Saturday, October 11, 2008

Goodies for Cinephiles

I’m just going to highlight some cinema goodness from the links on my “Goodies for Cinephiles” sidebar, which don’t get enough love.

Because right now, the best things in life are free, are they not?

Check out this great poster for The Shining:

You can purchase the poster

According to the description on the website, “The Alamo Drafthouse has commissioned Billy Perkins and Jeff Kleinsmith to re-create their sold-out poster 'duel' over the The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from earlier this year...this time with The Shining! This Halloween, The Alamo in conjunction with Nike is throwing a special Shining Event up in Oregon. This truly haunting The Shining poster by Jeff Kleinsmith depicts Jack in the center of his maze of madness. Poster measures 24x34, 5 colors, is signed and numbered by the artist...” Very nice!

Kleinsmith also did a cool one for
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

Here’s a pair of fun recommendations from
Richard Harland Smith: "Frankensteinia is always a good time and host Pierre Fournier is a gracious and affable host in possession of an encyclopedia-like brain (which is to say it's very heavy and dry) about all things related to Mary Shelley's undying Creature." Plus, "Every day is Halloween for the minds behind Kindertrauma, where you can find confessions of childhood nightmares spawned by mindless entertainment, a sausage surprise recipe you won't soon forget and some traum-mercials that will scar your soul (no, I really mean that) and what has to be the scariest album cover ever." I gotta share the pic of sausage surprise:


GreenCine has a
round-up of articles on the newly released 50th anniversary release of Welles’ brilliant noir film, Touch of Evil. There’ a controversy involving the aspect ratio:

"The solution here, to make everyone happy, would be to include two presentation versions on the same release," writes
Craig Keller in an open letter to producer Rick Schmidlin (who also oversaw the 1998 re-edit), "which would appease any functionaries who seek any excuse to release the thing in 'widescreen', and one version in open-matte 1.33 (not the current 1.85:1 image cropped further down to 1.33), which would make the compositions consistent with the core aesthetics of Welles's oeuvre (yes, I am aware of his in-certain-instances deliberate framing of particular films at 1.66), and consistent with the director's reflections on the aesthetics of framing as discussed in his (Welles's own) essay 'Ribbon of Dreams,' reproduced here."

Dave Kehr comments: "There's clearly no cut and dried answer here, in the absence of any documentary evidence, but my eye tells me that [the 1.85 aspect ratio is] too tight."

They also have a
round-up of New York Film Festival articles on The Wrestler, and I LOVE this quote: "Here as in Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain, Aronofsky remains fascinated by humanity's capacity for self-mutilation in the pursuit of a cherished dream," writes Nick Schager in Slant. "His close-proximity immersion into Randy's in-ring violence and backstage recovery sessions - such as when medical treatment of his gruesome injuries instigates cross-cutting flashbacks to the brutal acts that produced them - results in gritty panoramas of corporeality damaged in the service of attaining stardom or, at least, base financial sustenance.... Eventually hampered by a traitorous ticker that relegates him to humble supermarket deli counter duty, Randy ultimately refuses to betray himself, and it's there, in Randy's resigned understanding and acceptance that a life predicated on self-destruction can only end one way, that The Wrestler ultimately locates its measure of graceful nobility."

“The printed word has the weight of absolute truth. And this weight of truth endures longer than one could ever imagine.”
Catherine Deneuve, Interview with Pascal Bonitzer

current issue is all about French Cinema:

The Goddess, French Cinema: Catherine Deneuve’s film diaries, Close Up and Personal by Daniel Garrett

Honor, Humanism, Humor: Notes on Jean Renoir’s film The Rules of the Game and the book Jean Renoir: Interviews by Daniel Garrett

A l’intérieur: a Rebirth of French Horror by Donato Totaro

The Eye of the Beholder: Marital Discord and Film Making in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mepris by Jason Mark Scott

It’s Gradiva Calling: A Personal Homage to Alain Robbe-Grillet by Simon Laperrière

Oh, what the heck. Here are a few more Catherine Deneuve images. She was quite the icon.

Senses of Cinema:

Sydney Pollack: A Personal Recollection by Scott Murray
The death of Sydney Pollack earlier this year affords the occasion for Senses of Cinema’s co-Editor to reflect on the man and his films.

“1963-1968. Paris: The Godard Years” by Antoine Bourseiller
A chapter from Bourseiller’s memoir Sans relâche: Histoires d’une vie which offers a rich and moving account of his friendship with Godard.

For those who love my series on
Visual Storytelling, check out Strictly Film School’s Imagery section.

From the always provocative
Bright Lights Film Journal:

Blood, Sweat, and Canvas: How Barton Fink Can Set You Free — "All the world's a hell ten feet square"

To Slap a Dame: Sexual Violence in the Age of Reason — "He's the only one that enacts incest with one hand and bats away communists like flies from a dung pile with the other."

The 1,000 Greatest Films

Plus, the
List of Bests:
* 1,000 Greatest Films
* 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
* And 250 Quintessential Noir Films

I’ve read recently quite a few interesting thoughts about Waltz with Bashir, which was written and direct by Ari Folman. There’s a round-up in GreenCine Daily
here. See the trailer above. It’s about the protagonist’s memory of the nightmarish Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the Sabra and Shatila massacres that were committed by Phalangist militias against the Palestinians. Animation is certainly a great venue to explore stories about the mind. Whether there’s an audience for such an endeavor on the other hand…

Here are some interesting
thoughts from Michael Koresky in the always thoughtful site, Reverse Shot:

Folman isn’t gussying up a difficult chapter of history in accessible pop extravagance; rather he’s using a new form to investigate the terrible persistence, not to mention unreliability, of memory and perception, and how personal and political deceptions often go hand in hand…

…The structure of the film—that Ari is searching for the “truth” about what happened over 25 years ago at the refugee camps by interviewing his fellow soldiers, and none of them can quite remember or agree—is not simply a plot device; Folman directly investigates, through form and narrative, the act of willful forgetting. As Folman meets with one comrade after another, many of whom he hasn’t seen in decades and all of whose experiences paint different portraits of the incident and other events that occurred in Lebanon surrounding the massacre, we see a pattern of rueful self-awareness but also of intentional distancing. War is recalled as though a dream, not just because of the soldiers’ vague recollections but because reality is too much to face. Folman designs not an alternate history but a drastic conceptualization of subjective truth. The anything-goes freedom that comes with this sort of creative approach is only powerful by virtue of its limitations, and though Folman sometimes indulges in some wildly expressionistic flights of fancy (in one sequence a man recalls/dreams about a lifeboat in the shape of a huge naked woman, and he goes sailing off to safety on her supple, enormous body, the screen brightening from a drab gray to a surreal orange), most of his lovely vignettes stay grounded in a terrifying reality.

Here’s Nick Schager
in Slant Magazine:

Folman nullifies engagement with his on-screen proxy protagonist by segueing back and forth between others' recollections. Such diversions, however, make strategic sense in light of the fact that Folman's own story is predictably telegraphed from the outset, with it tediously clear that what he's suppressed is involvement (of a sort) in the massacres of Muslims at Sabra and Shatila perpetrated by Israeli-supported Christian Lebanese militants shortly after the assassination of president-elect Bashir Gemayel. The way the human psyche denies, mutates and embellishes as a means of coping with extremity—and guilt, even of merely abetting—is a topic the director intimately understands, but Waltz with Bashir makes its point early on and then restates repeatedly and, when the action shifts to back-and-forth chats between Folman and pals, quite drearily. While sights such as Folman and two other soldiers rising from the water at night as flares fall around them have a trancelike loveliness, their ability to convey Folman's detachment from wartime horrors is ultimately too successful, creating a sense of remoteness that's both enervating and schematic, as is the film's structurally logical but graceless, Lars von Trier-ian final cut to live-action footage of the massacre's aftermath.


When Robots would really be Human Simulacra: Love and the Ethical in Spielberg’s AI and Proyas’s I, Robot

A Cyborg’s Testimonial: Mourning Blade Runner’s Cryptic Images

Memory and Morals in Memento: Hume at the Movies

Towards a Theory of Film Worlds

Who has time for television?