Lois Weber was an important early American film-maker who pushed the boundaries of film-making so she could better tell the stories she wanted to tell. Several of her early silent films are on youtube: Suspense
(1913; ~10 minutes) (she directs herself, experiments with the split-screen view and unusual and effective camera angles including shots from above and using the car's side mirror); Hypocrites
(1915; ~4 minutes) (featuring dual roles, nudity, and a strong use of techniques like multiple exposures and complex editing - as well as a strong moral message); and
Where Are My Children
(1916, ~1 hour, 10 minutes) (a complex and controversial film even then about birth control (pro) and abortion (anti)). [more inside]
posted by julen
on Sep 20, 2013 -
Between Peter Jackson’s penchant for cartoonish unserious gore and Bob McCarron’s off-screen makeup effects manipulations,
Braindead achieves something that approaches inspired genius in the heretofore unknown artform of human carnage. The film is filled with moments of joyous slapstick tableaux... And then there is that moment where
Braindead finally breaks through to achieve a transcendentally surreal glory of excess where Tim Balme wades into battle against the zombies armed with a lawnmower, drenching an entire room in showers of blood. (
Braindead holds the record for the greatest amount of artificial blood ever used in a film). The film is a work of perverse genius.
- Richard Scheib
posted by Egg Shen
on Dec 8, 2012 -
Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl
on Apr 16, 2012 -
Until the End of the World was conceived over most of the ’80s, filmed on four continents (including video smuggled out of China), and foresaw a future abetted by such diversions as mobile viewing devices, proto-GPS and a highly sought-after contraption that records images for the blind. Starring William Hurt, Sam Neill, Solveig Dommartin, Jeanne Moreau and Max von Sydow among an international ensemble of actors, the film also skyrocketed to a $23 million budget and found its distributors — including Warner Bros. in the United States — requiring cuts that reduced it to barely a quarter of Wenders’s original vision. Later locked in at just under five hours, it’s the type of material that today would be a shoo-in for a cable miniseries that could probably win Emmys for everyone involved. Twenty years on, however, it’s relatively lost to the mainstream, with Wenders’s directors cut as yet unreleased outside two territories in Europe.
posted by Trurl
on Dec 10, 2011 -
is a new series which takes a look at the creative process of filmmaking through the eyes of some of the entertainment industry's most prolific writers, directors and producers. Each episode will also showcase short films from the region's most promising filmmakers.
posted by dobbs
on May 15, 2011 -
Jacques Rivette, who emerged in the 1950s... as one of the primary filmmakers of the French New Wave, is the most underappreciated (and under-screened) of this legendary group. Rivette’s deliberately challenging, super-size films defy easy assimilation, and demand a level of attention unusual even to his compatriots’ works. In addition to being considered difficult, however, Rivette’s body of work is also, arguably, the richest of the New Wave era, possessing an intellectual inquiry and humanity unmatched in the French cinema of his time. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Jan 29, 2011 -
How does a director follow up the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time*? (*adjusted for inflation)
He remakes a French classic - taking an international cast to a Caribbean nation ruled by a military dictatorship, where hurricanes, irascibility, other difficulties take him far over a budget already large enough to be shared by two studios. The result
is his personal favorite
among his films. But deceptive marketing and cute robots
contribute to its making back less than half of its costs. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 7, 2009 -
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah
(February 21, 1925 – December 28, 1984) was an American film maker who directed 15 major motion pictures, and created the television series The Westerner
, starring Brian Keith and John Dehner. His second film Ride the High Country
, " [Starring aging Western stars Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott in their final major screen roles, the film initially went unnoticed in the United States but was an enormous success in Europe. Beating Federico Fellini's 8½ for first prize at the Belgium Film Festival, the film was hailed by foreign critics as a brilliant reworking of the Western genre.] [more inside]
posted by nola
on Nov 23, 2008 -
"Porky's was about anti-Semitism, about racism, it's not just about boys with erections," claims Clark. He then adds, pun intended, "It was a seminal film." Bob Clark
, Director of two iconic
1980's films that profoundly impacted some of your childhoods (no doubt in decidedly different ways), and his 22 year-old son were in a fatal car crash
on PCH this morning. This was set to be a promising year
for the man who brought Ralphie and his bunny suit
to the world. R.I.P.
posted by miss lynnster
on Apr 4, 2007 -
The Room: The Movie.
Triple-threat (actor/writer/director) Tommy Wiseau
made his cinematic debut in 2003 with the The Room
and various scenes
), "a blend between a
softcore porn flick and a Tennessee Williams stageplay."
Wiseau ("who's not just one of the most unusual looking
an unidentifiable Eastern European accent-leading men ever to
grace the screen, but a narcissist nonpareil whose movie makes Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny"
the apotheosis of cinematic self-restraint...may be something of a first: A movie that
prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back-before even
30 minutes have passed." - Variety
), allegedly raised $6 million outside Hollywood to cover production and marketing costs
of the self-described "black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies" (see various rough dress rehersals
Audience members, including comedian
, have been "marveling at the bizarre editing, bad bluescreen, uncomfortably explicit
sex scenes and, of course, the enigma of Wiseau himself"
as the film
played monthly for years
in Los Angeles. Available on
DVD, diehard "roomies" swear by the
shout out their own commentary
, hurl spoons at the screen
and singalong to the soundtrack
. Some call it "The Rocky Horror of the New Millenium"
and stage "Room"
. If you look at the marketing campaign
or survived a screening
you might see The Room as "a seminar on how
NOT to make a movie."
posted by boost ventilator
on Jun 1, 2006 -
is a 12-minute dialogue-free film by director Virgil Widrich about a guy inadvertently duplicating himself over and over (320 x 240 streaming Real format download link
). The most interesting aspect of the short, however, is that it was made frame-by-frame of photocopies, manipulated for jarring visual effects and then shot with a camera to put together the final cut. (Mentioned
previously by film aficionado pxe2000.) Also see Widrich's photocopied short Fast Film
with even more calamitous, unraveling effects. Get this guy toner refills for his birthday.
posted by planetkyoto
on Mar 21, 2005 -
: "This site is non-profit, based in England, and maintained as a shrine and resource dedicated to the late director."
posted by hama7
on Sep 3, 2003 -
"Donald looked upon violence as an artist might look on paint..."
Director Donald Cammell committed suicide at home on April 24, 1996. Because of the location of the gunshot wound he inflicted on himself, he stayed alive and conscious for 45 minutes. He asked for a mirror to observe his own death. Foreshadowing this, in Cammell's underrated 1987 film White of the Eye
, serial killer David Keith holds a mirror up to a victim's face as she dies. Filmmaker and author Kenneth Anger said "I predicted Donald Cammell's suicide. He was in love with death."
He wrote seven films and directed six, ranging from the controversial end-of-the-psychedelic-sixties counterculture gangster film Performance
(starring Mick Jagger),to the schlocky Demon Seed
(based on a Dean Koontz novel), in which Julie Christie is raped by a computer, to a documentary about U2
. A man of unusual talent, Cammell was an enigma even to those closest to him. "Cammell knew that nothing was as ever as it looked, that there was no single, simple truth."
His body of work, as diverse as it is sparse, reflects this. Three different biographers are working on Cammell projects, and a fascinating biodocumentary Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance
was released in 1998. His films are well worth seeking out, taken as a whole, they present an interesting psychological picture of their creator, and taken separately, they're thoughtful and interesting examinations of perception, reality, violence, and the nature of power.
posted by biscotti
on Jan 13, 2003 -
Hollywood loses another giant.
Billy Wilder passes on at 95. Just the quick list of movies at the top of the article gives me pause..Stalag 17, Some Like it Hot, The Seven-Year Itch
. Damn, this is definitely a sad week in the entertainment business.
posted by PeteyStock
on Mar 28, 2002 -