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David Poland

By David Poland

Sundance 8

The issue involved is pretty basic to a lot of film… what does thing film tell you about its intent and how much should that matter to the audience?
At Sundance this year, this was also an issue with Nanking (westerners as heroes in a Chinese/Japanese conflict), Hounddog (how successful artistically does the on-screen rape and objectification of an 11-year-old have to be to be art instead of exploitation?), Teeth (is a man’s vagina dental fantasy comedy feminist or misogynist?), Zoo (does the film exploit a sexual deviance, condone it, mock it?), etc, etc, etc.

The Rest…

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10 Responses to “Sundance 8”

  1. Direwolf says:

    I am not sure what you mean by “thing film” but the concept of whether the filmmaker’s intent should matter to the audience interests me. I’ve never taken a film class and don’t understand a lot of what you and others talk about on this blog. But one thing I’ve picked up from reading your reviews is that you care about the filmaker’s intent and whether its is correctly executed.
    As you note in this column, “how much should that matter to the audience?” I think that question goes to the core of why you, as a film critic might not love a film but others do.
    For example, you are don’t seem too hot on Children of Men but many others love it. You seem to think it is muddled in terms of message. Others, including more casual viewers, love the film. We think it is well done, intense, and meaningful. We leave the theatre and it lingers for days or weeks.
    So which definition of a good film is correct. Maybe both but I am not sure. I suspect though this debate might explain why you and other experts see films differently than casual but heavy filmgoers. And I think this explains some of the intensity of debate over which films deserve to be nominated for Oscars.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Authorial intent should not be something that you get from talking to the director afterwards; a director who’s really on top of what he’s doing should make it clear enough in the movie (or book, or painting) so that everyone can figure it out without needing to reference outside information.

  3. I still want to hear if you know any details about the sale of Clubland and whether Noise got purchased too.

  4. James Leer says:

    Clubland sold for $4 mil to WIP.

  5. Yeah, I read that but was wondering if Dave had heard anything else. There was an article in the newspapers down here, but not much other than a plot description and how much it sold for and a reference to Robert Redford’s opening night speech.

  6. James Leer says:

    I saw it…what else do you want to know?

  7. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Did anyone actually see Clubland? How is it?

  8. Any good? I’ve heard Brenda Blethyn is really good.

  9. James Leer says:

    It’s pretty good. It skirts the line of cloying a little too often (before totally giving into it at the end) and I couldn’t tell whether Brenda Blethyn’s comedy act was intentionally mediocre or what, but it’s watchable and all the actors are appealing. I especially loved the actress playing Khan Chittenden’s girlfriend…it could have been a generic part but she brought a bracing forcefulness to it.

  10. Thanks heaps! Nobody down here has had the chance to see it so that’s the first semblence of an opinion I’ve heard.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon