I began El Valley Centro in November of 1998; I was driving through the Great Central Valley looking for places to film. I wasn’t going to start shooting for at least six months; I wanted to just look and listen – to get to know the Valley well before I would make images. But almost immediately I came across an oil well fire with flames high into the sky. I returned home for my Bolex and Nagra. Determined that landscape is a function of time, I let a full roll of 16mm film (100 feet) run through the camera. At that moment I knew I would make a portrait of The Great Central Valley using 35 two and a half minute shots.
Nearing the completion of El Valley Centro, I began planning an urban companion piece, Los, that was to be a portrait of Los Angeles. It seemed logical, for the politics of water certainly run from the Valley to the City. Los would have the same structure as El Valley Centro and would look and listen with the same intensity. The two films would be connected with the last shot of El Valley Centro pumping water out of the Valley over Wheeler Ridge while the first shot of Los would show Mulholland’s first spillway (still in use) bringing water into LA.
James Benning, December 2001 Continue reading
Plot Summary :
This appreciation of Tarkovsky made by his friend Chris Marker for the French television series ‘Cinema du Notre Temps’ is both an illuminating personal portrait and a poetic study of the Russian master’s films. Granted access to the set of ‘The Sacrifice’ Marker captured fascinating and insightful behind-the-scenes footage, including the editing process which the then gravely ill Tarkovsky conducted from his sickbed. Continue reading
Interview follows a film crew while they sort through interviews to make a movie, which may or may not be a documentary, about destined love. In the process, the director within this film, Eun-suk (Lee Jung-jae) seems to be destined to fall in love with one of the interviewees, Young-hee (Shim Eun-ha). We learn through a purposely disjointed narrative that this may not have been when Eun-suk met Young-hee for the first time. Added to this temporal disorientation is further doubt in the events unfolding since Young-hee is as unreliable in her interview as Eun-suk is silent about his past. Continue reading
“Described by director Gregg Araki as “A Beverly Hills 90210 episode on acid” (with no suggestions of what it might be cut with), Nowhere is a companion piece with Araki’s previous meditations on youth gone wild in the 1990s, Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation — Araki’s self-described “teen apocalypse trilogy.” Nowhere follows 18-year-old Dark Smith (James Duval) as he goes through a fairly typical day in Los Angeles. Dark needs, but rarely gets, emotional support from his girlfriend Mel (Rachel True). Mel, however, is also involved with a girl named Lucifer (Kathleen Robertson), while Dark moons over hunky Montgomery (Nathan Bexton). Dark’s best friend Cowboy (Guillermo Diaz) has troubles of his own, as his boyfriend and bandmate Bart (Jeremy Jordan) is back on drugs and spending most of his time with his dealer. Mel’s friends include sugar junkie Dingbat (Christina Applegate), doomsday poetess Alyssa (Jordan Ladd), and Egg (Sarah Lassez), who is being unexpectedly wooed by a Famous Teen Idol (Jason Simmons). Egg’s brother Ducky (Scott Caan) has a crush on Alyssa, but she’s keeping company with a biker named Elvis (Thyme Lewis). Alyssa’s assignation with Elvis gets a psychic boost by her twin brother Shad (Ryan Phillippe) and his tryst with Lilith (Heather Graham). Continue reading
Presents highlights of a workshop for young directors conducted by the Polish director Krzysztof Kiewslowski (1941-1996) in Amsterdam during the summer of 1994. The theme of the workshop was the direction of actors. For a fortnight, various groups worked every day on a scene from Ingmar Bergman’s scenario `Scenes from a Marriage’. The sessions with the directors Leif Magnusson and Francesco Ranieri Martinotti were filmed for the documentary, and an interview with Kieslowski was filmed before the sessions. The workshop was entitled `Six Actors in Seach of a Director’. The actors were Reinout Bussemaker, Pamela Knaack, Shaun Lawton, Matthias Maat, Dulcie Smart and Nelleke Zitman. Continue reading
The subject of Film History is the historical development of the motion picture, and the social, technological, and economic context in which this has occurred. Its areas of interest range from the technical through all aspects of production and distribution.
With this issue on the Exploitation Film, Film History investigates one of the more obscure corners of cinema. If there is a grand narrative of film history, the exploitation film has not had its chapter therein. There are many reasons for this. This ‘Exploitation Film’ issue demonstrates the scholarly activity devoted to this marginal mode of film production and its position in regard to main- stream forms of cinematic production and representation. Continue reading
In festival circles, Russian director Alexander Sokurov has long been dubbed the next Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Andrei Rublev), but Mother And Son, his 14th feature, is his first to attract much attention in the U.S. Given the stubborn pacing of the film—which makes everything the famously deliberate Tarkovsky directed look like The Cannonball Run by comparison—it’s hardly surprising that distributors have balked in the past. But once you adjust to Sokurov’s spare effects and measured cutting, the haunting, unforgettable images in Mother And Son leave no doubt as to why he’s considered one of the world’s premier film artists. The clean-lined, economical story concerns an anguished young man (the sad-eyed Alexi Ananishnov) so devoted to his dying mother (Gunrun Geyer) that he refuses to accept the inevitable. Isolated from the rest of society, save for the occasional train passing in the distance, he spends long days carrying her across the idyllic landscape outside their cottage, stalling frequently from the burden. There are times when the action stalls in turn, as Sokurov wipes away the already scant dialogue and movement and the film becomes more like an especially vibrant painting. Using special, hand-painted filters and distorting lenses that flatten the characters against their surroundings (and each other), Sokurov creates a hazy, muted visual texture that lends his melancholy story uncommon intimacy and power. Some have found this cinematic museum piece interminably dull, but for those willing to ride out its eccentricities, Mother And Son is a unique, rewarding experience. Continue reading