Boyhood (2014) Film. Director: Richard Linklater

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Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater‘s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. StarringEthan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.Written by IFC Films

 

 

The first shot in “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s tender, profound film, is of a cloudy sky. The second is of a boy staring up at that sky, one arm bent under his head, the other flung out straight on the ground. He’s a pretty child with calm eyes, a snub nose and a full mouth. It’s a face that you get to know and love because, even as this child is watching the world, you’re watching him grow. From scene to scene, you see the curve of his jaw change, notice his thickening brows and witness his slender arms opening to embrace the world and its clear and darkening skies.

The GTO is a minor authorial marker, and probably helped keep costs down in this relatively inexpensive production. (The movie was heroically bankrolled from the start by its distributor, Jonathan Sehring of IFC Films.) More practically, it works as an expressive emblem to go along with Mason Sr.’s absences, his careless parenting, on-and-off facial hair and earnest bohemian rhapsodies. Unforgiving observers may write Mason Sr. off as a deadbeat, but, like Olivia, who sometimes lobs expletives at her unfazed children, he’s deeply loving. These aren’t movie parents with formulaic arcs and storybook solutions, but characters whose honest, raw hurt and moments of casual grace carry the shock of the real. These are people you know, maybe people like you.

The realism is jolting, and so brilliantly realized and understated that it would be easy to overlook. In “Boyhood,” Mr. Linklater’s inspired idea of showing the very thing that most movies either ignore or awkwardly elide — the passage of time — is its impressive, headline-making conceit. Starting in 2002, he gathered his four lead actors each year for a three- to four-day shoot, working on the script as they went along. (The consummate anti-slacker, Mr. Linklater also shot during that period a clutch of shorts and features, including “Before Sunset,” the second in a trilogy of films with Mr. Hawke; a fictional adaptation of “Fast Food Nation”; and a weirdly touching comedy about a murderer, “Bernie.”)
What emerged from those dozen years is a series of meticulously textured and structured scenes set to the rhythm of life. The structure is crucial. Mr. Linklater has long experimented with nontraditional narratives, from the baton-relay form of “Slacker,” in which he leaves one character to follow the next, to the peripatetic ramblings of his “Before” trilogy. His films are sometimes mischaracterized as having no plot, perhaps because they may seem so, when compared with aggressively incident-jammed mainstream movies. One of the fascinating things about “Boyhood” is that a lot happens — there are parties and fights, laughter and tears — but all these events take place in a distinctly quotidian register and without the usual filmmaking prodding and cues.
Instead, the movie ebbs and flows from year to year, interspersed with temporal signposts like a Britney Spears song or a Nintendo Wii. One minute, Mason is looking quizzically at Olivia while she chats with a professor, Bill (Marco Perella); the next, he’s with his sister and Bill’s children, Mindy (Jamie Howard) and Randy (Andrew Villarreal), in the backyard the two families now share as one. Some of the transitions are imperceptible, especially when Mason is younger, and all are meaningful. Midway through, when he strips off his shirt to go swimming with his father and then asks about girls, you see the last traces of baby fat and true childhood. By the next section, Mason has shot up and slimmed down, and is now talking to girls, not just about them.
For a filmmaker known for the loquaciousness of his characters, Mr. Linklater has an almost un-American rejection of overexplanation. When you first meet Mason at 6, gazing at the sky while lying on a patch of grass, he looks a touch beatific. He also looks like a little kid staring into space. Is he happy, sad or bored? And when he gazes at a dead bird, what does he think?; how does he feel? Mr. Linklater doesn’t say. Instead, he fills the frame with a close-up of Mason’s face, letting the silence and weight of death linger. Mr. Linklater’s characters can talk a blue streak, but rarely in his work, and never in “Boyhood,” do you hear the hum of his narrative design under their words.

The film’s visual style is precise, unassuming to the point of seeming invisibility and in the service of the characters, with compositions that remain unfussy and uncluttered, even when the rooms are busy. When Mr. Linklater films a landscape, your eye locks not on the camerawork but on the beauty of these spaces and the people in them — the enveloping greenness of the neighborhood in which Mason first rides a bike, for instance, and the tranquillity of the watering hole that, years later, he swims in with his dad. Mr. Linklater is especially fond of showing two people walking and talking, and you learn as much about the characters’ relationships from how they inhabit space — his two-shots speak volumes — as from what they say. He’s a poet-geometrician of intimacy.

Radical in its conceit, familiar in its everyday details, “Boyhood” exists at the juncture of classical cinema and the modern art film without being slavishly indebted to either tradition. It’s a model of cinematic realism, and its pleasures are obvious yet mysterious. Even after seeing the film three times, I haven’t fully figured out why it has maintained such a hold on me, and why I’m eager to see it again. There are many reasons to love movies, from the stories they tell, to the beautiful characters who live and die for us. And yet the story in “Boyhood” is blissfully simple: A child grows up. This, along with the modesty of its physical production — its humble rooms, quiet moments, ordinary lives — can obscure Mr. Linklater’s ambitions and the greatness of his achievement.

It’s no surprise that watching actors naturally age on camera without latex and digital effects makes for mesmerizing viewing. And at first it may be hard to notice much more than the creases etching Mr. Hawke’s face, the sexy swells of Ms. Arquette’s belly and Mr. Coltrane’s growth spurts. You may see your own face in those faces, your children’s, too. This kind of identification is familiar, as is the idea that movies preserve time. André Bazin wrote that art emerged from our desire to counter the passage of time and the inevitable decay it brings. But in “Boyhood,” Mr. Linklater’s masterpiece, he both captures moments in time and relinquishes them as he moves from year to year. He isn’t fighting time but embracing it in all its glorious and agonizingly fleeting beauty.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/movies/movie-review-linklaters-boyhood-is-a-model-of-cinematic-realism.html?_r=0

July 17
In the movie “Boyhood,” we watch as a kid named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up from a little boy into a nearly grown young man, living with his mom and sister in a series of Texas towns, solidifying his relationship with an unsteady father, struggling through schools and step-parents and girlfriends and himself until, in the film’s final scenes, he starts college.

Audiences might think they’ve seen this kind of coming-of-age story before. But they’ve never seen a film like “Boyhood,” which in the hands of writer-director Richard Linklater turns from classic cinematic portraiture into something epic, transcendent and monumental. Filmed for a few days every year over 12 years, “Boyhood” breaks open a brand new genre: a fictional drama contoured and shaped by reality; a lightly scripted ensemble piece executed by both professional and non-professional actors; an experiment in time, narrative and cinematic practice that utterly transforms the boundaries of what film can look like and feel like and achieve.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about “Boyhood” is that it draws no attention to its own lofty ambitions. Working in his signature style of observational understatement, Linklater simply allows viewers to eavesdrop and watch, unnoticed, as Mason and his family go about their daily business. But within that simple premise, Linklater discovers multiple emotions and meanings, the film equivalent of a world in a drop of water.

When “Boyhood” opens, 6-year-old Mason — dreamy, easily distracted, watchfully quiet — is being harangued by his mom, Olivia (played by Patricia Arquette), about his behavior in school, while his bossy older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the filmmaker’s daughter), annoys him by singing Britney Spears over and over. When Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) shows up from working in Alaska, he comes bearing gifts and the loosey-goosey aura of the circus coming to town. But as “Boyhood” progresses, Dad begins to embrace fatherhood more seriously. One of the film’s most touching and funny scenes occurs in a bowling alley, where the hapless father tries to engage Mason in a just-buds chat about the facts of life (“We can do this!”).

Indeed, much of “Boyhood” has to do with how Mason becomes a man — under the tutelage of his own childish but earnest father, by watching the problematic men his mom becomes involved with, and even within the context of the sexist, epithet-laden rhetoric of his peers. By the time Mason, now a deep-voiced teenager, affects an earring, blue nail polish and an artistic interest in photography, viewers get the feeling that he’s dodged at least most of the misogynist conditioning of a boy’s life.

Coltrane, a non-professional from Linklater’s adopted hometown of Austin, is the clear star of “Boyhood,” but Hawke and Arquette’s performances are among the finest in both of their careers: In many ways, the movie is as much about their characters’ changing self-conceptions and complicated relationship as it is about Mason’s own blink-and-you’ll-miss-it youth.

Because it was filmed in real time, “Boyhood” organically reflects the material culture and political touchstones of the ’90s and early 2000s — the Iraq War, the Obama-McCain campaign of 2008, Harry Potter. Over time, the music changes from Spears and Weezer to Cee Lo Green and Daft Punk, becoming a vividly compressed time capsule of social history, tastes and pop signifiers. But mostly, “Boyhood” is about someone finding himself — or, perhaps more accurately, a self finding him. Linklater took a chance on casting Coltrane as a 5-year-old, there being no guarantee that he would be as cute or charismatic as an awkward college freshman. Luckily, he’s watchable at every age, encountering milestones big and small with watchful, reflective intensity.

Some of those milestones are obvious, such as the 15th birthday when Mason receives a Bible, a blue suit and a 20-gauge shotgun from his family. But most are small — those fleeting, quotidian interludes that no filmmaker other than Linklater would deem worth noticing, let alone valorizing as worthy of narrative attention. Like his fellow Austinite Terrence Malick, Linklater is interested in philosophical questions about time and family and identity and consciousness. But unlike Malick’s similarly themed “Tree of Life,” “Boyhood” is free of fussy auteurist gestures and self-conscious grandiosity.

What makes Linklater great is that he possesses the modesty and confidence to simply observe banal, otherwise forgettable non-events, then invest them with scale and sweep and deep significance. As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, “Boyhood” isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/boyhood-movie-review-richard-linklaters-audacious-epic-cinematic-journey/2014/07/17/99ef5f90-0064-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html

The Auction (2013) (Le démantèlement) Film. Director: Sébastien Pilote

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  • Gaby owns a farm on which he raises lambs: Bouchard & Sons Farm. But he has no sons. Rather, he has two daughters that he raised like princesses and who live far away, in the big city. One day, the oldest asks him for some financial support so she doesn’t end up losing her house. Gaby, for whom fatherhood has evolved to a point where it became unreasonable, decides to dismantle the farm.

    Written by Anonymous

  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2860720/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

 

Finding Vivian Maier (2013) Documentary | Biography | Mystery Film. Directors: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

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Real estate agent, John Maloof explains how a trip to a local auction house, in search for old pictures to use for a book history of his neighborhood, resulted in him bidding and winning a box full of old negatives. John, goes through the massive quantity of negatives, describes how impressed he was by the quality of the images, quickly determined they were not reverent to his project and just put them away. That could have very likely had been the end of the story, if the power of the images had not pushed him to fall in love with photography. John confides that his photo hobby quickly motivated him to set up a darkroom and devote large amounts of time shooting. As he learned more about photography, he recognized that those negatives he had bought, then stored, were the work of a real master. In an attempt to confirm his suspicion, he selected about 100 images and put them online with the hope that the feedback would confirm his judgement as to the strength of the images. Written by Lane J. Lubell of Cinemashadow.com

 

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson


“Though it’s never less than engaging, there’s a nagging sense of missing out on the bigger picture.”

We’ve all had one of those moments when we’ve opened a second-hand book and photograph placeholder or other personal item has slipped out. As we gaze at the unknown face, we wonder who is in the frame and who wielded the camera. This, although on a slightly more deliberate and grander scale, is what happened to John Maloof. A serial bidder at auctions, he shelled out on a whim for a large box of negatives – one of several for sale on that particular day – and after letting them gather dust, finally decided to scan a handful of them and upload them to photosharing website Flickr.

The photos were so striking that he decided to try to find out more about the photographer Vivian Maier but a Google search yielded nothing. Two years later, a second search chanced upon her recent obituary and the ball was set in motion for what would become something of an obsession. Maier, it turns out, was not a photographer who had simply never quite made it but a children’s nanny who, although never without her camera, seems to have very rarely shared her work with others.

 

Maloof and co-director Charlie Siskell take a traditional approach to their documentary, rebuilding Maier’s life, moving between her street-captured images and talking heads of some of those people who hired her or fell under her care.

The photos themselves are striking snapshots of humanity – often collected by Maier in the downbeat areas of Chicago, with a reluctant child or two in tow. There are thousands of pictures, ranging from down and outs on street corners to children caught in a moment of tears. Captured using a Rolleiflex – a boxy camera that is distinguished by the fact that it is held at waist height while the photographer looks down into the lens from the top of it – this means that the children or those on the street seem to always be on her level, their gaze straight at the camera, while the shots of adults as they walk past loom large and domineeringly in comparison.

As the film progresses and Maloof – who acts as a pleasant, informative guide – begins to peel back Maier’s surprising family history, a more troubled picture also emerges as we learn that she was a packrat, whose bedrooms tended to be filled with massive stacks of old newspapers and who hoarded virtually ever geegaw or receipt stub that came her way. The snapshots offered by the various children who passed through her care also range from those who thought she was terrific to those who believed she was merely eccentric and one or two who found her outright cruel.

What is almost as interesting is the portrait that emerges of people’s opinions of ‘creatives’ or at least the opinions of those represented here, as they adhere strongly to cliches regarding class mobilility and what drives an artist. The idea that this nanny had the tenacity to keep her talent to herself seems to be an affront to many, somehow against an unwritten rule about domestics knowing their place. Someone also asks in wonderment, “What’s the point of taking it if no one sees it?”, as though the idea of Maier enjoying her hobby for its own sake is ludicrous.

Throughout it all there are definitely glimpses of Maier, not least in her own photos – where she often appears in half shadow, or multiple reflection – but questions remain. Maloof, though earnest, has undeniable skin in the game as the owner of Maier’s archive, so it feels as though the levels of ‘mystique’ are intended to remain high – this means, for example, that although it is revealed that two of her former wards paid for her flat in retirement, we never see them talking about it to camera. These sort of empty spaces hang around the edges of the frame of the film and though it’s never less than engaging, there’s a nagging sense of missing out on the bigger picture.

http://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/review/finding-vivian-maier-2013-film-review-by-amber-wilkinson