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Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2009

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.]

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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

Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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