22 décembre 2012

FC 2012 : Academic Matrix follow up

When you map the supposedly "Best Films of The Year" (according to Film Comment, and to whatever Hollywood distributors agreed to back up) on the Academic Matrix of the main aesthetic categories, you realise, first that they are almost all concentrated in one quadrant (much less diverse than the S&S 2012 Top50 of All Time Canon), and a very distinctive separation emerges between anglophone (indie) films and the non-anglophone films.
Firstly, this selection of "Best Films of the Year" aren't very far from the Academic core, the classical way of making movies. Hollywood's own center of gravity is located in the "Conformism" box, the mainstream, classical, conservative way of storytelling. The more state-of-the-art classicism is in the next box, the center of the matrix : "Academism" itself. Away from the center are more diluted version of this academism, and in the margins are the more stylized, formalist, realistic, or experimental. 
American cinema and more generally Anglophone movies usually conform to a very classical narration, stereotypical plots and tame form, even when they claim to be "indies". As you see, except for the handful of actual mainstream blockbusters (see the distribution numbers here), the American films ending up on a Year-End Best-Of, for American reviewers, are usually so-called "indies", because they are perceived to represent the more "artsy", less commercial, less profit-driven part of American cinema. That's the category celebrated at Sundance or Telluride, and the one nominated by the Academy to represent the "quality" side of American cinema. Although everyone knows they are made in Hollywood too, most of them funded by the same producers/studios (under different divisions and names), and the "indie" filmmakers themselves only dream of making an imitation of the traditional feel-good Hollywood movie to appeal to the masses but with "quality" and "feelings". On this map we can notice that they never stray off very far from the Hollywood formula.
The American films (even the Year's Best Of), is mainly classical, with a tendency toward "Mannerism" (i.e. the more stylised theatrics) and another one toward "Parody" (which is not solely the realm of pastiche but more generally the light (or lowbrow) genres, more geared for entertainment... These are not lower forms of filmmaking per se, as evidenced on the S&S Canon matrix, or La matrice des montages, where critically masterpieces and great masters operate and succeed. Notable exceptions : a couple films this year venture in surrealist territory to offer quite a disconcerting storytelling : Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

On the other hand, the films from World Cinema selected by American critics are not the "Best Of local indie production", they are generally high-profile productions, sometimes even mainstream in their local market, and most often, more than just the struggling artsy independents from their respective countries, they are the grand standing films that competed on a planetary level, with the best of what each country had to offer, within the elitist scene of (major) international film festivals. And the result, is farther away from classicism. What Americans (and Hollywoodophiles) name "festival films", or "slow films", mostly come from the bottom-left quadrant, centered around "Realism" and "Hyperrealism", the new trend of (actual) independent cinema in the world. They are more INDEPENDENT stylistically from the major production of mainstream studios.
And this might explain why the "Hollywood patriots" tend to complain about festivals that favour this hyperrealistic trend (and label it in the most possible pejorative manner) and neglect the more genre driven theatrics of American storytelling. Thus the divide between an American conception of how "indie" cinema should be, and how independent cinema is in the rest of the world.

Mini "roundtable" about Film Comment 2012 Top50 list by its editors
Dec 2012 (Gavin Smith, Kent Jones, Robert Koehler) 17'28"

Gavin Smith introduces (timidly) the results with a caveat about the "concensus" aspect of such poll (solely reserved to American reviewers) and also acknowledges the fact most of these titles premièred in Cannes and other major festivals! Flashback to January 2011 (see Without Festivals) and February 2012 (see Critical Fallacy #13 : Inconsistent Standards)... Did they wait for me to tell them that the job of film critic was to issue opinions that are consistent with one's own practice??? I hope not, yet, it's only in 2012 that they discover that, maybe, it isn't so smart (or productive) to lambast foreign festival all year long when you draw ALL YOUR BEST FILM CANDIDATES for your Year-End list... Sigh. At least, when we start on the right foot, by being intellectually honest and objective about the formation and the function of such polls, we can have a reasonable conversation about stylistic trends, quality, and taste, whatever the winning titles are.

Anyway, the chief editor continues by expressing his reluctant endorsement of this poll (as usual! see: Double-Standards) since he doesn't feel his taste is represented by this (undesirable) "consensus". Be sure that if his favourite picks were at the top of the list, he would find this poll the most awesome expression of democracy... Bias and double standard WIN! He's one of the reviewers who prefer fun and entertainment (Dan Kois, Mark Cousins anyone?) and still want to cheat their way into serious "artfilm" circles (they want adult cinema, political stories, historical documents... but not so damn depressing! with a bit of zaz and laughters between the bodycounts of human tragedies for fuck sake!), and lead a team of editors at Film Comment that contradict his taste. Nothing wrong with a mainstream taste, or for preferring plain entertainment (as an individual movie goer speaking for him/herself), but when you claim to give an educated opinion on the state of world cinema as a whole, on the achievements of the best filmmakers, on the important documents, you can't underestimate the standard difference between easy leisurely distraction and the more resourceful accomplishments made in a whole different level of filmmaking. Maybe the mass won't approve, and you won't have as much fun as watching bodies being dismembered in slasher flicks, but serious drama and documentaries take more efforts to make and critics are there to acclaim hardwork, not primary-instinct-based spectacles, however successful they are...

This said, and given the state of the artfilm niche and the moribund cinephilia in the USA, the results of this poll aren't so bad. Well, they do boost a lot of mediocre American spectacles (that are merely the best of the entertainment industry, or in other terms, well-made spectacle, which appear as masterpieces when compared to the majority of Hollywood approximate productions).
It is certainly unexpected and cause for congratulations that a UFO like Holy Motors tops the list of the American cinephile taste, accompanied by This Is Not A Film (#4), The Turin Horse (#6), Tabu (#11), Attenberg (#25), Two Years At Sea (#38) and Alps (#45). They are not totally useless (even if their "shut-in DVD complacency" gave up on artfilm theatrical projections), and they know when to stick their neck out, in spite of the threat of "elitist" namecalling from the mass of their readers, in support of challenging artfilms without commercial appeal and little narrative tradition to hold on to for the average moviegoer. Let's ignore the fact they list alongside, in the same breath, laughable spectacles such as Bernie, Argo, Looper, Skyfall,  Haywire, Compliance, Kill List, and The Dark Knight Rises... which would be enough to question their understanding of world-wide quality standards (maybe these are the best you've seen all year on your Hollywood-control market, but there are dozens of artfilms that popped up on the festival circuit this year that are ignored, even by the "undistributed list" addendum! For instance, Faust was on the unreleased list last year, and this year has been forgotten, both by voters and distributors...

Related :

19 décembre 2012

Film Comment Ranks Films Approved by Hollywood

Voting a non-American film at top spot (Holy Motors, France) is one thing, congratulation, but giving it the kind of distribution it deserves would be better, don't you think? Or else, what's the point of saying the BEST FILM OF THE YEAR only get 29 screens nationwide (150 times less than the blockbuster at #49!)? I know, Carax is an odd example, because it is definitely experimental and not for everybody's taste, thus will always get a slim market share. But in France (where it plays home-advantage) it was distributed on 116 max screens nationwide, even though we have 7 times less total available screens than in the USA. I don't think it was the amount of dialogue to be subtitled that made a major obstacle in the USA... And Tree of Life, last year, an equally puzzling experimental film (also at #1 on their list), got 237 screens nationwide in the USA, which is a dire distribution, but not as insulting as for Holy Motors.
Sorry number 1 film of the year, we love you, but it doesn't make us think twice before playing the Year-End Top list mania if your distribution treats you like dirt... 

It didn't improve since last year (see their chart for their 2011 Top50), there is also 8 blockbuster on their list, and still rather in the bottom half of the ranking, but what's worse is that gap increased between the plethoric distribution for blockbusters (The Dark Knight gets 11% of all screens available!) while the "niche" section has been entirely coopted by strictly American-made 'indie' films, leaving no room for imports but in the near invsible section. This year, there were a couple of imports above 100 max screens from the UK (The Deep Blue Sea) and France (De rouille et d'os, 659 max screens in France; Les adieux à la reine, 260 max screens in France), even Belgium (with Le gamin au vélo, 34 max screens in Belgium, 234 in France) and barely 1 from Israel (Footnote, 50 max screens in France)! This is dreadful... Do you think they would give a shit? Not really. They are not even aware of it, don't analyse the situation, don't mention it in their introductory text, don't open a serious debate on it, don't start a year-long grassroot campaign to bring back spectators in arthouses... THEY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT.

Film Comment is only another mouthpiece for the Hollywood P.R. You'd think that being an independent institution (a kind of cinémathèque), they wouldn't have to play along the mercantile game of weekly distribution and self-congratulatory acclaim for Hollywood-made products... 
Look at their addendum for the "Undistributed Films" (those not deemed profitable enough by American Hollywood distributors)... even the "self-distributed" end up on this list of rejects... because in America, and in Film Comment's mind, being self-distributed in a country that only screens entertainment for profit is not good enough to be included on the "Distributed Films" list! If it's not picked up by an official Hollywood distributor, we'll consider it as lowly as the undistributed ones. That's the mentality of the arthouse institution supposedly independent from the commercial circuit! What a shame.

If it's not Hollywood-made, it doesn't get 100 screens nationwide. 
If it's not American-made, it's not distributed at all! Direct-to-Video (if they're lucky)

If there were some cinéphiles, and a couple of critics, in the USA, they would give a shit and do something about it. But there is none. NONE. 
America didn't get its coming-of-age eureka moment yet... for their emancipation from the commercial industry. In France, "cinema is an art AND an industry", since 1946 (Malraux). In the USA, in 2012, 66 years later, is still ONLY an industry. Sad but true. Who would dare to dispute this fact??? Never before your cinephile marginal niche goes over the 1% threshold... would you get a chance to dispute it. 

N.B. if there is a "?" on the graph, I couldn't find any stats for that film distribution, but don't brace yourself, it probably means it's not on record because its paultry distribution went unoticed. However there are a couple of films due for release at the end of december.

Related :

18 décembre 2012

Où est le cinéma? (Dercon, Karmakar)

La vieille question d’André Bazin, « Qu’est-que le cinéma ? », doit aujourd’hui être remplacée par celle-ci : « Où est le cinéma ? » La réponse est bien entendu : partout, et une question cruciale est celle de la nouvelle circulation des films. Ces vingt dernières années, le musée a été une plateforme importante pour des films qui avaient très peu de chances d’êtres vus ailleurs, mais cela ne suffit pas. Il faut maintenant donner sa place au cinéma en tant que mode de vie. Chacun à sa manière, Steve McQueen, Pedro Costa et Romuald Karmakar, qui pratiquent une nouvelle forme de cinéma « réaliste », se montrent fascinés, au sein même de leurs films, par un tel objectif.

Voir aussi :

17 décembre 2012

High Frame Rate 3D catches up with 2D

Congratulations HFR (High Frame Rate) for bringing back 3D cinema up to speed with the old 2D cinema at 24 frames per second! 

Below 12 or 15 FPS, the human eye notices the frame switch, which results in a flicker effect. And the slower it gets, the closer to a slide show cinema gets. Early silent cinema started at around 15 or 18 FPS, thus was barely meeting the human vision threshold to achieve the illusion of movement from a succession of still images. Anything above 18 FPS rate looks perfectly smooth and in "live" motion, including the slight apparent "breathing" caused by the photochemical grains of a static shot of a perfectly still landscape. 

The standard projection rate of 24FPS made silent cinema (shot at a lower rate) look faster, which led to the "Benny Hill chase" effect of characters moving faster than usual. Not to mention that early cameras were operated manually. Operators spun the film stock with a hand crank, following a metronom or by singing a tune with a regular rhythm. So the footage was more or less captured at a reasonably constant speed, but not perfectly, while the projection was automated with a very regular engine. Thus the possible discrepency in actual recorded/projected speed.

There is nothing sacred, optimal, mythical about the 24FPS, no matter what Godard declares... (see When do Images Turn Into Cinema?) It was a rather random standard defined by the industry (for practical and economical reasons). And just like the film strip is not ontologically attached to the invention of cinema, the 24FPS is not any more defining "true cinema" than any other operative frame rate. The HFR is only another technology-based "look", like the transition from Black&White to colour caused much emotions amongst filmmakers as well as audience, or the drop of the Technicolor typical "look" for truer colours, or the more recent "TV-look" of the more perfect digital image. We're not used to sudden change, so we cling to familiar aesthetic, nurtured by nostalgia. If HFR looks different, it's mostly because it has been used to the maximum of its possibility, to show off a "life-like" image. But it would be easy to apply post-production effects and voluntarily "degrade" this perfection with the traditional filters in order to recreate the vintage "celluloid look". HFR will fix the problems inherent with camera capture at slow speed rate, like motion blur, and will offer a wider range of on screen aesthetics, from "reality-through-a-window" to "HDTV" to vintage "physical filmstrip", to primitive silent cinema...

When 3D cinema creates an illusion of depth with the projection technology of 2D cinema, at the same frame rate, it renders 3D films darker, obviously, because each eye receives twice as less light per second as a 2D film (whichever frame rate is used). Whether the 3D stereoscopic technology is based on anaglyph light (red/cyan, or green/magenta), polarized light or mechanically shuttered with synchronised glasses, the projected film is either dimmed by the colour/polarized filters, or by the occultation of each eye alternatively. Even the latest 3D technology cannot escape that effect because it needs to cram 2 dissociated films (the film viewed from the left eye vantage point, and the film viewed by the right eye vantage point) to restore the normal stereotypical human vision. Every other frame is whitened out (anaglyph), blackened out (polarized), blocked out (shuttered glasses) for a given eye so that it only sees the frames corresponding to its appropriate film. The rest of the time, that eye doesn't see anything (while the other eye is exposed to an image, however fast is that image exposition, or in-projector double(triple)-flashing). 

If you take off your 3D glasses during the projection of a 3D movie, all you see is a blurry combination of both Left and Rigth eye images merged at 24FPS, because the human eye is incapable to distinguish an alternation of 2 films 24 times a second. The brain perceives only one stream of visual input which dances left and right a few centimeters 24 times a second, which appears like an out-of-focus defect. The blur traduces the vision has exceeded the perceptual threshold, not only at the movies, but in real life too. If you wring your finger very fast in front of your eye, or if you look at a bicycle wheel, it becomes blurry (or jittery) when the motion exceeds the limits of human vision (the processing time of our brains).
If you close one eye, with the 3D glasses on, you only see 1 stream of images destined to the eye opened, and is blocked half the time, 12 times a second (or 24 times with HFR). Thus there is no blur due to the merger of both films. It only turns a stereoscopic cinema (3D) into a monoscopic cinema (2D), only reduced to 12FPS. At 24FPS, a 2D film switch frame 24 times per second, spending a minimal lapse (maybe less than 10% of 1/24th of a second) blocked out while the projector mechanism moves the next still image in place. But in a 3D movie, each eye sees a film that spends exactly 1/24th of a second blocked out (while the other eye is exposed to an image), and this 12 times per second. So if you close one eye, you will see a clear 2D movie (from only one of the 2 vantage points provided by a 3D movie), but darker than usual, because it spends half the time blocked out, even if at 12FPS, we can't really notice this swift occultation.

So overall, the brains adds up the visual input from both eyes and mix them into on single stereoscopic film, however, adding 2 unilateral films at 12FPS does not make a unified film at 24 FPS... it only drops the final frame rate to 12FPS even if the original film print is projected at 24FPS. 

The transition from physical film print (film reel) to digital projection (DCP) meet the exact same problem, because the technological leap does not affect this aspect. The "silver screen" is a metalic screen, more reflective than a simple white sheet, therefore reverberates more light (or more exactly, dissipates less incoming light upon rebound) for the spectator. This partially improves the darker images issue, but doesn't address the frame rate problem.

At such a low frame rate, the camerawork is highly sensitive to violent movements. Maybe the popularisation of the shaky cam is a way to familiarize the audience more with the blurry motion at 12FPS. The lateral panoramic camera movements especially result in a jittery image, discontinuous, blurry. This technical limitation (combined with the intensive use of CGI which also needs to hide the seams) might explain why the last decade has develop a cinema aesthetic based on less-than-perfect motion (shaky, blurry, explosive, contradictory), and accelerated editing (intensified continuity, chaos cinema, always shorter bursts of integral continuity), as well as less wide camera movements between cuts (no plan sequence, long takes, magestic tracking shots, panorama...). The flyover shot (airborne camera) is less troublesome because there is no foreground reference, all the image is in a distant background, were displacement within the frame is much slower. Only the foreground in a lateral pan, crossing the frame quickly (in a couple frames) will appear jittery.

It's not a coincidence if Peter Jackson wanted to shoot his 3D movie (The Hobbit) at 48FPS, it doubles the frame rate of a 24FPS 3D movie, thus restores the usual 24FPS rate for each eye, and will consequently make the experience brighter (or as bright as it was with a 24FPS 2D film). There is no problem with that (or eventually for the inexperienced digital projectionists).

And if James Cameron wants to impose a new standard at 60 FPS, it will match the old standard and raises it by 6FPS for each eye (corresponding to a 2D film at 30FPS instead of 24, an improvement of +25%). Same correction. No big deal.

Although, I'm not sure a higher frame rate will fix the luminosity issue, since as many frames you can project per second, there is always a blocked out screen for each eye, exactly half the time. But it will definitely improve the rendition of motion on screen.

If cinema projection was to attain 1000FPS, it wouldn't change the ontological identity of cinema, on a film strip or in digital projection. This process is only to restore a synthetized motion from still pictures (analytical motion), and could be achieved through many different mechanisms... The concept of cinema is only that : to retranscribe motion, to show one single image, "alive", moving seamlessly, to show as many perceptual changes we can notice in real life with the limitation of our biological eye. At 1000FPS, most of the gain in motion quality will not even register for a human eye, so it would be a waste (there is also an upper thresold above which the human eye cannot perceive more information per second), but it could possibly make the experience more comfortable, less tiring, and certainly less jittery in certain circumstances (like with the lateral pan foreground, whip-zoom, drive-by, foreground during tracking shots, and smoother rolling of onscreen credits (when text is moving rapidly in the plane of the screen).

An ACTUALLY high frame rate (more than 24FPS for either eye), will make the capture of motion more precise during shooting (by sampling more still images along the trajectory), and make the display smoother during the projection. So there is no rational reasons to oppose the natural evolution of the technology, even if this technological transition is abused by the wealthy studios to anihilate the niche markets that strive off of low-tech, retro-tech projection. 
Just like the CD killed the vinyl, the VHS killed the 16mm, the DVD killed the VHS, the BluRay is killing the DVD, the VoD is gonna kill the physical print, like the DCP will entirely replace all the local institutions based on lending/renting of physical film prints. The diversity of offering and the access to the available stock is the real concern, not the necessary improvements of a technology that has barely changed since 1894!

Related :

14 décembre 2012

Cinéma Numérique Français (France Culture)

Génération HD, ou l’explosion d’un cinéma urbain

1. Ça tourne à Aubervilliers (10 déc 2012) [MP3] 54'
Ce documentaire est une balade au coeur des quartiers d’Aubervilliers, en compagnie de Carine et Hakim sur leurs lieux de tournage, à la rencontre des comédiens Mourad Boudaoud, Tarek Aggoun, Caillot, Madani et du slameur Hocine Ben.
Carine May et Hakim Zouhani, tous deux originaires d’Aubervilliers, décident de tourner un long métrage de cinéma « Rue des Cités » sans argent avec la participation des habitants de leur ville. Après trois ans de tournage et de postproduction épiques, « Rue des Cités » voit enfin le jour et décroche une sélection au Festival de Cannes (ACID) en 2011.
L’originalité du film, outre son noir et blanc esthétique est son imbrication du documentaire dans un récit fictionnel. Ce film choral fait par et pour les habitants est une réussite et raconte la vie intime, quotidienne des Cités, loin de la représentation caricaturale et alarmiste des journaux télévisés.

2. Du cinéma Guérilla à l’Industrie (11 déc 2012) [MP3] 54'
Djinn Carrénard « Donoma », Jean Pascal Zadi « African Gangster » et Jérôme Maldhé « Vole comme un papillon » sont trois jeunes cinéastes qui ont comme point commun de réaliser des premiers longs métrages. Autoproduction, radicalité et débrouillardise collective : ils s’affranchissent des codes du cinéma dominant et osent, à la marge de la marge du 7ème Art, aborder des thèmes sulfureux, sociaux et politiquement incorrects. Cette intransigeance attire inévitablement « les professionnels de la profession » impressionnés par leur culot et leur modernité ; les sollicitations de l’industrie sont souvent nombreuses. Comment vivent-ils ce passage difficile de l’indépendance underground à la reconnaissance du système ? Comment vivent – ils leur professionnalisation ?
Avec la Participation d’Aïcha Belaïdi, programmatrice du Festival Les Pépites du cinéma à la Courneuve et à Saint-Ouen, accompagnatrice des premières heures.

3. Rachid Djaïdani, le cinéma uppercut (12 déc 2012) [MP3] 54'
Rachid Djaïdani, maçon, boxeur, écrivain, comédien, originaire de Carrière-sous-Poissy (dans les Yvelines) vient de réaliser un exploit : il réalise son premier long métrage de cinéma « Rengaine », sélectionné à la Quinzaine des Cannes en 2012, sans argent, tourné pendant neuf ans ! Homme orchestre déterminé, il se raconte entre la Banlieue et Paris, la Cité, l’enfance, sa double culture soudano-algérienne, la découverte des plateaux de cinéma, le souvenir des portes qui se referment. Contre vents et marées, comme un pied de nez au réalisme ambiant, il décide de partir sans équipe, sans argent ni scénario dans la fabrication improvisée d’un conte urbain qui ose aborder des thématiques tabous dans les communautés immigrées, à savoir le racisme viscéral et les formes de rejet entre noirs et arabes. Son Roméo et Juliette des temps modernes, en prise directe avec les palpitations du bitume parisien, esquisse un portrait générationnel des marginaux du cinéma français. « Rengaine » est une œuvre rare, intègre, Hip Hop, foutraque, qui transgresse les codes du film de Cité et impose une nouvelle manière de voir notre monde. Un cinéma coup de poing imposant un nouveau talent du 7ème art.

4. Esprit libre dans le cinéma Français (13 déc 2012) [MP3] 54'
Alice Fargier a deux amours : le cinéma et la radio ; pour ce qui leur est commun : l’enregistrement d’une pensée vivante, d’une pensée qui circule, se propage, se reçoit, s’assimile, se transforme. Un grand mouvement…Elle se revoit à quinze ans bouillonnant d’impatience, bouillonnant que le cinéma français change et trouve un esprit disparu, abandonné : un esprit de liberté. Cet esprit qui l’a tant fait l’aimer : transports extatiques de spectatrice en découvrant les films de Jean-Luc Godard et François Truffaut. Puis les autres, toute la bande de la Nouvelle Vague.
Céline Sciamma, Guillaume Brac, Sophie Letourneur, Justine Triet, Vincent Macaigne et Srinath Samarasinghe ont exaucé un souhait qui n’aurait en réalité pu se produire, il y a dix ans… La patience a payé et la technologie a du bon ! Le numérique a fait évoluer les mentalités. Aujourd’hui, il est possible de faire un film pour peu d’argent et de s’affranchir des diktats des chaînes de télé. Une nouvelle « Nouvelle Vague » ?
Ces objets cinématographiques (mis à part un dispositif semblable au niveau de la production) ont un point commun : s’emparer d’un sujet nouveau et intime. Le désir d’une petite fille de devenir un garçon dans « Tomboy », la solitude d’un homme qui ne sait pas s’y prendre avec les femmes dans « Un monde sans femmes » …Ces cinéastes partagent tous une audace, un goût du risque et une grande détermination. La liberté est leur maître mot, l’outil numérique souvent la clef.
Portrait d’une génération de jeunes cinéastes qui est en train de modifier le paysage cinématographique français.
Avec : Céline Sciamma, Guillaume Brac, Sophie Letourneur, Justine Triet, Vincent Macaigne, et Srinath Samarasinghe.

12 décembre 2012

John Cassavetes (Jousse)

Conférence sur John Cassavetes
27 novembre 2012 (Institut Lumière; Lyon; France) 1h13'
Thierry Jousse est venu à l'Institut Lumière pour nous parler du réalisateur John Cassavetes. A l'issu de la conférence, Thierry Jousse a présenté "Meutre d'un bookmaker chinois" de John Cassavetes

10 décembre 2012

Etat du Monde 2012 (Forum des Images)

Journalistes de la presse internationale et critiques de cinéma se rassemblent autour d’une table ronde pour revenir sur la production cinématographique de l’année 2012 et l’analyser avec une lecture spécifique. Quels films ont eu un impact social particulier et pourquoi ? Quelle attente avons-nous d’un film mexicain, saoudien, français ou américain ?
Table ronde animée par Marc Saghié, chef du service Moyen-Orient de Courrier International
Avec Béatrice Giblin (géographe, Institut français de géopolitique), Pierre Haski (journaliste, cofondateur de Rue 89), Charles Tesson (délégué général de la Semaine de la critique, journaliste aux Cahiers du cinéma).

08 décembre 2012

Dogville spoof (ironic)

Korean Hip Hop solo artist 프라이머리(Primary) in the music video : "?" [sic] (물음표) Nov 2012

pays homage to (or steals from) Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier's experimental stage piece :

Dogville (2003/Lars von Trier/Denmark)

Related :

07 décembre 2012

Cultural Censorship : Hungary, Romania, USA (ironic)

Making Waves: "Sequences" and Romanian Cinema Panel
Dec 2012 (Film Society Lincoln Center) 1h04"48'
Director of photography Florin Mihăilescu introduces Alexandru Tatos' classic 1986 film, "Sequences," screening in our Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema series.
Following the screening, Making Waves Artistic Director Mihai Chirilov sits down with visual artist Dan Perjovschi, producer Ada Solomon, director Mona Nicoara, and essayist Eszter Babarczy to discuss the context and current state of Romanian cinema.

* * *

Making Waves: Hungarian Cinema Panel
Dec 2012 (Film Society Lincoln Center) 50'07"
Film Society's Associate Director of Programming sits down with essayist Eszter Babarczy, arts curator György Szabó, and film director Mona Nicoară to discuss recent changes in Hungary and their impact on Hungarian cinema.

Related :

03 décembre 2012

01 décembre 2012

Cinema Aesthetic Matrix (Paintings edition)

Cinema Aesthetics Matrix (Painting analogy guide edition)

The history of art paintings is much older than the one of cinema, it is often more familiar and intuitive too because the affinities/contrasts/ruptures between art periods, art movements, stylistic schools are defined by rather clear visual differences, at least on an primary intuitive level. That's why it is a helpful visual aid to better grasp the more subtle, complex differences between film styles. A map of plastic styles would not look exactly as this, because the names of aesthetic styles in cinema don't quite overlap the ones in paintings, because the continuity and transition between each "step" work on particular planes : plastic representation and thematics for paintings, and for cinema we have to put into consideration not only the visuals (cinematographic style, lighting style, set style, costume style) but the visuals on the 4th dimension (editing style), the performance style, the dialogue style, the soundscape style (music score style, audio capture style) and the thematics.

The matrix historically initiate on the bottom left corner (Primitive style), but the current standard today is located in the center (Academism).
The matrix expands radially, in a centrifuge way, in all directions at the same time.

Pay attention to the ARTISTIC REPRESENTATION of the human face/body in these paintings, and how it differs from the ones right next to them, and even more from the ones further away. Some go for versimilitude, or strive to attain it at least, others never try to go near it and instead propose a very personal INTERPRETAION of the anthropomorphic representation, more personal, more simplified/stereotypical, or on the contrary a more complexified/transmuted version of a human figure. Same goes with the art of Mise en scène in cinema, and we see the same affinities and contrasts between various branches of cinema history, the realists, the verbose, the minimalists or the abstracts... (to cite only a few of them possibilities discovered by filmmakers over the years).

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