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Movie City Indie Archive for September, 2009

Indie returns this weekend

Big band
Apparat Organ Quartet


The second photo is Apparat Organ Quartet.

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Cloudy, sunny Reykjavik

Skólabrú 2
President's yard
View from Alvar Aalto's Nordic House
Reykjavik pond feeding time
And some of the films are extremely dour as well. I look forward to how Antichrist will play in its Icelandic premiere at the sixth Reykjavik International Film Festival.

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The President of Iceland has a point to make to Milos Forman

President of Iceland makes point to Milos Forman


Or, “Tickle Me Milos.” [Photo by Ray Pride.]

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Indie is heading to a festival

Contrails
Flight path
Planely


Photos and ruminations to come over the weekend…

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[PR]: QT flies El Al

QT on El Al.png
From over the transom, a couple of thumbnails of Quentin Tarantino before flying to the Israel premiere of Inglourious Basterds via El Al. Shown with Lawrence Bender, Producer; Pilar Savone, Assistant Producer. Thumbnail credit: Shimon Golding.

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Can't take my eyes off of you…


If you don’t know about Scopitones… this is a strange place to start.

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Toronto, 11 September 2001

After being awakened on September 11, 2001, I wrote this: “Pure joy, pure bliss: I saw a movie called Amelie on Monday night that seemed to have made my movie year. Little tears sting my eyes throughout. I join friends from New York at a party for a film set in Los Angeles. We talk about what we have seen. I think of questions to ask the director of Amelie today. I sleep on it. I wake a little after 10 on Tuesday to the words of my roommate at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’m supposed to interview David Lynch in a couple of hours, talk about the psycho-mayhem of Mulholland Drive, a movie of glittering absurdity. But CNN is on in the living room. My colleague, S., and I watch the footage from New York. We’re kibitzing in a void, not really listening to each other, just commenting and theorizing so gravity does not pin us to the ground. Toronto local lines work, I can get on-line. Cell phone, forget about it. I have to assume my friends are fine. None of them live or work near the World Trade Center. S. and I watch the footage, ash-covered emergency vehicles slaloming between pedestrians, spilled into the street, faces mostly blank, some bloodied, all urgently getting away: from danger, from cameras, from mad fact.” [The rest at the link.]

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Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs.



Tom Junod’s “Falling Man,” from Esquire: “Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs. The Falling Man in Richard Drew’s picture fell in the manner suggested by the photograph for only a fraction of a second, and then kept falling. The photograph functioned as a study of doomed verticality, a fantasia of straight lines, with a human being slivered at the center, like a spike. In truth, however, the Falling Man fell with neither the precision of an arrow nor the grace of an Olympic diver. He fell like everyone else, like all the other jumpers — trying to hold on to the life he was leaving, which is to say that he fell desperately, inelegantly. In Drew’s famous photograph, his humanity is in accord with the lines of the buildings. In the rest of the sequence — the eleven outtakes — his humanity stands apart. He is not augmented by aesthetics; he is merely human, and his humanity, startled and in some cases horizontal, obliterates everything else in the frame.”

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Buy Ingmar Bergman's stuff

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The auction site, with over 300 items from cameras to projects to writing desks to easy chairs is here. The looking glass… There’s something to have.

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Forty-seven seconds of Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers



Whoa. Did Korine really shoot this on VHS? From producer agnes b.’s YouTube page: “A film unearthed from the buried landscape of the American nightmare, Trash Humpers follows a small group of elderly Peeping Toms through the shadows and margins of an unfamiliar world. Crudely documented by the participants themselves, we follow the debased and shocking actions of a group of true sociopaths the likes of which have never been seen before. Inhabiting a world of broken dreams and beyond the limits of morality they crash against a torn and frayed America. Bordering on an ode to vandalism,it is a new type of horror; palpable and raw.”

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Previewing Guy Maddin's Night Mayor of Winnipeg

Two minutes of a short debuting at TIFF ’09.

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The first impulse of any good film critic must be of love.

The cinema/love love/love letter the late Alexis Tioseco wrote to his partner Nika Bohinc in 2008 is quietly impassioned. The original website is down today; these excerpts from the first of three pages come from the Google cache for “The Letter I Would Love To Read To You In Person.” “My Dear Nika, I’ve been asked to write a column for this issue of Rogue, and the topic given to me was myself. I’ve always felt it awkward to write in public spaces about personal motivations behind the work I choose to do, so I have decided to use you as an excuse: there are things that you must know, that you may sense but not understand unless I tell you, and so I shall use this opportunity to put them on paper. Besides, how could I say no to this offer when just the other day you recalled how an essay that was written by the solicitor of this column—in a previous incarnation of this magazine—played a central role in our being together? One must pay back one’s debts…
When we met in Rotterdam last January there was something about you that struck me immediately. It was not your beauty, or rather, not just your beauty, but your manner of speaking: which now sixteen months later still demands so much of me. There is a precious intensity in your gestures, the way in which your eyes dart and hands reach out to grab the right word, that illustrates how strong a desire you have to communicate, especially when the conversation turns toward the things that matter to you—the integrity of your work, the importance of nature, the concern for your brother. (I know what you’re thinking—shut up! I’m not a native speaker!—but this isn’t a question of familiarity with language.) …
I wasn’t in a very good place the months before we met, reckless and hurried in my interactions with new acquaintances, but in Rotterdam it was hard not to fight for clarity and calm when the person before you, beleaguered and weary as they were, would still refuse to let their words slip carelessly… I know sometimes you may think that it was the fact that we worked in the same field that attracted me to you, but I must tell you that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Why? Because one of the greatest joys I believe one can feel is to share that which they find beautiful with someone who otherwise wouldn’t have noticed it, and to see it appreciated. This is the main reason why I love teaching and why I refuse to show Lord of the Rings to my students (no matter how fervently my co-teachers insist). It is also the evidence that cinema isn’t what brings us nearer to each other: because in this regard, we are on equal footing, and I must instead find other things in me to share with you. For anyone who knows me, they know how difficult that is… Does a place mean more than a person? Does my work in the Philippines mean more than the possibility of a life with you, somewhere, anywhere else? …
“I never wanted to be a film critic. To this day I abhor using the term for myself, but I’ve begun to do so regularly, just because it makes life easier. Many filmmakers, especially filmmakers in the Philippines, have a problem with the word critic. We have little to no culture of healthy polemics in the country, as any attempt to consider fault is taken as a personal attack. Rare are those that are able to deal with it properly. One particular filmmaker took objection to the idea of a publication that I was to edit using the title “Criticine”: he had a problem with the word critic being included. A nasty term, I suppose he thought. The first impulse of any good film critic, and to this I think you would agree, must be of love. To be moved enough to want to share their affection for a particular work or to relate their experience so that others may be curious. This is why criticism, teaching, and curating or programming, in an ideal sense, must all go hand in hand.” There’s more at the cache link; the original link is here. Here’s Tioseco’s blog: final entry August 29. Another friend, Francis Cruz, remembers his Alexis.

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Wenders shooting Calabria in 3-D

With his Pina Bausch documentary on hold, Wim Wenders is shooting the first 3-D movie starring Ben Gazzara. While unlikely to reach as many moviegoers as the first 3-D movie starring Ed Asner, ANSA reports the new film starts today in the southern Italian region of Calabria on Monday. It “explores the interaction wwfullheadofhair.jpgbetween immigrants and locals in the area around the coastal town of Badolato. ”People often talk of a global village and I believe the Calabrian town of Badolato is the perfect metaphor for this idea,” said Wenders at a press conference marking the start of filming. ”I have been given a great opportunity here in Calabria. We are telling a story that is not only important at a European and global level but could also educate people on the experiences undergone by migrants.’ The film is to star 78-year-old American actor Ben Gazzara as a town mayor where a local child, who will be cast in Calabria, is struggling to organize a soccer match… Wenders said he felt cinema had an important role to play in shifting the portrayal of refugee and migrant issues away from the political arena and into everyday life. He said the decision to shoot in 3D was part of his efforts to bring ”real life” to the big screen, allowing viewers ”to see reality as it really is,” he said. His interest in conveying reality reflects a broader trend within cinema at the moment, he added ”I think a new cinematic realism is taking hold as the public has had it up to here of films that have nothing to do with everyday life,” he said. ”Over its 120-year history, filmmaking has followed different trends – for example, the periods of realism and neo-realism in Italy. Realism fell out of fashion in the 1990s but is now returning, which I am very happy about.”

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For Alexis, by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

For Alexis from Kick the Machine on Vimeo.


A short film for critic Alexis Tioseco.

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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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