Steven Soderbergh Re-imagines Raiders of the Lost Ark as a Masterclass in Staging

Raiders of the Lost Ark Raiders of the Lost Ark

A little belated in posting the latest installment from Steven Soderbergh’s guerrilla film school, but better than never, as the saying goes. Here, Soderbergh sets Steven Spielberg’s seminal blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark to an electronic tinged soundtrack and black-and-white wash. His reasoning is that a dialogue-free version allows the film to be appreciated as a master class in the elusive technique of staging. In my book, Fassbinder is the top of the heap as far as blocking goes, but Soderbergh makes the case for the other Steven in the following terms: I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be…  Read more


Watch: Don Hertzfeldt’s Fantastic The Simpsons Couch Gag


You’re hopefully familiar with animator Don Hertzfeldt’s fatalistic, sinisterly humorous, one-of-a-kind body of work. Last night The Simpsons let him take over the opening couch gag. The result is a phantasmagoric two-minute short that turns the clan into protozoa and reverses the flow of time. It’s very much of a piece with his recent work as anthologized in 2011′s It’s Such a Beautiful Day. Watch Homer chant “I AM SIMPSON!”; deriders of the show’s deathless downward spiral, you’ll be convinced that The Simpsons is still good for something. If you’re not familiar with Hertzfeldt’s work, you should follow that up with 1995′s Ah L’Amour:


Kirsten Dunst on Celebrity Fandom in the Age of Instagram

LGS (5)

Director Matthew Frost and actress Kirsten Dunst team up for this short film, Aspirational, about celebrity fandom in the age of the selfie. A tag is worth more than a moment as Dunst encounters two fans outside her house. Via VS Magazine.


Watch: The Eyes of Hitchcock by :: kogonada


Here’s the latest from video essayist :: kogonada, who Scott Macaulay interviewed earlier this week. Beginning, as you might expect, with the zoom into red eyes from Vertigo‘s opening credits and the zoom out from Janet Leigh’s dead eyes in Psycho, :: kogonada captures Hitchcock’s characters’ eyes in states of fear, hypnosis, dawning comprehension et al. This one’s via the Criterion Collection.


NYFF ’14: Hill of Freedom and La Sapienza

Hill of Freedom Hill of Freedom

The same trajectory through similar way stations has served Hong Sang-soo equally well from 2004′s Woman is the Future of Man onwards: ill-fated romantic and sexual encounters between men and women fueled and derailed by epic soju consumption, meetings which repeat with a disconcertingly slight degree of difference across the same locations. From such modest materials, the tone has swerved from potentially inconsequential farce (Like You Know It All, In Another Country) to the recent dourness and cyclical/purgatorial futility of The Day He Arrives, Nobody’s Daughter Haewon and Our Sunhi. For detractors, this reliance upon nearly interchangeable plots is an indicator of laziness; for fans (he’s one of my favorite working directors), the point isn’t a comic’s reliance upon the…  Read more


NYFF ’14: The Wonders, ’71, Goodbye to Language

The Wonders The Wonders

Now entering its 52nd year, the New York Film Festival tends to benefit and suffer from its fixed position as last stop on the fall festival circuit. The obvious pro would be that the discerning selection committee, headed up by Kent Jones, is allowed to cherry pick whatever they deem to be the best of the year; the con, at least for those keeping up with film criticism, is that the majority of these titles arrive pre-packaged with their own neat and tidy media narratives. (A year later, I’m still overhearing men debating the virtues of Blue Is The Warmest Color’s sex scenes.) As such, it’s nearly impossible to enter any selection that isn’t a World Premiere without a rigid set of expectations waiting to be confirmed or…  Read more


Lessons from the Cutting Edge Tour


I spent a half-day at Adam Epstein’s “The Cutting Edge Post-Production Tour” last week. Epstein, who is the editor for the Saturday Night Live Film Unit, has spent the past month and a half traveling the country presenting on how to be a better editor. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t stay the whole day. Unfortunately for you, the tour ended this week, so you’ve missed it too. If you can come away from an event like this with an actual tip or technique that you start using and with one piece of inspiration to improve how you work, that actually makes you change what you’re doing, then I think you’ve got your money’s worth. By that measure I think this…  Read more



Left to right: Rebecca Green, Elisabeth Holm, Lisa Biagiotti and Mynette Louie at the IFP Filmmaker Conference. Left to right: Rebecca Green, Elisabeth Holm, Lisa Biagiotti and Mynette Louie at the IFP Filmmaker Conference.

43 Takeaways from Sundance Artist Services Day at the IFP Filmmaker Conference

“The most important task is to make great movies,” said Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam at the start of Thursday’s Artist Services Workshop at IFP’s Filmmaker Conference. “All this talk about audiences is meaningless unless you have something in your heart you want to…  Read more

Sep 22, 2014

Festivals & Events

Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre and moderator Dan Schoenbrun Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre and moderator Dan Schoenbrun

Euro-Pudding and Look Books: Takeaways from Day One at IFP’s Filmmaker Conference

After sitting through the majority of the New Narratives presentations on day one of the Filmmaker Conference at IFP Film Week, my brain is almost too awash with content to compile anything but a listicle. From conversations with cinematographers like Reed Morano and producers like Mynette Louie to an Obvious Child…  Read more

on Sep 15, 2014