tagged w/ New York Film Festival
It's time, once again, for another Current blogs round-up. Sit back, let the tea steep, and let's dig in, shall we?
According to bansheewail's post earlier this week, prescription drug related deaths have actually overtaken traffic fatalities in 16 states. Andrew took a closer look on the Current News blog, and according to the CDC, that number has been on the rise lately. The question is, why? The AP points to changes in the way doctors prescribe painkillers, and this actually coincides with the season premiere of Vanguard on October 14th. In "The Oxycontin Express," Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Florida, "the epicenter of the prescription drug boom." Be sure to check it out.
Mariana van Zeller travels to Florida to investigate the prescription drug boom in Vanguard's premiere, "The Oxycontin Express"
Some of biggest news this week came out of the South Pacific, where a pair of earthquakes and a tsunami ravaged the Samoa Islands and Indonesia. Andrew pulled together raw video intel and followed the story closely. Take a look.
The Current Music team is racing to the finish line in preparation for the premiere of Embedded, immediately following the season premiere of Vanguard on October 14th. Shana took a minute to share progress on the six-part special on the Current Music blog: apparently the team is knee-deep in post-production on the six episodes, as well as preparation for online distribution.
Also, Alex posted photos from The Dodo's show at the El Rey. Alex always takes amazing photos at shows, so head over to the blog and check them out. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, give this a look as well.
John has continued to make due on his festival coverage with dispatches from the New York Film Festival. A couple of excellent posts this week, one covering some of the influences and inspirations behind Harmony Korine's latest, Trash Humpers.
Additionally, John finally screens Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, the film that compelled Cannes audiences to collectively question, "Why?" Additionally, Von Trier went on record with this film, proclaim that "I am the best filmmaker in the world." Check out John's review here.
Over on Current Tech, Sarah Lane shed a little light on her shopping addiction with her exploration of your best online shopping options and deals. As community member aaronights pointed out, "No wonder you're always low on cash!"
In a far less costly post, Sarah takes a look at another obsession that is apparently taking over the world: Twitter Apps. More specifically, OneForty -- the Twitter App store that Twitter forgot to build. Seriously, take a look.
Leah spent some time chatting with Colin Beavan (you may know him as No Impact Man from his Twitter account, blog, and the trailer of his new movie), and discusses the dedication it takes for someone like No Impact Man to commit to a lifestyle change of this extreme magnitude. All in the name of "green." It's quite remarkable.
Keeping in theme with environmental heroism, Leah caught up with photographer Ian Shive -- the man dedicated to saving our National Parks one photo at a time. If you haven't checked out "Photos Across America" yet, be sure to give this post a read.
Thursday nights mean a new episode of infoMania. In case you missed it, you have Josh to thank because Fridays are "Hey check out what happened on infoMania" days on the Current Comedy blog.
Josh likes to combat claims of failure. In fact, you might even call him a FAIL adjuster. In the FAILspace, he is what an auditor is to accounting. Once again he's worked up another account of why some supposed FAILS are, in fact, not FAILS. Peep them here.
An added bonus this week, our friends in Vanguard are ramping up their blogging efforts, and to kick things off they've posted a couple gems for you to take a look at. First up, Vanguard correspondent Laura Ling shared her thoughts on Vanguard's mission during a live event in Italy. As an added treat, the full broadcast of the Italy event is embedded on the post, so if you've ever wanted to hear Mariana van Zeller speak Italian, make sure to watch beyond the intro.
Speaking of Mariana, her piece "The Oxycontin Express" is going to be our season premiere for Vanguard on October 14th, and as an added bonus the team was invited to tape an episode of Dr. Phil and discuss both her documentary and the prevalence of prescription drugs. Darren posted some photos from the visit to Dr. Phil, so go check it out. The Dr. Phil episode with Mariana will air on the same day as our Vanguard season premiere, October 14th.It's time, once again, for another Current blogs round-up. Sit back, let the tea... more
Over on the Current News blog, Andrew took a look at setback for MILF rebels in the Philippines. Also, Obama's UN address raises a question about whether or not it added up to anything substantial. Lastly, Manuel Zelaya returns to Honduras after being ousted, only to remain behind the gates of the Brazilian embassy. Tegucigalpa is rioting, check out his posts for raw video.
Vanguard: The Art of War
>> Leader of Philippines rebel movement captured – Setback for MILF rebels
>> What should America’s intl priorities be? – Did Obama’s address change anything?
>> Manuel Zelaya’s triumphant(?) return to Honduras
Hey, did you hear the news? We're launching a brand new show on Current TV!! It's called Embedded, and man...we're all super stoked about it.
Mos Def is coming to Current TV October 14th
Shana has the scoop over on the Current Music blog, along with some other awesome f'ing Amanda Palmer, Neutral Milk Hotel, and High School Musical news (wha?? -- ed. note: just read the post) from Peter Grumbine.
>> Mos Def is coming to Current TV October 14th
>> Amanda F’ing Palmer, Neutral F’ing Milk Hotel, and a high school f’ing musical
John's been playing hooky entrenched in all things related to the New York Film Festival, so here's what he has for this week's round-up on the Current Movies blog:
>> New York Film Festival By The Numbers: 9/17 to 9/23
>> We’re Watching: Afterschool trailer
>> Wednesday’s Important News: Sweet Diablo’s Valley High…Lander Remake, and the Nic Cage as Superman picture
I seriously laughed myself to tears when I saw Sarah's recent "olive branch in the form of a tweet" to Justine Bateman. Here's an article to catch you up on the drama, and if you feel like lending a helping hand post a tweet with #helpmallory in it.
Twitter tools. Also, my hatred of babies.
Here are Sarah's recent Current Tech blog offerings:
>> Power Twitter in Twitter tools. Also, my hatred of babies.
>> iPhone I love you but you’re bringing me down.
Leah's been cranking away with posts, and a few from Current Green blog guest bloggers as well. Take a look at a few of her latest, and check out her recent Activist 911, an interview with Amazon Watch activist Han Shan. They discuss the new film CRUDE in "Death zone in Ecuador":
Activist 911: Death Zone in Ecuador
>> Guest Blog Post: Land mark case: environmental orgs can sue electric utility companies
>> Powershift announces new schedule regional summits
>> Activist 911: Death zone in Ecuador
Over on the Current Comedy blog Josh makes an interesting comparison between Muammar al-Gaddaffi and accidental comedy -- because nothing is funnier than a dictator who unintentionally takes to stand-up. Also up for perusal is the latest Current Virals rundown, and rather serious flooding in the southeast US conjures up rather flippant memories of TV's Step-by-Step.
>> Gaddafi is a dictator, a very entertaining dictator
>> Current Virals 9/22
>> Six Flags underwater
Over on the Current News blog, Andrew took a look at setback for MILF rebels in... more
Holy cow. If you haven't been reading Andrew Fitzgerald's latest posts over on the Current News blog, you've been missing out. Don't panic, we'll get you caught up.
First up is a post that includes raw footage of Afghan insurgents being blown up by their own IED. The footage is shot from overhead from the perspective of airborne Apache helicopters, and well...
Here's a snippet:
US military personnel watch as Afghan insurgents set up a deadly IED and then accidentally trigger it themselves. I think this video is pretty rare: I imagine not many insurgents are caught on camera setting up their IEDs.
Check out the full video on the Current News blog and see for yourself.
To top things off, Andrew hit the ground running today with two new posts: The first regards Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter made famous for throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush, and the implications of his reception post-release. Next up Andrew revisits the Kibera slums, which are now beginning to be dismantled in Kenya. Several years ago, Vanguard's Christof Putzel produced a peice on the Kibera slums, take a look:
Vanguard's Christof Putzel takes a look at the Kibera slum
In his post Andrew brings us updates on the present state of things in the Kibera slums outside of Nairobi. Take a look.
As is the style of John Lichman's Current Movies blog dispatches, here is a listicle of important posts you may have missed out on:
The New York Film Festival is starting up, and Current Movies is all over it. I suspect covering the fest may have been an elaborate ploy on Lichman's part, who may be secretly missing NYC. However, he's promised that we'll be premiering trailers, interviews, and magical unicorns over on Current Movies and our New York Film Festival group. Keep an eye out for more, I'm holding him to it.
John caught Stingray Sam at CineVegas this year, and he hasn't stopped talking about it. Good news for you, both his review and film's episodes are available via the tubes. Take a peek.
Toronto A to F, Weinstein's Super Serious Bet, and Harry Potter's Park. All part of Wednesday's Important News.
Speaking of festivals, are there too many out there? Read and decide for yourself?
Over on the Current Music blog, Shana Naomi Krochmal unleashes word of two new punk rock docs. Check out the details, and peruse a list of classic punk rock doc faves culled from the Current Music community!
From the "Get this now" files, Peter Grumbine has not 1, but 2 offerings this week:
Os Mutantes' "Haih or Amortecedor" is their first album in 35 years. Here's some of what Peter had to say:
If you don’t know Mutantes, it would be easy to say something like they’re the Brazilian Beatles or the Brazilian version of the guys from Buena Vista Social Club, but they’re not; they’re Os Mutantes.
The Mutantes were a big part of the Tropicalia movement in Brazil during the ’60s. Imagine what you know about the psychedelic ’60s in America and the UK, and then combine that with Carnival, and you can basically suss up the sound of that movement. Put simply, it’s fucking wild.
Read more here.
As a "Get this too" add-on, Peter recommends Rodrigo y Gabriela. Here's what he had to say:
In case you don’t know the story, years ago, Rodrigo y Gabriela were in some badass metal bands in Mexico, but they grew tired of the limited scene and potential there. A lady from Mexico who had moved to Ireland was back in Mexico and ran into them. After talking about their situation, she invited them to come stay with her in Ireland, a country where artists were treated better. Ah fate, at last!
Read more here.
Ever since Sarah Lane took Final Cut Pro classes, she's been cutting together some awesome tech videos and posting them on the Current Tech blog. Here's a taste of flickr's new iPhone app, plus a list of some of the others she's cooked up:
Flickr's iPhone App... Finally!
Mag.ma - All the videos you love, plus the ones you don't
ColorSuckr for Photo Enthusiasts/Amateur Designers
Who here likes Helvetica? *Raises hand*
Over on the Current Green blog, Leah Lamb tackled the green contraception debate (who knew?) while fantasizing about getting a greener car. Here's a snippet of what she learned:
I recently learned while checking out an article reporting on the Frankfurt Auto Show: I should start using condoms to lower my carbon footprint. The facts are coming out, if you want a car that has a small carbon footprint (we’ll skip over the argument that you wouldn’t have a car) than you should have a small car. A very small car. The kind of car that would make you get out of it if you wanted to…discuss… the birds and the bees. The kind of car that doesn’t need to carry a large family.
Who knew, right? Give the full post a look to learn more.
Guest poster Joshua Wiese, the coordinator for the Adopt a Negotiator project kicked off our first post for 360 Degrees of Copenhagen -- a series of blog posts leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP15) in Copenhagen on December 7th, 2009. Give it a read.
Funny man Josh Heller is in a "tribute" mood this week, and he has three Current Comedy blog posts to place on the alter of the Internet gods (that means you, dear readers):
First up, a Current Virals rundown dedicated to the memory of Patrick Swayze. No one puts Heller in the corner.
Next up, a very special Current Comedy blog post about the most famous meme to ever surface from Mexico in dedication of Mexican Independence Day.
Last, but not least, a special taste of what is to come on infoMania this week. Here's a hint: it involves Sarah Haskins and backpacks. Think you know the answer? Better click to make sure.
Holy cow. If you haven't been reading Andrew Fitzgerald's... more
Eric Kohn, my dear friend/colleague/Guy-I-steal-Bison-Grass-Vodka-from, made a sly reference that Jason Reitman's slide show set to The Clash from the Up in the Air press tour was equal to Jamie Stuart's own in-depth meta coverage of the New York Film Festival and Sundance, which was in conjunction with Filmmaker Magazine.
Reitman, of course, is beloved by the press for his ability to be charming and--I'm not sure. Because he made Juno? Either way, Roger Ebert found his pie chart and admitted prior knowledge of it may have made him freeze up during their interview. For other press stops, Reitman would tout the pie chart around like a sandwich board in what can only be some sense of fucking with the press.
I am fine with this treatment. Reitman's right: a majority of people thrown into a junket or interview with a director will inevitably ask the same questions, especially for someone relatively new to the scene who is best known for two "mini-major" films that were responsible for huge buzz. After all, all types of press are animals at press junkets. You'll find the same at any press opportunity from politics to sports, but the film junkets have a more blood-thirsty mentality that's evolved over the years.
It even insires the occasional "I Went to Junket X and lived" piece, which every writer is allowed to engage in at least once but not more than five times per career. For two of the best, I point you to Andrew O'Hehir at the first Lord of the Rings event and The Onion A.V. Club at the Idle Hands junket. Boy, that felt like Déjà vu!
Back to the point at hand: in the olden days, a junket would be in midtown Manhattan, fly outlets in, put them up at a hotel for two nights, feed them in the morning and then parade the talent out to sit at a table to take the most inane questions you could ever imagine. A personal favorite of mine is, while in college, I attended a junket for The Wind That Shakes The Barley and a fellow attendeee remarked Cillian Murphy hated being asked about Batman and Red Eye. The moment he entered, a Russian reporter asked, "Tell me, is your role in new Batman the same as you being Irish serial killer in this film?"
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="426" caption="Jamie Stuart's NYFF 41 (2003)"][/caption]
So, you know, I get it. Junkets are boring affairs that lead us to exclaim "EXCLUSIVE" in headlines. It's the nature of our unfortunate beast. But there are shining examples of creativity when it comes to the art and presentation of the interview. That's where Jamie Stuart comes in.
On a point of disclosure, I am friendly with him and he has incriminating video of me outside of a Brooklyn bar. Stuart's video series are more in line with how a filmmaker would cover and explore an event like the New York Film Festival. In his series, which covers the festival from 2003 to 2008, the city is immersed in this uptown spectacle that covers Lincoln Center.
The difference in intent is clear: Reitman is our hip and satirical eye to the press that is so desperate for content, the second it's online it'll become retweeted, embedded and linked to like the second coming of screaming Twilight fangirls.
But he point remains, if a journalist was invited to a junket and did something akin to Reitman, he'd be blacklisted by the publicist, studio and would be a speck of dust in the eye of the machine.
Hence why Jamie Stuart's pieces overcome the simpleness of sticking your thumb into someone's eye. NYFF45 starts with Wes Anderson and delves into what makes these filmmakers react and how they handle the situations of a festival. Reitman made a tongue-in-cheek response to doing press, something which he will continue to be forced to do as he takes on a larger profile. He's also the clear result of a media environment that is hyper aware. But in no way is this comparable to narrative journalism or would it ever fly if a journalist was to send the video slide show to a publicist.
It's inappropriate to compare these two as directors and editors when it comes to the coverage of press and the film industry.
Poor Jason never had a chance.
Eric Kohn, my dear friend/colleague/Guy-I-steal-Bison-Grass-Vodka-from, made a sly... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="517" caption="img via IFC Films"][/caption]
[Police, Adjective is in limited theatrical release and avaliable via IFConDemand.]
Maybe it's best to be blissfully unaware of Corneliu Poromboiu's intentions before going into Police, Adjective. But if you risk that, then you risk being blind to basic points like irony, satire and language among wonderfully slow shots and the slow, methodical nature that an investigation takes place.
So, let's define what happens.
Cristi (Dragos Bucur) loiters through the streets on a mundane path as he tracks a high school student accused of selling hash to his friends. Lingering around corners and hiding inside his scarf and pullover, he embodies the definition of Big Brother. As a cop, the fact that he's relegated to tracking down children is the first of many droll jabs at the ancient laws and culture of a washed-out city.
Porumboiu drags Cristi through long stationary shots, trailing the kids and leaning behind corners as he keeps impeccable notes about their activity. In this, we're given a brief glimpse into the ideas that simmer below an otherwise mundane appearance: he hopes for reformed drug laws, he hopes for Romania to lighten up, he hopes for vodka and a meal and all that wonderful stuff.
After all, at the heart of it, Romanian films look like the most depressing thing since a sad clown crying in black and white. If it was Romanian though, the sad clown would likely be in a field while, off in the distance, a child would see him, smirk, and do a shot of vodka.
Adjective is a comedy at its' core. It just happens that the core is darker than black and exists solely for the grammar nerds who find discussions about fluff pop songs to be enthralling. After all, the kids smoking hash may be tattling on each other because of something as simple as jealousy and girl problems. To this, Cristi is our mostly mute observer, opening up the most within his reports, which silently move down the screen, and when he tries to defend not arresting any of them.
Not to mention the film also exists to have the people that saw 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days shriek at the sight of Vlad Ivanov, who plays Cristi's superior demanding the arrest of the "dealer."
Of course, the stand out scene is the final definition, as textbook mentality quite literally battles personal opinion until what is one of the best ending scenes this side of Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="517"... more
Hello West Hollywood!
This is our last podcast from the New York Film Festival and we end it on the question of "just what was this crazy thing?"
On one hand, people were vocal this year against the supposed elitism of NYFF. Tony Scott got so peeved he even coined a new nonsense term: festivalism.
Even nobodies on the Internet stood on their hind legs and demanded to know why they couldn't be on the selection committee. How sad is that?
Still, we get into that, a bit about Everyone Else, White Material and even Bronson. Joined as always by Vadim Rizov and our special final guest, Matt Prigge.
So thanks for listening if you have, and if you haven't go back and try it out.
If you ever see us at the bar or the theater, stop and say hi. Then buy us a drink.
Hello West Hollywood!
This is our last podcast from the New York Film Festival... more
Hello Los Angeles!
Many important things happened through the 2009 New York Film Festival. But here is the story of the Blue Falcon, as told by Ian Kramer.
It is the story of one of the most important and relevant events that ever occurred at the festival this year.
Hello Los Angeles!
Many important things happened through the 2009 New York... more
Hello Staten Island!
The fest may be over, but we have two episodes left.
This time, we're joined by Dan Sallitt (Thanks for the Use of the Hall, dir. of All the Ships at Sea & Honeymoon) to discuss what he saw at the Toronto International Film Festival, Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch, briefly Jacques Rivette's Around a Small Mountain and the difference about certain festivals.
As always, the podcast is hosted by myself and Vadim Rizov (IFC's Indie Eye).
note: the mp3 downloads will be ready after we post our final episode of the series. thanks for the wait.
Hello Staten Island!
The fest may be over, but we have two episodes left.... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="364" caption="Broken Embraces. Img credit: The Film Society of Lincoln Center/Sony Pictures Classics"][/caption]
[Broken Embraces is the Closing Night Selection for the 2009 New York Film Festival. It opens in limited release on 11/20 (New York) and 12/11 (Los Angeles.) We'll run our full review on the Los Angeles release date.]
If you enjoy mad-cap Pedro Almodóvar that takes the piss out of cinema, explores the cautionary subtext of documentary as a "life-saving genre" and enjoy a director having fun with his own back catalog and extracting a story that has more in line with gaudy Pop Art, then you must see this.
If you are confused by any of the above and you detest a filmmaker trying to explore themselves by parody, then you should really just sit on your thumb.
-John Lichman[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="364"... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="OMG IT IS PRESS CONFERENCE W/ PEDRO Y PENELOPE"][/caption]
If remarks about the lack of mainstream appeal and a flair for elitism is the constant negative remark many hold against the New York Film Festival, they lost all of it as Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz entered the Walter Reade Theater. For the first time(and second to last press conference of the festival,) TV and camera crews lined the walls and covered the mixed crowd of industry and shabby press with pens and recorders held high.
Now then, enlighten us! Bring to us the quotes that will line our websites and notebooks with the genius that is...ALMODÓVAR.
"The truth is, for a long time I had a fantasy of a director who during the course of the film would lose one of his senses," Almodovar said. Further elaboration would then come from the crew, intentionally trying to destroy the vision of the director and would wind up creating a masterpiece. "That would be a film about the vanity of directors. But the origin for this came somewhere else."
The premise for Almodovar's fictional director Mateo Blanco and his pen name, Harry Caine, came instead from solitude and even being alone with migranes he suffered through. From there, it further shifted into a lothario and, in Almodovar's words, "it actually would become a pornographic film about a blind man with lots of girls," to much laughter.
And yes, this is perfectly fine for a lead into Broken Embraces, which is one of the stranger yet oddly Pop films from the Spanish director. Colors are vibrate, scenes are lush with repetition of crosses, DVDs, writing tools and--notably in one character's estate--guns. But the guns are only an expression in art, to showcase further violence? Future violence? Oh who can tell.
The generic premise, that leads us into Embraces, remains: Mateo/Harry (Lluís Homar) is capable of seducing women by simply engaging in daily activities, as if he hadn't lost his eyesight at all. Yet it is this supposed weakness that brings them back, since he still needs a sense of description in his life to make up for losing his (metaphorical and quite literal) vision.
While visual nods to Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn are more than apparent, such as the opening credits that takes a stand-in for Cruz who seems to be an adorable Hepburn off-shoot. But Almodóvar is quick to slap those attempts at pandering aside:
"To answer about Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn, this is always a small reference that for working is good to have. I never have to demonstrate the audience sees Sophia Loren or Audrey Hepburn. This is always a reference for hair, for make up or for the look of the character. The rest is completely of [Penélope Cruz'] own," he said.
While not nearly as fiery, Cruz gave a rather generic response: "She must become a great actress in life and a great manipulator...she decides to almost enjoy every second of that manipulation. She has no freedom. You only see what she really is with her family at the beginning of the movie."
This would be the impetus for the next seven minutes of audience questions ranging from "If he is blind, why did he open a peep hole in his door" to "what is love to you?" It's all pointless in the light that Embraces is a mad-cap ode, in some ways, to everything that Almodóvar holds dear: simplistic, yet engrossing plots that seem more at home on a soap opera that are punctuated with cigarettes, vibrant framing and even unintentinoal nods back to his earlier work.
Literally, the film within Embraces ( Women and Suitcases) is a scene taken from Women on the Verge:
"Obviously. I wanted for them to make a comedy, just because the drama and the suffering for them in their lives would be more clear in their backgrounds. I decided for Women on the Verge because it was cheaper for me and I could just adapt it on my own in my own way. First because I needed a comedy and it was not so important what kind of comedy was there. It was easier for me to use my own material. "
Yet, he still bristles at the idea of re-editing a film, "To re-edit? Frankly that's something I never really think about doing. I never think about going back to re-edit or to re-shoot. I think one of the things that's really good about a film is that you finish it and it's over. You should become aware of what you've done and move on. The only part of the crew I'm completely faithful in is the editor...but thinking about the movies that I could do it again, trying to make it for people? It's simple--Kika or Live Flesh."
But does he share Mateo's own aversion to ever making a sequel, remake or prequel?
"Yes. I have to say I have no interest in making sequels, or prequels, or heroic films, or anti-heroic films, or superhero films. Everything else is okay."
-John Lichman[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Richard Peña, Translator and Michael Haneke at The White Ribbon press conf."][/caption]
There were varied reactions after yesterday's screening of the Palme d'Or winning The White Ribbon at the New York Film Festival. On one hand, it is every bit as brutal and bleak as Caché--almost to a startling degree to some fellow viewers sitting around the first few rows. But on the other hand, If you want proof the Cannes Film Festival is a joke, then look no further than this Children of the Corn remake that won.
Of course, being mainstream is the least productive thing on Michael Haneke's mind these days.
"I chose this period in [Germany] because it offers the most prominent form of extremism in any kind," he said through a translator during the press conference. The question related to whether Haneke's choice of Ribbon's setting a scarce few months prior to World War I was an attempt to symbolize the constant despair and violence committed. Yet in his continued worldview, "it would be an error to reduce the film rather to this specific period and country."
In the Haneke mind-set, everyone is at some point guilty of the violence they will inevitably cause. Ribbon, as told by an elderly sounding narrator who we learn is a 31-year old schoolteacher, is primarily about children inheriting and dealing with the sins of their parents. Whether it be incest, abuse, implied revenge or good ol' fashioned senseless violence, Haneke's film strives to remind us that this is universal.
But different strokes for different folks, as some German speakers in the audience took note with Haneke's "dumbing down" and "formalizing" within the subtitles.
"That's the reason for the subtitle that appears underneath on screen written in old fashioned German writing," Haneke said. In fact, beneath the title is -"A German Children's Tale."
Others--namely one woman--saw many similarities with Arthur Miller's The Cruicible, which provided a strange peek into the audience's mind since the same question was later asked of Pedro Almodovar at the Broken Embraces press conference. Despite the argument of modern ideas and culture, Haneke's Ribbon is bleak. Quite intentionally so, according to the director, who used black and white imagery to force "spectactors," as he calls the audience, to "think about the period...for that reason it's easier for [them] to enter the period. Black and white always makes a certain distance in [them.]"
Much like anything he does, there's also a darker motive to contrast his seemingly pretty conversatinon piece.
"It works against the claim of reproducing reality in the same way that the film begins--with the narrator and the tale he wants to tell us...the film never claims it is offering accurate depictions of what took place, rather it offers artifacts and always tries to rouse a sense of mistrust in the audience," he said.
The defining moment of the conference came at the end, as a question about Haneke's striking use of symmetry and framing came into play. The shots setting the consistantly depressing mood and idea that nothing can be repaired. But also, the questioner said, "I just wonder whether you have some abiding sadness in you."
The entire theater burst into laughter, but it did not deter Haneke at all. In a strange way, it further defines his mode of thought:
"The framing corresponds also to my choice of black and white and the narrator. I'm trying as much as possible in my film to create this possible space for the spectator where the spectator will develop a certain freedom with respect to the image. Out of respect for [them] I try to reduce that manipulation as much as possible. That said you can't avoid a certain manipulation in the first place. I try to give [them] the freedom to develop a certain standpoint on what they're witnessing...that's behind the decision I make for every aspect of the film, not only in terms of the script but also the framing."
As for his sadness, "I don't think I'm a depressive person myself. You probably best ask my wife whose sitting at the back of the theater."
And for the second time that morning, the theater erupted into laughter as heads turned and scoured the seats for a glimpse of Haneke's wife.
"Drama has the obligation to deal with conflict," he said. "Which we confront in our daily lives. That's our responsibility to deal with this. I'm always surprised by mainstream cinema that seeks to sweep under the carpet, or make harmless, very serious questions. I respect the spectator so much I want to take seriously the questions that he or she is confronted with; problems that aren't so funny at all. There are enough specialists for films for the easily amused-- I don't think someone should ask a cobbler to make a hat."
-John Lichman[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The films we'd rather see, via Aaron Hillis"][/caption]
# of White Ribbons: 2
# of reserved "industry" seats: ~30-50
# of inane questions Richard Peña managed to deflect during press conferences: 4
# of press conferences: 2
# of seats reserved for "Aronofsky:" 1
# of days left: 1.
-John Lichman[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"... more
# of Attendees at The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy): ~20-25
# of tracking shots that I'll see in Ben Russell's Let Each One Go Where He May: 13
# of Days until I'm back at Current LA: 7.
# of Days Left: 5
# of Press Conferences Left: 4
# of Days of Press Screenings Left: 3
# of Films I Walked Out On: 2
# of Press Conferences via Skype Left: 1
# of Times I became Mayor of Grassroots Tavern on Foursquare: 1
# of Times Me and Armond White hung out and prank called Lisa Schwarzbaum: 0
-John Lichman# of Attendees at The Night of Counting the Years (aka The Mummy): ~20-25
# of... more
# of times Dennis Lim sipped water during the Independencia Q&A: 2
# of times Dennis Lim did not take shit during the Q&A: 2
# of thought trains detailed: 1
# of questions about Jesus asked: 1
# of sisters in Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard: 4
# of "whathefuckisup"s: 2
# of dead girls in Bluebeard's private room: 3
# of coffee cups thrown away: 3
# of cups of coffee I drank: 5
# of dollars I owe someone from Sunday night: $1
# of people in the front row for a press conference: 5
# of guys who asked me for a light, then turned out to be Raya Martin: 1.
# of times Dennis Lim sipped water during the Independencia Q&A: 2
# of... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="706" caption="Photo Credit: The Film Society of Lincoln Center/IFC Films"][/caption]
The overwhelming lesson that we're supposed to take from Lars Von Trier's Antichrist is simple: chaos rains. It rains on a tin roof, it rains acorns on Willem Dafoe, it rains until it pours so much bitter resentment and anger at the state of how man treats nature that the only way to continue living is simply be consumed by it.
Though, we're getting too far ahead of ourselves. This is the film, after all, that prompted one of the more infamous 2009 Cannes press conferences and proved why we like Von Trier. In fact, as spectacle, Antichrist fails. Built up for months as the most visceral and disturbing films that any audience could see, it feels more like that first AM screening at Cannes will be the only people who feel that way.
Broken into sections, we're introduced to He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in poetic slow-motion fucking. The use of that term is intentional, since Von Trier clearly wants a reaction from on-screen penetration and tangled bodies. From the shower to the bed, beads of water crawl and their son Nic (Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm) move towards their inevitable climax--again, forever tarnished by that first AM screening at Cannes, since this is a film about grief. From there, He and She do their best to overcome the grief, as He feels confident in diagnosing his wife's problems.
Yet She can't cope and inevitably, He realizes they must retreat to their cabin, "Eden," for her to recover. While Von Trier made his annoyance with his own symbolism known, thus we begin the crawl to the violence that reportedly had people vomiting at Toronto and fainting at Cannes. There is something here with Von Trier's inevitable reveal that nature is evil and women are the most evil creatures because men force them this way, but it gets kicked up into the extreme with special guest appearances from The Woodland Christmas Critters.
Visually, Von Trier is on. The use of rain and nature to convey this hell on Earth is perfect, and no one is more willing to get up close than he is when it comes to making people suffer. The message feels redundant by the end, even with repetition of "The Three Beggers," which He notes, "that isn't even a real constellation!"
Definitely worth seeing, but as to whether or not this is a comedy or a Trash Humpers-esque "film as fast as I can and plot be damned," that's entirely up to you. Just bring an umbrella.
Antichrist plays tonight at 9 pm and tomorrow [10/3] at 1 pm as part of the New York Film Festival. It will be released as Video-on-Demand on 10/21 and in limited theatrical on 10/23 by IFC Films.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="706"... more
# of films I've completely missed: 2
# of inches the pressure point on your thigh is: 3" around
# of podcasts crashed by Sylvia Miles: 1.
# of press screenings left: 9
# of press screenings that are repeats: 5
# of humps in Trash Humpers: Impossible to count.
# of walk-outs from Trash Humpers: None as far as I saw. "I saw at least 5." -Gina Telaroli, edit at 4:57 est, 10/1.
# of people asking if the Humpers were real or wearing masks: 1
# of films I refuse to see: 1.
-John Lichman# of films I've completely missed: 2
# of inches the pressure point on your... more
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="The Trash Humpers Press Notes."][/caption]
Press conferences at NYFF can be hit or miss--mostly miss since the Von Trier event was the last time anyone would really, possibly ask something strange or about Nietzsche. But yesterday's screening of Trash Humpers started with row after row cackling at these "old people" humping trash cans, tree branches and bags of trash.
It slowly subsided into "Ohs" and prolonged silence cut through by the "HNEE HNEE HNEE" laughter of the film's cameraman.
"What happened was I grew up really close and now I live really close where we filmed it in," Korine said at the press conference afterwards. Another remarkable feat would come from not a single person, at least by some standards, walking out. The further empetus for Humpers came from walking his dog through the back alleys and streets that turn into a sort of disturbing playground rewound in VHS.
"Sometimes when I walk through these alleys, they would resemble humans to me by the way they were laying or had fallen on the ground. And I don't know what happened--I sort of imagined what it'd be like to hump them," he said.
In essence, Humpers plays as part childhood memory distorted by god only knows what else Korine has done in his life. But it also acts in a lesson much parodied in Antichrist discussion: that chaos reigns. Here, elderly peepers that "seemed like they lived in the shadows" wander around drinking wine and repeating mantras like "Take it, take it, don't fake it, fake it!"
Richard Peña asked Korine if he had intentionally thought of "horror icons" like Freddie Kruger or other Slasher Killers when putting the Humpers in these elderly masks.
"I wasn't consciouslly referencing any of those movies or thinking about them...There's something strange to me about seeing people with the same face," he said,
The inevitable question of how this began almost seems natural considering how Korine may function: what began as a photography project taking on low-fi undertones developed into a film to be shot instantly. It is magical to hear that the project only started four months ago and has just shown at the Toronto International Film Festival and now New York. In fact, it almost plays as an example of "How to make your auteur cinema...if your name is Harmony."
As I tweeted before, Humpers may have you outside screaming, yet it's an exercise in "finding" the very sort of film that is now lost to us. And then, when found once again, it will hump it.
On whether or not this is a film: " In some ways I don't even want to call it a movie, and I'll be the first to say it. I wanted to make something that was more like an aritifact, something that was unearthed. Maybe imagine it was buried in a ditch somewhere.
On the tape which inspired Trash Humpers: "Someone came up and handed me a video tape a little while ago and told me to watch it. Usually I throw this stuff away because I'm scared to look at it, but this one I kept and waited a couple of months. My wife was there with her friend and told me to put a movie on. As a joke, I put this tape in. What I saw was just mainly this kids driving around, punching each other, playing tuba, driving and screaming at each other. Just things that were seemingly mundane. They both started yelling at me to take it off, and I asked them why. They said, because someone is going to get murdered. I thought this was a strange reaction for them to have, but...I thought it was an interesting idea and a template to make the kind of movie like that...There might be the influence around the edges, but I was trying to devote myself purely to the honesty of making a feature film an artifact."
On shooting: "It would just be a moment and a moment and a moment--early on we decided we would be very military. Pretty much the way you see it, even in the order, is the way it was shot."
On changing how films are made: "The experience I had with my last movie was really terrible, the making of it was great but everything surrounding it was awful: how long it took, how frustrating the process was. Movies don't need to change but the way in which films are made is too slow, too inhibiting, costs too much money. It seems to be in opposition to experimentation. I wanted to get to the point where I could have an idea, like a painter would and could quickly paint. I wanted to make films as quickly as I could paint them. So I had this idea, I had these friends around me and this location.. I wanted to make films as quickly as I could think of them. I had this idea...I did very little prep. Once I took the photos and I figured out...the whole shoot was a little over 2 weeks. we were out there wandering around like that. we would walk through tunnels, under bridges and through swamps."
On not "having a script," yet a rather lengthy soliloquy that "defines" Trash Humpers: "I'm an American filmmaker trying to make american movies in a very specific way. I felt like tht characer was nothing too deep or some kind of commentary on that world. It's something I see every day and sometimes I feel that way. But at the same time, I'm not going to say that's me or someone else pretending to be me."
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="375"... more
# of films missed: 1
# of Views Around The Mountain: 36
# of Times Jonathan Demme laughed At Life During Wartime: 49
# of Times My Stomach Kept Grumbling: 14
# of Times I Dropped My iPhone: 1
-John Lichman# of films missed: 1
# of Views Around The Mountain: 36
# of Times Jonathan Demme... more
Hello Greenpoint! It's time for the third episode in our dispatch from the Big Apple. And what better way to celebrate that than a pitstop in renowned local chain Dallas BBQ--best known for "secret" drinks advertised in subway cars. Our topics include the U.S. premiere of German film Everyone Else and a second look back at the Chinese documentary, Ghost Town, which turns into a discussion of how the doc represents the shift in the New York Film Festival's selection committee. Joining me on this episode are: Vadim Rizov (IFC's Indie Eye, Village Voice), Andrew Grant (Like Anna Karina's Sweater, Benten Films), Gina Telaroli (Take Part, dir. of A Little Death), Nellie Killian (Migrating Forms Film Festival) and C. Mason Wells (IFC Films, LOL). Everyone Else screens as part of New York Film Festival 2009 on 10/4 at 9 p.m. and 10/5 at 6 p.m. [img via gina telaroli] -John Lichman
Hello Greenpoint! It's time for the third... more