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[Marvel movies] are cinema. So is that cat video on YouTube, it's cinema. It is kind of surprising that what we used to regard as adolescent entertainment, comic books for teenagers, has become the dominant genre economically. Each generation is informed, and informed by literature, or informed by theater, or informed by live television, or informed by film school. Now we have a generation that's been informed by video games and manga. It's not that the filmmakers have changed, it's that the audiences have changed.
... And when the audiences don't want serious movies, it's very, very hard to make one. When they do, when they ask you, 'What should I think about women's lib, gay rights, racial situations, economic inequality?' and the audience is interested in hearing about these issues, well then you can make those movies. And we have. Particularly in the fifties, and sixties, and seventies, we're making them one or two a week about social issues. And they were financially successful because audiences wanted them. Then something changed in the culture, the center dropped out. Those movies are still being made, but they're not in the center of the conversation anymore.
Paul Schrader, Paul Schrader On How He and Hollywood Have Changed, 8 September 2021

I turned to writing a script as personal therapy. I was alone and living mostly in my car—you could sleep at those big porn theatres at night—and drinking, drinking, drinking. I had a bleeding ulcer at twenty-five. I went into the hospital, and, while I was there, I had the image of this taxi-driver. That's me—this kid in this bright-yellow coffin, floating through the open sewer of the city.
... You have a problem and you have a metaphor, and then you have a plot. When I wrote ‘Taxi Driver,' the problem was young-male loneliness. The metaphor was the taxicab. Great metaphor! And so it goes. [ In “The Card Counter”, ] the metaphor for a person who's been deadened by his own guilt is counting cards—it's a non-life. You see these commercials of people in casinos laughing and having fun. When was the last time you were at a casino and saw anybody laughing?
Paul Schrader, For Paul Schrader, It All Started on Pauline Kael's Sofa, 6 September 2021

 

 
 

 

Note: As we are approaching centennial of silent cinema's golden age, here are my favourite "motion pictures" from silent era.

1916: Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, USA) [watch]
1920: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, Germany) [watch]
1921: The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, Sweden) [watch]
1922: Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Fritz Lang, Germany) [watch]
1924: Entr'acte (René Clair, France) [watch]
1926: Faust ((F.W. Murnau, Germany) [watch]
1926: The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, Germany)
1927: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, USA) [watch]
1927: Napoleon (Abel Gance, France)
1928: The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, France)
1928: The Wind (Victor Seastrom, USA)
1928: The Last Command (Josef von Sternberg, USA) [watch]
1929: Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, Soviet Union) [watch]
1930: Earth (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Soviet Union) [watch]
1932: I Was Born, But... (Yasujirô Ozu, Japan) [watch]
1934: The Goddess (Wu Yonggang, China) [watch]

Then sound appeared. These are my favourite early masterpieces of "talking pictures".

1930: All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, USA)
1931: M (Fritz Lang, Germany) [watch]
1931: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, USA) [watch]
1932: The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau, France)
1932: Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, USA)
1932: Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, Germany) [watch]
1933: Las Hurdes (Luis Buñuel, Spain) [watch]
1933: Zero for Conduct (Jean Vigo, France) [watch]

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The golden age of silent cinema happened in the Roaring Twenties when western world came out of World War I (1914-1918), the end of empires and Spanish flu pandemic (1918), it entered period of economic prosperity, new trend of lifestyle and edgy cultures.

Someone perfectly summarized silent cinema era with: German expressionism, Soviet montage, Hollywood melodrama and French avant-garde.

My most favourite directors of this era are F.W. Murnau and Victor Sjöström(Seastrom) who made their best films in both their homelands and United States.

Sjöström's The Phantom Carriage (1921) [watch] is Ingmar Bergman's inspiration for The Seventh Seal (1957) and Wild Strawberries (1957) where Sjöström acted as main protagonist of the latter film.

Murnau's The Last Laugh (1924) [watch] was called Citizen Kane of silent era for using several techniques to show downfall of its protagonist, though both films' protagonists are not likeable to me. I recommend watching Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) [watch] and Faust (1926) [watch] in this pandemic. Very thought-provoking. They might originally evoke memories of Spanish flu pandemic that engulf Europe in 1918. And if anyone reading this has never seen Murnau's Sunrise (1927) [watch], do it now. It's the epitome of this seventh art form called cinema.

I'd had false expectation for Fritz Lang's ambitious Metropolis (1927) [watch] being more scientific, it happens to be more likely of witchcraft within futuristic city. Metropolis combines elements from Frankenstein, Pied Piper of Hamelin, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Middle Ages' witch hunts with pseudoscience, and still disappoints. Or, its influences can be seen in so many films through a hundred years, thus make the original film seems cliche.

Lang's criminal-mastermind thriller, Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922) [watch] is much more complex. This 4-hour film sinks us audiences into hopelessness while predicting arrival of the demagogue that will lead whole Germany into absolute darkness. Someone pointed out that it's like Gotham city without Batman. In this serie's follow-up, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) [watch], the mastermind commands his "empire of crime" from mental asylum, it somehow echoes Hitler's time in jail writing Mein Kampf (My Struggle). This was Lang's last German film before he fled Nazi to Paris and started career in Hollywood.

Tod Browning's The Unknown (1927) has very unique atmosphere and promising beginning but its ending is kind of weak. This description can also be used for his most-acclaimed sound-film Freaks (1932) which its humanistic view of dwarfs and disables in circus could shame David Lynch's portrayal of them in his films.

I usually don't care about Buster Keaton. But after an hour of unfunny slapstick, the last part of The Cameraman (1928) [watch] is brilliant. His epic The General (1926) [watch] cleverly makes jokes out of both North and South armies of American Civil war, but his clumsy character annoys me all the time. Though I know that is the point of his films: a flawed human who accidentally achieves great things in his life in the end. I think these exaggerated physical-movement comedies of Keaton and Chaplin are meant to be seen in theatres full of people laughing, cheering and talking to each other, like watching circus, not sitting quietly in the dark as we do now.

if Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) [watch] was made today, it would be outrageous. This American film shot in northern Siam is not a documentary but a comedy with plot that was arranged to show people's way of life with some cultural display. The strong point is that these filmmakers didn't show agenda, they just wanted to show things they thought amusing and exotic, that makes Chang feel honest. Time also helps making it become more valuable than it should be. If this comedy about man versus wild nature, was told entirely from animals' points of view, it would be a tragedy, a sacrifice for human civilisation. The filmmakers of this film went on to make legendary King Kong (1933) [watch].

Marcel Duchamp put urinal in gallery in 1917 at the starting point of Dada, the anti-art movement responds to madness of World War I (1914-1918). This is the art of the nihilist that intended to shock and later founded the basis of Surrealism after the war. In cinema, René Clair's Entr'acte (1924) [watch] was called pure Dadaist film.

Bunuel x Dali famous collaborations, Un Chien Andalou (1929) [watch] and L'Age D'or (1930) [watch], are Dada x Surrealism. Cow in a bedroom, horsecart in a party - these films are interesting mess, everything is against rational thoughts. Bunuel then moved to Surrealism with more plot and meaning. His surreal "documentary" Las Hurdes (1933) [watch] still makes argument - is it social documentary about very poor village or satire mockumentary to documentary about third-world poorness?

Ménilmontant (1926) [watch] is one of the most acclaimed French avant-garde film. With no intertitles, its story is hard to follow if you never read its synopsis before. I had to watch this short film several times just to understand its story. There are some powerful scenes but I guessed it would be more effective if I understood its main storyline. So here is its synopsis: A couple was brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Their two daughters move on to live in the city. Both of them are in love with a same Parisian guy.

Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) tells story of Napoleon Bonaparte from childhood through French Revolution and Reign of Terror to the moment before he became emperor. This 5 hours 30 minutes film is... very long with very good storytelling and little drag. It's long enough to make me forget what I was waiting for.. and suddenly it happened. At the last 20 minutes, Napoleon stretches from one screen to three and it's spectacular. Even I watched it on small screen, I could imagined how wonderful it would be in theatre. Absolutely epic.

Sergei Eisenstein is a genius artist who mostly made shallow Soviet propaganda films in silent era: pre-revolution Strike (1925) [watch] and his most famous Battleship Potemkin (1925) [watch]; during-1917-revolution October (1927) [watch]; and post-revolution Old and New (1929) [watch]. Watching his films back-to-back is very exhausted because they are always about angry proletariats shouting to each other. Old and New is my most favourite silent Eisenstein, it shows communist ideologies in very interesting ways. His very short Romance Sentimentale (1930) [watch] is a breath of fresh air where Eisenstein bacame French avant-garde. He later made Bezhin Meadow (1937) [watch] that was believed to be destroyed by Soviet authority. It tells story of a boy who betrays his father, just to protect the Soviet state.

Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command (1928) [watch] about ex-general of imperial Russia who fled Soviet revolutionists and end up an extra in Hollywood film, is surprisingly full of heart. He also made Underworld (1927) [watch] which was called the blueprint of gangster movies. That was before Marlene Dietrich came and dominated von Sternberg's films (and his love life) starting from The Blue Angel (1930), which I can't stand that naive professor whose obsession with Dietrich's Lola pulls his life down to disaster. In the same manner, I hate Georg Wilhelm Pabst's famous Pandora's Box (1929) [watch] for its unconvincing plot of that despicable woman (Louise Brooks' stunning Lulu) and all weak men (and a lesbian) who voluntarily go down to hell with her.

Words say there were hundreds of queer silent films during Weimar Germany. But only two survived Nazi regime: fragmented Different from the Others (1919) and, very subtle, Dreyer's Michael (1924). The first one could be educational film for psychology class, it's very progressive on gender spectrum. Actually, early 20th century was very advance on sexology with Sigmund Freud and Magnus Hirschfeld who also appeared in Different from the Others.

Sound films came in time to provide escapist movies for 1930s' Great Depression. Musicals, gangsters and monsters, Hollywood enjoyed its freedom for awhile before Hays Code seriously enforced in 1934. This form of censorship lasted for three decades until it was replaced by rating system in 1968.

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Keep in mind that some silent films originally showed in silence and some with live music. So soundtracks of silent catalogues were added later in sound era. Some recently rediscovered silent films may use modern soundtracks which mean they are still not available in Public Domain. And sometimes modern soundtracks ruin those silent films.

(A week ago I happened to find full-length video of Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) on Youtube. So I saved its address for this note. Now when I'm about to post, I find out that the video was removed "due to a copyright claim by Milestone Film & Video". I guess it may be the restored version that hold its own copyright. This incident could happen to other 100-year-old movies on any website. So enjoy them while you still can.)

Watch more...
Lumiere Factory
André Bourbeau
Classic Movies Library
Cult Cinema Classics
United Global Pictures

Read further...
The peak of silent cinema by  Ian Christie
Top 10 silent movies by the Guardian

 

 
 

 

The path of my films is like planting a tree. After being planted, it grows by itself. I know what kind of tree it is, but not what shape it will grow into.
Tsai Ming-liang, In Taiwan's Mountains, a Director Works to Slow Life Down, 28 August 2021

The title of the documentary film ["The Most Beautiful Boy in the World" ] comes from a tag that Luchino Visconti gave the boy [Björn Andrésen] at ["Death In Venice" ] film's world premiere in London. However, two months later, at the 25th edition of the Cannes film festival, with the uncomprehending Andrésen sat beside him at a press conference, he would talk about their first meeting saying "He was even more beautiful back then. He has aged now — you can see he's at an awkward age".
Sophie Monks Kaufman, Death in Venice and how film has mistreated child stars, 26 July 2021

This is an unprecedented time within history. It's Japan's responsibility to make this Olympics work and to take these measures against what's happening in the world… and to reinterpret that idea of the essence and ethos and spirit with which the Olympics began.
... [Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad (1964)] is not just a documentary. There is a taste of fiction imbued in the film as well. I hope I can show what happened this year in Japan [in new Olympics film] to people in 100 years' time. [Because] I really want to show how the pandemic changed the world.
... I don't just want to convey the beauty of the Olympics or the athletes. I want to see it from right in the middle as a spectator and see it objectively, more than subjectively. To show both sides of the event is my mission… both the beauty and the catastrophic side of Japan together.
Naomi Kawase, Tokyo Olympiad: The greatest film about sport ever made, 22 July 2021

The message that [boomers] communicated to their kids was that there's no point in trying to change the system. The only reasonable motivation is self-interest, and the dominating political force in American life is materialism. You've been given examples by your parents that idealism is pointless. That's how you end up with this group of filmmakers who seem to embrace nihilism as an overriding philosophy.
Peter Hanson, Ghost World, Donnie Darko and cinema's ultimate teen rebels, 19 July 2021

These are two forms of life that are not shared but they are complementary. Each one is living in their own tunnel, but each one is interlaced with the other one. Life is a bit like that. The only true reality is the addition of all the perceptions of it. Originally, I didn't think I'd do the whole movie with a split screen. I started shooting with two cameras and then with only one single camera. Then I realized “what the fuck, I should've shot with two cameras if I wanted to keep it with the split screen for the whole movie.” So we had to reshoot some scenes and the missing parts. I'm very happy we did that.
Gaspar Noé, Gaspar Noé Almost Died, Got Sober, and Made His Most Personal Film, 18 July 2021

[Akira Kurosawa] combined two qualities not always found together in filmmakers. He was a visual stylist, and a thoughtful humanist. His films had a daring, exhilarating visual freedom, and a heart of deep human understanding. He often made movies about heroes, but their challenge was not simply to win; it was to make the right ethical choice.
Roger Ebert, What Was Akira Kurosawa's Humanist Point of View?, 16 July 2021

 

 
 

 

Note: Nagisa Oshima's Night and Fog in Japan (1960**) is about conflicts and decline of leftist movement after violent clash between student protesters and police on June 15, 1960 with flashback to 1950. The film was released in October 1960 and pulled out of theatres three days later by Shochiku studio, in the wake of Socialist Party politician's assassination. Oshima openly condemned this film withdrawal as politically motivated censorship.

... He then parted way with Shochiku studio and founded his own company, Sozosha. His films became more complex and more experimental. Some of them need information and interpretation to understand messages beneath colorful events.

... Violence At Noon (1966***) tells story of a serial rapist who emerged from collapsing communist commune. Two early victims from the commune, one is his wife, contact each other to discuss about his crimes. Both women once thought that he was in love with them, now realise that he is just a rapist.

... In Sing A Song Of Sex (1967**), a teacher tells his students that folksongs about sex are the suppressed voices of the people - they sing them without realising that they are oppressed because they have no other choice in lives. Later, four male students start singing sex song as an excuse for doing absurd things with no responsibility, for the whole film.

... An American lonewolf starts shooting random people in Tokyo in Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967**). Old yakuza members, suicidal guy, horny girl and hot-headed boy hear the news from radio then risk their lives to join this foreign criminal. In the country that was defeated in the war, people desperately try to do anything to be proud of themselves again. For me it's an average film with very impressive frame compositions.

... In Boy (1969****) Oshima revisited his famous theme - youth extorting money from people; selling pigeon in A Town of Love and Hope (1959***), sex in Cruel Story of Youth (1960***) and car accident in Boy. With war-torn abusive father and fake mother, the boy slowly learns the trick and accepts his family's con-life. Through the whole film, the boy has no name, no school, no life and no ability to express his own feeling. He is Oshima's metaphor of postwar Japan that still looking for its identity.

... The Man Who Left His Will On Film (1970***) is existential, meta-fiction, and anti-politics - all of them together at once. A Bolex cinema camera was stolen from the protagonist. The thief shot some films and committed suicide. Then the protagonist looks for film reel that should be left in the camera to prove that the thief really exists, or not. The protagonist is in state of post-leftist and now asking existential question about life and identity.

... The Man Who Left His Will On Film also asks - should films be used as political weapon? The camera turns into machine gun at one point. I guess this film must be inspired by Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966****) which was loosely adapted from Julio Cortazar's short story. Both films capture post-ideological atmosphere of the time and emptiness of life with no purpose. (I think both films' messages are very anti-Godard at the moment.)

... Oshima also directly attacks conservatives and nationalists in his masterpieces Death By Hanging (1968****) and The Ceremony (1971***). These films are very sharp and straightforward.

... From late 1970s Oshima stopped making films about present Japan and started pushing boundaries by making the most infamous films of his career: In the Realm of the Senses (1976**) and Empire of Passion (1978***). They are daring with excellent directing but deliver mediocre messages. He then told story involving sex with animal in Max mon amour (1986**) and explored homosexuality in last period of his life with Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983***) and Taboo (1999**).

... Taboo in Taboo isn't homosexuality since every characters in this samurai film are fine if any guy has male lover. At first I thought it meant jealousy because Kitano's character cites that jealousy in men is dangerous, it can cause fatal chaos in this militia group of samurai. But after I learned more about Japan history, now on my second viewing I realized that, except two main protagonists, every characters are historical figures. They are praised as national heroes and repeatedly appear in books, films, manga and anime. Most of these real-life heroes are portrayed in Taboo with homoerotic tendency toward beauty of this young samurai. I heard Japanese audiences felt offensive with this film. Oshima broke the ceiling. This is how scandalous it is.

... P.S. Oshima, like Imamura and new wave directors of 1960s, often used rape as metaphor for power of patriarchy and establishment. This makes films from that era very misogynistic comparing to previous generation of Ozu, Mizoguchi and Naruse. Is it legacy of the wars?

... P.S.2 To summarize every other Oshima's films I watched...
... The Sun's Burial (1960***) is tough for watching but its ending is what this messy film is really about.
... The plot of Pleasures of the Flesh (1965**) is not very convincing.
... Band of Ninja
(1967**) is a cartoon film but not animation. It feels like it was shot page-by-page straight from manga books, Ninja Bugeichou (นินจาคาเงะมารุ, 1959-1962) by Shirato Sanpei, my favorite manga artist. The story is very complex for two-hour film. Better read the books (15 เล่มจบ).
... Three Resurrected Drunkards
(1968*) is innovative Groundhog Day with silly characters, sometimes feels like Pasolini's bad films.
... And I can't understand Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (1969*) at all. LMOL.

... ป.ล. ถ้าจำไม่ผิดหนังสือ "ศิลปะแขนงที่เจ็ด" มีบทความเกี่ยวกับ นางิสะ โอชิมะ อยู่ ผู้เขียนยังไม่มีโอกาสเช็คข้อมูล เพราะตอนนี้หนังสือไม่ได้อยู่กับตัว

Read further
A Samurai Among Farmers by Tony Rayns
Oshima, Nagisa by Nelson Kim

 

 
 

 

I'm a country farmer; Nagisa Oshima is a samurai.
Shohei Imamura

 

 
 

 

Note: The first half of 20th-century Japanese cinema was strongly shaped by censorships: prewar military censorship and postwar American censorship. Most of period films about prewar era that were made after WWII always had obvious anti-war messages that sometimes feel out of place.

... Ozu's early films often show wartime realistic poverty but avoid talking about elephant in the room. Mizoguchi's 47 Ronin (1941) is such a beautiful pro-war propaganda. Gojira/Godzilla (1954) is very clever war allergory. Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) - is that American robbing Japan's village? While mainstream cinema was full of samurai flicks, new wave directors of 1960s turned to sex, criminal, marxism, radicalism, and experimental narratives.

... Here is my list of favourite epic films chronicling 20th-century Japan:

The Insect Woman (1963) A Fugitive from the Past (1965)

Always: Sunset on Third Street (2005)

... Considering historical events, Shohei Imamura's Zegen (1987) should be included though this ultra-nationalist satire a bit underwhelms. (I chose Zegen over Kei Kumai's famous Sandakan 8 (1974) which story happens almost at the same places and period of time.)

... Yasuzo Masumura's The Red Angel (1966) sounds like a softcore porn movie in war, but he made it to be a very serious film, though sexually exploitative. I'm not sure how I feel about this strange kind of beast. He also made brilliant Giants And Toys (1958) about world of capitalism and media, that's way ahead of its time.

... The main protagonist of Masaki Kobayashi's magnum-opus Human Condition Trilogy (1959-1961) is too idealistic and too melodramatic that it annoys me. And the Chinese parts played by Japanese actors are worse. But it still achieves as one of a few Japanese films that directly depict Japan's brutality in wars, including Kei Kumai's The Sea and Poison (1986). This kind of films always has super-naive protagonists that may satisfy postwar Japanese audiences to side with, more than brutal majority in those films. Some would say this is the legacy of American censorship after WWII.

... In his masterpieces, The Burmese Harp (1956) and Fires on the Plain (1959), Kon Ichikawa masterfully make anti-war films without putting preaching words in characters' mouths or throwing messages into audiences' faces. Akira Kurosawa's No Regret for Our Youth (1946) ends like communist propaganda that may predicts 1960s movement.

... Patriotism (1966) is celebration of dying tradition that is painful to watch because four years later Yukio Mishima did hara-kiri himself as he portrayed in this film. Graves of Fireflies (1988) tries too hard to be just a tearjerker. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973, Kinji Fukasaku) is overrated B-movie about the rise of yakuza.

... I had been amazed by synopsis of Nagisa Oshima's A Town of Love and Hope (1959) for a long time. When I finally saw the film, this postwar-inequality cautionary tale didn't disappoint me at all. His The Sun's Burial (1960) - meaning Japan's funeral - may be the most pessimistic film about this country. Pigs and Battleships (1961) is Imamura's screaming at postwar society full of pigs (Japanese) and battleships (American), its ending is thought-provoking. Actually I can complete this whole list with filmographies of Imamura and Oshima alone.

... On my first watch of Muddy River (1981) twenty years ago, I thought it's a mediocre coming-of-age story of a boy. Now on my second viewing, Muddy River is very deep and heartbreaking story about war-surviving parents of both kids.

... Every era has rebellious younger generations of their time. Rebellion in Japan peaked with street demonstrations in 1960s and 1970s. From Crazed Fruit (1956, Kô Nakahira), Everything Goes Wrong (1960, Seijun Suzuki), Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971, Shuji Terayama) to The Man Who Stole the Sun (1979, Kazuhiko Hasegawa) - these kids rebel with or without a cause, usually take aim at parent generation who created wars, and try to find something to fill their invisible voids. The bad (or best) example is The Youth Killer (1976, Kazuhiko Hasegawa), I wish every characters just shut up and died.

... On the other hand, Oshima's films approach youth movement with more criticizing voice, from Cruel Story of Youth (1960) to The Man Who Left His Will On Film (1970). This kind of expressive and nihilistic films disappeared completely in 1980s with japan's economic boom. The closest may be The Family Game (1983) which is satire of the genre.

... Late 1990s saw many impressive teen movies returned: Like Grains of Sand (1995), Kids Return (1996), Eureka (2000), Go (2001), All About Lily Chou-chou (2001). They all are great but become narcissistic and repressive, in the time of Japan's economic recession.

... While expressive experimental films went underground with heavily manga influenced Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) then became mainstream with Battle Royale (2000) directed by Kinji Fukasaku who made that yakuza saga, Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973).

... (Battle Royale original novel takes place in fictional Republic of Greater East Asia in an alternate timeline where Japan won WWII. This military program is launched to stop people's rebellion to state.)

... I notice that two films on my two lists are foreign-made, The Last Emperor and The Sun. Both of them are about emperors.

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Some of films on the list above is not my most favorite films of those directors. So here are my most favorite Japanese films alphabetically.

After Life (1998, Hirokazu Koreeda)
Death by Hanging (1968, Nagisa Oshima)
Floating Weeds (1959, Yasujiro Ozu)
Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Toshio Matsumoto)
Naked Island (1960, Kaneto Shindo)
The Profound Desire of Gods (1968, Shohei Imamura)
Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
Sansho Dayu (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Spirited Away (2001, Hayao Miyazaki)
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960, Mikio Naruse)

My favorite Japanese directors are:
Kenji Mizoguchi, Shohei Imamura and Nagisa Oshima

My discoveries from recent marathon-viewing are:
The Burmese Harp (1956, Kon Ichikawa)
Fires on the Plain (1959, Kon Ichikawa)
A Fugitive from the Past (1965, Tomu Uchida)
Giants And Toys (1958, Yasuzo Masumura)
Pale Flower (1964, Masahiro Shinoda)
Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974, Shuji Terayama)
Pigs and Battleships (1961, Shohei Imamura)
Pitfall (1962, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
The Red Angel (1966, Yasuzo Masumura)
Street of Shame (1956, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Yearning (1964, Mikio Naruse)

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Read more
Tokyo rising: how Japan's new wave rose – and broke by Donald Richie
Underground Cinema and the Art Theatre Guild by Go Hirasawa

 

 
 

 

I think that Hayao Miyazaki's films not only caught the zeitgeist in the late 20th Century, for audiences just starting to come to term with environmental issues, but also in the 21st Century, with millennials growing up with a sense that their world has already been despoiled. Makoto Shinkai said it best, about his controversial ending for Weathering With You (2019), when he said that he couldn't bring himself to have a hero save the world, when the real world is already past saving. He said it felt dishonest for young viewers to tell them that there was any possibility beyond somehow learning to cope with the damage that humanity has already done to the world. I think Miyazaki's works are a little bit more optimistic than that – he's ready to start with planting a single tree, and encouraging everybody else to do the same.
Jonathan Clements, The film that captures millennials' greatest fear, 20 April 2021

These streaming services have been making something that they call 'movies.' They ain't movies. They are some weird algorithmic process that has created things that last 100 minutes or so.
Barry Diller, Former Studio CEO Barry Diller Declares "The Movie Business Is Over", 8 July 2021

Bruce Lee had no respect for American stuntmen, he was always hitting them with his feet. It's called tagging when you hit a stuntman for real. He was always tagging them with his feet and his fist and it got to the point where they would refuse to work with Bruce. He had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen. It was probably just like, ‘Oh they're just not good enough. They are pussies. I want to make it look real!' But stuntmen don't like that. That's unprofessional.
Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino Tells Critics of Bruce Lee Scene to ‘Suck a D*ck': He ‘Had No Respect for American Stuntmen', 30 June 2021

The definition between [Cinema and TV] gets a little fuzzy, but the one thing that remains pretty consistent is stuff that's narrative-based—where it's based on writers and characters—that's for TV. While I think cinema can do very well with those things, it can also go beyond that. It can bend time and deal with image, sound, color, all those poetic properties that are harder to define. I think that's the distinction between how cinema and television is made. It has nothing to do with how it's shot. It's the attitude. I've done very little television, but they're run by showrunners and change directors. I remain very much a person who loves to give myself to a director, doing their bidding or inhabiting what they need me to do. That's freedom for me, service for me, enjoyment for me.
Willem Dafoe, What Does Willem Dafoe Say Is the Difference Between Cinema and TV?, 22 June 2021

Tarantino is brilliant in his own right, but he's not making movies about things that happened recently. Or things that ever happen. He's making movies about pieces of movies, and ideas from movies.
George Edelman, Quentin Tarantino Takes Swings at John Ford and Whiffs, May 28, 2020

About time. If he's guilty of a crime, incarcerate him. If not, let him act. Many great artists have been bad people.
Paul Schrader, Kevin Spacey Casting Defended by Producer, Paul Schrader Says ‘Let Him Act' If Not Guilty, 25 May 2021

I think it's really important to put in context that I started my producing career in the 80s. It was right in the middle of the AIDS crisis. I think what that did was cause a great acceleration. There was a sense of urgency that if we didn't tell our stories, nobody else would. And nobody cared what was happening to our community. I try and describe that time to young queer people, and it's hard for them to grasp the disenfranchisement we felt. It felt like our community was dying this horrible death every day, and there was no sense that it mattered.
... So especially the first few movies I made came out of we are going to have a legacy. We will tell our stories by any means necessary... [O]ur first film, Poison— we made it for a few hundred thousand dollars with financiers and grants. The movie went to the Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize. Then it opened at the Angelica in New York City and broke records. It made records that stood for a very long time. The lesson to me was that queer people were so desperate for representation that they needed to see themselves on screen, even in a film that in many ways was very experimental.
Christine Vachon, Christine Vachon, mother of queer cinema, on ‘Halston,' ‘Pride,' and gaying up Hollywood, 21 May 2021

Well, a feature film . . . hopefully, if you're an artist, each time out you have a problem, a subject matter, and you need to create a style that really works. With [TV] episodic, you create a template, and then directors just follow that template. So if you're doing “The Crown,” you're doing a lot of soft focus, backlighting. They all look the same. And that's a kind of a comfort, too, because every time you watch “The Crown,” you know exactly how it's going to look. The challenge of independent film is creating something that feels new, and that is going less and less in favor. And I think you can just look at film criticism to see that, because I remember when people would read film criticism and say, “What's new? What do I need to see? What's this film that Oliver Stone did about Vietnam? I think we should see that.” That seems to be less and less part of the conversation.
... Everything is cheaper. Everything is faster. So the upside is that movies that could not afford to be made are now being made. Anybody can make a movie. Anybody who has a phone can make a movie. The downside is, although anybody can make a movie, nobody can make a living. Because in the sixties, if you got to make a movie, you made a living. You got a salary. Today, you can make a movie without getting a salary, and you can make a five-million-dollar movie for fifty thousand and lose fifty thousand. And so, so many of these young filmmakers are . . . they're making films they weren't allowed to make before, but they're not making a living, and they're not getting the kind of distribution . . . I mean, you see it all the time, films that are just being thrown out the car window hoping somebody finds them and watches them.
Paul Schrader, Paul Schrader on Making and Watching Movies in the Age of Netflix, 22 April 2021

Our population could just suddenly dip and disappear! I talked to an expert on this recently, and I said; 'Tell me the truth'. He said with mass consumption continuing as it is we will have less than 50 years… I'm hoping I'll live another 30 years. I want to see the sea rise over Tokyo and the NTV tower become an island. I'd like to see Manhattan underwater… Money and desire – all that is going to collapse, and wild green grasses are going to take over.
Hayao Miyazaki, The film that captures millennials' greatest fear, 20 April 2021

I remember Jonathan Demme saying on the first day [of “The Silence of the Lambs” shooting] —it was a Monday in January, 1990—“How do you want to be seen when Jodie comes down the corridor?” I said, “Standing in the middle of the cell.” He said, “Standing? You don't want to be reading? Why?” I said, “Because I can smell her coming down the corridor.” John said, “You're weird .” What he is, in a way, is a lover, because he's impressed that this young, physically vulnerable woman comes to visit the monster. Lecter thinks, God, she's courageous. But I'm going to take the mask off her now, so she can learn from me. He strips her down to make her a better person.
... Gregory Peck was doing “Moby Dick,” and one of the props guys found his script on the set. He opened it up and Gregory Peck had written on a certain page, “N.A.R.” So he asked, “What does this mean, Mr. Peck?” He said, “No acting required. You just look at the sea, and that's it!” And that's true [for “Thor” movies].
Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Hopkins Remembers It All, 27 February 2021

Back in 2008 I starred opposite Clint Eastwood in ‘Gran Torino' playing the lead Hmong role in a tale of two people transcending their differences to form an unlikely human bond. It was a historic cinematic moment for Hmong people around the world, despite its copious anti-Asian slurs.
... At the time, there was a lot of discussion about whether the movie's slurs were insensitive and gratuitous or simply ‘harmless jokes.' I found it unnerving, the laughter that the slurs elicited in theaters with predominantly white audiences. And it was always white people who would say, ‘Can't you take a joke?' Today, I shudder at the thought of what that meant. More than a decade later, the anti-Asian racism that was once disguised as good-natured humor has been revealed for what it is, thanks to Covid-19.
... To this day, I am still haunted by the mirth of white audiences, the uproarious laughter when Eastwood's curmudgeonly racist character, Walt Kowalski, growled a slur. ‘Gook.' ‘Slope head.' ‘Eggroll.' It's a ‘harmless joke,' right? Until it's not just a joke, but rather one more excuse for ignoring white supremacy and racism. For Asian Americans, this is the time to demand recognition, not to recoil into a cocoon of model-minority pusillanimity. Showing ‘our American-ness' was never enough. This is a deceit of multiculturalism.
Bee Vang, Clint Eastwood's ‘Gran Torino' Co-Star Says Film ‘Mainstreamed Anti-Asian Racism' in America, 18 February 2021

In a movie theatre, you watch movies with the significant others in your life, but also in the company of strangers. That's the magic we experience when we go out to see a movie or a play or a concert or a comedy act. We don't know who all these people are sitting around us, but when the experience makes us laugh or cry or cheer or contemplate, and then when the lights come up and we leave our seats, the people with whom we head out into the real world don't feel like complete strangers anymore. We've become a community, alike in heart and spirit, or at any rate alike in having shared for a couple of hours a powerful experience. That brief interval in a theatre doesn't erase the many things that divide us: race or class or belief or gender or politics. But our country and our world feel less divided, less fractured, after a congregation of strangers has laughed, cried, jumped out their seats together, all at the same time. Art asks us to be aware of the particular and the universal, both at once. And that's why, of all the things that have the potential to unite us, none is more powerful than the communal experience of the arts.
Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg Says Cinema Will Never Die, 17 February 2021

If further viewing is ‘suggested' by algorithms based on what you've already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema? Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.
Martin Scorsese, Scorsese Takes Aim at Streaming's Lack of Curation and More: ‘Cinema Is Being Devalued by Content', 16 February 2021

Terrence Malick is quite an extraordinary guy, and I love some of his movies very much, but the problem with Terry, which I soon found, is he needs a writer desperately, because he insists on doing everything. He insists on writing, and overwriting, and overwriting, until it sounds terribly pretentious. You have to work terribly hard to make it sound real. And then he edits his films in such a way where he cuts everybody out of the story. Terry gets terribly involved in poetic shots… which are gorgeous, but they're paintings. All of them. He gets lost in that, and the stories get diffused, particularly in our film [ “The New World” ].
... I was put in all sorts of different spots, my character was suddenly not in the scene I thought I was in, in the editing room. It completely unbalances everything. This very emotional scene that I had suddenly was background noise. I could hear myself saying it, this long, wonderful, moving speech that I thought I was so fantastic in. It's now background sort of score, way mild in the distance, while something else is going on. And [co-star] Colin Farrell just said, ‘Oh you know, we're just going to be a couple fucking ospreys.'
Christopher Plummer, Christopher Plummer Penned Letter to Terrence Malick After ‘New World': ‘Get Yourself a Writer', 6 February 2021

 

 
 

 

Note: I just rewatched Zhang Yimou's To Live, and it made me want to revisit chinese epic films that timelines span through 20th-century China/Hong Kong/Taiwan. This is my list of favorite ones chronologically.
... (To Live is much better for second viewing as I'm older. So Long, My Son recently made me cry so bad. I can't stand Jiang Wen's foolish humour in Devils on the Doorstep. Feng Xiaogang's Youth looks gorgeous but naive. And I want to love Ann Hui's The Golden Era but it's not enough to join the list.)

A City of Sadness (1989)

 

 
     
 

 

Note: My watchlist

 

 
     
 

 

Note: My favourite series of 2020.

 

 
 

 

I think there's something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role — if they're willing to invest a lot into it. In our world that we live in you can't really as a director demand that [an actor be a given sexual orientation]. Who's to determine how gay someone is? I played a [straight] character for nine years who was nothing like me. I would definitely want to hire the best actor.
Neil Patrick Harris, Neil Patrick Harris Says It's ‘Sexy' for Straight Actors to Play Gay Roles, 23 January 2021

I don't have to spend time servicing straightness, straight relationships. Acting is investigating for me, mapping new territory, articulating things I don't get to articulate in my day-to-day. Mapping straightness, at this point... feels like a dead end. I'd like to tell — to watch — more stories where gay characters are informed by their struggles, but not defined. Not getting sacrificed so straight characters can enjoy some kind of epiphany. I don't think that's too much to ask.
Wentworth Miller, Wentworth Miller Is Done With Gay Roles Defined By Struggle, 22 January 2021

I'm not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay' because ‘acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance. It's about authenticity, the taste of 2020. You wouldn't cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn't black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.
Russell T Davies, Russell T Davies speaks out on the importance of casting gay actors as gay characters in It's A Sin, 11 January 2021

I saw thirty minutes of [“Fight Club” ] only because our trailer is playing in front of it. And I would love to go on railing about the movie, but I'm just going to pretend as if I haven't seen it. It's just unbearable. I wish David Fincher testicular cancer, for all of his jokes about it, I wish him testicular fucking cancer.
Paul Thomas Anderson

Yeah. Look, I've been through cancer with somebody that I love, and I can understand if somebody thought... I didn't think that we were making fun of cancer survivors or victims. I thought what Chuck [Palahniuk] was doing was talking about a therapeutic environment that could be infiltrated or abused. We were talking about empathy vampirism. Cancer's rough. It's a fucking horrible thing. As far as Paul's quote, I get it. If you're in a rough emotional state and you've just been through something major.... My dad died, and it certainly made me feel different about death and suffering. And my dad probably liked ‘Fight Club' even less than Paul did.
David Fincher, David Fincher Talks About Paul Thomas Anderson Wishing Cancer On Him After Seeing ‘Fight Club': “I Get It”, 14 January 2021

What I find is people who just watch the movies to be entertained and have a good time, they get the movies and they understand the movies far better than people who fight the movies, who feel they're in some kind of chess match with the movie while they're watching it. And the reality is, the reason people get frustrated like that is because it's not a level playing field. I've had 20 years to think about these ideas. So it's not a level playing field in that sense. It's not meant to be a chess match between filmmaker and audience. It's entertainment. It's a ride you go on and, if done right, there will be aspects to it that will reward a second viewing. When you're dealing with time and when you're dealing with these sorts of complexities, you have to be making a film that the second time you watch it would be a different film.
Christopher Nolan, ‘Tenet': Christopher Nolan Says People Who “Fight The Movies” Are The Ones Who Don't “Get” The Film, 15 December 2020

Roger Deakins made jokes about my iPhone. For people who don't know. Roger was traumatized that I had ‘The Thin Red Line' from Terrence Malick on my iPhone and Roger thought it was horrific. Me, I thought it was cool because I could take the movie with me. It's not the same, but the thing is…I want to fight for the big screen, but a lot of my cinematic experiences have actually been on television.
... I discovered ‘2001: A Space Odyssey' on television, and I later realized I discovered ‘Blade Runner' on television. I discovered a lot of movies that were massive influences [on me] on television, or, like most Ingmar Bergman films, I discovered on VHS. And still, through these movies, they had a massive impact. All that debate on the size of the screen…because I am a filmmaker and I just love films.
Denis Villeneuve, Denis Villeneuve Left Roger Deakins Horrified by Having Terrence Malick Films on His iPhone, 13 July 2020

 

 
 

 

บันทึก: กำลังติดตามอยู่ตอนนี้

 

 
 

 

You know what happened? We've hit ‘Anomalisa'. We made it ourselves. We made it in the middle of nothing in the middle of nowhere. We didn't know what we had. We finished it. We started sending it to Telluride and Venice and Toronto [film festivals], and these people went crazy for it. And it won! And everybody was bidding on it to buy it, because we didn't have distribution. And we won the Silver Lion at Venice . And I thought, holy cow.
... And then … nothing happened. The movie didn't do any business. And I really felt weird about that, because this is the second time that's happened to me. And it's like, I just stopped caring. And this thing with Netflix is … It doesn't matter. There's no box office. The movie will play on Netflix forever – and it won't disappear in a week because the box office isn't doing well. And that's fine with me. And so, that sort of pushed me in the direction of not caring I think. Not that I don't want to work or not be interested. It just means that it's outside of my control.
... I don't like thinking about box office. I don't like thinking about commercial viability. All those things that get put into your head, that turn you into some kind of numbskull and unable to do the thing that's important. I want to be rid of it. I'm done with it. It's not important to me. I understand that now. And the fact that I don't care anymore, it makes it easier because I can do the work if I get the work. When I said that this was going to be my last movie, that was basically what I was saying. I mean, I wasn't making a public pronouncement. I was saying, ‘I don't care how this is perceived. I'm going to make the movie I want to make.'
Charlie Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman “Just Stopped Caring” About Directing After ‘Anomalisa's' Disappointing Box Office, 2 September 2020

When I am enjoying a film I just don't see editing. I find over-cutting is just the curse of what I see on television, in particular on streaming shows. It's just reactions shoehorned in everywhere and fast cutting for no reason. I feel like somebody is dragging me. I feel like I'm being manipulated and I reject that. That's the worst mistake [in editing], for me.
... I won't say who, but there is a film that won an Oscar very recently that had this ridiculous amount of cutting just to show someone sitting down at the table. Yes, it's kinetic, but it doesn't feel good. It feels like I'm being fed bad food. I prefer restraint and strategic thinking about when to cut.
Joe Walker,‘Blade Runner 2049' and ‘Dune' Editor Says Over-Cutting Is ‘the Curse' of Streaming TV Shows, 29 August 2020

People have died all the way through human history, but people live like they are immortal. They don't want to think about death. But now, every person is [aware] of death. That is good for the progress of consciousness. We will become more conscious.
... We need to adapt ourselves to a new way of feeling life, and that is interesting. Art will change. The goal of movies is to make business. Now, people are waiting for something more, in order to have the joy of life. We cannot continue to see Supermans and violence. We'll need to discover how beautiful the human being is, so beautiful it is to be alive.
... I had a son who was 24 years old who died, and that put me in a big depression. All my conceptions of art changed. What is art? Why am I making pictures? To amuse the people, to make money, to be a celebrity? How am I useful? Art that doesn't heal isn't real art. I am not thinking about the political. I am speaking of human beings. That's why I did psychomagic [trauma therapy].
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky on How the Pandemic Can Save Cinema, 13 August 2020

Miramax was a place that gave me an incredibly big shot, but it was also an incredibly thuggish place to work. It had a very unusual environment at that time. [It was] this place that seemed golden, in Hollywood's eyes, and in the zeitgeist. You felt honored to be included, but you also felt like you were a cog in a system that was dark and corrupt. It seemed like everyone was reading their own clippings and feeling thrilled to be part of this club that was the hottest little studio in the world.
... At that time, one of the techniques that Bob and Harvey would use on you, as a filmmaker, was to talk to ‘experts' — people who had produced cop movies 20 years before, who they were friends with in the city, or the political brass in New York — and use them as a kind of testimony about what was right or wrong about your picture. By the way, they also used critics. I mean, they had this great game going where they would show your film early to a critic. Then, the critic would offer their notes. They'd literally tell Harvey that they would be kinder to the film if you made certain changes. It was this incredibly incestuous world where they had figured out how to pull people whose support they needed into the process — and thereby gain their endorsement later, when the film emerged. It was a system. Like all systems, people are rewarded with the ego gratification of being part of a process. It never feels corrupt to any of the participants in the moment because they just feel like their great, creative minds are being accessed for advice. What's better than that? I don't necessarily think it was nefarious on the part of the critics, but nonetheless, they ended up playing a role in that ecosystem.
James Mangold, James Mangold Recalls ‘Incestuous' System Between Harvey Weinstein's Miramax and Film Critics, 11 August 2020

The power of the screen has always been its intimacy– at least up to CinemaScope, which I hate. The director would command an audience to see only what he regarded as dramatically important. He used the close-up to say something without distractions. But Godard never uses any close-ups, which is contradictory since he and his contemporaries are interested in form. I'm more interested in content, I must confess, but something does come out of the form-over-content thinking.
... My generation, when we started in the silent era, had to think in terms of action. We created pictures in motion. Godard, who is very consistent, goes to great pains to continue our work. Our methods are different, of course. I come to a studio in the morning knowing what I want. I don't change.
Fritz Lang, A man for all seasons: Fritz Lang interviewed in 1967, 4 August 2020

‘Dune' is a book that's like Proust. It's science fiction but it's very, very literary. It's very difficult to find images to put in the film because pictures are optical. When I had the idea to do that, it was in an ecological [crisis]. I was feeling what all the people feel today. We're in an ecological problem, because the Earth is changing, and your crazy President doesn't believe that. That is ‘Dune' in the beginning.
... The first time they said it was safe to do ‘Dune,' and [David Lynch] did it, I was ill, because it was my dream. They showed the picture in Paris, and my son said, ‘You need to see the picture.' I was ill to do that. Ill. And then they start to show the picture, and step by step, I was so happy, so happy, so happy because it was a shitty picture. I realized, ‘Dune,' nobody can do it. It's a legend.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky Will See Denis Villeneuve's ‘Dune,' but Says ‘It's Impossible' to Do It Right, 4 August 2020

It's a weird business, the film business. We honor creativity and talent and we forgive the brilliant ones. Unconsciously, we probably do enable them by turning a blind eye to whatever they're doing and taking their product and putting it out to the world... You have to understand, [Bryan Singer] was brilliant, and that was why we all tolerated him and cajoled him. And if he wasn't so fucked up, he would be a really great director.
Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer's Traumatic 'X-Men' Set: The Movie "Created a Monster", 17 July 2020

At the peak of his fame Malcolm McDowell starred in Caligula, a fevered Roman epic bankrolled by Penthouse magazine. The production sounds hilarious; it was basically two films in one. First, McDowell played the mad emperor alongside a classy lineup of actors that included Helen Mirren, John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole. Then the producers brought in adult performers to shoot hardcore sex scenes to be deployed as extended cutaways, seemingly at random, so as to give the impression that McDowell was gazing wistfully at a lesbian orgy, or a gladiator getting a blowjob. “There's quite a good movie in there somewhere,” he says. “But not the porn stuff.”
Xan Brooks, Malcolm McDowell: 'I have no memory of doing most of my films', 17 July 2020

My films don't make money. In 2008, the first movie that I directed, Synecdoche, New York, came out, and it lost money. And at that time the movie industry, coincidentally, fell apart because of the economic crisis and studios stopped making movies and started making superhero franchise things. The sort of mid-budget movie that I've been working on, there was no outlet for it any more. It just didn't exist.
Charlie Kaufman, 'Making people laugh makes me feel validated as a human', 11 July 2020

The art of directing for the commercial market is to know just how far you can go. In many ways I am freer now to do what I want to do than I was a few years ago. I hope in time to have more freedom still – if audiences will give it to me.
Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock: my own methods, 1 July 2020

My wife grew up in Siberia. Her mother tongue is Russian. My mother tongue is Bavarian. Which is not even German, it's a dialect. But we decided, 25 years ago, that we would not speak in German or Russian to each other. Both of us leave the comfort zone of our language, and we communicate in English. This means that we are very cautious and careful. We are trying to articulate our feelings as closely as we can in a foreign tongue. And the result? In 25 years there has not been a single foul word that has passed between us.
Werner Herzog, 'I'm fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes', 19 June 2020

 

 
 

 

บันทึก: กำลังติดตามอยู่ตอนนี้

 

 
 

 

Gone With The Wind and The Birth of a Nation are the most popular movies ever made (when box-office accounts are adjusted for inflation). These historical romances are interesting for divining American spirit; their art surpasses politics — even political correctness... Millennial moralizers don't understand that GWTW was the work of Hollywood progressives. Each character's life was given humane measure, which Hollywood no longer knows how to do... When maniacal progressives are on a censorious rampage — and our corporations and institutions go along with it — we lose our cultural foundation and deny the truth about ourselves.
Armond White
, Why GWTW Lives Matter, 12 June 2020

Timothée Chalamet afterward publicly stated he regretted working with me and was giving the money to charity. But he swore to my sister he needed to do that as he was up for an Oscar for Call Me By Your Name, and he and his agent felt he had a better chance of winning if he denounced me, so he did.
Woody Allen, 'Do I really care?' Woody Allen comes out fighting, 29 May 2020

The media made us stars and didn't take care of the subject of the film [La Haine]. They asked me questions where I said: ‘Don't ask me that, go to the projects and talk to the guys there.' But they didn't want to talk to them.
Mathieu Kassovitz, ‘It was our life, but larger than life': how La Haine lit a fire under French society, 23 May 2020

Alfred Hitchcock created North by Northwest for an audience. He orchestrated their oohs and aahs, when they would lean forward and when they would sit back. This wasn't about someone on the sofa at home getting distracted by their phone or the doorbell or going to get a drink. The place was full of energy and at the end everyone stood and applauded; just as they did when I saw Slumdog Millionaire at the ArcLight in Los Angeles.
...Can you imagine being on a rollercoaster ride on your own? The majority of the experience is that you are with other people and are thrilled together. That's what makes it exciting. There is nothing better than witnessing a story with other people. It is a collective thing and a confirmative of humanity. I am just desperate that people do go back to cinemas. It's too painful. I don't want this to ever die – and I am definitely not alone.
Steve McQueen, 'I barely breathed': Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Steve McQueen and more on their most memorable moments at the movies, 15 May 2020

I saw The Thin Red Line in a cinema in Toronto in Canada when I was 20. I entered the theatre militantly atheist, depressed and with the belief that working in film was a superficial thing to do with one's life. I left the theatre with a glimpse of what faith meant, having been lifted and carried out of my sadness, and wanting to make my own films one day. In the dark of the cinema, among strangers, I was transformed.
Sarah Polley, 'I barely breathed': Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Steve McQueen and more on their most memorable moments at the movies, 15 May 2020

I'm not writing stories about societies falling apart at the moment, so read into that what you will. If you look at classic dystopian stories, it becomes every man for himself immediately. Actually, in this crisis, what's happened is you're more likely to be sitting indoors watching Tiger King and worrying that your neighbour's OK and asking to see if they need you to bring in a bag of potatoes or whatever. What's actually happening at the moment is much more cohesive and heartening.
... At the moment, if you were trying to write a story about a pandemic sweeping the world and everyone immediately turning on each other, plenty of people would look at that and go: ‘Well, that isn't what's happened.' So there's plenty of room for bleak stories and horror movies – it's just I think you've got to approach it slightly differently.
Charlie Brooker, 'I assumed I would end up stumbling through rubble eating rats. This confirms it', 13 May 2020

We're turning a 5-minute idea into a feature film! But then Jermaine [Clement, co-director of What We Do in the Shadows ] said ‘the world needs stupid shit' and I realized... Who wants to go and see a film that reminds us how terrible the world is?  We need ridiculous movies to remind us that we're the dumbest, clumsiest animals.
Taika Waititi, 'We're in a Very Cool Place Right Now Where Hollywood is Running Out of Ideas': Taika Waititi on Breaking All of the Rules, 12 September 2018

 

 
 

 

บันทึก: กำลังติดตามอยู่ตอนนี้

 

 
 

 

Well, I spoke with Soderbergh, who's heading this DGA committee to restart production. I have about 85 percent of my film done. I could create a simulated version. He said not to do it, to wait, because a simulated version will never be the same thing. There are a lot of films out there where I don't know if they'll be able to go back. Michael Mann shot for a week in Tokyo. When is he ever going to be able to go back to Tokyo? Will I be able to make a film again over the next year? Have we seen Scorsese's last film? Eastwood's last film? Ridley Scott's last film? My last film? If we can't go back to work for a year, who knows what our health will be like?
Paul Schrader, Paul Schrader Wants Netflix and Amazon to Save the World's Biggest Film Festivals, 7 May 2020  

For Tarantino, Hollywood's golden glow is directly tied to the blonde hair and wide eyes of Sharon Tate. Long cited as the angel of innocence whose brutal murder marked the end of the 1960s era of free love, it's hard to watch Tarantino's feature and ignore the white privilege presented in its depiction of Los Angeles. The Hollywood of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is one where minority actors and their struggles are erased or just non-existent.
... In comparison to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” what Ryan Murphy does [ in "Hollywood" ] is craft a fairy tale where the machine is a beating heart. Where moguls care about their stars, where race isn't just an easy, exploitable buzzword to put butts in seats but a true ability to change the world. The characters understand the responsibility film has to change hearts and minds, and it acts on it. There's a bigger role at play. And while the time period is a world we'll never see, it's an acknowledgement not about what we lost, but what we have failed to achieve. The reality is more painful than fiction.
Kristen Lopez, Ryan Murphy's ‘Hollywood' Is a Better Version of the Hollywood Fairy Tale Than ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', 3 May 2020  

I wanted to do something specifically on three Hollywood icons who had,  I believed, really been treated poorly. That was Rock Hudson and Anna May Wong and Hattie McDaniel. I was very interested in them, even as a kid... [They] were all in the LGBTQ community. Rock was gay and Anna May and Hattie were bisexual. I thought it would be interesting to give them the happy ending that they deserved — to have these fictionalized people, in a revisionist way, usher in a Hollywood that I wish had happened 50 years ago, 60 years ago.
... I related to all of them. Three people who had so much to give and who were denied by the system that opportunity... When I came to town, the men in power could really give a shit about me. I was never mentored. It was the women who were the outsiders who said, 'You have something unusual; I'm going to give you an opportunity.' That role [Avis] was me paying tribute to all of the women who have pushed my stuff through the system.
Ryan Murphy, Why Rewriting Hollywood Is Personal for Ryan Murphy and Janet Mock, 2 May 2020  

The first ‘Hellboy' movie was developed before even X-Men was on film. I remember visiting the ‘Mystery Men' set to try to convince Universal to green light it. It languished for a long time. To my mind, the first ‘Blade' was instrumental in showing how superhero movies could exist at the end of the 20th century. There was a collision of ‘Dark City' and ‘Blade' that somehow, in subtle ways paved the way for ‘The Matrix' to explode into the world. But, still, back then it was a countermovement to try and do superhero films, specially with material that didn't have Marvel numbers.
... What allowed the two [‘Hellboy'] films to exist, it's gone. The Blu-ray DVD performance of the first ‘Hellboy' was massive. So big that Ben Feingold, at Columbia, went full-on on the sequel development. Ben was so impressed by those numbers that he made ‘Hellboy' one of the very first Blu-rays from Columbia Pictures. Far as I can recall, the number for home video surpassed theatrical.
Guillermo del Toro, What Allowed ‘Hellboy' Films to Be Made No Longer Exists, 27 April 2020

Movies have become more about the aesthetic than the story and the content and what the film is trying to say. I find that pretty disappointing and pretty depressing.
Roger Deakins, Why is Roger Deakins Disappointed in Modern Filmmaking?, 9 April 2020

Many of the dangers we face indeed arise from science and technology - but more fundamentally, because we have become powerful without becoming commensurately wise. The world-altering powers that technology has delivered into our hands now require a degree of consideration and foresight that has never before been asked of us.
Carl Sagan

“Wuhan: The Long Night” by Lan Bo

 

 
 

 

บันทึก: กำลังติดตามอยู่ตอนนี้

 

 
 

 

Giving Polanski a prize was quite a statement. The film is something a lot of people work on, not just him. Giving him the prize protects him – it says you cannot reach him and the French cinema elite will stick together: it's like a cinema mob and he's the godfather.
Alexis Poulin, Polanski's ‘Oscar' divides elite world of French cinema, 1 March 2020

[TV series is] certainly filmmaking, but it's not exactly cinema. In writing it, your rhythms are quite different. It can be pretty delicious for a writer. Perhaps less so for a director. It's not the same as directing a movie where you're completely responsible for the look of the thing, the casting, and so on. [But] many of the series that I've seen on Netflix or Amazon Prime have very, very good directing by directors I've never heard of.
David Cronenberg, David Cronenberg Isn't Finished With Film Yet, 28 February 2020

I don't know if I should say this or not. Not because it's lascivious or something, but because it's gonna screw me on the next mystery movie that I write. But forget it, I'll say it, it's very interesting. Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but, and this is very pivotal, if you're ever watching a mystery movie, bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera. Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.
Rian Johnson, Rian Johnson Reveals Apple Won't Allow Bad Guys in Movies to Use iPhones, 26 February 2020

We have a very modest goal for [Velvet Goldmine ]. That's just to turn every gay person straight and every straight person gay.
Todd Haynes, 'People who say Trump is bound to win are letting it happen', 26 February 2020

With globalisation comes a breaking down of barriers – directors can move around and plant their visions wherever they wish – but in auteur-driven cinema perhaps we lose some piquancy, a more pointed vision, a more heightened and individual outlook, when directors stray into different lands.
Caspar Salmon, Lost in translation: when film-makers hit the language barrier, 24 February 2020

I wanted to eliminate voiceover, any slaughtering, any blood, because a lot of films are made about this, and people are still not getting it. Now we will just look at them and look how they are and maybe people will get it. I decided to eliminate music. I can make emotional film and people will cry, without manipulating them.
Victor Kossakovsky, How ‘Gunda' Director Victor Kossakovsky Found Joaquin Phoenix – and the ‘Meryl Streep' of Pigs, 23 February 2020

On a personal level, as filmmakers, I don't think that this epidemic will somehow dent our passions or our eagerness to continue making films. This epidemic has caused us to stop and think about our society and a lot of issues that we haven't been reflecting on for a long period of time. So on a creative level, we may find a lot of source of inspiration as a result of this epidemic to make more work.
Jia Zhangke, Jia Zhangke's New Movie Delayed by Coronavirus, Talks Outbreak's Impact on China's Film Industry, 21 February 2020

Marcello ends the film [ "La Dolce Vita" ] unmoored, shouting unheard words, just as in his first appearance. He has no idea what to do with all of the ugliness he perceives in his beautiful world, symbolized by the ghastly mutant fish that washes up on the pristine Italian beach in this final scene. The viewer may share in his despair, as he's caught once again between the sacred and profane. But there's also penumbra of envy to it, that at least he had plenty of the sacred to go around.
Charles Bramesco, La Dolce Vita at 60: the fame, the fortune, the fountain, 5 February 2020

I've got a massive thing that I'm doing, and after that I'm gonna get out of this, I'm gonna get out of film after this. I've got another half of my life to live and I want to think about charities and finding a way to help people, not doing this bullshit, caring about box office, distribution and all this.
Shane Carruth, ‘Upstream Color' Director Shane Carruth Says He's Done With The Film Industry After His Next Project, 16 January 2020

 

 
 

 

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