Posts Tagged ‘Davis Rivera’

The Essentials 2.0 – Last Tango in Paris

Last Tango Paris 1

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

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.

PFS About Town – Street Trees @ iHouse

Street Tree 4th

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

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.”

PFS Rapid Recommendations – Venus in Fur

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Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

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.

PFS Rapid Recommendations – The Immigrant

The Immigrant

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

In her 2002 film Sex is Comedy, Catherine Breillat observed that the director’s job is to drag the emotion out of the actor and use that emotion as the film’s basic materials.  Watching The Immigrant, one can surmise that filmmaker James Gray shares this point of view and was able to cull remarkable, almost superhuman, performances from both Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard in a film that, while running a mere two hours, feels absolutely epic.

PFS Rapid Recommendations – Ida

Ida

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

While watching films I often ask myself, “What is it that compelled this filmmaker to tell this particular story?”  With his latest film Ida, it is obvious that Pawel Pawlikowski set out to insinuate himself into the viewer’s heart and take them on a deeply rewarding eighty-minute road trip replete with intense directorial focus, stunning cinematography, and the single best usage of John Coltrane I have ever seen in a film.

PFS Rapid Recommendations – The Dance of Reality

The-Dance-of-Reality-Poster-1000W

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

In his latest triumph Alejandro Jodorowsky travels back to his native Chile to bring us the “imaginary autobiography” The Dance of Reality.  As the film went on and the subject matter became more tragic, I knew I was watching the work of a filmmaker who promises nothing but fulfills everything.  An artist so ambitious that he demands no less of himself than to strive for a little immortality, even if it takes twenty-three years to do so.

PFS About Town – The Fool’s Journey @ PhilaMOCA

TheFoolsJourney_2

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera 

Since Orson Welles first made his love of the Tarot known in the 1958 masterpiece Touch of Evil, there has been a calling to filmmakers everywhere to look to the cards and make something extraordinary.  Philadelphia filmmaker Hanna Hamilton has done just that with her latest work The Fool’s Journey, a visual experiment comprised of twenty-two short films devoted to the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana.  I was able to interview Hamilton when her film screened at PhilaMOCA as part of their Tuesday Tune-Out, a weekly series that features local musicians performing live before introducing a film of their choice.

PFS Rapid Review – Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Jim Jarmusch is the rare filmmaker that is as enthusiastic about film as he is about music, literature, and numerous other arts.  This wide berth of knowledge provides the groundwork for his latest effort, Only Lovers Left Alive.  Overflowing with references to everyone from Rodney Dangerfield to Schubert, Jarmusch hypnotizes as often as he confounds in a film that praises the virtues of beauty and love at a time when they need it the most.

A Night at the Roxy // Filmadelphia’s Past Present Future

Past Present Future director Andrew Gitomer and Director of Photography Jonathan Stromberg at April's Filmadelphia at the Roxy screening.

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Andrew Gitomer’s Past Present Future is a feature-length film about two close friends who had had an on-again, off-again relationship since high school, and meet up for the first time after three years apart.  The film is structured so that the audience is able to see the course of their friendship play out in flashbacks while they confront their complicated past.  Writer/Director Gitomer’s decision not to edit the film in chronological order was a conscious one that gives the film an emotional power that should resonate with anyone who has ever been in or been a witness to a similar situation.  Indeed, the film itself is one of the best portraits of young people in modern America that has come along in quite some time.  When I spoke to Gitomer and his Director of Photography Jonathan Stromberg after the film, Gitomer described his desire to push the youth angle when promoting the film.

PFS Rapid Review – Under the Skin

under-the-skin-movie-poster

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Jonathan Glazer has been called an heir to Kubrick, but the truth is that, over the course of three feature length films, a dozen music videos, and countless commercials, Glazer has repeatedly proven that he is a filmmaker who stands apart with his own idiosyncratic vision.  His latest work Under the Skin takes Michel Faber’s acclaimed 2000 novel and infuses it with a cinematic power capable of changing the way the viewer looks at the world.