FFY3: Film Festivals and East Asia

January 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

I am pleased to announce the publication of our new volume from the Film Festival Yearbook undertaking, the third one in a row. Co-edited by myself and Ruby Cheung, this one is dedicated to Film Festivals and East Asia and is available to order from our web-site; it is also possible to order it in combination with our previous volumes, Film Festivals and Imagined Communities and The Film Festival Circuit, at a special price. Working on this volume was extremely engaging and exciting. The collaborators were based all over the world, as usual, and we managed to gain insights into a little known but thriving area for film festivals.

The table of contents features:


East Asia: ‘New Localism’, ‘Full Service’ and Film Festivals
Dina Iordanova

Part I: Contexts

Asian Film Festivals, Translation, and the European Film Festival Short Circuit
Abé Mark Nornes

East Asian Film Festivals: Film Markets
Ruby Cheung

Japan 1951-1970: National Cinema as Cultural Currency
Julian Stringer

News for Whom?: Critical Coverage of the 10th Jeonju International Film Festival
Adrian Martin

Washington, Pusan, Rotterdam, Udine and Back: Programming East Asian Films for American Audiences
Tom Vick

Comrades and Citizens: Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals in China
Ragan Rhyne

Part II: Case Studies

Bulldozers, Bibles, and Very Sharp Knives: The Chinese Independent Documentary Scene
Abé Mark Nornes

Programming Southeast Asia at the Singapore International Film Festival
Felicia Chan and Dave Chua

Taipei Film Festival: Creation of a Global City
Yun-hua Chen

Tourism and the Landscape of Thai Film Festivals
Adam Knee and Kong Rithdee

North Korea’s Pyongyang International Film Festival
James Bell

Between Europe and Asia? A Chronicle of the ‘Eurasia’ International Film Festival (Kazakhstan)
Birgit Beumers

Part III: Resources

The Resources: Necessary Groundwork
Dina Iordanova

1. ‘I believe in “film as art”’An Interview with Li Cheuk-to, Artistic Director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF)
Ruby Cheung
2. A Platform to the World: An Interview with Kim Ji-seok, Executive Programmer of the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF)
Seunghee Lee
3. ‘It’s very simple. We like to give the audience the chance to see good films’ An Interview with Hayashi Kanako and Ichiyama Shozo of Tokyo FILMeX
Chris Fujiwara
4. Do Vodka and Sake Really Mix? An Interview with Natalia Shakhnazarova, Executve Director of Pacific Meridian: Vladivostok International Film Festival of Asian Pacific Countries
Alex Fischer

Location Map (Alex Fischer)
Table 1: The Asia-Pacific Film Festival (1954- ) (Sangjoon Lee)
Table 2: East Asian Festivals by Decade (Ruby Cheung and Alex Fischer)
Table 3: Festivals Featuring Significant East Asian Cinema Content (Andrew Dorman and Alex Fischer)
Table 4: Film Festivals in Mainland China (Ma Ran)
Table 5: Film Festivals in Hong Kong (Ma Ran)
Table 6: Film Festivals in Taiwan (Yun-hua Chen)
Table 7: Film Festivals in Japan (Alex Marlow-Mann)
Table 8: Film Festivals in South Korea (Yun Mi Hwang)
Table 9: Film Festivals in Singapore (Dave Chua)
Table 10: Film Festivals in Central Asia and the Asian Part of the former USSR (Birgit Beumers)
Table 11: Documentary Festivals in Asia (Abé Mark Nornes)
Table 12: GLBT Festivals in Asia (Ragan Rhyne)
Table 13: Monetary Value of Awards at Top Festivals in East Asia (Alex Fischer)

Bibliography: Film Festivals and East Asia (Alex Fischer)

What is New in Film Festivals Studies Thematic Bibliography on Film Festival Research: Update 2010
Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist

Australia’s ‘Touring’ Festivals

March 27, 2010 at 4:49 am

I am posting here and excerpt from our new volume: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities.

This is an exchange with Australian film critic and academic Adrian Martin on the matter of distribution entrepreneurship and cultural diplomacy, one of the areas explored in the book.

Dina Iordanova: ‘Like most other major territories,’ writes Sandy George in Screen International, ‘Australia has a clutch of festivals dedicated to spotlighting cinema from a single territory, of which the French, Italian and Spanish film festivals are the biggest’ (‘Spreading the Foreign Word’, 29 May 2009: 34). In the case of Australia, however, this seems to be an interesting case where cultural diplomacy and film distribution related to overseas cinema work together. According to George, the touring French Film Festival is organised by Alliance Francaise and the French Embassy, yet one-third of the thirty or so films that it showcases do have an existing local distributor attached, thus the event can be regarded as a specific distribution set-up. Distributors have been taking ‘a slice of all festivals receipts’ since 2006, she notes, and have recognised that festivals showings assists them in reaching out to wider audiences than the normal art house circuit. Jean-Jacques Garnier, the French Embassy’s cultural attaché, dubs as an artistic director for the festival (George 2009). Apparently, there are also a German, an Italian, and a Spanish film festival, all of which seem to tour the same range of cities (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane), thus covering the territory with an array of nationally-themed film festivals, all quite highly placed within the ‘vertical mosaic’ of festivals here. I was struck to discover the advanced level of coordination of these festivals. It is only here that we so regularly see national film festivals that are listed as ‘touring’; they always seem to go to the same set of cities, and they all seem to have a web-site that is set up in a uniform way (e.g. Spanish Film Festival; Italian FF, Greek FF). So I wonder if there is any special cultural policy context in which this is taking shape with such uniformity? Admittedly, we have got some varieties of this in the UK (e.g. French Film Festival and Italian Film Festival, run by the same group, that go to a selection of cities) but ‘touring’ here usually involves a combination of mixed cities, whoever has come on board, really, rather than a showcase systematically covering the big cultural centres, whereas in the Australian case it always seems to be a cluster of the same cities. Would you like to comment about this observation?

Adrian Martin: Yes, the situation of the touring national film festivals is peculiar to Australia, and for a very specific reason. It all has to do with a distribution/exhibition company called Palace, which has been running since at least the 1980s and is still essentially a ‘family business’ run primarily by husband (Antonio Zeccola), wife, and their grown-up kids at various levels of the organisation. Palace is among the few surviving ‘independent’ distributor-exhibitors of the twenty-first century scene in Australia, partly through savvy business sense and also through their various deals with the major commercial distributors. Palace has managed to extend into several states of Australia. Hence the spread of state-venues you have noted. Palace has always had a strong connection to (mainly European and ‘old school’) art cinema. Their exhibition venues are known to the public as ‘boutique’ or ‘arthouse’ cinemas, and the actual programming mixes typical arthouse fare (Haneke, French comedies, Jarmusch, etc.) with films from the majors like Tarantino and suchlike.

So, Palace has always been involved — as a matter of Italo-Australian national pride, partly! — in certain high-profile festival-events that are very successful for them: especially Italian and French. This goes back (in my recollection) at least to the 1990s. Palace have a technique that works well for them: when they programme these festivals (by sending their own reps to Italy and by having contacts with the likes of Unifrance), to avoid problems with booking and availabilty of prints over the entire haul of the national tour around Palace cinemas, they actually buy the rights to about a dozen of these films. So they have one or two 35 mm prints that screen really only for the duration of the event (and afterwards can be made available for Australian cinematheque and other special screenings). A year or so later all the films are released on Australian DVD (‘bare bones’ style, subtitled in English but with no extras) in a ‘box set’ called something like ‘Italian Film Festival 2008’. Palace also have a relation to a music-publishing company, so there are also CDs that help to promote these events, e.g. ‘Soundtrack to the French Film Festival’, which is usually just a lot of current pop tunes with little relation to the films! But the CD sells well with the ‘world music’ crowd in Australia.

Now we come to the next part of this process, which has been occurring in recent years. Palace does its own festivals, but it also ‘hosts’ others, responding to advances from small cultural groups in the Australian, Spanish, German and other communities: a Spanish group named ‘Filmoteca’ (a monthly film society), for instance, or the Goethe-Institut. Palace becomes a partner in programming these events, sourcing prints and doing promotions and sets up the national touring, which is the big drawcard for these small groups. Palace has a say in how the event unfolds. If it has just bought, for example, The Baader-Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, Germany, 2008) or some other new high-profile title, it will propose that it is the showcase Opening Night presentation in the German Film Festival, and Palace will bring down the actors and/or director for promotional purposes.

To sum up, this whole phenomenon is not at all a ‘cultural policy’ initiative of governments (although some of the small ethnic-interest cultural groups I have mentioned may receive various government subsidies – but nothing like what it takes to do a national film tour). It is purely an ‘enlightened business initiative’ by a company that itself started as a small, independent business and has held on to some of its cultural goals to showcase international art cinema — even if still in fairly mainstream terms.

International Film Festivals Workshop, Part I: The Press Release

April 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm


Film festivals under the microscope at the University of St Andrews

The global boom in the film industry has resulted in almost 2,000 film festivals taking place all around the world, according to a leading expert in film studies.

Professor Dina Iordanova, Director of the Centre for Film Studies at the University of St Andrews believes that the next decade will see the study of film festivals become just as important as the study of film itself.

The researcher will be joined by film critics, festival practitioners and fellow academics to investigate the phenomenon at a special event in St Andrews this weekend (Saturday 4 April 2009).

The group of experts will gather for the one-day event to examine why a twenty year surge in the interest in films and film-making means that France alone has one festival for every day of the year. The event is part of a two-year project, Dynamics of World Cinema, sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust. The project, lead by Professor Iordanova, is currently looking into the distribution and exhibition of international film.

Professor Iordanova, who is convening the workshop, explained, “Over the past twenty years film festivals have proliferated all over the world. It is difficult to provide an exact figure for the number of festivals in operation, but it is well over 1,000 and more likely around 2,000.

“Just as the study of museums and galleries is central to our understanding of arts and heritage, the study of festivals is central to understanding the true scope of global cinema. It is logical, therefore, to expect that in the course of the next decade the study of festivals, a growing yet scattered field, will become central to film and cultural studies.

The workshop is hosted by the Centre for Film Studies at the University and takes place at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews this Saturday (4th April 2009). The discussion, moderated by leading critics (Richard Porton of the Cineaste, Nick Roddick of Sight and Sound, and Michael Gubbins, former editor of Screen International) and academics (Professor Iordanova, Professor Stuart Cunningham of the Australian Film Commission and Dr Ruby Cheung of the Dynamics of World Cinema project) will evolve around festival programming, distribution, funding, digitisation/new media, and cultural policy.

Other participants include: Irene Bignardi (Film Italia, former artistic director of Locarno International Film Festival), Lindiwe Dovey (SOAS, University of London), Janet Harbord (Goldsmiths College, University of London), Skadi Loist (University of Hamburg), Lucy Mazdon (University of Southampton), David Slocum (The Berlin School of Creative Leadership), Núria Triana Toribio (University of Manchester), and Marijke de Valck (University of Amsterdam).

Professor Dina Iordanova continued, “This workshop provides a rare opportunity for productive conversation about the state of the field and current research agendas. I am happy to see the enthusiastic support from so many renowned film scholars and critics. I hope that this event will inspire more and more related events and scholarly work in the field of film festival research.”

6 April 2009

Le Balzac, rue Balzac, 8 eme, Paris

October 28, 2008 at 12:11 am

Unlike Le Barbizon, on which I wrote last week, Le Balzac is one of the Pairsian cinemas that is truly thriving, and apparently it has been in this great shape for a number of years now. My visit here happened on a chilly Sunday morning, 25 May 2008, when I crossed the wide sidewalks of Champs Elysees, two blocks down from the l’Arc de Triomphe where, turning into this quiet side street, I attended the matinee screening of Ted Wilde’s The Kid Brother (1927), a classical burlesque with Harold Lloyd, which came with live piano accompaniment by young and highly proficient Japanese female pianist, Eri Koazki. Precisely as I had heard would be likely, the theatre owner and chief programmer, Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky was already up, present in the foyer to welcome viewers and chat to members of the audience that he evidently knew from previous visits. The whole ambiance — the deep red carpets, the comfortable seats, the clean curves of the room, the glimmer from the modern art-deco light fixtures — created a special atmosphere of cozy sumptuousness. The guests who had brought their children (or grandchildren) to see the film were dressed in a way that would make me categorize them as inhabitants of 1st or 16th arrondissements, or as what the popular imagination would probably describe as ‘true Parisians’. Even thought the cinema was just steps off the beaten tourist track with the MacDonalds and other fast food restaurants that litter the vicinity, there was nothing of the commercial atmosphere that reigns over most of otherwise beautiful Champs Elysees. It was a space truly dedicated to the Seventh art.

Le Balzac, which has been owned by the Schpoliansky family throughout its existence, first opened in 1935 with a screening of King Vidor’s film The Wedding Night, starring Gray Cooper. Soon the venue became an established site for pre-war Hollywood films screened in original English-language version (foreign-language films are still traditionally dubbed in France). In a patriotic move after WWII, it re-focused its programming mostly on French cinema, and hosted, over the years, the a great variety of galas and events take place here; its web-site features photographs of memorable visitors, from Bourvil and Brigitte Bardot to Fanny Ardant and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, or from the opening of the decadent La piscine (1969), with stars Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in attendance. The cinema’s architecture is a modern art deco style, with soft curvy lines and a rounded main screening room; a naval theme is present in the foyer and the main hall. Two smaller screening rooms were added in 1975, which allowed for a more diversified programming, for the inclusion of a diverse selection of international cinema, and for a longer run of the various titles (many cinemas in Paris still change the programming every two or three days). Further renovations took place in 1993, introducing new lights, seats, carpet, wall coverings in leather in the corridors — all still impeccably maintained and giving the secure feeling of high quality and relaxing luxury, a feature that is not present in cinema halls as often.

Every week there at least two events take place: special screenings with live music or guests. Partnered with two nearby theatres, L’Athenee and Rond-Point, Le Balzac often turns into a theatre and concert venue as well. In most cases, the music comes as musicians provide accompaniment to screenings of older films, featuring the likes of Laurel & Hardy, Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Another initiative are the music-accompanied screenings of short films, usually presented by Benoît Basirico, founder of the film music web-site cinezik.fr. A forthcoming matinee with musical accompaniment will feature a screening of Yasujiro Ozu’s depression-era melodrama An Inn in Tokyo (1935), yet another event organised under the leadership of Jean-François Zygel, a long-standing collaborator. There is a lot more going on here given the limitations of space: photographic exhibitions in the foyer next to the bar which also features DVDs for sale, screenings of shorts and special seances for the members of the cinema’s club, screenings for children on the weekends. Le Balzac also has a remarkable web-site, packed with information on current films and events, a Blog, an e-mail newsletter, and a database of past screenings which allows to search through historical information on what played here in the past.

Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky, pictured distributing publicity leaflets on the street in front of the cinema, has spent most of his adult life around the cinema. Born toward the end of WWII, in 1944, he first worked for the mainstream chain UGC in the 1960s, and took his first forays into programming in 1968 at specialised University cinemas in Rouen, Lille et Grenoble. He also worked as an assisant director for René Clément and for Luis Bunuel (on his Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie, 1972). His life became intricately connected to Le Balzac after his father’s death, in 1973, when he took over the family business started by his grandfather nearly 40 years earlier. And he has been at it for more than 35 years now. His first ambitious project was to add two smaller screening spaces alongside the main 400-place hall, thus turning the cinema into a small multiplex more suited for the modern age. After completing all these extensive renovation and moderinsation works, his attention since 1986 has mostly been on developing and maintaining a top scale programme of screenings and events, on cultivating a dedicated audience, and on bulding bridges between cinema and other forms of artistic expression like music or photography.

Since the 1980s, the cinemas around Champs-Elysées have been closing one after another, usually for reasons of rising rental costs in the area where rents are now affordable only for the likes of Louis Vuitton (flagship store on the avenue pictured here). Writing on the Blog in 2007, Schpoliansky laments the recent closure of UGC Champs-Elysées (In the 1990s I saw here Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, screening here long before the works of Studio Ghibli had become known in the English speaking world). He writes:

” J’en suis bien triste. Et pas seulement parce que c’est mon grand-père qui a ouvert ce cinéma en 1939 (le Triomphe est resté dans ma famille jusqu’en 1971). Je suis triste parce qu’un cinéma qui ferme, c’est toujours une mauvaise (et irréversible) nouvelle, en particulier sur les Champs-Elysées où il devient si difficile de vendre autre chose que des chaussures de sport et des hamburgers. Certes, il reste encore 36 écrans sur l’avenue, ce qui continue d’assurer au public une certaine variété dans les films programmés et confère malgré tout au quartier une place de choix dans la vie cinématographique parisienne. Les choses cependant ne vont pas dans le bon sens et il est temps de tirer la sonnette d’alarme pour que cesse l’hémorragie !’

It is indeed troublesome to hear that the number of screens in the vicinity of this lively part of Paris is down about 50%, to 36. (But I recently read that the number of cinemas for the whole of Romania nowadays is down to 38, an issue I will address in another post.) The most troublesome, however, is this overwhelming feeling that one looks at a disappearing world, that one encounters people who belong to a kind that will soon no longer be around. The web-site of the cinema, for example, describes Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky as one of the last surviving independent theatre owners on the right bank, a man who proves on a daily basis that it is possible to keep the curiosity of viewers alive and well. I admit to be troubled by this tone of lament and passing, as would like to hope that the survival of cinematic art is not a matter of a bunch of dedicated mavericks that feel they are likely to be extinct soon. I hope to see this defeatist attitude to be proven wrong by history. But who knows, really?

1 rue Balzac
Paris 75008
01 45 61 10 60
Metro: Georges V

© Dina Iordanova
28 October 2008

Le Barbizon, rue Tolbiac, 13eme, Paris

October 23, 2008 at 3:39 pm

This is one of the Parisian cinemas on which I want to write, but it is not one where I have seen a film as it is closed and represents a sad picture at the moment. I came across the bricked-up facade of the Barbizon, as shown on the picture, in April 2008 while passing by. My Parisian apartment was located nearby, next to the beautifully maintained garden Moulin de la Pointe near the Maison Blanche metro station. Le Barbizon was just a block or two off L’Avenue d’Italie, on Tolbiac, and next door to an intriguing bookshop which featured predominantly leftist literature (in this particular year mostly dedicated to commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Mai 1968), called Librairie Jonas. Just down Tolbiac, one hits the Asian area, with some of the best Vietnamese places to eat in Paris within steps, full of people waiting on the sidewalk to get a table and start sampling the savory beef soup with mint, sprouts, and fish sauce. A few blocs down Tolbiac are the University dorms, and the highrise area of Les Olympiades, populated mostly by East Asians.

In a city that as well maintained as Paris where you would almost never come across architectural blunders or neglected areas (at least not within the peripherique), it was certainly strange to witness the existence of an eyesore like Le Barbizon, an off-putting impression that came along with the intriguing feeling that this bricked-up facade hides some stories to tell. The place looked more like the abandoned inner city film theaters I have seen at various places in America, bearing disturbing signs of neglect that did not sit well in its surroundings, with the nearby stations for the trendy Velib (the rental city bikes that were recently introduced) and coquettish boulangeries. So I got curious enough to want to learn more about the place. Later in May and June there were various posters around the site, announcing events that all sounded militant in nature (I could not get to any of these); all were being held in the vicinity but none seemed to be scheduled in the cinema hall itself, the space of Le Barbizon seemed to be completely off limits and the brick wall that locked the front facade off was evidently not easy to get beyond.

My subsequent research allowed me to learn that the cinema had first opened doors in 1911, in mid-May of that year under the title « Le Cinématographe des familles» and was re-named to Le Barbizon in the 1950s (after the name of the artistic community based in the namesake village near the Fontainebleau forest). It had functioned continuously until 1983, featuring about 550 places and becoming the longest uninterrupted working cinema hall in Paris. It was a single auditorium with a balcony and a lobby. Renovated in the 70s, it mostly specialized on running karate and kung fu movies and other Hong Kong imports, particularly welcomed by the population in the Chinese district. In the early 1980s, however, it was apparently neglected and the venue closed around 1982 or 1983. Reportedly, the owner left for Hong Kong and was reluctant to be contacted; numerous attempts to reopen the place failed because of this uncertain absentee situation. Two decades later, the cinema was neither demolished nor reopened.

In 2002, a local cultural organization that seems to have come into existence mostly in order to revive Le Barbizon, “Les Amis de Tolbiac”, claimed the space and begun staging a program of activities driven by ideas of spontaneous civic participation, creativity and citizenship. Clearly, the intention had been to turn Le Barbizon into a site for encounters between alternative and independent artists, often featuring international or minority cultures and points of view, with the aim to regenerate the cultural life of the neighborhood. Aiming to encourage experimental and independent cinema events, ‘Les Amis de Tolbiac’ organised events featuring Bolivian cinema, experimental films (C215), and other screenings of this type, aiming to reflect the diversity of contemporary French society, a fact of life that is clearly felt in the area surrounding the cinema’s location.

The wall that has put an end to all this was built under the direct supervision of the Parisian police on 18 October 2006. (The photograph shows builders who are erecting a brick wall under supervision from the police on that day.) I am not really able to grasp the full context that has led to this strange act. The sources I had access to suggest that the mural that seals off Le Barbizon was erected as part of the preparation for the forthcoming presidential elections (if this is true, it is clearly a politically motivated move against the leftist activist groups that congregated there). In any case, the action has been taken under the pretext of an existing 2003 decision to evict the ‘art squatters’ from the premises which they had occupied without legitimate permission (as the owners who could allow the usage of the place were absent). As the authorities had waited for three years before moving on enforcing the eviction order, “The Friends of Tolbiac” do have some point in noting the proximity of the the enforcement action to the presidential election date. The web-site Imaginary Parisian posts information of a letter by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë which seems to regret the action and promises that it will be reversed (no evidence of such reversal for now, as far as I can tell). Even The Guardian covered the showdown in an article by Angelique Chrisafis, entitled The Battle of Paris.

This is the poster that I saw on that day in April 2008 displayed on the window of Libraire Jonas. It shows the police guarding the newly built wall at the Barbizon, a worrisome photograph that alerted me about the story linked to this absurd wall.

The French cinephile web-site Silver Screens laments the loss of cinemas across the 13th arrondissement and gives background to the Barbizon as a former celebrated site of multiculturalism. One of the oldest cinema halls in Paris, the future is more than uncertain. To keep the sense of urgency alive, a festival of eco cinema, called Cinecolo, took place in the vicinity in the Fall of 2007; it recently had its second edition in October 2008.

Le Barbizon is not the only cinema in Paris that has closed doors (even though I cannot think of any other one that would sport a brick wall built in front of it). There are several Parisian organisations engaged with protesting the closure of other theatres, most notably and noisily the Grand Ecran Italie, also in the 13th not far from the Barbizon, see their postings at Let’s Save The Grand Screen. Le Barbizon is also featured on the site which highlights some of themost cherished cinema theaters in Paris. To contact the organisation that is behind the efforts to re-openLe Barbizon, write to amisdetolbiac@lebarbizon.org. Best of all, go and check the place out.

Le Barbizon
Paris, France
141 Rue de Tolbiac
Paris 75013 France
M: Tolbiac, Maison Blanche, Les Olympiades

© Dina Iordanova
23 October 2008

Documentary on the big screen: Mai 68 at the Filmotheque du Quartier Latin

May 24, 2008 at 1:07 am

An initiative of Documentaire sur grand ecran, the program Sauve qui peut (le monde), a title clearly referencing Godard’s 1980 film, was presented at the Filmotheque du Quartier Latin, with the subtitle Quand les cinéastes montent au front. Yet another example of robust programming, this time conceived by academic Dominique Villain, it included:

Vent d’est, France/Germany/Italy, 1970, groupe Dizga Vertov (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin)
Ernesto Che Guevara : Le journal de Bolivie, France/Switzerland, 1994, Richard Dindo
The Cool World, USA, 1964, Shirley Clarke
In the Country, USA, 1966, Robert Kramer
The Edge, USA, 1967, Robert Kramer
Ice, USA, 1969, Robert Kramer
Night and Fog in Japan, Nagisa Oshima, 1960
Le fond de l’air est rouge, France, 1977-2008, Chris Marker
Pravda, France/Germany, 1969, groupe Dizga Vertov (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin)
Ian Palach, France, 1969, Raymond Depardon
La Sixieme face du Pentagone, France, 1967, Francois Reichenbach and Chris Marker
Rocky Road to Dublin, Ireland, 1968, Peter Lennon
British Sounds, France, 969, groupe Dziga Vertov, (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Henri Roger)
L’esprit du temps, Netherlands, 1968, Johan van der Keuken
Saute ma ville, Belgium, 1968, Chantal Ackerman
Libre examen, Belgium, 1968, Luc de Heusch
Le 17eme parallele, France/Vietnam, 1968, Marceline Lordian and Joris Ivens

Yet another program, Mai 68 des luttes ouvrieres, exclusively evolving around documentary is presented at Saint-Ouen and at the L’Ecran de Saint-Denis during the last week of May.

© Dina Iordanova
24 May 2008

May ’68 in cinema: more screenings

May 23, 2008 at 12:49 am

MK2 Hautefeuille runs a program of daytime screenings entitled Since 1968. It includes several titles, a mix of feature and documentary:

Vent d’est, 1970, France, groupe Dziga Vertov
Rue Santa Fe, Chile, Carmen Castillo.
Route One USA, 1989, France/UK/Italy, Robert Cramer
Ce vieux rêve qui bouge, 2001, France, Alain Guiraudie
On appelle ça le printemps, 2001, France, Hervé Le Roux
Le Brahmane du Komintern, 2006, France, Vladimir Leon.

The MK2 chain of cinemas is owned by producer Marin Karmitz, whose own films as director were made in connection with the ’68 events. His Coup pour coup makes part of every program dedicated to ’68; it had a special screening and discussion at the forum at MK2 Bibliothèque, accompanied by a discussion at the Limelight (see a trailer/bande annonce by clicking here).

Whereas films from Brazil or Japan have made it into the May ’68-related programs, it is really puzzling that none includes works from Eastern Europe. One is left with the impression that events such as Prague Spring or the ideological build up of the Praxis group in Yugoslavia and the corresponding student riots in Zagreb and Belgrade in 1968 are of no relevance. The film which I believe would be of utmost importance for inclusion in any program on the ’68 ideology, the 1969 Belrinale winner Early Works by Zelimir Zilnik, a visionary bitter commentary on the massive failure of leftist intellectuals to reach out and connect with the classes of workers and peasants, is nowhere to be seen. The only important East European film shown was Evald Schorm’s Czech 1969 Seventh Day, Eight Night (Den sedmý, osmá noc), which played as part of screenings organized by the German Goethe Institute alongside Volker Schlöndorff’s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum.

© Dina Iordanova
23 May 2008

Representation of May ’68 in Cinema at Le Champo

May 22, 2008 at 6:13 am

Programmed at Le Champo with the involvement of Serge Wolikow, a historian from the University of Dijon, The Representation of May ’68 in Cinema comes along with several other programs on the same topic that run in Paris’s key cinéphilic venues these days. The cycle at Le Champo is programmed over several weeks and includes cycles such as Before ’68, The Society Crisis, Political Cinema and The Lead Years (the 1970s).

Here is a list of the films included in the main event:
Grands soirs et petits matins 1968-78, 1968, dir. William Klein
Le Temps de vivre, 1969, dir. Bernard Paul
Camarades , 1969, dir. Marin Karmitz
Sept jours ailleurs, 1969, dir. Marin Kramitz
Coup pour coup, 1971, dir. Marin Karmitz
Le fond de l’air est rouge, 1977, dir. Chris Marker
Mourir à trente ans, 1982, Romain Goupil
May Fools (Milou en mai), 1989, dir. Louis Malle
A mort la mort, 1999, dir. Romain Goupil
The Dreamers, 2002, dir. bernard Bertolucci
Regular LoversLes Amants reguliers, 2004, dir. Philippe Garrel

At the nearby Place de la Sorbonne there is an open air exhibition of May’68 images by photographer Marc Riboud. On one of them, representing a young female protester, someone has added “They have now introduced the Navigo and the Velib so that they can track your every move!”*

© Dina Iordanova
20 May 2008

* Navigo: Personal electronic pass mostly used in Paris transport
Velib (velo libre): The free bikes that one can rent in Paris by using the Navigo