Movies: New York Film Festival 2013 #1 — Japan And China Step Up
French director Michel Hazanavicius borrows from several Hollywood legends and prototypes (including A Star Is Born, Singing in the Rain and Sunset Boulevard) for this ingenious fable about a silent star whose career fades with the advent of talkies and a young starlet who sees her celebrity explode at the same time. It’s a tribute to artful silent cinema, but it’s also a sweet love story that is wonderfully told in the faces (including that of a terrific Jack Russell terrier named Uggy) of its charming cast. 2. Hugo: Martin Scorsese redefines 3-D in this astonishing family film about a young orphan who lives in the clock tower of a Paris train station in 1930. There’s a Dickensian drama in his life, but the movie’s plot – all gears and gimcracks – is mostly in service of a tribute to the history of movies, especially the genius of French pioneer, Georges Melies. Scenes from some of Melies’ 500 films pay loving and joyful homage to the magical early years of cinema. 3. The Descendants: Alexander Payne’s masterful control of tone is what makes this comic tragedy surprising: We may know where the plot is heading, but moments of sudden grief and surreal humour alternately surprise us and provide constant delight. George Clooney, showing the cracks in his smooth surface, has never been as good as he is in this tale of a Hawaiian lawyer who learns that his comatose wife had been cheating on him. 4. The Tree of Life: Reclusive director Terrence Malick emerges from hiding with this magisterial epic about a childhood in Texas under the control of an angry and disappointed father (a fine performance by Brad Pitt), and also – steady now – the very foundations of the universe itself. The poetic, visual storytelling relies on small moments (billowing curtains, a sudden butterfly) to build a slow but moving masterwork. 5. Margin Call: An A-list cast – including Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Jeremy Irons – anchor this smart examination of the American financial crisis. First-time filmmaker J.C.
She works in a hotel/massage parlor/brothel but it’s the wife of the businessman that first assaults her and calls her a whore. (“Did your mother give birth to you just so you could seduce my husband?” demands the woman as she and some men viciously beat the girl.) The violence throughout has been shocking but here in the film’s major visual misstep, the mistress turns into a warrior, fighting back in the style of a samurai that seems silly and undercuts the movie’s realism. The fourth story involves a hapless kid working in a factory who takes a job at a high end hotel/brothel, falls in love with a female coworker and generally feels helpless as his life narrows down to a miserable job on yet another factory floor. Throughout the film is well acted and shot and certainly the stories are filled with incident by his standards. For Jia, this is practically Star Wars — it’s far more action packed and accessible to a wide audience than his earlier films. Unfortunately, it stumbles too often. The violence in the third tale is too stylish and the violence in the fourth tale is unearned. How much more wrenching it would be to see that young guy trapped on a factory floor, doomed like Sisyphus to the endless task of trying to get by. Jia is too good to miss anything he makes and I won’t be upset if this gains him fans in the West. But far subtler, more ambitious work awaits anyone who plunges into his catalog of films. Still, A Touch Of Sin is a remarkably corrosive look at the price society pays for corruption, dehumanization and other sins. And while others may profit, the film’s final shot holds the audience — all of us — responsible for allowing it to continue.
Martial arts master Ip Man reigns large in film
Here in the early 21st century we often think of silent movies as just thatsilent. In reality, everything from grand movie palaces to humble showhouses in the 1920s were crackling with noise. There was virtually always music, sometimes in the form of a single pianist, other times with enormous live orchestras . And there were countless experiments with sound effects machines and even live actors reading lines, doing their best to sync their words with the actors being projected on screen. It’s worth noting that these European flights in the mid-1920s weren’t technically the first flights to show an in-flight movie. As a publicity stunt back in 1921, Aeromarine Airways circled Navy Pier in Chicago, showing a copy of the promotional travel film Howdy Chicago. As John Norman White notes in his 1994 paper [pdf] on the history of in-flight entertainment, the Chicago stunt was a silent experience. Aside from the deafening sounds of the prop plane, we can assume. A screen was hung in the fore cabin, an electric light socket supplied power, and a DeVry suitcase projector was secured to a table in the aisle. As sightseeing passengers flew above Chicago, the citys highlights appeared on the movie screen. There were no concerns related to sound talkies were years in the future. Why would you want to watch a movie about Chicago when you’re soaring over that very city during a time when powered flight wasn’t even two decades old? That’s a perfectly reasonable question, the answer to which has sadly been lost to history.
The First In-Flight Movies Had a Live Orchestra
Both characters battle their opponents in elements and landscapes that mirror their own tortured souls, from torrential sheets of rain to the vast snowy drifts of northern China. PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club By contrast, Yau a veteran commercial director uses Ip as a framing device to explore Hong Kong’s colonial history. Ip arrived in the then-British colony in 1949, and “The Final Fight” homes in on how locals chafed against London’s rule. While the movies have opposing styles “The Grandmaster” is languid, lush and consumed by longing while “The Final Fight” is fast-paced and often funny they both touch on the struggles of mainland Chinese who settled in Hong Kong after the Japanese invasion and the Communist takeover. “When I was shooting the movie, I tried to imagine how my father and my mother were living in that era, how they struggled, how they brought up me and my brothers,” explained Yau in his hometown, which the British returned to Chinese rule in 1997. “Hong Kong is quite nostalgic now because things are disappearing too fast.” PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times To recapture the Hong Kong of the past, Yau not only built historical sets but also tried to create the aesthetic of an old film. In his movie Ip, to the disapproval of his students, falls for a glamorous singer. They cautiously set up a semblance of a life together, but there are no sex scenes; their affair is platonic and chaste. Yau wanted to mimic the movies made in Hong Kong during the ’50s when “there is no way to find a love scene. What I have done is to put the 1950s aura into ‘The Final Fight.'” To prepare to play Ip in “The Grandmaster,” Leung spent a year and a half training in Wing Chun (and broke his arm twice while shooting). But beyond his physical prowess, it was Ip’s intelligence and moral compass that Leung most wanted to portray. The actor recalled that when he came across a photograph of the real Ip, he saw “a man who doesn’t look like a kung fu man. He looks like a scholar, a very refined, graceful person. In his eyes, I can see Ip Man still has dignity.” This notion is corroborated by Sifu Duncan Leung, one of Ip’s former students, who trained with the master in 1950s Hong Kong and acted as Leung’s martial arts teacher.