Archive for May, 2009


Considering Cannes 2009: Festival Wrap-up

28 May 2009

If Cannes this year was (reportedly) less congested and crazed than usual, there was still apparently plenty shown at the just-concluded festival that earned praise and plenty that brought outrage.

Here’s a rundown of the major winners:

Palme d’Or
DAS WEISSE BAND (The White Ribbon) directed by Michael HANEKE

Grand Prix
UN PROPHÈTE (A Prophet) directed by Jacques AUDIARD

Lifetime achievement award for his work and his exceptional contribution to the history of cinema


Best Director

Jury Prize

FISH TANK directed by Andrea ARNOLD

BAK-JWI (Thirst) directed by PARK Chan-Wook

Best Performance for an Actor

Best Performance by an Actress

Charlotte GAINSBOURG in ANTICHRIST directed by Lars von TRIER

See link to The Guardian‘s Cannes coverage.



“The Narrow Margin” Screens 5/27

22 May 2009

We’ll be screening the 1952 classic thriller The Narrow Margin on Wednesday, May 27, at 7 PM in the Community Room of the Oswego Public Library (120 East 2nd Street). We’ll discuss the film after the screening. The event is free and open to all. The film runs 71 minutes.

This film noir was directed by Richard Fleischer. Early in his long career, he directed thrillers/crime dramas such as Bodyguard (1948), Follow Me Quietly (1949), Trapped (1949), Armed Car Robbery (1950), and His Kind of Woman (1951). He went on to direct works as varied as Fantastic Vogage, Tora! Tora! Tora! and Conan the Destroyer. The Narrow Margin stars crime drama veterans Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor.

From the Time Out Film Guide:

Fleischer has yet to have his critical day: with Blake Edwards, he is one of the last surviving classically trained American directors. Here is classic pulp premise (cops escorting hoodlum’s widow to Grand Jury trial with a pack of killers bent on eliminating her before she talks); essence of B movie casting (the malevolently magnificent McGraw and the sleazy siren Windsor); and classic setting (transcontinental express train with every passenger, every stop  a possibly malign menace). Teeming with incident, it is fashioned into a taut, breathtakingly fast and highly suspenful ‘sleeper’ par excellence.


Suggested On-Air Viewing: “Stranded” Airs Tue, May 19

15 May 2009

On Tuesday, May 19, the Independent Lens series on PBS airs Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountain. Locally, it airs on WPBS (Channel 14 on Time Warner Cable) at 10 PM.

It is one of the most astonishing and inspiring survival tales of all time. On October 13, 1972, a young rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay, boarded a plane for a match in Chile—and then vanished into thin air. Two days before Christmas, 16 of the 45 passengers miraculously resurfaced. They had managed to survive for 72 days after their plane crashed on a remote Andean glacier. Thirty-five years later, the survivors return to the crash site—known as the Valley of Tears—to recount their harrowing story of defiant endurance and indestructible friendship. Previously documented in the 1973 worldwide bestseller Alive (and the 1993 Ethan Hawke movie of the same name), this shocking true story finally gets the cinematic treatment it deserves. Visually breathtaking and crafted with riveting detail by documentary filmmaker (and childhood friend of the survivors) Gonzalo Arijón with a masterful combination of on-location interviews, archival footage and reenactments, Stranded is by turns hauntingly powerful and spiritually moving.  (Zeitgeist Films)


Lake Placid Film Forum: 6/11-14

6 May 2009

Check out the schedule for this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum (running June 11-14) on the link in the sidebar. This year’s guests include directors Paul Schraeder, Joe Berlinger, and (from last year’s breakout festival film, Frozen River) Courtney Hunt. Other festival guests scheduled are authors Russell Banks and Richard Russo.

From Joe Berlinger’s Crude (showing at this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum)


Let the Right One In Screens 5/13

4 May 2009

OFG will screen the Swedish film Let the Right One In on Wednesday, May 13 at 7 PM in Room C114 of SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center. This screening is free and open to all. After the film, we’ll discuss it.

A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy’s wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn’t seem affected by the freezing temperatures. Coinciding with Eli’s arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders…. and for an introverted boy like Oskar, who is fascinated by gruesome stories, it doesn’t take long before he figures out that Eli is a vampire. But by now a subtle romance has blossomed between Oskar and Eli, and she gives him the strength to fight back against his aggressors. Oskar becomes increasingly aware of the tragic, inhuman dimension of Eli’s plight, but cannot bring himself to forsake her. Frozen forever in a twelve-year-old’s body, with all the burgeoning feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent, Eli knows that she can only continue to live if she keeps on moving. But when Oskar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can… Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson weaves friendship, rejection and loyalty into a disturbing and darkly atmospheric, yet poetic and unexpectedly tender tableau of adolescence. Let the Right One In is based on the best-selling novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  —from the film’s press materials

A chilling fairy tale. As delicate, haunting and poetic a film as you’re ever bound to see.  —director/producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Check out this recent interview in the Bright Lights Film Journal with the director Tomas Alfredson, discussing–among other things–how he (indirectly) directs his child actors, which painters inspire his films’ look, and how his drumming is better when he’s behind a camera than behind a drum set. (See Interview: