La Strada : Behind the Scenes

La Strada (1954) by Federico Fellini starring Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina. 
Unknown photographer for the colored photos. Black and White shots are by Federico Patellani :

Italian photographer and painter. He studied law before becoming a painter, and he was associated with various artistic movements in Lombardy, in particular the Chiaristi group, which was close to the avant-garde critic Edoardo Persico. Patellani took up photography in 1935, the same year in which he served in the war in East Africa. His first photographs were published in the Milanese newspaper L’Ambrosiano. In 1939 he became part of the team of photographers on the weekly magazine Tempo, which was inspired by the first great international illustrated magazines, in particular Life. Here, he devised the fototesta, an innovative way of presenting news stories using a large number of photographs with a few brief captions, the story thus being told mainly through images, with the photographer as narrator. This was the first time in Italy that the photographer was considered as an intellectual in his own right and not simply a subordinate craftsman.
I am not the author of these images.

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Federico Fellini and Anthony Quinn on La Strada Fellini and Giulietta Masina on the set of La Strada, 1954 Giuletta Masina on the set of La Strada (1954) LA Strada Strada-é Strada-Federico Pattelani

Tim Roth in 1995, by Alistair Morrison

Long before his TV presence in series such as “Lie To Me”, Tim Roth has starred in several iconic films, such as Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994) and of course James Gray’s Little Odessa (1994). His latest film titled Mobius is directed by Eric Rochant. I’m waiting for the release to check it out and hopefully won’t be disappointed. Either way, I’d like to invite you to look back at Tim Roth back in the 90s through this photo by:

Alistair Morrison

lith print, March 1995
19 7/8 in. x 15 in. (506 mm x 405 mm)

I am not the author of this image. All rights go to Alistair Morrison and NPG.
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NPG x76974; Tim Roth by Alistair Morrison

Let’s Watch: “Antiviral” (2012) or go get your virus du jour !

Obsession with celebrity reaching frightening heights maybe the catalyst of Brandon Cronenberg’s debut film “ANTIVIRAL” (2012) but it it surely is not the focus point.


In a dystopian society, not too futuristic, fans of Hannah Geist (Geist meaning “ghost” in German, played by Sarah Gordon from Cosmopolis & A Dangerous Method ) go to great length to get a taste of their idol, by eating meat allegedly grafted from her and by acquiring her latest disease. Her diseases constitute a “line” sold by The Lucas Company, a corporation specializing in your everyday harmless virus infection such as herpes or the flue.

The film opens up with a shot of Syd March played by Caleb Landry Jones (who also starred in X-Men: First Class) with a thermometer in his mouth. His ethereal and ghostly look are matched by the floating white background that rudely turns out to be a poster of the aforementioned Hannah and the corporation. When Hannah is seriously ill, Syd is sent out to collect a sample of her illness for a future sale. He decides to be the human carrier of the virus in order to transmit it a third party, a pirate making money from illegal sales. Syd’s double agent-like behavior  (think Videodrome) goes wrong and foul play comes into action. Malcolm McDowell plays the doctor who tries to help both patients, himself consumed by celebrity frenzy.


“Antiviral” subverts the depiction of infection by taking what was previously a common experience of an unwilling population and making it an isolated and individual choice. The transmission of such horrid diseases which you might have seen in Romero’s zombie films, started in the 70s with the rise of the AIDS paranoia but now, with Cronenberg it finds a radically different context, that of free will.The result is definitely a non-manicheistic movie with no genuine polar opposites, only a grotesque construction of “derivative products” of celebrities.

The outcome witnessed towards the end of the film, after some loose narration, is the complete reconstitution of a celebrity body through a Frankenstein type of infection making out of this human steak a human being reminiscent of eXistenZ.


There are several aesthetically fascinating aspects to the movie perceived through harmonious repetitions: A machine called “ReadyFace” actually puts a face to the virus it perceives and copyrights it. Just like celebrity portraits, patented viruses are corporate property and have their own special signature. The very images we see once this machine (that works almost like a camera but with a monitor instead of a lens) are truly amazing; distorted faces in an almost Francis Bacon-like manner.  They resonate very well with the rest of the medical imagery dispersed throughout the movie. Close-ups of needles in veins are real and do nothing to spare the viewer the gut-wrenching repetition. Also, “Antiviral” borrows a lot from still life painting and could be winking at Peter Greenaway‘s flowers, vases, tulips through the painting at the office of The Lucas Company’s boss and in the corridor leading to Syd’s apartment which, despite of their beauty, only hit at eventual decay.


The fuzzy story-telling is sustained however by a gorgeous black and white chromatic palette; in Syd’s everyday outfits as well as white cubes, white shirts and posters, all brutally intercepted by red/black stains depicting his physical degradation. These stains are a constant throughout the film, especially with his blood-spitting ordeal under the watchful eye of a camera trying to transmit his suffering to Hannah’s audience (think La Mort en Direct by Bertrand Blier). Syd’s face only changes to express physical pain and so does his posture (like Christian Bale somewhere between Equilibrium and The Machinist) but his motivations remain unclear as to why he’s double-crossing his company. Is it money?

I would not want to compare Antiviral to David Cronenberg’s work anymore than I have done so already. The key is to look at the film as an independent oeuvre and enjoy its aesthetics (thanks to cinematographer Karim Hussein and moral ambiguity. The soundtrack by EC Woodley compliments the visuals but leaves you wanting more. Narration-wise, “Antiviral” is not the most solid movie out there but I am more than confident that Brandon Cronenberg will be delivering works no short of amazing in the near future.


Written by Haneen H aka Kinofrau

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Grace Kelly by Howell Conant, in lovely colors.

Howell T. Conant, Senior (1916–1999) was an American fashion photographer noted for his portraits of the American actress and later Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly. Here are some portraits of her that he shot in 1955.

I am not the author of these images. All rights go to Howell Conant.

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On the set of The Wild Bunch (1969)

In 1969, Sam Peckinpah made The Wild Bunch, a film that would later become one of the best Westerns ever with its technical innovation as well as graphic depiction of violence. Here are some behind the scenes photos of the director and his cast and crew on location in Mexico. I totally love that first photo with William Holden!
I am not the author of these images. Unknown photographer. If you have any information about the photographer, do contact me.
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Thank you forever and ever to Tarun Neo


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Post number 300: Tribute to Terence Stamp !

So this is our 300th post ! And we’d like to take this opportunity to remember Terence Stamp, English actor extraordinaire, star of Teorema by Pasolini (1968), The Collector by Wyler (1965), The Limey by Soderbergh (1999) and of course, Far From the Madding Crowd, the famous Thomas Hardy adaptation by Schlesigner (1967).

Here is a portrait of the gorgeously young Terence by David Bailey, (born 2 January 1938) is regarded as one of the best British photographers, shot in 1965. Check it out!
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david bailey 1965

Sandrine Bonnaire by Robert Doisneau in Paris!

Not an extremely photographed person, French actress Sandrine Bonnaire, star of La Cérémonie by Claude Chabrol (1995), A Nos Amours by Maurice Pialat (1983) and of course Vagabond by Agnes Varda (1985) is hard to find on magazine covers. Digging up portraits of her was not easy, thus making the following portrait by Robert Doisneau even more interesting. Shot in Paris in 1990.
I am not the author of this photo. All rights go to Robert Doisneau.
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SB_Sandrine Bonnaire - Robert Doisneau