3 items from 2017
There are a few actors whose prowess stems in equal measure from their training or innate talent, and from their physiognomy. In the past we had Humphrey Bogart and Anna Karina. Today, Denis Lavant is one of those actors. Adam Driver also comes to mind. Greta Gerwig, with her lanky figure and mesmerizing expression, belongs to a category all her own.There’s a particular quality that comes to life when she moves. The movement might be as slight as bend in the lips, or as large as a star-figured jump in the air. Both are, in equal measure, unmistakably hers. Throughout her career, Gerwig has worked with directors who’ve captured her physicality by letting the film run long enough to capture the uniqueness of her movement. It took Joe Swanberg the entirety of Lol (2006) and 20 minutes of Hannah takes the Stairs (2007) to ask Gerwig to dance in front of the camera. This can only be explained by the director’s inexperience at the time. Noah Baumbach never made the same mistake, filming her twisting, twirling, and swirling, or just slightly bobbing for 17 seconds, to the tune of Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Uncle Albert”. Even for her small role in No Strings Attached (2011), Ivan Reitman had the good sense to shoot two scenes where Greta’s dancing held center stage. In Greta Moves, I endeavored to find patterns in the movements throughout her filmography, interweaving them with an abundance of match cuts. To create a dance tapestry that heightened those connections, the piece of music was fundamental. The inspiration for that choice—as well as the structure of the video essay—came from Wim Wender’s Pina (2011). The work was built almost entirely around the second performance in the movie and the lovely melody of Jun Miyake, “The Here and After”. »
Over the past decade, South By Southwest has become 10 days of hand-to-hand combat between media and technology. Nestled within that war zone is a film festival — this year, 125 features screen at the SXSW Film Festival, including 51 from first-timers. Most come to town without distribution, and they may never see a bigger audience than this one.
The film festival is a solid platform for discovering new filmmakers; if you want to explore the connective tissue of contemporary American cinema, few other places offer such a fertile arena. Unlike industry heavyhitter Sundance, it’s not a fast-paced marketplace — but the SXSW conference is still one of the biggest windows into the future of the movies because so much of it has nothing to do with the movies at all.
This year, SXSW Film’s marquee titles duke it out with the TV shows in the Episodics section. (Among its premieres are two »
- Eric Kohn
Come Sunday, a.k.a. Oscars night, we'll all be tipping our hats to the year's winners. But before we do that, here's to the "losers" – the worthy ones of 2016 that, for whatever cockamamie reason, didn't even get a nomination.
In an effort to do right where the Academy effed up, I give you the Travers Awards – my own personal version of the Alt-Oscars. (For those of you playing along at home, the award is an engraved image of a critic screaming.) It's one last chance to single out the »
3 items from 2017
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