THE WEEK IN MOTION PICTURES | 18 MAY 2013

A collection of the motion picture related content from the previous week of The Marcus Reader.
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WEEKEND | 10 MAY 2013
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TIME LAPSE

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HONG KONG IS HOME

Javin Lau | Vimeo

I remember when I first arrived in Hong Kong almost a decade ago, I felt like I had walked into an actual movie set. It was a place that I had only seen on TV as a kid, with its strange red taxi’s, odd stop lights and driving on the other side of the road.

My intent with this project was to illustrate the grandeur of Hong Kong that most people would never get to see. When I had recently watched the movie Oblivion, it had somehow starkly reminded me of Hong Kong, with the feeling of being so insignificantly small — almost irrelevant to my surroundings. Hong Kong is an unbelievably dense city, where much of the world can be accessed at your fingertips. But in a city where you can access the material world in a matter of seconds, it also has the ability to isolate you from the 8 million people around you as well.

With this piece, I hope that you are able to engage in this contradiction.

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CINEMA

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GATE OF HELL (1953)

Teinosuke Kinugasa

Winner of Academy Awards for best foreign-language film and best costume design, Gate of Hell is a visually sumptuous, psychologically penetrating story of obsession and unrequited love from Teinosuke Kinugasa.

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MUSIC

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CARINE KHALIFE: BLOWN MINDED

Carine Khalife | Vimeo | via Colossal

‘Blown Minded’ is from the album SHAPESHIFTING by YOUNG GALAXY on Paper Bag Records!
Produced, directed, animated and editited by Carine Khalife.

Colossal:

Montreal-based visual artist Carine Khalife produced, directed, animated this music video for the 2011 track Blown Minded, off the album Shapeshifting by Young Galaxy. The entire clip is comprised of oil paint on glass photographed above from a camera. Khalife explains her process a bit more on her site:

Basically, my technique was to paint on a piece of glass fixed to a light box. I would paint on the glass with oil so that it wouldn’t dry, and I could play with it for hours. A camera, fixed overhead above the animation table and plugged in my computer, would capture my paintings frame by frame and create the animation using the software Stop Motion Pro (the aardman studio software). This process took place inside a dark room so that there wouldn’t be interference or changing lights on the paint. The single light source came from beneath the glass, revealing the textures and details of brushes movements.

I worked a lot with transparency. The more paint, the darker the image, and therefore the animation becomes about gesture, and the texture of brushstrokes; it’s a very physical, organic process. I based the number of frames per second (sometimes 8 sometimes 12) on the rhythm of the music. Everything is based on the rhythm. It was important for me, especially for the abstract parts, that I was responding to the song conversationally; like a running dialogue. I think I’ve listened to the song more than a thousand times. And because i would often listen to it and focus solely on drums, voice, lyrics, or melody – I was still able to hear new things each time.

The film has screened in festivals around the world and Khalife won a Director of Photography award at the Salon International de la Luz.

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URBANISM | GAMING

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SIM CITY: AN INTERVIEW WITH STONE LIBRANDE

Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley | Venue

Geoff Manaugh: While you were making those measurements of different real-world cities, did you discover any surprising patterns or spatial relationships?

Librande: Yes, definitely. I think the biggest one was the parking lots. When I started measuring out our local grocery store, which I don’t think of as being that big, I was blown away by how much more space was parking lot rather than actual store. That was kind of a problem, because we were originally just going to model real cities, but we quickly realized there were way too many parking lots in the real world and that our game was going to be really boring if it was proportional in terms of parking lots.

Manaugh: You would be making SimParkingLot, rather than SimCity.

Librande: [laughs] Exactly. So what we do in the game is that we just imagine they are underground. We do have parking lots in the game, and we do try to scale them — so, if you have a little grocery store, we’ll put six or seven parking spots on the side, and, if you have a big convention center or a big pro stadium, they’ll have what seem like really big lots — but they’re nowhere near what a real grocery store or pro stadium would have. We had to do the best we could do and still make the game look attractive.

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CINEMA

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DOCUMENTARY

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JUIJISUING REALITY

Chad Mann | Vimeo

Despite living with ALS, screenwriter Scott Lew maintains his voice in the world through his scripts, giving added meaning to the expression “living to write.”

Director: Chetin Chabuk | Producer: Diane Becker | Editor: Chetin Chabuk | Director of Photography: Chad Mann


TUESDAY | 14 MAY 2013

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ANIMATION

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THE CLOCKMAKERS // LES HORLOGERS

National Film Board of Canada | Vimeo

In this experimental animated short from Renaud Hallée, we travel inside a mysterious mechanism made up entirely of revolving gearwheels, triangles and lines. In this whirling, hypnotic world, dozens of tiny gymnasts leap, somersault and twist through the air. Their spirited acrobatics trigger both narrative and musical sequences that are mesmerizing and, at times, dizzying. Half-figurative and half-abstract, The Clockmakers is a playful creation that is sure to captivate and dazzle its audience.

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VINTAGE URBANISM

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LONDON IN 1927

Tim Sparke | Vimeo | via It’s Nice That

Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Frisse-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William – a noted cinematographer – was experimenting with. It’s like a beautifully dusty old postcard you’d find in a junk store, but moving.

Music by Jonquil and Yann Tiersen.

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ADVERTISING

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SANTANDER 2013

Will Davies | Potlatch

It is one of the most unsettling pieces of film that I’ve ever seen, reducing advertising to a set of blank and bland facts, to be recited out of the mouths of an apparently arbitrary collection of sports stars. What are the celebrities doing in other people’s houses? Have they broken in illegally? Or are we to suppose that they are ghostly apparitions?

The atmosphere of the ad is one of oppressive silence, like that of a family that has lost a member but refused to ever discuss it. It’s difficult to know what is stranger: the fact that Jenson Button is standing behind someone’s fridge door, dressed in his racing gear, or the fact that he is sharing tips on gas bills, or the strange resignation to all of this on the part of the man using the fridge. Jessica Ennis is represented as a sort of track-suit-clad bag lady, who bothers people in the street with unwanted – and almost certainly false – information. The ordinary people, trying to go about their days in peace and privacy, exude a sad resignation that capitalism now drops (real? hallucinatory?) celebrities into their bathrooms and kitchens, to talk at them uninvited. If they could speak, what would they say? Their faces project fear and anxiety, as if they are now are trapped. Mostly they just want to be left the hell alone, to live, walk and paint; but this is the wish that sport, finance and above all advertising clearly will not grant. Is this a warning of some kind?

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TIME LAPSE

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DUBAI

dimid | Vimeo

This video was filmed during our trip to UAE in January 2013. Visiting all of rooftops in video was totally illegal and made by our own risk, but no fine was payed =)

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STAR WARS

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PHOTO SERIES VISITS ABANDONED FILM SETS IN TUNISIAN DESERT

DL Cade | Peta Pixel | via Design Boom

In September 2010, visual artist and filmmaker Rä di Martino set out on a quest to photograph and document old abandoned film sets in the North African deserts. The project had started when she discovered that it was common practice to abandon these sets without tearing them down, leaving them fully intact and crumbling over time, like archeological ruins.

Martino spent that month traveling around Chott el Djerid in Tunisia, finding and photographing three Star Wars sets in all for her photo series No More Stars and Every World’s a Stage.

. . . Interestingly enough, after the photos were published, Star Wars fans annoyed with the disheveled state of Skywalker’s fictional home spent $11,000 and worked with locals to restore the old set. Now tourists who are brave enough to explore the Tunisian desert may find themselves in a pristine slice of Tatooine history if they’re lucky.

To see more from Martino, including more photos from other well-known and abandoned film sets, check out her website here.

ra di martino - no more stars 01

ra di martino - no more stars 02

ra di martino - no more stars 03

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MUSIC

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DISCODEINE: AYDIN

PLEIX | Vimeo | amazon

WEDNESDAY | 15 MAY 2013

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CINEMA

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THE SERIOUS SUPERFICIALITY OF GATSBY

Joshua Rothman | The Page Turner Blog | The New Yorker

Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is lurid, shallow, glamorous, trashy, tasteless, seductive, sentimental, aloof, and artificial. It’s an excellent adaptation, in other words, of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s melodramatic American classic. Luhrmann, as expected, has turned “Gatsby” into a theme-park ride. But he’s done it in exactly the right way. He hasn’t tried to make the novel more respectable, intellectual, or realistic. Instead, he’s taken “The Great Gatsby” very seriously just as it is.

. . . And there’s another sense in which I think Lurhmann gets “Gatsby” exactly right. His movie, which is presented in 3-D, seems streamlined and pre-packaged—it’s presented, self-consciously, as mass entertainment—and his characters feel flat, smoothed-out, uncomplicated. Many critics have charged the movie with flatness, too. In his excellent essay on the film, my colleague Richard Brody writes that “there’s no roughness whatsoever to [DiCaprio’s] character, none of life’s burrs or scrapes, no tinge of real power”; Carey Mulligan, similarly, “doesn’t invest the character with style or with substance.” The director, he concludes, is “unable to take society seriously, to recognize the extraordinary character that extraordinary manners both hide and (for those attuned to them) display.” These are legitimate, discerning objections, and yet I can’t help but feel that the film’s flatness is a deliberate choice; that what seems like a failure of Luhrmann’s imagination is actually a faithfulness to Fitzgerald’s. The characters are like that in the novel, too; that’s why Lionel Trilling, in “The Liberal Imagination,” compared them to “ideographs.” Flatness, after all, is the state to which all of Fitzgerald’s characters aspire. Even Gatsby, whose life thrums with secret ambition and desire, manages to be the cool man in the pink suit. “You always look so cool,” Daisy tells him. In a moment of admiration, she says that he resembles “an advertisement” of a man.

The flatness of the characters in “Gatsby” is, I think, part of what makes it so insightful. . .

HOLLYWOOD BIGFOOT: TERRENCE MALICK AND THE 20 YEAR HIATUS THAT WASN’T

Michael Nordine | Los Angeles Review of Books

Malick went on to study philosophy under Stanley Cavell at Harvard University, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1965 before crossing the Atlantic as a Rhodes scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford. Prior to completing his PhD, he left the school over a dispute with his thesis advisor. The details of this argument are largely unknown, though The Harvard Crimson claims it had to do with “the contrasting worldviews of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.”[3] Upon arriving back in the United States, Malick taught philosophy at MIT and published a translation of Martin Heidegger’s Essence of Reasons. (While at Harvard, he also translated Heidegger’s Holzwege and met the philosopher during a year abroad in Germany.) For a number of years following his return, he worked as a journalist for Newsweek and Life, where he wrote about Latin America, and The New Yorker, where he had an office from 1968 to 1969. Malick then enrolled at the AFI Conservatory as part of its inaugural class, graduating two years later with David Lynch. The decision to apply to the program was apparently an easy one: “I’d always liked the movies in a kind of naïve way,” Malick once said, for the simple reason that “they seemed no less improbable a career than anything else.”

It thus seems safe to say that Malick’s interests have always extended beyond cinema and that his life doesn’t appear to revolve around filmmaking. Moreover, he did not simply arrive in Hollywood on the back of a turnip truck one day and attempt to make it big. Malick had a built-in network of colleagues and friends from the above institutions (namely, his agent Mike Medavoy, who eventually became a producer of The Thin Red Line) and had already proven himself, not only by his enviable intellect, but also through his success in different, sometimes overlapping fields. Perhaps the most prescient of his early projects, however, was an unfinished one: a “huge piece on the death of Che Guevara for The New Yorker” said to have “piled up to six feet of copy. He got obsessed, and he overwrote, and he went past it. He never finished it.” Prior to completing his third film, Malick would start, but not finish, a great many more projects.

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DOCUMENTARY

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DREAM: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURNING MAN

Spark Pictures | Vimeo

Illuminating the culture of Burning Man – the annual pilgrimage to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert – as a catalyst for community, innovation and the actualization of dreams, this film offers a glimpse into the art and culture of this dynamic community with the hope to spark a dream within you.

DREAM premiered at the Sonoma International Film Festival. Directed and produced by Rich Van Every of lightworkscreative.tv. Rich also was a cinematographer for “Spark: A Burning Man Story,” a feature film on the inside story of Burning Man during a year of unprecedented challenges and growth “Spark: A Burning Man Story” premiered at SXSW 2013 and will be in general release Summer 2013. See sparkpictures.com for more information and to sign up for email updates on upcoming screenings.

THURSDAY | 16 MAY 2013

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STORYTELLING

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THE PRESENTS SANDI CARROLL: I WAS A SPY IN CHINATOWN

Sandi Carroll | mothstories | youtube

In Chinatown, even the criminals aren’t what they seem.

Sandi Carroll is an actor, teacher and the Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based theater company, the Mud/Bone Collective. She’s also a co-founder of the comedy group Logic Limited, Ltd. where many of her old spy tricks have come in handy. She made her Broadway debut last year and can be seen in the upcoming films Rabbit Hole and The Adjustment Bureau. Learn more at sandicarroll.com

WEEKEND | 17 MAY 2013

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CINEMA

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THE BMX BOYS OF E.T.

Emmon Hassan | Naratively

As the movie was ending and applause filled the theater, the BMX stunt kids filled with pride, waited for their names to scroll up during the end credits. They never did. None of the eight BMX stunt riders were ever credited. Apart from a couple of articles in BMX magazines, the stunt kids whose work for the chase scene launched untold thousands of BMX riders were lost to history.

Also forgotten was the story of a bicycle broker from Torrance, California, and the relatively unknown Japanese BMX brand taken under his wing in 1979.

Present at the very same screening, at Culver Studios in West L.A., was Howie Cohen, in his forties at the time. Cohen was a savvy bicycle wholesale distributor and enthusiast who jumped at an opportunity when it presented itself. His company, “Everything Bicycles,” was the only hint at the story of the boys who never appeared in the credits.

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DOCUMENTARY

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JELA

Will Robinson-Scott | Vimeo

This film follows Jela, brought up in the heart of the East End of London in a Turkish and English family. He talks about his memories of growing up in the 80s and 90s and his time on the streets and on football terraces. Jela grew up fast, being immersed in football violence , skinhead culture , and hard drug use before his life spiraled out of control, now sober he looks to the future.
The East End he grew up in has changed on the surface but many of the faces he grew up with remain the same. His struggles have made him what he is today and Jela is East London through and through.

Film by Will Robson-Scott

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FOOTBALL

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LOVE YOUR JOURNEY

Wallop Creative | Vimeo

World Freestyle Football Champion, Andrew Henderson, takes us through the streets of London like never before.

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STORYTELLING

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THE MOTH PRESENTS MEG WOLITZER: FIRST LOVE, LONG ISLAND 1975


Meg Wolitzer | Moth Stories | Youtube

A teenager in love has to make decisions about sex.

Meg Wolitzer is a novelist whose new book, The Interestings, was published by Riverhead Books in April 2013. Her many novels include The Wife; The Ten-Year Nap; and The Uncoupling. Wolitzer’s fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, and she lives in New York City

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MUSIC

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WATCH THE BEASTIE BOYS ALBUM COVERS EXPLAINED, BY THE ARTISTS WHO MADE THEM

Kyle Vanhemert | Co.Design

The cover for the Beastie Boys’ debut album, License To Ill, perfectly encapsulated the group’s subversive M.O. It showed a sleek plane with the Beasties’ logo on the tail–a nod to Led Zeppelin’s preferred mode of travel during the heyday of rockstar excess in the early ’70s–but only after opening the gatefold did you see the punchline: the plane had just smashed into a cliff.

“That was our kind of sense of humor,” explains David Gamble, AKA World B. Omes, who painted the iconic cover in 1986. Gamble’s just one of many artists and designers interviewed in this month’s Juxtapoz, a special issue dedicated to all the compelling art that helped propel the trio’s career. In the clip below, you can hear a bit about the work from the artists themselves.

The magazine goes into more depth, giving the story behind each cover. As they got older, the group became more hands-on with the visual aspects of their output, but in the early days, they were having too much fun to care.

THE OOH BABY GIMME MORES: BEAT UP KIDZ

Ryan Enn Hughes | Vimeo

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