American Cinematheque screening Ingmar Bergman films ‘Autumn Sonata’ & ‘Cries & Whispers’
A number of Ingmar Bergman movies, among them the Ingrid Bergman / Liv Ullmann mother-daughter drama Autumn Sonata and Best Picture Oscar nominee Cries & Whispers, will be screened – in new 35mm prints – at the American Cinematheque (website)’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica between May 26-July 7.
An Anglo-Norwegian production, Autumn Sonata (1978, to be screened on May 26) is a harrowing tale of mother-daughter lovelessness, boasting excellent performances by Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman (working with the other Bergman for the first and only time); Cries & Whispers / Viskningar och rop (1972, on July 7) is another harrowing – and beautifully shot – family drama starring Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin, Kari Sylwan, and an outstanding Harriet Andersson. The Magic Flute / Trollflöjten (1975, on May 29), for its part, is a filmed play: Mozart’s opera for little kids.
Additionally, the American Cinematheque will also present a special sneak preview of Ingmar Bergman’s latest effort: Saraband (June 30), the story of a lawyer (Liv Ullmann) who feels a sudden need to contact her ex-husband (Erland Josephson) whom she has not seen in thirty years. Needless to say, heavy drama ensues.
Autumn Sonata Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann image: ITC Film.
The Oscars: ‘A celebration of mediocrity’
What are the Academy Awards?
Answer: “A celebration of mediocrity.”
Well, that’s according to Oscar winner Mel Gibson, who a) should know what he’s talking about (see below) b) let that one out while being interviewed on the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network.
“The Oscars aren’t about quality,” says Empire contributor Patrick Peters. “They’re peer group nods of approval and, as a result, there has been a surfeit of unworthy Best Pictures and, rest assured, there will be many more to come.”
Bottom Ten Worst Best Picture Oscar winners
Below is Empire magazine’s Bottom Ten Worst Films Ever to win a Best Picture Oscar, from the Most Very Worst the Least Very Worst.
- Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995): “Dialogue has all the thudding subtlety of a parody.”
- Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001): “Clunkingly intricate direction.”
- Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth (1952): “Tawdry circus spectacle of hoary cliches and caricatures.”
- Robert Redford’s Ordinary People (1980): “Nothing more than a TV movie that got lucky.”
- Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994): “Revisionist nonsense.”
- James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment (1983): “A weepie espousing family values.”
- Michael Anderson’s Around the World in 80 Days (1956): “A-list co-stars confined to blink’n’miss ’em cameos.”
- Frank Lloyd’s Cavalcade (the period 1932–1933): “Patronizing politics underpinning sentimental storylines.”
- John G. Avildsen’s Rocky (1976): “Given Watergate and Vietnam, hardly surprising the Academy should hail a picture restoring the American dream.”
- John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (1941): “Hollywood’s eagerness to show solidarity with war-torn Britain.”
Another Oscar question: How is How Green Was My Valley any worse than The Life of Emile Zola, The Broadway Melody, Grand Hotel, or Cimarron? Could they possibly have meant instead Mrs. Miniver, the Best Picture winner of 1942 – one that is actually set in Britain during World War II?
And where on earth is Ridley Scott’s Gladiator?
Andrzej Wajda: ‘Katyn’ massacre is next movie project
Andrzej Wajda is currently planning to make a film about the Katyn massacre, reports Slovakian news agency TASR. But what is the “Katyn Massacre”?
Several months after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, approximately 15,000 (some sources claim as many as 25,000) Polish prisoners of war were killed by the Soviet secret police in and around the forest near the city of Katyn, in what was then the western section of the Soviet Union (currently western Russia).
In 1943, the Nazis uncovered the remains during their invasion of the Soviet Union, and blamed the Soviets for the massacre. In turn, the Soviet government accused the Nazis of trying to cover up their own atrocities. Despite incriminating evidence pointing to the Kremlin, the U.S. and Britain – at the time allied with the USSR – opted to look the other way.
It was only in 1990 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admitted culpability for the massacre. Two years later, the Russian government handed over to Polish President Lech Walesa previously secret documents proving that Joseph Stalin had directly ordered the killings.
Many of the dead were Polish intellectuals and professionals who had been drafted following the Nazi invasion. Those men found themselves prisoners of the Red Army because of a secret deal between the Nazis and Stalin, which had granted the eastern half of Poland to the Soviet Union.
‘Katyn’ massacre: A personal tale for Andrzej Wajda
“My father was also executed then,” Andrzej Wajda is quoted as saying. As a result, his mother had to look for work, and the once privileged family of intellectuals was reduced to a working-class existence. “The real hero of this story is my mother,” Wajda added.
Andrzej Wajda received an honorary Oscar in 2000 for his body of work, which includes A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957), Ashes and Diamonds (1958), Man of Marble (1977), Man of Iron (1981), and A Love in Germany (1984).
Later this month, the Criterion Collection is releasing the box set “Andrzej Wajda: Three War Films,” with three of the Polish director’s most acclaimed films: Pokolenie / A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957), and Popiól i diament / Ashes and Diamonds (1958), which stars the “Polish James Dean,” Zbigniew Cybulski. (Like Dean, the offbeat Cybulski had an unexpected, bloody death. At age 40, the by then heavy-drinking actor was struck by a railway train.)
In A Generation, Wajda explores the plight of Polish youth reaching adulthood during the German occupation; Kanal is reportedly the first film ever made about the Warsaw uprising of 1944; and Ashes and Diamonds is the tale of a young Polish resistance fighter who is ordered to kill a local Communist leader.
Bit of trivia: Roman Polanski has a small role in A Generation.
Scheduled Region 0 DVD (playable anywhere) release date in the United States: April 26, 2005
- Picture: Full frame, 1.33:1
- Audio: Polish (Dolby Digital Mono 1.0)
- Language: Polish
- Subtitle: English (optional)
- Black and White
- Interviews with director Andrzej Wajda and “his colleagues”
List price: US$79.95.
A Criterion Collection release.
Gus Van Sant to direct ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’?
From Middle-earth to time travel: Mala Noche and Good Will Hunting filmmaker Gus Van Sant is currently attempting to turn Audrey Niffenegger’s novel The Time Traveler’s Wife into a feature film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the book – à la Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain – is a loose retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey: a man with a “time-traveling gene” shows up at different points in the life of his beloved.
Jeremy Leven (The Notebook, The Legend of Bagger Vance) is supposed to have already adapted The Time Traveler’s Wife into a screenplay.