Film Festivals

San Francisco International Film Festival 2005—Part 1

What should be encouraged

By David Walsh, 10 May 2005

This is the first in a series of articles about the recent San Francisco film festival, held April 21-May 5

The 55th Berlin Film Festival—Part 4

Aesthetic choices: Aleksandr Sokurov’s The Sun

By Stefan Steinberg, 11 March 2005

This is the fourth in a series of articles written in response to the recent 55th Berlinale—the Berlin film festival—February 10-20.

The 55th Berlin Film Festival—Part 3

An increasingly complex portrayal of German anti-fascism

By Bernd Reinhardt, 5 March 2005

This is the third in a series of articles written in response to the recent 55th Berlinale—the Berlin film festival—February 10-20.

The 55th Berlin Film Festival—Part 2

Four films on Africa and the Middle East

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 February 2005

This is the second in a series of articles written in response to the recent 55th Berlinale—the Berlin film festival—February 10-20

The 55th Berlin Film Festival—Part 1

Social life and history intrude

By Stefan Steinberg and Bernd Reinhardt, 23 February 2005

This is the first in a series of articles written in response to the recent 55th Berlinale—the Berlin film festival—February 10-20

Vancouver International Film Festival 2004—Part 3

No answers yet to new problems

By David Walsh, 26 October 2004

This is the third and final in a series of articles about the recent Vancouver film festival. Part 2 was posted October 21.

Vancouver International Film Festival 2004—Part 2

Once again, avoiding the more difficult problems

By David Walsh, 21 October 2004

This is the second in a series of articles about the recent Vancouver film festival. Part One was posted October 15.

Vancouver International Film Festival 2004—Part 1

Asian films and Asian life

By David Walsh, 15 October 2004

The Vancouver film festival, taking place in a city perched on the Pacific Ocean, makes something of a specialty of screening East Asian films. That is all to the good. Every glimpse provided North American audiences into the lives, problems and thinking of peoples around the world, including their artistic circles, is a blow against provincialism and narrowness. It could probably be demonstrated by careful research that the exposure of young people in particular of a given city to international cinema has a generally civilizing and humanizing effect. How could it not?

Toronto International Film Festival 2004—Part 5

Limited range

By Joanne Laurier, 12 October 2004

This is the fifth and final in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival. Part Four was posted October 7.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004: Part four

Some things are difficult, but they need to be done

By David Walsh, 7 October 2004

This is the fourth in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival. Part three was posted October 2.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004-Part 3

Orphaned by history

By Joanne Laurier, 2 October 2004

This is the third in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004

Interview with Bahman Ghobadi, director of Turtles Can Fly

By David Walsh, 2 October 2004

At the recent Toronto film festival, David Walsh spoke to Bahman Ghobadi through an interpreter.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004

Interview with Jia Zhang-ke, director of The World

By David Walsh, 29 September 2004

David Walsh spoke to Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke in Toronto through an interpreter.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004—Part 2

The problem of producing great works ... and today’s best works

By David Walsh, 29 September 2004

This is the second of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2004-Part 1

A certain polarization

By David Walsh, 25 September 2004

This is the first of a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival.

Interview with Reuben Irving of Gorilla Cinema

By Harvey Thompson, 17 August 2004

Reuben Irving, along with Eleni Christopoulou, has been responsible for the works exhibited at Showcomotion 2004. These are a small part of the work of Gorilla Cinema with various schools throughout the Sheffield, England, region. Last year Gorilla Cinema worked with children at Abbeydale Grange Secondary school to help produce the documentary film 2be.

Showcomotion 2004: children’s and young people’s film festival—Part 2

By Harvey Thompson, 17 August 2004

This is the conclusion of a two-part review. Part 1 was posted August 16.

Showcomotion 2004: children’s and young people’s film festival--Part 1

By Harvey Thompson, 16 August 2004

This is the first of a two-part review

51st Sydney Film Festival—Part 4

The human cost of fratricidal war

Witnesses directed by Vinko Bresan

By Ismet Redzovic, 27 July 2004

Witnesses (Svjedoci), directed by the Croatian director Vinko Bresan and based on co-scriptwriter Jurica Pavicic’s novel Plaster Sheep (Ovce od gipsa), is a brave and intelligently made film, but not without weaknesses. This is Bresan’s third feature and a change in direction for the 40-year-old director. His first two features—How the War Began on My Island (Kako je poceo rat na mom otoku [1996]) and Marshall Tito’s Spirit (Marsal [2002])—were comedies of a sort.

51st Sydney Film Festival—Part 3

Some Australian documentaries: plenty of room for improvement

By Richard Phillips, 26 July 2004

The rise in popularity of feature-length documentaries over the last few years is an important political phenomenon. In the past, non-fiction films rarely gained cinema release, with screenings largely restricted to festivals or specialised arts events. All this changed with Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine in 2002 and even more dramatically with Fahrenheit 9/11, which has already earned over $US100 million in the US, where it is screening in more than 2,000 American cinemas, and breaking ticket-sale records for documentaries in every country it has been shown.

51st Sydney Film Festival--Part 2

A timely and disturbing drama

Blind Flight, written and directed by John Furse

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2004

Blind Flight, written and directed by John Furse, is a compassionate and at times disturbing depiction of the illegal detention of Irish teacher Brian Keenan (played by Ian Hart) and English journalist John McCarthy (Linus Roache) by Islamic fundamentalists in Lebanon in 1986.

51st Sydney Film Festival

“The democratic potential for independent filmmaking already exists”

An interview with John Furse, writer and director of Blind Flight

By Richard Phillips, 13 July 2004

Director and scriptwriter John Furse has worked in British television for more than two decades. An accomplished scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker, his recent screenplays include Hellbentand Conversations with an Executioner. He has also produced or directed documentaries such as Living on the Edge, The Time of Our Lives, Helen Bamber—On The Trail of Tortureand Looks That Kill. He spoke with the World Socialist Web Site during the Sydney Film Festival.

51st Sydney Film Festival--Part 1

Some positive signals

By Richard Phillips, 6 July 2004

This is the first in a series of articles on the 51st Sydney Film Festival, held June 11-26, 2004.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004—Part 4

Viola Liuzzo: martyr in the struggle for social equality

“She wanted equal rights for everyone,no matter what the cost!”

By Joanne Laurier, 7 June 2004

This is the fourth and final part in a series of articles on the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, held April 15-29.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004

Interview with Mary Liuzzo Lilleboe, daughter of Viola Liuzzo

By Joanne Laurier, 7 June 2004

Mary Liuzzo Lilleboe, the daughter of murdered civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, made the following comments to Joanne Laurier of the WSWS in a telephone interview from her home in Oregon.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004

Interview with Paola di Florio, director of Home of the Brave

By Joanne Laurier, 7 June 2004

Director Paola di Florio spoke with Joanne Laurier of the WSWS about her documentary film on the murdered civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004—Part 3

Several new filmmakers, but ongoing problems

By David Walsh, 2 June 2004

This is the third in a series of articles on the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, held April 15-29.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004—Part 2

For greater complexity, more uncovering

By David Walsh, 27 May 2004

This is the second in a series of articles on the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, held April 15-29.

Buenos Aires 6th International Festival of Independent Cinema

Interview with Clark Lee Walker, director of Levelland

By David Walsh, 13 May 2004

DW: It’s a film that gives a glimpse of what life in the US is really like.

Buenos Aires 6th International Festival of Independent Cinema

Interview with Ana Poliak, director of Palapalos

By David Walsh, 13 May 2004

David Walsh: Why did you begin with the physical exam?

Buenos Aires 6th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 3

Looking beyond one’s nose

By David Walsh, 13 May 2004

This is the third and final article of a series on the 6th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, held from April 14 to 25. There are two accompanying interviews, with directors Ana Poliak (Parapalos) and Clark Lee Walker (Levelland).

Buenos Aires 6th International Festival of Independent Cinema

Interview with Sam Green, co-director of The Weather Underground

By David Walsh, 7 May 2004

David Walsh spoke to Sam Green, co-director of the documentary on the Weather Underground, the US radical terrorist group in the 1970s, at the Buenos Aires film festival

Buenos Aires 6th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 2

Documentary films: the French role in counter-insurgency, American radicalism in the 1970s and other matters

By David Walsh, 7 May 2004

This is the second of a series of articles on the 6th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, held from April 14-25.

6th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 1

A possible experiment: to feel something more deeply for the world

By David Walsh, 5 May 2004

This is the first of a series of articles on the 6th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, held from April 14-25.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2004—Part 1

Outrage in the Middle East

By Joanne Laurier, 20 April 2004

This is the first in a series of articles on the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, held April 15-29.

54th Berlin Film Festival—Part 4

German films at the Berlin Film Festival: Confused emotions

By Bernd Reinhardt, 18 March 2004

A German film by Fatih Akin won the “Golden Bear,” the top award at this year’s Berlin film festival. As with Akin’s previous films Short and Painless and Julie, this film deals with the lives of second- and third-generation Turkish migrants living in Germany.

54th Berlin Film Festival—Part 3

New films by Ken Loach, John Boorman and Hans Petter Moland

By Stefan Steinberg, 10 March 2004

Another prominent film director, with cinematic and political roots going back to the 1960s, had a new film at the 54th Berlin Film Festival. Drawing on the strengths of the British realist cinematic tradition of the late 1950s and 1960s, which saw talented dramatists and filmmakers turning their attention to burning social issues for film and television, Ken Loach gained an immediate reputation for stark and powerful studies of social milieus which had been largely ignored in postwar British cinema.

54th Berlin Film Festival—Part 2

The legacy of the 1960s: films by Fernando Solanas and Theo Angelopoulos

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 February 2004

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54th Berlin Film Festival—Part 1

Disentangling “dark and difficult” cinema

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 February 2004

Last year’s Berlin Film Festival took place as storm clouds gathered for an impending US-led invasion of Iraq. This year, in a somewhat sombre comment, festival director Dieter Koslick warned his audience on a number of occasions that many of the films featured at this year’s competition dealt with “dark” and “difficult” themes. If people wanted entertainment, he said, then they could always go to the cinema.

Two films at the Montreal World Film Festival

Komrades, directed by Steve Kokker, and Babi Yar, directed by Jeff Kanew

By Felix Kreisel, 1 November 2003

Komrades, directed by Steve Kokker, and Babi Yar, directed by Jeff Kanew, presented at the Montreal World Film Festival, August 27-September 7

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 4

Groping their way toward power and wealth

By David Walsh, 30 October 2003

“History is the greatest of dialecticians.” - G. Plekhanov

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 3

Art and the facts of daily life

By David Walsh, 24 October 2003

The state of the world concerns and disturbs many artists. So too does the state of art. And rightly so. The self-absorption, triviality and outright banality of so many films, for example, offends the more sensitive and intelligent directors and writers, those least devoted to celebrity and wealth, those attached by stronger threads to the general population and attuned to its interests and needs. In opposition to the false and unreal studio products, most of which seem hazardously distant from any recognizable existence, certain filmmakers set up the principle of “social facts” in the form of documentary filmmaking.

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 2

Critical and intelligent voices, not squeezed lemons

By David Walsh, 20 October 2003

It surely must be taken as an encouraging sign that critical and intelligent voices are once again being heard in eastern Europe and the Balkans. And not from the “dissident” generation, for the most part as used up as squeezed lemons, which slavishly assisted in the imposition of “free market” conditions, with all their disastrous consequences. Already this year, we’ve seen The Cuckoo from Russia and My Town from Poland, neither a towering work, but which cast a generally empathetic look at human problems. Until recently, nearly all the films emerging from the region in the post-Stalinist era have been cynical, hopelessly demoralized or merely mercenary.

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 1

Toward a painstaking analysis of what actually is

By David Walsh, 16 October 2003

The recent 22nd Vancouver International Film Festival screened some 325 films from more than 50 countries. The festival is the largest showcase of Canadian films in the world and presents the greatest number of East Asian films outside Asia. Nearly 70 documentaries were shown this year.

Toronto International Film Festival 2003—Part 5

Seven films, genuinely concerned with humanity or not

By Joanne Laurier, 26 September 2003

This is the final part in a series of articles on the recent Toronto film festival (September 4-13).

Interview with Babak Payami, director of Silence Between Two Thoughts

By David Walsh, 24 September 2003

The WSWS spoke to Babak Payami, director of Silence Between Two Thoughts, at the Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2003—Part 4

How does the artist portray historical tragedy?

By David Walsh, 24 September 2003

Several films at the recent Toronto film festival treated, directly or indirectly, the ongoing tragedy in Afghanistan, Osama (directed by Afghan filmmaker Siddiq Barmak), At Five in the Afternoon (directed by Samira Makhmalbaf, from Iran) and Silence Between Two Thoughts (directed by Babak Payami, also Iranian). The first two were shot in Afghanistan, the third a few miles from its border in eastern Iran.

Toronto International Film Festival 2003—Part 3

Intimate moments, genuine protest

By Joanne Laurier, 22 September 2003

Directed by Sarah Gavron, screenplay by Rosemary Kay

An interview with Tom Zubrycki, director of Molly & Mobarak

22 September 2003

Tom Zubrycki, director of Molly & Mobarak, was interviewed at the Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2003—Part 2

Reproductions of life

By David Walsh, 19 September 2003

A certain type of intellectual snob or skeptic is taken aback at the thought that art might—or might be expected to—provide objective knowledge of human relationships and social life. Artistic effort, according to such people, ought to be reserved for the consideration of “higher”—or often “lower”—things (the supposedly “darker,” “primal” stuff of life). The physical state in which millions of people live, as well as their moral and mental condition, is of little interest to our snob or skeptic. “It’s all Eros and Thanatos,” he or she mutters, “Eros and Thanatos.”

An interview with Jafar Panahi, director of Crimson Gold

By David Walsh, 17 September 2003

Jafar Panahi, Iranian director of Crimson Gold, was interviewed at the Toronto film festival by David Walsh.

Toronto International Film Festival 2003—Part 1

Encouraging signs

By David Walsh, 17 September 2003

This is the first in a series of articles on the recent Toronto film festival (September 4-13).

Sydney Film Festival—Part 4

Courageous and thoughtful cinema

Titicut Follies directed by Frederick Wiseman andThe Spirit of the Beehive directed by Victor Erice

By Richard Phillips, 8 September 2003

This is the fourth and final article on the Sydney Film Festival.

Showcomotion 2003: Children and young peoples’ film festival screens more than 100 films

Part Two

By Harvey Thompson, 23 August 2003

Wallah Be (Kald mig bare Aksel), directed by Pia Bovi, 78 minutes, Denmark; Whale Rider, directed by Niki Caro, 104 minutes, New Zealand; The Boy who wanted to be a Bear (Drengen Der Ville Gore Det Umlige, directed by Jannik Hastrup, 75 minutes, Denmark/France

Showcomotion 2003: Children and young peoples’ film festival screens more than 100 films

By Harvey Thompson, 22 August 2003

2Be, directed by Eleni Christopoulou, 30 minutes, UK; Science Fiction, directed by Danny Deprez, 93 minutes, Belgium/The Netherlands; Does God Play Football?, directed by Mike Walker, 10 minutes, UK

Sydney Film Festival—Part 3

Two perceptive Indian films

By Richard Phillips, 7 August 2003

This year’s festival included recent works by Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Ratman and Buddhadeb Dasgupta, some of India’s more intelligent and humane filmmakers. Consistently rejecting the escapist themes championed by Bollywood, the dominant sector of the Indian film industry, these directors have seriously attempted to examine different aspects of local social and political life.

Sydney Film Festival

Blind Shaft director speaks about filmmaking in China

Part 2

By John Chan, 18 July 2003

One of the more impressive contemporary works screened at this year’s festival was Blind Shaft, a first-time feature written and directed by 34-year-old Chinese director Li Yang. The film has won awards at the Berlin, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong international film festivals.

Sydney Film Festival—Part 1

Classic films a festival highlight

By Richard Phillips, 7 July 2003

This is the first of a series of articles on the recently concluded Sydney Film Festival.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 3

A growing seriousness

By David Walsh, 26 May 2003

This is the third and final part of a series on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. Parts one and two were posted on May 21 and May 23.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2

“But there is a great deal more to say”

By Joanne Laurier, 23 May 2003

This is the second of three articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. The third article will be posted next week.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 1

A modest proposal: a cinema of ideas

By David Walsh, 21 May 2003

This is the first of three articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival. The second article will be posted later this week.

Buenos Aires 5th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 4

An Argentine tragedy

By David Walsh, 15 May 2003

Flores de septiembre (Flowers of September), directed by Pablo Osores, Roberto Testa and Nicolás Wainszelbaum, examines the tragic fate of a number of students at the Carlos Pellegrini secondary school in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. The young people, involved with the Montoneros guerrilla movement, were abducted and murdered by the military dictatorship during the so-called “dirty war.”

An interview with Nicolás Wainszelbaum and Roberto Testa, directors of Flowers of September

By David Walsh, 15 May 2003

David Walsh: I just want to say that it’s a very strong film, a very moving film. Why did you choose to make this particular work?

Buenos Aires 5th International Festival of Independent Cinema-Part 3

Structures of evasion

By David Walsh, 13 May 2003

Marxist criticism insists, against other viewpoints, that some degree of historical perspective is not only necessary for the analysis of art works, but also for their creation. The artist needs to have serious thoughts on how a given society or community arrived at its present social and psychic condition in order to make sense of critical phenomena, large and small. Every relationship, even the most intimate, bears upon it the impress of this more general history.

Buenos Aires 5th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 2

Films on the Middle East, texture in cinema and certain elusive figures

By David Walsh, 9 May 2003

As a source of knowledge current feature filmmaking leaves a great deal to be desired. If one wants to learn something important about the world, unhappily, this is not the first place to turn. Genuine knowledge (including knowledge of subjective processes), that is, and not simply the contents of numerous essentially empty, self-important and often celebrated heads. This goes for so-called “art” and “independent” cinema too. In fact, empty-headedness and self-importance find some of their most perfected expressions in this realm.

Buenos Aires 5th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 1

The two paths

By David Walsh, 7 May 2003

The most recent Buenos Aires independent film festival opened as US forces continued their brutal assault on Iraq, shooting down protesters in Mosul and calmly presiding over the destruction of the country’s cultural heritage. Not since the 1940s had the world seen such an act of naked aggression.For its part Buenos Aires bears witness to the depth of the Argentine and world economic crisis, with more than a quarter of the nation’s population now out of work and well over half living below the poverty line. The city is measurably dirtier, poorer and gloomier than one year ago.

53rd Berlin Film Festival—Part 2

Additional Berlinale competition films

By Stefan Steinberg, 11 March 2003

This is the second in a series of articles on the recent 53rd Berlin Film Festival. Part 1 was published on March 7.

53rd Berlin Film Festival—Part 1

Varied responses to the state of the world

By Stefan Steinberg, 7 March 2003

Directly or indirectly, the social and political events of the last two years, culminating in the preparations for a US-led war against Iraq, left their mark on this year’s 53rd Berlin Film Festival.

12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema

Part 2: Two ways of depicting war

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 November 2002

This is the second and final article on the recent 12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema.

12th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema

Part 1: Some hopeful signs

By Stefan Steinberg, 15 November 2002

In reviewing the body of films at a given festival it is never easy to determine whether a change in the character of the work shown reflects a general shift in mood and subject matter on the part of filmmakers or merely a change of stance on the part of the festival worker(s) responsible for selecting films. With this proviso in mind, based on the selection of films on show at the 12th festival of East European Cinema in the German city of Cottbus, a few encouraging signs were visible in the work of a number of young filmmakers.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Interview with Travis Wilkerson, director of An Injury to One

By David Walsh, 4 October 2002

An Injury to One, directed Travis Wilkerson, centers on a significant episode in American labor history, the murder of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana in August 1917. The film provides the historical background to the event, the decades-long exploitation of the region and its workers by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Films on social and historical questions

Part 6

By David Walsh, 4 October 2002

This is the sixth in a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: An interview with Frederick Wiseman, director of The Last Letter

Part 5

2 October 2002

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Eight films

Part 4

By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2002

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Even in success, problems

Part 3

By David Walsh, 26 September 2002

This is the third in a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

Toronto International Film Festival 2002: Why are there so many disappointing films?

Part 2

By David Walsh, 23 September 2002

This is the second of a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

The Toronto International Film Festival 2002: A conversation about cinema

By David Walsh, 20 September 2002

This is the first of a series of articles on the Toronto International Film Festival 2002, held September 5-14.

Sydney Film Festival

The danger of war on the Indian subcontinent

War and Peace, directed by Anand Patwardhan

By Richard Phillips, 22 August 2002

War and Peace, a three-hour documentary directed by Anand Patwardhan on the danger of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan, is one of the few Indian anti-war films. Screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival, Patwardhan’s film skillfully uses war-mongering speeches by political leaders and the mass media in India and Pakistan to highlight the serious dangers posed by the chauvinist sentiment whipped up by governments on both sides of the border.

Sydney Film Festival

Glimpses of daily life for ordinary Palestinians

A Wedding in Ramallah directed by Sherine Salama

By Richard Phillips, 22 July 2002

A Wedding in Ramallah, a 90-minute film by Sherine Salama, documents the arranged marriage of a Palestinian couple, Mariam and Bassam Abed, in the West Bank and their lonely life seven months later in the US. Shot over a 12-month period beginning in July 2000, under conditions of an ever-tightening Israeli economic and military siege of the Palestinian Territories, Salama’s film is a thoughtful and compelling work.

49th Sydney Film Festival

Grappling with the plight of immigrants and asylum seekers

By Richard Phillips, 12 July 2002

The annual Sydney Film Festival, held from June 7 to 21, screened 150 movies from 34 different countries, providing much-needed access to films rarely screened in Australian cinemas or on local television networks. WSWS correspondents watched more than 30 of these, including several feature-length documentaries and some classic cinema from the archives. Below is the first of a series of articles and reviews that will be published in the coming weeks.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2002—Part 3

Pasolini and other questions

By David Walsh, 30 May 2002

This is the third and final part of a series on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2).

San Francisco International Film Festival 2002—Part 2

Four films

By Joanne Laurier, 27 May 2002

This is the second in a series of articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2)

San Francisco International Film Festival 2002—Part 1

Rewards, disappointments and surprises

By David Walsh, 24 May 2002

This is the first in a series of articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival (April 18-May 2)

Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 4

Discussions on the Argentine crisis

By David Walsh, 22 May 2002

This is the fourth and final part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 3

Drama, ideas and life

By David Walsh, 20 May 2002

This is the third part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 2

Films of Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, and a number of documentaries

By David Walsh, 17 May 2002

This is the second part in a series on the recent Buenos Aires independent film festival (April 18-28).

Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema

Steel and the Virgin Mary

By Carolina Gutierrez, 15 May 2002

Ciudad de María (Mary’s City) is a documentary about the cult of the Virgin Mary in San Nicolás, a town in the north of Buenos Aires province. The origin of this enormously popular religious phenomenon was the claim made by Gladys Quiroga de Motta, a resident of San Nicolás, that the Virgin appeared and talked to her for the first time on September 25, 1983.

Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema—Part 1

Changed conditions and some of the same problems

By David Walsh, 15 May 2002

This is the first in a series of articles on the Buenos Aires 4th International Festival of Independent Cinema.

The 52nd Berlin Film Festival

Part 3

By Stefan Steinberg, 2 March 2002

In this part we discuss three films dealing with Fascism: Amen by Constantin Costa-Gavros, Taking Sides by Istvan Szabó and Safe Conduct by Bertrand Tavernier.

The 52nd Berlin Film Festival

Part 2

By Stefan Steinberg and Bernd Reinhardt, 28 February 2002

In this part we discuss three German films in the main competition at the festival—Heaven by Tom Tykwer, A Map of the Heart by Dominik Graf and Grill Point by Andreas Dresen.

52nd Berlin Film Festival

Still awaiting the long anticipated revival of German film

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 February 2002

In the weeks preceding the 52nd Berlin Film Festival many German media outlets and film critics speculated over the possibilities of a revival in the fortunes of the German film industry. Not only have German feature films been a rarity in past years on the international festival circuit, even at home and at previous Berlinales, German films have been in short supply. In terms of domestic popularity a recent German production has broken all attendance records—over 11 million viewers, but no critic can seriously maintain that The Shoe of Manitou, a Cowboy and Indians farce poking fun at the novels of Karl May, could be regarded as the herald of a new dawn for German film.

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 3

I’m Going Home and Mulholland Drive

By David Walsh, 3 November 2001

Manoel de Oliveira, the Portuguese filmmaker, has directed a new film at the age of 92. That in itself is a remarkable feat and a tribute to human capacities. (Astonishingly, he has made 13 films since 1990, the year he turned 82.) Moreover, I’m Going Home (Je rentre à la maison) is an appealing and charming work. A number of de Oliveira’s films have appeared at film festivals in recent years—The Convent (1995), Journey to the Beginning of the World (1997), The Letter (1999) and Word and Utopia (2000), for example—without creating a strong impression, one way or the other. While intelligent and elegant, they have seemed rather slight and concerned with relatively marginal problems. One couldn’t help but feel that this had something to do with the situation of the Portuguese middle class, or at least a section of its intellectuals, in the twentieth century.

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 2

Too modest by half

By David Walsh, 31 October 2001

Is it really such a daunting task for film writers and directors to depict present-day life more richly and truthfully? There are those who think so, who argue against demanding any more from contemporary filmmaking than that which it currently has to offer. One hears this refrain quite often, “What more can you expect?” To imagine that the present meager offerings of the “entertainment industry” or even the “independent cinema” were the limits of the possible would truly be a discouraging prospect. Fortunately, it’s a mistaken and misguided notion.

Vancouver International Film Festival—Part 1

Once again on the problem of perspective

By David Walsh, 24 October 2001

“Artistic truth is obtained through tortuous searching.” — Aleksandr Voronsky

2001 Toronto International Film Festival—Part 4

Films by Godard, Cox, Imamura and others

By David Walsh, 8 October 2001

Veteran French director Jean-Luc Godard’s Éloge de l’amour (Eulogy of Love) is a cold and uninvolving work and largely incoherent. Largely, but not entirely. What comes though the irritating collage of disjointed moments are self-pity, demoralization and French (or European) chauvinism.

2001 Toronto International Film Festival—Part 3

Struggling, alive, contradictory...

By Joanne Laurier, 4 October 2001

Under the Skin of the City is the seventh feature film directed by leading female Iranian filmmaker, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad. The treatment of social issues in her films, including several documentaries, has run her afoul of the Iranian government. Set at the time of the parliamentary elections of 1997, her latest film is a dramatic and complex portrayal of the travails of a family in a working class suburb of Tehran.

2001 Toronto International Film Festival—Part 2

Five films on historical and political themes

By David Walsh, 27 September 2001

A number of films screened at the Toronto film festival dealt with historical questions. What follows are only preliminary comments. It may be necessary to return at a later date to some of these subjects and films.

2001 Toronto International Film Festival—Part 1

The success and failure of the international "Style of Quality" in cinema

By David Walsh, 21 September 2001

The devastating attacks in New York City and Washington occurred midway through the Toronto film festival. After a one-day interruption the festival’s activities proceeded, somewhat curtailed and obviously on a far more somber note. Inevitably the attacks did more than simply alter the mood of those on hand. While the course of political developments, even the most traumatic, cannot by itself determine the evaluation of works of art, it is impossible to regard the films screened in Toronto entirely outside the context created by the tragic events and the threat of more to come, as well as the larger set of historical and political circumstances from which they sprang.

Edinburgh Film Festival

Two contrasting films about asylum seekers

Gas Attack, directed by Kenny Glenaan, and Roadblocks directed by Stavros Ioannou

By Steve James, 14 September 2001

The Edinburgh Film Festival hosted the British, and in the case of Gas Attack, the world premiere of two films featuring Kurdish refugees in Europe as both actors and subject. Gas Attack by British TV director Kenny Glenaan is set in Glasgow, while Roadblocks by the Greek TV documentary maker Stavros Ioannou is set in Athens. Both are fictional accounts of events that take the current situation of refugees in the two cities as their point of departure.

A director treading water

What Time is it There? Directed by Tsai Ming-liang Screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival

By Steve James, 8 September 2001

A feature of some independent cinema in the late 20th and early 21st century is its examination of the alienation of marginalised ordinary people, scratching a living in the giant cities of the planet.