Wim Wenders

Essential Art House Road Movies

A commedia all’italiana classic arrives on Blu-ray via Criterion next week. Dino Risi’s Il sorpasso finds an unlikely duo — the young, shy Roberto (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and the older, freewheeling Bruno (Vittorio Gassman) — on a madcap road trip through Rome, Lazio, and Tuscany. The odd couple’s adventures veer from comedy to tragedy as themes of love, masculinity, repression, and self-discovery are explored. The influential film is a striking portrait of the struggles of modern life in Italy during the 1960s, using the road as a metaphor for discovery and expansion — not only in the case of Roberto and Bruno, but also the national identity. Here are other 10 other art house road films that journey down similar paths. … Read More

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The Most Emotional Scenes on Film

For many filmmakers and audiences, cinema is the search for and realization of emotional truths. Countless studies have been done to examine the way movies elicit, and often manipulate, our emotions — but sometimes scientists or computers cannot measure these responses. This resonated with us earlier in the week when we discussed the poignancy of posthumous performances, in relation to James Gandolfini’s final starring role in Enough Said. There are a number of subjective reasons why people connect with a film, but they all have to do with an honesty and openness that invites us to embrace the characters, the story, or even a single scene we can relate to. We wanted to examine a few of those moments — when a scene captured our hearts and shared the beauty, sorrow, and joy we felt in our own lives and the world around us. Here are ten of the most emotional scenes captured on film. We’ve included video, and there are a few spoilers. Share your own favorites with us, below. … Read More

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10 Essential Fashion Documentaries

New York Fashion Week opened earlier this week, and we’re celebrating with a list of essential fashion documentaries that go behind the scenes of the industry. Legendary designers, the business of modeling, and Fashion Week itself are all explored in these insider docs covering the catwalks of Italy and Paris, art galleries during the 1980s, and the streets of New York City on an old Schwinn with camera in hand. Feel free to add to add your own picks, below. … Read More

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European Cinema’s Best Smoking Scenes

The European Union has inched closer to America — at least regarding their stance on smoking. The European Parliament is banning menthol and other flavored cigarettes. They’re also setting their sights on “slim” cigarettes, and hoping to regulate e-cigarettes. It’s a bold move for a continent populated with the world’s biggest smokers and drinkers. We know smoking is detrimental to our health, but the movies often make it seem worldly or bohemian — especially European cinema, where characters are eternally shrouded in smoke. But a cigarette between the lips is often present for more than just show. Sometimes it’s a prop that reveals more about the personality of a character or it becomes a pivotal part of the story. Join us after the jump for ten of the greatest smoking scenes in European film. … Read More

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Beautiful Behind-the-Scenes Photos from 20 Art House Films

We make no secret about our fascination with behind-the-scenes photos and footage from our favorite films. So, after spotting a collection of photos from Robert Altman’s surreal dream study 3 Women on Kino Images, we went searching for more beautiful shots from art house films. Most of these stills could be artworks themselves, and several provide a humorous respite from an otherwise serious subject. Click through for more beautiful, fascinating… Read More

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The 10 Most Mysterious Vanishing Acts on Film

Missing person tropes were a familiar staple of the mystery genre long before cinema, but movies have without a doubt become the ultimate medium for the thrill of a character suddenly going MIA. We love vanishing acts in all their different forms: they appeal to the amateur sleuth in us, intrigue our most childlike sense of wonder, and sometimes just freak us out — especially when they seem to defy reason. Cinema, much like sleight of hand, is all about spectacle, and creating the spectacle of disappearance requires certain elements of suspense, surprise, and above all else, a feeling of uneasiness. We’ve made a list of ten of the most classic, unsettling vanishing acts on film that are sure to keep you guessing. … Read More

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10 Dance Movies That Are Actually Worth Your Time

There is no in-between when it comes to the Step Up franchise. Staunch supporters of the dance movies that started in 2006 with Channing Tatum in one of his earliest roles praise the “jaw-dropping and innovative dance sequences,” while others can’t stand to grimace their way through the cheesy scripts and storylines. The fourth installment in the series, Step Up Revolution, hits theaters this Friday. No matter where you stand on the Step Up issue, there are plenty of rhythmically challenged dance movies out there just waiting to sway you to sleep. To help keep your feet happy, we’ve cherry-picked several dance films that are actually worth your time. See what we came up with past the break, then drop us a note with your recommendations below. … Read More

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10 3D Movies Actually Worth Your Time

Your Flavorwire has made no secret, over the past couple of years, that we’re not exactly charter members in the 3D Fan Club. Most of the time, we’ve argued, it’s a gimmick—an irritating distraction that muddies up the frame, darkens the image, and gives you a headache, yet allows theaters to charge you a couple more bucks a ticket. And over the past few months, it’s started to seem that audiences agree; revenues from 3D movies dropped 20 percent between 2010 and 2011, and when the Clash of the Titans sequel Wrath of the Titans failed to deliver big box office last weekend (its $35 million opening weekend was far short of its predecessor’s $61 million), many commentators blamed lingering resentment over the original film’s shoddy, retro-fitted 3D presentation. (Of course, this week’s release of Titanic 3D may very well throw all of these arguments into the toilet — nobody gets people to pony up for for the glasses like Mr. Cameron.)

The unfortunate thing, if we may be just a touch contrarian, is that just as audiences are beginning to (slowly) back away from 3D, it’s starting to get into the hands of filmmakers who are actually doing interesting things with it, rather than merely slap in a few “look out!” gags and call it a day. And to clarify the position: it’s not that 3D can never work — just that it’s not a catch-all solution, and is more often than not ill-used. After the jump, we’ve collected ten films (in chronological order) from 3D’s 50-plus year history that were actually good films—and that put the technology to worthwhile use. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Paris, Texas

Harry Dean Stanton and the blue-skied expanses of the Southwest can be seen in all their splendor in Criterion’s restoration of Wim Wenders’ open-hearted look at ’80s America.

Four years after abandoning his family, a haunted, laconic Stanton mysteriously appears in the desert. Reconnecting with his precocious seven-year-old son, he sets out to find his long-gone wife in Texas. The film’s sublime effect lies in how Wenders lets the journey unfurl, unhurriedly and moodily, with his outsider’s camera taking in everything from California suburbia to middle-of-nowhere highways. … Read More

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