Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Truffaut’s Small Change

Published March 18, 2010 by Graham

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Francois Truffaut is widely remembered for his brilliantly uncanny exploration of childhood in The 400 Blows, but a lesser known picture called L’argent de poche (alternately known as Small Change or Pocket Money) may be his true masterpiece of the genre. Presenting a vast array of vignettes about youth, Truffaut weaves together a joyously mischievous slice of life triumph. Small Change bursts with color and features a cast of wonderfully natural non-actors in a range of epic moments “from the first bottle to the first kiss,” as Truffaut explained it.

The Film Desk has graciously re-released the film with a beautiful restored print that’s currently touring North America. It’s playing in Los Angeles at Cinefamily this Sunday, and then heading to Wisconsin, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio. Check out the full list of cities and dates, and don’t miss a chance to see this sparkling film on the big screen!

The Believer Film Issue

Published March 18, 2010 by Molly

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It’s that magical time of year again! The Believer’s annual film issue has hit newsstands, and this time it includes an interview with Harmony Korine (”Goldfish swallowers, pygmies—to me, that’s the greatest thing in life”), an essay on seven unproduced screenplays by famous intellectuals, an interview with Charlyne Yi, a dispatch about Iranian cinema (”Watching Shrek in Tehran”—you can read that one online here) and, best of all, a DVD featuring six short films by Karpo Godina, a Yugoslavian filmmaker whose early short films are collected on DVD for the first time here.

Plus more! So much more. Scope out the table of contents here, get stoked, and buy yourself a copy or two.

Light Boxes by Shane Jones

Published March 16, 2010 by Molly

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Shane Jones’ novel Light Boxes opens with a beautiful little epigraph by Joseph Wood Krutch which reads:

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”

We can all agree on that, no? The snippet foretells the book’s central conflict, which is a battle against the month of February. Only “month”, in this case, is a misnomer: the February of Light Boxes is an endless season of bleakness, a metaphysical state, a spiritual personage, sort of, and an oppressor above all.

Not to get anatomical here, but the form and the language of Jones’ novel are important to think about, because both are unusual. The book is divided into segments of a few paragraphs or a few sentences, and the prose will splinter freely into a recipe, a list, a monologue, a catalog or a cryptogram without warning. Somehow the transitions feel seamless, like reading the direct transcription of a story told by someone with no regard for conventions but an instinctive grasp of narrative.

Don’t want to spoil the plot—it’s delicate!—but trust us that this pocket-sized treasure is worth devouring.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Published March 11, 2010 by Graham

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Stop, breathe, and take a moment to appreciate how rad bugs are. Let’s send waves of positive thought about insects into the Universe. Here in the English-speaking world, where they are semiotically bound to concepts of destruction and annoyance, bugs could use some respect and affection. Not so much in Japan, as we learn in Jessica Oreck’s dazzling documentary Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.

…While people of many other countries fear all manner of creepy crawlies, the Japanese love and respect them: they’re sold live in vending machines and department stores; they’re the subject of the No. 1 videogame MushiKing; and a single beetle recently sold for $90,000. Insects have been an integral part of the centuries-old traditions of the country, once described as the “Isle of the Dragonflies.”

The film’s gorgeous imagery links people with the strength of beetles, the music of crickets, the magic of fireflies and the endless colors of butterflies. Using bugs like an anthropologist’s toolkit, the film uncovers Japanese philosophies that will shift Westerners’ perspectives on nature, beauty, life, and even the seemingly mundane realities of their day-to-day routines.

Take the rare opportunity to reflect on the elegance of the microscopic and watch this film. It’s playing tonight at Cinefamily in L.A., for one night only. The screening will also feature a Q&A with Oreck.

NYC: Spike and Lance at Barnes & Noble Tomorrow

Published March 1, 2010 by Graham

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Where the Wild Things Are isn’t the only rad movie hitting shelves tomorrow! Spike and Lance Bangs’ fascinating documentary delving deep into the personal world of Maurice Sendak, Tell Them Anything You Want, is getting a deluxe DVD release, thanks to those loving cinephiles at Oscilloscope Laboratories. The handsomely packaged disc is loaded with bonus features including an exclusive essay by Sendak’s good friend, Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner, and a Sendakian birthday tribute with Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener.

To celebrate the release, the dynamic directorial duo are making an in-store appearance at Barnes & Nobles’ Union Square store for a conversation with McSweeney’s contributor and ineffable witticist John Hodgman.

The discussion will go down Tuesday, March 2nd at 7:00 PM. After the Q&A, Spike and Lance will sign copies of Tell Them Anything You Want and John Hodgman will sign copies of his own books. Barnes & Noble Union Square is located at 33 East 17th Street.

Guess What Comes Out on DVD Tomorrow…

Published March 1, 2010 by Dallas

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SOOOOOO EXCITED! If you haven’t already sent in an email to win a copy from us. Now’s your last chance. We’ll pick the winners later today.

REDCAT International Children’s Festival

Published February 24, 2010 by Graham

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Here’s a problem: of the relatively tiny number of independent and foreign films that find distribution each year, an even tinier number of those are intended for children.

Here’s a partial solution: the annual REDCAT International Children’s Festival helps expose the work of filmmakers and animators who believe that kids deserve more than the standard cookie-cutter fare. There are artists in Iran, Sweden, Brazil, and Burkina Faso making rad entertainment for kids, and because of this festival, their films are available to you and the budding cinéaste in your life from the comfort of a theater in downtown Los Angeles.

If you live in the area and are lucky enough to know an imaginative kid, take a trip to REDCAT this week and blow that kid’s mind! The festival runs February 27 – March 7th.

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Tell Them Anything You Want at IFC

Published February 23, 2010 by Molly

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Tell Them Anything You Want, the amazing-amazing documentary about Maurice Sendak by Spike and Lance Bangs, is playing at New York’s IFC Center this Wednesday at 8PM, followed by a Q&A with the two directors. If you missed it on the small-screen, now’s your chance to catch the film and lob a question or two at Lance and Spike!

William Eggleston’s Stranded in Canton

Published February 19, 2010 by Graham

Veritable patriarch of contemporary photography William Eggleston is essentially the king of color. But this feature-length film, Stranded in Canton, demonstrates just how masterful of an aesthete Eggleston is– color or no color, frozen images on film or slices of life on video tape.

Shot in the early ’70s on Sony’s revolutionary portable video recorder, Stranded in Canton is a marvel of documentary cinema. It strings together a wildly diverse set of scenes with no narrative thread to speak of, and yet leaves you with an impression of intimacy and voyeuristic thrill.

Opening Ceremony x I’m Here

Published February 15, 2010 by Graham

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The lovelorn robots from I’m Here have taken over the window display at Opening Ceremony’s New York boutique! Amazing artist Meryl Smith, who created some of the props for the film, designed the installation using original costumes, props and robot parts from I’m Here. Looking for a belated Valentine’s gift? Opening Ceremony’s got you covered with three rad double-sided I’m Here flipbooks: