April 14, 2005

Shorts, 4/14.

Robert Davis is back: "It's easy to find books and movies about Chaplin. They're everywhere. They march through the standard lore and sing their condescending tune. Here's a brief ode to watching the films themselves." Also, from Ocean's Twelve to Los Angeles Plays Itself, a preview of things to come.


BRAINTRUSTdv talks with Caveh Zahedi about tech, Linklater, Tarkovsky, his own films, of course, GreenCine, pleasure and the future:

The beauty of digital technology is that it democratizes the filmmaking process. Anyone can make a film now, and anyone can put it on a DVD and hand it to or mail it to anyone else. This is a very good thing and really and truly is the beginning of a revolution in the way films are made and seen. I'm all for it and feel that it is already having a very positive effect in the world.

Heavy reportage going on over at pullquote. With the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival wrapped, the cinetrix can reflect in near-Wordsworthian tranquillity on:

Same Sex America

The Independent Weekly's David Fellerath looks back on the fest and concludes that it "seemed to enter a new era of institutional stability, both in the global documentary community and as a Durham cultural event.... One of the festival's virtues is its intimacy, with fans, journalists and upstart filmmakers mingling with the likes of famed documentary makers like DA Pennebaker and Barbara Kopple on the street and at cocktail parties. But this intimacy came with a price when some filmmakers approached members of the grand jury and asked for their thoughts on their own films." Heh. Also: A preview of Gatewood: Facing the White Canvas, a portrait of artist Maud Gatewood.

Last Year at Marienbad

Chris Fujiwara: "The eight films (six features and two shorts) upcoming in the Harvard Film Archive's "Alain Resnais: Selected Films" reveal much about the director’s range - and his consistency." Also in the Boston Phoenix: Peter Keough on Oldboy and Memories of Murder and Gerald Peary on Mondovino and, briefly, Steve Buscemi's Lonesome Jim, which opens the Independent Film Festival of Boston on April 21.


Speaking of Oldboy, though. It's never too late the join the fray, especially if you've got a serious argument to wield and, at the New Republic site, Elbert Ventura undoubtedly does. First, as George Faser has pointed out earlier, "Invoking the self-proclaimed geeks of post-Tarantino cinephilia and the Ain't It Cool News set," as Ventura puts it, "doesn't just identify the movie's presumptive demographic - it diminishes the movie by association and gives critics an excuse not to engage Park's work seriously." Second, "That original grievances become obscured by the sadism isn't a failing of the movie: It's the point." There's more (for example, "His surfaces are so dazzling that it may require effort to look past them"), but that's the gist.

That's quite a talk Alison Veneto's had with Kim Yoon-jin. The bulk, all about her career in Korea, is at Movie Poop Shoot while Lost is discussed at SMRT-TV and the rest is spilling over onto her blog.

Meanwhile, at Koreanfilm.org:

Staff unceremoniously dismissed from the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival a few months ago, including its former director, have set up an alternative event, the Real Fantastic Film Festival, running in Seoul from July 14 through 23, i.e., the very dates of PiFan. Kim Tae-jong reports in the Korea Times, but you'll find Mack's commentary and background at Twitch most helpful.

Xu Ge-Hui interviews Zhang Yimou for nihou, via Movie City Indie.


"With Afro-Punk, I wanted to challenge the mainstream perception of what defines Blackness," director James Spooner tells Michael A Gonzales. "I've made the kind of film I wish was around when I first got into the scene." In PopMatters, Gonzales calls the film "a 70-minute brilliant mess that that brims with blissful energy and enthusiasm... an important document that serves as both introduction to a subculture and a cinematic manifesto that assures marginal Blacks with blonde mohawks that they are not 'freaks'." The question of just what "Blackness" means is also at the center of Mark Reynolds's defense of Roger Ebert.

The Edukators

"For about 11 years there wasn't a German film worth seeing," Daniel Brühl tells Stuart Jeffries. "Thankfully, there is now a really good movement in Germany. It's getting better." Indeed. Jeffries spends most of the piece contrasting the late 70s and early 80s in Germany and in its cinema and notes, too, why he's talking to Brühl about it: "Brühl is, after all, that rare thing - a Teutonic male hottie. A fact which, one might be forgiven for thinking, shows how Germany is changing beyond cinemagoers' wildest imaginings." More from Phil Hoad in the London Times, via the IFC Blog, which has been cooking lately.

But back to the Guardian: Paul Laverty is pleased that Universal has released a new DVD version of Carla's Song, the film he wrote and Ken Loach directed. He's far less pleased that the postscript he wanted included was deemed "contentious and inflammatory" and refused. The offending paragraph begins: "The man who was at the centre of the US experiment to tear Nicaragua apart in the 80s was Mr John Negroponte." It goes on. So does Laverty's plea that we not forget who it is exactly that George Bush has nominated to be the first US Director of National Intelligence.


Jeffrey Wells on Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room: "The most chilling scene for me happens during a morale-boosting meeting among Enron employees right when the meltdown has happening, and some guy asks if he should invest all of his money, 'all of my 401 K' in Enron, and he is told by a spokeswoman who happens to be standing at the mike, 'Absolutely!' And then she laughs."

Kenny Boy

More from Greg Goldin in the LA Weekly, including the reaction of former California governor Gray Davis, whose own role in the story is, as Goldin reminds us, not purely that of another victim: "Seeing this movie now, armed with all this information after Enron's collapse, it is easy to make the connections. But living it? It was not so easy to immediately conclude that one company in America could be so completely guilty of fraud, chicanery and manipulation." He's shocked, in other words. Shocked.

Today, it's also the LA Weekly's turn to try to get a handle on Palindromes. Scott Foundas takes on the interview, Ella Taylor, the review. Again, Todd Solondz states his case very well (for more, see Raphie Frank and Mindy Bond's Gothamist interview), but Taylor states it even better: "What is absolutely clear, notwithstanding a mischievously ambiguous ending and Solondz's oft-repeated claim that he leaves the drawing of conclusions to his audience, is the triumph of Solondz's bleak fatalism over his heroine's ingenuously American insistence on the possibility of happiness."


And here's a surprise from Armond White: "Palindromes is the most inventive film yet by an artist whose focus on human behavior - and the peculiar confusions of this era - has become bewilderingly powerful." Also in the New York Press: Matt Zoller Seitz previews "Candid Cameras: Real Life on Film," a series at the Museum of the Moving Image running April 16 through May 8, and Saul Austerlitz blurbs the "In the Company of Arnaud Desplechin" at the BAMcinématek through Sunday.

Good heavens. Arnaud Desplechin is Tom Hall's "favorite living filmmaker."

David Thomson marks the passing of MGM to "some investment companies and Sony" with a few wistful memories. Also on the newly expanded editorial pages of the New York Times, an amusing letter from Robert Redfern-West, editorial director of Academica Press, in response to news that publishing hotshot Judith Regan is moving from New York to LA.

Short shorts:

Andrew O'Hehir, in his latest "Beyond the Multiplex" column for Salon, interviews It's All Gone Pete Tong director Michael Dowse, then reviews Torremolinos 73 and House of D.

The City Paper previews the final stretch of films screening at the Philadelphia Film Festival, through April 20.

The Nashville Film Festival opens tonight and runs through April 21. Eugene Hernandez has a preview and the Nashville Scene gets a few last minute notes in. And at indieWIRE: Wendy Mitchell on Dogme 95, ten years on.


Louis Black, "a passionately enthusiastic novice" when it comes to the genre at hand, previews the Austin Film Society series "Bollywood and More: Recent Hindi Cinema," running Tuesdays from April 19 through May 24 at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.

Also in the Austin Chronicle:

Matt Clayfield: "You rock, Rockwell."

For filmmakers on a budget, India is the new Canada, reports Andrea Meyer for IFC News. Via Filmmaker's Scott Macaulay.

Rex Sorgatz: "Google has released a video upload tool. As the FAQ says, you have to own the rights to the video, but you will be able to charge people to view it. This completely breaks open the doors for micopayments." Chuck Olsen's got more related news.

And via Fimoculous, the Webby nominees in the category "Movie and Film": Aardman, Garden State, I, Robot Now, The Uninvited and TCM's "The Essentials."

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Posted by dwhudson at April 14, 2005 4:43 PM


"More from Phil Hoad in the London Times, via the IFC Blog, which has been cooking lately."

we're merely a pale shadow. thanks for the nod, david.

Posted by: alison at April 15, 2005 10:28 AM

Pale? No, you work in a lot more commentary, and that makes you, as a read, more fun. IMHO.

Posted by: David Hudson at April 15, 2005 3:32 PM