Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Directors to Watch: Part 3 – Movies Spotlight – March 2013


One of the great things about cinema is its constant inflow of great new talent. These two directors are on the verge of becoming well known filmmakers in the States.


Filmography to Date:

Chan-wook Park, 49, is a Korean auteur who is one of most beloved and acclaimed filmmakers in his native country. His The Vengeance Trilogy is fantastic.

In 2000 Park wrote and directed Joint Security Area. It is his breakthrough hit in South Korea, becoming the most-watched film not only of the year but ever in the country. Its success gave Park the freedom of more creative independence.

With this creative freedom, he set out to make his The Vengeance Trilogy (which was not originally intended as a trilogy, rather a series of films about the pointlessness of vengeance and the damage it cause for all involved) – first with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Next, he had a breakout international hit with the second film in the trilogy Oldboy, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival (Quentin Tarantino was the head judge that year and pushed to have the film win the festival’s top prize, but it went to Fahrenheit 9/11 – something the judges would probably take back today). The film also made a name for Park in the States. He finished the trilogy with Lady Vengeance.

In 2006, Park had a chance to remake The Evil Dead, but turned it down instead turning his attention to his own work. In 2009 he made is great vampire film Thirst (which is a must-see for genre fans).


March Film:

Making his directorial debut in the States with his first English-language film, Park is helming Stoker – a story about a young woman named India who loses her father to a car accident. Her Uncle Charlie comes to stay with her mother and her, only she has never heard of or about this mysterious Uncle. She can tell there is something off about him, but instead of being weary of him she is drawn to him. The film has a great cast as it stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode. It looks like a great, aesthetically interesting mystery thriller. Trailer: Here.


Upcoming:

While Park does not have a film concretely slated as his next, Spike Lee is remaking his film Oldboy for American audiences. The cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley. It is due out in October. While I do not think Oldboy needs an English-language version, as the original is already well known in the States, but that said I do like the cast and am intrigued to see what Lee does with the material.


Career Highlights:

1)      J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000) – writer, director (DVD, Trailer)
2)      Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – writer, director (Blu-ray, Trailer)
3)      Oldboy (2003)* – writer, director (Blu-ray, Streaming, Trailer)
4)      Lady Vengeance (2005) – writer, director (DVD, Trailer)
5)      Thirst (2009) – writer, director (DVD, Streaming, Trailer)
*Editor’s picks


Filmography to Date:

Derek Cianfrance has a BFA in Film Production from the University of Colorado. Shortly after school, he made his first feature Brother Tied (handling the writing, directing, editing, and cinematography himself) in 1998. After it was well received at Sundance, he began directing various television documentaries.

In 2010 he returned to features with his intense tragic romance Blue Valentine. The film is a little hard to watch as the material is genuine, raw, and heartbreaking. The performances are very good from its leads Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, the latter earning an Oscar nomination. It took Cianfrance twelve years to make (most of the time spent redrafting).


March Film:

Cianfrance’s new film The Place Beyond the Pines is one of 2013’s most anticipated. It has a stellar cast with Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, and Ray Liotta (among others). The story is about a two men on different paths – one is a motorcycle stuntman who turns to crime as a means of providing for his family while the other is an ambitious rookie cop who is frustrated with the corruption in his department – but headed on a collision course. It looks like a brilliant crime drama. Trailer: Here.


Upcoming:

The documentary Cagefighter is the first of two projects Cianfrance has awaiting release. It is about the intersecting lives of a group of mixed martial arts fighters during a Las Vegas title fight.

The second is his fourth feature film entitled Metalhead (though it has been in production since 2009). The drama is about a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing and must learn to adapt to a life of silence. It stars the real life husband-and-wife duo of Jucifer who play fictional versions of themselves.


Career Highlights:

1)      Blue Valentine (2010) – writer, director (Blu-ray, Streaming, Trailer)
*Editor’s picks

1 comment:

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