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Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2009

Kiarostami: like tears in rain

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Abbas Kiarostami reflects on rain and the digital image. “The idea for this series of “rain” pictures is one I had a long time ago. I had spent years looking through my car windscreen, admiring the rural landscape, admiring the raindrops and the effect of light on them. I tried taking photographs through the windscreen, but at that time I was using film, and I could hardly ever get the right light effect to make the pictures work.
It was only when digital cameras arrived that I thought: now I can go back to this idea. I could work with very little light, and while I was driving. I drove with one hand on the wheel, and used my other hand to take pictures. But maybe I shouldn’t say that—I wouldn’t want to promote bad driving. I’ve often noticed that we are not able to look at what we have in front of us, unless it’s inside a frame. So I took my car windscreen as a frame, and I turned off the windscreen wipers so as not to wipe off the rain—I wanted the raindrops to remain on the glass. Everything we can see in the photographs—the yellow-brown, the green, the black—we owe to the light. It’s the reflection of the light on the raindrops that gives the pictures these subtleties and nuances.” {More from the Guardian at the link.]

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Batman lives, even if she's lost

Boo Boo

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Selling Mumblecore on Brit TV



But you can hear what they’re saying in this promo! Seriously, wasn’t that word stillborn? A season of movies on Film Four in the UK, which explicates here. [Via Karina Longworth.]

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When Macaulay Culkin met Harmony Korine…



Just because the music in the cafe is too loud and not as good as this: Sonic Youth’s “Sunday.”

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Indie returns Tuesday

Buzz

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The English Surgeon in NYC

GEOFFREY SMITH’S THRILLING, TONIC THE ENGLISH SURGEON [****] follows Henry Marsh, a doctor with a decade-plus humanitarian history of visiting Ukraine for several days at a time to perform brain surgery with whatever means at hand. Marsh, with large owlish glasses and a stubborn steady stare, remains cool-tempered and inventive in every circumstance, a wizard, like Harry Potter grown wise and gray. (A scene in which he discusses a fatal diagnosis in front of a patient who knows no English is simple, direct and stunning.)The_English_Surgeon_transp.JPG
Beautifully structured and edited, with an effective, understated score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, this tremendously moving film’s extremes include a surgery that has to take place while the patient’s awake, a horrifying and horrifyingly funny sequence that we see from the perspective of both patient and doctor. Marsh is steely when reflective: “When push comes to shove, we can afford to lose an arm or a leg, but I am operating on people’s thoughts and feelings. And if something goes wrong I can destroy that person’s character… forever.”
“The film is really about one man’s struggle to do good things in a flawed and selfish world. It’s a moral fable, right?” Smith said to me when we talked after its premiere at Hot Docs 2008 in Toronto. With figures that range from generous neighbors, to church folk who raise money to get a stricken woman to Kiev for treatment, says Smith, “right through to Henry Marsh, who’s coming from another country to try to save lives. That whole web of connection [works] at all levels. And I simply want people to see it for what it is, a series of links, a series of kindhearted people who are doing [good] for no particular reason other than the humanity. It’s so clichéd to speak like that. It’s so cliché to end a film with the words ‘What are we if we don’t help others? We’re nothing, nothing at all.’ If you hadn’t been on the journey to that point, you could write it off as being sentimental. But actually, there’s not a trace of sentimentality in there. Because it never lets you up, [my film] never indulges in sentiment. You go from one good thing, to humor, then straight back to absolute tragedy. Whenever we get too comfortable, [things] come crashing back down again. There’s the grandmother who loses her granddaughter, there’s the little girl who’s blind, and of course, there’s the girl at the end who’s 23, who’s going to be dead in two years time. [The film] is simply a reflection of the world out there. That was my only model, a mix of farce and humor and tragedy and then start up again. Hope mingling all the way through. That’s what was important to hold onto, because I knew that was real.”

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"Vampires are cuter than I thought": a clip from Park Chan-wook's Thirst



Opens July 31 in NY, LA and San Francisco.

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Trailering the Branchage Jersey International: A Cutting Hedge Film Festival

Branchage Jersey International Film Festival 2009 .

There’s a whole story about this not-that-remote event here.

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Lessons in youth interviewing, Japanese style


She likes Daniel, she really does.. Below, the 11-year-old Japanese fangirl asks to sniff Rupert Grint. [Via JapanProbe.]

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OnePiece: do Charlyne Yi and Jake Johnson believe in love now



After talking Paper Heart for half-an-hour, I only had this fallback question left: is there anything you’re surprised people haven’t asked you since Sundance? Johnson has his own question to prompt a question. The film opens August 7 in NYC and LA, goes wider August 14. [The trailer’s after the jump..]

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Cronkite's coverage of Moon landing, July 20, 1969



Forty years ago come Monday…

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Movie City Indie

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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