Tiff 2017. Wavelengths Preview: The Short Stack

  • MUBI
It’s been an interesting run-up to the Toronto International Film Festival, and in terms of the survival of the species, the good ol’ U.S.A. has been something of a race to the bottom. What would do us in first: violent neo-Nazis whose activities are almost explicitly condoned by the Klansman In Chief? Or a 1,000-year weather event on the Gulf Coast whose magnitude surely owes something to global climate change, and whose aftermath of collapsing dams and exploding chemical factories has everything to do with systematic neglect?Given the state of things down here, who wouldn’t want to repair to Canada for some challenging cinema? As always, the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) is the place to be in September, and Wavelengths once again features the best of the fest. This is because the films selected for Wavelengths are the opposite of escapism. Whether they tackle
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Opening Remarks: A Conversation with Tyler Hubby about Tony Conrad and Documentary Filmmaking

  • MUBI
Mubi is exclusively playing Tyler Hubby's Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present (2016) from April 8 - May 8, 2017 in the United Kingdom and United States.This month Mubi is screening Tyler Hubby’s documentary Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, which focuses on the life of the musician, filmmaker and teacher who died in April 2016. The release coincides with a series of special memorial events to be held across the U.S., including musical performances. Tyler Hubby spoke to me by Skype about making the film and the many facets of Conrad’s innovative media and community activities, many of which are still being uncovered.Notebook: I was in contact with you last when I wrote a piece for the Notebook, just after Tony Conrad passed away. You helped out with an image for it, which was fantastic.Hubby: Oh good. Yeah, that was a really strange time. I just reread
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Troublemakers The Story of Land Art Review

Troublemakers The Story of Land Art Review
Title: Troublemakers The Story of Land Art First Run Features Director: James Crump Writer: James Crump Cast: Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, Dennis Oppenheim, Nancy Holt, Willoughby Sharp, Carl Andre, Vito Acconci Running Time: 72 min Rated: Unrated (Language) Special Features: Discussion with director James Crump and Philipp Vergne (45mn); The Artist Bios; Director Bio Available On DVD & VOD 05/17 The life of artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s was apparently quite difficult. This documentary features a handful of New York artists that were tired of being boxed into a gallery, and sought out larger venues to showcase their creativity and came up with “land [ Read More ]

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"A Matter of Visibility" at First Look 2016

  • MUBI
Her Silent SeamingPerhaps more than most other forms of cinema, experimental film and video is an auteur’s medium through and through. Since the production model for avant-garde work is almost exclusively artisanal, with a single individual (or possibly a duo or an artists’ collective) making the work from a studio context similar to that or a sculptor or photographer, it only makes sense to consider these works are expressions of an artist’s point of view. As such, those of us who regularly engage with experimental work will inevitably use the artist as the primary mode of categorization—who to keep track of, who seems promising, etc.But there’s a bit more to it. One of the greatest joys of avant-garde filmgoing, as any fan will tell you, is seeing an expertly curated program of films, be they new short works, recontextualized classics, or some combination thereof. A
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Jonathan Franzen, Greil Marcus, and Mary Harron on the Greatness of the Mekons

  • Vulture
Being known for being unknown is a bit of a booby prize, but over the course of 35 years, the British multi-genre-punk band the Mekons has managed to make underachieving a heroic ideal. After recording more than 20 albums, what began as a bit of an art-school lark evolved into something stirring, earning the band a star turn in Joe Angio’s documentary, Revenge of the Mekons, which is screening at Film Forum for two more days.A few of the esteemed devotees they’ve picked up over the years gathered last Thursday night in a Columbia University auditorium for an Ivy League symposium: Novelist Jonathan Franzen, critic Greil Marcus, American Psycho director Mary Harron, nonfiction writer Luc Sante, and artist and architect Vito Acconci gave readings on the band after a screening of excerpts of the film, while band guitarist and singer Jon Langford sat among them, offering a song about
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Conversation with Daniele Luchetti about Those Happy Years

Those Happy Years (Anni Felici) director Daniele Luchetti: "I love improvisations on the set." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Daniele Luchetti's autobiographical reckoning Those Happy Years (Anni Felici) about a boyhood in the Italy of the 1970s, starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Micaela Ramazzotti, Martina Gedeck, Pia Engleberth, Samuel Garofalo and Niccolò Calvagna, opened this year's Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The afternoon of the luncheon at Barbetta, hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, I spoke with Luchetti about artistic upbringing then and now, the three faces of autobiographical filmmaking, how all movies need an evil, and his two upcoming projects on Pope Francis and a comedy on Berlusconi, who could be played by Tilda Swinton.

In Those Happy Years, Kim Rossi Stuart plays Guido, an artist who feels undervalued and misunderstood. He makes plaster pieces with naked women, lectures at
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Paul McCarthy and Damon McCarthy Rebel Dabble Babble Hauser & Wirth Gallery Through July 26, 2013 Paul McCarthy Ws Park Avenue Armory Through August 4, 2013

James Franco is finishing a joke. "Natalie Wood…get it? What kind of wood doesn't float?" Everyone is very hung over this morning, but fortunately Franco sent his Maybach Landaulet and driver to whisk us to Chlamydia, the new Bobby Flay café in Chelsea, where we are drinking revivifying Bellinis and an assortment of other smart cocktails with Vito Schnabel, Slavoj Žižek, Natalie Portman (or possibly Keira Knightley, or Keira Knightley's body double), Sasha Grey, Heath Ledger, Michael Lee Nirenberg, Lena Dunham, Chloë Sevigny, and a Thai/Puerto Rican pre-op transsexual Franco introduces as "Pinball."

We are all sweating slightly and staring at Billy Cyborg passed out in a bowl of muesli. Inexplicably, the table is cluttered with untouched Chinese take-out containers and bottles of Evian, and there
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Kathryn Bigelow @ 60

  • MUBI
Verena Lueken celebrates Kathryn Bigelow's 60th birthday today with a well-earned salute in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Steve Dollar, earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal: "She gave us hemophiliac splatter and star-crossed Texas-biker vampire love in Near Dark — 20 years before bloodsuckers became the pop-culture vogue and star Bill Paxton was a household name. She came up with the most iconic use of a Richard Nixon mask in movie history in Point Break. And she was the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director in 2010, with the high-tension Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker." And he reminded us, too, that she made her earliest films as a "San Francisco Art Institute graduate enrolled in the graduate film program at Columbia University, where she studied with such luminaries as Susan Sontag and avant-garde video artist Vito Acconci."

At around the same time, Justin Stewart wrote in
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Hopper, Godard, Hitch, Fellini, Bigelow and More

Updated through 6/12.

Let's begin this quick run through goings on in New York and with J Hoberman in the Voice: "Dennis Hopper changed the game with Easy Rider (1969), blew up his career with The Last Movie (1971), and then, through a never clearly explained series of events, took over and reconfigured a Canadian tax-shelter project for which he had been hired to act, thus contriving a dialectical comeback with his brutal, accomplished Out of the Blue (1980)."

"Widely banned and/or shoved under the rug at the time of its limited release primarily due to its violently bonkers ending, the film's alternately herky-jerky and languid cadence is suggestive of a terminally wounded body undergoing a death rattle." Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant: "This produces a look and feel that communicates the blind rage and ennui out of which punk's jabby power chords and raucous lyrics sprang. But the film's punk apotheosis — the
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