Sunday, November 23, 2008

Notable film and media links---November 23, 2008

---Writing for 16:9, Matthew Flanagan celebrates the "cinema of slowness," which he claims "compels us to retreat from a culture of speed, modify our expectations of filmic narration and physically attune to a more deliberate rhythm. Liberated from the abundance of abrupt images and visual signifiers that comprise a sizeable amount of mass-market cinema, we are free to indulge in a relaxed form of panoramic perception; during long takes we are invited to let our eyes wander within the parameters of the frame, observing details that would remain veiled or merely implied by a swifter form of narration."

---For those interested in Hitchcock, check out Dan North's discussion of the Master's cameos in his excellent Spectacular Attractions. Also, Mystery Man found a real treat: Hitchcock's 1939 lecture concerning screenwriting and different forms of suspense. I especially enjoyed his dissection of subjective suspense:

"You see, I am a great believer in making the audience suffer, by which I mean that instead of doing it, say as Griffith used to do it, by cutting to the galloping feet of the horse and then going to the scaffold -- instead of showing both sides, I like to show only one side. In the French Revolution, probably someone said to Danton, "Will you please hurry on your horse," but never show him getting on the horse. Let the audience worry whether the horse has even started, you see. That is making the audience play its part."

---Dave Becker of Row Three found an insightful portion of a Paul Cronin interview with Werner Herzog about the rigors of filmmaking:

"Filmmakers should be taught about how things will go wrong, about how to deal with these problems, how to handle a crew that is getting out of hand, how to handle a producing partner who will not pay up or a distributor who won’t advertise properly, things like this. People who keep moaning about these kinds of problems are not really suited to this kind of business."

---Invisible Woman of Black Cinema at Large interviewed screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper about African American cinema of the 1990s and the perils of working in Hollywood:

"The Cinematic Black Renaissance of the 90s is a unique epoch: we may see a resurgence of Black film in the age of President Barack Obama, but not like what we experienced two decades ago. Check it: nineteen films between 1989 and 1992-3, that had either Black producers, directors, and screenwriters? Nah. I think it was a phenomenon that kind of dovetailed with what the great author and cultural critic Nelson George wrote about in his book Post Soul Nation: we found our voice and our gravity as Black people in the oppressive and dismissive years of the Reagan era."

---In part because the project brings together one of my favorite writers (Richard Yates) with a director (Sam Mendes) that I have extremely mixed feelings about, I keep fixating on the advance press of Revolutionary Road. Anne Thompson sheds more light on the soon-to-be-released film.

---At The New York Times, David Carr decries the stupid policy of firing top writers to save newspapers.

---Lastly, Peak Oil serves up a delicious sense of YouTube payback when it chronicles all of the chortling, hooting derision that Peter Schiff had to suffer when he accurately predicted today's economic realities on the Fox News channel.