Double Take (2009)
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Based on Andrew Feinstein’s book “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade” and produced by Joslyn Barnes (Louverture Films) and Anadil Hossain (Dillywood, Inc), the film unravels some of the world’s largest arms deals via those involved in perpetrating and investigating them, exploring how it operates under the guise of legality and why high-level leaders are never prosecuted for their crimes.
Grimonprez bases his research on Andrew Feinstein’s 2011 book “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” bringing the South African author in as co-writer and talking head. Bookending the
Post-Production Feature Film Grants
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Writer/director: Ira Sachs
The story of a tumultuous, decade-long relationship between two men in New York City. Keep the Lights On premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Ira Sachs is a writer and director based in New York City. His films include Married Life (2007), The Delta (1997) and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning Forty Shades of Blue.
At the Venice film festival last week, George Clooney unveiled his new backstairs political drama, The Ides of March, about a Democratic presidential candidate getting bogged down in compromise, backstabbing and the dark political arts. Clooney said that he could conceivably have completed the film before now, but President Obama had been doing too well, and therefore the time wasn't right.
Perhaps Clooney was being serious and perhaps he wasn't. But the remark typifies the dwindling of the memory of 9/11 in Hollywood cinema. The Obama presidency, ushered in by the catastrophe of the Bush reign, is now perceived to be in trouble, and this enables a prominent Hollywood liberal to make the kind of savvy, ahistorically pessimistic political movie that could have been produced at
Johan Grimonprez blends satire, capitalism, and history in Double Take, his examination on society’s dualities and the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock. One man alone cannot properly tell this story—and so it is that Grimonprez tracks down Ron Burrage, a famous Hitchcock lookalike in his twilight years, and voice artist Mark Perry. The film cuts between Burrage’s TV gigs and a fictional account by novelist Tom McCarthy, in which Hitchcock encounters his older self on the set of The Birds in 1962. “If you meet your double,” Hitchcock intones, “you should kill him.” He and his shadowy doppelganger regard each other with a mixture of revulsion and confusion, both knowing how the encounter must end.
Actually, one of the main features of the festival this year is a slew of music documentaries, mostly spotlighting both American and Australian music. On the U.S. side of things there’s Wheedle’s Groove, a look at the history of Seattle funk; Rejoice and Shout, which examines gospel music’s impact on African-American culture — and vice versa; Tom Dicillo’s Doors documentary When You’re Strange; plus The Family Jams and 72 Musicians. And, from Australia, there’s Megan Simpson-Hubberman’s classic concert film The Night of the Triffids.
There’s lots more than music docs,
The inaugural New Media Film Festival will run the course of one weekend, June 11-13, at the Downtown Independent theater and show a mix of Internet-based short films, “webisodes,” documentaries that deal with the way media influences and is influenced by real world affairs and feature films in which new media figures as a major story element.
While the festival is strictly concerned with new media, I do want to note that there is a slight “underground” connection. While the fest was founded by Susan Johnston, the event’s Artistic Director is David Kleiler, who founded the Boston Underground Film Festival way back in 1998. Plus,
Eleven years after the celebration of his centenary, 30 years after his death, 50 years after the appearance of his most sensational movie, Hitchcock remains a subject of inexhaustible interest to critics, artists and fellow film-makers. The latest are Don DeLillo, whose novel, Point Omega, features a man obsessed with Douglas Gordon's art installation, 24 Hour Psycho, and the Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez whose Double Take, a fascinating film about Hitchcock, fear and the Cold War, is going around the country with the rereleased Psycho.
Grimonprez's movie is a riveting montage (and sometimes collage) of clips from Suspicion, Psycho, North by Northwest, The Birds, Topaz and the Master's often wildly funny trailers and introductions to his TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. They're accompanied by unintentionally
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Now that the likes of Batman and Spider-Man are risk-averse, broad-spectrum cash juggernauts, it's refreshing to see a comic-book movie that doesn't play by the rules. Like a spoilt brat, this is foul-mouthed, hyperactive, extremely violent, and all the better for it. And despite dealing with the pitfalls of becoming a real-life vigilante (with no super-powers), it successfully segues from teen loser comedy to full-on action fantasy without losing its stride, just as it straddles the divide between fan-friendly cult material and mainstream crowd-pleaser.
Clash Of The Titans 3D (12A)
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So much state-of-the-art technology and A-list talent has been thrown at this sword-and-sandals epic, some of it is bound to stick. And if the 3D looks like a hurried afterthought and the story a bit of a Greek salad, there's always another giant scorpion,
Tom McCarthy, who wrote Double Take for director Johan Grimonprez, based his screenplay on a story by Jorge Luis Borges called August 25th, 1983, in which the author encounters and talks with his 83-year-old self on his deathbed as a slightly younger man, on the date specified. Quite apart from the wittily Hitchcockian weirdness that Grimonprez has confected in his movie (the Master Of Suspense as ranting, paranoid cold war commentator developing his end-of-the-world masterpiece, The Birds, hardly begins to convey it), I'm grateful to McCarthy for alerting me to a hitherto unsuspected, but actually quite obvious kinship between the Fat Man and the Blind Man.
Just the title of Borges's story puts one in mind of the opening caption in Psycho: "Friday, December the Eleventh," and the doubling of authors
The entire list of 53 films is below, but here are a few that stood out to me from the premieres alone:
Mumblecore directors the Duplass Brothers, have a new, untitled movie starring an unusually high-profile cast compared to their usual improvisational crew. John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, and Catherine Keener. Reilly and Keener are actually in two films at the 2010 festival.
The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt about corporate downsizing.
Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds as a man buried alive in a coffin. I’ve read the script and its great. More on that as soon as I can.
The Runaways, the
Don’t worry, this isn’t some zombie Hitchcock risen from the dead to make more great films (though I wouldn't be against that) but it sure looks like Johan Grimonprez has outdone himself in the found footage department. I’ve now seen four different cuts of the trailer and read the synopsis and I’m still not 100% sure what Double Take is about but I’m definitely kicking myself for having skipped it at Viff.
Here’s the official word:
Alfred Hitchcock is unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period. As television hijacks cinema, and Khrushchev debates Nixon, sexual politics quietly take off and Hitchcock himself blackmails housewives with brands they can't refuse.
Though the purpose appears to be very different, Double Take reminds me a little of Koji Masutani’s Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived.
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