So I’ve been told I need to lay off the mysogo and brush up on my dinner party small talk
I cannot believe it’s taken so long for me to properly watch The Great Dictator. I recently watched Chaplin’s final film and was completely taken by the final scene. Recently it seems to have become a bit of an internet touchstone and this version has a ton of Heavy Handed Hans Z over it, but it’s not really called for. (I struggled to find the original version in decent resolution)
Chaplin said that if he had known the horrors of the holocaust he would have not made the film, I think that would have been a shame.
This is part of a great essay for Criterion
The greatness of the film lies in the bridge Chaplin builds between the little guy and the bully, so that in an amazing spiral, the thugs who pursue Chaplin as victim are under the orders of Chaplin the boss. He is his own persecutor, and at the end, he is the voice of resistance to his own mania. The effect is not to humanize Hitler but, in part—and this is an aspect of the film’s courage—to Hitlerize Chaplin…
There is a complex bit of history behind this setup. The Gold Rush had been banned by Goebbels in 1935 because it did not “coincide with the world philosophy of the present day in Germany,” and Chaplin had been caricatured in various anti-Semitic publications as the archetypical Jew, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t Jewish. “Jewish,” for the propagandists, meant crafty and inventive and possessed of all the unheroic advantages of the underdog, just the resources that Chaplin’s screen character had so often availed himself of. In The Great Dictator, he chose both to repeat his old act and to repeal it. His antifascist argument pursues the fascist in all of us, and the implication of his equation of the victim with the dictator is not only that the comic could have been the madman but that even the good guys and the persecuted, represented by the world’s best-loved clown, are not to be trusted with absolute power. Chaplin’s finest further touch, having made his dictator ridiculous, is to remind us of how much harm even ridiculous people can do. Nothing in the film is quite as frightening as the sight and sound of the ludicrous Hynkel casually ordering the execution of three thousand striking workers. We should know better, but we easily forget how lethal the ludicrous can be.
Criterion also has some great behind the scenes photos too.
A still image from Raoul Peck’s film Fatal Assistance, which focusses on misguided philanthropy after the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
“Help,” as it turns out, is not on the way when it comes to Haitians post 2010 earthquake. Promised eleven billion in aid that never arrived, the nation was a victim of not only natural disaster but a man-made one, which Raoul Peck details in Fatal Assistance. The film has its U.S. premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which opens today. Peck, the creator of political thriller Lumumba (2001) is a fearless filmmaker and Port-au-Prince native who now spends his time in France, the U.S. and Haiti, where he served for a short time in the mid-1990s as Minister of Culture. In this interview, which was conducted when the film played Berlin this past winter, Peck makes the case for passionate, point-of-view filmmaking. Unfortunately, he reminds us, some points of view are buried. “Places like Haiti and an overall two-thirds of the world don’t have access to their own storytelling. We don’t own our stories.”
Clicl through to Keyframe for an interview with Raoul Peck, and here’s the trailer.
This is a fun game. Try pick Norma Jean in this 1941 class photo.
(click here for a full-res version)
Tip no 1: She’s wearing grey
Tip no 2: Her hair is the same as above and she’s in a jacket with big assed shoulder pads.
Tip no 3: Click here
You can buy this photo for $10k if you’re interested.
In Memory of Harris Savides (1957-2012)
A great tribute from Press Play
"I don’t want to light their faces and bodies specifically. I like to light the space.” —Harris Savides
For my money Birth and Zodiac feature some of the best cinematography in the last decade.
PP: Birth is filled with “How the hell did they do that?” camera moves and astoundingly long takes, but his New York streetscapes and lush interiors aren’t TV-commercial glossy, or even fussed over; they seem like places where real people, not movie characters, might live and work. Coppola’s comfortably numb Somewhere has an early 70s stoner art-film vibe, but its locked-down wide shots, which let us simply watch characters behaving for minutes at a stretch, bespeak powers of concentration that Coppola’s earlier movies only hinted at. Van Sant’s hothouse triptych seems influenced by the work of hypnotically stripped-down European filmmakers who had become critical darlings in the U.S. around that time, Bela Tarr especially; but the casual-seeming quality of the light—radiant, even woozy, yet somehow not sentimentalized—is thoroughly American. Van Sant’s school-shooting psychodrama Elephant, in particular, merges documentary patience and movie-brat showiness in a way that felt strange and new; no wonder it divided critics.
In time, Fincher’s Zodiac might prove the most significant picture of the bunch. Shot digitally with the Viper cameraat a time when many directors and viewers were still suspicious of high-definition video, it was at once revolutionary and reassuring. No American movie had revealed the texture of night with such crystalline clarity. At the same time, though, the mid-’70s conspiracy thriller look that Fincher and Savides devised for Zodiac’s daytime and office scenes tied the movie to analog values, and sent an important subliminal message: tools change as technology evolves, but they’re still just a means to an end.
'You know that loneliness will kill you deader than a 357 magnum?'
Super keen to see James William Guercio’s Electra Glide In Blue
Mubi: The film’s denouement is in fact facilitated by the self-destruction of several curiously close, if unsteady, male partnerships; it’s as though the squishy individualism of the 60s has crusted over into crude survivalism, leaving dyads no longer durable. The xeric landscape now belongs only to the man who can slip between and placate the communities at war within it while remaining true to himself—in other words, as the ending suggests, to no man at all.
—Joseph Jon Lanthier
'Hashtag short lonely cops'
Here’s Austrian photographer Reiner Riedler’s new project, The Unseen Seen. It’s a series of macro shots of original filmrolls from the archive in The Deutsche Kinemathek, which is home to 13,000 national and international film titles.
The concept is to confront the viewer with the image of an object (filmrolls) and in doing so recall images from the spectator’s memory. By reading the movie title, I want to generate emotions and images from our memory.
Through the act of collecting and selecting the film rolls I noticed analogies between the colour and the shape of the rolls, and the content of the movies.
Besides the nostalgic connotation concerning the movie itself, there is the nostalgia concerned with the loss of a tradition. This projcet also deals with this loss - „the dying of film“.
I’ve no idea what’s going on in Alex van Warmerdam’s new film Borgman, but it looks pretty scary
Synopsis: Is he a dream or a demon, a twisted allegory or an all-too-real embodiment of our fears? BORGMAN is a sinister arrival in the sealed-off streets of modern suburbia. His presence unleashes a crowing gallery of distortion around the careful façade constructed by an arrogant, comfortable couple, their three children and nanny.
Check the new trailer for Refn’s new Bankok ball buster Only God Forgives
Kirsten Scott Thomas plays the cranky type pretty well huh?
I hope that Ryan and that Thai cop dude can work out between them who really is the strong silent type, without resorting to violence.
If anyone is super keen there’s a slightly different international trailer too