In May 1960, Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura was the sensation of the Cannes film festival. The screening was one of the noisiest and most uncomfortable on record. The second half of the film played to an angry accompaniment of shouts and catcalls from sections of the audience. Affronted critics leapt to the director's defence. In 1962, L'Avventura was runner-up in Sight and Sound's poll of the top ten films of all time, coming closer than anything else in four runnings of the event to toppling Citizen Kane from its decennial perch. In 1972 L'Avventura held fifth place, in 1982 it was seventh, but by 1992 and 2002 it was out of the money. This seemed a fair enough reflection of altered attitudes, the eclipse of the European art-house cinema which Antonioni's work exemplified. In the 1960s, a handful of directors looked to be taking films across new frontiers of expression. A cinema dominated by Hollywood special effects (dinosaurs, aliens in space) no longer expects to deliver … [Read more...] about Michelangelo Antonioni
Carrie underwood most awards
To their fans, night trains sum up the best of the European project. They are time efficient, environmentally sustainable, and irresistibly romantic: you go to sleep in one country and wake up in another, possibly having made friends along the way. In public at least, Europe's politicians and railway companies agree: in December 2009, many of them ceremonially boarded a specially commissioned "Climate Express" from Brussels to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. Yet five years later, sleeper trains are being silently phased out across the continent, while countries elsewhere in the world are modernising their services. Deutsche Bahn, the German rail provider, confirmed this month that its City Night Line sleeper trains on the Climate Express route would cease from 1 November, while the night train that connects Paris to Berlin, Hamburg and Munich will be stopped from December. The Amsterdam to Prague and Warsaw sleeper will be cut back to run from Cologne to Warsaw and Prague. The … [Read more...] about End of the line for Europe’s iconic night trains?
In 1940, four teenage boys stumbled, almost literally, from German-occupied France into the Paleolithic age. As the story goes – and there are many versions of it – they had been taking a walk in the woods near the town of Montignac when the dog accompanying them suddenly disappeared. A quick search revealed that their animal companion had fallen into a hole in the ground, so – in the spirit of Tintin, with whom they were probably familiar – the boys made the perilous 15-metre descent to find it. They found the dog and much more, especially on return visits illuminated with paraffin lamps. The hole led to a cave, the walls and ceilings of which were covered with brightly coloured paintings of animals unknown to the 20th-century Dordogne – bison, aurochs and lions. One of the boys later reported that, stunned and elated, they began to dart around the cave like “a band of savages doing a war dance”. Another recalled that the painted animals in … [Read more...] about ‘Humans were not centre stage’: how ancient cave art puts us in our place
He is called "le maître" or "the boss". For decades, with regularity, his La Règle du Jeu has been voted the second greatest film of all time by critics and movie-makers - and few of the electorate have denied that they would rather have worked for Jean Renoir than Orson Welles (the maker of Citizen Kane, "the best film"). Being first or second hardly matters: the cinema itself is distinguished, ennobled and made promising still, just because of Jean Renoir. It surely helps that this exemplar of a new art keeps us in touch with one of the oldest. Jean Renoir was born on September 15 1894, in Butte-Montmartre, Paris, the second son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the leading Impressionist painter, devoted to family scenes, convivial gatherings and great nudes, and Aline Charigot. Jean was the younger brother of Pierre, who would act in several of his films. Pierre was also the father of Claude Renoir, who would photograph many of Jean's films. So think of family - its warmth, its … [Read more...] about Join the party