New Restorations and Premieres

On Film / The Daily — May 10, 2019
Charlie Chaplin in The Circus (1928)

Last night in Italy, Gian Luca Farinelli, director of the Cineteca di Bologna, previewed this summer’s edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, one of the world’s premier festivals of new discoveries and restorations. Farinelli’s presentation caps a busy week for news and updates from festivals ranging from A-listers like Cannes and the Berlinale to more modest yet just as exciting gems such as Locarno in Los Angeles.

The bulk of the lineup for the thirty-third edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato was unveiled earlier this year. Cinephiles can look forward to strands devoted to Jean Gabin, Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, and Hollywood director Henry King; actress, poet, novelist, and film archivist Musidora, the original Irma Vep in Louis Feuillades’s Les Vampires (1915); the noirs of Felix E. Feist; the early work of Georges Franju; and series spotlighting the golden age of South Korean cinema and West German films from the late 1940s.

What Farinelli has added are details on the big, crowd-drawing events, the open-air screenings in the Piazza Maggiore. Two milestones of the silent era from 1928, Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus and Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman, will be accompanied by live scores played by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale. Jane Campion will present her 1993 Palme d’Or winner, The Piano, and Peter Fonda will introduce a fiftieth anniversary screening of Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider. Audiences in the Piazza Maggiore will also be treated to new restorations of Luis Buñuel’s Los olvidados (1950), Vittorio De Sica’s Miracle in Milan (1951), Max Ophuls’s Le plaisir (1952), and Federico Fellini’s Roma (1972) as well as the final cut of Apocalypse Now (1979) that Francis Ford Coppola presented in Tribeca. The festival will also be firing up its reconstructed coal-powered projector in the Piazzetta Pasolini. In all, around five hundred films will unreel between June 22 through 30.

Truly hardcore cinephiles headed to Bologna might first make a stopover way up in Sodankylä, Finland, where the thirty-fourth Midnight Sun Film Festival will be running from June 12 through 16. The festival’s just announced its roster of guests, including Iranian directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf and his wife, Marziyeh Meshkini; Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles; Swedish actress and director Pernilla August; critic, programmer, and filmmaker Kent Jones; and Arnaud Desplechin, whose latest film, Oh Mercy!, will be competing at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes

Cannes’s seventy-second edition opens on Tuesday, and since our last update, two titles have been added to the lineup. In 2011, Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s The Intouchables, starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy, was such a big hit Hollywood had to remake it in 2017 as The Upside, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. Now Nakache and Toledano have paired Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb in The Specials, a film based on the true story of two men who set up non-profit organizations for children with severe autism. The Specials will be this year’s “Last Screening,” Cannes’s new name for its closing night films.

The second new title to the lineup is a new restoration of Ted Kotcheff’s Rambo: First Blood (1982), and Sylvester Stallone will be on hand to introduce it. Stallone will also be pitching Rambo V: Last Blood, directed by Adrian Grunberg and set to open worldwide on September 20.

On other fronts:

  • Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture) will preside over the jury that will award the Camera d’Or, the prize for best first feature.
  • Despite protests from feminist organizations, Cannes insists that it will present an honorary Palme d’Or to Alain Delon, who in the past has slandered women and the LGBT community and aligned himself with the National Front, France’s ultra-right political party.
  • For Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier has spoken with Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Paolo Moretti and Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson about the programs they’ll be presenting.

Meantime, Jordan Cronk (Film Comment) and the staff at IndieWire have written about some of the films they’re most looking forward to catching this year.

Berlin

Tremendous news from the Berlin International Film Festival: Cristina Nord, a perceptive critic, discerning editor, and forward-looking curator, has been named director of the festival’s Forum section. Nord has been sorely missed by the Berlin film community since she left for Brussels in 2015 to become a director of programming at the Goethe-Institut. Like a few other sidebars at major festivals, the Forum, independently organized by the Arsenal, Berlin’s Institute for Film and Video Art, was founded in the wake of the political turmoil of the late 1960s. As Nord says in a statement accompanying yesterday’s announcement, the Forum’s “awareness of film history, and the joy in thinking with and in film while reflecting on society are exemplary.”

Meantime, the Berlinale’s newly appointed artistic and executive directors, Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, respectively, have announced a first round of changes to the main program that will take effect with the seventieth edition, running from February 20 through March 1. Given that outgoing director Dieter Kosslick was often criticized for sending the festival sprawling with so many new strands, it may come as a surprise that Chatrian and Rissenbeek are adding one themselves. But they’re also cutting two—programming for the two special series NATIVe and Culinary Cinema will be folded into other sections.

The new strand, Encounters, will be a competitive section designed “to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers.” It’s hard not to notice that Encounters will not be all that different from Platform, the competition launched at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 to spotlight “formally inventive titles that are the result of audacious directors making bold choices.” Platform limits its lineup to twelve titles, while Encounters will present up to fifteen world and international premieres. And as with Platform, the Encounters award winners will be selected by a three-member jury.

Stateside

For a while there, it looked like it might not happen, but after two great runs in 2017 and 2018, Locarno in Los Angeles is back for a third after all. From June 13 through 16, Acropolis Cinema and the Locarno Festival will present highlights from last summer’s edition of the renowned Swiss event. After an opening night screening of a 35 mm print of Leo McCarey’s classic screwball comedy The Awful Truth (1937), Mariano Llinás’s three-part, six-episode film La flor will roll out over the course of three nights. This year’s program also features Bruno Dumont’s four-episode miniseries Coincoin and the Extra-Humans, presented over two nights, as well as Andrea Bussmann’s Fausto, a myth-infused hybrid inspired by Goethe and Christopher Marlowe, and Virgil Vernier’s Sophia Antipolis. “A psycho-geographical, state-of-the-nation survey that centers solely on the eponymous, strange and tacky business park,” wrote Ross McDonnell in the Notebook last August, “Vernier’s film—shot on gorgeously grainy 16 mm film—moves with the momentum and anxious ambiguity of a chain letter, from character to character and detour to detour.”


Since its first edition in 1976, the Seattle International Film Festival has expanded to become one of the longest-running cinephilic marathons in the U.S. This year, more than four hundred films will screen over the course of twenty-five days. The Stranger has posted not only a whopping guide to all of them but also an annotated list of staff recommendations. SIFF’s forty-fifth edition will open next Thursday with Lynn Shelton’s Sword of Trust, starring Marc Maron, and close on June 9 with Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, starring Awkwafina.

Three days later, on June 12, The Farewell will open BAMcinemaFest in New York. The eleventh edition of the esteemed showcase of American independent cinema—the New York TimesA. O. Scott has called it the “best local answer to the malaise of blockbuster season”—will close on June 22 with Diana Peralta’s De Lo Mio.

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