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Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Woody Allen and Wealth by Lisa Szefel

In aesthetics, art, film, society on July 30, 2013 at 18:05

From: Woody Allen and Wealth by Lisa Szefel, The Montreal Review, http://www.themontrealreview.com

Indeed, in a career that spans almost five decades, Woody Allen’s oeuvre has evinced an ethos that eschewed greed, materialism, ostentatious display, as well as unearned and undeserved ease. The ultra-rich had no taste, know-it-alls deserved to be brought down a peg, while the self-effacing, meaning-seeking, long-suffering individuals of modest means served as moral anchors. However, during a four-year interlude, from 1996 until 2000, Allen moderated his equal opportunity skewering of affectation, arrogance, and ignorance on both the left and the right. Softening his lens on the entitled rich, Allen went from critic to apologist. In doing so, he anticipated then refracted Americans’ fascination with New York, cash, and conspicuous consumption during the phase of triumphalist capitalism that in some ways ended with the 2008 crash. The turn demonstrates how one of the greatest film makers and astute cultural commentators of our time was transformed by an era aptly characterized in Matt Taibbi’s appraisal of Goldman Sachs: “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” When Allen returned to his former form, this time with more mastery and insight, Americans in the post-Cold War, post-economic bubble era followed in greater numbers than ever before.

A walk through Allen’s films reveals the extent to which money, or the lack thereof, has played a recurring, often central, role, determining plot, character, and setting, from the beginning. In his directorial debut, the mockumentary “Take the Money and Run,” Virgil Starkwell steals pens, snatches purses, hustles pool, counterfeits money, and robs everything from banks and gumball machines to veal and breading. “Under constant economic pressure,” he is an all-around failure subject to extortion who spends his life in and out of jails too unlucky to even make the “Ten Most Wanted” list because, as he laments, “It’s who you know.” In the end Virgil receives an eight hundred year sentence in federal prison. Asked if he regrets a life of crime, Virgil responds: “I think that crime definitely pays and that, you know, it’s a great job. The hours are good. You’re your own boss, and you travel a lot. You get to meet interesting people. I just think it’s a good job in general.” While appreciating the perquisites of a man of independence and means, he lacked the privilege and knowledge needed to amass money; he just took it and ran until he ran completely out of luck.

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Reposted with permission from: The Montreal Review

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Adventure on the Vertical by Mark Dorrian

In books, film, North America, photography, theory, visual arts on April 24, 2013 at 07:39

From: Adventure on the Vertical by Mark Dorrian, Cabinet, http://cabinetmagazine.org

Introducing W. Watson-Baker’s 1935 book, World Beneath the Microscope, the English artist and critic William Gaunt wrote:

We are no longer so excited as formerly by the account of trips on the surface … The mind is stretched, uncomfortably sometimes, but with a new fascination, to speed and profundity, to the thought of worlds that lie a million light-years away from us, to the worlds that recede in evolutionary time beneath the lens, to the thought even that they merge or that by some extraordinary trick of relativity the smaller may contain the large. There is an affinity between the telescope and the microscope, between the discovery of stellar space and the discovery of the atom.

The film Powers of Ten was first made as a trial version in 1968, and then remade and released in 1977 in the familiar form that has been so widely disseminated in both film and printed formats. Produced by the Eames Office, the Los Angeles-based firm founded by the husband-and-wife design team, the 1977 version was one of the couple’s final films. In the postwar era of US corporate expansion and ascendancy, the Eameses established relationships with some of the key companies of the time. … While work for corporate clients destined for the international exhibitions of the Cold War period was inevitably situated in an arena of national representation and geopolitical contest, the Eameses were at the same time receiving major commissions explicitly driven by such imperatives. Most notable of these was the film installation Glimpses of the USA, produced the year after the Brussels exposition for the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, coordinated by the United States Information Agency (USIA).

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Reposted with permission from: Cabinet

Call of the Wild by James Searle

In film, nature, North America, society, visual arts on April 17, 2013 at 20:10

From: Call of the Wild by James Searle, The Oxonian Review, http://www.oxonianreview.org

I’m not the first to see elements of Terrence Malick’s epic The Tree of Life in Beasts of the Southern Wild, the debut feature of Benh Zeitlin. Both are ambitious, dreamlike parables about the nature of existence relying on formless, wandering structures. Likewise, both films have attracted devout camps of supporters and detractors prepared to argue at length over their merits and failings. That said, there are two major distinctions between the films. First, Zeitlin’s film, based on the play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar, is far more accessible and narratively coherent than Malick’s. Moreover, while The Tree of Life obsesses over the balance between the way of Nature (harsh, passionate, male) and the way of Grace (reserved, gentle, female), Wild abandons all traces of civilisation and restraint. This is not a film about balance, but one about raw emotion and embracing nature completely.

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Reposted with permission from: The Oxonian Review

You Are Where You Live by Susan Griffin

In civilisation, ecology, film, nature, politics, society on April 8, 2013 at 17:59

From: You Are Where You Live: How the sky, rain, geography, and cultures of our place shape us by Susan Griffin, YES! Magazine, http://www.yesmagazine.org

Concerned about the loss of forests, increasing pollution, and the diminishment of the ozone layer, I was beginning to make connections that I had not seen before. For instance, between the oppression of women I experienced and the wanton destruction of nature I was witnessing.

Slowly it dawned on me that the imaginary boundary, drawn centuries ago, that separates nature from culture is the same boundary that has also separated us from each other too, creating categories of gender and race, in which women or those with darker skin or those who earn a living with their hands are described as less able intellectually than the men at the top of the scale; by the same token, we are deemed untrustworthy because we are so mired in sensual experience and extreme emotion, or to put it more succinctly, since we are closer to the Earth.

But another world is possible. As a child, I found more than one refuge. All through the year I body-surfed in the Pacific Ocean, the rush of water in my ears singing to me of a vastness way beyond what was indicated in the strange dystopic landscape I thought of as ordinary. In the summer I camped in the High Sierras, the sound of wind through conifers becoming an inextricable part of my soul. Occasionally, my family would take a trip to the Mojave or the Baja Peninsula where I learned to see the subtle eloquence of deserts. And since I was very small, I took an interest in Native American cultures, which, though they spoke in languages I could not translate, seemed redolent with another response to the lands we shared, the diverse wisdom of earthly existence, voices, to paraphrase Gary Snyder, that capture the pitch of the phenomenal world “totally living, exciting, mysterious, filling one with a trembling awe, leaving one grateful and humble.”

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Reposted with permission from: YES! Magazine

Points of Light by Ian Marcus Corbin

In ethics, film, nature, photography, theory, visual arts on April 2, 2013 at 20:25

From: Points of Light by Ian Marcus Corbin, The New Atlantis, http://www.thenewatlantis.com

Rumors of our civilization’s collapse have been somewhat exaggerated. When the National Society of Film Critics announced its awards for the year 2011, the top two films — Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, in first place, and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, in second — were separated by a single vote. It is fitting that they should vie so closely: they are opposite and in some ways equal attempts to show the essential nature of reality and the best way to live in it — openly flouting the au courant truism that art is fit chiefly to interrogate, unsettle, and subvert. Both films debuted at Cannes. If there had been any separation between their release dates, it would seem certain that one was made as a rebuttal to the other, for while the symmetry of the two films is striking, there is a deep philosophical quarrel between them. Von Trier and Malick can’t both be right: Melancholia argues that reality, including life, is best understood in the light of death; The Tree of Life argues that reality, including death, is best understood in the light of life. These propositions are familiar enough; more surprising and important are the force and grandeur with which the two films substantiate them.

The tone and the source of light in The Tree of Life are vital to Malick’s philosophical vision. He is a rhapsode of the Emersonian order — plainly enchanted with the stuff of existence. His world is one of illuminations. Rich, clear light suffuses leaves, grass, fabric, hair, water, even skin. The lovely, if sometimes flickering, radiance of earthly life echoes a deeper, more enduring light. As Mrs. O’Brien says, love smiles through all things. We simply need eyes naked and patient enough to see them as they are. The journey of the movie, from Jack’s conjuring of the Big Bang onwards, is an effort not to impose a novel vision, but to shake the scales from his eyes. In Melancholia, by contrast, things in themselves don’t shine. Life has nothing to say for itself. Illumination always comes from without, whether it is cast by the comforting artifice of human technology, the very occasional glimmer of sunlight, or by the sharp white light of heavenly death. Only one of these sources of light has the power to reveal the truth. For von Trier, to bathe in the stark, blanching light of death is simply to become reconciled with reality; death is the one star that illuminates everything.

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Reposted with permission from: The New Atlantis

Buckwild and Downtown Abbey by David Mould

In film, media, society on January 29, 2013 at 18:04

From: Buckwild and Downtown Abbey: TV’s Social Reality by David Mould, The Montreal Review, http://www.themontrealreview.com

It’s a long way-in geographical distance and creative quality-from the down and dirty world of MTV’s reality show hit Buckwild to the rarefied world of U.S. public television’s Downton Abbey, but the two TV series have one thing in common, apart from having their new season premieres within a week in January 2013. Both perpetuate social and class stereotypes.

Buckwild claims to document the lives of young people in Sissonville, a small and economically depressed town in West Virginia, the state where I now live. The criticism of its stereotyping of poor, white Appalachians has been well-meaning, although it has certainly contributed to the show’s notoriety and may even have helped boost its ratings. Reality TV is a proven formula. Although they won’t admit it, viewers like to see people behaving badly.

The social stereotyping in Downton Abbey, first aired on ITV in the U.K. and now on public television’s Masterpiece Classic series, is more subtle and, at least on the surface, less offensive. But both series send a similar message about barriers to social mobility. Whether you’re living on welfare in a broken-down trailer, are a servant in a great English house, or own the house and employ the servants, you’re pretty much stuck where you are. It’s tough to change position on the social and economic ladder.

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Reposted with permission from: The Montreal Review

Young European directors by Amélie Mougey

In Europe, film, interview, media, visual arts on January 12, 2013 at 22:52

From: Young European directors: ‘You can spot a French film a mile off’ by Amélie Mougey, Cafebabel, http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/

They are aged 24, 26 or 31, hail from Croatia, England, Belgium or Germany, and they all have one thing in common: a desire to create magic with a camera, and to transform their passion into a job. At film school, these budding directors create stories for film. Freshly graduated, they are now throwing themselves at the mercy of the festivals to at last compete with the big boys.

They all dream of making a film with universal appeal. But the public is quick to catch on and their audiences can surprise them. In Volume, the 27-minute short film she is presenting at the rencontres Henri Langlois festival between 30 November and 9 December 2012, English director Mahalia Belo transports her viewers to a prim suburb that is indifferent (or almost) to the disappearance of one of its inhabitants. ‘Here in Poitiers, my film was perceived as being very profound, whilst in Munich, the audience laughed,’ she says, confounded. For the directors, the public’s expectations often remain more obscure than the work of their colleagues.

‘You can spot French films a mile off,’ teases Croatian director Sonja Tarokic, 24. ‘They are usually set in pretty, upper middle class interiors. The singer or pianist who’s in the corner of the bar while the characters are having a drink: that would be completely incongruous in Croatia.’ Mahalia Belo has also developed this radar for detecting different nationalities. ‘After trawling the festival circuit, I can now recognise the very black Finnish sense of humour,’ says the London-based director, who says she is often pigeonholed herself. So all is fair in love and war. ‘At the end of a screening, some audience members tell me my films have nothing to do with English cinema, while others say that they are terribly British,’ she smiles.

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Reposted with permission from: Cafebabel

Welcome to the “Spiritual Kingdom of Animals” by Slavoj Žižek

In Asia, documentary, economics, ethics, film, North America, philosophy, society on January 1, 2013 at 19:31

From: Welcome to the “Spiritual Kingdom of Animals” by Slavoj Žižek, ODBOR, http://www.odbor.org

In other words, self-interested egotism is not the brutal fact of our societies but its ideology – the ideology philosophically articulated in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit towards the end of the chapter on Reason, under the name of “das geistige Tierreich” – the “spiritual kingdom of animals,” Hegel’s name for the modern civil society in which human animals are caught in self-interested interaction. As Hegel put it, the achievement of modernity was to allow “the principle of subjectivity to attain fulfillment in the self-sufficient extreme of personal particularity.”[3] This reign of this principle makes possible civil society as the domain of in which autonomous human individuals associate with each other through the institutions of free-market economy in order to satisfy their private needs: all communal ends are subordinated to private interests of individuals, they are consciously posited and calculated with the goal of maximizing the satisfaction of these interests. What matters for Hegel here is the opposition of private and common perceived by those on whom Hegel relies (Mandeville, Smith) as well as by Marx: individuals perceive the common domain as something that should serve their private interests (like a liberal who thing of state as a protector of private freedom and safety), while individuals, in pursuing their narrow goals, effectively serve the communal interest. The properly dialectical tension emerges here when we become aware that, the more individuals act egotistically, the more they contribute to the common wealth. The paradox is that when individuals want to sacrifice their narrow private interests and directly work for the common good, the one which suffers is the common good itself – Hegel loves to tell historical anecdotes about a good king or prince whose very dedication to the common good brought his country to ruins. The properly philosophical novelty of Hegel was to further determine this “contradiction” along the lines of the tension between the “animal” and the “spiritual”: the universal spiritual substance, the “work of all and everyone,” emerges as the result of the “mechanical” interaction of individuals. What this means is that the very “animality” of the self-interested “human animal” (the individual participating in the complex network of civil society) is the result of the long historical process of the transformation of medieval hierarchic society into modern bourgeois society. It is thus the very fulfillment of the principle of subjectivity – the radical opposite of animality – which brings about the reversal of subjectivity into animality.

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Reposted according to “friendly” copyright notice from: ODBOR

Radical Measures: 9/11 and|as Deleuze’s Time-Image by Daniel Ziegert

In academia, film, government, media, North America, philosophy, politics on November 18, 2012 at 22:30

From: Radical Measures: 9/11 and|as Deleuze’s Time-Image by Daniel Ziegert, Rhizomes, http://www.rhizomes.net

Instead of seeing the images as what they were, “we” immediately related them to a register of action-images, specifically those depicting disaster. Additionally, many discourses limited themselves to grappling with epistemological, hard science questons: why and how was it possible to hijack four planes, and why could CIA and FBI not prevent the terrible events? [4] Academic responses from the humanities and especially film and visual studies have been surprisingly sparse until quite recently. [5] But as the number of panels and talks at conferences of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies since 2002 shows, scholarly interest in approaching medial aspects of 9/11 has constantly grown. [6] This development parallels or follows that of Hollywood’s productions dealing with and thereby rendering “fictional” the attacks, such as United 93 and WTC.

[3] A void has opened up between the largely subjective essays written shortly after the attacks, [7] the “discourses of sobriety,” [8] and more recent work focusing on political aspects and effects of the images [9] – therefore, already on a level of what the images mean rather than what they are. This void opens up conceptual [10] approaches to images of 9/11. While there is important work being done on issues of culture, race and gender in relation to a post-9/11 world, scholars must also inquire more basically as to what it is in the moving image(s) that constitutes or supports these issues. It is precisely in this void where this essay – through an appropriation and re-activation of Gilles Deleuze’s “time-image” – may offer a productive perspective on 9/11-images and a post-9/11 mediascape beyond questions of ontology and psychology. [11]

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Reposted with permission from: Rhizomes

The Kodachrome Era Ends by Russell Arben Fox

In film, history, media, North America on November 17, 2012 at 18:46

From: The Kodachrome Era Ends, Right Here in Kansas by Russell Arben Fox, Front Porch Republic, http://www.frontporchrepublic.com

Today, Dwayne’s Photo, a family-owned and operated film-processing business that has operated in the small town of Parsons, Kansas, for over 50 years, will stop handling Kodachrome film. After they close shop today for the holiday, there will be no other place on earth still handling what was for many years the absolute standard when it came to color film. According to the NYT article:

Last year, Kodak stopped producing the chemicals needed to develop the film, providing the business with enough to continue processing through the end of 2010. And last week, right on schedule, the lab opened up the last canister of blue dye….

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Reposted with permission from: Front Porch Republic

The cruel irony of an Emily Dickinson biopic by CambridgeBlog

In film, history of art, literature, poetry, privacy on November 5, 2012 at 21:28

From: The cruel irony of an Emily Dickinson biopic: “Fame is a bee./It has a song—/It has a sting—/Ah, too, it has a wing” by CambridgeBlog, This Side of the Pond, http://www.cambridgeblog.org

We know that she was an avid, almost obsessive reader. We know that she had intense emotional changes with each new season—present-day doctors would probably diagnose her with seasonal affective disorder and put her on medication; scholars call it her mystic day cycle. We know that she was deeply affected by the supposed spiritual salvation of her classmates at Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary (a component of Calvinism, they believed that one was damned until he or she had an extremely painful yet enlightening ‘conversion experience’ brought on by God) and suffered a nervous breakdown when she wasn’t saved. We know that she spent the last half of her life in her bedroom, seldom seeing anyone other than her family, furiously writing poetry and letters. We know that she loved dogs and that the Civil War’s death toll broke her heart. We know that she published only a handful of poems in her lifetime because she refused to dumb down her language and imagery for the general public and because of her disdain of the idea of fame.

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Reposted with permissions from: CambridgeBlog

The Painter’s Revenge by Gordon Hughes

In aesthetics, art, film, history of art, theory, visual arts on November 3, 2012 at 20:21

From: “The Painter’s Revenge”: Fernand Léger For and Against Cinema By Gordon Hughes, NONSITE.org

Intuitively enough given its subject matter and title, Fernand Léger’s and Dudley Murphy’s 1924 film Ballet mécanique is generally understood as a relatively straightforward extension of the so-called “machine aesthetic” that informs Léger’s painting of this period. Standish Lawder’s comparison of the film with Léger’s paintingis typical in this regard when he writes: “He sought to create in film the same discontinuous, fragmented, kaleidoscopic world that his paintings [evoke]…. The [same] pulsating energies of modern urban life, its rhythms and its forms.” In marked contrast to this view, I want to argue just the opposite: that the relationship between film and painting is highly vexed for Léger; that Ballet mécanique does not function according to the same aesthetic principles as his painting—quite the contrary; and that the strongest relationship between cinema and his painting is to be found not in Léger’s “machine aesthetic” works of the late-19-teens and ‘20s, but rather in his abstract or near-abstract “Orphic” paintings of 1912-1913, particularly in the 150 or so works that make up his Contrasts of Forms series.

As unlikely a comparison as this may seem, I’m not the first to propose it. In a recent essay on these early paintings, Maria Gough has suggestively argued that Léger’s post-Cubist push into abstraction is rooted in a hardening of volumetric and tonal effects, such that, as she describes it, Léger: “hypostatiz[es] chiaroscuro’s most elementary property, that of value, into its two most extreme or contrasted states—brilliant black, brilliant white.” And in so doing, Léger “interrupts the surface of the sheet, animating it with an insistent flicker…[ a ] compulsive, pulsatile flickering on and off…. [such that] Léger creates, in short, a cinematic effect.”

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Reposted with permission from: NONSITE.org

Alice Walker: “Go to the Places That Scare You” by Valerie Schloredt

In books, film, history, human rights, literature, nature, North America, politics, society, war, writers on October 27, 2012 at 20:17

From: Alice Walker: “Go to the Places That Scare You” by Valerie Schloredt, yes! Magazine, http://www.yesmagazine.org

Alice Walker is a poet, essayist, and commentator, but she’s best known for her prodigious accomplishments as a writer of literary fiction. Her novel The Color Purple won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1983 and quickly became a classic of world literature. Set in an African-American community in the rural South during the decades before World War II, the novel is told in letters written by Celie, a woman who survives oppression and abuse with her spirit not only intact, but transcendent.

Walker’s writing is characterized by an ever-present awareness of injustice and inequality. But whether describing political struggle—as in Meridian, which deals with the civil rights movement—or meditating on the human relationship to nature and animals, as in her latest book, The Chicken Chronicles, her work conveys the possibility of change. In Walker’s vision, grace is available through love and a deep connection to the beauty of the world.

Walker was born in the segregated South, the eighth child in a family who made their living as sharecroppers in Georgia. She came of age during the civil rights movement, and emerged early in her career as a defining voice in feminism and an advocate for African-American women writers. She is a prominent activist who has worked, marched, traveled, and spoken out to support the causes of justice, peace, and the welfare of the earth.

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Reposted with permission from: yes! Magazine

Film Reviews: The Window (La Ventana) directed by Carlos Sorin

In film, Film Reviews, philosophy, South America, video, visual arts on September 23, 2012 at 20:29

The Window (La Ventana) by Carlos Sorin, Drama, Argentina / Spain, 2009, 77 min.

It is a rare treat to find a director that follows simplicity and presents us with something as minimalist as The Window. A window into the soul of an older man, bed-ridden with a debilitating heart condition, a window out of a hacienda, out onto the Patagonian landscape, a window to the simple and the everyday. This is an intimate look at the life of Antonio, an 80 year old man nearing the end of his life. A fly on the window, the clock ticking away the minutes in anticipation of the arrival of Antonio’s estranged son. A slow and philosophical film, with a wonderful taste of Bergman’s Wild Strawberries mixed into it. The same pattern of the return to childhood at the end of a man’s journey, takes us on the trip into the stark beauty of Patagonia. Details of life, raw and often touching in every little aspect of everyday existence, even the most ordinary and unimportant for many. The spaces are clean and minimal, everything bathed in natural sunlight coming through the windows of the old estate. There is no background music, though the piano and Antonio’s musical past is everpresent throughout the film. This silence underlines the simplicity and complexity of the life lived in the past and what is left of it in the present. The rhythms are dancing around the central theme, never completing the circle in the end. But maybe it is all about the journey, not the final destination.

The sweeping frames of the verdant Patagonian hills pull us back to the times of our own lived experiences, but the scenes are not intended to sentimentalize or offer consolation at the end of the film. Everything is being prepared for the arrival of the son, but time and space have its own way of directing reality as events stay open-ended. Perhaps, just as in life, things turn out not as perfectly planned, but open to more questions about the end of life for each of us. With the director’s poetic eye on beauty and with questions never being answered, the film allows us to touch the philosophical roots of questions about human existence. The story is intentionally simple, the film relatively short, but the life behind it is large and the poetry exquisite.

HSG

© 2012 anagnori

 

Detropia with Amy Goodman and Rachel Grady

In community, documentary, economics, film, interview, media, North America, politics, society on September 19, 2012 at 04:34

From: Detropia: New Doc Takes Intimate Look at Detroit’s Struggle with Manufacturing Collapse, Urban Decay with Amy Goodman and Rachel Grady, Democracy Now!, http://www.democracynow.org

Once known as the Motor City, where the middle class was born, Detroit’s auto industry and manufacturing sector have collapsed. Today the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, facing a thinning population and massive cuts to basic services. The new film “Detropia” takes an intimate look at at some of the city’s former members of the middle class as they struggle to make ends meet and refuse to abandon hope. We’re joined by the film’s co-director, Rachel Grady, a private investigator turned filmmaker who, along with her co-director Heidi Ewing, has made several films, including the Academy Award-nominated “Jesus Camp.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the PBS station WGVU. I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to a new documentary about one of Michigan’s hardest-hit cities, Detroit. Once known as the Motor City, where the middle class was born, Detroit’s auto industry and manufacturing sector have collapsed. Today the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, facing a thinning population and massive cuts to basic services.

Well, the new film Detropia takes an intimate look at some of the city’s former members of the middle class as they struggle to make ends meet and refuse to abandon hope. I want to turn for a moment to a clip of Detropia.

REPORTER: This is the downsizing of Detroit. You’re watching it live. These are houses that are never coming back. It’s going back to the prairie, and these houses are just disappearing from the landscape.

GEORGE McGREGOR: I want to show you something. All this is empty. They built a new plant in Mexico and took all the work to Mexico.

NICOLE: For factory support, which is the guys that are making $14.35, their new proposal is $11 an hour, which means they would lose $3.35 an hour on their wage.

AUTO WORKER: Why? What do you think you’re going to feel every day going into work?

REPORTER: One of the big hot-button issues in Detroit is the layout of the city, and right now there’s questions about what parts of the city may be shrunk.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don’t know if y’all understand, but they’re shutting down schools. They’re shutting down futures, basically.

DETROIT RESIDENT: We’re not going to accept any more downsizing. We want to hear about upsizing, big-sizing, super-sizing Detroit.

MAYOR DAVID BING: It’s going to be difficult. The city is broke. I don’t know how many times I have to say that.

STEVE COY: I mean, we looked at Baltimore. We were looking into New York City. And Detroit came up. We can experiment here.

TOMMY STEPHENS: What happened in Detroit is now spreading throughout. There’s no buffer between the rich and the poor. Only thing left is revolution.

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Reposted according to copyright notice from: Democracy Now! website

 

Video: Getting into Cirque Du Soleil – The Audition Process

In art, culture, film, music, North America, performing arts, video, visual arts on September 17, 2012 at 04:59

From: Getting into Cirque Du Soleil – The Audition Process, Documentary.net, http://documentary.net

Getting into Cirque Du Soleil

Ever wondered what it takes to be a part of Cirque du Soleil? Getting to be a one of a kind performer is no small feat. For four months, the film team followed Cirque Du Soleil scouts as they scoured the world, searching for the best of the best.

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Disclaimer from the website: “Yes it is free and legal. Films are provided by the filmmakers or rights-holders themselves. Or they claim their copyright protected contents on YouTube and monetize it (like National Geographic).”

Reposted with permission from: Documentary.net

American Mythology by Scott Esposito and Michael Smith

In aesthetics, film, history, North America, philosophy, photography, visual arts on September 16, 2012 at 06:25

From: American Mythology: A Conversation About Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff by Scott Esposito and Michael Smith, The Quarterly Conversation, http://quarterlyconversation.com

Michael Smith: Kelly Reichardt initially came to my attention with her film Wendy and Lucy (2008)—I immediately noticed a sensitivity to social issues and also a relatively spartan aesthetic. She relied on long takes and came across as a patient filmmaker and storyteller. Meek’s Cutoff is a more complete realization of that aesthetic. The opening shots alone are extraordinary in that they don’t constitute a narrative exposition so much as establish the physical nature of a journey being taken by several pioneer families. Using static, relatively long takes, Reichardt shows them performing tasks: crossing a river, drying their clothes, fetching water from a stream, cleaning dishes. These all seem mundane, which is exactly the point. Part of the experience of this film is becoming familiar with the sheer punishment of the Oregon Trail, how the movement westward was full of not only considerable challenges but also what might be called elongation. After the initial sequences, Reichardt employs a beautiful, very slow dissolve in which a wagon train gradually appears on the horizon, and then she cuts to a night shot as clouds slowly move in real time. The journey already seems endless, even though, as viewers, it’s just started for us.

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Reposted with permission from: The Quarterly Conversation

A rear view of Alfred Hitchcock by Alan Saunders

In culture, film, interview, philosophy, visual arts on August 21, 2012 at 21:39

 

From: A rear view of Alfred Hitchcock by Alan Saunders, The Philosopher’s Zone, ABC Radio National, http://www.abc.net.au

Alan Saunders: Now the action of the movie occurs naturally, given the single-take effect; it occurs more or less in real time, which means that the murder is committed by daylight, and as the time goes on, is discovered at night after a party attended by the parents of the boy they’d murdered. What does this move from daylight to night, what does this have to tell us about the moral world of the movie?

William A. Drumin: The meaning that Hitchcock, as the director, seeks to ascribe to a film, philosophic or otherwise, is how he films it. Now my view is that see these two young killers want to cut themselves off from society, they regard themselves as above society, and that apartment, that closed-in compartment that’s kind of a separate world, as if it said they are the gods of this world you see, disposing of things by their superior intellects, and that kind of thing. So by filming continuously, I feel that Hitchcock is acting to break, to oppose the attempt of those killers. To say, No, you are wrong, society will re-assert its authority. You cannot arbitrarily cut yourself off from the social relationships you see.

You remember at the end of the film how Jimmy Stewart opens the window and fires the three gunshots out of the window? And then you hear the noises from the street filtering up, and the sound of the police siren and so on. That’s a liberating act, because this closed apartment has kind of been a vision of hell, where God and morality has been shut out, and now continuity has been re-established. So I think that in filming continuously, he establishes his stance towards the action of the film.

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Reposted with permission from: ABC Radio National

Frontline Debates “Four Horsemen” by Jim Treadway

In economics, film, politics, society, video, visual arts on June 13, 2012 at 22:56

 

From: Frontline Debates “Four Horsemen” by Jim Treadway, Frontline Club, http://www.frontlineclub.com (watch the debate on the website)

Daniel Ben-Ami journalist and author of Ferraries for All: In Defense of Economic Progress, argued that the documentaries biggest mistake was to underestimate the role of the state in today’s crisis. Emeritus economics professor Victoria Chick, meanwhile, commented on the documentary’s suggestion that we return to the gold standard.

“I sort of flinched,” she said. “Everything I’ve always known about the gold standard was so repressive, and it was a very deflationary regime. [I] like the courageous quality of Minsky who said, ‘alright, I know banks are unstable, but they’re worth it, because they provide productive investment.’ Well that was when they did lend for productive investment. And now they no longer do.”

Giving voice to the sentiment of the evening, Mark Braund author of Four Horsemen: The Survival Manual complained,

“We have democratic institutions which aren’t delivering democratic outcomes. And that’s because I think too few people are interested enough to engage with what are quite complex ideas about how the ecomony works.”

“X-box, cheap lager, and mass media” were Ashcroft’s culprits for the public’s malaise in the face of a system that he believes is increasingly stacked against them.

At several points, panelists emphasized that change would have to come “from the bottom up,” but as one audience member regretted, what change “from the bottom up” really meant seemed hard to elucidate.

Read more & watch the debate

 

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