I ended up chuckling throughout it, full of loud and obnoxious remarks,
Whenever Eastern and Peter Kuplowski were up on stage, hosting the event, I would be yelling at those guys - yes, I was that guy,
"The Last Airbender is Shyamalan's most personal film!!!"
I was happy to see Alice in Wonderland win a few prices, no matter what the naysayers say, it is a good movie. The Academy always know how to mess up the Best Foreign Language Award, Incendies should have won.
There was something about James Franco with his mute presence, flat smile, straight posture, and spare enunciations which reminded me of a Bressonian model.
After a couple of hours of my disgraceful remarks towards everything about the ceremony, this old guy in front had enough and was consistently turning his back,
I was channeling Fincher-Zukerberg's youthful iconoclastic spirit in face of this Tom Hooper-like old-timer, ingrained with a boring comfortableness.
Film Listings : Mika Kaurismaki’s documentary on Miriam Makabe, Mama Africa, will be playing at Hot Docs. And there is Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber. David Thomson and Gregg Araki will be at the Lightbox. And it is worth highlighting the survey of Mark Rappaport films at the Anthology Film Archieves in New York. Sophie Deraspe’s Les Signes vitaux won the Jury prize at the Torino Film Festival Turin, Italy and it played in New York as part of MoMA’s Canadian Front 2011, which is now in its 8th year. The Images Festival (March 29th to April 7th), a week of experimental cinema, is getting Vapor Trail (Clark) by John Gianvito, which looks interesting, “a monumental essay film examining the legacy of a century of US colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines.” Some of the programmers of Images include the host of the terrific night of experimental film, Early Monthly Segments, who are Chris Kennedy, Kate MacKay, and Scott Miller Berry.
Congratulations to Nicolas Saada on winning the Blogger Award for his film Espion(s) at My French Film Festival.
I cannot recommend Dave Kehr’s terrific book When Movies Mattered enough, I wrote a couple of comments about it at his forum (1, 2). It is strange, some of the most exciting film discourse is no longer happening in print but on the Internet, in forums, comments, and podcasts. Some examples : the Dave Kehr forum, where every week, to accompany his New York Times DVD review, there is an extended discourse. On the Positif Facebook page there was a debate over the worth of Michel Ciment and the magazine between Jean-Baptiste Morin and Edouard Sivière, and, though I disagree with them, it is a fascinating rarity just hearing other people thoughts on Positif.
March Readings: Leah Sandals wrote at the National Post on the Images Festival. Kiva Reardon has two terrific interviews this month, one with Toronto’s best short-film director Kazik Radwanski and the other with everyone’s favorite local film-critic Adam Nayman (John Semley also has a piece on Adam). Other pieces include R. Bruce Elder’s Notes relating to Stan Brakhage’s Vancouver Island Trilogy, Marie Claude Loiselle’s Entre Fatigue et appel de la vie editorial in 24 Images (she emphasizes Brillante Mendoza’s Lola and Rusudan Pirveli’s Susa), Michel Ciment’s Presence du Cinema in the February 2011 issue, James Quandt on Uncle Boonmee in the March 2011 issue of Art Forum, and Mark Peranson’s interview with James Benning on Twenty Cigarettes (which Kaz informed me is terrific). There is a new issue of Sense of Cinema. Serge Toubiana put out a radio show on Stanley Kubrick (on the site there are also a couple of videos with Michel Ciment). Toubiana’s blog is a terrific window into the world of the Cinémathèque Française, a great continuation of the Langlois tradition.
Finally, there is a new issue of Cinema Scope, the only film magazine putting Toronto on the map. Make sure to bother that tall, browned-hair guy with big black glasses when you are at the tiff.shop getting it!
“We’re living (as I’ve written before) in something of a cinematic golden age, an era of radical cinema—including in Hollywood, where some of the best artists are probing, refining, and redefining what cinema is, whether visually (Coppola), autobiographically (Martin Scorsese), emotionally (Wes Anderson), violently (Darren Aronofsky), granularly (David Fincher), histrionically (Noah Baumbach), morally (Judd Apatow), texturally (Steven Soderbergh), neoclassically (James Gray), or theologically (Jared Hess), and that’s just for starters.”Which share similar generalization trappings to Andrew Tracy article Kurosawa at 100,
“Accordingly, the formal play of the postwar modernist – whether through narrative (Kurosawa), psychology (Bergman), phenomenology (Antonioni), temporality (Resnais) or spirituality (Rossellini) – did not attempt to simply reflect the experience of an increasingly fragmented existence, but to diagnoses the source of that fragmentation and suggest, however faintly, its correction.”And these broad categorization hawks back to Godard’s original Cahiers du Cinema review of Nick Ray’s Bitter Victory,
“First there was theater (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), Painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). But there was never cinema. Cinema is Nicholas Ray.”But what most people do not know about the famous Godard quote is that it is actually second-rate Godard ‘the film-critic’ (though second-rate Godard is still miles ahead of most other people). Here is a segment of first-rate Godard from his Cahiers review of Hot Blood,
“If the cinema stopped existing, Nicholas Ray, would be the only person, who gives the impression of being able to reinvent it, and who seems to really want to. We could imagine John Ford as an admiral, Robert Aldrich on Wall Street, Anthony Mann on the traces of Belliou la Fumée, Raoul Walsh as a new Henry Morgan under the Caribbean sky, within this frame we see how poorly the director of Run for Cover would do in any other field, other then the cinematographic. A Logan, for example, or a Tashlin, could a success in the theater or a music hall, a Preminger with the novel, a Brooks as a elementary school teacher, a Fuller in politics, a Cukor in advertisement, but not a Nicholas Ray.”
On the subject of John Huston, which was recently discussed at the Dave Kehr forums, Richard T. Jameson recommends Stephen Cooper’s Perspectives on John Huston, while Gregg Rickman recommends Reflections in a Male Eye and The Hustons. Three books that deserve further research.
Fabien Baumann responded to my piece on Positif,
“I'd like to answer to a few questions you ask to yourself in your article. First, if Positif doesn't cover the Toronto film festival each year, it's mainly because the plane tickets are very expensive. If we can afford to fly to Korea or to Romania to cover festivals in those countries, it's because the film festivals offer us the flight and sometimes even the hotel. It helps.And on my Monte Hellman post, Stephen Gaydos, the producer and writer of Road to Nowhere,
Second, I think that you misunderstood in a way what I wrote about British cinema. Positif likes it a lot and we have interviewed many times Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears or Kenneth Loach. If I have a general criticize about British films, it's not that they "wallow in their own endemic miserableness ", but on the contrary that most of them (except for Leigh and Loach, of course) "stroke the viewer in the way of his fur", a French expression meaning that these films are "feel good movies", not disturbing enough (as Un prophète is).”
“It's really a wonderfully detailed and vitally important addition to the current dialogue about cinema and mirrors thoughts I had just this morning as I dread delivering our film to the audience at South by Southwest.I am also flattered to have Brad Stevens add me as a friend on Facebook, Nicole Brenez ‘like’ the piece and, most importantly, to have Monte Hellman write, “The review is more like a major essay. Loved it.” It really means a lot, it took me a while to write the piece, and I appreciate it.
I feel that the American Indie audience has been zombiefied by Studio Blockbusters,video games and Sundance mush.
I wanted to be there to say, "Pretend it's 1972 and you'll be upset if you're not challenged, if the filmmaker hasn't turned your expectations upside down and broke new ground and delivered something strange and mysterious that fucks with your head and rewires your expectations. Pretend Sundance never happened and 'politically correct' is a phrase not yet born, that feeling good in the cinema isn't seen as a goal, but a threat."
It is also nice to hear Denis Côté liked my post on his films within Québécois cinema.
Have a good month,
*** (A Must-See)
*** (A Must-See)
** (Worth Seeing)
*** (A Must-See)