After the recent BAMcinemaFest screening that marked the first time Benh Zeitlin’s magical-realist Beasts of the Southern Wild screened alongside Bill and Turner Ross’s immersive New Orleans documentary Tchoupitoulas—both South Louisiana-shot pictures produced by members of the film collective Court 13—there were two celebrations on either side of BAM. At the beautiful dive-bar Frank’s, the Ross brothers and various doc and indie film bros were watching the NBA championships with loud exuberance and strong opinions. There was a rumor that there was a dance party across the street at the Fox Searchlight-hosted party for Beasts, which was flowing with delicious […]
When was the last time you saw a movie that made you say “Wow!” with the wide-eyed, not-yet-jaded glee of a six year old? What was it for you? Insane special effects? Narrative trickery? Deep and resonant emotion? The perfect ending? I was 6 1/2 years old — at that age, the 1/2 is very important — when Back to the Future came out in theaters, and I remember seeing it with my father. The movie floored me — the whole thing. Marty’s relationship with Doc as well as his own father (Crispin effin’ Glover!), the effects, the music, and […]
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In his 1977 novel Players, Don DeLillo told the story of a crumbling marriage amidst terrorism on the New York Stock exchange. In the 1973 Great Jones Street, he portrayed a wealthy rock star escaping the solar of his own fame by walking off his tour and hiding out in a downtown Manhattan apartment. And in Mao II (1991), he sent a reclusive, blocked novelist away from the world of cultural production into the zeitgeist of Middle East political violence. The emotional affect of a hypermediated society, the ways in which personal relations are shaped by the white noise of […]
Artistry, despair and rage — the New York City of the 1980s and ’90s was defined by its fusion of these elements as artists and activists became frontline soldiers in the fight against the health crisis of AIDS. “Silence = Death” was the slogan of activist group ACT UP, an admonishment to all those who’d deny the severity of the epidemic by not taking a position. And as ACT UP members took direct action against fearful politicians, a generation of artists incorporated the movement’s anger and social critique into their own passionate work. These New York years form the backdrop […]