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.
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.]
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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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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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.
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 between 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.”
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
“Probably the most heralded movie I’ve ever been in was Forrest Gump. While I was sitting on the park bench, I asked Bob, ‘Is anyone going to care about this guy?’ He said, ‘I don’t know Tom. It’s a mine field. It’s a fucking mine field.’ So when it works, you just say, ‘We dodged all the mines.'”
~ Tom Hanks