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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Screening Gotham: March 10-12, 2006


A few of this weekend’s worthwhile cinematic happenings around New York:
–Just as the ethos and logistics of horror filmmaking are famously friendly to independent filmmakers, the war genre is often perceived as the domain of explosives, costumes and other big-budget accessories out of indies’ reach. But Brooklyn filmmaker Ari Taub spent the last decade proving that perception wrong with The Fallen, opening this weekend at the Pioneer Theater. A meditative glimpse at World War II as seen through the eyes of American, German and Italian troops on the European front, The Fallen expertly navigates the war’s moral crises without stretching its no-budget premise beyond credulity or craft. Rather, Taub invests everything he has in story, and the labor of love pays off dramatically. In other words: Don’t expect Saving Private Ryan, but maybe something even better.
–The New York Underground Film Festival continues at Antholgy Film Archives this weekend with programs all day Saturday and Sunday. Chiefly interesting among these is Google Me This, featuring a couple dozen underground filmmakers and visual artists scavenging Google Video for the most bizarre, dismaying and generally obscure movies on the Web. Also of interest: the shorts program Happy Together, which includes NYC filmmaker Shiri Bar-On’s Making Me Happy and a somehow-enthralling documentary about a Swedish tax worker. On a weekend where filmgoing alternatives include Failure to Launch and The Shaggy Dog, trust me: Paying Tax is Sexy really is sexy.
–Check it out: Lionsgate rereleased Crash! And hey! Look over there! A swarm of locusts!

3 Responses to “Screening Gotham: March 10-12, 2006”

  1. Dave Bourla says:

    It’s truly amazing that a lame film like this with no plot gets this much attention.

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“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

“I was having issues with my script for It’s All About Love, so I called Ingmar Bergman and we ended up talking about everything but the script. He said, “Well, Festen is a masterpiece, so what are you going to do now?” At that point, I had not decided if I was going to make It’s All About Love, so I answered, “Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe this, maybe that.” There was just a long pause, and then he said, “You’re fucked.” I said, “Well, how can you know?” “Well, Thomas, you always have to decide your next movie before the movie you’re doing presently opens.” And I said, “Why is that?” “Well, two things can happen. One thing is that you fail, and then you’ll feel scared and humiliated. It’ll get into your head. Second, and even worse, you have success, and then you’ll want more of it, or you’ll want to maintain it. But if you decide on your next film while you’re in the middle of editing, it becomes a very nonchalant choice. And then it’s shorter from the heart to the hand.”
~ Thomas Vinterberg

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