Daily Archives: January 19, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Film Critics

Spirit of the Beehive

What happens when film critics critique film critics? You get a double-blind study! At least that’s what TIFF is treating us to this week with “Fifty Years of Discovery: Cannes Critics Week,” a film series celebrating the golden anniversary of that venerable sidebar to Cannes known as International Critics Week.

Find out all about the series and the answer to one of life’s burning questions (namely, “Critics, what are they good for?”) in my piece about the TIFF series at Toronto Film Scene:

Critics Vet the Critics in TIFF’s “Fifty Years of Discovery: Cannes Critics Week”

This week, TIFF Cinematheque is going meta with a screening series that celebrates the golden anniversary of another film festival, which is itself a sidebar to another pretty well known film festival (hint: it starts with a “C”). In the series Fifty Years of Discovery: Cannes Critics Week, TIFF has invited eight local film critics, or “opinion-makers” if you please, to choose favourites from the films discovered, showcased, and generally boosted by Critics Week, the now fifty-year-old sidebar to the Cannes International Film Festival. CLICK HERE TO READ ON.


Natacha Rambova, or Mrs. Rudolph Valentino

rudolph valentino-natacha rambova

Do you wish your name was Natacha Rambova? Good news… it can be yours. Ms. Rambova hasn’t used it since 1966 and it wasn’t hers to start with. Born Winifred Shaughnessy in Utah, she was kind of half Irish Catholic with a dash or Mormon, despite her exotic sounding name.

Natacha Rambova isn’t exactly a household name these days, but she was an intriguing silent era figure. She did some costume designing, set designing, artistic directing, screenwriting, producing, and a wee bit of acting. She is probably best well know for being married to Rudolph Valentino. She even took a bit of public heat for Valentino’s failings, kind of like 1925’s answer to Yoko Ono. And once she ditched the movie biz, she added fashion designer and Egyptologist (of things) to her CV.

Why am I talking about Natacha Rambova? Because today is her birthday, silly! And because Natacha Rambova is interesting… the kind of lady who makes the whole silent era of filmmaking interesting to us. Really, go check out some of her biography which includes not only Egyptology and couture, but things like spiritualism and controversies over photos of Valentino dressed as a faun-like god. Ms. Rambova is like a flapper poster child, and for that I salute her!

Find out more about Natacha Rambova:


And here’ s a slightly creepy slideshow from YouTube:

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