Archive for March 9th, 2011

It is a strange coincidence that Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, internationally famous auteurs and central figures of the 1960’s film movement the New German Cinema (which Herzog does not consider himself part of), have both made films in 3D for release this year.

It is also interesting to note the distinctly different approach that each director has taken to 3D. Herzog has shot Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary deep under ground in the Chauvet Cave in France (the site of the oldest known cave paintings), while Wenders has made Pina, a dance film dedicated to the late dance choreographer Pina Bausch.

It is a testament to the maverick spirit of this generation of German directors that both Herzog and Wenders have embarked on these projects. Perhaps their interpretations of 3D will bring something truly special to this often debated technology.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (dir. Werner Herzog) trailer:

Pina (dir. Wim Wenders) trailer:

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It is great news to hear that the visionary Mexican films El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973) by Alejandro Jodorowsky are soon to be released on Blu-Ray. Jodorowsky’s films are extraordinary journeys for their audience and their arresting visual styles play a big part in this. I expect the Blu-Ray treatment will really add to the experience.

In addition to this Jodorowsky’s Sante Sangre (1989) was released on Blu-ray at the start of this year by Severin Films with a long list of extras.

For more information on the El Topo and The Holy Mountain releases see here:

http://uk.bluray.ign.com/articles/115/1153700p1.html

See here for information on Severin’s Sante Sangre release:

http://www.severin-films.com/2011/01/25/santa-sangre-blu-ray/

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Since the days of James Dean, teen Films have been a sure fire hit with film goers. Teen stories are inherent with drama in every genre imaginable; romance, horror, comedy, musical, sci-fi, fantasy, the list goes on. In Britain a distinctly gritty form of teen film can be recognised; from Albert Finney in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) to Shane Meadows’ This is England (2006) social realism has always been prominent.

Despite the quality of these films, it is easy to feel jaded by many decades’ worth of gritty realism. For this reason, I didn’t think I had anything to learn when I sat down to watch NEDS (a Scottish term meaning Non-Educated Delinquents), directed by Peter Mullen. To my surprise I left the cinema educated anew by this powerful and eloquent film about teen life.

Conor McCarron stars as John McGill, a bright but underprivileged teen whose life slides into gang violence. The story sounds familiar but Mullen’s fresh approach demands our interest. He creates an unusually expressionistic visual style and as John McGill slides further into violence he becomes frighteningly monstrous. As John becomes increasingly alienated from his peers the plot takes a number of turns that we could not expect, including a trippy encounter with Jesus Christ and a showdown in which John becomes more deranged than any slasher film serial killer. Despite this, the true success of the film is that Mullen allows the audience to maintain a sense of compassion for John McGill.

The film concludes by forcing John to confront his past and make a tough decision. Despite his recklessness in the face of the gangs we discover that John still has the capacity to feel fear and therefore redeem himself. More than simply another gritty teen film, NEDS is an articulate parable about a young man’s struggle through the anger and violence of his adolescence to truly find his humanity, fears and compassion included.

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