Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nashville Film Festival names new artisitc director

The Nashville Scene reports that the Nashville Film Festival has named Brian Owens, co-founder and director of the Indianapolis International Film Festival, as the new artistic director for the Nashville Film Festival. Congratulations Brian and we look forward to seeing what directions you'll be taking the film festival in the future.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Nashville as movie city?

The Tennessean has an interesting article about the proposed use of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

"Picture this: a film studio complex and public entertainment venue in Nashville that would capture the look and feel of Universal Studios Hollywood — only without the rides and with a project pipeline loaded with films targeted at heartland audiences.

That's the pitch being made to redevelop the Tennessee State Fairgrounds by Woodland, Calif.-based Tower Investments and Nashville's 821 Entertainment, whose projects include a forthcoming film about the life of the Rev. Billy Graham, as well as a biopic on music legend Hank Williams."

And speaking of the Bill Graham movie, be sure to look for the movie theatre scene it might just be a place you know....


Friday, August 22, 2008

Tell No One: the sticky

TELL NO ONE opens today, and we're pretty excited about. Having personally stumbled across the novel by accident the other day and giving it a read, I'm excited to see how the film plays out now that it's been transposed to France from New York. After you watch it come back and give us your thoughts, have you read the novel too? Compare, contrast, whatta you think of this adaptation?


Monday, August 18, 2008

Film critic and artist Manny Farber R.I.P.

The great film critic and artist Manny Farber, passed away last night at age 91. Passed onto us and posted below, from BlogDance, as a tribute to Manny, part of his classic essay "Termite Art vs. White Elephant Art"

"Masterpiece art, reminiscent of the enameled tobacco humidors and wooden lawn ponies bought at white elephant auctions decades ago, has come to dominate the overpopulated arts of TV and movies. Three sins of white elephant art are (1) frame the action with an all-over pattern, (2) install every event, character, situation in a frieze of continuities, and (3) treat every inch of the screen and film as a potential area for prizeworthy creativity.

"An exemplar of white elephant art, particularly the critic-devouring virtue of filling every pore of the work with glinting, darting Style and creative Vivacity, is Fran├žois Truffaut. Shoot The Piano Player and Jules Et Jim, two ratchety perpetual-motion machines devised by a French Rube Goldberg [leave behind] the bladelike journalism of The 400 Blows.

"The common quality or defect which unites apparently divergent artists like Antonioni, Truffaut, [Tony] Richardson, is fear, a fear of the potential life, rudeness, and outrageousness of a film. Coupled with their storage vaults of self-awareness and knowledge of film history, this fear produces an incessant wakefulness....

"Good work usually arises where the creators...seem to have no ambitions towards gilt culture but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor that isn't anywhere or for anything. A peculiar fact about termite-tapeworm-fungus-moss art is that it goes always forward eating its own boundaries, and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than
the signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity.

"[John Wayne in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance] is a termite actor focusing only on a tiny present area, nibbling at it with engaging professionalism and a hipster sense of how to sit in a chair leaned against the wall, eye a flogging overactor (Lee Marvin). Better Ford films than this have been marred by a phlegmatically solemn Irish personality that goes for
rounded declamatory acting, silhouetted riders along the rim of a mountain with a golden sunset behind them.

[Kurosawa's Ikiru] sums up much of what a termite art aims at: buglike immersion in a small area without point or aim, and, over all, concentration on nailing down one moment without glamorizing it, but forgetting this accomplishment as soon as it has been passed; the feeling that all is expendable, that it can be chopped up and flung down in a different arrangement without ruin."

There's also a cool reminiscence at Glenn Kenny's blog Some Came Running.

What do you think, Termite Art or White Elephant Art, which one's for you, who do you think belongs in which category?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Guy Maddin interview

As linked below, Jim Ridley's interview with Guy Maddin in this week's Nashville Scene was a bit stunted due to print limitations. But we're glad to post here the full interview, from Billy Idol to If Day...proceed:

Did I read a story you told about some people in Winnipeg once using the legs of a frozen cow as a hockey goal?

The way we use our dead cows tells us so much about our culture.

Here in Nashville, we have an NHL franchise that has had a somewhat hard time catching on. Why should we get excited about hockey?

Nashville’s already so mythologically packed with music and Civil War lore and history and just its place in the honeycomb of great American mythology that I don’t know if it really needs hockey. Maybe people are just puzzled, or just need to get out, or maybe they buy tickets for the games but just don’t show up. I don’t have any great sociological for it. It’s a sport we [Canadians] can all identify with because we either played it ourselves or know someone that played it, or just grew up with it. It really goes back. It’s like when you’re watching a football game, there’s a whole grid of things going on at once involving nostalgia, and hope for the future, and civic pride, and intense rivalries, and vicarious achievement, and all that stuff. And all that stuff goes on with hockey the way it does with football for you. It must be more like roller derby for you, where a league starts up now and then and then goes away for a while and nobody really misses it. (laughs) But good luck with your franchise. I know you’ve got some comical ownership issues. Your team was really good a year ago, as I remember, and then they sort of fire-sold some good players.

From the film, I take it the loss of Winnipeg’s old hockey arena was a traumatic event.

Well, I got kind of mad that the city didn’t feel it as badly as I did. The morons in our city were happy to all throng to the new lousy arena. Our city isn’t really very wealthy, so they tore down not only a perfectly good arena but one that is packed with memories, and replaced it with one that is going to fall apart in 20 years. And put it in a place that isn’t as accessible. And as usual in these graft cases, made a couple of people rich and will ultimately not serve the community. So it kind of outrages me, but everyone else is just happy to go. We’re in sort of the honeymoon period of the arena, when people show up just to see the arena, so Engelbert Humperdinck and Billy Idol have been selling out to like 15,000 people, where they would have drawn 1,100 people at a smaller venue a couple of years ago. It’s got us all in kind of a disgusting drunk-on-novelty.

How did your fellow Manitobans react to the movie?

I was a bit shocked. I’m sure the reaction isn’t over, but I thought they’d be very uncomfortable and annoyed—this is Winnipeg, the town that sort of booed Neil Young out of the country. (laughs) And there’s a guy who’s pretty good. But they weren’t having him. So I expected the same sort of treatment; I almost wanted it. But it didn’t happen the opening night where the film played. It got a really nice response; my mom herself, up in the Abraham Lincoln loge, got a two-or-three-minute standing ovation and glowed like a bioluminescent animal up in their spotlight. Everything seemed fine. But I think what might happen now if I know my Winnipeggers, and I do, is they’ll slowly start (or maybe not-so-slowly start) resenting me and hating me. Not for making the film, but for the film getting out there and doing what I wanted it to do.

I have to ask what your mom thought of the movie.

The first words out of her mouth afterward were, ‘It’s a strange movie, but I liked it.’ I thought she might be too upset by it, frankly. I thought she might be upset by the uncanny resemblance of the actor [who plays her] late son.

What’s the thing in the movie that most people think you made up, when in fact it’s real?

If Day. You can look it up. And I like that story. If you think of it, it’s very analogous to what Orson Welles did with War of the Worlds, fake invasion—in his case for entertainment, in our case for…war-bond frightening. The Orson Welles broadcast, and all its apparent panic that it produced, became part of American legend, where If Day was completely forgotten. My parents don’t even remember it. Nobody told me about it. It’s just the way Canadians behave as compared to Americans—as compared to the way any other country would behave, as a matter of fact. In response to the magnificent self-mythologizing powerhouse that is America right immediately to our south, we insist on presenting all of our historical figures in life-size terms, and there’s no more surefire way of consigning something to oblivion than presenting it life-size. (laughs)

You’ve taken care of that.

That was my whole mandate with this thing—to treat it the way an American would. (laughs) Actually, If Day, I found out about it from an American, and the only newsreel footage of it was taken by the Fox Newsreel Company.

I would think that restaging your childhood would be emotionally demanding.

I felt really guilty at times. I felt like I was committing a crime of some sort. And then at other times I felt myself overcome by tears—and I realized what they were. They weren’t tears triggered by any mysterious and long-buried emotion; they were just tears of pride. I realized I was really proud of how I’d managed to pull this off. My memories were being filmed! It was almost like just pointing a camera at my temple and collecting memories out there. That was kind of a sobering moment—I realized I wasn’t being overcome with emotion, I was just being hubristic.

In a way, this seems like a terminal movie—like you’ve followed your childhood mythology as far as it will go.

I think I have to move on now. Which leaves me sad, because I’m not sure I nailed it. At least for 10 or 15 years, I don’t think I can go back to it. And then I’ve messed up all the evidence, right? From now on I’ll be remembering the movie version of my childhood rather than my real childhood.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Man on Wire & My Winnipeg

Two new openers today MAN ON WIRE & Guy Madden's MY WINNIPEG. Come and watch and then bring your thoughts here to the magic of the interweb...

Two local writers spoke with Guy Maddin about his new film, check out Jim Ridley's interview for the Nashville Scene and Jason Shawhan's for All The Rage which can be found HERE.