Bertrand Bonello

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TIFF 2019, Day 2: I Was at Home, But…, Zombi Child, First Love

As Giovanni Marchini Camia notes in this valuable, context-providing review/interview of I Was at Home, But…,  Angela Schanelec’s fourth feature, 2001’s Passing Summer, was the first to give rise (in a Die Zeit review) to the term “Berlin School,” an imprecise but generally accepted designation for contemporaries including Christian Petzold, Maren Ade, Ulrich Köhler, Christoph Hochhäusler, Thomas Arslan et al. As Camia also notes, Schanelec’s relationship to this term is tense; her work is the most overtly severe, and it’s taken her longer to break through than her highest-profile peers. Internationally, Schanelec didn’t receive significant recognition until her ninth feature, 2016’s The Dreamed Path, until […]

Pasolini, Thierry Frémaux’s Requested Cuts and Working with Music: Bertrand Bonello’s Masterclass at FIDMarseille

Bertrand Bonello, cinephile filmmaker, is not one to conceal his references. On War, with Mathieu Amalric in the lead as a director called Bertrand, quotes from Apocalypse Now at length, House of Tolerance transplants Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai to belle époque Paris and Nocturama concocts a beautiful synthesis of Carpenter and Romero. Yet, as the disparity of these citations indicates, Bonello’s shapeshifting, consistently surprising cinema makes it difficult to pinpoint what might have been his formative influences. Had I been pressed to try, I wouldn’t have come up with Pasolini, so it was a surprise to discover that his […]

Cannes 2019 Dispatch 2: Bacurau, Zombi Child

I didn’t attend Cannes in 2009, but what I’ve come to understand to be that year’s Official Selection highlight—namely, Alain Resnais’s delirious late masterpiece Wild Grass—is precisely the kind of movie I always long to experience, here or anywhere: a vision always blossoming, driving deeper into a world entirely of its own creation, ever-willing to swerve off-road to see where the unpaved path might lead. The scarcity of such work in cinema no doubt runs down to the roots of the industry, attributable as much to the fortress of protocols one must fulfill to get any given project off the […]