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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

In the mudroom: Todd Field on Little Children

There’s more than enough misunderstanding to go around ine arly reviews of Todd Field‘s ambitious second feature, Little Children. The writer-director articulates to Filmmaker’s Scott Macaulay, but does not explain: “It’s the basic rule of illusion. It’s like in the magicians’ union: If you sign into the Society of lc_crossing235.jpgAmerican Magicians or the International Brotherhood of Magicians, there are two rules. You work on something, and when you finally show it, you don’t do it again right away. And the second [rule] is that you don’t explain it. It’s the same thing with storytelling… Why would you go to all that trouble to do something that hopefully people are going to engage in enough to have a conversation about, and then get up and say, “What I really meant was…” Or, “Oh, and by the way, the characters you’ve been caught up in for two hours, they’re really actors, and here they are! … That’s why cinema is great. It’s a very democratic process, and it’s open to everyone. Why do we sit and watch Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s films that have no reflection of our culture at all? We’re not from Istanbul, yet we’re so profoundly moved. That’s why film, I think, is the closest form of expression to music. It doesn’t require that someone [be of] a particular background or gender or race or age.” Of adapting Tom Perotta’s novel, Field says, “What interested me about the book were its characters, its themes and, almost in an allegorical way, its sense of paranoia [and how that connected with] the state our country is in right now. Probably the only thing that made me take pause was the fact that it was set in this bedroom community and that it might be accused of being a send-up of suburbia, because I don’t believe that that’s what the story is. I think that would be a lazy way to perceive it.” [More at the link.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch