Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2016

Pride, Unprejudiced: Almost There

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I’ve seen Almost There, Aaron Wickenden and Dan Rybicky’s splendid, elusive minor miracle of northwest Indiana nonfiction a few times in the past year or so, and I’m still not sure why it carries so much power. That it’s specific yet elusive, its dense range of fear and hope? There’s much to consider about outsider art, loneliness, mental illness and brightly colored graphomania in its innerworldly portrait of now-eighty-three-year-old Peter Anton, an elderly artist living in squalor in the wet, fetid basement of his parents’ house, moldering atop his art-stuffed living-dying quarters. There’s a delicate and beautiful dance in this seven-years-in-the-making engagement with an elderly Northwest Indiana outsider artist. The movie transforms before our eyes, as it did for the filmmakers over its protraction production. One of the most luminous, evocative choices made was to incorporate images not only of Anton amid his art inside his moldering dump, but of the surrounding landscape, often industrial, at all hours of day and night (captured by photographer David Schalliol). But primarily, it’s a dance between a willful subject and filmmakers who intend not to stray too close but ultimately can’t help themselves. Anton lives not only in poverty, but also in squalor, in a falling-down house left to him by his parents, and the ethical question of how involved the filmmakers ought to be, in light of his circumstances, grows uneasy. ‘I’m not your subject,’ Anton bursts out at one point, ‘I thought you were my friend.’” [More here, including on Schalliol’s techniques.]

Almost There plays through July on PBS stations nationwide.

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Two Poems From Kiarostami’s “A Wolf Lying In Wait”

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The full moon
reflected in water,
the water
contained in the bowl,
and the thirsty man
deep in sleep.

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What a pity
I was not a good host
for the snowflake
that settled on my eyelid.

Via.

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UA: The Company We Keep (12/6/78)

Cme4bxXXEAMbdeAClick until largest size. [Via Sean Howe.]

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Hal Hartley’s Got A Sale

Hal

Three offers, each $9.99 (with free shipping), while they last (U.S. only):

Three DVDs: – Ned Rifle; Meanwhile; and The Unbelievable Truth: 20th Anniversary Edition 

Five Soundtrack CDsNed RifleMeanwhileFay Grim; The Book Of LifeHenry Fool 

Ned Rifle Pack: Ned Rifle DVD, scenario, soundtrack and t-shirt.

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Beginnings… And Endings: Michael Cimino

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[The Deer Hunter, Shooting Draft, 1978; Heaven’s Gate, undated.]

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Trailering Albert Brooks’ Real Life (2’59”)

With Brooks’ back catalog landing on Netflix today (for those too mean to own them), a short film in its own right for his 1979 first feature.

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Movie City Indie

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch