MCN Columnists

Movie City Indie

Jonathan Demme in the Modern World: On MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (2004)

Unlike his actors, Demme saw John Frankenheimer’s film on its first release. “I saw the original when I was a teenager,” he tells me. “I was an avid moviegoer, I saw everything,” he says, hardly taking a breath. DEMME: Everything, everything. I was really hooked on movies at a very young age. The Manchurian Candidate,…

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Pride

FIFTY-PLUS FILMS FOR 2016

In 2016, I saw as many movies as most years (even if when I couldn’t review them all on first release), and I took an additional month to catch up and make room for some second and third look-sees. May the coming year reveal distribution and exhibition creativity to match the grand diversity of movies in 2016.

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Pride, Unprejudiced: Sunset Song, Weiner, The Invitation

A high point among so many, flawed only by a small, smoothing cut, is in the Weiner-Abedin kitchen one morning, when Abedin is asked how she’s doing. She pauses, there’s a cut, she says flatly, “It’s like living in a nightmare.” She smiles, all poise and resolve and red lipstick and white teeth and hightails it out of the frame. Second only to that is Weiner turning to his interrogators in the back of his car, “Isn’t the fly on the wall technique, doesn’t that have a little to do with the notion of not being seen or heard, you just kind of pick up what goes on around you?”

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Pride, Unprejudiced: LOUDER THAN BOMBS With Joachim Trier

“Gabriel Byrne gave him credit by saying that he had never worked with a cinematographer that was so involved, which means he’s there, he knows the blocking, he’s emoting, Jacob Ihre, I’ve seen in our collaboration both start laughing and start crying during scenes we shot, because he’s very engaged with what’s going on. Which I think he doesn’t laugh too loud or weep too loud But that matters. There is a tradition, you know, this tradition, this kind of close-up esthetic in Scandinavian cinema, from Dreyer through Bergman. On some level, I love being serious about that.”

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Quote Unquotesee all »

What are we doing wrong?
“Well, first of all, by “we” I assume you mean the public, the public approach or the public discourse, which means the discourse that takes place in the media. And for the purposes of this discussion, let us imagine that the media is white and thus approaches the topic of race as if they (the white people) were the answer and them (the black people) were the question. And so, in the interest of fairness, they take their turn (having first, of course, given it to themselves) and then invite comment by some different white people and some similar black people. They give what purports to be simply their point of view and then everyone else gives their beside-the-point of view.

“The customary way for white people to think about the topic of race—and it is only a topic to white people—is to ask, How would it be if I were black? But you can’t separate the “I” from being white. The “I” is so informed by the experience of being white that it is its very creation—it is this “I” in this context that is, in fact, the white man’s burden. People who think of themselves as well intentioned—which is, let’s face it, how people think of themselves—believe that the best, most compassionate, most American way to understand another person is to walk a mile in their shoes. And I think that’s conventionally the way this thing is approached. And that’s why the conversation never gets anywhere and that’s why the answers always come back wrong and the situation stays static—and worse than static.”
~ Fran Lebowitz, 1997

“If one could examine his DNA, it would read ACTOR. He embraced every role with fire and fierce dedication. Playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood was his loving tribute to all actors and garnered him a well-deserved Academy Award. His work was his joy and his legacy.”
~ Barbara Bain On Martin Landau