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In Features, Issues

SUPER 8


Current Gucci advertisement; Gregoire Colin in Beau Travail.


1. FASHION AND FILM. Film and fashion have always had such a complex, even co-dependent, relationship, that one is never quite sure which is giving what to whom. Nowhere has this strange relationship been as well defined as in the recent uncanny resemblance between Claire Denis’s Beau Travail and the new Gucci men’s advertising campaigned snapped by fashion/art photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

2.SPACES AND FACES. This is the city we move through, the subject we move toward. Cinematographers with an exquisite eye work in service of a director’s vision, their glints of perception lost to narrative. Mitch Epstein, a photographer and cinematographer (Mississippi Masala) captures his lustrous Manhattan in The City (powerHouse Books). Alternating black-and-white portraits of a relaxed collection of friends with color glances at momentary juxtapostions on the street, Epstein’s complex yet offhanded city is a place where gleaming subway trains are glimpsed through rotting staircases and surveillance cameras stand sentry over the misty island, and in one emblematic shot, a thirtyish woman in the back of a taxi rests her head backward, eyes closed in an instant’s stolen calm.

3.PEACHES. A Jewish-Canadian rapper living in Berlin, Peaches could very well be the demented love-child of Sandra Bernhard and Lil’ Kim, layering the dirtiest raps ever over a searing beat-box that evokes vivid memories of New York in the ’80s. Formerly one sweet half of the over-sexed duo Peaches and Gonzales, she’s flying solo now with her new Kitty-Yo release, The Teaches of Peaches. With drum-machine-driven ditties like "Fuck The Pain Away" and "Lovertits," Peaches has been taking European clubs and runways by storm. www.peachesrocks.com.

4. MICHEL-EYQUEN DE MONTAIGNE. In our modern era’s perpetual search for self definition, sometimes looking to the past offers the most pragmatic choices. In 1571, Michel-Eyquen de Montaigne retired his governmental post to begin writing his Essays, a rambling series of digressions from topics as diverse as thumbs and cannibals. In the end, however, Montaigne was the real subject. As he explains, "I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself." His elegant situating of himself within the outside world offers an utterly contemporary model for self analysis and improvement.

5. DRIVE-IN MOVIES. For many American teens, the drive-in made it possible to savor a warm summer evening with a bottle of Jim Beam and Boxcar Bertha blaring above you. For those seeking to relive their teen years, several Web sites are devoted to chronicling this dying American institution. Both www.driveinmovie.com and www.driveintheater.com provide histories of the drive-in as well as databases of the country’s remaining outdoor theaters.

6. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM.Sound travels slower than light. Words from an actor’s mouth lag behind the brain’s improvisational impulse. Nowhere is this phenomenon more artfully apparent than on HBO’s improvised, shot-on-video comedy created by and starring Larry David, the famous Seinfeld producer. In David’s dyspeptic delivery, the stuttering cadence of the working improvisor transforms angry antisocial annoyance into brilliantly incisive humor.

7.THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS. Written prior to his highly acclaimed first novel, Sarah, but only recently published, J.T. Leroy’s extraordinary collection of short stories cover much of the same terrain as the novel. Both books chronicle the tragicomic, semi-autobiographical adventures of a young boy raised by an abusive, drug-addicted truck-stop prostitute. But while his mother is largely absent from most of the novel (recently optioned by Gus Van Sant as a film project), the short stories focus more in depth on the boy’s complicated relationship to her. Yet The Heart is Deceitful avoids the pitfalls of most tell-all tales of abusive childhood; Leroy displays a dispassionate, often poetic, control over his subject matter, even if he’s not one to pull punches. These disturbing stories, however poignant, may not be to everyone’s taste, but Leroy’s talent as a storyteller is undeniable.

8. LIFE AND DEBT. While Bono and Thom Yorke rail against it in songs and congressional hearings, filmmaker Stephanie Black investigates globalism and third-world debt from the ground up in her acclaimed documentary. With text by Jamaica Kincaid, music by Ziggy Marley and images from a raft of acclaimed cinematographers, Black finds an original form to dissect the crippling "mechanism of debt" that stifles progressive change in the developing countries. Black’s film plays theatrically throughout the summer and fall and airs on PBS in August.

VOD CALENDAR

Filmmaker's curated calendar of the latest video on demand titles.
Free Men Sensation Restless City
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