Old MCN Blogs
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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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch