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David Poland

By David Poland

A New Film Movement?

When is it time to demarcate a filmmaking

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6 Responses to “A New Film Movement?”

  1. DP-
    I’d be willing to bet cash you’ve never seen a Swanberg/Katz/Poyser movie. Cold hard cash.
    The “mumblecore” “movement” is something indie film critics are trying to perpetuate. Those guys are just making movies with their friends. And they’re making good movies as well.
    Don’t get down on the filmmakers and their work for doing their thing, I assure you they aren’t trying to “start a movement.” Maybe if you’d take 90 mins at a film fest to see one of their films and write about them, they’d start to get some traction outside of their circle.

  2. David Poland says:

    You would be coughing up the cash, Pet.
    I’ve seen two of the Swanbergs, Katz’ DVD didn’t work in my Mac (unfortunately), and saw Dear Pillow.
    I am more than happy to support young filmmakers and I don’t blame them for the hype. But as I wrote, I haven’t seen the magic. I’ve seen the first steps of filmmakers looking for a voice. Nothing wrong with that. But I haven’t even seen a Mike White in these films, much less a Casavettes.

  3. Dah!! I owe ya $5.
    I think the thing you have to remember is, these guys (particularly Swanberg and Katz) aren’t even 25 yet…or maybe they’re like, 26. Each film they do gets better and better.
    Admittedly, I’m close with Swanberg and am friends with Katz BUT…I’ve always watched their films casting aside that friendship and looking at them for what they are. I like the films and although they aren’t perfect, I admire the way they shoot and I love the naturalistic acting style.
    Kat’z QUIET CITY is one of my faves so far this year.

  4. movielocke says:

    eh, the filmmakers could care less, the movement label is just a critic construction to make the critics job easier. Once you’ve encapsulated a huge swath of films into a soundbite you’ve permanently reduced the need to think critically about the films within that swath. Then its just the plug and chug madlibs review game.

  5. teambanzai says:

    would you count Coppola, Scorsese, and their peers as this type of movement in the 70’s and if so could it be that they seem to abandon their “vision” for safer material as they get older? So these movements happen plodd along for awhile and either disapear or get replaced by the next “thing”.

  6. mutinyco says:

    Yeah, I can just see Coppola or Scorsese using the auto features on consumer cameras because they’re admittedly not good cinematographers…

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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