The National Film Registry: 25 Titles for 2016

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    The annual addition of 25 movies to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress may not be anticipated with the same excitement that surrounds the Oscar nominations, but the selection represents a yearlong dialogue among filmmakers, historians, archivists, critics and other film lovers who treasure cinema history and its preservation.

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    12/19/2016

    Abbas Kiarostami: The Roads Taken

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    This year has seen the passing of three of cinema’s greatest contemporary artists: Jacques Rivette, Andrzej Wajda and Abbas Kiarostami. Though he is not well known in the West, Kiarostami occupied a spot in Iranian art and society as significant as Rivette and Wajda’s in their respective countries. But Kiarostami was not only a filmmaker; he was also and foremost an artist in every way you can define that term.

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    12/5/2016

    The Lifelong Sigh of Don Luis Buñuel

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    From age 8 to 15, Luis Buñuel studied at a local Jesuit school that was ruled with iron discipline. It is perhaps little wonder that his mature life and work were informed by a fierce anti-clerical aesthetic and a resistance to institutional authority. In an irony totally in harmony with the director’s ethos, his movies are, nevertheless, suffused with themes of sin and forgiveness, and present sexual obsession and perversion alongside self-flagellating chastity.

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    11/21/2016

    The Archers: A Very British Affair

    NPG x87556; Emeric Pressburger; Michael Powell by Cornel Lucas

    It was on Alexander Korda’s The Spy in Black that Michael Powell met Emeric Pressburger. They soon formed The Archers and, beginning with 1942’s One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, made more than one dozen feature films, sharing credit on all of them. Their final collaboration was Night Ambush (1957), a swan song in black-and-white from a team that had elevated color in film to expressionistic — even surrealistic —  heights.

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    Technicolor at 100: No Film, All Digital

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    During Technicolor’s hegemony as the go-to process for accurate color in the movies, more than 500 films were photographed in the 3-strip “Color by Technicolor” process, including many of the greatest triumphs of cinematographers such as Jack Cardiff, Leon Shamroy, Oswald Morris, Harold Rosson and George Folsey. Now a foreign-owned digital business, the company finds itself basking in a purely nostalgic centennial.

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    The Joy of Filmmaking

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    A few weeks ago, a friend in academia asked me for my thoughts on shooting with film cameras rather than on digital video — not to rank one technology over the other, but simply to compare the aesthetic experience of working with each one. Is using film and film cameras onerous work that distracts from the filmmakers’ creative vision because of the format’s inherent limitations? Or does working with the more-than-century-old technology offer unique experiences that are lost in the digital universe?

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