the week in motion pictures | 30 april 2013

This is a showcase of all the film, video, animation, documentary and related material that we’ve highlighted during the week on The Mighty Marcus Reader.

tuesday | 30 april 2013

SHORT FILM

SCREENGRAB

Willie Witte | Vimeo | via Colossal

An experiment in transitions.
None of the visuals are computer generated. All the trickery took place literally in front of the camera.

Thanks to Kevin McAlpine for the song / audio work!

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ANIMATION

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ALTNEULAND

Sariel Keslasi | Vimeo

My graduation film at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design.
And this year (2013) it is displayed at the Annecy Festival and the Cannes short Film corner Festival.
You are welcome to watch.

The film is a subjective interpretation of the utopian novel, “Altneuland” writen by theodor herzl. By using a surrealist allegory, the film tries to deal with the collapse of Herzl’s dream and seeks to emphasize the sense of absurdity and instability of my personal experience as an individual in the Israeli society.

monday | 29 april 2013

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ANIMATED SHORT

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THE MAN WHO WAS AFRAID OF FALLING

Joseph Wallace | Vimeo

“Ivor’s life is turned upside down after a falling plant pot sparks a series of paranoid reactions.”

Graduation film from Newport Film School. Created in eight months. Shot with a Canon 5D and DragonFrame. Almost everything made from cardboard.

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ANIMATED SHORT

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THE POD

Bronto House | Vimeo

A pilot, marooned on a strange planet, is on a journey to find his crashed space ship. On his way, his physical and mental capabilities are put to the test within this alien environment.

Bronto House Animation is a group of 6 students from San Jose State University’s Animation Illustration Program. We love film.

More info available at brontohouse.com

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FILM

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‘SUN DON’T SHINE’ AND ‘OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY’

Richard Brody | The Front Row | The New Yorker

With “Spring Breakers” and “Pain & Gain” (which opens today), it’s the year of amateur-criminals-in-Florida movies, and a third film in the batch, also opening today (at the Cinema Village and on national video-on-demand), is the best of them: Amy Seimetz’s “Sun Don’t Shine.” I saw it nearly a year ago, at the Maryland Film Festival and again, last fall, at the La Di Da Festival at 92Y Tribeca. (My capsule review is in the magazine this week.) It’s an instant classic of lovers on the run; though made for a low budget, it’s got performances and ideas to rival those in movies at any scale. Seimetz starts the movie at a furious pitch and in medias res, with its two young protagonists, Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Leo (Kentucker Audley) in the midst of a knock-down muddy brawl that for all of its brutality exudes a wayward and desperate tenderness that is the movie’s emotional core.

Terence Nance’s wondrously inventive first feature, “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” also opens today (at Cinema Village and Film Society of Lincoln Center). It, too, is a story of romantic frenzy, but of an entirely different sort. (My capsule review is in this week’s issue, too.) Its director is also its protagonist, a young man who worries that he is oversimplifying the beauty of the woman he loves—and who makes an amazingly and delightfully complex film to say so. It’s an intricate collection of frames within frames, a takeoff from Nance’s 2006 short film, “How Would You Feel?,” in which he poses his romantic frustrations in his pursuit of the woman as a problem to which he has no answer other than to pose the very question in a kaleidoscopic range of registers—confessional history, animation, archival footage, interviews, self-documentation on the film festival circuit, and even fragments of a film by his beloved, Namik Minter, as she attempts to respond to his depiction of her. As Nance poses his questions in an ever more sincerely self-questioning, self-revealing, self-doubting mode, he gains in inner and outer experience. His frenetic performance in the name of love, a feature-length troubadour poem meant to win a woman’s heart, becomes the very sediment of wisdom.

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STUDENT FILM

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GHANA

Gyimya Gariba | Vimeo

A film inspired by Accra ,Ghana -where I was born and raised.
Made at Sheridan College 2013. There’s obviously so many things I would change/ do differently but I’m glad I was able to make it. Messed up a lot ,learned a lot but I had to keep reminding myself it was my first short film not my last. Hope you enjoy it :).

MUSIC:
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Creations // “Akoko Ba”

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MUSIC

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WALT & VERVAIN: BABE’S LAIR

Joseph | Vimeo

Music video for “Babe’s Lair” by Walt & Vervain. soundcloud.com/walt-vervain

For a man who’s wasting his time in the tired souls’ cave…

A tribute to the german expressionists, Lotte Reiniger, and Limbo.


weekend | 28 april 2013
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TIME LAPSE

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MINIATURE MELBOURNE

Nathan Kaso | Vimeo

A short tilt-shift time-lapse film featuring the city of Melbourne, Australia. This piece is 10 months in the making and features a range of different events and festivals held in the city throughout the year.

Music: “Reflections” by Tom Day.

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SHORT FILM

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CAFÉ REGULAR, CAIRO

Ritesh Batra | Vimeo

Ritesh Batra’s award winning Arabic language short Café Regular, Cairo has screened at over 40 international film festivals and won 12 awards including the FIPRESCI Critics Prize at the International Film Festival of Oberhausen and Special Mentions at Tribeca Intl Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. It was bought by Arte for French and German television. His debut feature ‘Lunchbox’ will premiere at the International Critics Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

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TELEVISION

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THE SUNDANCE KID GROWS UP

Andy Greenwald | Grantland

The Sundance Channel was founded in 1996 by Redford & Co. … well, to show Sundance movies, basically, a term that by the ’90s had calcified into a restrictive cliché all its own.5 It lurked quietly on the upper reaches of your local cable service, dutifully broadcasting reruns of Living in Oblivion6 and occasionally experimenting in on-brand original programming like sending Mario Batali and Michael Stipe to lunch. Five years ago, Sundance Channel was sold to Cablevision’s Rainbow Media (now a publicly traded entity known as AMC Networks), which was widely expected to merge the underperforming channel with its own fringe arthouse network, IFC. That didn’t happen, and now Sundance Channel’s lack of preexisting identity is suddenly its greatest strength. Due to a fluke of mismanagement and timing — the sort of thing the industry likes to call “foresight” in hindsight — Sundance Channel suddenly finds itself with the strange opportunity to fulfill its founder’s mission on an entirely different medium and long after he cashed out.

Earlier this year, Sundance Channel gained the best — some would argue “first” — notices in its history for Top of the Lake, a haunting seven-hour miniseries from filmmaker Jane Campion, cofinanced by the BBC and Australia’s UKTV. Though I’m regrettably late to the party,7 I’m happy to report the notices were well deserved. Starring a lightly accented Elisabeth Moss as a troubled Sydney cop investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old in her uncomfortably small New Zealand hometown, the series did what independent cinema once did best: take a familiar format and fold it in on itself like origami, until what remains is both totally unexpected and deeply beautiful. Despite some broad-stroke plot similarities, saying Top of the Lake is a smarter version of The Killing would be like calling a Harley-Davidson a smarter version of a Big Wheel. This was a crime series more concerned with the persistence of heartbreak than the breaking of laws: Moss’s detective Robin Griffin is as much a victim as Tui, the missing girl; and Matt Mitcham, a gruff and murderous Scotsman introduced as a nominal villain, alternates his violent rages with bouts of Ecstasy-popping, mother-mourning self-flagellation. (It helps that Mitcham is played by veteran actor Peter Mullan in one of the finest performances of the year. He’s a blazingly charismatic blend of sex, danger, and alcohol, like Iggy Pop fermented in a Lagavulin still.)


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FILM

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‘PORTRAIT OF JASON’ AND THE LIFE OF MOVIES

Richard Brody | The Front Row | The New Yorker

The cinema is the great compensatory art, the one that natural-born artists who lack any particular technical skill, craft, or knowledge gravitate toward, because it’s the one where the equipment itself supplies most of the needed technique. The artists need only bring their being—because being is the cinema’s very stuff and subject. That’s why it’s wrong to call movies a visual medium; it’s a shorthand that I’ve indulged in, too, but there’s actually no such thing as a beautiful image. If a director happens to be endowed with a visual gift (such as Stanley Kubrick, who started as a photographer), so much the better, but what makes an image beautiful is that it’s infused with a beautiful soul. That’s why there’s no formula for recognizing or identifying a beautiful image; it’s not definable as a geometric or formal quality, but rather, essentially, as a communion of kindred spirits that’s describable only in terms as literary as literature itself.

In other words, movies that are any good save people’s lives, and the 1967 film “Portrait of Jason”—which opened at IFC Center on Friday, in a deep-toned, richly textured, and (most importantly) sonically sharp restoration by Milestone Films—is one of the greatest cinematic salvations of all time, because it helped to save two people, one in front of the camera (its eponymous protagonist—indeed, its soloist), and the other behind it (the director, Shirley Clarke). I wrote a capsule review of it in the magazine, but it’s worth revisiting the movie in detail because its details are so extraordinary, starting with the question posed, at the very start, regarding the title.





THE COOL WORLD

Shirley Clarke | Youtube

Cool World is set in the meanest sections of Harlem. Hampton Clayton plays Duke, a powerful street gang member who claims that he is motivated by the Black Muslim movement. His subsequent criminal activities are thus not merely for gain, but as a means to declare black supremacy over the white establishment. One of director Shirley Clarke’s few mainstream projects, Cool World was the first commercial film venture to be shot on location in Harlem. The largely unknown cast features future luminaries (and husband and wife) Clarence Williams III and Gloria Foster. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

“I CHI” PINKUNOIZU

Ewan Jones Morris | Vimeo

Animation and collages by Ewan Jones Morris | “I Chi” is from Pinkunoizu EP “Second Amendment” pinkunoizu.com/ | Released by everybodysstalking.com/ | Printer operator: Ben Ewart-Dean

Pinkunoizu-Free Time

weekend | 27 april 2013
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ANIMATED SHORT

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JAZZ THAT NOBODY ASKED FOR

Benny Box | Vimeo | via Dinosaurs, Science & Design

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FILM

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LA NUIT DE VARENNES

Ettore Scola | Hulu

friday | 26 april 2013
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MUSIC

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THE UNIVERSAL MIND OF BILL EVANS: ADVICE ON LEARNING TO JAZZ AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS

Mike Springer | Open Culture

Evans discusses his creative process in a fascinating 1966 documentary, The Universal Mind of Bill Evans. (See above.) The film is introduced by Tonight Show host Steve Allen and features a revealing talk between Evans and his older brother Harry, a music teacher. They begin with a discussion of improvisation and the nature of jazz, which Evans sees as a process rather than a style. He then moves to the piano to show how he builds up a jazz improvisation, starting with a simple framework and then adding layers of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic variation.

“It’s very important to remember,” Evans says, “that no matter how far I might diverge or find freedom in this format, it only is free insofar as it has reference to the strictness of the original form. And that’s what gives it its strength. In other words, there is no freedom except in reference to something.”


wednesday | 24 april 2013
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FILM

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MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS

Paul Schrader | Hulu
[Ed. This week, The Criterion Collection is highlighting 5 films with brilliant set design. Free access expired]

Taking place on Mishima’s last day, when he famously committed public seppuku, the film is punctuated by extended flashbacks to the writer’s life as well as by gloriously stylized evocations of his fictional works.


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MUSIC

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BINARY: G.O.D.

Tom Bunker & Nicos Livesey | Vimeo