Author: Jaime Grijalba

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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In This Corner of the World

The world of Japanese animation is wide and varied. Since its start, anime has come in various genres, without consolidating as only a medium for children’s stories. The same is true for manga, Japanese comics from which most of the animation is adapted—as an art form, it is as respected in Japan as novels, with thousands of stories printed every year. The historical/personal manga, In This Corner of the World, by a female mangaka, Fumiyo Kôno, garnered praise and had a successful crowdfunding campaign. The latter was necessary, since even though there is a wide range of manga and...

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Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before

During the recent American release of Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left, most critics focused on the obvious aspect of the Philippine master’s work – the runtime and duration of his takes. With films generally over four hours, this stylistic mark has helped frame Diaz as a representative of “slow cinema.” Yet, as demonstrated by the recent retrospectives – on MUBI and at the Museum of Modern Art – the most interesting aspect of Diaz’s oeuvre is by far how he tackles his country’s history. The continuous invasions, from the Spanish and Japanese to the American, and the subsequent...

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