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by Tomas Hachard

4 Aug 2011


Bernardo Bertolucci emerged in the 1970’s as a strong figure in Italian cinema. Starting with Spider’s Stratagem (1970) and, in particular, The Conformist, Bertolucci set himself apart with a thematic and visual style of his own.

Starting in the mid-1970s, Bertolucci’s films increasingly focused less on Italy. Last Tango in Paris explores the free love mantra of the 1960s through the affair between a older widower and younger woman. The Last Emperor, for which Bertolucci won an Oscar, details the life of China’s last emperor as the country turns into a Republic and then a Communist dictatorship. Then, beginning in the late 1980s, Bertolucci’s films began to reflect a conscious turn from overt political messages. Due to the nature of his past films, though, this absence in his later work in the end makes its own political point. Nevertheless, regardless of the topic or locale, Bertolucci’s films remain unmistakably his: poignant, nuanced, critical, and majestic.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by Stuart Henderson

4 Aug 2011


Ingmar Bergman was famously described by his acolyte Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera”. Though almost equally revered in his native country as a theatre director, Bergman’s work behind the camera remains his greatest contribution, though his work remains criminally under-viewed by a global cinema audience that remains uncomfortable with his refusal to sentimentalize the darker aspects of human experience. A tireless artist with a truly frighteningly efficient work ethic, Bergman produced dozens of extraordinary films over his career (from 1946-1982 he would make a film most every winter, before spending the summer producing and directing (and sometimes acting in theatre!).

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by PopMatters Staff

4 Aug 2011


San Francisco’s Extra Classic wanted to get completely authentic with their modern take on the sounds of classic Jamaican reggae, so they recorded all the tunes for their new album on 8-track tape using vintage ‘60s ands ‘70s recording equipment. The result is the new album, Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like a Laser Beam, releasing 27 September via Manimal Vinyl. The performing band is made up of Adrianne Verhoeven (vocals/keys), Alex deLanda (bass), Josh Adams (drums), Dustin Kinsey (guitar) and David Wetzel (keyboards), with Verhoeven (formerly of the Anniversary) and de Landa (who has worked with the Donkeys and the Papercuts) as the leading force behind the music. Today we bring you the premiere of the new song “You Can’t Bring Me Down (Discomix)”.

by Lee Dallas

4 Aug 2011


With an oeuvre of thematically disparate films and a serpentine career trajectory beginning in the 1970s and still shaping itself today, Olivier Assayas is a tricky figure to discuss on a broad scale. His work situates itself between highbrow and genre, academic and artfully hip, linear and experimental, Paris and Hong Kong; he seems equally indebted to influences as diverse as Cahiers du cinema (for which he wrote in the early ‘80s), the Chinese new wave, and punk rock.

His forays into filmmaking began with a series of shorts made in tandem with his critical writing for Cahiers du Cinema. These projects show an early synergy with music and indeed seem to function as music video prototypes; later feature works like Disorder (1986) and Clean (2004), which are concerned with the personal and professional lives of struggling rock stars, continue this thematic trend.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by Bill Gibron

3 Aug 2011


As with many Italian filmmakers of his era, Michelangelo Antonioni got his start in journalism. After a childhood of privilege and precocious talents (it is said he was a marvelous violinist by age nine), he fell in love with cinema. Indulged by his overprotective parents, he has free reign to explore all aspects of his impending muse. It was during his time at the University of Bologna when he first developed an affinity for the “lower” classes. He found them more alive and vibrant than the staid and stiff members of the pre-War bourgeoisie. After graduation he struggled as a film journalist, went back to school to study the artform, and eventually found a job with the official fascist publication of the subject (run by dictator Benito Mussolini’s son, Vittorio). After a stint in the army (where he helped other future filmmakers with their efforts), he fell back in to his favorite form, using his time in the military to create documentary style neo-realistic takes on everyday Italian life.



Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

//Mixed media
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"Rock Never Dies" Takes Shots at Celebrity Culture In a Surprisingly Effective Episode

// Channel Surfing

"Season 12's best episode yet isn't perfect, but well-done, with an excellent swan song performance by Rick Springfield.

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