Tag Archives: Willem Dafoe

Cannes Report

Ron Swanson watched a lot of films at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Here’s what he thought.
I’ve been coming to the Cannes Film Festival for nearly 10 years, and it would be fair to say that the 2017 vintage will probably not go down as a great year. That being the case, there were still a number of outstanding films on display. Here are 13 of the best.

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The Passionate Christ

By Philip Concannon

Martin Scorsese has famously described cinema as simply being “a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out,” but when The Last Temptation of Christ was released in 1988, very few were willing to consider the film on those terms. This adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel remains one of the most controversial films ever released by a Hollywood studio. It sparked protests, threats and even physical attacks, with a cinema in France being firebombed by a group of Christian fundamentalists for daring to screen the film. The charge was blasphemy, with the biggest bone of contention being a much talked-about sex scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The fact that few of those criticising The Last Temptation of Christ had seen it, or had any intention of doing so, was apparently beside the point. Continue reading The Passionate Christ

Manchester International Festival 2011: Art

by Ann Jones

Until recently I had always considered Marina Abramović to be formidable to the point of scariness and possibly not entirely of sound mind. Her work is extraordinary and utterly compelling but its intensity and seriousness seemed to leave no space for the woman herself to have a sense of humour. But then until recently, though I’d read about her work and seen it in reproduction, I’d seen very little of her work in galleries and had never seen Abramović herself in the flesh, something of a limitation when talking about the work of a performance artist. Somehow I never quite made it to Manchester in 2009 to see her piece at the Whitworth Art Gallery for that year’s MIF and, more annoyingly, was in New York a few weeks too early to see her retrospective at MOMA in 2010, for which she created a new performance The Artist is Present which saw her sitting virtually motionless facing a succession of visitors to the exhibition for the duration of the exhibition (over 700 hours in total). But last autumn, I saw her Lisson Gallery show and talk at Tate Modern, and discovered that the woman who has made uncompromising performance art for several decades, at times risking her life (usually, but not always, intentionally), is unexpectedly personable. Indeed at Tate Modern she started with a story – one of the childhood memories that featured both in Confession (2010), shown at the Lisson Gallery, and in The Life and Death of Marina Abramović (2011), which had its world premiere at MIF last week – and ended with a joke. Perhaps age is softening Abramović. Or perhaps she was never as scary as I’d assumed.

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