Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2009

David Lynch's "Dark Night Of The Soul" at LA's Michael Kohn Gallery

lynch_4.jpgImages that go with Lynch’s suppressed musical collaboration with Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse. Fifty photos on aluminum panels, dimensions not indicated.

Kiarostami: like tears in rain

Abbas-Kiarostami-Rain-001.jpg


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.]

Batman lives, even if she's lost

Boo Boo

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.]

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.”

Indie returns Tuesday

Buzz

What if a house could dream?

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

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.

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.

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…

Movie City Indie

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin