Movie City Indie Archive for May, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Apprenticeship: Benh Zeitlin’s First Film, GLORY AT SEA (25’48”)

While the short’s been online for over three years, advancing publicity for the summer release of Beasts of the Southern Wild make Glory At Sea worth a second (or first!) look.  [Via Wholphin.]

A Single-Take Steadicam Shot Behind Scenes Of HUGO

Steadicam by Larry McConkey, who also shot the club sequence in Goodfellas.

Paul Schrader posts on his Bret Easton Ellis project, THE CANYONS

THE CANYONS. “The material is classic BEE. Character driven, dialogue driven, explicit in word if not action. Two visual poles are emerging in the low budget world: on one side, Wong Kar-Wai’s Fallen Angels. On the other Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats. Both styles mix approaches, use hand held, work economically. Both are composed as opposed to faux vérité. You could distinquish them by saying Fallen Angels aspires to the characters’ POV, Heartbeat to the director’s. A third path? Better examples from the microbudget world?”

John DeFazio will be the DP for The Canyons. John and I are now discussing possible approaches. Many things are possible on a microbudget. Some things are not. For example, you have to plug in for power rather than bring a generator. That limits the amount of artifical light you can use. Which means in turn that post-prod color effects may be more practical than onset gels. And so on. “Undoing” is just one style of cinematography we are dicussing. Any thoughts what the “look” of Canyons should be. Hard or soft? Back or front? Hand held or tripod? There are no longer any rules in cinematography, only choices.” (The project has 11 days left in its Kickstarter campaign, but is already 50% over its funding goal.)

 

Clipping MOONRISE KINGDOM: “Were you followed?”

“PRADA Presents A THERAPY” by Roman Polanski 3’31”

Clipping ON THE ROAD: Kirsten Dances; Kristen Drives

 

Lurhmann’s Eckleburg

[Click twice.]

And his “Zeigfeld.”

Holy HOLY MOTORS!! 9 images, video, press kit extracts

  The tweets after the first screening: c’est incroyable!

Epigraph to the press kit: “History adds that before or after dying he found himself in the presence of God and told Him: “I who have been so many men in vain want to be one and myself.” The voice of the Lord answered from a whirlwind: “Neither am I anyone; I have dreamt the world as you dreamt your work, my Shakespeare, and among the forms in my dream are you, who like myself are many and no one.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, “Everything and Nothing”

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Teasing THE MASTER

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Trailering Bond 23: Hello Roger Deakins!

56 Seconds Of THE SOUNDS OF ARONOFSKY

[Kottke.]

Aaron Sorkin’s Syracuse Commencement Speech (16’27”)

“Thank you very much. Madam Chancellor, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty and administration, parents and friends, honored guests and graduates, thank you for inviting me to speak today at this magnificent Commencement ceremony.

There’s a story about a man and a woman who have been married for forty years. One evening at dinner the woman turns to her husband and says, “You know, forty years ago on our wedding day you told me that you loved me and you haven’t said those words since.” They sit in silence for a long moment before the husband says “If I change my mind, I’ll let you know.”

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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