Quickly establishing themselves as one of the premier indie and foreign distributors, KimStim has released some of the year’s best films, including An Elephant Sitting Still, Too Late to Die Young, and The Plagiarists. We’re now pleased to exclusively announce they’ve acquired all U.S. rights to another festival favorite this year, Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come.
The director’s follow up to his Cannes prize-winner Mimosas is a hypnotic, slow-burn drama about life in a rural village threatened with extinction in the ruggedly beautiful Galician mountains. Set for a theatrical release, followed by a digital release, in mid-2020, Ian Stimler of the Brooklyn-based KimStim negotiated the deal with Agathe Mauruc of the Parisian film sales company PYRAMIDE INTERNATIONAL.
A jury prize winner at Cannes this year, Ed Frankl said in our review from the festival, “Laxe knows how to create a grounded, taut drama with a real sense of time and place. His opening sequence, a foggy, ethereal nighttime scene where diggers bulldoze giant Eucalyptus trees is infused with foreboding in a tangible natural terrain that towers over human activity. This is a region exposed to the elements, where people submit to nature as if it’s a greater power. Fire Will Come is, it should be no surprise, a prophetic title, and that’s part of the tension that Laxe carefully ratchets up.”
Check out an international trailer and new synopsis below.
The first film in the Galician language selected at Cannes, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, this lush, devastating film is at once a touching portrait of a mother and son, and of nature as both haven and threat.
The film begins as Amador Coro (Amador Arias), weathered and weary, returns to his family home in the mountains of rural Galicia. Having served prison time for arson, he is completely ostracized from his community except for his mother Benedicta (Benedicta Sánchez) and their three cows. While Amador and Benedicta try to resume a quiet, normal life, the aggressive hostility of locals begins to take its toll.
Fire Will Come is magnificently shot on 16mm film, in a muted palette befitting its woodsy and misty locale, by master cinematographer Mauro Herce (Endless Night). Profoundly empathetic, and simmering until it roars, Fire Will Come culminates in one of recent cinema’s most explosively grand finales.
After developing the drama Blossoms for the last five years, it was revealed this spring that Wong Kar-wai could begin production as early as this year on the project. Based on Jin Yucheng’s novel, the story follows three Shanghai residents from the early ’60s, at the end of China’s Cultural Revolution and through the ’90s, with a selection of scenes to be shot in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the wait has now gotten a bit longer and the project will see the light of the day in two different forms.
Variety reports Wong will be producing a web series version of the project for Tencent, set to begin shooting next year, before embarking on a feature film version. Reportedly, casting has been completed but not yet announced, which begs a few more questions: will the cast stay the same for the feature film version? Will Wong Kar-wai direct any episodes of the series? Would any footage from the series be carried over to the feature? Time will only tell, but in the meantime, even if it likely means we’ll go a decade in between films from the director, next year will at least bring new 4K restorations of all his prior films.
As we await both the TV and film versions of this project, see the new poster and a fuller synopsis below.
Depicting chores and trifles of urban life, such as grocery shopping and hosting a dinner party, Blossoms provides a vivid image of the daily life of ordinary Shanghai people. Focusing on a hundred characters, and several main ones, the whole story is carried out over two time-lines: from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, the end of the Cultural Revolution; and from the 1980s to the start of the 21st century. As the two time periods alternate, the book unveils the two faces of the city: the Shanghai of old and the modernized metropolis it is today.
“I think the Chinese-American experience has a lot of connections and inference with what’s becoming modern China now. It’s a very interesting history and experience that hasn’t been addressed properly, and I think that would be something that would be very interesting to do,” the director recently said. “The reason that I’m attached to this material is first I was born in Shanghai. I went to Hong Kong when I was five, and the period described in this novel is basically my absence. I finally went back to Shanghai very often after the 1990s, because we have to work there. But I think that to make a film about this novel is to fill up my absence, so that I can imagine it and also give my audience a piece of a puzzle. In the Mood for Love and 2046 are set in Hong Kong, but the characters came from Shanghai. Blossoms is the missing piece of the Shanghai trilogy.”
Outside of the likes of Charles Laughton and Barbara Loden, there are seldom other directors who have earned such a reputation after directing so few films as Elaine May. With four narrative films to her name–1971’s A New Leaf, 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid, 1976’s Mikey and Nicky, and 1987’s Ishtar–and the majority initially met with either studio pushback or neglect from audiences (despite each being perceptively brilliant; yes, even Ishtar), it has, sadly, resulted in May not helming a film in over 30 years.
While she did direct the TV documentary Mike Nichols: American Masters a few years ago, May also wrote with her longtime collaborator Nichols on a few projects in the past few decades since Ishtar. One film was set to be directed by May’s partner Stanley Donen, who co-wrote the script with her, and produced by Nichols, but with both men now sadly having passed away, it never saw the light of day. Following her Best Actress Tony Award win for Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, the 87-year-old May is now finally ready to get back behind the camera with a new feature.
The film is titled Crackpot and it is set to star Dakota Johnson. Those are, unfortunately, the only details that Deadline buried inside an article, but it’s enticing enough to be our most-anticipated film for the foreseeable future. As for Johnson, she was recently seen in The Peanut Butter Falcon, Wounds, and the TIFF premiere The Friend, and she recently wrapped the LA music scene story Covers from Late Night director Nisha Ganatra. With nothing else on the horizon, hopefully that means this Elaine May project will get off the ground soon.
For those looking to catch up on May’s films, here’s where you can see them:
A New Leaf – Blu-ray/DVD/VOD
The Heartbreak Kid – Unfortunately, nowhere currently.
As we await more details, check out a 2016 conversation with May and Nichols about their collaborations and careers. Also,
Our friends at Le Cinéma Club further their role as forces for good in this horrible world with “Women to Watch: Five Shorts by New, Exciting Voices”–both entirely what it sounds like and far more involving than your standard showcase of contemporary American films by women. Case in point is their kick-off title, Moving, which recently screened as part of this year’s New York Film Festival program “New York Stories.” Its single-idea premise–a woman (Mindhunter‘s Hannah Gross), moving to a new apartment, attempts carrying a mattress up a flight of stairs–births a perspective any New Yorker will painfully recognize: per writer-director-editor Adinah Dancyger, “a love/hate letter to a beautifully unreasonably place, where we struggle endlessly to create sanctuaries in our small rooms with mediocre views.”
Hardly a second is wasted in Dancyger and Gross’s interplay, and details that what most other times be superflous or incidental — the seasonal nose-rubbing, the puffy coating of a steering wheel–abet a discomfort that starts as dread until, quickly assembled and alien-looking, close-ups of a musculature’s attempt to finally just carry this fucking thing up one single flight become a not-quite body horror. But at least you have a mattress on which to plummet.
Watch the short at Le Cinéma Club, and be sure to return over the next month as their series progresses.
One of the few benefits of the frenzied awards race is Hollywood’s outpouring of materials associated with the contenders. Perhaps the biggest perk is the release of full scripts one is able to download legally, directly from the studios.
We’ll be updating this post as these and more arrive over the coming months, so bookmark the page, but one can check out everything thus far below (right click and save to download, or open in your browser by clicking the titles). To catch up on the last few years, check out the 2018 screenplays, 2017 screenplays, the 2016 screenplays, 2015 screenplays, 2014 screenplays, and the 2013 screenplays, if they are still available.
After The Wedding (Bart Freundlich – Sony Pictures Classics)
Downton Abbey (Julian Fellowes – Focus Features)
The Farewell (Lulu Wang – A24)
Frankie (Mauricio Zacharias & Ira Sachs – Sony Pictures Classics)
Harriet (Gregory Allen Howard & Kasi Lemmons – Focus Features)
A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick – Fox Searchlight)
Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria – STX Films)
The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers & Max Eggers – A24)
Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar – Sony Pictures Classics)
The Song of Names (Jeffrey Caine – Sony Pictures Classics)
Us (Jordan Peele – Universal Pictures)
Waves (Trey Edward Shults – A24)
After bursting onto the scene with his intense crime drama Animal Kingdom, Australian director David Michôd is now returning with his most ambitious film yet, The King. Led by Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, and Ben Mendelsohn, Rory O’Connor said in our Venice review, “The King marks a return to form, a sharply directed period action film with a fine central performance from Chalamet as the wayward prince turned reluctant ruler.”
As the Shakespeare epic arrives on Netflix, we’re taking a look at the director’s favorite films of all-time. As voted on in the latest Sight & Sound poll, his picks range from classic Hollywood favorites to 1970s landmarks to a few modern gems and beyond. He gives fellow Aussie director Andrew Dominik his deserved due with his masterpiece The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Ford, while Terrence Malick’s WWII epic The Thin Red Line, Béla Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia also made the list.
Check out his 10 favorite films below.
Alien (Ridley Scott)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik)
Funny Games (Michael Haneke)
Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Network (Sidney Lumet)
Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick)
Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr)
Picture, if you can, a Paul Schrader film about a troubled man. No, actually: a Paul Schrader film about a troubled man, redemption, revenge, and a seedy underworld. Once your world is done being rocked, take note, via Variety, that the living legend’s First Reformed follow-up will be The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac as William Tell (in the parlance of our times, “lmao”), a gambler, former serviceman, and card-player living a “spartan existence on the casino trail […] who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past.” The young man, Cirk, seeks to assassinate a military colonel; Tell, with “backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda,” takes Cirk under his wing on the card-playing trail through America’s casinos, winding up at Las Vegas’ World Series of poker.
One could draw lines to, uh, many Schrader projects from pasts both recent and not-so, though First Reformed—our #1 film of 2018–made clear his concerns have found a distinctly modern (read: catastrophic) center. Returning are that film’s DP, Alexander Dynan, and editor, Benjamin Rodriguez Jr. Production begins early next year.
While you stew in anticipation of this future project, read our interview with Schrader from last year about why there is, in fact, no hope for the future.
With every new redesign or change of [insert your favorite social media platform or website here] one must expect a certain level of backlash from users who have grown accustomed to the way things were. However, the vitriol hit a new height when Box Office Mojo launched their new redesign, and every ounce of it was deserved when it comes to the unnavigable update.
Courtesy of their parent company, IMDb (a subsidiary of Amazon), the new update is not only frustrating from a user experience in terms of trying to find data, some of the data that was previously available either isn’t there at all or has been locked under an IMDbPro paywall. While a spokesperson from the company said “these updates were made in response to customer feedback and usage patterns, which will continue to inform future feature launches,” a group of dedicated coders are now, thankfully, taking things into their own hands.
The subreddit r/TheBOMRebuild launched just a few days ago with the following message:
The new Box Office Mojo is crap. Lets rebuild something new! Anyone that wants to help rebuild can leave a post here with their skillset and the timings they are available. Any and all kinds of help is welcome. Artists for logo design, aspiring analysts for the story column, programmers for the website itself, enthusiasts for funding, lawyers etc! All updates on the rebuild – screenshots of earlier versions and beta tests – will be posted here.
The response has already been overwhelming, with the launch of a new name–The Box Office Initiative–as well as a Discord and Github channels to let the developing and coding commence. Users are also already discussing not only which features to reinstate but also which features BOM was missing. So, if you are an experienced developer or simply want to provide input on new, better iteration of what went up in flames last week, feel free to jump in.
So, it may be a ways off, but those who refresh every Sunday morning for the weekend totals or enjoy looking through Hollywood history can rest assured that something better is on the horizon. As the famous line goes: “If a corporation destroys it and a community rebuilds it, they will come.”
Making their careers on the streets of New York City, it’s only fitting that Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee would take part in an extensive conversation on the making of The Irishman. Taking place at the DGA theater in NYC, it’s a lively, deep dive into the making of the crime epic, which Netflix will debut in theaters this Friday. One can see all the theaters it’s coming to here and read our review from the 57th NYFF premiere here. Along with the full conversation, we’ve highlighted some key selections from the talk, which be seen below.
Martin Scorsese on how Robert De Niro helped protect his creative control since the beginning
“He was a major box office star. A great actor and a star, so we got a lot of pictures made that wouldn’t normally be made,” Scorsese said. “But the main thing is that Bob would never take the film away from me, I knew it. Down to the last dead line, I knew it. I don’t know what he could do. I don’t know how he could fight them, but I knew he wouldn’t do it.” On potentially working with other major stars, he added, “I met other actors who I adored, but I never quite felt safe with them.”
Speaking on trying to work with De Niro since Casino, Scorsese also said that he was developing The Winter of Frankie Machine but, “I couldn’t bring it together. I couldn’t get what we do and the demands of the genre [to come together].” However, as De Niro was developing The Good Shepherd around the same time, for strictly research purposes, writer Eric Roth gave De Niro the basis for what would become The Irishman–Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses–and De Niro had such an emotional reaction to the book that he presented it to Scorsese, and the rest is history.
The Irishman wasn’t the first time Scorsese wanted to work with Al Pacino
Scorsese reveals in the 1980s he worked with Pacino to try and get a biopic on Italian painter Amedeo Clemente Modigliani off the ground, but it didn’t see the light of day. “It never came off. I couldn’t get the financing in the 1980s. Then he went with De Palma and Lumet, so it’s a whole other thing.”
Getting Joe Pesci on board–and working with him on set
Since 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4, Joe Pesci had only made two live-action films: a cameo in the De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd and the little-seen Love Ranch. When Spike Lee asked Scorsese what Pesci is doing in retirement, the director said, “He plays golf! He comes from Jersey, I think that’s what it is. What would he do, a Snickers commercial? I don’t know what the hell is going on. We talked about it.” Scorsese on how the conversation went:
Pesci: “The gangster thing again?”
Scorsese: “No, this is different.”
Pesci: “I don’t want to talk to Bob, because Bob is going to say you’ve got to do it.”
Scorsese: “He’s just going to talk to you for a few minutes.”
Pesci: “No, no, no.”
Scorsese added, “It finally all came around especially when Netflix kicked in, because that made it very real, particularly with this experiment with the CGI.” Then when it came to working with him on set, “You’ve got to ask him more than once to do anything. He’s an older person now. We’re all older. What’s in it for him?”
How Donald Trump influenced The Irishman
“It was 2016 when the election happened. It was 2017 [when we shot this],” Scorsese said. “It was there. It was prominent [and] as it played it out there was resonance, there’s no doubt, in those scenes. I think you can see how pressure is applied. How things are said, but not said. Yet technically you can say, “They didn’t say this.” You follow? [Laughs.] So, the tone of it, we were very aware of the nature of the world around us at that point. There’s no doubt.”
Martin Scorsese isn’t interested in how Jimmy Hoffa died
“When I took on the picture, I made it very clear to myself, everybody around, I’m not interested. We know he’s gone. How did he go, meaning what brought him to that point, is really interesting to me. It’s really about the closeness, the friendship, the trust, and that sort of thing. [Film historian] Jeanine Basinger said, ‘I don’t know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, but after seeing this film, I now know what happened to him because you could see him bury himself.’ It’s ancient Greek tragedy. It’s hubris. [Sheeran] tells him, ‘They are going to kill you, basically he’s saying.’ He says, ‘Don’t tell me that.'”
On the female perspective in The Irishman
One of the most powerful aspects of the Scorsese’s epic is the perspective of Frank’s daughter Peggy Sheeran, played in younger years by Lucy Gallina and older years by Anna Paquin “I kept asking Steve Zaillian if we can layer her in the story,” Scorsese said. “I decided that she doesn’t have to say anything. You see your father do something like that, I’m sorry… You see him crush the guy’s hand like that… other kids maybe, but this kid couldn’t take it. She looks at him. She knows he’s up to something and Lucy was great, but Anna ultimately was amazing in the looks. She has one line in the film. There’s something you can’t talk about. She knows it. She knows who she is. He knows she knows. Even when she’s sitting there and the police are talking about Joey Gallo being [murdered.] [The anchor said], “A lone gunman walked in..” and you see she’s looking at him.”
On the song throughout The Irishman that signifies death is coming
“As Steve was pulling the story together, I had other thoughts in mind, but then I knew it had to be In the Still of the Night [by Fred Parris and The Satins] because of those opening piano [notes],” Scorsese said. “It’s a very moving piece. I grew up with it. It’s a quintessential doo-wop of that time. Also, it’s the still of the night. The executioner. Death. In the still of the night, you know?”
He continued, “Catholicism, too. When I was growing up as an altar boy it’s all they talked about, the old Italian priests got in the pulpit. They talked about ‘like a thief in the night it will come… be ready.’ I was an altar boy at the dead masses every Saturday morning, 10:30 am, so death was very much [around me]. The flowers, the funeral parlor, the wakes. Being in downtown Elizabeth street was very much like a little village. There were several funeral parlors. I had two friends who died, one of cancer another by an accident, at the age of 18. So those funerals were devastating. The funerals were very much a part of our lives. So, In the Still of the Night.“
The films and books that influenced The Irishman
In the discussion, Martin Scorsese went so in-depth on these influences–from Melville to Hitchcock to Becker–that we expanded on them in another feature here.
Check out the discussion below.
The Irishman opens on November 1 in theaters and November 27 on Netflix.
With a knowledge of cinema history simply unparalleled even when it comes to the greatest film scholars, a new Martin Scorsese film also means a wealth of commentary as it pertains to the films that he thought of during development and production. As for his crime epic The Irishman, he’s been fairly tight-lipped about influences, but has now revealed a handful during an insightful conversation with Spike Lee. Check out the films (and a book mention) he discussed below, a few of which are now available in new brand-new restorations on Blu-ray.
Jean-Pierre Melville x 2
While Scorsese said he didn’t screen many cinematic influences with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto regarding the look of the film, it was important to get the tone of the movie right. “The tone of the movie, it had to be contemplative and an epic, but it had to be an intimate epic,” he said. “I showed a couple of Jean-Pierre Melville films, Le Doulos and Le deuxième souffle [aka Second Breath], with Jean-Paul Belmondo, both of those pictures. It’s a very different world, but I liked the understatement of it.”
Touchez pas au grisbi (Jacques Becker)
“Then I showed a film called Touchez pas au grisbi, which means ‘Don’t touch the loot,’ which is a very famous early ’50s French gangster film with Jean Gabin,” Scorsese said. “When I was shooting [Robert De Niro] in Casino I felt he was taking on the stature of a late-to-middle-age Gabin. He had a lot of power to him but he had a serenity to him too and a coolness. Bob I felt was getting that way in Casino. Grisbi has a similar [theme] in the sense that they are older gangsters in Paris and they are getting involved in stuff they don’t want to get involved with. It’s really the tone, but I like the Gabin feeling of his deportment, how he presented himself.”
Rififi (Jules Dassin)
“In fact, we used some of the harmonica music of grisbi in the film and Robbie Robertson did the harmonica based on the French noir music of the early 50s. Another one was Jules Dassin’s Rififi,” Scorsese said speaking to the classic heist film. “There was a period there where a lot of those films were coming over here.”
Where to watch: Blu-ray/DVD
Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel)
“I’ve been obsessed with slow-motion since I first saw films. I guess for me, the slow-motion dreams in Los Olvidados are something that stayed with me for a long time,” Scorsese said. “I love the way that people’s expressions change and the movement of the flesh on the arms. It’s very, very high speed this camera, Phantom. I felt like it would be only two places: the Joe Colombo shooting in Columbus Circle and the wedding itself, because the wedding is a funeral. People laugh, ‘Oh, mob hits, and that sort of thing,’ [but] the Colombo thing gave me a chance to [capture] the pain of it, the suffering of all the people around, you see all their faces.
You see their family, the wife screaming. You see the hands grabbing the gun. It’s almost like Biblical tableau that I was going for. I think that camera gave it to me, but one has to be quite sparing with it, and I like the trance-like film.”
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
Speaking to the sound of the film, Scorsese said, “I made choices to take most of the music out anyway, because of the methodic nature of who he is, Frank, and once he has to do this terrible thing, we want to see him go step by step with it. Take them all the way through, the way he feels when he’s doing it. One has to be so careful with film music. Very often it tells you how to feel. But what if you are just uncomfortably watching this guy? It’s an air of finality that we have to witness this, the way it happens and then witness after.”
The director also had one specific influence for this feeling. “There’s a wonderful thing, the clean-up scene after the shower scene in Psycho. I mean, there’s Bernard Herrmann music there, but there’s something about when we first saw that film at the DeMille theater in the first week in a midnight screening, everybody’s screaming, the fact that we’re back in there. He’s just killed the lead of the movie and he’s cleaning up. What are we watching? The quotidian nature of it. I thought the whole last hour of the picture should be that way.”
Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Céline)
Shifting away from cinema, Scorsese specifically called out Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s book Journey to the End of the Night and the feeling of experience and regret a life of crime leads to. “I always talk about there’s a quote towards the end where the main character gets killed, he’s talking with his girlfriend. She says, ‘What happened to you?’ He says, ‘What happened to me is a whole life has happened to me’ and she shoots him. It’s a tough book. It’s ugly. When he says that, it hit me, he’s right. A whole life. Something I can never explain to you. You had to live it with me. You had to be me. That’s what we were trying to go for in the film.”
Where to read: Amazon
I Heard You Paint Houses (Charles Brandt)
We’ll save the most obvious for last, which is less of an influence and simply the basis of the entire film. Charles Brandt’s book, culled from interviews with Frank Sheeran and many others, is an extensive, exhaustively researched look into the story Scorsese’s film is based on, but the director is not shy in revealing the liberties he took with writer Steve Zaillian. In the NYFF57 press conference, he said the following:
“A decision had to be made very clearly from even before I even read the book. I mean are we going to get into what could be considered conspiracy theories? What we wanted to deal with was the nature of who we are as human beings: the love, the betrayal, guilt or no guilt, forgiveness or no forgiveness. All of this, everything that else that’s played out, can be considered–and I’m not denigrating Charles Brandt’s book or what Frank Sheeran may have said because this is not Frank Sheeran in the film, it’s some character we all created–maybe considered something that is arguably to be contested and I didn’t want to muddy up the emotion and power of what he was going through and what Bufalino had to deal with and of course Jimmy’s sense of I’m above the law. Nobody’s above the law. Who says so? The higher-ups. Who are the higher-ups? Next thing you know people are missing. Do you really have to know how they’re missing and who really did what? Who shot Joey Gallo, really? I mean it’s the life that they’re in. They’re human beings. He’s not a psychotic in that sense. He’s a human being with his feelings and he finds himself at the most important part of his life in a moral conflict because he’s basically a good man yet he has to go through with it. And how does a good man live with himself after that?
He added, “Charles Brandt knows all this stuff and I believe he’s working on another project that is gonna get into that deeper…. ultimately what happens if we know the truth of that time? Will our lives change now? What does it do to us as human beings? What does it say to us about a society now about being above the law and being reckless as Joey Gallo was and as Jimmy became?”
Where to read: Amazon