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Author: Jaime Grijalba

Japan Cuts 2018: The Auteur Parade

This year’s lineup of the always-impressive Japan Cuts brought the North American premiere of the most interesting and long-awaited Japanese films of last year, as well as showcasing new talent that has been part of festivals of the first half of 2018 all over the world. But the most surprising element is the presence of the latest films of three important and established auteurs that are still actively working, and how they function as what’s been called “old man’s cinema.”   Nobuhiko Obayashi, Kazuo Hara, and Takeshi Kitano all had films at the festival that showed their mastery and...

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On Disintegration and Corruption—“Putin’s Russia: A 21st Century Film Mosaic” at MoMI

One doesn’t have to think for too long to realize that Vladimir Putin has shaped the way we see, understand, and talk about Russia. Since the time he became acting president (New Year’s Eve 1999), going through his periods as elected president and as prime minister, no matter what one thinks of him, he’s become a figure that has defined the 21st century and the almost two decades we’ve lived under his influence. One could say that said influence could only be subjected to the scrutiny of history, but to name those that are directly affected by his decisions...

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Hiroshima/Godzilla: A Comparison

Most Japanese films released in the United States in the 1950s and 60s were altered, especially those aimed at the mass audience. They were dubbed and later they had scenes shot exclusively for the film, with different actors. Some even had completely different structures from the originals. The most classic example is Gojira (1954, Honda) and its US version Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956, Honda, Morse), in which the character of a journalist, named Steve Martin, was added, and played by Raymond Burr. Steve narrates the entire film, interrupting the more moments contemplative moments in this sci-fi tale...

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Mar del Plata Film Festival

The International Film Festival of Mar del Plata, now its 32nd year, is shrinking. The public probably didn’t and won’t notice it, at least not immediately. Yet instead of improving overall quality some of the changes taking place are instead a response to agendas that don’t have the audience, directors or the films in mind. The most noticeable change this year was the smaller number of films, around 100 fewer than last year. Gone were a number of established sections, such as Films on Film (in which movies, such as Blue Velvet Revisited (2016), Cinema Novo (2016) and De...

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“If you behave badly in this life, you become a Chilean in the next one” – on Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento’s La Telenovela Errante

The 70th edition of the Locarno Film Festival had a treat for its cinemagoers. Six years after the death of the Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, who made more than one hundred features in diverse genres, we saw the premiere of his new feature film. La Telenovela Errante (The Wandering Soap Opera) was filmed in 1990 and finished in 2017 by Ruiz’s wife, Valeria Sarmiento. Sarmiento made sense of the footage discovered in places such as the Chilean Cinemateca, the film archive at Duke University, as well as the basement of a sound recorder. She added her own footage, mostly...

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