Archive for the Politics Category

Brexit of the Planet of the Apes

Posted in FILM, Politics with tags , , on June 24, 2016 by dcairns

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Filming on a beach one time, I once invited an actor to pound the sand like Charlton Heston at the end of PLANET OF THE APES. He expressed reticence: “It just feels like whenever there’s sand to be pounded, the sand gets pounded.” But then he did it anyway. Some days you just want to pound sand.

This is one of them. Though I will shortly be sitting in a crowded piazza watching CASQUE D’OR for free with an audience made up of globe-trotting film fans AND random citizenry, and so life is pretty sweet if you’re me right now, my country has just voted to leave the European Union, making this sort of activity in future trickier in ways that can’t be calculated yet, and doing atrocious damage of a more serious nature.

And so I say “Damn you all to hell!”

Not you. Or you. Those guys.

Collaboration

Posted in FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2016 by dcairns

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Yesterday — two contrasting screenings of THE NORTHLEACH HORROR, one with a disparate program of shorts, one with Steve Barker’s kinetic, political zombie theme park movie THE REZORT, which was a total blast. Steve’s audience was my kind of audience.

Spent most of today with the makers of HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY, an utterly charming documentary about a creative collaboration between two members of movie professions who never normally get films made about them: Harold Michelson was a storyboard artist who worked with Hitchcock on THE BIRDS and MARNIE, with Mike Nichols (he designed the shot where Anne Bancroft’s legs frame Dustin Hoffman) and many, many others, while his wife Lillian ran a research library based variously at the AFI, Zoetrope and Paramount. Two amazing and lovely filmmakers, profiled in detail in a film that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking (certain organs break easier when they’ve been warmed).

With the film’s director Daniel Raim and his co-producer and co-editor Jennifer Raim (another great husband-and-wife team) I strolled the city on a sightseeing tour and then dropped in on THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT, yet another film about a creative partnership, in this case the story of South Korean director Shin Sang -ok and his ex-wife, movie star Choi Eun-Hee, who were reunited when they were both kidnapped by Kim Jong-il and forced to make movies to raise the prestige of the North Korean film industry. A compelling and crazy story, beautifully told.

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The perfect blendship.

My editor friend Timo Langer has a copy of Kim’s book on film-making, On The Art of the Cinema — it’s not exactly a manual, more a set of dictats, vague-sounding aesthetic principles about how “each element of a film should be in balance” — the kind of things you can image a not-very-bright studio exec coming out with if asked to pontificate on a panel. It’s sort of like Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography as written by a dilettante blowhard. Or like Hamlet’s notes to the players, translated from the original Korean. Very boring to read, since it’s all just gassy generalisations, but a great talking point to have on your bookshelf. I covet it madly.

Judge Not

Posted in Comics, FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2016 by dcairns

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Based on HANDS OVER THE CITY and CADAVERE ECCELLENTI (ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES), Francesco Rosi might be cinema’s greatest architectural filmmaker.

The Italians have always been good at space and locations — it was they, aided by filmmaker/engineer Segundo de Chomon, who developed the first purpose-built dolly so they could explore gigantic sets in three dimensions. Rosi not only selects stunning environments and frames them elegantly, hi tracking shots make us feel we’re there, awestruck.

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The film opens in a catacomb full of mummies, where we meet not-quite mummified Charles Vanel, his face a crumbling McArthur Park cakescape of time’s ravages. Moments later he’s dead, the film’s first prestigious stiff (managing an impressive fall for an 83-year-old). One is inclined to resent the film for offering us Vanel and then snatching him away, but then we get a little more of him in flashback, and stunning environment after stunning environment. Plus a dazzling fashion show of 1970s men’s spectacles. Max Von Sydow’s are particularly alluring.

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Someone is killing judges! The conspiracy plot and film stock switches anticipate JFK, and a discussion about the miracle of transubstantiation made me posi-sure that Alan Moore saw this before writing V FOR VENDETTA. Rosi’s copper, just as dour as Moore’s, is played by the great Lino Ventura, who looks like he maybe bought his nose from the same smashed cartilage vendor as Vanel.

Library porn, Rosi style ~

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