LITTLE FISHES: Lesbian Erotica

I knew you'd read that headline. LITTLE FISHES is the new narrative project from director Alexia Anastasio: an adaptation of the erotic writings of D.H. Lawrence. (If you don't know who D.H. lawrence is, go kill yourself.) The film takes its name from the Lawrence poem "Little Fish":

"The tiny little fish enjoy themselves
in the sea.
Quick little splinters of life,
their little lives are fun to them
in the sea."

This lesbian-love-triangle-coming-of-age story is actually more poetry than narrative – something for which Anastasio had a knack. Her short adaptation of SALOME by Oscar Wilde not only reversed gender roles but was more like an interpretive dance than anything else (you can watch the trailer here). Anastasio has a kind of unrelenting passion and originality that comes through in everything she makes, which makes her films innately fascinating to me.

LITTLE FISHES is, ultimately, a movie about girls in love. Enjoy the trailer and more information on the film's kickstarter page for finishing funds:

Sophie Barthes and the new MADAME BOVARY

Director Sophie Barthes made the fantasy/drama COLD SOULS in 2009, and since then I've been eagerly anticipating her future projects. To my utter and total delight, she's tackling a new version of MADAME BOVARY.

One of my favorite literary genres is "unhappy-19th-Century-married-woman-has-an-affair-and-dies," and the new ANNA KARENINA that came out last year was about as good as I thought it would get for me. I was wrong! Now, Mia Wasikowska is Madame Bovary, a bored and unhappy French woman stuck in a shitty small village with a clueless husband she doesn't really love. Emma Bovary has a series of torrid sexual affairs, each ending more poorly than the last, and she self-destructs. Like ANNA KARENINA and CAMILLE, MADAME BOVARY is the ultimate 19th Century soap opera drama tragedy. The script is written by Rose Barrenche and Sophie Barthes, and is, of courser, adapted from the novel by Gustave Flaubert.

When Andrea Arnold's WUTHERING HEIGHTS came out last year, I think it ushered in a new series of remakes of classic dark 19th century romantic literature. I'm also kind of excited that Wasikowska is making up for that horrible ALICE IN WONDERLAND movie by not only taking on JANE EYRE a few years ago but now portraying the relate-able, selfish, petty, and wonderful Emma Bovary.

Here's the first image from MADAME BOVARY with Wasikowska as the title character:

MADAME BOVARY directed by Sophie Barthes
MADAME BOVARY directed by Sophie Barthes

For those who have not read the book/seen any previous film version (i.e. you are a total uneducated heathen), you can watch the trailer to my favorite film version thus far, the 1949 film starring Jennifer Jones as Emma Bovary, with one of my favorite actors of all time, Van Heflin, as one of her supporting cast members, right here:

Mary Harron's New ANNA NICOLE Movie Trailer

Mary Harron (director of AMERICAN PSYCHO) has a new TV movie coming out – Lifetime Network's ANNA NICOLE, the tragic story of model ANNA NICOLE SMITH, from a script by John Rice and Joe Batteer.

I've been looking forward to the new ANNA NICOLE movie for a looong time, and it seems to be living up to my expectations. Played by Agnes Bruckner, Anna Nicole goes from Texas girl Vicky Lynn Hogan to the sexy and infamous Playboy regular Anna Nicole Smith, and ends up dead in a Florida hotel room in 2007 at the age of 39.

The film premieres June 29, 2013, on Lifetime, but check out this teaser here; it looks really good:

 

ANNA NICOLE also stars Martin Landau as Anna Nicole's husband J. Howard Marshall; Cary Elwes as his son E. Pierce Marshall; Virginia Madsen as her mom Virgie Arthur, and Adam Goldberg as her attorney Howard K. Stern.

Abigail Child's Mary Shelley Flick A SHAPE OF ERROR in NYC

Abigail Child's A SHAPE OF ERROR is a film I've been curious about for some time. So far, it has only played in Rotterdam and in Buenos Aires, but now will play in New York City on June 2, 2013 at the Anthology Film Archives.

A Shape of Error is an imaginary home movie of Mary and Percy Shelley, writers whose lives forecast the modern in their concern for women, free love and labor. Abigail Child retells their story using strategies developed in her award-winning earlier films: home movies as substrate, inter-titles to relate personal stories to public history, voice-over as private thought – based on the diaries of Mary Shelley and her sister Claire, and complex soundtracks with original music composed by Zeena Parkins. Child asked non-actors to incarnate the famous characters Mary, Percy, Claire and her lover Lord Byron in a contemporary setting, shooting them on 16mm. The result is a visually and emotionally compelling glimpse of the life of the writer of ‘Frankenstein’.

Anthology Film Archive
32 Second Avenue, New York, NY (at 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street)
(212) 505-5181

Sunday June 2, 2013 at 3:00PM
A SHAPE OF ERROR
2012, 70min, digital video

Ilana Rein's Sci-Fi 'Ellipse' Wraps

Ilana Rein's long-anticipated sci-fi short "Ellipse" has wrapped shooting! The director of "We Are All Cylons" returns with a short film about science, history, and all the cerebral things that Rein is known for including in her films. You know, smart shit.

Leo is from another world, many light years from Earth.  He is a player in an intergalactic game, travelling to other worlds and planting the seed of knowledge about whether we are alone in the universe.

On Earth he has tried many times to point us toward the truth but our technology and the recipients of his 'sharing' have not been able to take the steps needed to unlock the secret.

Then he finds Ro, an exceptionally bright girl who he draws into the game.  She becomes fated to study astrophysics and as a grown up astronomer, her research leads her to identify a particular comet and send a lander to explore it.

It kind of reminds me of something Lynne Hershman Leeson would make, or, like Virginia Woolf's "Orlando" (or I am I just creating a corollary there because of Tilda Swinton?). She's seeking finishing funds for the post-production of the flick.

ellipse ilana rein

Abigail Child's Mary Shelly Flick "A Shape of Error" Premiering in Buenos Aires

Abigail Child's new 16mm film "A Shape of Error" featuring imaginary home movie of Mary Shelley, with her husband Percy, is finally screening! It is premiering in Buenos Aires, Argentina at Bienal de la Imagen Movimiento on November 2nd, 2012 at Centro Cultural General San Martín and is having its US Premiere at the Denver Film Festival on Saturday November 10th, 2012.You can also catch it in December in Barcelona, Spain on December 16th at the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.

An experimental l6mm feature, A Shape of Error is based on the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley— writers whose lives forecast the modern in their concern for women, free love and labor. Child retells their story as an imaginary home movie, using strategies developed in her earlier films—The Future Is Behind You (2004-05) and Covert Action (1984)— to shape a new kind of narrative. With sound by the acclaimed composer Zeena Parkins (who has worked with John Zorn and Bijork), non-actors in the lead roles and silently shot with Child’s l6mm camera, A Shape of Error is an original—startlingly emotional and engrossing.

Home movies are powerful and convincing; they “look like us,” “authentic” by their very nature. To use this form to tell the Shelleys’ tale allows a logic of intimacy, an immediate physical setting, a strategy of interruption, a realistic and documentary look as well as a renewed historical and political point of view into a story that combines issues of ideology and feminism, poetry and the dangers of extreme belief—all still alive in the contemporary.

While at the American Academy in Rome as a Fellow in the Visual Arts, Child was able to use Rome and Italy from fall 2009 through summer 2010 for her spectacular settings. The result is gorgeous; the story compelling. Bringing cinematic possibilities into these lives, before cinema was invented, the piece asserts itself as imaginary, yet attempts a reconstruction of the real, holding true to external public events and the inner lives of the characters, chiefly the female ‘characters’, as revealed through their diaries.

The piece has become the first in a Trilogy of Women and Ideology. With A Shape of Error, she explores the Romanticism of the l9th century through the life of Mary Shelley. The second in the series to be a portrait of Emma Goldman and Utopianism, in black and white imaginary ‘home movies’, shot in New York City to recapture the early 20th century.

"The Shelleys are a radical story of impassioned youth led by their idealism to values far from those of their parents (or even the majority of families living today)," says Child. "The Shelleys were brave and complicated, restless and obsessed, egocentric and at certain points, simply cruel. Their history has drama, degradation, a full modicum of scandal set within radicalized politics, sexual and class rebellion and the lives of working artists. Mary’s Frankenstein captures some of the outsideness that the Shelleys and certainly Mary must have felt: poet and women as beast, rejected. Their story and its connections to now, to our nation’s own mixed and hypocritical dealings with sexuality and art, its rejection of the working class in favor of the upper percentile of the wealthy, are resonant themes."

La Femme Film Fest 2013: "Halloween," "Asternauts," "The Last Guest," "The Devout," "Gambit" and more!

The 2012 La Femme Women's Film Festival is screening faves of ours like "Feast of the Foolish" by Meg Pinsonneault, the fantasy "Oowie Wanna" by Bridget Palardy, and "The Graveyard Shift" by Jessica Burgess. But the fest is also screening some films that are new to me, including some awesome sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy films. Check it out:

"Halloween" by Monica Demes is an adorable animated horror story, is about a young girl named Vicky who,

Vicky, a 5 old girl sculpts a pumpkin for Haloween. She tries to show it to her family but they are too buzy with their stuff to pay her any attention. Sad, she decides to scape to the forest near her house. But it´s haloween´s evening and the forest has a surprise for her…

No teaser, but Demes says, "This work is inspired in the old belief that in halloween´s night we could contact with the dead´s land."

The sci-fi comedy "Asternauts" directed by Marta Masferrer,

Life is pretty dull for small-town farmer Earl and Joel McKnutt, until one night a mysterious object from outer space crash-lands in their pasture killing their best bull and milking cow.

The thriller "Dark Before Dawn" by Christina Grozik,

Haunted by broken dreams, a writer struggles with his final chapter.

 

The thriller "Der Letzte Gast (The Last Guest)" directed by Michaela Schwarz,

 The bar man Peter is having a final drink with his friend and last customer, but what starts as a mundane conversation among friends quickly turns into a situation.

 

The historical, fantastical thriller "The Devout" by Mairin Hart,

 In the shadow of disease and death, one woman must risk everything to ensure the safety of the ones she loves.

 

The action short "Gambit" by Chloe Speller,

Jenny was a boxer, scorned by a man, takes on a journey of deceit, revenge and redemption fueled by her femme fatale friends.

 "Melach Ha'aretz (Salt of the Earth)" directed by Roni Beeri is a thriller from Israel,

 Twenty one year olds Iris and Dana, best friends, want to make lots of fast money so they go work illegally in mall sales in the USA for a handsome boss named Ben.

 

"Reign" by Kimberly Jentzen is a war thriller,

A miscommunication between cultures in Iraq results in casualties of war, and a soldier is forever changed by an encounter with a woman who survives the deadly skirmish.

 

"Seeing Stella" directed by  Hillary Bachedler is a dark comedy with morbid undertones,

 Mary Holmes is an introverted middle-aged woman who, after witnessing the tragic death of Stella, develops a morbid fixation on the dead.

 

"Fairy Wings" by Alexandra Peters is a short fantasy film about which I can find out, literally, nothing except the synopsis (no trailer, sorry!):

 A mother fears her young daughter is not coping with the illness of her father because of her withdrawal into the world of Peter Pan.

"Superhero" by Kristin Wright is a fantastical comedy,

Margot, dealing with the death of her parents, copes wearing a homemade superhero costume and discovers who she really is.

 

 Last, "Women" co-directed by Ashley Scott, has the synopsis I think I like best of all synopses I have ever read:

 Sometimes you have to blow someone’s head off to become the woman you always wanted to be.

No trailer but I leave you with this still:

New Trailer for Andrea Arnold's 'Wuthering Heights'

I'm a sucker for gothic romances. "Wuthering Heights" is the ultimate gothic romance, complete with possible ghosts, slit wrists on broken glass, undying love, and jealous, disturbed, abusive men. Kind of like my real life!

Andrea Arnold's new version of the classic story is opening on October 5th in the United States in theaters. In the meantime, watch this second trailer:

 

 

Lines (2012) Review

Directed by Alexa Hann
Screenplay by Vivian Kerr
Featuring Vivian Kerr, Marion Kerr, Kevin Stidham

The short period film "Lines" is named after the 1837 poem by Emily Bronte:

I die but when the grave shall press
The heart so long endeared to thee
When earthly cares no more distress
And earthly joys are nought to me

Weep not, but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come

'Tis I should weep to leave thee here
On the dark Ocean sailing drear
With storms around and fears before
And no kind light to point the shore

But long or short though life may be
'Tis nothing to eternity
We part below to meet on high
Where blissful ages never die

For life is but a passing breeze
Nothing that we gain can we enjoy
Nor can we delight in its devulgant pleasures
Above waiteth thy bliss of glory

Above waiteth thy noble hearts peace
Thy victory in the grave shall be proclaimed
For thou art converted in splendor

“Lines,” the film, is about the relationship between sisters Emily and Charlotte Bronte, both poets and authors in the 1840s in England who between them produced classics of gothic literature such as "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights." Vivian Kerr (playing Charlotte) and Marion Kerr (playing Emily) are real-life sisters as well, working from Vivian Kerr’s rather touching and intense script directed by Alexa Hann.

The film opens to ink-stained fingers furiously scrabbling with feather quill pens and messy inkwells to record a chapter of a new novel Charlotte is writing: "Shirley." Charlotte reads the finished passage to Emily, who assures her it is quite good before succumbing to a racking cough. Emily is sick; she’s dying, and Charlotte can’t save her. All they have left together are the short months and their mutual, and furious, literary careers before Charlotte’s possible marriage to a man named Arthur, and Emily’s death from tuberculosis, will separate them forever.

Bright, white lights and pale translucent colors make up the atmosphere and the background of the film, against which the characters are uncomfortable in their rigid chairs, thick clothing, and the formalities of Victorian culture. Their heavy, plain dresses drag them down while the bright sunlight effuses everything around them, making their world inherently ethereal, if restrictive. Charlotte’s story becomes a metaphor: can Shirley find a way to free herself from her fears and find true love? Or will she, like Charlotte, prevent herself from finding happiness and let pain hold her back?

Drawing on images from the poem, “Lines” uses the ocean as an opportunity for Charlotte and Emily to cast off their fears and sadness and revel in the warm summer sand and water. It is a small moment, etched forever on Charlotte’s heart, of a time when her sister and she were together, and free, and happy, if only for a short while.

Beautifully made, and heart wrenching, “Lines” is very effective. Because Vivian and Marion have a real-life connection, Charlotte’s pain is drawn upon from her very real love of Marion (yes, I’m totally assuming here) and it feels real. It feels sad.  The musical score by Sean Ganser and Steven Schroeder certainly tugs on the heart-strings and fosters tension and urgency as well.

The film’s tagline is 'There is no room for death', from the last stanza of Emily’s poem "No Coward Soul is Mine" of which the first stanza is:

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou–THOU art Being and Breath,
And what THOU art may never be destroyed

The Kerrs and Hann have crafted what they think that stanza is about; the love of one sister for another, and the fear of embracing a love and a life without her. It works.

Madison Cawker Talks 'Lady Bare Knuckles', Desiree Lim Talks 'The House' at Female Eye Film Fest

Madison Cawker's short action/romantic period comedy "Lady Bare Knuckles" won her Best Director at the 2012 Female Eye Film Festival. Here she is talking with a fluffy TV video hostess after some really cheesy jazz music intros the whole thing:

Desiree Lim's feature-length haunted film The House also got some coverage. Watch the interview:

 

Catch Karyn Kusama On Trailers From Hell June 27th, 2012

Trailers From Hell, Joe Dante and Elizabeth Stanley's brainchild, shows trailers for all kind of old, not-so-old, B, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, or just plain movies with a running commentary from filmmaking afficianados. They include the narration of such genre directors as Allison Anders, Mary Lambert, Katt Shea, and Karyn Kusama.

This week, on Wednesday, June 27th, Kusama will add commentary to the trailer for David Lynch's "The Elephant Man". Since I can't link that yet, I'll show you Kusama's commentary on Martha Coolidge's 80s flick "Valley Girl" instead:

New Teaser-Trailer for Alexa Hann's Bronte Film 'Lines'

Alexa Hann's short film about the Bronte sisters, "Lines", finally has a teaser trailer! The film stars Marion and Vivian Kerr as Charlotte and Emily, the authors of the classic Gothic romance novels "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre".  The cinematography, art direction, and costume design are all, I must say, fairly impressive. I can't wait to see this.