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I saw Christopher Nolan's Inception this week, and while a more considered reaction will have to wait, I really liked it. The film is like watching a great composer construct a symphony with the tropes of Hollywood action blockbusters as his instruments. As you may have heard, it is deviously complicated, but I never felt lost while watching it. In Inception, Nolan's dream worlds have clear physics and causalities - sometimes to the movie's detriment. The film's shared dreams are not so much the stuff of nightmares as they are levels in videogames of the mind. (Like Glenn Kenny, whose take on Inception is very close to my own, I am also half way through Tom Bissell's book on videogames and narrative, Extra Lives.) There's a point about two thirds of the way through when I burst out laughing as Nolan added yet one more layer of story to a movie already bursting at the seams. I sat a little further forward in my seat, quickly reviewed what had happened so far in the film, allocated more RAM -- a great and unexpected feeling to have had during a summer popcorn film. Recommended.
See you next week.
Editor INDUSTRY ACCREDITATION OPEN FOR INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK It's never too early to register for the 32nd Independent Film Week (September 19-24) -- in fact there are advantages. Strategically positioned between the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, Independent Film Week is the nation's oldest and largest forum for the discovery of new film projects in development and new voices on the independent film scene. This year we look forward to introducing over100 new narrative features in development and documentary works-in-progress - which have had little to no previous industry exposure - through the Project Forum. Early Industry registrants can gain access to Project Forum titles through our secure, online Independent Film Week channel by early August. Discover key information about participating projects, access video clips and trailers, and other valuable tracking information to best inform your project meeting selection. (Limited to Project Forum buyers only). The earlier you register - the earlier the access. Full details here. Our Forums page is new and improved! Check out the new categories: how to make films, discuss the current trends in the business, job opportunities and look out for guest filmmaker moderators. Click here to get started.
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Nicolas Winding Refn, Valhalla Rising
IFP: Accreditation open for Film Week
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KISSES A success at festivals like Toronto and Telluride, Kisses, by writer-director Lance Daly, follows the adventures of a pair of Irish kids who run away from home at Christmas and spend a wild night in nearby Dublin. The kids (Shane Curry and Kelly O'Neill) receive an education in survival and self-discovery in a film that explores both the wide-eyed innocence of youth and that moment when maturity becomes to blossom. ALAMAR Written and directed by Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, Alamar comes out of Mexico with a special tale of father and son sharing one last journey together. Taking his son on a trip to his father's off the coast of Mexico, they go diving and catch fish while the boy learns about his father's homeland before he is to live with his mother in Rome. Mixing documentary with fiction, the visuals are as riveting as the emotion in this touching story. VALHALLA RISING Set in the year 1000 A.D., Valhalla Rising is an epic film about a mute warrior named One-Eye who is imprisoned by a Norse overlord. Making his escape with a child slave, the warrior ventures through dark territory on sea and land, encountering both Viking friends and foes. Don't expect 300; Valhalla Rising moves at a slow but suspenseful pace. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and co-written by Roy Jacobsen, the film is marked by both brutal violence and contemplative moments as One-Eye questions his humanity and spiritual conflicts with war. Interviewed for this week's Director Interviews, Refn talks about his desire to surprise the audience. "We're so used to being sold the same thing and knowing what we'll be consuming - that feel of surprise is what I find so pleasurable," he says. "And of course in order to get that you have to give the audience not so much what they want or don't want, but what they didn't expect." Read our interview with Refn below. This week on the blog, Alicia Van Couvering lists the seminal indies of her youth; Nicholas Rombes gives film critique a new twist; and Scott Macaulay remembers comic book artist Harvey Pekar (pictured left).
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NICOLAS WINDING REFN, VALHALLA RISING By Lauren Wissot
Valhalla Rising, which stars Mads Mikkelsen (best known for playing the much more suave devil Le Chiffre in Casino Royale) as a one-eyed, mute, enslaved gladiator who joins a group of Viking Christians on a conquest that turns into an existential journey to hell, is certainly not what one would expect from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. And that's part of the beauty of the film. read more
Harlem International Film Festival
Final Deadline: July 23
Festival Dates: Sept. 22-26
Nashville Film Festival
Early Deadline: July 23
Final Deadline: Nov. 26
Festival Dates: April 14-21
Cannes Independent Film Festival
Next Deadline: July 24
Final Deadline: Feb 25
Festival Dates: May 11-21