October 2, 2011 |
The latest invaluable release from the National Film Preservation Foundation, the three-disc boxed set "Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938," deals not just with the evolution of the western but also with the idea of the West, as it was reflected and shaped in the early years of cinema. The western is perhaps the most American of genres, a historic symbol of Hollywood supremacy and still among the most durable of narrative templates, as recent movies as different as "Meek's Cutoff" and "True Grit" have shown.
February 20, 2011 |
The standard line on the career of Luchino Visconti is that he went from being one of the founding fathers of Italian neorealism to a master orchestrator of sumptuous historical melodramas. This shift is often viewed as a contradiction ? one of several that defined Visconti, a bisexual Marxist aristocrat ? and some even called it a betrayal, a turn from the present-day, working-class environments in which such early films as "La Terra Trema" were set to the titled, moneyed world of the past from which he came.
June 7, 2010 |
The National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive on Monday plan to announce the formation of a partnership to preserve and make available a collection of 75 silent films that have been unavailable for decades. All of these rare films, made in the U.S., are on highly volatile, hazardous nitrate stock. The crown jewel of the collection is "Upstream," a "lost" John Ford silent from 1927 about a romance between a Shakespearean actor and a girl from a knife-throwing act. Only 15% of the silent films made by Ford, who won four Oscars, including for "The Grapes of Wrath" and "How Green Was My Valley," survive.
May 15, 2010 |
"Everyone Else," the second feature film written and directed by German filmmaker Maren Ade, is, among other things, a very apt demonstration of the fact that you can't judge a film by its synopsis. The particulars of said synopsis sound mighty familiar: The film is nominally about a young couple, seemingly secure in certain aspects of their compatibility (they have a few pet names for each other) but also relatively new to each other, and how their bond is tested on a vacation.
October 25, 2009 |
Samuel Fuller was a director with a signature style: blunt verging on brutal, partial to shock cuts and mega close-ups. As a screenwriter, this former crime reporter was no less distinctive, favoring hot-button issues and hard-boiled repartee. A superb new seven-disc set, "The Samuel Fuller Collection" ($79.95, Sony, out Tuesday), which contains two films written and directed by Fuller and five earlier efforts on which he has a writing or story credit, is an intriguing auteurist study that shows the Fuller personality both as the driving force of a film and as an (often powerful)
September 19, 2009
Thank you to Betsy Sharkey for her tribute to Patrick Swayze ["Dignity More Than a Role for Swayze," Sept. 15]. As we watched his personal struggle unfold in a very public way, the decency and dignity she so eloquently characterized gave meaning to the terrifying yet unifying fact of cancer. His journey is shared by so many others, and his dignity is reflected in the efforts of doctors, nurses, research scientists, fundraisers, activists, healers, families and patients who deal with cancer every day. My thanks to Patrick, his family and those who treated and loved him for maintaining a strong spirit.