Category Archives: What’s up with the silver screen

Cinema, festivals, Films I love, Movies i hate

20.000 days on earth: Nick Cave goes monumental with a must-see documentary

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My pick from this year’s premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival is without a doubt 20.000 Days on Earth by artists turn filmmakers duo Ian Forsyth and Jane Pollard. A documentary but not yet what can be safely called a non-fiction film, this innovative journey into australian singer and songwriter Nick Cave‘s creative life it has already been hailed as one of the best music bios ever made.

Dazed and Confused Correspondant Carmen Gray has written a great account on the film which I suggest everyone interested to give a read

here is the trailer, enjoy!

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GREATNESS IN A NUTSHELL: OSCARS NIGHT MEETS BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

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Oscars Night is about to roll out red carpets and give out golden awards in just a few hours, 6000-something members of the Academy have been watching movies, voting and posting ballots since last November, Studios and Majors have been wheeling and dealing to promote their movies and help their way crossing Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre‘s aisle on February 24th: a big game for big players, as one might imagine.

But this year, among the big players bringing in their big movies, one “small” title shines as bright as a beautiful lighthouse in the middle of the last surviving sea: Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Hard to sum up with words this delicate tale of myths and survival. Not survival of things, neither of living species, but survival of the bare essence on which life builds upon.

So, I will not go on weaving words on this “small” jewel, which on sunday will stand tall and proud against the “big” film industry players and their marketing & pr almighty machines in 4 Academy Awards categories (best director for Benh Zeitlin, best actress for Quvenzhane Wallis, best adapted screenplay and best film), I will rather urge everyone to see it.

Holding hands with 6 years old Hushpuppy, the movie’s main character, one cannot help but to explore a range of emotions as deep and varied as the effortless complexities of an entire world on the verge of extinction and ultimately discover how, more often than not, true greatness is found in apparent “small-ness”.

According to polls Beasts of the Southern Wild stands very little chance to bring home film-land’s most prestigious Award, nevertheless I cannot help thinking how wonderful it would be if monday morning we could all wake up in a world where the big players and their almighty power machines for once would have had to bow in front of the overwhelming force found in “small” things.

Beast of the Southern Wild, the small film standing against movie giants, deserves Hollywood’s emperors simultaneous bow at its red-carpeted passage in the californian golden mecca of Cinema on sunday, as it will bring the beaming light of greatness amongst the high ranking priests of fame.

Will Oscar’s kiss seal the rarity of such a moment? I certainly hope so.

Beasts of the Southern Wild trailer

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It’s not the Matrix, It ends like Blade Runner…It’s INCEPTION!

Finally I managed to see Inception the film of the century! (and considering we are only 10 years into it, the weight of this sentence takes a completely different meaning). Sat in a Florentine Cinema with my popcorn ready for action, I took off the newly bought baby-pink ballerinas, sank in the red velvet old fashioned chair and got in the best “now I’m ready to be blown away” impersonation of me.

Well, 10 minutes into the movie I was not blown away, impressed & pleased for sure, but not blown away. And I’ll try to explain why.

Something off-beat seemed to underlie the whole film, being that the flat casting choices or the stiffness of the costumes in the period scenes, perhaps some minor plot hick-ups and the fact that one can see some twist and turns totally coming or the overwhelming sense that the character were not developed to their full potential, but something did not quite match the greatness of such a majestic script. ‘Lost in details’ I would say.

Inception is not The Matrix. And it’s not Blade Runner. But it draws a lot from both. The question weather we are really free and inhabiting what we think is our “reality” from the former, and the ending from the latter (and boy that ending was crystal clear since the first appearance of that little metal throttle on screen!).

Aside from that, Inception is definitively a crowd-pleaser, none I know will ever be ready to tell that the film is less than amazing. And indeed it is.

Firstly, Chrstopher Nolan did a great job at finely weaving the special effects in the movie so that they won’t show how much fun CG department people had in making them; they are smashingly beautiful and yet they do not take over the whole film, as it does happen in most cases (remember The Hulk? or even better Avatar?).

And least, but not last: the writing is amazing, titanic, majestic.

It seems it took Nolan 10 years to do it, he started working on the script while working on Memento (also dealing with the labyrinths of human mind), brought the idea to Warnes Bros., but felt he needed more experience on big mainstream movies before measuring himself with Inception‘s multi-folded complexity. So, as it often happens, the project was put to temporary rest in some production drawer. Until someone decided it was time to dust the good old heist film reef to a new “printemps”. And indeed it was a good choice. As a matter of fact the boxoffice success of Nolan‘s Inception convinced Warnes Bros. to start production of Expulsion (to be released in 2013).

According to screenrant.com Expulsion tells the story of a small group of survivors, who must venture into space in search of a new home – after a terrorist attack completely destroys the Earth.” Brad Weston is set to produce, and bestselling sci-fi author Gregg Hurwitz penned the script.

The studio is also developing Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, another heist film, with a lost-in-space, fighting-to-survive plot starring Robert Downey jr.

So, while the rave shaking the world now goes along the lines of “what Inception‘s ending means” and “will there be a sequel?” Christopher Nolan is right back on superheroes’ track and right in the middle of pre-production of both the new Batman film and Superman: man of steel, while the Studios are capitalising on Inception‘s success and surfing the heist wave to new and unexplored territories…we hope!

enjoy Inception trailer:

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KATE 3D and the fine art of slow motion.

The Fashion Film movement has found its new prophet and its lavish muse! Ballie Walsh and Kate Moss have once again teamed up to create magic. After the much talked about Olographic film for Alexander McQueen (RIP) in 2006, the pair got back on the same film set to deliver enthralling beauty in the KM3D-1 film for AnOther Magazine.

but what’s so special about it?

first and foremost the slow motion, that warps the pace of time to an everlasting ode to timeless beauty. The result is mesmerising. So much so that one forgets even about the 3D effect, which in comparison to the slowmo trick, becomes just another gimmick, only good for PR purposes.

In fact, it seems that slow motion is the must of the season in Fashion Film land. YSL new promo, also makes large use of it, but not with the same results.

In KM3D-1 the slowmo effect brings the whole aesthetics to a new level. It almost captures the essence of beauty, which is by nature suspended in time, between earthy transience and godly impenetrable semblance.

The trick here lays in the advanced technical features of the state-of-the-art Phantom cameras and the use of an old movie technique called “overcranking“, which involves shooting at a higher frame per second rate and then playing the film at the normal speed. In this case the film was shot at 1.000 frames per second; considering that the normal rate is 24, the resulting speed is so slow that movement is almost imperceptible.

KM3D-1 goes straight in my top 10 greatest film slow motion moments (right along with Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai, the first Matrix and the amazing explosion scene in Scorsese‘s Casino!)

here goes Kate M, the slowmo goddess:


and the making of:

and a bonus: the Ologram Kate, 2006 (for Alexander McQueen)

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Please meet DOT, the tiniest stop motion animated girl in the world (who lives in a Nokia N8 cellphone).

from the Sumo Science websiteIt’s called just “Dot” and it is the smallest stop-motion animation in the world (even according to the guinness book of world records). It’s a genius little film commissioned by Nokia to Weiden & Kennedy for a viral commercial campaign and made by the folks behind Wallace & Gromit at Aardman Animation and Sumo Science. To realise the little (and never the word was so appropriate!) film, they exploited the videocamera power of a Nokia N8 cellphone and a new technology called CELLSCOPE, that was developped by prof. Daniel Fletcher of the Berkeley University of California to enable people in remote places to send images of blood sample to diagnose malaria.

The smallest film in the world’s crew worked incredibly hard, shooting only 4 seconds of film per day and dealing with 50 different versions of the little rubber girl – called also “Dot” – that stars in the movie. Dot’s tiny 9mm models were printed on a 3D printer and then hand-painted with infinite patience, by holding each piece on a fine iron wire.

The animation is quite amazing, it features the blond Dot waking up in a marvelous world of fantasy, that is soon crumbling down to pieces and she must run for her life. Never as in this case it’s more true to say that the magic: “it’s all in the making”!

Please meet Dot:

…and her creators in the making of video:

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NEED A FILM DIRECTOR?

Whenever one asks a friend director to shoot their wedding’s video the reaction is kind of Linda Blair’s to holy water in The Exsocist, and unless they’re in desperate need of cash they’ll turn down your enthousiastic offer with an evil grin on their faces. Well, if that’s your problem, no longer need to worry, check these folks out! (the woman is out of this world! ….hihihihiiiiii)

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