Click here to read this year’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film list.
“This is so metaphorical!” Ki-woo’s metatextual reaction to the unlikely gift of a stone from his friend Min early in Bong Joon- ho’s Palme d’Or–winning Parasite isn’t the film’s most startling moment, but it’s an early jolt that both sets and undermines viewer expectations. Ki-woo (wide-eyed Choi Woo-shik—Okja, Train to Busan) lives in an underground apartment with his underemployed family, including humbled but unvanquished father Ki-taek (Bong regular Song Kang-ho, unsurprisingly great) and scheming sister Ki-jung (Park So-dam, cynical and hilarious). When Ki-woo becomes a tutor for the daughter of a rich family, the action settles into that family’s stunning […]
It’s a rare thing for scholars to be asked to serve as advisors on studio films of any size, no matter the topic. (Hell, we’re usually not even asked to authenticate representations of academia itself.) So, it came as a pleasant surprise indeed for Brooklyn-based scholar and curator Leo Goldsmith and Georgia Tech film and media professor Gregory Zinman when they were asked by director James Gray to serve as advisors on his latest film, Ad Astra, scheduled for a September release by 20th Century Fox. Said to be a moody, existential science fiction film (Zinman and Goldsmith have read […]
In 1975, an interdisciplinary group of engineers, artists, physicists, architects and urban planners convened for 10 weeks at Stanford University and the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. The group assembled to design complete and convincing systems for sustained life in outer space. Fred Scharmen—author of Space Settlements, a new book that considers the cultural impact of the 1975 Summer Study’s proposals—notes the most “influential outcomes” were the trippy paintings made to illustrate these ideas. These paintings, in watercolor, acrylic and gouache, depict bright bubbles of life and majestic rings—appearing like cornucopias in cutaway view—with tranquil landscapes and […]
Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy is an emotional prism, generating moments that are warm, traumatic, unsettling and scarring. So, it’s no wonder that the process of constructing such an intimate and emotionally shattering film was equally grounded in feeling. Har’el’s narrative feature debut (her previous features are the documentaries Bombay Beach and LoveTrue) contains Shia LaBeouf’s most gripping performance to date and showcases the two collaborators’ ability to make art containing expressive power and emotional wisdom. In Honey Boy, also written by LaBeouf, we meet Otis (Lucas Hedges), a movie star who’s sent to rehab and forced to confront his childhood […]
Knowing that Alma Har’el worked in a fluid, in-the-moment fashion, and that dancing with the actors in the scene was key to the story, DP Natasha Braier started prep by going through the script and asking the director for each scene, “Describe the scene with a feeling.” During prep and while shooting, Braier always wanted to root the camera in the emotions of each scene. In her previous work on films like The Neon Demon and The Milk of Sorrow, Braier tapped into her ability to capture human experience with stylized camera work and expressive lighting. We discussed how she […]
In April 1980, actor Sam Neill and screenwriter Frederic Tuten were sitting next to each other on a flight from Paris to New York. The two were about to embark on the making of a film and had been spending time with its director in France. Tuten was new to screenwriting but had already picked up on the hierarchy of above-the-line talent and was amazed the producers had sprung for him to sit in first class with the lead actor. He offhandedly asked Neill, “Isn’t this whole film world just about money?” Neill corrected him, “It’s not about money, it’s […]