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Archive for September, 2009

I figured it’s about time I posted something, and here it comes, in the form of musical genius!  Stephen Merritt of The Magnetic Fields wrote a really beautiful song about the great Busby Berkeley (whose work, if you don’t know, is described on Wikipedia as using “large numbers of showgirls and props as fantasy elements in kaleidoscopic on-screen performances”).   Yes, it is a fan video, but I think it’s a rare one that is actually well-done and manages to show some of what got us excited about the cinema in the first place.  I leave the rest to you:

Maureen.

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Check out this incredible short film by Christopher Mills promoting the equally incredible Happiness Project by Charles Spearin!

“Part spoken-word collection, part sociological experiment, The Happiness Project is the result of Spearin’s interviews with his neighbors in downtown Toronto about the idea of happiness– recorded responses that he then turned into music. What’s fascinating about this collection is not only what the interviewees have to say…but also the way that Spearin spins the cadence of their voices into tunes” -Pitchfork.com

Learn more about The Happiness Project here:

http://www.happiness-project.ca/music.php

Happily Yours,

-Christine

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Wizard of Oz MunchkinCall me what you will, but I’m super excited about the 70th Anniversary  of Wizard of Oz. There’s really no denying how awesome this film is and how much it’s a part of popular culture and our lexicon of life. Oh and the movie is kick ass.
Personally I’m a fan of the film and literature.
So after 70 years it’s back for another re-release, and I feel like  a corporate dick sucker promoting this, but it really is in an awesome package.
What’s got me in for the count, though, is that this package, much like the one that came out a few years ago, includes L.Frank Baum’s original Ozma Studios silent productions of his books, which I have never seen and can’t wait to. This new super package also comes with a couple books, other films, including The Dreamer of Oz starting the late John Ritter as L. Frank, which can’t be terrible.
What would make this sucker even better is if they included to creepy Return to Oz as well… but unfortunately it’s Disney… eff.

anyway, if you’re like me and unashamadly enthused about The Wizard of Oz click the LINK to get the details.

And just for shits, read about the munchkin suicide on set, and interesting urban legend: CLICK

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“Three decades after he fled the United States following his arrest for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, Roman Polanski was taken into custody in Zurich this morning and faces extradition to Los Angeles,” reported the LA Times this morning.

Polanksi, who was residing in France, was booked by Swiss police on his way to Zurich to accept an award at the Zurich Film Festival. According to the article in the Times “A source familiar with the investigation told The Times that the U.S. Marshals Service had come close to arresting Polanski half a dozen times or so over the past few decades — though several of those opportunities presented themselves in the last two years. For one reason or another, it just didn’t work out,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing. “There are so many variables.”

Polanski was arrested 31 years ago at a Beverly Hills hotel after a 13-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her during a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson’s house. A 1978 arrest warrant, issued after he failed to appear at his sentencing on the statutory-rape conviction, is still in effect, and he would be taken into custody upon arrival on U.S. soil. The director of “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” has not returned to the U.S. since then.

“If he agrees with an extradition, he could be sent to the U.S. in the next days,” said Guido Ballmer, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police.

But if Polanski declines to come back without a fight — perhaps a more likely scenario given his three decades as a fugitive — the court process could be quite lengthy, Ballmer told The Times.

The appeals process has several layers and could last months, if not longer.

Read the LA Times article here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/09/after-several-tries-us-officials-finally-nab-roman-polanski-in-1970s-rape-case.html

Posted by:

Christine,   Your partner in crime

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Hey sons and daughters,

Below are a few questions to assist a critical analysis of  4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. While reading you might notice that I say that “Mungiu”, and not “the film”, does this or that. I encourage you to think of directors as the true authors of films, even though doing so always opens up a big ol’ can of worms. For example: Is director Arthur Penn the “artist” of Bonnie and Clyde, or was hands-on producer and star Warren Beatty more responsible for the film’s form and content, the final product? (It’s said that Beatty was the architect of crucial scenes, including the ultra-violent finale.) While such conundrums of true authorship– if it’s even possible in film– may discourage you from endorsing a “cinema of directors” in academic contexts, on our blog and at CFS meetings I encourage you to place all emphasis on the director’s credit, for the purposes of categorizing and humanizing films. So let’s talk about what Mungiu is doing (to great effect, I believe) in 4 Months in the same way we talk about what Quentin Tarantino “does” in any of his films, ‘kay?

How would you describe the camerawork? When are you most strongly reminded that someone is manipulating the camera? Do you think this is intentional? If so, what purpose is served by the camera being “present”?

How are scenes framed? On average, what is the distance of the camera to the actors? How often are close-ups used? When Gabita and Otilia are talking, are their conversations presented in conventional “shot/reverse-shot” fashion? Are the (physical) distances between characters important to each scene? What techniques does Mungiu use to emphasize them?

Does Mungiu employ elaborate or glamorizing lighting? Why or why not? Is the set design carefully considered?

How abrupt are the scene changes? Are there on-screen actions that anticipate a cut from one scene to the next, or from one locale to the next? (Pay special notice to the first 20 minutes.)

In which scene (or scenes) is sound– not dialogue–most important to the telling of the story? How does the audio being amplified contribute to the particular feeling these scenes are meant to evoke?

How is colour used within the film? Is there a colour which stands out– a motif? If so, what ideas, feelings or themes does it connote?

How is Otilia treated throughout the film? What sort of tone do the “adults” take with Gabita and Otilia’s boyfriend? What distinct societal differences are being portrayed? How might they be split? What is the general mood of the film? Do you think we are meant to compare it with a specific mood or atmosphere enveloping Romanian life at this time?

Hopefully there are enough humdingers and brainbusters in there to cultivate a Saturday night of quiet study and sober reflection. If you wish to respond or comment on the film, the Internet allows you to do so below.

See you next week!

Scott, Gaddafi of CFS

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After a couple to a few years CFS is back to BlogTown, and the first post is lettin’ y’all know what’s up for un in the near future.

First up:

THIS Friday, September 25.

We’ll be giving members and visitors a Quick and Dirty Guide to Film Making.
And so you’re not too scared we’ll be showing you some past first film from CFS members.

CFS: Be there before sundown

CFS: Be there before sundown

If you want to bring an early film by you, to show the gang, you can too!

Remember also that the challenge for this month is: “fresh”

For screen we’ll be showing the spectacular 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (or 4 luni, 3 saptâmani si 2 zile (2007))
It’s a low-budget masterpiece by a certain Cristian Mungiu.

See you there

Alright,
Patrick, Obama of CFS

 Things to look forward to in the coming weeks: Blaxploitation Extravaganza, Special Make-up effects Workshop, 16mm Film screening…

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