Browsing: Other Arts

As a teenager in the early 1970s, Tony Villecco saw a photo of Polish actress Pola Negri in a book of silent-film stars, and he instantly felt drawn to her. Maybe it was her exotic and beautiful appearance, or maybe it was the hint of smoldering romance in her eyes. Before long, he’d tracked down her autobiography (which he later learned was ghostwritten and full of, shall we say, elaborations) and even figured out where she lived in San Antonio, Texas. He’d write letters to her and get back an occasional photo or Christmas card from her assistant. But Negri, whom…

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are having a blast with Farhadi. And they talk about language differences. The Iranian filmmaker is notorious for taking on challenges in tongues he does not speak. He’s currently working with two translators on set who Cruz says “are amazing, it’s like they become him.” Bardem adds of Farhadi, “He sees everything. He may not understand a word, but he knows what you’re saying. He only wants honesty to its deepest level so you are really obliged to take the mask off and go there completely naked. I believe in giving it all, but the…

In the wake of Christopher Nolan’s wartime epic Dunkirk, which was released in July, the long-simmering debate about the respective merits of film and digital is again coming to the boil. In interviews, Nolan has wasted no opportunity to proclaim the superiority of film over digital. He lets everyone know that Dunkirk was shot on film, much of it using IMAX cameras. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, strongly tipped for awards nominations for his work on the movie, likewise champions the benefits of old-fashioned film. In the mad scramble to convert cinemas for digital projection, van Hoytema argues that the industry has been contributing to…

MoviePass, a subscription service run by Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe, went national five years ago with a model that allowed subscribers to see a different film at the theaters every 24 hours. Pricing was set at $25 to $40 per month depending on where you lived, and subscriptions in some places went as high as $50. That pricing structure never seemed to gain significant traction, however, and on Tuesday, MoviePass announced it was cutting the monthly price to an astonishingly cheap $9.95. A ticket to the movies normally costs $8.84 on average around the U.S., and admission in big city…

A Memphis cinema has scrapped its annual screening of Gone With The Wind following protests over its racial content. The decision was made amid a growing debate about Confederate symbols in the South and frankly, a lot of people give a damn. Todd Starnes, a Memphis native and Fox News commentator tweeted that the Civil War epic, the highest grossing film in history taking inflation into account, had been “done-in by a bunch of meddling, no account liberal Yankee carpetbaggers”. “The cultural cleansing of my hometown has gone too far,” he added. “Common sense has gone with the wind.” But others rallied…

Too bad if before leaving this world, we have done nothing to cure its sickness… * Last week using a favor of my dear friend, Bijan Emkanian, the well known Iranian actor, producer,  I went to see the “Thirty” a play/concert. Among well dressed men and women and in the midst of the kind last summer night breeze that caress your skin set to watch a miracle. The very first moments the magic of “ Sohrab Nazeri” ‘s magnificent hands playing Setar, made me hold my breath and I was trapped in the spell of Homayoun Shajarian’s beautiful voice. Saber…

A new Bob Dylan concert film is set to premiere at the 2017 New York Film Festival, as Variety notes. Trouble No More, directed by Jennifer Lebeau, features rare concert footage from Dylan’s “born again” era, capturing performances in Toronto and Buffalo from the final leg of the gospel-inflected 1979-80 tour. The film also includes sermons written by writer/critic Luc Sante and delivered by actor Michael Shannon. The “born again” era of Dylan’s career, which spanned three albums, is set to be explored in a new book and Bootleg Series box set, both due this fall. The New York Film…

The British film production boom, from blockbusters including the new Star Wars trilogy to smaller domestic flicks and European co-productions, has played a role in propping up growth in the UK economy following the Brexit vote. However, producers – including the backer of a film about that most British of figures, Winston Churchill – have warned that severing links with Brussels will endanger the industry. Lionsgate, which released Churchill in June, worries that Brexit will impede the already complex process of funding, filming and releasing a multimillion-pound product. One Lionsgate-backed film that might have struggled post-Brexit is Rupert Everett’s directorial debut about Oscar Wilde’s last days, The…

Hollywood is abuzz about the success of “Girls Trip.” The bawdy comedy starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and breakout star Tiffany Haddish is the first movie written by, produced by, directed by, and starring African-Americans to earn more than $100 million at the box office. The success of “Girls Trip” should be celebrated. However, the film’s historic achievement also highlights the limitations faced by Black women in Hollywood. Tinseltown still has a considerable amount of work to do to create a space where Black women’s stories can be told. A movie or television show begins with a…

Public broadcaster PBS will premiere a new documentary next month about the life and art of Chinese-American artist and Bambi production designer Tyrus Wong, who passed away last year at the age of 106. The film, directed by Pamela Tom, first premiered on the festival circuit in fall 2015. It uses interviews with Wong, his family, colleagues, and admirers, as well as movie clips and archival footage, to trace his remarkable story from a farming village in the Guangdong Province of China to Hollywood and beyond. Besides developing the gentle atmospheric beauty of the Disney classic Bambi (1942), Wong worked…

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