David Lynch – Hotel Room (1993)

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The lives of several people spanning from 1936 to 1993 are chronicled during their overnight stay at a New York City hotel room. The hotel room undergoes minor changes through the century, but the employees of the hotel remain unchanged, never aging. Read More »

David Foster Wallace – David Lynch Keeps His Head (1996)

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Ostensibly a set report on the filming of Lost Highway for Premiere magazine but of course a much more ambitious piece than that; as you can only expect from Foster Wallace. This is more a nuanced (and very funny) interrogation of the whole Lynchian aesthetic with Wallace trying to get straight in his own mind why he’s so fascinated by Lynch’s work.

This is not the Premier piece but the greatly expanded version that appeared in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. If you enjoy this, please do hunt down a copy of this wonderful collection of essays (this is far from the best piece there; still pretty good though). Read More »

Michelangelo Antonioni – Sette canne, un vestito (1949)

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short documentary on the production of rayon, shot in Torviscosa (Italy). It portrays the production of this new synthetic fabric in the small town of Torviscosa, entirely built following strict fascist canons. Read More »

Michelangelo Antonioni – The Architecture of Vision (1996)

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A collection of interviews and essays, many of them never before available in English, from one of the most important postwar Italian filmmakers. Antonioni’s cinema is “a world of images, not of words,” but this volume, published in Italy two years ago, is chockablock with the filmmaker’s words. Ironically, Antonioni had seldom written on films before he started making them. As a result, virtually all of the material in this book is about his own films and filmmaking experience. He has said, “Writing for me is a deepening of the gaze,” but he’s generally been one of those filmmakers who is reluctant to talk or write about his work. Given the intensely visual nature of his film poetry and the cryptic, elliptical dialogue that accompanies it, it is surprising how concise and analytical he is in the many interviews included in this volume. The book is divided into four sections: “My Cinema,” a series of general discussions of Antonioni’s aesthetic ideas; “My Films,” short pieces on individual films, including all of his best-known work (Blow Up, L’Avventura, Red Desert, Zabriskie Point, among others); “Interviews” and “Interviews on My Films,” which cover his career and specific works, respectively. Unfortunately, the pieces and interviews on individual films often call for a readership with an intimate knowledge of the movie in question, and for the nonspecialist may be a hard slog. Antonioni is ruthlessly candid, a brilliant talker, and an interesting writer. Although it is the fans of his cinema that will profit most from this collection, any serious student of film should give it a look. Read More »

Justin Hennard – Moonlight by the Sea (2003)

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“A thinking man’s futuristic sci-fi flick that picks up on Orwell’s Big Brother theme.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A thinking man’s futuristic sci-fi flick that picks up on Orwell’s Big Brother theme that has the potential to become a cult fave for those who crave Midnight movies and listening to their music at full-blast. Justin Hennard is the young creative whiz behind this project, who was influenced by Kenneth Patchen’s 1941 novel “The Journal of Albion Moonlight.” It makes use of Patchen’s theme that ‘Humans are always having conversations with people who are not present.’

It’s a work of great craftmanship, especially for a low-budget film, shot in a marvelously effective glowing black and white; the David Baker landscape drawings were very effective in creating the dreamy mood of a space flight, while Anthony Locastro’s art settings are imaginative in a goofy way. The other plus is that the ensemble cast all get into this crazy story and embody their characters in a believable though bizarre way. Read More »

Michelangelo Antonioni – Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo AKA Michelangelo Eye to Eye (2004)

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Quote:
By the time Michelangelo Antonioni released Michelangelo Eye to EyeBeyond the Clouds in 1995, his keen sense of patient, intimate observation had seemed to give way to a kind of leering, gratuitous voyeurism in the film’s repeated, over-lingering shots of the female form. It is, however, precisely this painstaking attention to the voluptuousness of form and tactileness of surfaces that makes his subsequent short film, Michelangelo Eye to Eye particularly sensual and textural in its execution. Prefaced with a text description of the filmmaker’s recent health problems (in particular, a debilitating stroke that left him partially paralyzed), the film opens with a shot of a frail Antonioni emerging from the shadows as he walks in slow, awkward gait into an unpopulated hall where Michelangelo Buonarotti’s marble statue of Moses – a scaled down version of an ambitiously conceived wall tomb for Pope Julius II – is once again in display after a period of meticulous restoration. Composed of a series of detailed observations of the sculpture’s composition from several camera angles and vantage points, Antonioni continually refocuses to the shot of Moses’ opaque gaze – an image that is sublimely matched by the filmmaker’s own occluded, returned gaze as he examines the object of his attention through limpid, watery eyes. In addition to creating a thorough, meticulous, and deliberative objective study of the Renaissance sculpture’s robust physical form and timeless, universal beauty, Antonioni’s juxtaposition of his own weakened, aging frame against the larger-than-life sculpture of Moses creates an indelible, thoughtful, and poignant image on human frailty, transience, creative compromise, and the enduring legacy of – and mortal transcendence through – enlightened art.
filmref.com Read More »

Michelangelo Antonioni – Cronaca di un Amore AKA Chronicle of a Love (1950)

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Michelangelo Antonioni’s first narrative feature is a stark, minimal interpersonal drama that would establish many of the themes and techniques that would recur in his work for the rest of his career. Story of a Love Affair centers on the dynamic between Guido and Paola, two old flames re-igniting their passions for one another. Tabs are being kept on both of the lovers by their current spouses as well as by a private investigator, but even after their pursuers fall out of the picture — whether due to accidents or disinterest — Guido and Paola find that their love for each other is waning. Filled with stark, empty compositions, unpredictable camera movements, and static, self-obsessed characters, Story of a Love Affair would mark Antonioni as a maverick among the prevailing neorealists of the post-war Italian film community.
-AMG Review- Read More »