Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong. - I hate Strong Female Characters.
Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
"Oh, Anne! With your small head and pert nose and oversized, ready smile and glossy pixie cut and squeakily tuneful speaking voice, uttering lines like “It came true!” as you gaze at your newly won Oscar with moistened doe-eyes, wearing a powder-pink Prada gown adorned with diamonds and bows: Why are you so annoying?"
Donald Richie, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004[more inside]
"...the first decade of the 21st century can be viewed as a singularly male-dominated era in American cinema."
New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]
In May, YouTube announced they would be hosting a lineup of original video channels, in a possible attempt to compete with network and cable television. Among the new offerings was WIGS, the (NSFW) brainchild of director/producer/writers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, of original, scripted dramatic series and short films exploring female characters. [more inside]
The Vikings Of Bjornstad a "a living history and educational group, concentrating on the Viking age " reviews every viking movie ever made for its authenticity in depicting Vikings and Viking Culture. Every. single. one. [more inside]
"Fast Company’s four-hour interview with [Martin Scorsese] for their December-January cover story: How to Lead A Creative Life, was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact." Welcome to Martin Scorsese’s Film School: The 85 Films You Need To See To Know Anything About Film [more inside]
Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix: System Failure has been released. (Also on YouTube.) It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript. [more inside]
Yesterday, the Village Voice fired J. Hoberman, long-time champion of independent and experimental film (and its senior film critic of 24 years). Hoberman promises that there's a blog in his future. The Voice has an archive of his writing for them since 1998. Here are his Top 10 lists for the years 1977 to 2006, and here they are for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Here is a compilation of his advice for aspiring film critics. A critic who came of age in an era when the lines between "film critic" and "film scholar" were blurrier, Hoberman has also written books about American movies and the Cold War and the forgotton history of Yiddish cinema. Here are some interviews with him about his work.
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
Beyond Digital is a collaborative project between eight members who have come together to explore the culture and music of Morocco, which is often poorly represented online to the world at large, thus "beyond digital." The team put together a 9 minute "behind-the-scenes" look at their work, or you skip the preview and jump into their YouTube channel, articles on The Fader, and more on their website. Highlights: a collection of Moroccan percussion loops, a photo essay on Morocco's changing culture, and a collaboration between Moroccan musician Hassan Wargui (Imanaren) and Nettle, a "band project" by DJ/rupture. [more inside]
Drew McWeeny muses at length on Muppets, Avengers, and Life In The Age Of Fanfiction.
Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
"Driving Jersey represents and reflects the most misunderstood and misrepresented place and people in all of America." In this series of calmly paced, short documentaries featuring profiles, atmosphere, landscape, and interviews, filmmakers Steve Rogers and Ryan Bott travel 21 counties to capture some of the true character and cultural nuance of the Garden State. [more inside]
Part 3 of the Everything is a Remix video series has been released, by New York filmmaker Kirby Ferguson. Previously on MeFi. See the entire series on Vimeo: Parts One, Two and Three. (YouTube versions and transcripts inside.) Official Site. [more inside]
HUH. Magazine is a media platform with the latest, most relevant news from the worlds of art, fashion, design, music and film. Recent features include: Harvest by Haroshi: Skate and Destroy, artworks created with old worn, or snapped, skateboard decks | Disassembly, capturing relics of our past in a unique, dismantled and exposed form | Murakami at Versailles, knee-deep in controversy since its inception | and Darren's Great Big Camera, a short documentary about a camera that shoots on 14" x 36" negatives and measures 6ft. in length.
Have you ever gotten lost in the Myst-inspired architecture of Anthology Film Archives’ website, or struggled awkwardly with the Chinese puzzle box-construction of BAMcinematek’s calendars? Have you ever circled the block at Lincoln Plaza in search of the secret entrance to the fabled Walter Reade Theater? (Hint: look behind the waterfall.) Have you found yourself asking time and again, “What the fuck is Union Docs?”The brainchild of critic Paul Brunick, Alt Screen is a new site billed as "a comprehensive digital resource covering film exhibitions and related special events in the New York City area." The contributing editors include blogger Jim Emerson, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [previously] and Nathan Lee (apparently coming out of retirement).
Everything is a Remix Part 2: Movies Mind-blowing cuts of how previous films influenced pretty much all of Hollywood's output today. Previously this series examined music in much the same way.
The history of Poland, in eight minutes, in CGI, from the country's exhibition at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The film is full of blink-and-you'll-miss-it references - check the date at the bottom-left of the screen and see how many you can find! [more inside]
Jane Graham in the Guardian on the new wave of fan films, with links to notable examples. "... fan films have come a long way from two fat blokes with beards running through a forest waving pound-shop light sabres."
It's been estimated that the average UK adult is now registered on more than 700 databases and is caught many times each day by nearly five million CCTV cameras. So how hard would it be for an average citizen to disappear completely? That’s the subject of a new documentary film: Erasing David, (Trailer: YouTube, Vimeo) which premieres this evening in the UK on More4. It's also now available worldwide online at the iTunes store and through several Video On Demand services, as well as through Good Screenings. [more inside]
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans premieres Thursday, January 29 on PBS. Faubourg Tremé is considered the oldest black neighborhood in America, the origin of the southern civil rights movement and the birthplace of jazz. Trailer for Faubourg Tremé
"What you're looking for as a retoucher is a broom, something that covers your tracks, some way of obscuring where you've been. The first thing [most] people take out is bloodshot eyes. That's the last thing I take out—the last thing I'd, like, just wipe, because that just makes it look retouched." -- from Jesse Epstein's video op-ed for the NY Times, based on her film Wet Dreams and False Images ("I know that's not airbrushed. I could put a million dollars that's not airbrushed."), one of three related short documentaries on physical perfection. "Each head has to be identical to the other head, so we don't want anybody putting sandpaper to the head." -- from 34 x 25 x 36. Via the latest installment of Shakesville's Impossibly Beautiful series. (Previous posts on retouching.)
New Yorker Films, the only US distributor of many of the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Ousmane Sèmbene, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and many others closed operations yesterday. Many of the films they distributed remain unavailable on DVD, and thus completely unavailable to Americans for the foreseeable future. Coming on the heels of the eviction of Film-Maker's Co-Op, New York's venerable distributor and archive of avant-garde film, New Yorker's closing raises questions not only about the symbiotic importance of repertory film exhibition for film preservation efforts, but about the future of film culture and the possible role of the arts in the future economy.
Asian Horror Movies.com. 100's of free, streaming video, full movies, which have English subtitles. Index of titles updated regularly. Japanese, Korean, Thai. Includes a wide variety of films from an eccentric fantasy like 100% Wool to a psychological thriller like Angel Dust. [more inside]
In defense of suburbs: "Revolutionary Road," based on Richard Yates's 1961 novel of the same name, is the latest entry in a long stream of art that portrays the American suburbs as the physical correlative to spiritual and mental death.
Jon Swift, satirist blogger (previously on MeFi), has identified an important new school of film criticism. He calls it Derrièrism—since all schools of film criticism must have French names—and asserts that the main criteria a movie should be judged by is whether the viewer's ass shifts in his or her seat while watching it. He claims Derrièrism is on the rise, citing Andrew Breitbart's soon-to-be-launched Big Hollywood, a site that will include film reviews and criticism by thoughtful cinéastes like House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson, MSNBC correspondent Tucker Carlson and conservative commentators Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and others. [more inside]
Architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham loved Los Angeles. (Last link is a BBC documentary, circa 1972, 52 minutes -- NSFW at 47 minute mark) [more inside]
If you've never heard of Adam Cadre, then Adam Cadre is the best internet writer you've never heard of. He's a novelist and interactive fiction (a.k.a. "text adventure") author, but his site is packed with some of the clearest, most entertaining (and most personal) cultural writing around. It's a blog-esque sort of deal with posts prompted by films, books and other. Choicest articles include a to-the-point takedown of Stranger in a Strange Land, thoughts on Lanark and trolls who have never known love, an exegesis of the virtues of The Sweet Hereafter and the story of his near-lifelong relationship with Cosmos.
Home Movies. A 1975 documentary by a young academic folklorist, exploring what it was that people were doing when they made home movies: remembering selectively, creating a "golden age." [more inside]
In 1974, Martin Scorsese interviewed his parents on film, prompting them to discuss their life together as well as their Sicilian ancestry. The resultant documentary was entitled Italianamerican. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. [Inspired by...]
Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
MY DATE WITH DREW - Follow up to this past thread.
Though the first post's linked page has changed since the last discussion. What happened to the web journal behind this movie?
Though the first post's linked page has changed since the last discussion. What happened to the web journal behind this movie?
Freedom on the Fence: The Polish Poster. While we're at it: The history and culture of the Polish poster and an analysis of American Films in Polish Posters. Or, if you'd prefer, The Classic Polish Film Poster database (where the Disney/Children's film posters are quite lovely). Also, The Wallace Library at the Rochester Institute of Technology has a fantastic searchable and browse-able database, with many hi-res images. Finally, some other Polish Poster Galleries. (What's that? You want more? You want artist-specific galleries? Okay. Here's work by Mieczyslaw Gorowski, Piotr Kunce, Wieslaw Walkuski, and Jan Sawka. Oh, you wanted Communist-era Polish propaganda posters? Fine. Here ya go.) [previous MeFi discussion on Polish film posters; also, some of the images from these links may be NSFW, depending on how S your W environment is.]
The End Of Sexual Taboos: Erotic and Pornographic Cinema. Not safe for work.
Fandom is, at the core, neither good or bad. It simply is. [+]
The Mitchell and Kenyon collection consists of 800 rolls of nitrate film documenting scenes of everyday life in England between 1900 and 1913. This extraordinary archive, now painstakingly restored by the British Film Institute, includes footage of trams, soup kitchens, factory gates, football matches, seaside holidays and much else besides. Here are some sample images and a short clip of workers at a Lancashire colliery, all astonishingly evocative and reminiscent (to me) of Philip Larkin's poem MCMXIV: 'The crowns of hats, the sun / On moustachioed archaic faces / Grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark .. Never such innocence, / Never before or since .. Never such innocence again.'
The Toronto International Film Festival begins Thursday. The 2004 program is one of the best they've had in years (certainly the best since the 90s). Planning on attending? If so, you may appreciate TIFF Reviews - "the online meeting place for fans of TIFF 2004". Since TIFF is the the largest film festival in the world, most attendees (myself included) find it very difficult to pick their films. Once the fest starts, members of the TIFF Reviews forum are encouraged to leave reviews of what they've been watching in the hopes that it'll help other people plan their 10 days in the dark.
The Sorcerer's Scissors; Air Raid Practice, Knoll School Hove; and An Eye to the Future [wmv's all, I'm afraid]. These and other examples nonpareil available at the University of Brighton's Moving History: "A guide to UK film and television archives in the public sector".
Police Boycott "Harry Potter" Police in Penryn, PA (near Harrisburg) have refused to direct traffic at a YMCA event. The police claim that because the YMCA reads "Harry Potter" to local children that they are promoting witchcraft. Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn says "I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be."
Will a changing world change film? Will the Sept. 11th tragedy instill a new social or political significance to contempoary art? Does this mark the end of irony? How do you think these recent events are going to shape film, art and comedy?