Francesca McCaffery

First Time Fest is BACK in NYC April 3-7

First Time Fest is BACK in NYC April 3-7

Julie Taymor

Tony Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director Julie Taymor will be the FIRST TIME FEST’S 2014 John Huston Award For Achievement In Cinema recipient, announced FTF Co-Founders Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward.  Ms. Taymor will also be represented in the Fest’s ‘First Exposure’ Retrospective Program where she will attend to present and discuss with the audience her first feature film, Titus.

Review of Great New Doc: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Review of Great New Doc: “Finding Vivian Maier”

by Francesca McCaffery

Finding Vivian Maier

 John Maloof and his brother were raised working at outdoor flea markets and swap meets with their father…From a very  early age, John Maloof could spot a deal. When working on a book about the history of Chicago, he attended an Auction at a small auctioneer’s store, sitting quietly in the back, and bidded a mere $780 for a box containing over 25,000 negatives shot by an unknown, female photographer. A savvy veteran of these auctions, and now a real estate agent and local historian, he was looking for photos and negatives of old-time Chicago, he was hoping to get a little lucky. He ended up purchasing, for even less money, tens of thousands of more negs and rolls of film, as well as most of her rmaining personal possessions from storage, from another buyer. All of these images had been taken by a woman named Vivian Maier.

 As his life and work on the Chicago book took over, Maloof ended up simply  stashing away the old boxes in a closet for a long while. Dusting them off one day, hunting again for some random,  still images of Chicago, he began to discover some of the most insightful, gorgeous and timely images of street photography he had ever seen. Entranced by the glorious, black and white stills, and in possession of a sophisticated artistic instinct and taste,  he then set about to find out, exactly, just who this Vivian Maeir woman  really was.

Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac Vol 2”-No Gain from Her Pain

Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac Vol 2”-No Gain from Her Pain

By Francesca McCaffery

Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Vol 2 review

Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Vol 2, picks right up where Nymphomaniac, Vol 1 left off: the Young Joe (Stacy Martin) is in the midst of her relationship with her once long lost true love, Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf). (Here is my review on Vol 1 here.)

The problem is, the sexually rapacious Joe had, in her own words, “Lost all feeling in my cunt.” Her genuine fillings for Jerome have left her unable to enjoy sexual intercourse with Jerôme. They keep trying unsuccessfully to get Joe off, until finally, an exhausted Jerôme declares that she’s like a wild animal, and well, he needs some “help with the feeding.”

TEENAGE: Matt Wolf’s Documentary Brings the History of Growing Up to Life

TEENAGE: Matt Wolf’s Documentary Brings the History of Growing Up to Life

teenage matt-wolf

 TEENAGE, the new documentary film written and directed by Matt Wolf (Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell) is based on the book Teenager, by Jon Savage, and uses both found footage and lush, fake Super 8 recreations to illustrate how adolescents came into being, as both a social and actualized concept, in the early-to-mid twentieth century.

The Naked Emotions are more Raw than the Rampant Sex Scenes in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac-Vol 1

The Naked Emotions are more Raw than the Rampant Sex Scenes in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac-Vol 1

By Francesca McCaffery

nymphomaniac shia

With his latest film NYMPHOMANIAC, bad boy and cinematic provocateur Lars von Trier has found a way to communicate through film that is rarely felt, even in literature: Whether you agree with what is being portrayed onscreen, or not, you still have the feeling of being spoken to in the most profound of ways- both cerebrally and viscerally- the sheer ride that only  the most dazzling, life-changing novel can offer.

NYMPHOMANIAC, VOL 1, is one of two films, (Vol 2 being released in the US in April ) both released in their uncut, European versions. The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as Joe, who meets lonely bachelor Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) only after he finds her lying, curled up, bloody and beaten, in his courtyard as he goes out to get his daily cup of coffee and rugalach.

Talking Revolution, Politics in Egypt and Global Uprising with The Square’s Director-Jehane Noujaim

Talking Revolution, Politics in Egypt and Global Uprising with The Square’s Director-Jehane Noujaim

Jehane Noujaim director of THE SQUARE

 THE SQUARE, a riveting documentary nominated for an Oscar this year, actually takes the audience into the turbulent, vibrant center of the Egyptian Revolution. THE SQUARE, directed by Jehane Noujaim, is an astonishing document of Egypt’s uprising, and a remarkable exercise in the power of witness.

The film begins in 2011 with the very first protests in the streets of Cairo and in Tahrir Square, and focuses on three unlikely comrades in arms: Khalid Abdalla is an Egyptian movie star, famous both in the US and abroad (he starred in such films as The Kite Runner), who gave up his busy actor’s life in London to join in the Revolution, becoming its unofficial spokesperson in the process; Ahmed Hassan -a smiling, self-deprecating young man- filled with both committed enthusiasm and undisguised joy at being a part of something much larger than himself; and Magdy Ashour , who is both conflicted by and compelled by the Revolution: A man who is “with” the Muslim Brotherhood, only to flip sides in 2011 and siding with those in Tahrir Square. His journey, as he mustmake decisions based on both his faith and the financial care of his family, only highlight the extraordinary complexities which currently plague so muchofMiddle Eastern politics today.

The Enigmatic Director Godfrey Reggio and his producer Jon Kane Talk About Their Amazing New Film “Visitors”

The Enigmatic Director Godfrey Reggio and his producer Jon Kane Talk About Their Amazing New Film “Visitors”

by Francesca McCaffery

Godfrey ReggioGodfrey Reggio

It is so amazing to come across and be exposed to an artist who is not only a true original, but one who seems to be operating from a truly higher conscious. The director Godfrey Reggio certainly qualifies as one of those rare artists who seem to aim high, as in, the collective third eye, or, the global consciousness. Although he insists that art should have no purpose,  his powerful, devastating and poetically gorgeous Qatsi trilogy of films, which he is most well-known for, and which includes  KOYAANISQATSI, POWAQQATSI, and NAQOYQATSI, beg to differ. Scored by Phillip Glass and filling the screen with image after image of various stages of global community, searing beauty,  eco-devastation,  commerce and industry- assaulting us with the most vivid, the most poignant global imagery.

Director Matteo Garrone talks about the real-life story behind his amazing new film “Reality”

Director Matteo Garrone talks about the real-life story behind his amazing new film “Reality”

 

by Francesca McCaffery

Garnering the illustrious Grand Prix at Cannes this year, Reality is an Italian film that is much more American in nature than we would want to believe possible.  Following up his gritty, grimy crime drama Gomorrah,  director Matteo Garrone is a master at keeping it real while telling a profound story about humanity in its most vulnerable state.(It helps that Garrone has a natural talent for finding brilliant non-actors. His lead actor is actually a prisoner who had to get permission to come to set and film.) 

Shot in the city of Naples, Reality opens taking us right into a city that is grimy and filled with the sweat and dirt of every day people hustling and struggling. Crammed into tiny apartments together, with extended families living several to a room, you can smell the city of Naples from the beautiful opening.  His story centers around Luciano (an amazing Aniello Arena), a local fishmonger who is busy unloading robotic pasta-makers for extra cash with his wife, and trying to make a decent living for the entire family.  Apparently, the reality show Big Brother is somewhat of a major obsession in Italy in its own incarnation there, and at a friend’s wedding, the dorky hipster “Enzo” from the cast makes a paid appearance, wishing the bride and groom congrats. As a gag, Luciano dresses a woman and schticks around for a few moments with Enzo, garnering a cherished photo with Enzo for his daughter. When sweetly bull-dozed by cellphone by the same daughter, as well as his amused wife, to come to the mall for an “audition” for Big Brother, Luciano at first refuses, not really caring a bit. But then, to make everyone happy and shut them up, he decides to go. What follows is a long and winding trip into the psyche of someone who trades his life for a profound, inexplicable fantasy version, and it is completely mesmerizing to watch.

Do Not Miss the First Time Fest in NYC THIS WEEKEND!

Do Not Miss the First Time Fest in NYC THIS WEEKEND!

Darren Aronofsky – Pi

First Time Fest (FTF) – a celebration of first time filmmakers – is a new and unique film festival taking place in New York City from March 1 through 4, 2013. FTF is set to discover and present the next generation of great cinema artists.

Martin Scorsese will add his illustrious presence and belief in that art of cinema at The Players to present the first John Huston Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. The inaugural Award will be bestowed on an individual who has made a significant contribution to the art of cinema: Darren Aronofsky. First Time Fest is dedicated to discovering talented new filmmakers who will go on to fulfill the promise of their extraordinary debut films. John Huston was one of the most prolific and versatile directors in the history of cinema. And with his mesmerizing debut film, Pi – made independently on black-and-white 16mm film – Darren Aronofsky was instantly recognized as a uniquely gifted new talent. His subsequent films: Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan, have more than fulfilled that promise.

Last Week to Check Out DOC NYC Fest at the IFC Center and SVA Theaters!

We told you guys about it last week, but this year’s DOC NYC Fest is truly shaping up to be one of the premiere film festivals in the entire City. The programming is impeccable, on-point, and there is an almost giddy feeling in all of the recent screenings- whether it was watching the astounding doc about story-book creator and illustrator Tomi Ungerer (whose work turned towards pornography later in life)  in director Brad Bernstein’s nspiring Far […]

Last Week to Check Out Amazing DOC NYC Fest at the IFC Center and SVA Theaters!

We told you guys about it last week, but this year’s DOC NYC Fest is truly shaping up to be one of the premiere film festivals in the City. The programming is impeccable, on-point, and there is an almost giddy feeling in all of the recent screenings- whether it was watching the astounding doc about story-book creator and illustrator Tomi Ungerer (whose work turned towards pornography later in life)  in director Brad Bernstein’s nspiring Far Out […]

The Show Still Goes On: Doc NYC Starts Tonight at IFC Center in NYC

The Show Still Goes On: Doc NYC Starts Tonight at IFC Center in NYC

DOC NYC – Yes- The Show (Still) Goes On! November 8-15 at the IFC Center and SVA Theatre Festival to Partner with Echelon Donates for City Harvest Food Drive During Event to Benefit Hurricane’s Neediest Victims “One of the city’s grandest events.” – The Wall Street Journal “[Has] shot to the top tier of our most essential festivals list.” – New York Magazine Jared Leto brings his film-about-his-band Artifact to the Opening Night of the […]