Great Cinema: Not Only Hollywood
7.8 01. Danny Boyle
- 127 Hours (2010) - US
- Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
- 28 Days Later... (2002)
- Trainspotting (1996)
7.5 02. Yimou Zhang
- Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
- House of Flying Daggers (2004)
- Hero (2002)
- Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
7.7 03. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
- A Very Long Engagement (2004)
- Amélie (2001)
- The City of Lost Children (1995)
- Delicatessen (1991)
9.1 04. Akira Kurosawa
- Ran (1985)
- Kagemusha - The Shadow Warrior (1980)
- Dersu Uzala (1975)
- High and Low (1963)
- Sanjuro (1962)
- Yojimbo (1961)
- The Hidden Fortress (1958)
- Throne of Blood (1957)
- Seven Samurai (1954)
- Ikiru (1952)
- Rashomon (1950)
After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sugata Sanshirô (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom. Yoidore tenshi (1948)--"Drunken Angel"--was the first film he made without extensive studio interference, and marked his first collaboration with Toshirô Mifune. In the coming decades, the two would make 16 movies together, and Mifune became as closely associated with Kurosawa's films as was John Wayne with the films of Kurosawa's idol, John Ford.
After working in a wide range of genres, Kurosawa made his international breakthrough film Rashômon (1950) in 1950. It won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and first revealed the richness of Japanese cinema to the West. The next few years saw the low-key, touching Ikiru (1952) (Living), the epic Shichinin no samurai (1954), the barbaric, riveting Shakespeare adaptation Kumonosu-jô (1957), and a fun pair of samurai comedies Yôjinbô (1961) and Tsubaki Sanjûrô (1962).
After a lean period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though, Kurosawa attempted suicide. He survived, and made a small, personal, low-budget picture with Dodesukaden (1970), a larger-scale Russian co-production Dersu Uzala (1975) and, with the help of admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, the samurai tale Kagemusha (1980), which Kurosawa described as a dry run for Ran (1985), an epic adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear." He continued to work into his eighties with the more personal Dreams (1990), Hachi-gatsu no kyôshikyoku (1991) and Madadayo (1993).
9.1 05. Ingmar Bergman
- Fanny and Alexander (1982)
- Cries & Whispers (1972)
- Persona (1966)
- The Virgin Spring (1960)
- The Seventh Seal (1957)
- Wild Strawberries (1957)
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born 14 July 1918, son of a priest. The film and TV-series, Den goda viljan (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the TV-mini Enskilda samtal (1996) (TV) is the trilogy closed. Here, as in 'Den Goda Viljan' Pernilla August play his mother. Note that all three movies are not always full true biographical stories.
He began his career early with a puppet theatre which he, his sister and their friends played with. But he was the manager. Strictly professional he begun writing in 1941. He had written a play called 'Kaspers död' (aka 'Kaspers Death') which was produced the same year. It became his entrance into the movie business as Stina Bergman (not a relative), from the company SF (Swedish Filmindustry), had seen the play and thought that there must be some dramatic talent in young Ingmar. His first job was to save other, more famous, writers poor scripts. Under one of that script-saving works he remembered that he had wrote a novel about his last year as a student. He took the novel, did the save-poor-script job first, then wrote a screenplay on his own novel. When he went back to SF, he delivered two scripts insteed of one. The script was Hets (1944) and was the fist Bergman screenplay that was put into film (by Alf Sjöberg). It was also in that movie Bergman did his first professional film-director job. Because Alf Sjöberg was busy, Bergman got order to shoot the last sequence of the film.
Ingmar Bergman is the father of Daniel Bergman, director, and Mats Bergman, actor at the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater. Ingmar Bergman was also CEO of the same theatre between 1963-66, where he hired almost every professional actor in Sweden. 1976 he had a famous tax problem. Bergman had trusted other people to give advice about his finances, but it turned out to be real bad advice. So he had to leave the country immediately, and so went to Germany. A few years later he got back to Sweden and made his last movie Fanny och Alexander (1982) (aka 'Fanny and Alexander'). He has retired from directing, but he still write scripts for film and TV and direct plays at the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theatre.
8.9 06. Federico Fellini
- Amarcord (1973)
- 8½ (1963)
- La dolce vita (1960)
- Le notti di Cabiria (1957)
- La strada (1954)
The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the devil herself said the priests who ran his school) - and the Gambettola farmhouse of his paternal grandmother would be remembered in several films.
His traveling salesman father Urbano Fellini showed up in La dolce vita (1960) and 8½ (1963). His mother Ida Barbiani was from Rome and accompanied him there in 1939. He enrolled in the University of Rome. Intrigued by the image of reporters in American films, he tried out the real life role of journalist and caught the attention of several editors with his caricatures and cartoons and then started submitting articles. Several articles were recycled into a radio series about newlyweds "Cico and Pallina". Pallina was played by acting student Giulietta Masina, who became his real life wife from October 30, 1943, until his death half a century later. The young Fellini loved vaudeville and was befriended in 1940 by leading comedian Aldo Fabrizi. Roberto Rossellini wanted Fabrizi to play Don Pietro in Roma, città aperta (1945) and made the contact through Fellini. Fellini worked on that film's script and is on the credits for Rosselini's Paisà (1946). On that film he wandered into the editing room, started observing how Italian films were made (a lot like the old silent films with an emphasis on visual effects, dialogue dubbed in later). Fellini in his mid-20s had found his life's work.
8.8 07. Luis Buñuel
- That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
- Belle de jour (1967)
- The Exterminating Angel (1962)
- Viridiana (1961)
- The Young and the Damned (1950)
- Un chien andalou (1929)
The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the university there, where his close friends included Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca.
After moving to Paris, Buñuel did a variety of film-related odd jobs in Paris, including working as an assistant to director Jean Epstein. With financial assistance from his mother and creative assistance from Dalí, he made his first film, the 17-minute Un chien andalou (1929), in 1929, and immediately catapulted himself into film history thanks to its shocking imagery (much of which - like the sliced eyeball at the beginning - still packs a punch even today). It made a deep impression on the Surrealist Group, who welcomed Buñuel into their ranks.
The following year, sponsored by wealthy art patrons, he made his first feature, the scabrous witty and violent L'âge d'or (1930), which mercilessly attacked the church and the middle classes, themes that would preoccupy Buñuel for the rest of his career. That career, though, seemed almost over by the mid-1930s, as he found work increasingly hard to come by and after the Spanish Civil War he emigrated to the US where he worked for the Museum of Modern Art and as a film dubber for Warner Bros.
Moving to Mexico in the late 1940s, he teamed up with producer Óscar Dancigers and after a couple of unmemorable efforts shot back to international attention with the lacerating study of Mexican street urchins in Los olvidados (1950), winning him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.
But despite this new-found acclaim, Buñuel spent much of the next decade working on a variety of ultra-low-budget films, few of which made much impact outside Spanish-speaking countries (though many of them are well worth seeking out). But in 1961, General Franco, anxious to be seen to be supporting Spanish culture invited Buñuel back to his native country - and Bunuel promptly bit the hand that fed him by making Viridiana (1961), which was banned in Spain on the grounds of blasphemy, though it won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
This inaugurated Buñuel's last great period when, in collaboration with producer Serge Silberman and writer Jean-Claude Carrière he made seven extraordinary late masterpieces, starting with Le journal d'une femme de chambre (1964). Although far glossier and more expensive, and often featuring major stars such as Jeanne Moreau and Catherine Deneuve, the films showed that even in old age Buñuel had lost none of his youthful vigour.
After saying that every one of his films from Belle de jour (1967) onwards would be his last, he finally kept his promise with Cet obscur objet du désir (1977), after which he wrote a memorable (if factually dubious) autobiography, in which he said he'd be happy to burn all the prints of all his films - a classic Surrealist gesture if ever there was one.
8.8 08. Fritz Lang
- The Big Heat (1953) - US
- Scarlet Street (1945) - US
- Fury (1936) - US
- Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933)
- M (1931)
- Metropolis (1927)
- Kriemhild's Revenge (1924)
- Siegfried (1924)
- Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. From 1910 to 1914, he traveled in Europe, and he would later claim, also in Asia and North Africa. He studied painting in Paris from 1913-14. At the start of World War I, he returned to Vienna, enlisting in the army in January 1915. Severely wounded in June 1916, he wrote some scenarios for films while convalescing. In early 1918, he was sent home shell-shocked and acted briefly in Viennese theater before accepting a job as a writer at Erich Pommer's production company in Berlin, Decla. In Berlin, Lang worked briefly as a writer and then as a director, at Ufa and then for Nero-Film, owned by the American Seymour Nebenzal.
In 1920, he began a relationship with actress and writer Thea von Harbou (1889-1954), who wrote with him the scripts for his most celebrated films: Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Ein Bild der Zeit (1922), Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924), Metropolis (1927) and M (1931) (credited to von Harbou alone). They married in 1922 and divorced in 1933. In that year, Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels offered Lang the job of head of the German Cinema Institute. Lang--who was an anti-Nazi mainly because of his Catholic background--did not accept the position (it was later offered to and accepted by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl) and, after secretly sending most of his money out of the country, fled Germany to Paris. After about a year in Paris, Lang moved to the United States in mid-1934, initially under contract to MGM. Over the next 20 years, he directed numerous American films. In the 1950s, in part because the film industry was in economic decline and also because of Lang's long-standing reputation for being difficult with, and abusive to, actors, he found it increasingly hard to get work. At the end of the 1950s, he traveled to Germany and made what turned out to be his final three films there, none of which were well received.
In 1964, nearly blind, he was chosen to be president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. He was an avid collector of primitive art and habitually wore a monocle, an affectation he picked up during his early days in Vienna. After his divorce from von Harbou, he had relationships with many other women, but from about 1931 to his death in 1976, he was close to Lily Latte, who helped him in many ways.
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