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To some, love is recieving a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses, to others, it's getting a dose of acid thrown in your face from the man you love, causing permanent blindness. This unusual romantic concept is explored in Dan Klores’ documentary Crazy Love, which follows the true story of weathly, married womanizer Burt Pugach, who seduces young Linda Riss in NYC during the 1950s. When Linda finds out he’s married and not getting divorced, she leaves him, causing Burt to hires thugs to throw acidic lye in her face. As a result, Linda is blinded and disfigured for life and Burt goes to Attica for 14 years. The catch – after Burt is released he weds Linda and they are still together today. Sounds crazy, right? Sometimes love is.


“When I grow up I should like to be an official executioner” 11 year old Albert Pierrepoint informed his classmates when asked what he aspired to become. Thirty years later he would become one of the most prolific hangmen in British history, executing upwards of six hundred people. Being released in the States under the factually inaccurate title The Last Hangman, the film begins with young Albert setting out to pursue his dream of being an executioner following through to the capital punishment hearings of the 1950s. Timothy Spall turns in an elegantly understated performance as a man set in his convictions, yet not without compassion and humility. The most fascinating aspect of the film is the attention to the “art of the execution.” From the physical to the psychological elements that must be employed, Pierrepoint takes each execution with exacting care, swiftness and above all, professionalism.


The Palme d'Or went to 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days [pictured], the account of a woman's efforts to get an abortion in the waning days of Ceacescu, from Romanian Cristian Mungiu. Not a huge surprise, in truth, since the film, screened on the fest's first full day, consistently lead in critics' polls.

A mildly dissenting voice here. The continuing emergence of Romanian cinema is to be applauded, of course. And “4 Months” is a take-no-prisoners gut punch of of neo-realism. The tension is palpable, the temptation to preach resisted, the acting flawless, the heroine positively heroic...


Over at his CinemaTech blog, Scott Kirsner receives an email from Dovetail CEO Jason Holloway about the current debate over just how content creators should be compensated for the online viewing of their work. Holloway discusses the pros and cons of the paid subscription model, the pay-per-download model, and the ad-supported model, and provides an opinion as to which types of content are most appropriate for each model. I'm with Kirsner in believing that there is considerable untapped promise in the pay-per-download model (essentially, this is the model of the iTunes Store), but Holloway makes some points about the value of brand recognition that independent filmmakers should consider...


Writer-director Shonali Bose’s latest feature Amu begins its U.S. theatrical run today in New York City, with LA following in early June. The tale of a young Indian-American woman’s search for the truth about her past, the film has already proven highly controversial in India, where it suffered several cuts and received the dreaded "A" rating, equivalent to an "R" here. This decision insured that a younger film-going audience would not see the film. The film itself is a bold, honest story, told without a trace of heavy sentimentality or preachiness. Check it out and see what's lacking in so many empty US productions...

Read the complete stories at Filmmakermagazine's Blog...


Lars von Trier, the enfant terrible of world cinema, is always looking for the next thing to surprise or wrongfoot audiences. He made only three features in the first decade of his career, and though The Element of Crime (1984), Epidemic (1987), and Zentropa (1991) were all critical successes that ably demonstrated von Trier's cinematic gifts, it is since then that he has truly excelled. In this period, not only has he founded the revolutionary Dogme 95 movement, but completed the Gold Hearted trilogy – made up of Breaking the Waves (1996), The Idiots (1998) and Dancer in the Dancer (2000) – and made the first two parts of his American trilogy, Dogville (2003) and Manderlay (2005). All of these have been provocative, emotionally intense and technically innovative movies, cinema which has challenged the norm and polarized opinion. Though hailed as one of the saviors of modern cinema, von Trier often seems more comfortable in his self-assigned role as villain, and reports of brutal, bullying treatment of his leading ladies (Björk and Nicole Kidman, in particular) have only compounded this image...

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