New Releases: 24th November

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES:

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MOOD INDIGO:

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TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION:

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY:

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IDA:

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Posted by William

10 Favorite Femmes Fatales—in GIFs!

Nitrate Diva

I never met a femme fatale I didn’t like. Whether they’re powdering their noses or filling their ex-lovers full of lead, the bad girls of noir still manage to draw my sympathy and admiration. Twisted, I know, but what’s the point of noir if it doesn’t tap into the darkest parts of our natures?

Besides, let’s face it, film noir is a dame’s genre. Men of noirland might stumble around thinking they’re in control. However, more often than not, those hapless schmoes who pass for protagonists don’t realize they’re just playing a supporting role in somebody else’s plot—and that somebody is probably wearing lipstick and high heels.

Tumblr cannot hold them! Climbing up from the underbelly of Photoshop CS6! Here are 10 GIFs I made to celebrate my favorite dynamite dolls from classic noir…

Margot Shelby (Jean Gillie) in Jack Bernhardt’s Decoy (1946)

margot“Reality? What do you know about reality?”

(You can stream Decoy

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New Releases: 17th November

22 JUMP STREET:

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EARTH TO ECHO:

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2:

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THE HOUSE OF MAGIC:

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DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON 5:

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PEAKY BLINDERS SEASON 2:

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Posted by William

Interview with Diego Quemada-Diez, director of The Golden Dream (2014)

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By Rob Munday.

Diego Quemada-Diez worked in the camera department on Land and Freedom, 21 Grams, The Constant Gardener and Man on Fire amongst others. The Golden Dream (out now) is his impressive debut feature as writer/director.

Tell us about the process of putting the script together.

Diego Quemada-Diez: My original idea for the film was to do In This World by Michael Winterbottom going instead from Mexico to the US but I couldn’t get the money. I wanted to do a film that had a big scope, a production where the heroes were these wonderful children and the migrants. I really wanted to make it at least a two million dollar movie with trains and action sequences. So eventually I thought, ok instead of doing that what if I just take the best from fiction and the best from documentary. Through fiction I can construct the characters and the dramatic structure and make people live an experience through identification with a character. I can have a dramatic arc and reproduce events that in a documentary people would just tell you about. On the other hand I can incorporate as much as we can from the reality we encounter and I cast villagers from the villages we pass and real migrants. So the idea was to work with non-actors and then I’ll insert them into this completely real situation. They also didn’t see the script; we shot it in chronological order so they had a real experience.

Was the dialogue all scripted or did you work with scene outlines?

Diego Quemada-Diez: I would read them the scene five minutes before shooting and say this is what we wrote – how would you say it to your friend? And they would throw me lines and I would choose which one and it was a fascinating process. I would just rewrite on the set. My script is full of notes. So it is spoken the way they speak and this idea of ‘worry only about the context that provokes behaviour but not really telling them how to behave’. So you allow them to be themselves within those situations. Ken Loach said, “The best direction is indirect, it’s unseen.” You worry a lot about the casting – I saw six thousand kids.

How did go about picking your young lead actors?

Diego Quemada-Diez: A lot of it is instinct but the first thing that you look for is people who are interesting to watch. People you can observe for hours. Yes, they have a spark, but everything they do is interesting which I think a great actor or actress has. Then you look for the power in their eyes – it’s important that they have the power to communicate a lot because you don’t want to do film-theatre, or communicate information through dialogue, but to communicate just through presence and inner force. I didn’t want to have victims; I wanted to have very powerful kids. I would give them situations to improvise and I would also put on music and ask them to dance to see their connection with their body and do something much more intuitive as opposed to intellectual acting.

How has your background as a cameraman influenced your filmmaking?

Diego Quemada-Diez: I went up the ladder in the camera department because I felt that I needed to learn the craft and for me the craft of filmmaking is telling stories with images. I needed to learn from the great cameramen that I worked with and also directors so I could take what made sense to me and what doesn’t. The methods that are applied in the movie are a combination of many things, but the biggest influence is what I learned from Ken [Loach] and Barry [Ackroyd] his cameraman, which comes from Chris Menges and Brian Probyn and the BBC documentary school. I went back to the origins of working with Ken and simplicity; simplicity of the form; nothing pretentious; no tricks – doing something more classical where what you focus on is the content, the characters, the narrative, and it’s not like “Here I am – the author”. I also like what Ken taught me: “The director is responsible for telling the story” – so you go round with a viewfinder and you collaborate with your cameraman or camerawoman together but at the end you are responsible for telling the story. You do it always at eye-level, as an observer.

How do you combine using real people and your performers – did you hop onto the actual trains?

Diego Quemada-Diez: The idea is that it would feel like we just hopped on, like a documentary, a piece of life. But in reality you’re like “this is the time and this is the money” – so you need to negotiate with those things in order to make the movie, but you cannot negotiate the essence of the movie. I wanted a nine-week shoot but only got six. I had to make the train days very productive. What happens if you jump on the train without control is that it doesn’t stop for six hours. So every time you want to change camera positions or you want to move the actors around – it’s impossible, because you have to wait six hours. So we were like “Ok, we’ve got to have our own train where we can have control” but let’s do it with the same train the migrants take and lets put the same migrants that go on the train and on the same route they go. So it’s the same thing but we’re paying the gas, it’s a safe train, we tell the migrants “You get on this train you’re going to get a salary, we’ll give you food and water and it’s a safe train for you” so it was in the interest of everyone and it worked out very well. So we finish the camera setup, we stop the train, move to another set up and start it again.

Endings are so hard to get right but yours seems true and tough while also full of hope.

Diego Quemada-Diez: I like a lot the end of The Incredible Shrinking Man. At the end they talk about microcosms and as he becomes smaller and smaller he becomes a speck of dust and he’s blown out. He accepts this, he says “Now finally I accept that I am changing all the time and eventually I will just become nothing” and then they cut to the stars and the universe. I wanted the snow to be like the stars so you would feel “Yeah, we have these problems, we have a lot to work with in our reality, but at the same time we’re just a little point of life in the universe and we have great potential”.

New Releases: 10th November

BOYHOOD:

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X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST:

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BEGIN AGAIN:

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JERSEY BOYS:

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PUDSEY THE DOG: THE MOVIE:

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TRUE BLOOD SEASON 7:

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Lowdown on ‘The Golden Dream’ (2014)

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reviewed by Rob Munday.

A teenager stalks dusty favela streets. This is Juan. He goes inside to pack his bag and stash a roll of dollar bills. Samuel abandons his work looking for slim pickings in an endless mountain of rubbish. Sara cuts her hair short and straps down her breasts to become ‘Osvaldo’ – a safer option for the obstacles that lie ahead. So begins the debut feature from writer/director (and former cameraman) Diego Quemada-Diez.

The Golden Dream here is to get to America, the Promised Land where a better life awaits. Our juvenile heroes often say they are simply going “North” as if heading up represents a higher purpose.

As they set out walking along overgrown train tracks you can’t help recall Stand By Me and we will gain similar affection for our protagonists (although Richard Dreyfuss and his Amstrad remain thankfully absent). This is a classic journey movie, both a coming of age tale and a comment on the wider politics of America’s attitude toward its southern neighbours. This is shown by the appearance of Chauk, a Tzotzil Indian who speaks no Spanish. Juan’s attitude to Chauk mirrors a wider racism in believing this unknown quantity must have base instincts and no redeeming purpose. But Chauk is a kind soul and a counter to the narrow viewpoint of the others.

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The trains drive the film. They lumber restlessly through the lush splendour of the Guatemalan landscapes and beyond. They set the pace, create a soundtrack, and plant the thought: What is the real cargo? Is it the contents of the carriages or the hundreds of potential low paid workers who ride on the top breathing the humid air as they dream of the north?

The film rests on young shoulders but the acting is pitch perfect (and was rewarded with Best Ensemble Cast at last years Cannes Film Festival). The characters feel real and truthful throughout. Often they remain silent as we observe and yet their stillness and the thoughts that churn behind their eyes say everything. Diego Quemada-Diez has worked with many acclaimed directors (including Ken Loach, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Fernando Meireles, Spike Lee) and the influence of Loach is evident in the clear-eyed humanity, support of the underdog and belief in the redeeming power of hope.

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Whether riding the train or watching the internal conflicts of a life in transit this is cinema that moves and Diego Quemada-Diez is a director to keep your eye on.

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