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Nyff ’14: Heaven Knows What, Eden, The Look of Silence

17 hours ago

Josh and Benny Safdie’s filmmaking sensibilities are perhaps best summed up by the finale of 2009′s Daddy Longlegs. Unable to hire movers for their spur of the moment decamp to Roosevelt Island, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) tasks his sons with hoisting their refrigerator onto his back, bootleg straps in hand. Atop Lenny’s spine, the near industrial sized fridge is then caught between the closing doors of the tram, culminating in a moment that is hilarious, pitiful, and unexpectedly affecting. For years, the Safdies’ had been perfecting this brand of physical comedy, verisimilitude, cheeky humor, and creeping sadness, all rendered on film with a handheld long lens, until 2012′s Lenny Cooke coaxed them outside their […] »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Steven Soderbergh Re-imagines Raiders of the Lost Ark as a Masterclass in Staging

29 September 2014 12:30 PM, PDT

A little belated in posting the latest installment from Steven Soderbergh’s guerrilla film school, but better than never, as the saying goes. Here, Soderbergh sets Steven Spielberg’s seminal blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark to an electronic tinged soundtrack and black-and-white wash. His reasoning is that a dialogue-free version allows the film to be appreciated as a master class in the elusive technique of staging. In my book, Fassbinder is the top of the heap as far as blocking goes, but Soderbergh makes the case for the other Steven in the following terms: I value the ability to stage something well because when […] »

- Sarah Salovaara

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“Even If It’s a Bad Movie, You Get a Good Running Commentary”: Slavoj Zizek at the Criterion Offices

29 September 2014 11:22 AM, PDT

Philosopher and critic Slavoj Zizek stopped by the Criterion offices the other day, resulting in this video in which he talks his way through some of the titles in the stockroom. In just five minutes he tosses off tons of quips and instant analyses about films like Louis Malle’s Murmur of the Heart (“It’s one of those nice, gentle French movies, where you have incest”), Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (“a pretentious fake” but with a good commentary track), and Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, which he compares to Tarkovsky’s Stalker. »

- Scott Macaulay

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Watch: Don Hertzfeldt’s Fantastic The Simpsons Couch Gag

29 September 2014 10:20 AM, PDT

You’re hopefully familiar with animator Don Hertzfeldt’s fatalistic, sinisterly humorous, one-of-a-kind body of work. Last night The Simpsons let him take over the opening couch gag. The result is a phantasmagoric two-minute short that turns the clan into protozoa and reverses the flow of time. It’s very much of a piece with his recent work as anthologized in 2011′s It’s Such a Beautiful Day. Watch Homer chant “I Am Simpson!”; deriders of the show’s deathless downward spiral, you’ll be convinced that The Simpsons is still good for something. If you’re not familiar with Hertzfeldt’s work, you should follow that up […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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