Sunday, June 29, 2008

Soundtrack Playlist Added

I have added a LastFM playlist just to the right for visitors here. It contains several complete Nastassja Soundtracks (Stay as you are, Tess, Cat People, Paris Texas, The Claim) as well as tracks from Faraway so Close, Spring Symphony, One Night Stand and more. I will be adding more as I find them at LastFm and I hope they prove enjoyable to listen to while reading through the posts. Enjoy and let me know of any that I might have missed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Screenshot of the Day: To The Devil A Daughter (1976)

A new series at Nostalgia Kinky created to present exclusive images from all of her films.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Soundtrack: The Blonde (Jurgen Kneiper)

Nastassja Kinski
The Blonde, one of the best films Nastassja made in the nineties, features one of the most compelling scores to grace one of her works from the second half of her career. Scored by sometimes Wim Wenders collaborator Jurgen Kneiper, the music for The Blonde is well worth searching out and compliments this undervalued little film incredibly well.
Born in war torn Germany in 1941, award winning composer Jurgen Kneiper came into a very fractured world and his remarkable music, even at its most life affirming, always has at least a hint of melancholic damage about it.
Most often associated with Wem Wenders (he indeed scored Nastassja's debut film The Wrong Move), Kneiper has also contributed scores for many other top filmmakers including Uli Edel (the astounding Christiane F.) and Walter Salles (Exposure). Kneiper's music always brings an extra dimension to the films his work graces and it is impossible to imagine them without his resonate melodies.
It is indeed the Wenders' films he is most known for and the best of his many scores for the legendary German director (The American Friend, Wings of Desire) rank along with the scores Popol Vuh delivered for Werner Herzog as the best in modern German cinema. They are astoundingly soulful works and while The Blonde doesn't contain any of the greatest pieces of Kneiper's compositions it is still a valuable addition to an iconic canon and should be more readily available.
The award winning Kneiper continues to score to this day and he remains one of the most important modern film composers in German cinema. The 28 minute The Blonde soundtrack was released on CD in Europe but is not easy to track down. More information on Kneiper can be found here.

The Insulted and the Injured

The Russian shot The Insulted and The Injured is one of the only productions starring Nastassja that I have not been fortunate enough to see so I can only offer these promotional materials for now. I will offer up a full report on this award winning film and its players in the future when I am able to secure a copy.

Night Sun Screencaps

From a British VHS copy...excuse the poor quality.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shooting Kinski: Giuseppe Lanci

Despite the problems I have with the film, Night Sun is an extraordinary looking production thanks to the vivid photography of Giuseppe Lanci.
Revered cinematographer Lanci was born in Rome during World War Two and broke into the Italian film industry in the mid sixties as a camera operator. One of his earliest collaborators was controversial director Marco Bellochio on productions like Fist in the Pocket (1965) and China is Near (1967). Lanci's work in this period under directors like Bellochio (as well as Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento) would inform the rest of his distinguished career.
He photographed his first film in 1977 and quickly became one of the most respected cinematographers in the Italian film Industry of the early eighties. He would continue working with Bellochio on films like The Eyes, The Mouth (1981) in his new role and would reach near legendary status in 1983 when he shot Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia.
His work on Night Sun fits the film perfectly and makes it seem a much richer and finer production than it actually is. Working with some of modern cinema's most iconic and striking faces (including both Kinski and Charlotte Gainsbourg), Lanci's work on Night Sun is quite lovely although it would be ignored by the Italian film establishment come award season.
Since Night Sun, Lanci has continued working steadily in Europe in a large number of genres for a wide variety of filmmakers. While Lanci has since photographed some of the most beautiful women in modern film (including Asia Argento) Night Sun would unfortunately be the only time he would ever get the opportunity to work with Nastassja Kinski.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Possible Photobucket Problem

Greetings all,
My apologies if you are having trouble viewing any of the images here right now. It looks like Photobucket has come under something called a 'DNS Hack', so certain computers are unable to see Photobucket images or get to their sight (my home computer included). Other computers can access both with no problem (like my work computer). Hopefully this problem will be fixed soon and I apologize for those who can't see the images here right now.
I am looking into other photo storing options besides Photobucket so hopefully this won't happen again in the future.
Any comments on whether you can see the images here or not (and any suggestions) are appreciated. Thanks for your patience...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Critical Reactions: Night Sun

"Il Sole Anche di Notte (Night Sun) is a beautiful recreation of Leo Tolstoy's novel Father Sergius. The film is directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani and follows a typical for the brothers manner--the pacing is rather slow necessitating utter concentration by the viewer. However, as much as Il Sole Anche di Notte is a story of a man with a broken heart looking for solitude it is also a beautiful tale about fate and man's power to endure life...I think that Il Sole Anche di Notte will be difficult for many to embrace. This is a slow film that really takes its time to develop into an engaging story. The beautiful cinematography however makes it a worthwhile experience that is rewarding to say the least. The masterful camera of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani has captured the struggle of a man trying to rediscover his passion for life unlike many we have seen on the big screen. I suppose however that this would be what many would perceive as a disadvantage as the film really requires certain familiarity with Leo Tolstoy's work to fully appreciate it..."
-Sven Atanasov, DVDTalk-

"Tolstoy's Father Sergius, transferred to Italy, stars Sands as the nobleman who abandons an arranged marriage at the last minute when it transpires that his bride-to-be has betrayed him. He spends the ensuing years wandering the country as a revered religious hermit, trying not to give in to the sexual temptations that come his way. The setting is lovely, but there's very little let-up in the depressing action (this is, after all, a Tolstoy adaptation). The scene where Sands chops off a finger in order to prevent himself bedding a notorious clergy-shagger is sickening."
-Channel 4-

"This is the film Martin Scorsese might have made with his equally intense The Last Temptation of Christ, but then he wasn't born in the land of Leonardo and Fra Angelico."
—Peter Aspden, Sight and Sound-

"In their adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's short novel "Father Sergius," Italy's revered directorial team the Taviani Brothers use an expansive canvas to frame the intimate story of one man's spiritual journal. The robust score playing over the opening credits seems to be heralding an epic costume drama; the first shots set in expansive royal palaces appear to be setting the scene for an extravagant period piece. But in the end, Night Sun ends up being neither of these things...For all of its sumptuous costumes and settings worthy of immortalization by the Renaissance Masters, Night Sun remains first and foremost a depiction of an intense spiritual journey, and one man's quest to achieve some kind of worthiness from sources outside of himself. The film begins as the story of a young man who seeks to solidify his identity through his service to his king, and ends up the story of a man who finally discovers his identity by finding a way to serve the deity he comes to believe is the King of Heaven...Unfortunately, Sands isn't always up to carrying the weight of this epic struggle, even when it is projected on such an intimate level. His performance is muted and appropriately sensitive, but at times the film, as delicate as it is, seems to overwhelm him. The females in the film, played by Kinski, Patricia Millardet and the young Charlotte Gainsbourg (My Wife Is An Actress), on the other hand, not only look stunning and sensual in period costume, but are brimming with life and the possibility of sex. It is disappointing then that they seem to serve the same function as the luscious cinematography: to evoke a world and a lifestyle now long past... it is a lovely, haunting little film in its own right, which is something that ultimately can't be ignored."
-Jesse Ataide, DVD Verdict-

"In their characteristically sensitive, imaginative adaptation of Tolstoy's Father Sergius, the Tavianis again address philosophical and political questions (the value and perils of retreat, the place of pride in idealism) in a simple, lucid style that lends the story the magical power of myth. Though Giuseppe Lanci's camerawork is consistently elegant, the way the Tavianis pare down composition, dialogue, narrative and performance to essentials ensures a clarity of purpose and effect rarely encountered in contemporary cinema."
-Time Out-

"The rapturous visual style of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani is brought to bear, in the brothers' new ''Night Sun,'' upon an extremely unlikely subject. It is ''Father Sergius,'' Tolstoy's posthumously published story of a handsome, tormented aristocrat driven to seek spiritual fulfillment through perfect self-denial...the sheer voluptuousness of ''Night Sun,'' a film as gorgeous as a work of coffee-table art, is the embodiment of everything Tolstoy's self-punishing hero is determined to reject...the early part of ''Night Sun'' is as lavishly ornate as it is exquisite. There is a good deal of meaningless extravagance...''Night Sun'' moves slowly and ponderously through the stages of this tale. It seems most turgid and tongue-tied in trying to explicate Tolstoy's final vision of Father Sergius as a man who finds salvation only through his own failure. The film visually undermines such thoughts of humility, just as it verbally fails to articulate them. The characters explain themselves so flatly and deliberately that they seem less simple than slow-witted...
In the central role, Mr. Sands sometimes conveys appropriate anguish -not hard in playing a character who attacks his spiritual failings with an ax - but mostly just projects a dull nobility. Few of the other actors are given even this much opportunity to shine, since they are more often used as mannequins or figures in a landscape than as fully imagined characters."
-Janet Maslin, The New York Times-

Soundtrack: Night Sun by Nicola Piovani

The admittedly uneven Night Sun does at least contain a winning soundtrack courtesy of one of the most legendary of all Italian Film Composers, Nicola Piovani. Nicola's score for Night Sun doesn't rank among his best but it is still a worthwhile addition to his canon and copies of the import soundtrack are well worth searching down for fans of the composer's and Nastassja.
Born in the summer of 1946 in Rome, Piovani became interested in music at a very young age and by the time he reached his late teens he was studying at the distinguished Verdi Conservatory in Milan. After graduating from there, Piovani began shopping around compositions that already showed him as a supremely talented and gifted individual.
His first film, 1970's The Tin Girl, came less than three years after he graduated from the Verdi Conservatory. He would fairly quickly become one of the most in demand film composers in Italy, although ridiculous rumors surrounded him for years that he was actually Ennio Morricone using a pseudonym.
Piovani scored film after film throughout the seventies and eighties, with some of his greatest work coming in the thriller genre with the likes of A Perfume of a Lady In Black and Le Orme contain some of his key work. He also worked with some of Italy's most respected auteur's, including Marco Bellochio and Federico Fellini, and it would indeed be his work Fellini, for Ginger and Fred, that would garner him the first of his many Italian Academy Awards and would signal him as an art house favorite.
Piovani had previously worked with the Taviani Brothers before Night Sun on their well received The Night Of The Shooting Stars. He also scored their films Kaos, Good Morning Babylon, and Fiorile which marked him as the composer the controversial filmmaking team he has worked with the most.
Night Sun is a powerful and quite lovely score although it isn't the equal to Piovani's work The Night of The Shooting Stars. It does at least elevate a film that falls fall short of The Taviani's best work and it remains one of the most noteworthy aspects of it.
Piovani finally won an Oscar in 1997 for Life Is Beautiful and he continues to score to this day. With already an impressive hundred plus scores under his belt, the remarkable Nicola Piovani remains one of the most important figures in Italian cinema. His official site can be visited here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Amazon Link Added

I have created a handy Amazon Store link over to the right with all of Nastassja's films on DVD. Just click on it to visit the store I have set up to see what is currently available and let me know if I missed any.