By Other Voices voices@moviecitynews.com

LETTERS FROM LARRY

DEAR DAVID:

In case the readers of these posts think I’m a softie who likes everything he ever sees or who is blowing smoke up the ass of the Sundance programming staff let me clarify:

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PAN ALL THE BAD FILMS

There are plenty of weak or ordinary films here this year as every year at this and every festival for vastly different reasons.

If a film is weak but likely to be popular, there’s no point in attacking it.

If a film is weak and nobody is going to like it, there’s also no point in attacking it. You’re just piling on a dead horse.

There are plenty of pretty good, so-so movies you find yourself kind of liking. But if your honest in describing your reactions and all the flaws you notice, you can’t help sounding like – or being read like – you’re doing a pan. That’s the bad part of the thumbs up or down consumer culture situation we’re in. So I skip those too.

As a reader I never learn from negative reviews except for learning about the kind of thing those reviewers don’t like.

You learn more from a writer whenever they talk about what they like. You learn the most when they talk about what they love. That’s what they’re motivated to search out and see with precision.

Art, in anything from criticism to filmmaking to pingpong is that seeing with precision. Or as I think Ezra Pound said, “Art is attention.”

Larry
Sent from my iPhone

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Larry Gross is a 25 year screenwriting veteran and Winner of Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for his most recent release, We Don’t Live Here Anymore.

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton