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Sentient.Art.Film Launches Second Edition of 1990s Asian American Film Series “My Sight is Lined with Visions”

Following its successful first edition, Sentient.Art.Film’s second season of online repertory series is relaunching the successful online repertory series "My Sight is Lined with Visions," (January 26, 2021 - January 25, 2022), which will live online from today, January 26, through January 25 of next year—notably, with no geoblocking. Co-curated by programmers Abby Sun and Keisha N. Knight, the series focuses on 1990s Asian American Cinema. From the press release: Two new programs are added to the relaunch and will be available to the public via online rental for the first time. Marlon Fuentes’s rarely-screened first and only feature, Bontoc Eulogy (1995), uses the container story of a filmmaker discovering his grandfather’s lost indigenous history to question perception of and the…  Read more

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“God Bless Dwayne Johnson”: Richard Kelly on Southland Tales, 15 Years Later

Southland Tales

Some films are not meant for the era in which they’re made. Such was the case with Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, a sci-fi epic from the provocative filmmaker whose first feature, Donnie Darko, premiered in 2001. Arriving five years into President Bush’s presidency, Kelly’s second feature debuted in Competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, where it was received much like Bush’s tumultuous War on Terror. “More film maudit than the basis for a midnight cult,” film critic J. Hoberman observed in the Village Voice, his review being one of the few positive notices to follow the film’s disastrous world premiere. The film would not garner a theatrical release stateside until well over a year later, significantly edited down and…  Read more

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“IMAX Cameras are Sewing Machines—They are So Loud”: DP Matthew Jensen on Wonder Woman 1984

Matthew Jensen and Patty Jenkins on the set of Wonder Woman 1984

“You still can’t beat reality,” says Matthew Jensen. That may seem like an incongruous proclamation from the cinematographer of a $200 million superhero spectacle that concludes with a flying goddess facing off against a half human/half cheetah. But instead of simply shooting the film’s opening Amazon Olympics flashback in a greenscreen wonderland, Jensen headed to Spain’s Canary Islands and put 10-year-old actress Lilly Aspell (as a young Diana Prince) on horseback on an IMAX-rigged process trailer. Instead of digitally returning a gutted Virginia mall to all its 1980s glory, the Wonder Woman team rebuilt more than 60 period stores. And for an epic highway chase set in Cairo, Jensen headed back to Spain so he could squish Gal Gadot behind practical vehicles…  Read more

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Dead Again, After the Thin Man, The Court Jester: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Recommendations

Kenneth Branagh was only 29 when he wrote, directed, and starred in his debut feature, a rousing adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V that garnered massive critical acclaim upon its release in 1989. As a result, the young filmmaker was offered every costume drama and literary adaptation on the studios’ development slates, but he turned them all down in favor of an original screenplay by future Queen’s Gambit auteur Scott Frank that had been kicking around for years. Dead Again was Frank’s throwback to the gothic melodramas and film noir pictures of the 1930s and ’40s, a gloriously theatrical combination of detective story and supernatural thriller that was a perfect match for Branagh’s brash exuberance. Branagh stars as a private eye…  Read more

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The 2020 Village Voice Voice Poll, Reconstructed

John Magaro in First Cow (Photo courtesy of A24/Allyson Riggs)

Even when a global pandemic hasn't upended everything, year-end lists and surveys often strike a faintly apologetic tone, acknowledging up front that there's something inherently frivolous about ranking films in preferential order (whether individually or collectively). "This is kinda dumb, but enjoy!" How, then, should I further diminish a poll conducted in the name of a publication that effectively no longer exists, conducted at the conclusion of a film year that can barely be said to have happened? Movie theaters in many major cities have been dormant since last March, and the Village Voice, which established the original freewheeling critics' poll back in 1999, went dark three years ago (though it was recently purchased by the same guy who transformed…  Read more

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10 Months in 10 Movies: My 2020 in Film

The Warwick Drive-in, August 2020 (photo by Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli)

2020 was going to be my year of festival-enabled travel. Instead, I went home, the last place I’ve ever wanted to be. This is my year in selected viewing, which begins when my 2020 really did; nothing before March is as vivid or urgent. March A friend generously offers a ride from True/False to Chicago, site of my inadvertently final vacation week; we set out at 7:30 am, breaking for lunch just across the Missouri-Illinois state line at a Steak ’n Shake (good patty melt!). The drive takes slightly over six hours and the conversation will be one of my last intensive IRL one-on-ones for months. Upon arrival, I go to the Music Box Theatre to watch Last Action Hero in 70mm;…  Read more

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“There’s So Much Darkness, So Much Room to Dream”: David Lynch on Lost Highway

Lost Highway

The following interview with David Lynch appeared in Filmmaker's Winter, 1997 issue, and is being posted online today, David Lynch's birthday, for the first time. An audacious return to feature filmmaking after his underrated Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway is pure Lynch. Alternately seductive, mysterious, and terrifying, the film's narrative unfolds with the chaos of a waking nightmare. Bill Pullman plays an avant-jazz musician whose fear of intimacy with his wife, Patricia Arquette, propels him into a series of schizophrenic states. Or perhaps not. Lost Highway can be read as a discombobulated film noir, study of mental illness, or frightening ghost story. Indeed, Lynch loads the film with the boldest second act plot twist in recent memory, demanding that…  Read more

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“An Ode to the Viruses of Our Day: Watch Nicholas D’Agostino’s Animated Short, Despot

Despot

Previously at Filmmaker, animator Nicholas D'Agostino wrote about masks, animation and the power of myth. Now, on the last day of the Trump presidency, he premieres a new short, Despot, that he describes as an "ode to the viruses of the day." Watch the short above and read D'Agostino's statement about the film below. On the eve of what many hope is a new chapter, for themselves, for their country, for the world, it feels only right to reflect on what has been wrought during these recent years. A reckoning that has culminated in the horrors of 2020. It was with a heavy heart that I undertook this project. The topic was one I very consciously avoided talking about in my work. Even…  Read more

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