The story goes like this: young filmmaker Colin Levy wrote to his hero Martin Scorsese several years ago, asking which films he should see in order to broaden his cinematic horizons. Scorsese’s assistant sent over a list of 39 foreign films that the director had personally recommended, along with the following note: “Mr. Scorsese asked that I sent this your way. This should be a jump start to your film education!” Thanks to Bleeding Cool & Andrew Erdle.
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But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Martin Scorsese’s statement supporting Kodak’s continued production of film stock, courtesy of our friends at The Playlist.
We have many names for what we do — cinema, movies, motion pictures. And… film. We’re called directors, but more often we’re called filmmakers. Filmmakers. I’m not suggesting that we ignore the obvious: HD isn’t coming, it’s here. The advantages are numerous: the cameras are lighter, it’s much easier to shoot at night, we have many more means at our disposal for altering and perfecting our images. And, the cameras are more affordable: films really can be made now for very little money. Even those of us still shooting on film finish in HD, and our movies are projected in HD. So, we could easily agree that the future is here, that film is cumbersome and imperfect and difficult to transport and prone to wear and decay, and that it’s time to forget the past and say goodbye — really, that could be easily done. Too easily.
It seems like we’re always being reminded that film is, after all, a business. But film is also an art form, and young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form. Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of course not. In the history of motion pictures, only a minuscule percentage of the works comprising our art form was not shot on film. Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film. Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital informaton will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for.
Our industry — our filmmakers — rallied behind Kodak because we knew that we couldn’t afford to lose them, the way we’ve lost so many other film stocks. This news is a positive step towards preserving film, the art form we love. —Martin Scorsese
Preach the gospel
Yesterday I watched both parts of Lars Von Trier’s NYMPH()OMANIAC, and I left the film feeling extraordinarily elevated. I remember having felt somewhat similarly with Trier’s Breaking The Waves from 1996, Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, and more recently with Noé’s Enter The Void (2010). It’s that kind of experience.
At first I was actually somewhat hesitant about watching it, as, even though I’m a great admirer of some of Trier’s work, this movie’s marketing was heavily emphasizing its lewdness and art house appeal. That’s why I half-expected a kind of pretentious exploitation film, but it turned out to be a very human and yet theatrically epic drama, with more humour (however black) than one might think, presented as a series of intertwined parables, all framed by a philosophical discussion recalling Plato’s Socratic dialogues at times. It is a challenging film, no doubt, but has its share of rather beautiful, if melancholic, moments as well, and gives you quite a bit to think about.
Officially it is (the last) part of Trier’s so-called Depression-trilogy, after Antichrist and Melancholia. But I thought it would actually fit much better in a trilogy consisting of Breaking The Waves and Dogville as the other films. (I admit I haven’t seen Antichrist yet, though.) The former film depicting a character that has the thing that Nymphomaniac's titular protagonist lacks: love, but in blinding abundance; the latter, Dogville, also containing the themes of lost innocence and the evils of society that re-appear, a bit differently, in this one. Maybe I say this because I find those three to be my favorites of Trier’s filmography so far. Either way, Nymphomaniac is a revelation and just might be the director’s magnum opus.
20,000 Days on Earth — Official Trailer
First preview of the upcoming pseudo-documentary about Nick Cave!
It collages together fictionalized, mostly unscripted scenes from Cave’s 20,000th day on the planet.
Out September 19
Jack White interviews Beck
- JACK WHITE: Well, since I've never met you before, Beck, [Beck laughs] it's nice to finally be able to talk to you. I'm going to use Chuck Berry's 13-question method.
- BECK: I didn't know he had a method.
- JW: He had a song called "Thirteen Question Method." So, question number one: When recording an album, how involved are you in what the other musicians are playing?
- B: Well, my first few albums, I was playing most of the instruments myself. But I have been known to sit in front of a musician, singing to him what he needs to play.
- JW: Question number two: Do you respect Bob Dylan and Devo equally?
- B: [sounding forlorn] Oh... yes.
- JW: [laughs] All right, question number three: Chocolate mousse, antilock brakes, Stratocaster, 18-wheelers, plastic flowers, action figures and lottery tickets?
- B: All necessary.
- JW: Question number four: You used a phrase on Midnite Vultures, "Keep your lamplight trimmed and burning." Is that a sexual reference?
- B: Uh ... well, yeah, in one respect it is. I'm coming home, it's the dark section of town ...
- JW: [laughs] OK. Question number five: If you had to choose one thing in life, would you rather be constantly entertained, spiritually fulfilled or truly in love?
- B: I think they all engender the same warmth.
- JW: Question number six: When should an artist stand by a gut feeling, and when should an artist play the game?
- B: Well, it's like Mr. Kenny Rogers said--
- B: --"Know when to fold 'em."
- JW and B: Sometimes "you got to know when to hold 'em"--
- JW: [laughs] That's good. Question number seven: I once heard the comedian and piano player Victor Borge say, "I wish I'd have become a concert pianist, because anybody can tell jokes." What are your thoughts about humor in music?
- B: I wish I'd become a concert pianist.
- JW: [laughs] These are quick answers, Beck. [Beck laughs] Question number eight: Is it inspiring or disheartening to live in L.A.?
- B: [pauses] A bit of both. But I mostly enjoy it.
- JW: Was it more inspring as a kid?
- B: I think it's better now, because I have a car. But I had a bus pass before that, and that was the golden ticket; that was inspiring. I collided with so much life on those buses. I remember when I was trying to be a blues man, I'd carry my guitar around everywhere, I was about 15 or 16, and my bus went through South Central. So these old black guys were calling out. "Hey, what you doing, AxI Rose?"
- JW: [laughs] Question number nine: Do you know any fundamentalist Christians who speak in tongues? I heard they go into a trance and speak other languages.
- B: Yeah, I know some tongues.
- JW: It'd be interesting if musicians could get into that while recording, especially rap artists. I think when rappers freestyle, it's like speaking in tongues, because it's going by so quickly and ideas are forming--it's like running as fast as you can through barricades and tires, you know?
- B: Like boot camps. You can't stumble or fall.
- JW: There should be freestyle boot camps.
- B: I think there are. On the streets, my friend.
- JW: [laughs] Question number 10: I would love to own a pet chimp. But, I recently heard that they cost $40,000. What do I do?
- B: OK, 'Nhen you're renegotiating the next album, you instruct your legal advisors to add an addendum to the contract. The wild game clause.
- JW: Have you had any problems with non-recoupable monkeys in your contract?
- B: I have! And I have a few unsecured zebras, too.
- JW: OK. Question number 11: If someone puts an album up on their wall, are they doing it because it looks cool or because they love the music on that record?
- B: Well it's a cheap way to decorate. I think it's... I don't know the word. [pauses] Hi-lo.
- JW: Hi-lo? What does that mean?
- B: Highbrow, lowbrow.
- JW: Oh, I get it. Question number 12: If your fans perceived you the same way your Loved ones do, what would happen?
- B: [laughs] You're good at this, Jack.
- JW: [laughs] Oh, I'm just learning. I went to freestyle boot camp. I wrote this down ahead of time, so I cheated.
- B: I write down all my freestyles, too. [laughs] I don't know, guess we'd be going on trips to the shore. We'd be exchanging voicemails in anonymous locations. And, we'd be, uh, hugging.
- JW: Last question, number 13: Your new album is about to come out, and I hate to ask, but what can we expect?
- B: [long pause] It smells like... a Sharpie... scrawled on a pink wall. It's called Sea Change. That's where the storm hits the sailors, and they didn't know it was coming. I thought it sounded like one of those Patti Smith records. You know, with those titles that are right on the edge of being pretentious, but they're kind of poetic.
- B: I know. I love that. I like the arty thing, but in L.A. and the punk rock scene, there wasn't a lot of tolerance for that.
- JW: Hi-lo. Well, that's all my questions.
- B: Oh, I want more.
- JW: Well, I had a couple more, but I didn't want to ruin Chuck Berry's 13-question method. OK, one more: Do you think people held albums in higher regard in the '60s and '70s?
- B: I think the idea of albums has been demeaned by so many bad albums. But time weeds and sifts out all the plastic.
Gregory’s Girl, 1980 (dir. Bill Forsyth)
A very charming, British coming-of-age romantic comedy that reminded me of Wes Anderson in more than a couple of ways: from the witty yet awkward protagonist, the intimate atmosphere, colorfully vivid characters, poignant dialogue, adult-seeming children, even down to the almost-Futura font. It’s a fantastic, personal indie film for anyone who’s ever been a teenager (and especially for fans of Wes Anderson/Richard Ayoade/Hal Ashby).
Mr. Freedom, 1969 (dir. William Klein)
Haha, happy 4th of July!—Every American should watch this film, especially on this occasion. (If you haven’t seen it or haven’t figured it out: this film is essentially a parody of the USA.)
Anyway, it’s like a mixture between Jean-Luc Godard and Putney Swope, with some fantastic visuals and satirically surreal black humor. A real gem.
Jack White feat. Alison Mosshart — Love Interruption (Live in Dublin, 26/06/2014)
This is hands down the best live video of White’s current tour so far. Jack looks like a giddy little boy and Alison gets Jacked.