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They're all there by Anne-Katrin Titze

Emily Mortimer star of Isabel Coixet's The Bookshop dedicated to John Berger Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Isabel Coixet's The Bookshop, loosely based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald and starring Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson (who starred in Learning To Drive with Ben Kingsley) is dedicated to John Berger. Isabel also dedicated her 2005 film The Secret Life of Words, starring Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins, to Berger. In 2010, Isabel created From I to J an audio-installation of Berger's letters in From A to X at Casa Encendida in Madrid with readings from Tilda Swinton, Penélope Cruz, Isabelle Huppert, Monica Bellucci, Sophie Calle, Maria de Medeiros, Clarkson, and Polley.

Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) at Violet Gamart's (Patricia Clarkson) fête Photo: Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and she won for her novel Offshore in 1979. John Berger won in 1972 for his novel G.
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Thinking outside the box: the sad demise of radical TV

Gone are the days when public intellectuals would riff on Marx while exposing a hint of calf on telly. But were these all-white mansplaining marathons ever as progressive as they made out?

They don’t make TV like this any more. “You used to sacrifice and kill us publicly,” intones John Berger, plummily speaking for the animal kingdom over a montage of depressed bears behind bars at the zoo and sad-eyed horses in a field. “Today your slaughterhouses are hidden away. It’s not from us that you hide them, is it? It’s from yourselves.”

True, it’s presumptuous, perhaps even speciesist, for the great art historian and novelist to ventriloquise caged gorillas and butchered cattle, the better to indict humanity’s denial and unconscious self-loathing over what it does to animals. But that’s exactly what Berger does in a beautiful and chastening film he made for the
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

New Alain Tanner Retrospective Running At The Metrograph

We live in remarkable times, us film aficionados. Across the country it seems as though repertory theaters and art houses are opening at a never-before-seen rate and streaming services are seemingly even more prevalent. And with this comes the great honor of being part of a generation of rediscovery. Maybe you’re in middle America just now discovering Jean Renoir, or happen to be living in The Big Apple, and now have the chance to discover the work of an underrated titan of world cinema.

Starting earlier this week (and ending on 7/23), The Metrograph in New York City is introducing a new generation of film fans to the work of Geneva-born auteur Alain Tanner. Launching his career with 1969’s Charles, Dead or Alive, Tanner would go on to create an oeuvre full of outsiders, leftist politics and some of the most singular works of the golden age of world cinema.
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The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger review – Tilda Swinton leads lavish praise

The Okja actor joins a refreshing celebration of the late Ways of Seeing writer – plus a hilarious lesson in how to ride a motorbike

One year before he died at the age of 90, art critic and author John Berger was the subject of this musingly celebratory quartet of documentary essay-portraits, now on UK release – almost the cinematic equivalent of a Festschrift.

Its writers, directors and contributors feature Berger’s circle of friends, prominent among them the writer and producer Colin MacCabe and the actor Tilda Swinton. Intimate interviews and conversations are interspersed with clips of Berger in his handsome prime, the dazzling broadcaster and creator of the television series and critical work Ways of Seeing; MacCabe contrives some Godardian flourishes.

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See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep docs score deals

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: Films focus on production designer Kristi Zea and artist John Berger.

Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights from UK outfit Taskovski Films to documentary Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray, directed by acclaimed production designer Kristi Zea known for her work on The Silence Of The Lambs and The Departed.

The film follows painter Murray’s struggle to break through establishment art world barriers.

Meryl Streep and art world luminaries Roberta Smith, Paula Cooper, Jennifer Bartlett and Vija Celmins read journal entries from single mother Murray. Philip Glass composed the score.

Taskovski Films has finalised a deal with Curzon Artificial Eye for UK rights to Berlinale 2016 selection The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger, directed by Tilda Swinton.

Swinton, Colin MacCabe, Christopher Roth and Bartek Dziadosz worked more than five years on the profile of the late art critic, writer and painter Berger.

Meanwhile, the company is closing a deal for North America on [link
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Remembering John Hurt, William Peter Blatty and More Reel-Important People We Lost in January

  • Movies.com
Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies that have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way. Tommy Allsup (1931-2017) Guitarist. Best known for playing for Buddy Holly and not being on the plane that crashed and killed the singer and others. He appears in Honkytonk Man and the upcoming documentary The Man from the Rio Grande. He is portrayed by Stephen F. Schmidt in La Bamba. He died on January 11. (THR) John Berger (1926-2017) - Art Critic, Novelist. His BBC docu-series of Ways of Seeing films (see below) and subsequent book are essentials for media...

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An extraordinary individual by Anne-Katrin Titze and Colin MacCabe

Tilda Swinton with John Berger in The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger

Colin MacCabe is the co-director of The Derek Jarman Lab-produced documentary The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger with Tilda Swinton, Christopher Roth and Bartek Dziadosz. When I spoke with Colin last year at Film Forum my first question to him was concerning John's health. I first met John Berger in 1991 in Munich at a workshop he was giving at the Kammerspiele theater. We had a conversation about rhubarb and I asked him to sign his book And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos. The book had been a gift from a friend in Paris who inscribed it to me with the words "My heart as long as forever."

Colin MacCabe on John Berger: "He was the best and most reliable of friends ..." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Although I opened the book
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Letter: John Berger was generous with his knowledge

In 1972, while a student at the London Film School, I directed, with a team of other students, a film based on John Berger’s book A Fortunate Man, for the British Film Institute. Being young and inexperienced, I was extremely nervous about asking John if we could use his book as a basis for a film, knowing how publishers and agents guard their intellectual property. But with just one phone call to John everything was agreed. He maintained that the ideas contained within the book were, in his words, “open to all”.

That was typical of Berger, a generous and open-minded man who encouraged young people to make the most of their opportunities.

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See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'Such freedom is unthinkable today' – my life making television with John Berger

Mike Dibb had been moved by John Berger’s writing since he was a teen. Then a chance meeting led the two to make seminal TV show Ways of Seeing together – and change the way the whole world saw

John Berger is the only writer to have accompanied me throughout the whole of my adult life, first as an east Yorkshire teenage reader, much later as a friend and close collaborator on various films for television, starting with Ways of Seeing.

Somehow – I must have been 17 – I discovered his art column in The New Statesman at the very moment when I was becoming more interested in drawing, painting and literature than the science subjects I was formally studying for my A levels. There was something in the way John wrote that immediately touched me, and made the making of art matter. In simple and beautifully cadenced sentences, he connected what
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

John Berger obituary

Critic whose TV series Ways of Seeing posed questions about art and society, and a writer whose fiction reflected his life in rural France

The art critic, essayist and novelist John Berger threw down his challenge early in his television series Ways of Seeing. This came in 1972, the year when Berger, who has died aged 90, broke through to real fame from his niche celebrity on the arts pages of the New Statesman. Ways of Seeing, made on the cheap for the BBC as four half-hour programmes, was the first series of its kind since Civilisation (1969), 13 one-hour episodes for which Kenneth Clark, its writer and presenter, and a BBC production team had travelled 80,000 miles through 13 countries exploring 2,000 years of the visual culture of the western world. Berger travelled as far as the hut in Ealing, west London where his programmes were filmed, and no farther. What he said in his characteristic
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The storyteller's tale by Anne-Katrin Titze

Colin MacCabe on shooting Berger: "John absolutely refused to plan things." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Author, artist, self-declared storyteller John Berger is the focus of the intricately woven strands that make up The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger. Produced by The Derek Jarman Lab as a quartet of individual film essays, directed by Tilda Swinton, Christopher Roth, Bartek Dziadosz and Colin MacCabe, the combination allows for fascinating interplay of concerns.

On the opening day in New York, Colin MacCabe and I had a conversation that led from Berger's kitchen to Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake, The Spectre Of Hope on Sebastião Salgado, Chris Marker, Neil Jordan collaborator Patrick McCabe, Isaac Julien, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, the editing by Christopher Roth and the cinematography of Bartek Dziadosz, apples, raspberries and cows, Brexit and Northern Ireland.

Tilda Swinton: "As soon as we finished the first one,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Doc/Fest 2016: Cameraperson review

  • CineVue
★★★★☆ In Ways of Seeing, art critic John Berger speaks about the evolution of how we understand images and the point at which "the specific vision of the image-maker was also recognised as part of the vision. An image became a record of how X had seen Y." Such a consideration lies at the very heart of Kirsten Johnson's exceptional new documentary Cameraperson, a reflection on more than two decades spent shooting non-fiction cinema. Her work with luminaries of the medium including the likes of Kirby Dick, Michael Moore and Laura Poitras already makes her a prominent figure in shaping modern documentary.
See full article at CineVue »

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger review - Tilda Swinton's demonstration of affection

The Ways of Seeing writer is celebrated by Swinton and her fellow admirers in an unorthodox four-part documentary that visits him at his Alpine home

Here is an impressively high-minded documentary about writer John Berger – conceived, apparently, by Tilda Swinton in the same spirit as the 2008 film Derek about film director Derek Jarman. The Seasons in Quincy does indeed come across as a reverential love letter to a mentor and father figure, though Swinton is not solely responsible for the result. Produced via Birkbeck college’s Derek Jarman Lab, Quincy comprises four films about Berger: one directed by Swinton, another by Derek producer Colin MacCabe, and the other two by Christopher Roth and Bartek Dziadosz. It’s fair to say, however, there are no strict boundaries: people cross over and pop up in their collaborators’ films, filling different roles as the need arises. But the focus, of course, is Berger – still,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Trailer Watch: Tilda Swinton’s The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger

Is there any contemporary filmmaker — or any artist invested in the creation of images — who hasn’t been influenced, at least on some level, by the British writer John Berger? His Ways of Seeing, a semiotics-tinged analysis of imagery ranging from European oil painting to 20th century advertising, is a seductive and accessible introduction to critical theory, feminist film criticism and Marxist cultural commentary. Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival is the anthology film, The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger. Conceived of by Swinton and producer and literary critic Colin McCabe, the film captures the 89-year-old […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Mister Fincher and Monsieur Dreyer

  • MUBI
"The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of "luxury," the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater's pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognise, but never surely to call it a luxury." —Henry James, from The Preface to The Wings of the Dove (1909) "[The critic’s] choice of best salami is a picture backed by studio build-up, agreement amongst his colleagues, a layout in Life mag (which makes it officially reasonable for an American award), and a list of ingredients that anyone’s unsophisticated aunt in Oakland can spot as comprising a distinguished film. This prize picture,
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Kenneth Clark: arrogant snob or saviour of art?

Famed for the TV series Civilisation, Clark has long been accused of patrician arrogance. But he was also a brilliant wordsmith whose books changed the game, argues James Hall

Italians call the great 14thcentury authors Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio i tre coronati the three crowned laureates. In Britain, during the middle third of the 20th century, art history had its own tre coronati in the formidable shapes of Nikolaus Pevsner, Ernst Gombrich and Kenneth Clark. What made them stand out from their contemporaries both here and abroad was not just their extraordinary erudition and prolific output, but an eloquence and popularising skill that made them public figures. They became the subjects of biographies, and many of their books remain in print. Pevsner, as the author of the landmark Buildings of Britain series, could be found in countless car glove compartments; Gombrich wrote the bestselling art book of all time, The
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Vagrancy and drift: the rise of the roaming essay film

For years the essay film has been a neglected form, but now its unorthodox approach to constructing reality is winning over a younger, tech-savvy crowd

For a brief, almost unreal couple of hours last July, in amid the kittens and One Direction-mania trending on Twitter, there appeared a very surprising name – that of semi-reclusive French film-maker Chris Marker, whose innovative short feature La Jetée (1962) was remade in 1995 as Twelve Monkeys by Terry Gilliam. A few months earlier, art journal e-flux staged The Desperate Edge of Now, a retrospective of Adam Curtis's TV films, to large audiences on New York's Lower East Side. The previous summer, Handsworth Songs (1986), an experimental feature by the Black Audio Film Collective Salman Rushdie had once attacked as obscurantist and politically irrelevant, attracted a huge crowd at Tate Modern when it was screened shortly after the London riots.

Marker, Curtis, Black Audio: all have
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Vagrancy and drift: the rise of the roaming essay film

For years the essay film has been a neglected form, but now its unorthodox approach to constructing reality is winning over a younger, tech-savvy crowd

For a brief, almost unreal couple of hours last July, in amid the kittens and One Direction-mania trending on Twitter, there appeared a very surprising name – that of semi-reclusive French film-maker Chris Marker, whose innovative short feature La Jetée (1962) was remade in 1995 as Twelve Monkeys by Terry Gilliam. A few months earlier, art journal e-flux staged The Desperate Edge of Now, a retrospective of Adam Curtis's TV films, to large audiences on New York's Lower East Side. The previous summer, Handsworth Songs (1986), an experimental feature by the Black Audio Film Collective Salman Rushdie had once attacked as obscurantist and politically irrelevant, attracted a huge crowd at Tate Modern when it was screened shortly after the London riots.

Marker, Curtis, Black Audio: all have
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Fear and loathing of women on the radio

As the recent abuse aimed at Mary Beard shows, the history of women in broadcasting has been one of prejudice, vitriol and fear

The vitriol fired at Mary Beard after her recent Question Time appearance was directed not only at how she looked but also how she sounded – her "stumbling vapidity", according to Rod Liddle in the Spectator. Such prejudices against women's voices have a long history, dating back to Aristotle ("Silence is a woman's glory"). St Paul declared that "it is shameful for a woman to speak in church", while a 16th-century writer on rhetoric contended, "What becometh a woman best, and first of all: Silence."

When women did speak, men drew on a thesaurus of contempt to describe their voices. In 17th-century America, women characterised as a "scold", "nag" or just plain "unquiet" were submerged on a ducking-stool. As late as the 18th and 19th centuries it was
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Sienna Miller nude: pregnancy is now a fig leaf for artists painting nakedness | Jonathan Jones

Titian created the warmth of a living body on canvas just to turn men on. These days, it would be hard to get away with that

Nudity never stops causing anxiety, because it never stops arousing awe. Sienna Miller stands naked, beautifully pregnant. Painter Jonathan Yeo claims he chose to unveil this portrait in Berlin, because Germany, he says, is less hung up about nudity. Yet somehow he let images reach all the British papers. Is it daring? It is controversial? On the contrary: pregnancy has become the modern equivalent of a fig leaf, making nude images of women acceptable to all sections of society and all divisions of the media.

From Mark Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant to Damien Hirst's pregnant nude colossus Verity, imminent motherhood has become the respectable garb for artistic representations of naked women.

The reception of Yeo's portrait is typical. "Sienna poses naked
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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