PH Ticker: Alain Resnais, Berlinale 2014, the Oscars

The Ticker, Mast

The Berlinale, the first “grand slam” in the festival circuit, ended on February 16, 2014.

1) Dao Yinan’s Black Coal, Thin Ice won the Golden Bear with actor Liao Fan collecting he Silver Bear for Best Actor.

2) The films that played in competition included titles from Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Richard Linklater’s decade-in-the-making Boyhood, Yoji Yamada’s The Little House, and new titles from Lou Ye, Dominick Graf, and the film that is now Alain Resnais’ final work, Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley).

3) Outside of competition, the current favorite little-film-that-could from India, Imtiaz Ali’s Highway played in the Panorama section. Other titles in that section was Tsai Ming-liang’s Journey to the West, and Michel Gondry’s animated conversation with Noam Chomsky, Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?




Alain Resnais’ passing on March 2nd has brought out a series of tributes around the net. Including one from our own website.

1) MUBI has started its own round-up, featuring links of old articles it has online. I especially recommend, Ehsan Khoshbakht’s study of photographs from Resnais’ collection Repérages, if only for bringing into light Resnais’ less well known career as a photograph and illustrator.

2) Glenn Kenny has reposted a recent 2007 interview conducted with Resnais on phone, capturing the master’s charm and kindness.

3) Jonathan Rosenbaum has also started rounding up earlier articles on Resnais, including a piece on Resnais’ recent films, which has the revelation that the screenwriter, “Alex Reval”, on Resnais’ Les herbes folles and Vous n’avez rien encore vu are no one but Resnais himself.


1) Within France, President François Hollande acknowledges the loss of a cultural treasure. “He constantly renewed genres. Each of his films was an innovation. He constantly broke codes, rules and patterns while appealing to a wide audience. He also helped generations of actors and technicians with whom he worked to give their best. He has always been loved by them.”

2)  Gilles Jacob, outgoing director of the Cannes Film Festival, insisted that France declare a National Funeral, comparable to the public mourning of Fellini in Italy, neglecting to do so, he says, would be “an abandonment of glory”. Thierry Fremaux, present Cannes Director, notes “As Billy Wilder said of Lubitsch’s death, ‘No More Resnais.’ But beyond that, ‘No More Resnais Films.” Fremaux also noted that Resnais, “talked a lot about others’ films. He would say, ‘Making films is fine, but seeing films is even better.’”

3) Resnais edited Agnes Varda’s very first feature, La Pointe courte. Varda remembers him: “I’ll never forget his punctuality, his patience and respect for my clumsy film. It’s his generosity that impressed me the most in this film adventure, where money was lacking. Alain Resnais meant a lot to me at an age where we’re still struggling to define ourselves. We shared a taste for surrealism, Italian painting and wordplay.”

4) The last two years has seen the passing of several luminaries, Chris Marker and Theo Angelopoulos (2012), Patrice Chéreau (2013) and in 2014 so far, both Resnais and Miklós Jancsó, who died on January 31, 2014. Jancsó’s long takes prefigures the style of Béla Tarr who once noted his mentor planned to cast him in the role of Jesus Christ. Jancsó’s epochal films of the 60s and 70s, The Red and the White, Silence and Cry, The Round-Up, Red Psalm are ripe for rediscovery.

Miklos Jancsó (1921 - 2014)

Miklos Jancsó (1921 – 2014)

5) Early February usually features the Oscar ceremony once again making a pitch for its relevance; this year the Winter Olympics in Sochi moved the ceremony to early March. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave won awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay while Alfonso Cuaron collected Best Director and alongside Mark Sanger, won another Oscar for Best Editing, with Gravity winning 5 other technical awards. Paolo Sorrentino won Best Foreign Film for La grande bellezza. In a slight upset, Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom won Best Documentary over Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. Spike Jonze won Best Original Screenplay for Her.


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