Helsingin Sanomat reports on the ascension of director Aki Kaurismäki to the 8-member Finnish Academy. Reports Esa Mäkinen, “‘The day that I get an invitation to the President’s Palace is when I will immediately commit suicide”, said the young film director Aki Kaurismäki [in 1984]. “I mean that I don’t want to make a contract with society that would lead to me getting invited there.” That kind of a contract is happening on Friday, when President Tarja Halonen appoints Kaurismäki as Academician of Art. “Academician” is an honorary title without pay. It is a recognition from the state that as a film director, Kaurismäki is a genius before his death… During his career of 30 years he has given hundreds of interviews, from the Finnair in-flight magazine to the communist Tiedonantaja. In spite of this, he is seen in people’s minds as someone who avoids publicity. From one year to the next, Kaurismäki is depicted as a heavy smoker, who consumes unusually large amounts of alcohol. Above all he is trying to be the leftist intellectual, who has unusually honest truths to say about what he sees as the inferior people who are in power in Finland. “If you start looking at others from above, then you might as well put a bullet in your skull. In the leading tiers there are only contemptible people”, he said in 1983 in Ylioppilaslehti, the newspaper of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki… “Finns have not thought of anything other than money in the past decade.” … Kaurismäki himself is rich – or at least he could be. The film company Sputnik, which is in his wife’s name, had a bank balance of EUR 1.1 million in 2005. In the same way that doctors and lawyers have recently been taking tax-free income from their companies, Kaurismäki’s production company has paid its owners EUR 90,000 without tax… Kaurismäki also owns all kinds of things: a part of the Corona and Kiasma restaurants, and a house in Karkkila. He spends his winters on a wine estate in Portugal, and has included among his hobbies “collecting old Cadillacs”. He has only one such car… “At a late-night party when everyone else came in through the door, you never knew if Aki would come in through the window”, says his former roommate from the 1970s, Jarmo Lähteenmäki, ex-President of the Paperworkers’ Union….
A few glimpses of the man explaining his work, and several trailers. First, on the virtues of widescreen images. On Jeremiah Johnson. On The Yakuza. On 3 Days Of the Condor.
On Electric Horseman and Absence of Malice. On The Way We Are. Talking to Charlie Rose about Sketches Of Frank Gehry. Talking to Charlie Rose about The Interpreter. On acting and directing in Tootsie.
In Deauville for the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Institute.
Trailer for The Way We Were. Trailer for Tootsie. Trailer for 3 Days Of The Condor.
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An interview. “For me, the beauty [of widescreen composition] comes out of practicality. I’ve spent my life viewing movies that have at their center, a relationship between a man and a woman. Every single movie. And so the heart of the movies are two-shots. And sometimes I like to be quite close. You can’t work in a close, tight two-shot and have any room for where you are or any sets and environment in a less wide frame. You just can’t. You can’t. A tight two-shot in 1.85 can be in limbo. You can just put up a piece of cardboard and shoot the tight two-shot. You might as well. And if you’re using the environment to tell story—if you take a picture like They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? or Jeremiah Johnson or any of these pictures where where the people are is essential, I mean, the studio kept fighting me with They Shoot Horses, saying, “You’re in one set, for godssake! Why are you using widescreen? It’s not the Grand Canyon. It’s the opposite of the Grand Canyon!” But that was precisely the point. I could shoot Michael Sarazin and Jane Fonda dancing or Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia, whoever, the pairs, and still see this sea of people dancing, or the bleachers, and the people staring at them. So there’s more redolence to each frame. It has a different impact. If I cut the edges off of those frames, and you just have those center people, without a context, I don’t think would be nearly as meaningful. I mean, on an absolutely practical, technical level, I can transmit more information per frame than I can with 1.85. I don’t say it’s more beautiful. I adore those old movies that were 1.33. They’re great. It’s not a question of beauty, it’s a question of… of what is the movie? The one movie I wish I’d done it in, this is when I stopped using ‘Scope, which was Out of Africa. Because I got so sick of it being butchered, y’know, DVDs weren’t in then, they were still doing VHS and they were always panning-and-scanning, chopping the edges off. And I just said, I can’t do this any more. More people see it in the aftermarket now, so they remember it that way. I didn’t frame it that way. I’ve had people come up now, who occasionally have seen a screening of Jeremiah Johnson or a screening of They Shoot Horses and it’s a different movie than what they ever saw. It’s a completely different movie.”
Among the many charming bits of Son of Rambow is the use of era-appropriate music: the older kids in the early-1980s-set charmer are all obsessed with “New Romantic” music from bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees. Writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith explain
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Somewhere, William Castle is tingling in his grave. Journalists received a form letter from the prolific German director Dr. Uwe Boll regarding the intentions of his latest movie, Postal, and it’s much like an earlier one back in January for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. From yesterday’s incoming missive, in response to the widespread question of screen count for the release, with Dr. Boll’s prose stylings left as is, with only an intense number of line breaks removed: “To all of you writing now about me and the fact that POSTAL is not getting screens. its okay ..its fun kicking a guy nonstop who is on the ground [break] you are all not getting it that i’m the guy who made it against the big hollywood system and you are all only busy to destroy me and finish me up and then you YOU WON WHAT ? the attention of the studios, michael bay .. ????? if you damage me you feel closer to Hollywood ? what is your game plan? you want only movies like JUMPER , SPEED RACER , WHAT HAPPENDS IN VEGAS …? then keep going and your dreams will be fullfilled. POSTAL makes some very important points ..but you dont wanna see that …. : that Bush used the SEPTEMBER 11 to start a war against a country what had nothing to do with Bin Laden etc…. but this all doesnt matter because you are all busy to THINK that INDIANA JONES or NARNIA are important movies … but in real they are empty shells of an industry what wants to make money and what wants to keep you looking “escape movies” with nothing in it. in between they are putting some CONTROVERSIAL movies to show that they can do also IMPORTANT movies …but also this movies are not really critical….they only supporting the system and not showing the big picture. and POSTAL shows the BIG PICTURE …it nails the absurd situation with all the stupid religions, races and nations we are living in. POSTAL is not accepting bullshit politics. POSTAL has not the opinion that Bush made mistakes – POSTAL has the opinion that it is a scandal that BUSH is not in jail. What happened in America in the last 7 years is the biggest joke since Columbus stepped on that land. but instead of seeing the courage i had in doing that movie against everybody who tried to stop me – you are sitting on your desks and you are working on stories about me ….and my image as the worst director on earth…and you fullfill what your editor wants from you in regards of uwe boll …or you fullfill what you think makes you a cooler guy in the internet …and you are not getting it that you are only interested in movies like IRON MAN or HULK or KUNG FU PANDA or the MUMMY 3 because the studios spending 60 mio. $ in advertising to make you interested in NON INTERESTING movies. how many times you wanna keep going in movies only because the TRAILER was so cool and the CGI was so great ?
thanks for reading this
WIRED had a lovely run-in in August 2007. But here’s the script from January, offering the auteur-istic notion that Boll is nothing if not consistent: “Now a few days before IN THE NAME OF THE KING gets out in USA I have to tell whats going on in the filmindustry. If you dont get out with a MAJOR company the exhibitors and the tv and radio stations are not supporting you. This is the reason that independent movies are like self fullfilling prophecies and they almost bomb all. Our competitor in USA FIRST SUNDAY with Ice Cube is a piece of shit and for NOBODY nearly so interesting as IN THE NAME OF THE KING. We have a better movie and a bigger movie with a better script, better cast and we proved in europe that our movie has the power to stay 3 weeks in the TOP TEN and that we can get at least 50% good reviews. FIRST SUNDAY is a direct to DVD title in europe but in USA Sony puts 40 mill. $ in advertising to win that weekend. And this is completly absurd. Sony will not even recoup the advertising costs with that movie. The MAJORS own the TV Stations and the Radio Stations and they use that for free advertising and so the wide audience believes at one point that FIRST SUNDAY is the movie of that weekend – and they go and buy a ticket. The biggest problems in todays market is that nobody believes anymore in word of mouth or gives a film a chance without seeing upfront all 5 seconds in TV a spot. So to all my fans in America or everybody who like Jason Statham or our other actors or loves fantasy or period piece movies or action movies or videogame based movies: go on january 11 in IN THE NAME OF THE KING and show that its not only advertising.”
Among the joys in this 4:44 clip, Manoj speaks of this “90-minute paranoia movie that you just come out tattooed with this experience, you come out just shaking like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Birds or something.” Didn’t Dr. Uwe Boll just say the same thing about Postal?
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Which is easier, writing or directing a film? Those are two totally different things. Writing is slightly easier because you can do it in bed.
~ Ben Wheatley To The BBC
You can neither make beautiful, great movies without risk as you can make babies without sex. Risk is part of the artistic process. That’s why I like performance, because performance is walking a high wire.
~ Francis Coppola