excited to offer these to talented women filmmakers who then can build upon this practical work experience.”

“AFI believes that the future of this American art form is a true symphony of voices,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO.  “We have been committed to this issue from our founding, and we look forward to this landmark collaboration with Fox to impact the art and entertainment landscape in a profound way.”

(Source: http://www.blog.afi.com)