Archive for November 2008

The Ram is back! Learn all about the making of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler

November 28, 2008

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

In a rare treat that would make an extra-special pre-holiday present for the cinema loving/hair metal-listening/professional wrestling fan in your life, the Film Society screens Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler with a whole host of key behind-the scenes contributers on deck to talk about the making of the buzz-worthy film.

On Tuesday, December 9 at 7 join producer Scott Franklin, cinematographer Maryse Alberti and editor Andrew Weisblum as they discuss the peculiar challenges of their own spin on the underdog-sports-hero-makes-good story. Buy tickets

PLUS, check out our archives for exclusive coverage on the Wrestler:

Read NYFF festival correspondent Tom Treanor’s review.

Watch one of FilmCatcher’s excellent video interviews, this one with Darren Arronofsky.

Heck, checkout New York Mag’s hilarious “Ten Things You Need to Know About The Wrestler”

Getting the sense that we are just a tad excited about this event? Check out everything the filmlinc blog has written about the Wrestler. We’ll see you front row center.


Village of the Damned star talks about the perils of child stardom

November 26, 2008

“I went to Hollywood, I went to India, I went to all these sorts of places. For a young child to do that in the platinum age of film was extraordinary,” Martin Stephens, child star of Village of the Damned told the filmlinc blog. Stephens also admitted the challenges of being thrust into the limelight at such a young age. “To some extent you’ve got to acknowledge there’s some degree of exploitation of children,” he said. “Twelve-hour days were standard for me.” Excerpts of his interview with Film Comment’s Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa appear below.


Then and now photo: Kobal / David Levene, via the Guardian

BS-F: How were able to create such complete characters at such a young age?

MS: I can’t say that I was a natural actor but what I would say is that I was very directable. If you look at my fifteen, sixteen, eighteen films, whatever it was, you will see that when it was a good director I tended to be reasonably good and when it was a weak or poor director I was relatively mediocre. I would absorb what was going on. Also, to be honest, I didn’t have much of an ego in terms of what I was doing. To me it was just a job. And I have to thank my family for that, in that we never were, my sisters included, treated as special.  You know it was just a job of work, and remember we’re going back fifty years or so with some of this, the whole milieu at that time, the whole celebrity culture, particularly with children, was pretty much non-existent.

BS-F: Although you gained a certain amount of celebrity.

MS:  Certainly I did, but nothing like . . . I mean look at Home Alone and that sort of stuff. The kid makes a couple of movies and he’s earning millions and known around the globe. Whereas I was hammering away at it for twelve or fourteen years and never got anything like that level of exposure—or that sort of money. It was a very different time that we were working in. There wasn’t the sort of global communication that there is now. The speed that people can be made famous, and unmade, it just wasn’t there at that time.

BS-F: But people still relate to your iconic roles?

MS: Most people don’t know who I am (laughs). I think my wife does. And to be honest, I’ve never really felt the motive—since I’ve left the profession, I left it. It’s a little bit like a Native American walking backwards, you know, brushing the ground that he’s just trodden upon. Just leaving no trace. I’ll give you an example. I played Oliver in the musical in London when I was twelve.  I did that for about seven months and my mom used to come a collect me.  Every day she would come up and sometimes she would be a few minutes early so she would go into the wings and see the final curtain calls before she would whisk me off to go to bed. One day the stage manager actually turned to her and said—as I was taking the bows and there was uproarious applause going on, and curtain call after curtain call—the stage manager actually turned to her and said “do you know that Martin couldn’t care less?” It was just doing a job.  I was enjoying it, but it didn’t really matter to me too much, I didn’t invest my ego into it.

See Stephens in Village of the Damned on Saturday at 7:50 [Buy tickets]

See the whole Problem Child series.

Photos from last night’s party

November 26, 2008

Couldn’t make it to the Film Society’s ye-ye party for the Film Comment Selects American premiere of Les Idoles? C’est la vie. Enjoy these photos from the event, and make sure to clear your schedule for the next big fete!

A party at the Film SocietyOn the decks

At the ye-ye afterparty
Party at the Film Society!

Check out more photos in our Flickr pool. Have your own photos from last night’s shindig? Upload them to Flickr and join us!

Reminder! A rare chance to ye-ye tonight!

November 25, 2008


Say yes to ye-ye tonight as the stylish turntablists of Viva Radio take over the Furman Gallery after tonight’s Film Comment Selects presentation of Les Idoles, a never-before-screened psychedelic music fest. Reserve your tickets now; this one should be a rafter-rattler.

Buy tickets

“I’m going to go baste the turkey and hide the knives”–10 cinematic signs your family is not *that* dysfunctional

November 24, 2008

In honor of the upcoming holidays and our Problem Child series, here are 10 cinematic reminders to give thanks that though your family might be crazy, at least they aren’t possessed by demons, gripped with writer’s block inspired rage, or capable of killing people with their minds.

10. The Bad Seed brings us little Rhoda (Patty McCormick) in her perfect dress, pig tales and tap shoes. But this little princess is a sociopath without a conscience, who will kill to get what she wants—be it the penmanship medal she feels she deserved or silence from the janitor who knew too much. An irresistible camp classic, The Bad Seed might have you looking at your little cherubs differently. It screens on Saturday afternoon. Buy tickets

9. Little Miss Sunshine: Ah, the family road trip.

8. The Exorcist

Two words: projectile vomiting. Is there really any other antidote to Turkey Day gluttony? It screens at the Walter Reade on Friday night: buy tickets

7. Kramer Vs. Kramer–It defined divorce for a whole generation. Enough said.

6. Mommie Dearest: You think your mom is high maintenance? Check it out at the Walter Reade Theater on Black Friday (it’s got a chilling appropriateness, doesn’t it?) Buy tickets

7. Margot at the Wedding: It’s amazing how well Noah Baumbach captured the maddening cruelty and love between sisters played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nicole Kidman.

8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre–The family that slays together, stays together? This film give a new creepiness to the notion of family togetherness.

9. The Shining: Just for fun, this is the “re-cut” parody, which turns Kubrick’s chiller into a silly comedic romp.

10. The Omen: A horror classic that reminds us all to not go switching babies; bad things can only come of it. See it this Friday and Sunday at the Walter Reade. Buy tickets.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Required Viewing: The New Yorker’s Richard Brody unpacks Not Reconciled, screening this Sunday

November 21, 2008

Richard Brody of the New Yorker sits down with Kevin Lee to talk about Nothing Reconciled, an oft-overlooked masterwork he calls “splendidly modern and oblique.” Brody’s critical perspective offers important historical context for the film which screens during the Manny Farber series.

Buy tickets to the Not Reconciled screening: [Sun Nov 23: 3] or [Wed Nov 26: 8]

Moving Pictures: Two recent projects grapple with the Internet’s impact on storytelling

November 20, 2008

Early this week, the New York Times reported that the eggheads at MIT have launched a institute called the Center for Future Storytelling. After referring to “21st century storytelling”–a slippery concept if there ever was one–project founder David Kirkpatrick explained that part of the function of the new initiative would be to “keep meaning alive.” Scholars, graduate students and members of the film industry will use the center to expound upon the changes that technology has wrought upon Homer’s territory. It leads one to wonder, what would Manny Farber say?

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, Continuous City, a part of BAM’s Next Wave festival, might provide a fairly good primer on what “21st century storytelling” actually looks like. Providing a very of-the-moment commentary on the way the internet is not only changing artistic expression, but also basic human interaction, the production made me think about Antonio Campos’s NYFF selection Afterschool. Both projects employ the vernacular of user-generated video in all its artlessness, but, as it turns out, to very different ends.

What was so enlivening about Continuous City was how it enlarged three distinct traditions: that of film, theater and installation art, in the service of telling its three intersecting stories. J.V. (Rizwan Mirza) is a familiar character, an internet mogul with a can’t-lose pitch: his Xubu will connect the inhabitants of a increasingly fragmented world via videophones.

But this story really belongs to J.V.’s globe-trotting chief evangelist Mike. It’s through Mike’s video dispatches to his daughter Sam that the production finds its central means of commenting on how the internet both defines and facilitates communication. That these videophone dispatches played so convincingly as document was a real testament to Harry Sinclair’s performance. I truly never expected to encounter such documentary-style verisimilitude in this kind of environment. But the fact is, Continuous City probably owes more the tradition of cinema than to theater. The use of video screens allowed the three story to unfold in a kind of kinetic montage that borrow from cinema while transcending even those limitations, because the spectator here is free to select his or her own lens on the spectacle in the way they divide their attention between the live action and the video footage.

I came away from Continuous City impressed by the way the production tweaked all of these traditions and managed to challenge the viewer. Just as with Afterschool, I think I was probably less impressed with what was said than how it was said; the medium really is the message here. Still, by showing how fresh, vital and genre-bending the theater can be, Continuous City provides living proof that the heart of “story” still beats in fresh new forms.

Continuous City will be performed tonight through Sunday as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival.

True to the form they appropriate, the production invites regular internet denizens to become a part of Continuous City.

Photos courtesy of The Builder’s Association.

Moving Pictures will be an occasional series on the far reaches of film as art in the city and beyond.