February 23, 2007

Shorts, 2/23.

Thaweesak Srithongdee: Kee Ky "[T]he 10 names on the list read like a roll call of cutting-edge glitterati: New York-based artist Rirkrit Tiravanija; painter and designer Thaweesak 'Lolay' Srithongdee; filmmakers Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Wisit Sasanatieng; experimental video artists Sathit Satarasart and Porntaweesak Rimsakul; media and video installation artist Asst Prof Kamol Phaosavasdi; and veteran MV directors Monchanok Somjaipeng and Boonchai 'Giam-ee' Apintanapong." For the Bangkok Post, Kong Rithdee talks with Petch Osathanugrah about the ten videos he's commissioned for all ten songs on his album, Let's Talk About Love. Thanks, Peter!

James has the winners of the Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards at Kung Fu Cult Cinema.

"Sion Sono is following what is now a well-traveled career path for Japanese directors: First the indie debut that plays the international festival circuit (Bicycle Sighs in 1990), then the cult sensation taken up by the fan boys (Suicide Club in 2002), and finally the horror pic that hopefully makes your fortune: Exte." A profile for the Japan Times by Mark Schilling (free registration required). Via Alison Willmore at the IFC Blog.

Norma Rae "'A decent wage,' now there's a phrase that doesn't crop up too often." Robert Nathan and Jo-Ann Mort remember a landmark picture in the Nation. "Making Norma Rae in 1979 was hard enough; now it would probably be impossible. The country has changed. It's more difficult to build a mass movement for social and economic change, to find large numbers of Americans who care about social solidarity. If popular entertainment is, by definition, mass entertainment, what happens when no mass exists, when an insufficient number of people occupy cultural common ground? In that case, for whom would you make Norma Rae?"

Also for the Nation, Eric Alterman on The Coast of Utopia: "Ultimately, what I found most admirable about [Tom] Stoppard's [Alexander] Herzen was his consistent commitment to moderation while surrounded by revolutionary hotheads. For all his intellectual arrogance, he knew how much he didn't know; how much was, indeed, unknowable. 'History has no libretto,' Stoppard said when I asked him about the relationship between his politics and his plays. 'The only gatekeeper is chance.'"

Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader on Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property: "Ultimately [Charles] Burnett offers a remarkable gift: an intelligent sense of relativity."

"The people coming into the courtyard to be witnesses knew that they would not change their lives that day, but they got to say what they had to say," Abderrahmane Sissako tells Vanessa Walters, who also talks with Danny Glover about Bamako. Also in the New Statesman, Ryan Gilbey's Berlinale report: "[O]n the fourth day of the festival came the most pleasant surprise: Tarsem Singh's visually ravishing, emotionally draining fantasy The Fall."

"Under the Mud is, in every sense, a community film, made for what producer Roy Boulter describes as 'the bog-roll budget for most big films,'" writes Helen Walsh. Boulter calls it "'social surrealism.' In fact, Under the Mud is a wonderful, magical, uplifting tale of one ordinary day in the life of an extraordinary working-class family - or vice versa."

Also in the Guardian, David Teather on the roll of big banks into big budgets and Ryan Gilbey's interview with Steven Soderbergh.

Plus, lots of news on what's up-n-coming involving George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Wes Anderson; Frances McDormand; possibly Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and, in a roundabout way, Alfred Hitchcock; Neil Jordan; and Barry Levinson.

The Black Cat

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff
in The Black Cat

David Bordwell presents a virtual roundtable: "Over three days earlier this month, there was a lightning round of exchanges on B films. With the permission of the participants, I'm posting highlights of the correspondence here because it exemplifies one way in which the Web can advance film studies."

"Yesterday, in LA, in partnership with the insurance company, Media/Professional, and LA lawyer Michael Donaldson, we (the Stanford CIS Fair Use Project) made a major announcement," blogs Lawrence Lessig. "In my just about 10 years working on these issues, this is the most important announcement yet.... the Fair Use Project has now found a way to insure films that follow the Best Practices guidelines. For films that are certified to have followed the Best Practices guidelines, Media/Professional will provide a special (read: much lower cost) policy; Stanford's Fair Use Project will provide pro bono legal services to the film." Take a look at the project's advisory board, too. Via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

In the New York Times:

Starter for Ten

"In the credits, no screenwriter is listed, as if the film were born in the sole, tactile rapport between beings and things, without the necessity of a linguistic construction," writes Jean-Michel Frodon, reviewing Benoît Jacquot's L'Intouchable in Cahiers du cinema. "But all the tunnels, underground passages and sensual correspondences would never suffice without this mysterious force that makes meaning and affect circulate under the skin of the cinema that one calls incarnation. The physical presence of Isild Le Besco becomes the principal medium (in the magical sense) of this composition."

"Part of the charm of a Brakhage film is the witnessing of the changes that the cinematic apparatus imposes on the film print; the vulnerability and mutability of the medium is a definite concern of Brakhage. But Brakhage was also committed to the democratization of film, to the naturalization of the medium, and to the study of film as texts much like poems and prose." Liza Palmer on By Brakhage. Also in Film International, Daniel Herbert on Essential Brakhage: Selected Writings on Filmmaking: "Comprised of essays, lecture transcriptions, manifestos, shooting scenarios, and even rough notes by the filmmaker, the book provides first-hand illumination of his artistic ambitions and critical insights."

Andy Klein in the LA CityBeat: "Up there on the shelf with the greatest rock movies of all time - you know, the shelf with Help!, A Hard Day's Night, Monterey Pop and The TAMI Show - there's a place for Performance (now on DVD for the first time) and Don't Look Back (newly available in a remastered single-disc edition for 20 bucks or a two-disc-plus-book-plus-geegaw version for 50)."

Brendan Kiley in the Stranger on Becket: "It is a serious movie, but between the smart script and two-part harmony of [Peter] O'Toole and [Richard] Burton, it's also really, really fun."


"Outlaw isn't just another film about the lives and crimes of all-powerful gangsters," writes Alice Jones. "Rather its subject is their victims - ordinary people whose lives have been destroyed by extraordinarily violent crime." Also in the Independent: James Mottram interviews Antonio Banderas.

Susan King previews local goings on in the Los Angeles Times.

Berliners: Ed Ward recommends an installation at the DAAD Galerie.

"A new TV series from Steven Spielberg and reality mogul Mark Burnett that offers aspiring filmmakers a $1 million studio contract will air this spring." The AP reports.

"Writer, painter and art collector Lothar Günther Buchheim has died at the age of 89. His autobiographical novel Das Boot became a worldwide bestseller and a successful film." The dpa reports (in German).

Online viewing tip. Anne Thompson has a terrific piece in the Hollywood Reporter on the four-minute short Errol Morris is making for Oscar Night. At the Risky Biz Blog, she points to his 2002 classic. Meanwhile, the "Oscar countdown" entry carries on with updates all day, every day up through Sunday.

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Posted by dwhudson at February 23, 2007 7:29 AM