30 July 2006

Real Location # 2 - Atame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!)

The bulk of Pedro Almodovar's film takes place in and around Madrid but the final scenes take place at a wonderful abandoned village called Granadilla (Caceres) near to Hervas, Extremadura where I spent the first week of my two week Spanish trip earlier this month.

The village itself was abandoned to make way for a reservoir which it seems in the end didn't actually rise that close to the village. The village is walled and contains some completely abandoned buildings, a church, town hall and a fort next to the main entrance. When I visited in the first week in July school children from all over Spain were learning farming methods, crafts and preservation of this historical site.

In the film Antonio Banderas searches for his parents and the house where he grew up and is seen wandering through the abandoned streets of Granadilla and looking out from the fort over the views of the reservoir.

My sincere thanks to Olga Tellez for organising this excursion. We spent our entire morning at this amazing village, walking around and talking to some of the students.

IMDB entry for Atame!, link.
A website with some additional views of Granadilla, including an ariel photograph on the home page, link.
Granadilla is in the region of Extremadura. Wikipedia link for Extremadura, link.

Antonio Banderas as Ricky on the roof of the fort at Granadilla.

Ricky searches through the abandoned village of Granadilla for where he grew up.

Portobello Film Festival

3rd to 22nd August official link.

29 July 2006

Gene Tierney

Film and stage beauties # 7: Natalie Hynn

Reverse reads:

A series of 54, No. 20, Natalie Hynn.

A series of real photographs now being issued with Black Cat Medium Cigarettes. Carreras Ltd (ESTD 1788) Arcadia Works, London, England.

All the search engines could reveal was this link, dating this series of cards from 1939.

28 July 2006

Version Original Revista de Cine

This is a great film magazine from a city called Cáceres in Spain. It's given away free and each issue seems to be themed.
The love of foreign and classic Cinema is well and truly alive in Spain. As I think I've commented here before many films unavailable on DVD in UK and US are readily available in Spain.

My thanks to Olga Tellez for giving me these copies of this impressive magazine.

Version Original Revista de Cine (Version Original - Cinema Magazine), link.

Version Original Revista de Cine # 129

Version Original - Revista de Cine. Issue #129 featuring articles on adultery in films including:

'Far from Heaven' by Israel Paredes
'Husbands and Wives' by Enrique Perez
'Casablanca', 'We Don't Live Here Anymore' and 'Terminal Station' by Angel Roman
'Breaking the Waves' by Iria Barcia
'Doctor Zhivago' by Pedro Triguero-Lizana
Carl Theodor Dreyer by Israel de Francisco
'La Carta' by Jose Maria Santiago
'Melinda and Melinda' by Natalia Pinuel

Version Original Revista de Cine # 128

Version Original - Revista de Cine. Issue # 128 featuring articles on poverty in the cinema including:

2 articles on 'Bicycle Thieves' one by Carmen Lloret and the other by Enrique Perez
'Les Glaneurs et la Glaneues', 'Capturing the Friedmans', 'Nanook of the North' and others by Angel Roman
'Salo' by Ramon Mondero
'The Kid' by Emilio J Hernandez
'Memoria del Saqueo' by Pedro Triguero-Lizana
'El Septimo Dia' by Cristina de Julian
'Maria Full of Grace' by Israel Paredes
'Leo' by Jose Maria Santiago

Version Original Revista de Cine # 127

Version Original - Revista de Cine. Issue # 127 featuring articles on memory loss including:

'Blade Runner' by Emilio J. Herandez
'Los Olvidados' by Enrique Perez
'Festen' by Ria Barcia
The role that memory plays in films and a detailed look at 'Memento' by Israel de Francisco
More on memory, with a specific look at 'Spellbound' by Jose Maria Santiago
'Letter from an Unknown Woman' by Pablo Segovia
'Citizen Kane' by Pedro Triguero-Lizana
'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' by Ramon Monedero.

Coming attraction: Miami Vice

Click on over to Odienator's review at The House Next Door, link.

27 July 2006

Coming attraction: Shoeshine

Masters of Cinema continue their superb DVD collection with 'Sciuscia' or as it's known 'Shoeshine', released in September. I've never seen this, so am really looking forward to it.

IMDB entry for 'Sciuscia', link.
Masters of Cinema # 33 'Shoeshine', link.

23 July 2006

Takeshi Kitano season

6th July to 5th August, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Spain, link.

Coming attraction: Edge of Outside season

“It takes a certain strength of character in order to do this. And I’ve seen very talented film makers who started out in the independent world turn into hacks” – Paul Auster.

“My heroes are no more neurotic than the audience. Unless you can feel that a hero is just as fucked up as you are and that you would make the same mistakes that he would make…you can have no satisfaction when he does an heroic act” – Nicholas Ray.

“Accidents are the friend of the Director” – Gary Gramer (Director of Photography for Orson Welles).

A new documentary made by Turner Classic Movies is showcasing a season of American Independent Film Makers on TCM (US) during July, the documentary itself is well worth catching.

Divided into four parts; ‘Born Out of Conflict’ ‘Other People’s Money’, ‘Visual Voice’ and ‘Beyond Talent’ interviews with John Sales, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich and others discussing the work of many ‘Independent’ film makers from DW Griffith, Buster Keaton through to the likes of Sam Fuller, Nicholas Ray, John Cassavettes up to Darren Aronofsky. It’s a good documentary that explores within the time allowed the sprit of ‘Independent’ film making. I liked the quotes from the film, which contains many rare and exclusive interviews which, sum up for me various aspects of ‘Independent’ cinema.

Edge of Outside season on TCM, link.

22 July 2006

Cinecitta Studios

Cinecitta, official website, link.
Wikipedia entry for Cinecitta, link.

01 July 2006

Going away again...

...back soon.

Georges Franju

Gene Tierney

“Suzuki is a director who seems to have known the future before it happened…” Baz Luhrmann.

On Thursday night I attended the ICA's preview screening of 'Princess Raccoon' (Operetta Tanuki Goten) with Seijun Suzuki there to answer questions with Tony Rayns prior to the screening.

Suzuki is 83 years old and his breathing is aided by some kind of portable respiratory device, once he made himself comfortable making his way to the stage he was at home answering questions via an interpreter from Rayns and some from the audience. Rayns is well known for championing Asian cinema and even though he admitted he’d asked some of the questions before the responses always seemed to be fresh from Suzuki. When asked why he was making films within his first year of contract (sometimes as many as six per year) at Nikkatsu and Shohei Imamura wasn’t allowed to direct until his fourth year Suziki replied in a matter of fact fashion that I couldn’t tell whether he meant it or was partly joking “Because I was better than he was”. Rayns also interviewed Suzuki for his Sight and Sound article ‘Deep Seijun’ where he notes that Suzuki’s films were often B-movies shown alongside Imamura’s main features.

Rayns opened the evening with a clip from ‘Tokyo Drifter’ back to back with ‘Princess Raccoon’ to demonstrate the role that music plays in Suzuki’s work. Later he showed a clip from his second film ‘Pure Emotions of the Sea’ which is set on board a whaling ship and also included musical interludes. Which Rayns pointed out was not available on DVD, his source was a video recording from Japanese television. Sadly Suzuki’s films are few and very far between at least here in UK ‘Tokyo Drifter’, ‘Branded to Kill’, ‘Gate of Flesh’ and ‘Pistol Opera’ the film he made in 2001 are available but that’s a pretty poor showing out of a possible 56 films.

Well done to the ICA for championing Suzuki’s work in UK, they hosted a season of his films 12 years ago and gave ‘Tokyo Drifter’ and ‘Branded to Kill’ a release on VHS. To coincide with the release of ‘Princess Raccoon’ they are showing ‘The Flower and the Angry Waves’, ‘Fighting Elegy’, ‘Tokyo Drifter’ and ‘Branded to Kill’.

When asked about the future of cinema Suzuki replied “Ask God”, when asked if he’d make another film he seemed to imply it was unlikely, certainly the Japanese in the audience I spoke to agreed with Rayns when he refers to Suzuki as the greatest living Japanese film maker.

Links and references:

Sight and Sound ‘Deep Seijun’ by Tony Rayns, July 2006 issue, p26-28.
IMDB entry for Seijun Suzuki, link.
Seijun Suzuki: Authority in Minority by Stephen Teo on Senses in Cinema, link.
Man on the Moon, overview of Seijun Suzuki in yesterday's Guardian, link.

ICA, link.
The Diawa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, link.

L to R; Tony Rayns, Seijun Suzuki's interpreter and Seijun Suzuki.