Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa Collaboration + Piper Laurie & Ernest Borgnine Are Back

Barbara Sukowa, Vision, Hildegard von Bingen
Barbara Sukowa as Hildegard von Bingen in Vision

Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa 'Vision': Hildegard von Bingen in L.A.

Margarethe von Trotta's Vision, Official Selection at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, will open (via Zeitgeist Films) in Los Angeles at the Laemmle theaters on Nov. 12. A national release will follow.

In Vision, two-time European Film Award nominee Barbara Sukowa plays Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century Benedictine nun who was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist and ecological activist.

Vision is the fourth feature-film collaboration between writer-director von Trotta and star Sukowa. Their prior joint effort, L'africana, was released in 1990.

The first von Trotta-Sukowa effort, Die Bleierne Zeit / Marianne and Juliane, won the Golden Lion at the 1981 Venice Film Festival. Von Trotta was the first female director to take home that award.

Also in the Vision cast: Heino Ferch, Gerald Alexander Held, Hannah Herzsprung, Annemarie Düringer and Lena Stolze.

'Twelve Thirty' debut in New York City

Jeff Lipsky's Twelve Thirty opens at New York's Angelika Film Center on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. In the cast: Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Karen Young, Reed Birney, Portia Reiners, Halley Feiffer, Rebecca Schull, and veteran Barbara Barrie (Oscar nominee for Breaking Away in 1979).

A sneak preview of Twelve Thirty will take place on Jan. 10, 2011, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which will also screen Lipsky's Flannel Pajamas (2006), starring Justin Kirk (Weeds) and Julianne Nicholson (Law & Order: Criminal Intent).

Members of the cast and crew of both films will be on hand at the event for Q&A sessions. (See trailer at www.twelvethirtymovie.com.)

The Twelve Thirty synopsis below is from the film's press release: 

Twelve Thirty is the story of three women and the two men in their lives.

In the Langley's Cedar Rapids household, the mother, Vivien (Karen Young), is caught between a fierce independence and an almost agoraphobic attachment to home; seductive and confident Mel (Portia Reiners) is a 19 year?old mirror of her mother; Maura (Mamie Gummer), 22, is alienated, afraid and unable to pinpoint her place in the world. They live together, seemingly close, yet each very much alone.

The man of the house, Martin (Reed Birney), left long ago to pursue a new way of life, but maintains a shadow presence: he has a comfortable erotic tie to his ex?wife and a tentative relationship with Mel. Maura has all but shunned him. 

The family's status quo explodes when Jeff (Jonathan Groff) enters their world. Handsome and ambitious, he's also a socially awkward sexual novice who's been infatuated with Mel since high school.

Now, working with her at a restaurant, he finally leaps at the chance to start a romance with the free?spirited girl - but Mel has other ideas about their time together. Confused, Jeff is gripped by desire he barely understands and, over the course of a week, is swept up in the convoluted dynamics of the Langley women's relationships with men, the world and each other.

When Martin finally steps up to the paternal plate, the shocking confrontation results in a coming of age both for Jeff and the Langley family.

Photo: Twelve Thirty Productions.

Ernest Borgnine & Piper Laurie + Cybill Shepherd: 'Another Harvest Moon' gets U.S. distributor

Panorama Entertainment has obtained domestic theatrical distribution rights to Greg W. Swartz's Another Harvest Moon, starring veterans Ernest Borgnine (above) and Piper Laurie, in addition to Anne Meara, Doris Roberts, Richard Schiff, Cameron Monaghan, Amber Benson, Sunkrish Bala, and Cybill Shepherd. A February 2011 release in the southwest and southeast is in the works.

Written by Jeremy T. Black, Another Harvest Moon chronicles the lives of four elderly people – Borgnine, Laurie, Meara, and Roberts – living at a nursing home.

The film has received three nominations at next month's Orlando Film Festival: Best Lead Actor, Ernest Borgnine; Best Supporting Actress, Doris Roberts; and Best Ensemble Cast.

MarVista Entertainment, which will be present at the upcoming American Film Market, holds the international sales rights.

Photo: Aurora Films and SMD Entertainment

'The Beaches of Agnes' & 'A Portrait of Maurice Sendak': Contemporary Documentaries Screening

Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze's Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak and Agnès Varda's Les plages d'Agnès / The Beaches of Agnès (above) will be screened as the next installment in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 29th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series on Wednesday, November 3, at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission to all screenings in the series is free.

The documentary short Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak chronicles the life and career of children's writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are. Co-director Lance Bangs will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening.

The widely acclaimed The Beaches of Agnès is veteran filmmaker Agnès Varda's unusual look at her own life, including a peek at the films of her late husband Jacques Demy. Winner of the 2009 César for Best Documentary and of several critics awards in the United States, The Beaches of Agnès was strangely absent from the list of Oscar nominees.

The 29th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series continues through November 17, showcasing feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2009 Academy Award  nominations, including the winners, “as well as other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.”

All films will screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The filmmakers will be present at screenings whenever possible.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

Jeff Malmberg's 'Marwencol' Los Angeles Opening Date

Jeff Malmberg's documentary Marwencol will be released by Cinema Guild at the Nuart in West Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 12.

Winner of the Grand Jury Award at SXSW, Seattle International Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival, and named Best Documentary at the Woodstock Film Festival and Comic-Con, Marwencol tells the story of Mark Hogancamp, who turned to art to recover from brain damage caused by a brutal attack.

“Marwencol” is the name of a fictional Belgian town built to one-sixth scale in his backyard.

Marwencol website.

'Cuba: The Accidental Eden': Rare Snails, Frogs, Crocodiles, Coral Reefs on DVD/Blu-Ray

Cuba: The Accidental Eden, the first film of PBS' award-winning Nature series' 29th season, explores Cuba's diverse landscape and its inhabitants – and the dangers they face. The country, (absurdly) off limits to Americans, is a place where “wild splendor has been preserved by half a century of political isolation and economic stagnation.”

The Accidental Eden will be available on DVD and Blu-ray through PBS Distribution. It will hit retail stores on November 9.

“There are few accidents in nature,” Fred Kaufman, Series Executive Producer, is quoted as saying in the PBS press release. “But if there is one, Cuba's beguiling wildlife is one to behold. And with the ongoing discussion to lift the Cuban embargo, it's a timely film to usher in a new season of Nature.”

The information below is from the press release:

Decades of relative isolation have allowed Cuba's diverse landscapes and intriguing indigenous creatures to flourish. Just 90 miles from Florida, the island nation contains miles of untouched tropical forests, intact wetlands, and unspoiled desert coasts. As the largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba boasts an extensive collection of the smallest animals of their kind - including the world's smallest bat, the smallest owl, and the tiny bee hummingbird, the smallest bird of all. It's also home to one of the most extensive coral reefs in the Western Hemisphere.

Along with Cuba's rich natural beauty, Nature explores the critical conservation work of dedicated Cuban scientists, some of whom make merely $25 a month. Among the passionate conservationists working in the field is biologist Emma Palacios Lemagne, who's researching how polymita, Cuba's beautiful painted snails, evolve. Herpetologist Roberto “Tony” Ramos has the dangerous duty of tracking the rarest of crocs, the “jumping” Cuban crocodile. Another specialist, Leonardo Valido, monitors nesting sea turtles whose hatchlings' chances of survival are one in a thousand.

One of the few American scientists working in Cuba is marine biologist David Guggenheim. He studies Cuba's vast network of coral reefs, the sign of a healthy ocean. According to scientific data, 25 percent of world's coral reefs have disappeared due to pollution and other ecological factors. An estimated half of the coral population will be extinct or diseased in the next 25 years. But Cuba's coral reefs are thriving.

To Guggenheim's surprise, he stumbles upon a spectacular elkhorn coral, now one of the rarest corals in the world. He and his fellow scientists hope that through their research and wise government policies, Cuba will serve as a conservation model throughout the Caribbean.

To order a copy of Cuba: The Accidental Eden call (800) PLAY-PBS or visit shopPBS.org. To purchase DVDs with public performance rights, go to ShopPBS.org/education.

Photo: Nature / PBS.

'Dogs Decoded' on DVD: Human-Canine Relationship Through the Ages

NOVA / PBS brings out on DVD Dogs Decoded, an examination of age-old human-dog relationship. The documentary will be available on November 9.

The information below is from the PBS press release:

Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet, and humans have developed a unique relationship with these furry friends. We treat our pets like a part of the family, and feel that they can understand us in a way other animals can't.

Now, new research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies.

How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And why do dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently?

Dogs Decoded investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with big implications for the evolution of human culture as well.

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton: 1950s Audiences Didn't Understand Movie Editing

Harry Cohn must be rolling in his grave.

Cohn was Columbia Pictures' mogul back in the days when the studio had three-time Oscar winner Frank Capra in its roster, and released movies starring the likes of Jack Holt, Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, or Kim Novak.

Cohn, under whose aegis Columbia went from a Poverty Row studio to one of the major Hollywood players, was crass, vulgar, and a ruthless tyrant, but he surely knew how movies got made. After all, he'd been in the movie business since the late 1910s.

Now, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, ruler of Columbia and its sister film and television companies, is another story.

While at the University of Southern California's annual Institute on Entertainment Law and Business on Saturday, Lynton explained that 3D moviemaking “is not going to go away.”

He then added that innovations to the process both in the US and overseas will keep it fresh, before coming up with the following:

“If you had shown, for example, someone back in the 1950s [when 3D first became widespread] an edit where there is a woman crying and there is an image of a gravesite, they would not have understood what we as a modern audience understood, which is that the woman is grieving over someone who has died.”

“I think 3D has come along at a moment, and it is not an accident, when we as an audience and a culture can read 3D. We understand how to interpret that visually. And that is very, very important. It means that it is not a fad. Does it mean it is for everything?

No, probably not. Probably at the outset it is for exactly what we have seen it in.”

That surely explains the phenomenal box office success of Jackass 3D. I just think it's too bad that we as audience and a culture, however sophisticated, know shit about the past – cinematic or otherwise.

In the 1950s, Columbia releases won three Best Picture Oscars: Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity (1953), Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), and David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), all of which many would find vastly superior to anything being released by Sony Pictures today.

For the record: the type of editing Lynton mentions in his talk had been around since at least the 1910s, perhaps earlier. You can see it, for instance, in D.W. Griffith's 1912 short An Unseen Enemy, in which editing is used to convey both time and space as sisters Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish are menaced by a burglar.

This USC “Institute” wasn't the first time Lynton uttered an asininity. Last year, the Sony honcho remarked, “I'm a guy who sees nothing good having come from the Internet. Period.”

He later had to justify his statement, while adding that he'd been trying to have students who pirate movies get kicked out of universities.

“My hope would be that they would wind up on the couch at home and their parents would say, 'What happened? We paid all that tuition?'

And they would go, 'Oh, I stole a movie,' and that is a quick way of delivering the message to that neighborhood that is not such a good idea.”

Lynton quotes: Ted Johnson's article “Sony chief says 3D to stay” in Variety.

Film Preservation Short 'His First Day' Wins Association of Moving Image Archivists Award

In celebration of both its 20th Anniversary and World Day for Audio Visual Heritage, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) launched its first short film competition.

The challenge was “to create a film or video that conveys the importance of preserving the world's moving image heritage.”

The winner was Brian Rose's quite moving His First Day, inspired “by the stories of dozens of films that would have been lost forever … were it not for a few individuals who thought they were worth saving. My own work owes a huge debt to the silent cinema, and I shudder to think what that work would be like, and what kind of person I would be, had someone not cared to save films like The Passion of Joan of Arc or practically anything by Buster Keaton.

“That is the ultimate message of my film: that one person's decision to save a single film can have an untold and lasting impact on generations of filmmakers and film lovers. The lesson is that we cannot make the choice for them, deciding which films they shall know, and which films they shall only read about. It is for their sake that every film that can be saved must be saved!”

Susan Kennedy and Jon Steiner's Get the Picture, which shows that reenactments are quite was effective as watching the real thing, was the runner-up.

Watch Get the Picture here:  http://www.amianet.org/

The world premiere screening of His First Day will be held in Philadelphia next Friday, Nov. 6, at AMIA's Archival Screening Night at the Neighborhood Film Project at International House.

Steven Paul at TromaDance Press Conference at American Film Market

The TromaDance Film Festival (website) Committee has announced that Ghost Rider producer Steven Paul will join a group of independent filmmakers at the 2010 American Film Market's TromaDance Press Conference.

The press conference is scheduled for November 4 at 3 pm in the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Press Room.

Paul is currently producing Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.

Hosted by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and Creator of The Toxic Avenger, the TromaDance Press Conference at the AFM has featured Jenna Fischer, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, James Gunn, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, and Penelope Spheeris.

Founded by Kaufman in 1999, TromaDance does not charge filmmakers a fee to submit their films. Entrance to all screenings is free and open to the public.

Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa Collaboration + Piper Laurie & Ernest Borgnine Are Back © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa Collaboration + Piper Laurie & Ernest Borgnine Are Back

  1. Sharon Sedano

    I also was able to catch it on PBS. I usually miss the better shows on there, but this was definitely more interesting to me because of the Cuba connection with my family