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David Hadju On Sad Pop Songs

“Love songs have always been more likely to deal with the yearning for love, the complications of love, love’s betrayal, or the loss of love (or even, sometimes, the loss of life) than the fancied bliss of love fulfilled… A strain of sadness has long been laced through the popular songbook. Music listeners’ likes have never been restricted to things that make them happy.”
~ David Hadju On Sad Pop Songs

Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

“Chad Harbach spent ten years writing his novel. It was his avocation, for which he was paid nothing, with no guarantee he’d ever be paid anything, while he supported himself doing freelance work, for which I don’t think he ever made $30,000 a year. I sold his book for an advance that equated to $65,000 a year—before taxes and commission—for each of the years of work he’d put in. The law schools in this country churn out first-year associates at white-shoe firms that pay them $250,000 a year, when they’re twenty-five years of age, to sit at a desk doing meaningless bullshit to grease the wheels of the corporatocracy, and people get upset about an excellent author getting $65,000 a year? Give me a fucking break.”
~ Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

“The evening’s curious vanity and irrelevance stay with me, if only because those qualities characterize so many of Hollywood’s best intentions. Social problems present themselves to many of these people in terms of a scenario, in which, once certain key scenes are licked (the confrontation on the courthouse steps, the revelation that the opposition leader has an anti-Semitic past, the presentation of the bill of participants to the President, a Henry Fonda cameo), the plot will proceed inexorably to an upbeat fade. Marlon Brando does not, in a well-plotted motion picture, picket San Quentin in vain: what we are talking about here is faith in a dramatic convention. Things “happen” in motion pictures. There is always a resolution, always a strong cause-effect dramatic line, and to perceive the world in those terms is to assume an ending for every social scenario… If the poor people march on Washington and camp out, there to receive bundles of clothes gathered on the Fox lot by Barbra Streisand, then some good must come of it (the script here has a great many dramatic staples, not the least of them in a sentimental notion of Washington as an open forum, cf. Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington), and doubts have no place in the story.”
~ Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

Jane Campion And Sam Taylor-Johnson in Interview

CAMPION: We were driving around the countryside the other day, and we happened to chance upon a lone bull and cow going through some sex rituals. I was so surprised to see how lengthy the whole process was for this bull. He started licking the cow’s shin and worked his way quite laboriously up toward her ass. And every now and again, you thought, “Maybe she’s ready now—he’ll try a quick move.”
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: She wasn’t ready.
CAMPION: She made it clear that that wasn’t the case. We couldn’t even wait; it was like 15 minutes, but it was really adorable. Even when we came back, they were still at it. The foreplay was phenomenal.
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: You don’t think of animal love in that way.
~ Jane Campion And Sam Taylor-Johnson in Interview

David Lowery Production-Diaries Pete’s Dragon On Location In New Zealand

Day 17 of 70
February 17, 2015
Another telltale sign of being in production is when pasty wads of old sides show up in the lint drawer every time you do laundry. I think we shot about 5 pages today, some of it hastily written on the back of scrap paper, as per my style. We ended the day with an amazing giggle fit. It was awesome for so many reasons.
~ David Lowery Production-Diaries Pete’s Dragon On Location In New Zealand

 

Adrian Martin On Rohmer And A Summer’s Tale

“Rohmer’s narrative style, the particular kinds of stories and intrigues he liked to tell seem classical and simple. They are linear—no flashbacks. They have the air of being rather external and objective: no point-of-view shots, no subjective dreams, hallucinations, or fantasies. But this simplicity is deceptive. Rohmer’s stories are, at every level, full of fundamental mysteries and ambiguities. The lies, delusions and projections of characters proliferate. Key events sometimes occur between scenes, or just off-screen; our only access to them comes through competing accounts, each with their own, partial perspective and wily agenda. The greatest mystery of all is usually the filmmaker’s own viewpoint towards what he is showing, and particularly towards the central character in each film: is Rohmer approving or disapproving, is he being indulgent or ironic? If this is classicism, it is classicism at its highest point of subtlety and complexity. Inside the classical form of a Rohmer film, there’s always a secretly baroque shape or substance. And also a modern or modernist kind of relativity, an amusing and urbane type of deconstruction: we come to doubt everyone and everything we see, hear, and read on screen; and, most of all we doubt our own assumptions and perceptions as viewers.”
~ Adrian Martin On Rohmer And A Summer’s Tale

 

Nathan Rabin

Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus is as stubbornly non-commercial as any low-budget genre film featuring graphic violence, oceans of blood, sex, and male and female nudity can be. It makes sense that Lee financed the film via Kickstarter, eschewing studio gatekeepers and bean-counters, because this is unmistakably a film Lee made for himself, to please his sometimes-maddening muse more than any audience. Lee doesn’t even seem to have made the films for his fans, or the people who contributed to the Kickstarter, so much as he made it for an audience of one. So hopefully he’s happy with it.”
~ Nathan Rabin

~ Paul Thomas Anderson To David Ehrlich On The Prospect Of Switching From Film

“I don’t know, because I don’t know much about those cameras. I know that’s been a complaint, but I wouldn’t know. Film is what worked for this film. I have a fear of the unknown. I’ve spent a long time trying to learn one camera, and to fucking stop and try to learn another one… I would have to stop for 20 years! I’m a slow learner; I’d have to go through the manual, it would be starting over. So there’s that, too. It’s an issue for filmmakers, and it’s on people’s minds, and I have to say that it’s a lot more challenging and difficult just to kind of get somebody to show film or to print film. It’s far more challenging than it should be right now, and we’re just trying to keep it alive a little bit and create a little pocket where it can be shown that way in various places across the country right now.”
~ Paul Thomas Anderson To David Ehrlich On The Prospect Of Switching From Film

Howard A. Rodman, Announcing Almodóvar’s Jean Renoir Award

“Almodóvar–the first name is almost unnecessary–is a genius, is a flower, is a guiding light: the last, best son of Buñuel and so much more than that. His screenplays, which he directs with passion and fine care, have taught us about the exteriors of his native land and the interiors of our own hearts. From the early, manic experimental Super-8 work to the breakthrough Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, his titles are as evocative as most people’s screenplays. Yet for all their antic energy, Almodóvar’s films are deeply spiritual: watching his disturbing, mysterious, heart-rending Talk to Her is to understand, perhaps for the first time, the full meaning of grace. An Almodóvar screenplay is a running leap off a Gaudi balcony, it flips, soars, ascends, careens, tumbles, falls – always landing, astonishingly and astonished, on its feet.”
~ Howard A. Rodman, Announcing Almodóvar’s Jean Renoir Award

Björk to Jessica Hopper at Pitchfork

“I got a feeling I am going to win in the long run, but I want to be part of the zeitgeist, too. I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times. Girls now are also faced with different problems. I’ve been guilty of one thing: After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself. I don’t really have an ego. I’m not that bothered. I just want the whole thing to be good. And I’m not saying one bad thing about the guys who were with me in the bands, because they’re all amazing and creative, and they’re doing incredible things now. But I come from a generation where that was the only way to get things done. So I have to play stupid and just do everything with five times the amount of energy, and then it will come through.”
~ Björk to Jessica Hopper at Pitchfork

Ava DuVernay on Instagram

“Here is a small note that they will never see, but I must post it anyway. Projecting a film that I made with my comrades in the White House for the President and the First Lady – for THIS President and First Lady – was as stunning an experience as I’ve ever known. The first film to ever screen at the White House was “Birth of a Nation” or as it was previously titled “The Klansman.” That was in 1915. Last Friday, “Selma,” a film about justice and dignity, unspooled in that same place in 2015. It was a moment I don’t have to explain to most. A moment heavy with history and light with pure, pure joy all at once. President Obama’s introduction of SELMA in the presidential screening room, the quality time he and the First Lady took with us before and after, the stories he shared with my editor and cinematographer, the praise she gave our dear cast, the handshake he gave my father, the hug she gave my mother, the laughter, the smiles, the extra time they gave us all long, long, long beyond when we were scheduled to go, the warmth, the respect, it was just beyond exquisite. “I’m proud of you,” she said to me. “We’re proud of you,” he added. I’m proud too – of them, of us, of the film, of this moment in my life. Who knows what lies ahead. But what has already occurred is food and fuel and fire and freedom. To President Obama and First Lady Obama, it was a dream I never dreamt, a dream seared in my memory like a scar from a fight won. The kind you look at every now and then, and just nod and smile. I thank you. xo.”
~ Ava DuVernay on Instagram

 

Sarah Palin on American Sniper

“God bless our troops, especially our snipers.
Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of America knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots.
May the epic American Sniper bring nothing but blessings to Taya and the children of this true American hero.
Thank you Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood for respecting the United States Military.”
Sarah Palin

Michael Mann

Thief has a different purpose. If somebody asked me, ‘What’s Thief to you?’  To me, it’s a left-[existentialist] critique of corporate capitalism. That’s what Thief is. What is interesting is that no critics in the U.S. got that, no critics in the U.K. got it. Every critic in France got it when the film came [out]. It was like this crazy kind of cultural litmus test.”
~ Michael Mann

Ethan Hawke On Oscar

“Awards are the industry’s way of advertising itself. It we didn’t have awards, then producers would have no agenda. The only agenda would be to make money and awards create a counter agenda of something substantive. They’re important for indie cinema. It’s how independent movies make it through the corporate maelstrom.  They’re important, they keep us all fighting and it makes independent cinema part of the popular culture. When I was growing up, there were all sorts of indie films, but as ad budgets go up, it’s harder to cut through the noise. A film like Boyhood is an extremely radical piece of filmmaking that has worked for audiences.”
~ Ethan Hawke On Oscar

Christopher Doyle

In the eyes of many, you earned your status with your cinematography in the seven Wong Kar-wai films you shot.
I thought it was because of my sex life.
That too. But what do you think about his two films after you parted ways?
Next question.
You’re not answering that? 
If I answer that question, it will be the front page of every newspaper in China. Do you understand what I’m saying? I didn’t say “a piece of shit,” but I did say “a piece of shit.” Again, if I really believe everything people say about me, either I’ll jump over the cliff tomorrow or I’ll be at Dragon-i every night. So don’t take it seriously. Don’t get fluffed by your entourage. In Chinese cinema, many people actually believe their myths–I’m not talking about Wong Kar-wai, I’m talking about everyone.
So what’s your own approach?
I don’t believe that Du Kefeng exists—that’s why I’m so free—but he does a lot of work. You have to escape that constriction of fame or so-called success. In this film’s case, we work with young people just out of school, we make the mistakes, and we have a beer in the morning.
~ Christopher Doyle

Richard Brody at CriticWire

“Shakespeare, Voltaire, Dostoyevsky were anti-Semites; the great cathedrals were the work of a Church rampaging on Crusades; the ‘stereo’ scene in JLG/JLG is reminiscent of a scene from a Nazi propaganda film. It’s virtually impossible to love art without overlooking or reconciling oneself to offense—by which I mean, one’s own, my own (it’s easy to wave away with an aesthetic benediction offenses to the feelings of others). ‘The Merchant of Venice’ finds echoes (no way for Jews to find betterment except through Christianity) in an extraordinary early short film by D. W. Griffith that I only recently saw, A Child of the Ghetto, and, as everyone knows, Griffith had more and worse in store along with his greater achievements. The modern cinema is born under the curse of racist caricature and incitement to murder, with The Birth of a Nation; I hate it for what it is and what it caused, but I love it for other films that it made possible. There, Griffith invented the cinematic toolbox for psychologically intimate yet grandly stirring historical action that leaps into the present tense and into the imagination. Griffith used that kit of epochal astonishment to spread disgusting and destructive lies—yet that kit quickly passed into the hands of other filmmakers, including those who, even now, make movies in the spirit of virtue and in search of truth. Principled directors and movie-goers alike are Griffith’s ineluctable and perhaps unwilling heirs, the inheritors of an ill-gotten treasure that imposes a special burden of self-consciousness and historical consciousness. The modern cinema, in its obsession with history and with the history of cinema itself, reveals its essential mode of expiation and of mourning.”
~ Richard Brody at CriticWire

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“Women’s power is too potent to waste on selfies… Truly dangerous women aren’t looking for dates or husbands, and they do not travel in packs. They rarely have many female friends. Their register is either universal, or intensely personal. They play mind games and make promises. Whether they deliver or not remains a secret, and secrets are essential to seduction. The Web has eroded every notion of privacy and stolen the real power of women: the threat of mystery itself.  “I can see you’re trouble” was once the biggest compliment a man could pay a woman. There was going to be a dark spiral into the whirlpool of sex; there were going to be tears on both sides, secrets and regrets, scandal. Today, everyone is trouble.”
~ Joan Juliet Buck in “W”

“You have to watch the end of the show to see how I feel—I mean, kids are a wonderment. I am quite fond of most of the young people in ‘The Slap,’ actually; it’s the grown-ups who have so much to learn. But to think of ‘The Slap’ as being a critique of contemporary parenting would be to miss the point. Like saying Birdman is about a life in the theater, instead of about a vast pool of narcissism that, again, denudes all grace until all you have is blistered (male) rage and bruised egos. I can’t speak to helicopter parents, but I sure do know a lot about not waking up every day and counting your goddamn blessings, and how fucking toxic that is. And that’s what I see all around me, a kind of spiritual autism, a narcissism of small things, and that’s ‘The Slap.’ Argh. But I like to think that it’s not immutable, that there are still synaptic charges toward doing the right thing, that we are capable of recognition—and being better. I think it’s about what happens when kindness is obliterated by desire.”
~ Jon Robin Baitz

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