The Death of Cinefamily

News has finally arrived that the biggest Los Angeles repertory success story of the last ten years, Cinefamily, is permanently shutting its doors due to accusations of sexual impropriety and harassment among its employees. I write “success story” (even though the owners now say they have “crippling debt”) because Cinefamily, especially in its early years (say, 2007-2012), was regularly touted by local culture commentators as “some of the most vibrant and unusual repertory and independent-film programming in the country.” This included art house, music videos, cable video, repertory, and many other genres programmed on a nightly basis. And Cinefamily had …

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Los Angeles Needs Its Own Wavelengths

I had begun writing about my viewing experience of TIFF’s Wavelengths section for Film Journey with the customary introduction and mini-history of the section and its crucial importance to the world’s largest film festival, followed by reviews/analyses of each of the key films in the program.

Then I looked at what I had written, and thought, “Nah. Scrap that.” It needed something else. I needed to consider this differently. Because I was looking at things differently. Part of this stems from my own work as a writer. Until recently, I’ve devoted my writing to cinema, which I’ve done consistently (and …

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Welles in L.A.

I’ve got a piece in today’s LA Weekly previewing Academy @ LACMA’s new Orson Welles series, the most comprehensive in this city in at least a decade. The series includes more readily available titles, but there are a few more films Welles directed that are available online; I thought I’d list some here:

The Fountain of Youth (1956) (YouTube) This very witty television show, based on a story by mid-century fantasist John Collier, was only broadcast once in 1958, but it still managed to win a Peabody Award. It was intended to be the pilot for an …

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Post Sarkozy Cannes 8

By Robert Koehler

THE NOT-SO-SWEATY PALMES

Palme d’Or: Amour (Michael Haneke)
Grand Prize: Reality (Matteo Garrone)
Best Director: Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux
Jury Prize: The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach)
Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt
Best Actresses: Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan for Beyond the Hills
Best Screenplay: Cristian Mungiu for Beyond the Hills
Camera d’Or: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Behn Zeitlin)

Michael Haneke can no longer have anything to complain about. Expecting to win the Palme every time he makes a film, Haneke has now broken general patterns and won two Palme d’Ors in four …

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A New Direction for Directors Fortnight

By Robert Koehler

Barely a month after the Society of French Directors (SRF), which runs Cannes’ Directors Fortnight (aka Quinzaine des Réalisateurs), unceremoniously dropped Frederic Boyer as artistic director, film critic and festival director Edoard Waintrop has been named to replace Boyer. A fixture in the French cinema culture as longtime critic for Liberation (and currently blogging on Libe’s website with his column, “Le cinoque”), Waintrop had just departed Fribourg after a successful four-year run as artistic director, and had been named in March to run the Grutli cinemas in Geneva, which formerly housed the Voltaire Center of …

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What Matters at the Los Angeles Film Festival


Drive and The Tiniest Place

By Robert Koehler

A running conversation at film festivals in the US and abroad (mostly abroad): The urgency of film criticism to advocate for certain cinema, and ignore the other cinemas. The best reason? Life is too short to deal very much or very long with crap, and is much better spent considering the good work, and why it is good. Most American criticism is not founded on this principle; rather, it tends to be dominated by a consumerist mentality that says that all films which can be seen commercially should be written about, and …

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