Movie City Indie Archive for October, 2007

Is it Safe? Todd Haynes plays doll parts

Todd Haynes’ was at the New York Film Festival with I’m Not There, so he couldn’t present Safe back home in Portland at the Northwest Film Center. Instead, he sent this, harking back to his Superstar days. Below, the trailer for the not-on-DVD Safe, the opening 10 minutes of the surpressed Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, the trailer for I’m Not There, and a few words on “how to make it in Hollywood.” [First clip via Film Experience.]

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Yes, Norman Mailer on "The Gilmore Girls"

Honest to fug. H/t The Reeler.

Indie is at the movies

Forsaken gate

Cinefile Video's groovy garb


Darn, they only sell them at their location next to the NuArt in West Hollywood


But forget Von Trier and Fassbinder. What Know We Of Ingmar Bergman? Or Werner Herzog?

[LOOK]: The Index Of Absence

jessie_67.pngIF A MOVIE, ANY MOVIE, WERE SET IN NEW YORK CITY THE SUMMER OF 2001 and its story ended before 9/11, it might well be near unbearable. Every gesture would be freighted. Every hope would glimmer with the possibility—nay, the fatedness—of sudden ruin and loss. A thought that came when I first saw a 40-minute video by a young Chicago video artist. Mary Scherer’s artfully artless The Index of Absence V. 1. In notes toward the project, Scherer writes in unalloyed academese, perhaps a reflection of it being a BFA project. But the result is furious, precise, elusive and alive. She used to work at a coffee shop near where I live and co-workers and customers of that café, most in their 20s, comprise many of the 35 participants. I’m acquainted with some of the subjects, but the result would be as powerful even if they weren’t faces I see regularly. Each collaborator is asked to address the camera as if it were someone they lost, in whatever sense of the word. Abrupt cuts to black between the 60-second vignettes are part of the phenomenal power of the best bits: don’t look away, don’t look away, look away, look away.
The structure is based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief, from denial to acceptance, but the segments—the subjects—are compelling on their own. Some are cryptic, others elliptical. Early on, a woman against a white wall, a cigarette alive below the frame, with cascading curls and silent movie star eyes, fidgets before exploding in anger at another woman whose betrayal is unspecified. [“Jessie,” pictured.] Pages of writing are seen in mirror reflection along a hallway: a man enters, finishing a can of beer, strips down, leaves the frame, pitches himself against the pages, the wall. Again. [“Jeremiah,” also on the site.]
In several segments, grandparents are evoked, those gone before these twentysomethings were even born. A filmmaker positions herself in darkness before a window during a lightning storm, with crackling results. An open-faced woman worries about “this virgin thing,” and her lack of sexual experience. My favorite line of the summer past is in another, the heartbreaking “I would have loved to have gone trainhopping with you.” (“That day, grandma, you were a knockout,” also made me cry.)

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[LOOK]: Cinema's 100 Greatest Numbers

Via Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian.

DVD: Interkosmos (2006, *** 1/2)

interkosmos_poster.jpg Chicagoan Jim Finn’s first feature film,

[LOOK]: Postering The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

papillon_affiche_schnabel.jpgA lovely and wholeheartedly misleading poster for Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.

After interviewing Wes Anderson…

After interviewing Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson chose to do a quick round of Chicago interviews for The Darjeeling Limited at the Drake Hotel, often seen on the lakefront in establishing shots in John Hughes movies.

A report from Monday's László Kovács tribute at Raleigh Studios

Kovacs-Hopper.jpgFrom Monday afternoon’s tribute to the late, great cinematographer: Dennis Hopper said, “Laszlo was the greatest telephoto operator I know of. He was a great cinematographer. His lighting was quick, fast, and complete. We shot Easy Rider in five weeks going through and shooting in five different states. We used a fast film that had not been used before in feature movies. I would never have been able to make Easy Rider without Laszlo and Paul Lewis, my production ,anager who brought Mr. Kovacs to me. He said, “This is your man”, and he certainly was. My vision for Easy Rider and The Last Movie , both shot by Laszlo, were simple, but very complicated. Since I was starring and directing in both films, hand signals were the way we communicated. That’s how in the same groove we were. A wonderful, charming, hard-working genius. We are all lucky to have been his friend. He will not be missed, but will be with us forever through his films and our collective memory. GOD BLESS LASZLO KOVACS!” And Peter Bogdanovich: “Laszlo Kovacs and I did seven pictures together, more than I did with any other cinematographer, and the reason is simple: Laszlo was the most versatile director of photography. He could do anything and he did it with ease and charm and a kind of gracious intensity. It was enormously easy to work with him and always a lot of fun. When I did pictures without him, I always missed him. I miss him now. He was the best.” [More at the jump; A brisk backgrounder on Kovacs is here; a photograph from the event Vilmos Zsigmond cinematographer, Audrey Kovács, wife of the late László Kovács, The Honorable Consul General of Hungary in Los Angeles, Ambassador Balázs Bokor, Nadia, the daughter of László Kovács, here.]

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[LOOK]: S. Korean director Dong-il Shin

Dong-il ShinAt a reception on the rooftop of Chicago’s Cliffdwellers Club, held by the Korean Consulate as Dong-il Shin’s My Friend And His Wife was honored for its selection in the Chicago International Festival. I shot better likenesses, but this somehow resembles an image from a SK movie…

In memory of László Kovács in Los Angeles

laszlo_kovacs.jpgPress release: “The Consulate General of the Republic of Hungary in Los Angeles pays tribute to the Great Hungarian American Cinematographer László Kovács at a Film Seminar on October 15, 2007. at 3.30pm at Chaplin Theatre – Raleigh Studios 5300 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038.” [program at the jump.]

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Jim Gordon, 1947-2007

This man’s smile I took for granted for years: he was like this almost every time I saw him. Roger Ebert remembers one of the nicest guys in the Chicago screening room, Jim Gordon, who died recently at 60. “I didn’t know Jim Gordon well, but I knew him with great affection. His personality improved the weather in a room, jim gordon_66.jpgand we shared the same room for years. That would be the Lake Street Screening Room, where as often as five times a week the film critics of the Chicago area gather for previews of new movies. Jim was for 23 years movie critic for the Post-Tribune in Gary, Ind., and more recently for The Times of the northwest Indiana area, published in Munster… I knew about his commute, his grandchildren, how he grew up in Gary, his politics, and his heart problems. The last time we talked, he told me about an approaching heart valve operation. On Friday, preparing for a garage sale at his home in Chesterton, Ind., he died of heart arrest. “It wasn’t a heart attack,” his daughter Rachel Tednes of Hoffman Estates told The Times. “His heart just stopped.” … He was a big guy with a moustache. Quietly sure of himself. Nothing to prove. How many people have you met who worked the steel mills in Gary, drove a cab, and had a Ph.D in film from Northwestern? … All this seems sort of vague to base an obituary on, but sometimes people will do something to give us a glimpse of what they’re made of. Here’s what I noticed Jim doing. We had been talking before the screenings for years, when I was absent from the screening room for 11 months with illness. When I came back, I had a trach tube and I couldn’t talk. I had to write notes. That didn’t seem to bother Jim. A lot of people, they notice the trach tube, they ask you how you’re doing, you nod, they translate “fine,” and then they move along. You can’t blame them. Maybe they’re a little uncertain about how to handle the situation. Jim was never uncertain. He picked up our conversation where we left off. He did the talking for both of us. He was exactly the same. His topic was the wonder and variety of everyday life.” [More at the link.]

An American shares the Nobel Peace Prize; anticipating inconvenient flak

AlGoreTeaser.jpgHas the shitstorm started already? Let the flinging of mud begin… Albert Gore, Jr. shares the Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from a field of 181 official nominees, joining such past winners as Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Medecins sans frontieres, Mikhail Gorbachev, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Lech Walesa, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, The Dalai Lama and Henry Kissinger. [Gore’s statement is here. The Guardian’s even-handed coverage. CNN offers “The White House offered an initial reaction to the Nobel win by President Bush’s 2000 opponent. “Of course, “we’re happy that Vice President Gore and the IPCC are receiving this recognition,” said deputy press secretary Tony Fratto.” The New York Times, chose to highlight on their online front page a blog commenter who called Gore a “hypocrite,” something I can’t recall being done to other figures in and out of politics. (The page changed fairly quickly.) Maybe they couldn’t get Bill O’Reilly on the line? The Washington Post tick-tocks Gore’s possible next moves; the Her-Trib looks at others who were considered; Canada’s London Free Press tipped Inuit activisit Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s efforts to preserve the melting Arctic; CBS News touts Gore’s last minute trip overseas after venturing Gore would jump into the Democratic fray. Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian touts the oddsmakers. The New York Times notes a meeting of 15 Nobelists in Potsdam, Germany, on the subject of global warming. My conversation with Mr. Gore from the time of the release of An Inconvenient Truth is here. [Photo © 2006 Leah Missbach Day.]

Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

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