Archive for January, 2009


Movie poster of the week: Made in USA

January 31, 2009

One of the least-seen of major-era Godards was revived earlier this month at Film Forum and it was a treat. The poster, which perfectly captures the films’s cut-and-paste spirit, as well as Anna Karina’s unforgettable mod sweater-dress, is by René Ferracci, whose name is distinctively displayed just to the right of Laszlo Szabo’s head. A little Saturday morning research tells me that Ferracci was born in 1927 and died in 1982 and pioneered the era-defining collage style of French movie poster design—using photographs and offset printing—as opposed to the often gaudy illustrated lithographs of the cinema du papa. He was responsible for the posters for, among many others, Au Hasard Balthazar, My Night at Maud’s, Two or Three Things I Know About Her, Playtime (the illustration used on the Criterion DVD), Army of Shadows, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Belle de Jour, and, what may have been his final poster, Diva.


Movie poster of the week: Pickpocket

January 17, 2009

This week I treated myself to the amazing Art of the Modern Movie Poster, a 500 page treasure chest of postwar movie poster design produced by the good folks at Posteritati, with text by Dave Kehr. One of the standouts in the accompanying exhibition at Posteritati’s New York gallery is the Argentinian version of this stunning poster for Bresson’s Pickpocket designed by one Christian Broutin. It turns out that Broutin (who was born in 1933 and only 26 when he designed this) also designed the conceptually similar poster for Jules and Jim, another of my all-time favorite French affiches.


Movie poster of the week: The International

January 9, 2009

A Clive Owen shoot-out in the Guggenheim certainly makes for a striking poster, with great use of abstract space. Whether The International, Tom Tykwer’s first film since Perfume, will live up to its poster remains to be seen, but early last year I posted the one-sheet for The Bank Job and expressed skepticism that that film would be any good. It ended up being the very last film I saw in 2008 and a pleasant surprise, not the Guy-Ritchiesque lark that I expected but a much darker period piece, closer to Thirteen Days in the Roger Donaldson canon than to Cocktail. So I remain optimistic.


The Best of 2008

January 1, 2009


1. A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, France)
2. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (Charlie Kaufman, USA)
3. FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, France)
4. THE WRESTLER (Darren Aronofsky, USA)
5. ZIDANE: A 21ST CENTURY PORTRAIT (Douglas Gordon and Philippe Pareno, France)

6. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
8. BALLAST (Lance Hammer, USA)
9. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (Mike Leigh, UK)
10. MOMMA’S MAN (Azazel Jacobs, USA)

Ten-and-a-half runners-up, in alphabetical order: THE BANK JOB (Roger Donaldson, UK); LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Tomas Alfredson, Sweden); MAN ON WIRE (James Marsh, USA/UK); MARRIED LIFE (Ira Sachs, USA); MY WINNIPEG (Guy Maddin, Canada); PARANOID PARK (Gus Van Sant, USA); REPRISE (Joachim Trier, Norway); SECRET OF THE GRAIN (Abdel Kechiche, France); SNOW ANGELS (David Gordon Green, USA); SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico) and the first half of WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, USA)


Five Best Undistributed Films

in alphabetical order: FOSTER CHILD (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines) at New Directors; GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN (Paul H-O and Tom Donahue, USA) at Tribeca; THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina) at the New York Film Festival; PLOY (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand) at Rotterdam; TOUT EST PARDONNÉ (Mia Hansen-Love, France) at Rotterdam and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema

Best Kids Film

AZUR ET ASMAR (Michel Ocelot, France, 2006)

Best 2007 Release Caught up with in 2008

HELVETICA (Gary Hustwit, UK)

Best Old Films Seen For the First Time in 2008

VIOLENT SATURDAY (Richard Fleischer, USA, 1955); WINGS (Larisa Shepitko, USSR, 1966); SERIE NOIRE (Alain Corneau, France, 1979); FRANCISCA (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 1981) and the programme of early Oliveira shorts at BAM