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Crying Seagull Tears Above the Croisette: Sam Kuhn’s Cannes Diary, Part Six

Director, screenwriter and boatbuilder (!) Sam Kuhn is in Cannes premiering his short film, Möbius — described as “a moth-eaten tale of magic and mutation half remembered by a teen poet who’s beloved lies lifeless in a stream” — in Critic’s Week. Filmmaker asked Kuhn, who hails from the Pacific Northwest, to keep a diary of his experiences, which rapidly went from jet-lagged to deeply strange. Here is his sixth entry; click here for them all. Day 8 Eight and it’s full circle, which seems fitting as “8” is a basic Möbius-like shape. Woke and walked immediately to the “morning after” bruch which I should’ve known no one would attend. Afterwards a photoshoot between two large house plants with the…  Read more

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Cannes Dispatch #3: Jeannette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc; The Florida Project; Good Time

Jeanne Voisin in Jeannette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc

Cannes, like virtually every other major international film festival showcasing feature-length filmmaking, is largely devoted to cinema that participates in a primarily theatrical mode — dialogue- and performance-driven works that feature subjects with whom we are meant to empathize to some degree. This is an expectation, fused into the medium’s DNA when it was still young, that is embedded in the layout of the festival itself; it’s the world’s largest film market (and therefore tilts mainstream, toward things that can make money), and the prizes it offers — honouring exemplary screenwriting and thespian turns rather than, for example, montage, photography, or sound design — privilege those films that follow along this institutional line. Far outside these understood benchmarkers of quality,…  Read more

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“People Can Choose to Create the Collective, Social Experience”: Billy Woodberry on Bless Their Little Hearts

Nate Hardman in Bless Their Little Hearts

Billy Woodberry was a graduate student in UCLA’s film program when he started work on Bless Their Little Hearts (1984), a gauzy black-and-white portrait of a married couple in Watts as their responsibilities to one another are tested by the burdens of underemployment. Day-to-day gigging against a background of vanishing local industry, Charlie Banks (Nate Hardman) embarks on an affair, while his exhausted wife Andais (Kaycee Hardman) works double-time, commuting to her own job while also looking after their home and children. Chafing against the confines of roles that no longer seem to fit, their affections are suffocated by limits of both resource and opportunity: in one scene, Andais secretly gives Charlie money from her own wallet to give to…  Read more

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The Accidental Tourist, Seven Days in May, Tough Guys, The Paradine Case: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Picks

The Accidental Tourist

One of the best American films of the 1980s, Lawrence Kasdan’s achingly beautiful and delicate The Accidental Tourist is now available on Blu-ray courtesy of the Warner Archive label. Adapted from a novel by Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist tells the story of Macon Leary (William Hurt in one of the great screen performances in history), a travel guide writer whose entire life is geared toward circumventing experience rather than embracing it; his books are for business travelers who want to avoid feeling as if they’ve ever left home. Macon’s insular nature is exacerbated by the tragic death of his son, which hollows him out and destroys his marriage to Sarah (a superb Kathleen Turner, reuniting with her Body Heat collaborators…  Read more

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Sam Kuhn’s Cannes Diary, Part 4: The Fatigue Edition

Director, screenwriter and boatbuilder (!) Sam Kuhn is in Cannes premiering his short film, Möbius — described as “a moth-eaten tale of magic and mutation half remembered by a teen poet who’s beloved lies lifeless in a stream” — in Critic’s Week. Filmmaker asked Kuhn, who hails from the Pacific Northwest, to keep a diary of his experiences, which rapidly went from jet-lagged to deeply strange. Here is his fourth entry; click here for them all. Day 6 Woke up late on account of having actually slept. I bailed on the morning Kawase screening, which is a major faux pas here. If you have a physical ticket and don’t show, they demerit your badge and can demote your “status” on…  Read more

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IFP Announces Documentary Projects For its Annual IFP Labs

A Photographic Memory

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP),  announced yesterday the ten documentaries selected for the 2017 IFP Filmmaker Labs, IFP’s annual yearlong fellowship for first-time feature directors. The creative teams of the selected films are currently attending the first week’s sessions – The Time Warner Foundation Completion Labs – taking place through May 26 at the Made in New York Media Center by IFP in DUMBO, Brooklyn. “The wide and continuing success of documentaries on multiple platforms demonstrate they are no longer for niche audiences nor uniform in style or format,” says Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “Emerging non-fiction filmmakers need to be more prepared than ever to understand and compete in this expanding marketplace, and…  Read more

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Five Questions for Nobody’s Watching Director Julia Solomonoff

Guillermo Pfening in Nobody's Watching

In Julia Solomonoff’s third narrative feature, Nobody’s Watching, Guillermo Pfening plays Nico, an established Argentine actor in New York who has overstayed his visa in hopes of a promised film role and a new chance at life. But the idea of making it as an actor in New York is even harder for the blond Nico, who is told both that he is too white to play Hispanic and that his accent is too strong to play American. He falls back on odd jobs and light shoplifting, living under the radar until his past in Argentina comes back to haunt his current life. In a time when immigration is a daily news headline, Solomonoff, who has lived between New York…  Read more

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Twin Peaks, Season 3, Episodes 1-4: Sculpting in Time

Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks

(Spoilers follow.) It’s not surprising that David Lynch has a lot to get out of his artistic system after, effectively, 11 years of dormancy on the moving-image front. In interviews, Lynch has said that he thinks of this new “season” as an 18-hour movie “shown not in a big theater, but it’s shown as cinema on television.” Having slammed through four episodes in one night, I’d take him at his word: the tonal transition he accomplishes in that time is amplified when absorbed as one unit, and I suspect the final unveiled product will benefit from being viewed in as close to one single dose as practicality and comfort permits.  The first two episodes (spliced together into one two-hour unit for broadcast) are,…  Read more

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Filmmaking

NAB 2017: The Interesting Stuff

Last week was the annual NAB show. Every year in April the film and television community comes together in Las Vegas to “ooh” and “ah” over the latest technology. With so much announced and demonstrated, here are the most interesting things I heard about: Blackmagic DaVinci…  Read more

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May 1, 2017

VOD Picks

  • Raw Horror
    Focus Features
    Official site
    5/23/17 MOD VOD
  • La La Land Drama Musical Romance
    Lionsgate
    Official site
    4/25/17 MOD VOD

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