During the 21st Philadelphia Film Festival, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’ at the Prince Theater with a Q&A with the director and WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ morning show host/movie buff Steve Morrison after the film. Here are some pictures from the event to relive the great time had by all attended:
By Davis Rivera
Making canonical lists of important works is an activity that is necessary to parse the history of art in search of a concise collection of digestible accomplishments. Like editing a film or book, exclusion becomes key to unveiling the incomparable, autonomous forms which the artist was able to invent. What characterizes the filmography of Marlon Brando, however, is its inability to be whittled down. Rather than recommending his entire body of work, which should be viewed at some point, there must be an entry point and that lies within the 129 minutes of Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1972 film Last Tango in Paris.
By Davis Rivera
Ted Knighton is not your typical filmmaker. After instantly impressing with a trilogy of terrific shorts in the eighties, Philadelphia-based Knighton has gone on to work in a wide variety of different mediums and prove himself as an artist that confronts his audience with the necessity of redefining seemingly familiar experiences. In his latest exhibition Street Trees, Knighton has created a site-specific showcase that, in addition to film, includes drawings and “installations that respond to, or emerge from our everyday surroundings, specifically the side streets, vacant lots, and public buildings of Philadelphia.” A good starting point before venturing over to International House for the show, which opened on July 11th, is his artist statement, which succinctly explains the aims of Knighton as an artist:
“I think it’s good to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. We get used to the world around us and it’s easy to stop seeing how amazing, strange, and fascinating it all is. Through art and film, I like to move the furniture of life around a little so that we see the room again.”
By John Smith
William Friedkin has become one of the most influential and important film makers in the business with a career that spans over 40 years. Some of his best known works are The French Connection from 1971, The Exorcist from 1973, and his extremely controversial Cruising from 1980. In 2011, and well into his seventies, William Friedkin along with playwright Tracy Letts created a devastatingly brutal film that succeeds in terms of writing and directing. It may not be any textbooks yet, but in this writer’s opinion, it is one of the better movies of the last decade.
By Gary Kafer
Margo Channing stirs the olive in her dry martini. With a knowing countenance, she plucks out the garnish before swallowing the entire cocktail in one gulp. Handing off the emptied glass, Margo sidles beyond her companions, momentarily pauses on the balustrade, and turns to declare with all the ostentatiousness one might expect from an aging Broadway starlet: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
By Davis Rivera
In his latest film Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski plunges to the depths of sensual delights and returns with a pearl of a psychodrama, as elegant as it is perverse. After a sublime opening tracking shot, Polanski never loses this momentum as he revels in the limitations of a two-person play and uses his virtuosic cinematic gifts to create a refreshingly new take on well-worn themes such as the artistic struggle, sexual dominance, and gender roles.
By Megan Reilly
It’s a strange feeling, to approach a canonical film equipped with a pseudo-knowledge of its meaning as informed by parodies and quotes detached from context. I waited twenty-two years to watch a film that ends up near the top of most “Best Films of All Time” lists, so I had to filter my appreciation of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 magnum opus The Godfather through a host of cultural references. I turned it on knowing Tony Montana and Tony Soprano, but not their forebear, Michael Corleone. As I watched Don Corleone’s iconic conversation with Bonasera at the beginning of the film, visual cues from the referential opening of the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing popped off the screen, distracting from the scene’s essential power. I couldn’t block out the sound of Dom DeLuise’s gauze-mouthed impersonation of Don Corleone in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights, so Marlon Brando’s Oscar-winning turn as the original Godfather was lost on me, a victim to parody.
By Alex Gibson
For this week’s PFS Blog Throwback Thursday, let’s rewind to May’s Filmadelphia Showcase, featuring 3801 Lancaster with director David Altrogge and producer Jennifer Thompson in attendance. The film is a documentary about the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who performed grisly late-term abortions for women in Philadelphia. For his actions, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison last year.
By Alexander Goodlive
It’s the year 3000. Intelligent life in the universe has been discovered, and they’ve taken over the world. Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
Unfortunately, this is not the beginning of Futurama. Instead, it’s the set-up for something unintentionally funny: A small rebel force of humans taking on an entire army of “intelligent” life from the planet Psychlo in the delightfully ridiculous Battlefield: Earth.