World Cinema, a 2007 short film by the Coen Brothers from the To Each His Own Cinema compilation.
How good is this poster for The Parallax View! Very Mad Men eske….
The trailer can be seen here
For the film’s centerpiece, Warren Beatty himself commissioned a freestanding film-within-a-film, one of the most abstract montages ever cut for a Hollywood feature.
DT: Just when chaos seems total, the montage maker brings a unifying theme to the forefront. Each wave of buzzword concepts has ended with the title ‘ME.’ ‘ME’ has been evolving from a happy baby. to an abused boy, to the imprisoned victims of tyrants and racists. Increasingly disturbing groupings equate the American flag, Hitler, MacArthur, the Pope, and a comic-book demon. Images of poverty, sex, and racial murder tumble forward. Repeated flags and patriotic icons drive home the message that “America is in trouble, the family is in trouble.” Only when ‘ME’ becomes a hammer-swinging Nordic avenger (the comic-book character Thor) does the ANSWER arrive to end the ideological trauma.
Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Apple: Named by ArtReview as the most powerful artist in the world, Ai Weiwei is China’s most celebrated contemporary artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. In April 2011, when Ai disappeared into police custody for three months, he quickly became China’s most famous missing person. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to the charismatic artist, as well as his family and others close to him, while working as a journalist in Beijing. In the years she filmed, government authorities shut down Ai’s blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention—while Time magazine named him a runner-up for 2011’s Person of the Year. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance 2012, her compelling documentary portrait is the inside story of a passionate dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics.
I pretty much agree with everything in The Playlist’s dissection of Prometheus, except maybe Noomi Rapace deserves a bit more credit, I think she’ll go on to be a star.I can’t wait to see what she does with Brian De Palma in Passion.
These two articles at Bibliokept have a bit of extra Prometheus reading if you’re keen.
UPDATE: This Julian Sanchez article sums up the problems with the film in a hilarious fashion.
Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles
HotDocs: Meet Jackie, former Mrs. Florida 1993 and current wife of David Siegel, the self-styled king of a vast timeshare empire. She loves her husband, eight children and shopping. A leggy blond teetering on high heels, Jackie is thrilled to show us her work in progress, the largest single-family home in America. Modeled on the palace of Versailles but arguably more lavish, it features 30 bathrooms and a skating rink. At the same time, David is building the largest timeshare property in Las Vegas, selling average citizens a small piece of the good life for just a little money down. Then the financial crisis of 2008 hits. As the threat of losing it all looms, David’s personality undergoes a marked shift from boastful billionaire to tired old man, but Jackie soldiers on with a bright smile. One wonders what it will take to wake this queen from her American dream.
Iraqi actress Zahra Zubaidi playing the role of Farah in Brian DePalma’s film Redacted. Taryn Simon created this photograph to serve as the final frame in DePalma’s film.
Since appearing in the film, Zahra has received death threats from family members and criticism from friends and neighbors who consider her participation in the film to be pornography.
The film is based on the gang rape and murder of a 14 year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza, by U.S. soldiers outside Mahmudiya on March 12, 2006. Abeer’s mother, father, and 6-year-old sister were murdered while she was being raped. After the soldiers took turns raping Abeer, she was shot in the head and her body was set on fire. (Wiki)
Four American soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment were convicted of crimes including rape, intent to commit rape, and murder.
In 2011, while this work was on view at the Venice Biennale, Zahra Zubaidi was granted political asylum in the United States. Her legal defense cited the international exhibition of this photograph as a contributing factor to her endangerment.
Artforum has a conversation between Brian De Palma and photographer Taryn Simon
BDP: Her story just tells me that we have no knowledge about her culture. You know? This makes absolutely no sense to us. By the same token, this idea that you’re just going to go in and put a few schools up and everybody is going to become democratic overnight is a specifically American idea.
TS: But at the same time, why is Western cinema so present throughout the world, then? If there are all of these intransigent cultural differences, why does an American aesthetic still seem to dominate global popular culture?
BDP: Because it’s the devil’s candy.
TS: Well, I wanted to ask you about that. Thinking about Zahra and everything that happened to her, what is the difference for you between art being violent and violence in art? Is there a difference?
BDP: There are many violent images in my movies. But cinema is kinetic. It’s motion. So obviously violent and very dramatic motions are part of the paint box of cinema. They are not really attainable or key in the same way in painting, not really in literature, not really in music. But in cinema, you can take these shots and make things go very fast and do very dramatic things. They can be very realistic at the same time and very terrifying. Violence can be used correctly. It obviously can be used incorrectly, but to me it’s just part of the vocabulary. I am a great believer in trying to maximize the visual impact of what I’m trying to show. That’s why there is the image of Carrie getting blood dumped on her. I mean, I have been watching that image being reproduced over and over for close to forty years now. That image is constantly repeated.
TS: When I think of the relentless return of a violent image, I think of the atomic bomb on film. Do you know what [J. Robert] Oppenheimer’s response to that footage was? He likened it to Vishnu trying to impress the king with his many arms: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I wonder if you think there are cases when an artwork has gone too far and takes on a “multiarmed” form, when a vision can destroy? Is there a boundary? Do boundaries matter in a world of spectacularized violence and anesthetized audiences?
BDP: No, I don’t think there is a boundary. I mean, we can graphically represent things, and we can emotionally—and even intellectually—create quite an effect. But that’s nothing compared with the actual bombing of innocent people.
TS: Zahra was in real danger of being killed. And you chose to not capitulate to censorship or threats. I remember during that time, you felt very strongly that images could stop the war and that their absence in mainstream media was perpetuating complacency.
BDP: There were absolutely no pictures coming out. They redacted all the real pictures of people who got killed in Iraq in Redacted—pictures that had been published and on the Internet, and that everybody had already seen or knew about.
And I think that that containment of images had a real effect. The Bush administration went to the lengths of “embedding” reporters with the troops, and they would supposedly tell you the real story—which, of course, is nonsense. It’s another way of completely controlling the image, which is what the military does all the time.
Vincent Gallo’s got a film he’s keeping from us
NYTimes: Completed in 2010, Promises Written in Water was shown that year at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, and has not been publicly screened since. The film’s Web site says it is “not currently planned for release.” In an interview with a Danish magazine last year Mr. Gallo said that it would be “allowed to rest in peace, and stored without being exposed to the dark energies from the public.”
Synopsis: Promises Written in Water is an extremely stripped down abstract romantic story of a man and a woman, both in crisis. Kevin (Vincent Gallo) is a long-time, professional assassin, specializing in the termination of life. Mallory (Delfine Bafort) is a wild, poetic, beautiful young woman confronting her terminal illness and eventual suicide. She reaches out to Kevin to take responsibility for her corpse once she passes, requesting his protection of her dead body’s dignity until her cremation. Kevin’s acceptance of this request causes uncomfortable self-reflection and changes the lens through which he views death.
Bolaji Badejo as the Xenomorph in Alien. A Nigerian design student, Badejo was discovered in a bar by a member of the casting team, who put him in touch with Ridley Scott. Scott believed that Badejo, at 7 feet 2 inches (218 cm) and with a slender frame, could portray the Alien and look as if his arms and legs were too long to be real, creating the illusion that there could not possibly be a human being inside the costume.