Posts Tagged ‘Richard Brody’

Academic by day, filmmaker by night

June 10, 2010

The New Yorker’s Richard Brody put up a post today that I find quite relevant for anybody who—like yours truly—is approaching the precipice of grad school and worries that pursuing a MA or PhD in film studies might foreclose the possibility of someday being able to make the films that one has always dreamed of making.

Taking “Putty Hill” director Matthew Porterfield as a prime example, Brody speculates that the future of American independent cinema doesn’t lie in inexpensive digital cameras or “new media”-centric marketing strategies; instead, he thinks it resides (or will come to reside) in the American university system, where filmmakers can teach in order to make the bucks that will eventually serve as capital for future productions.

Of course, this is nothing new to practitioners of the other six arts. But what I like most about Brody’s vision is the idea of filmmakers/professors having clauses woven into their contracts with the university that would help them to finance the production of their films, something that he compares to science professors and the research that they’re paid to conduct in their labs.

Great: More reasons not to stray from academia for too long. Oy vey.

A worthwhile clip on a sunny Tuesday afternoon

April 27, 2010

Well, it seems I’m fresh out of wit—thus, the title of this post. Anyway, I wanted to direct your attention to the latest installment of Richard Brody’s “DVD of the Week,” a weekly feature on his New Yorker film blog, the Front Row; there Brody discusses Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep” (1977), a truly incredible movie that I count amongst my personal favorites.

“Killer of Sheep” is funny, jaw-droppingly gorgeous and pervaded by a palpable sense of socioeconomic frustration. I can’t think of another film that makes American society’s glass ceiling seem so blatant and, by extension, so troubling. It’s crazy to think that this was Burnett’s MFA thesis at UCLA; what isn’t quite as astonishing but no less commendable is the fact he shot it for a mere $10,000. “Killer of Sheep” deserves as much attention as it can get.

Fixing to skedaddle

March 26, 2010

Wasn’t March a kick? I thought so too, for the most part. Did you read the DC’s April Fools’ edition yesterday (featuring a column from yours truly, but that’s neither here nor there)? If you didn’t, I recommend tracking down a copy: it was legitimately hysterical.

Anyway, CineMadison will be going on hiatus from today until next Monday. It’s spring break and eight days of cutting loose is at the top of the agenda. In case you were wondering, I’m driving to Boston tonight with a couple of dear friends, both of whom have agreed to put up with my slight phobia of driving in return for me putting up with their slight habit of chain-smoking (no disrespect to any of you chain-smokers out there). It’s doubtful that I’ll get a chance to see any films while we’re gone, which will mark my longest dry spell in months. However, cinema will still be very much on my mind all the time. I hope it’ll be on yours as well. Let’s have some constructive dialogue when we all get back, ya hear?

If you’re going to be in or near Manhattan next week, be sure to mosey on over to the IFC Center on 6th Ave to see Catherine Breillat’s “Bluebeard,” which opens there today. I’ve always found Breillat to be a pretty hit-or-miss artist (and if any of the contemporary French filmmakers deserves the “auteur” label, it’s gotta be her); but even when she misses it’s affecting—and usually in a defiant, challengingly unpleasant way. “Bluebeard” was reviewed this week by the Times’ Manohla Dargis and the Voice’s J. Hoberman; both paint the picture of a film at once morbid and nostalgic, dark and whimsical, sensitive to the latent psychopathology hiding in the heart of all human practices—including the writing and telling of fairy tales. Unfortunately it’d be the schlep-to-end-all-schleps for me to get down to NYC to join you for a matinee.

On Tuesday (or more precisely, at midnight on Monday) the Criterion Collection’s new 4-disc Pedro Costa set, “Letters from Fontainhas,” which consists of the films “Ossos” (1997), “In Vanda’s Room” (2000) and “Colossal Youth” (2006), will be available at Four Star Video Heaven. This is probably the most anticipated home video release of the year, and for damn good reason: by all accounts, Costa is among the most important artists working today. Enjoy the spareness, the stillness, the desperation. Here’s a link to the New Yorker’s Richard Brody’s review of the entire set. Can’t wait to tear through these when I return to Madison.

Also, be sure to check out Kenneth Burns’ positive—and autobiographical—review of “Greenberg” in this week’s issue of the Isthmus.

Alright dear reader, I oughta get while the gettin’s good. I’ll see you a week from Monday. Don’t you go and cut your hair.

While you’re waiting…

September 3, 2009

… for Uli Edel’s muchdiscussed (and here and here) The Baader-Meinhof Complex (2008) to arrive in Madison theaters (which, of course, it may never), use this time to check out Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s ferocious and unsettling gem The Third Generation (1979), a real masterpiece of noise, allusion and political discontent.