Indie Film Weekend Roundup with ‘The Cremaster Cycle’

By | March 28th, 2012 | No Comments

Compiled by Denise Castillon, the Miami Indie Film Guide provides a preview of the movies playing at Miami’s small film houses.

Title: ‘The Cremaster Cycle’ (USA, video art installation, not rated)

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Film Weekend Roundup with ‘The Turin Horse’

By | March 22nd, 2012 | No Comments

Compiled by Denise Castillon, the Miami Indie Film Guide provides a preview of the movies playing at Miami’s small film houses.

Title: ‘The Turin Horse’ (Hungary, drama, 146 minutes, not rated)

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup

By | March 14th, 2012 | No Comments

The Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup is a weekly preview of the movies playing at Miami’s small film houses. This week’s roundup was compiled by Denise Castillon.

Title: ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ (United Kingdom, drama/psychological thriller, 112 minutes, rated R)

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup: ’50/50′, ‘Crazy Horse’, ‘Weekend’

By | February 22nd, 2012 | 3 Comments

The Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup is a weekly effort to support Miami’s small film houses, which are the only local venues for new, independent film. This week’s roundup was compiled by Denise Castillon.

Title: ‘50/50’ (USA, comedy/drama, 100 minutes, Rated R)

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup: ‘Carnage’, ‘UltraSuede’, ‘Pina’

By | February 14th, 2012 | No Comments

The Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup is a weekly effort to support Miami’s small film houses, which are the only local venues for new, independent film. This week’s roundup was compiled by Denise Castillon.

Title: ‘Carnage’ (French-German-Polish, comedy/drama, 80 minutes, Rated R)

Read the rest of this entry »


Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup

By | February 8th, 2012 | No Comments

The Indie Cinema Weekend Roundup is a weekly effort to support Miami’s small film houses, which are the only local venues for new, independent film. This week’s roundup was compiled by Denise Castillon.

Title: ‘In The Land of Blood and Honey’ (USA, drama/romance, 126 minutes, Rated R)

Synopsis: Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, the disturbing, yet titillating In The Land of Blood and Honey, set during the Bosnian War in the 1990s, expresses the brutality of both sides of this horrific conflict through the relationship that develops between a Serbian solider and his Bosnian prisoner.

Where: Tower Theater
Showtimes: Friday and Saturday @ 9:05pm
Tickets: $8, $7 (student)

Read the rest of this entry »


One-off of Antonioni’s ‘Red Desert’ at MBC

By | October 4th, 2011 | 1 Comment

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Italian Film Festival of Miami, the Miami Beach Cineamatheque will screen one of the most important works by one of Italy’s most important filmmakers.

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 masterpiece, Red Desert (Il deserto rosso), was the director’s color film debut, and he chose an evocative setting and subject for the occasion: the coastal city of Ravenna and the industrialists that soiled its landscape with toxic runoff from the giant power plants that popped up near the shore not long after World War II.

Monica Vitta plays Giuliana, the delicate wife of Ugo (Carlo Chionetti), a distant man in charge of a power plant that seems to lay waste to everything around it. We meet Guiliana shortly after her discharge from a hospital, where she was receiving treatment for shock following a car crash. Vulnerable and on edge, she needs more than her cold, indifferent husband can muster, and she tries to get it from Corrado (Richard Harris), her husband’s business partner. But the affair only serves to further fray Guiliana’s raw nerves.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bowie in the ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ at MBC

By | September 12th, 2011 | No Comments

In his performance as an extraterrestrial in Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, opening at the Miami Beach Cinematheque Friday night, David Bowie is a special effect unto himself, an otherworldly force among the film’s other ’70s icons: Rip Torn, Buck Henry, and Candy Clark. But with his fey manner, fragile frame, pale skin, and shock of orange hair, Bowie is more than a human prop, and The Man Who Fell to Earth, his first feature film, is more than merely an opportunity for Bowie fans to ogle their favorite glam rocker. (See trailer below. Review continues after the jump.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Luis Buñuel retrospective opens Wednesday at MBC

By | August 29th, 2011 | 2 Comments
Un Chien Andalou

A groundbreaking surrealist short, Un Chien Andalou was an eye-opener for later experimental filmmakers.

Before one screening of Un Chien Andalou (1929), a collaboration between filmmaker Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí, Surrealist pioneers and Spaniards the both of them, Buñuel told the audience, “I do not want the film to please you, but to offend you.”

The famous declaration could be the subtitle to Buñuel’s early career, during which the brash filmmaker repeatedly aimed to disturb the smug comfort of the bourgeoisie. Un Chien Andalou, for example, opens with the slicing of a woman’s eye, a shot that dissolves into the passing of a razor-thin cloud over the full moon and ushers in 15-minutes of then-unprecedented strangeness. (Watch the film in full after the jump.)

The film will screen along with L’Age D’or (1930), also a Buñuel-Dalí collaboration, on Wednesday night at the Miami Beach Cinematheque to kick off the theater’s month-long retrospective, “The Discreet Charm of Luis Buñuel”. The MBC has invited electronica artist Gabriel Pulido to augment the silent films’ soundtracks with his brand of self-described “ambient sound art”.

Though Un Chien Andalou opens with a cautionary title card — “Music as indicated by Luis Buñuel” — Pulido says his live, one-off performance Wednesday night will complement the films.

“I am processing his soundtrack, adding my sounds that go along with that soundtrack,” says the Venezuelan-born composer, who studied music synthesis and film scoring in university.

Un Chien Andalou alternates between tango music and a section from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Wagner also shows up on the soundtrack for L’Age D’or, a 63-minute film of surrealist vignettes generally interpreted as an attack on bourgeoisie prudishness and the Roman Catholic Church. (In one notorious scene, the female lead sucks the toe of a religious statue.) Pulido will accompany the films’ original music with sounds produced on a laptop and two small MIDI recorders, a juxtaposition that Buñuel may have appreciated.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘World on a Wire': Fassbinder’s sci-fi mindbender

By | July 27th, 2011 | No Comments
Klaus Löwitsch in the Simulacron

Klaus Löwitsch in the Simulacron

Rainer Werner Fassbinder fans of Miami, rejoice! His rarely seen 1973 science fiction television mini series, World on a Wire, will hit the big screen this weekend during an exclusive engagement at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Fair warning: World on a Wire is a lengthy dozy that makes The Matrix look like its running in fast-forward (even more so).

Rarely screened since its debut, World on a Wire originally aired on West German TV as a two-part mini-series and then languished as an odd, sci-fi detour for Fassbinder, a prolific New Wave German auteur who directed more than 40 films in 16 years before overdosing on sleeping pills and cocaine at the age of 36. Last year the Fassbinder Foundation and MoMA pooled their resources to restore the series to an epic three-and-a half-hour cinematic experience.

The film’s protagonist is Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch), a buff computer engineer who heads the Simulacron project at the Institute for Cybernetics and Futurology after his predecessor dies following an apparent nervous breakdown. The Simulacron is a super computer that simulates the real world by populating an artificial world within it with “identity units”. These “identity units” are given all the characteristics of humans except the knowledge that they live within a computer, so the world above exists as an observing and unknowable God to the identity units below.

Inevitably, corporations want in on the government project to simulate future scenarios so as to cash in on them down the line. In the face of strange goings-on, such as the disappearance of a colleague, Stiller resists. He soon begins to wonder whether he is in control of a simulated world or part of one.

At the core of this confusion is whether reality and existence itself are re-defined when humanity becomes reliant on technology. By investing in a computer-centric world, are we mortgaging our free will? What impact do Facebook and today’s other “social” platforms have on society and the individual’s sense of self? In 1973, World on a Wire was an ominous exploration of a possible future of alternate realities, a future whose time has arrived.

Speaking of time, World on a Wire is Fassbinder at his most sluggish, and those hoping for a fast-paced, futuristic action flick will be disappointed (and possibly lulled to sleep). Indeed, the long pauses the actors take between sentences, a Fassbinder stylization that can grow weary over a few hours, may serve as silent lullabies if you don’t have enough caffeine coursing through your veins.

But even though it often meanders, drags, and overindulges itself, World on a Wire is a daring film by a daring director. In his only foray into science fiction, Fassbinder embraces the genre, shooting with confidence and a palpably giddy pleasure. He defies rules of casual film narrative, abusing the zoom lens and layering oddly placed stings of “music” — burbles, squawks, hums, and shrieks of period synth noise by Gottfried Hüngsberg — that stretch the definition of the word itself. With its diagetic classical music, World’s soundscape also nods to Kubrick, who threw down the gauntlet for man-and-machine movies in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The acting in Fassbinder’s film varies in quality (Löwitsch was reportedly drunk throughout the shoot). But the overall effect augments the eerie sense that the characters are not human but avatars obeying the commands of an unseen user. Nearly 40 years after World on a Wire came out, it is a feeling many of us full-time internet users know all too well.

*

Read the rest of this entry »