Monday, August 4, 2008

True Artists at Work

"The Kid's much more than hair and a smile." -Kid.
"So come on, place ya bet. Is it gonna be me, or Eraserhead?" -Play


More Hard Work

These fellas put the millions of bandwagoning Michel Gondry wannabes to shame!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Cannes Just Can't Right Now, Okay? Next Year.

With the recent change in economic climate, investors and distributors are running away from this year's "risky" films. But risky is subjective. Only a few years ago, several of these films would have been picked up as the credits rolled. Most obviously, Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York which baffled most audience members at Cannes, myself included. I decided to go back that same evening to the red carpet premiere to figure out what I had missed at the 7:45am press screening that morning. Was I just not awake yet? Maybe, but no one can deny that this movie, with all its ambition, experimental tendencies, and rocketing timeline, is a little messy. Who has a few million to throw at a dark, somewhat avant garde film that almost requires repeat viewings? Apparently, Sony Pictures Classics does, but only after two (what must have been very stressful) months of heavy contemplation, and possibly an edit or two. Even so, this is only a U.S. deal.

That said, Kaufman's directorial debut has been picked up, unlike Steven Soderbergh's Spanish language Che which is still scrambling for a lofty distribution plan. One that includes three basic releases. The full 4 1/2 hour biopic in December, followed by a split release of its halves in January and February. The film cost an arguably insane 65 million and though Benicio Del Toro took home the best actor prize at the Cannes closing ceremony, all daily trade reviews were quite gloomy. I recall one review stating that the few redeeming moments were in fact not redeeming, that the subtitles and overweight runtime were too heavy a price. Speaking of prices, did I mention the rights to distribute alone cost 10 million? This is before even the first internet banner ad is created, let alone an entire marketing campaign.

Soooooo all you budding film students out there, it might be time to scrap that life story of Kim Jong-Il with the 50 million dollar budget you've been penning after class and make a movie about your high school girlfriend and her ugly little dog, instead.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ingmar Bergman

Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's death. He spent his last days living alone on the Swedish island of Fårö.

"It sounds like a lonely life on the island of Faro?"

"I'm never lonely...sometimes I go days without speaking to a soul."

Paul Schrader, director:
Ingmar Bergman, more than any other director, showed that it was possible for a film director to be an introspective and serious artist in the commercial cinema. Bergman paved the road; the rest of us just road down it.

David Mamet, playwright and director: When I was young the World Theatre, in Chicago, staged an all-day Ingmar Bergman Festival. I went at ten o'clock in the morning, and stayed all day. When I left the theater it was still light, but my soul was dark, and I did not sleep for years afterwards.