UserpicFaces of Evil: Aleksandr Sokurov Discusses “Fairytale”
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Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Churchill meet in a purgatorial netherworld through deepfake animation in the Russian director's new film.

Fairytale, director Aleksandr Sokurov’s first film in seven years, arrived at its world premiere at last year’s Locarno Film Festival with little advance notice. A fanciful title and a cryptic artist’s statement was all most viewers had to go on when encountering what is, as I wrote in my festival report, arguably “the Russian master’s most left-field offering yet: a speculative fiction made with deepfake technology that imagines an encounter between Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and Winston Churchill.”

Composed almost entirely of lightly animated archival footage, Fairytale plays like a belated companion piece to Sokurov’s series of biographical and mythological portrait films (collectively known as the “Tetralogy of Power”) that explore the psychological nuances of tyranny. But whereas those films centered on single subjects (Hitler, Lenin, Hirohito, and Faust), the director’s latest brings together four figures—plus Jesus and Napoleon Bonaparte—that altered the course of world history. Set in a monochrome netherworld, with subtly shifting backdrops fashioned from a variety of 20th-century paintings, sketches, and still photographs, the film unfolds in extended dialogue passages that find these men exchanging insults and morbid barbs (“Stalin smells of sheep,” goes one of Hitler’s characteristic jabs) as their surroundings crumble from on high and the souls of their victims cry out from beyond the grave. In a perverse bait-and-switch, Sokurov forgoes any sort of dramatic historical appraisal, opting instead to stage a kind of comedic burlesque in which three of the world’s most notorious dictators are reduced to disparaging each other’s body odor, while one comparatively well-respected statesman—seen in a near-constant state of worry over his next call to the Queen—assumes the role of eternal simp. A history film unlike any other, it’s proof that while Sokoruv’s productivity may be slowing, he is in no way resting on his laurels.

Read more on  Notebook Interview

Fairytale is released in  the United States, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands by Juno Films.

UserpicLa Haine
Posted by Myfilmblog

4K Restoration of 1995 film. 24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

UserpicAtomic: Living in Dread and Promise
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Juno Films acquires Mark Cousins’ bold new documentary looks at death in the atomic age, and life too.

UserpicBarbara Rubin and The Exploding New York Underground
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Barbara Rubin and Bob Dylan

Chuck Smith's "Barbara Rubin and The Exploding New York Underground" will open in New York at IFC on May 24th and in Los Angeles at Laemmle on June 12th. 

The NY Times Critic's Pick

UserpicShiraz: A Romance of India NYC Open at Metrograph
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An astonishing treasure of the silent cinema, Shiraz: A Romance of India is one of three cinematic collaborations between pioneering star/producer Himansu Rai and German-born director Franz Osten to be shot on location in India, restored by the BFI from original elements some ninety years after its initial release. Featuring a new, specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-nominated Anoushka Shankar.

A Juno Films release of a BFI National Archive Restoration.