Outside of the opening of the Berlinale, which we’ll be getting to in a bit, today’s top story: “On the occasion of the Open Doors section focus on the Southern Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the Festival del film Locarno will pay tribute to the Georgian director, screenwriter and editor Otar Iosseliani, awarding him a Pardo alla carriera for his extraordinary contribution to film.”
Yair Raveh for Fathom: “The last fifteen years have seen a stream of brilliant Israeli documentaries on topics such as the rift between secular and ultra-orthodox communities (Black Bus), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Nine Star Hotel), the Holocaust (A Film Unfinished) and gay rights (Paper Dolls). Even so, 2012 was a landmark year, with The Law in These Parts and The Gatekeepers not only telling dramatic stories using well-honed conventions but reinventing the genre.” Further, “the counterpoint to The Gatekeepers is Five Broken Cameras,” because it’s “an activist film, shot in real-time, chronicling events in the first-person as they unfold—telling an infuriating, brutal and tragic story.”
“Why is it that filmmakers making movies about actual historical events feel compelled to insert real documentary footage of the events they’re dramatizing?” asks Anthony Kaufman at Sundance NOW.
New York. A Close-Up of Abbas Kiarostami opens tomorrow at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and runs through February 17. Vadim Rizov in the L: “Critics who’ve slotted Kiarostami‘s work alongside traditional slow-cinema arthouse masters have been attacked by writers such as Godfrey Cheshire for Eurocentric readings, but those who dilate on a solely cultural context to his work risk being accused of their own myopia. If you’re not well-informed about Iranian culture, touristic interpretations are an additional risk. To muddle matters further, Jonathan Rosenbaum reports in one essay that Pedro Costa told him that Jean-Marie Straub told him that one of Kiarostami’s films (made in his own country!) had the perspective of a tourist. This confusion about correct viewpoints—who’s looking at what, from what angle, and with what information—is fitting considering the epistemological angle. There’s no right way to approach Kiarostami, it’d seem, only wrongly dismissive ones.”
Vienna. England’s Dreaming: British Cinema in the 1960s is on from today through March 7.
In the works. “Where Are We Now?” Well, Lust for Life “will tell the story of Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s years in West Berlin,” reports Sean Michaels for the Guardian. “The British-German co-production will be directed by Gabriel Range, best-known for his movie about an imaginary assassination of George W. Bush.”
Chris Eigeman will direct Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsch and Diane Kruger in the “1940s-set drama” Midnight Sun. Oliver Lyttelton has details at the Playlist.