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mike_h

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About mike_h

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    Flickerer

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    http://www.flickerings.com
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    Chicago
  1. "What's the deal with the name of the tent?" is a perfectly reasonable question (I'm assuming that's what you mean by references to "the banner"). I'm sure it was just an effort to get attention at a place where the competition is stiffer than most places -- and apparently it worked. "Gender Revolution" seems to me a fairly accurate way to describe a discussion where traditional gender roles and attitudes (and interpretations of Scripture) are being rethought within an Evangelical context. If you feel threatened or bothered by that name or discussion, you're not the only one. I haven't sat in on that particular discussion much, but I'm glad its taking place at Cornerstone. I invited a speaker from Christians for Biblical Equality to introduce "Whale Rider" a couple years ago because I thought they might make interesting a discussion of a film about a girl who has to fight against cultural limitations on her own role and opportunities. (And, touching on an earlier complaint you have expressed about that, it doesn't matter to me whether or not someone sponsoring or leading a discussion at Flickerings is from outside the film buff community or doesn't participate in any of the other film-related activities at the fest. Why should it? I invited a speaker from ONE to come talk about HIV/AIDS after we screened Bortz's fine documentary this year.) I'm still entirely too wasted from Cornerstone to get involved in hot-button debates (I'm still trying to relearn this indoor plumbing thing). But when you suggest that being potentially "divisive" is something Cornerstone shouldn't be doing, I think you've been away from Cornerstone too long. (Were you not there when the syncopated beat was "divisive"?)
  2. Alan, I get it -- I'm trying to defuse the emotions a bit. In any case, I'm the Flickerings guy. You want me to defend Cornerstone Festival, I'm not sure that's my calling entirely. But I wish you'd start a thread on CBE and move into something substantive and stop with the heated rhetoric. Your appeal to objective standards about what is the right or wrong way to run a festival ("poor judgment", having the CBE tent is "wrong", etc) when in fact these are your opinions, doesn't do much for bringing about the dialogue you want. Denouncing the CBE like they were the KKK seems over-the-top and counterproductive. As I say, I'm the Flickerings guy. Maybe I can find you a CBE rep to debate you in another thread.
  3. Glad to see Cornerstone Festival remains too conservative for some, too liberal for others! For me, the fest is an ideal of which the reality always falls short, but the ideal has so inspired and nurtured me over the years that I'm glad to continue to reach with others toward the ideal. From the inside, the fest is a barely-contained anarchy -- hardly a monolithic or ideologically-driven enterprise, and always on the edge of going broke. Whenever I consider the differences between attendees or even staff, I can't understand how it all hangs together and I'm always certain it can't last much longer. But I think we did at least well enough this year to try it again next year, when I hope to see a few more A & Frs at Flickerings. On that note, here's the 2006 Flickerings report.
  4. How distressing to learn that flamboyance may have been committed at Cstone Fest! We'll have to look into that... Meanwhile, the Imaginararium Post-Fest Report is up, with a Flickerings Report coming maybe by next week (the latter may include a photo of Doug Cummings lighting the Official Flickerings Flame with the Secret Elixer). Both programs went really well this year, maybe the best ever. It was a blast hanging out with Doug and Crow and Ann D., talking about movies over an Elephant Ear (and weeping over the woes of the St. Louis Cardinals). Some of my Flickerings highlights over the last few years have been the conversations with A & F folk in that crowded little coffee tent. I look forward to more in the future!
  5. Well, (sniff), it will be a reunion of sorts. And the world will be as One once again. -s. Guys, you're making me cry. Actually, my tears come from the terror of thinking about next year before this year is out, before the subsequent and obligatory "Never again" period while I wait for the empty tanks to refill again (they always do), staring at the blank piece of paper in a fog. However, we've always made it through that period, so I will take it on faith that there will be a next year, after all, and all my A & F chums will be there, too. (And you were there. And you were there, too.) At present, we're amid the obligatory prefest Freak Out, which is actually going well. People are beginning to move down to the grounds. I was down at Bushnell last weekend, fixing up a trailer where my family will stay this year -- where a raccoon had stayed all winter, then met an untimely demise. Suffice to say it was a long weekend, but now the trailer smells like fresh paint. The Flickerings building was still hung with last year's posters and signs, which both felt like stumbling upon an ancient ruin (most appropo, given this year's theme) and made me think, "Oh, yeah. Signs." So this week I've been making signs and painting bones. The Imaginarium Day of the Dead theme is manifested in decor with papier mache bones and skulls, which have taken up more of my life than I would have imagined when it was just a cool idea on paper. Just so you know, this will be the best year ever, and I wish you were all there. I've been living and breathing Rossellini for about a year, and I can't wait to watch those films again and talk about them with Doug and Crow and Ann D. and whoever else manages to come be a part of it. If you can't be at Cstone in 2006, pray for us who will be, pray for the weather, that the show goes as well as I've been hoping, so well that the obligatory "Never again" period is very short this year so 2007 moves off the blank piece of paper stage sooner (especially since the dates for 2007 have been moved to mid-June). And that enough people come to Cornerstone Festival this year to allow us to at least break even, which is really the bare minimum for making Next Year even possible. Thanks for at least wishing you could be there. I appreciate the support. Meanwhile, a visiting youth group is helping me paint Dia de los Muertos skulls and bones this afternoon. Adios for now...
  6. Actually, I've not seen The Messiah -- how is it? The later Rossellini hasn't yet had the same effect on me as his postwar films. For me, that little group of films fit together like an impassioned conversation about faith and love and viewing them together can be like a sort of spiritual retreat.
  7. There's the dreaded question... and the answer is: yup. Occasionally -- nay, frequently --I am reminded that Flickerings is a very small venue at a very large music fest -- like when I ask if my Showcase selectees can get passes. (Then again, they do remember us in the advertising for the fest, when they list us off near the top... "MUSIC... FILMS..." Guess you can only get so much mileage out of all that MUSIC.) I guess the only way to look at it is, "Gee, you mean after I've paid admission to this huge music festival, I get to go to this cool little film festival for FREE.." Or something like that. In any case, I do hope to see you there, Jason. I'll give you a free t-shirt and buy you an Elephant Ear if that's any sort of incentive...
  8. Totally cool! Glad I thought to mention somewhere on the website the fact that we screen from DVD (and the birds and dust). So's people know what they're getting into... But still, very cool. Thanks.
  9. Jeffrey, thanks for the encouragement and plug. Wish you could be there with us.
  10. Hey, Folks! Thanks for talking up the Imaginarium at Cornerstone Festival. All the credit to Leary for suggesting I give a call to David Dark for the Canticles seminar. Wish you could be there to wax rubble with us, Mike. We're real happy with the Imaginarium program and are excited about all the links to the Flickerings program (thanks for noticing, Doug!) Speaking of which, the Flickerings program info is now posted. Looking forward to meeting Jason and hope to see many of you other A & Fers there this year. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your support over the past few years.
  11. Hey, all. I saw He Who Must Die (Celui qui Doit Mourir) last year at a special screening at Facets in Chicago, hosted by Studs Terkel. He'd chosen the film as a part of an ongoing guest "critics choice" series, partly as his own sort of response to Mel Gibson's film (which he hadn't seen, but didn't like). I was excited to see a film representing a confluence of a pair of ongoing interests. Jules Dassin's career is facinating story of a solid Hollywood director gone abroad to practice his craft in a sort of exile. Nikos Kazantzakis's struggle with the flesh and spirit (which shows up most notably in The Last Temptation of Christ) appears in various forms in everything he wrote, including the book from which He Who Must Die was made, The Greek Passion. I liked the film version a lot, but it seemed to me that Dassin flattened out some of the complexities that drove Kazantzakis so crazy, shaping the material in a direction more in line with his ideological bent. Of course, many before and since have found strong echos of Marx in the Gospel (or vice versa) so the Liberation Theology version of the story certainly belongs in the canon of Jesus Films, and the only reason I didn't include it is I saw it well after I put together that survey.
  12. Gigi: I'm no expert, but I've been dealing with this exact issue this week. I use Handbrake to extract from DVD, but the output file I end up with is an .mp4 -- Final Cut Pro, as you've discovered, doesn't like that suffix. You'll need to convert the files to .mov Quicktime files (or else Mpeg 2 files) which will play in Final Cut. A program that does this is FFmpeg, available here. You'll also need a couple other downloads and installs to make the program work, but that page will guide you through the process. Good luck!
  13. I just watched Richard Linklater's film previous to Slacker, It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books. I turned the commentary on pretty early, I must confess, but it was very helpful to get to know a bit more the way Linklater thinks about his work, especially what he was thinking early on. He described his experiments in form in that film as a quest for "oblique narratives" -- which confirmed that the character's use of the phrase "oblique strategies" in Slacker was highly significant. It was good to hear about his own deliberateness in seeking a way out of the Hollywood narrative structure and how that continues to evolve through Slacker and beyond even up through Before Sunset. I'm intrigued by the moral implications of his structural and stylistic choices, though my own experiences have left me suspicious of too-facile conclusions along these lines, i.e. "the syncopated beat is of the devil" or what seem to be variations on the endless conflict between Classicism and Romanticism. At the same time, Andrew's mention N. T. Wright's call to turn away from a Hermeneutic of Suspicion to a Hermeneutic of Love got my attention (I've been reading Wright lately, too.) The notion of how we see and treat others as somehow connected to or echoing the way we see and engage with art is particularly intriguing. I've always thought the distinction C. S. Lewis makes between good readers (who "receive" works of art) and bad readers (who "use" art for their own ends) could also be applied to human relationships. Indeed, Lewis himself spends a bit of his Experiment in Criticism on speaking of a right relationship to art as a particular kind of knowledge -- that is, knowledge as love (to "know in the Biblical sense") as opposed to the "knowledge is power" sense. The notion of classical Hollywood narrative form as a seducer is something I've experienced often enough and my viewing choices reflect this, but at the same time I'm somewhat leery of declaring the inherent good or evil of a particular form (as in, Will I be forced to admit that Bob Larson and Allan Bloom are right about rock-n-roll? Or Francis Schaeffer about Modern Art?) I'm much more ready to assent (as in Lewis's Experiment) to speak in terms of Good or Bad Readers, moral or immoral readings, than inherently Good or Bad forms. All that to say I continue to be intrigued by the so-called "morality of the tracking shot" -- and am increasingly skeptical of obviously manipulative montage-y works -- but need more convincing. Still, I can see how Linklater's chosen form seems to inherently raise questions without imposing easy answers and I appreciate the work I have to do and recognize this confers a certain dignity both on me the audience and the characters that formulaic works often obviously do not.
  14. I link the notion of narrative authority both to the "flattened" structure/attitude of the film but also to the authoritative narratives of most of the characters. Instead of a strong author, we have a myriad of strong authors, as it were. In this Slacker reminded me of David Byrne's True Stories, which was similar in strategy and tone (a catalog of oddball characters -- and also set in Texas!). I remember Byrne explaining his own non-judgmental perspective toward his characters, saying something to the effect that they were all there to be appreciated and enjoyed. I both sympathize and resist this -- for good or for ill. Earlier I mentioned I felt like I was being pulled in the direction of making a judgment -- and the consensus (confirmed by Linklater) is that judgment -- or at least hasty, pseudo-objective judgment, is a bad thing. (Which of course is a judgment itself.) So, in a sense, maybe the film can be seen as a sort of set up: a sting operation maybe, to catch you in the act of judging and then judge your judging. But I can't help but think there's more going on here than just refraining from judgment and judging judgers. Of course, when I listened to the commentary, some of the things I thought were intentional and patterns seemed to be explained away by Linklater as accidents, or autobiographical flotsum, or pure serendipity. But I can't believe it's an accident, for example, that we cut from the guy who wants to give away free weapons to everybody to somebody pointing a camera at the guy like a gun. Before I listened to Linklater talk about his film, I was almost ready to believe he wasn't rejecting moral judgments so much as wrestling with the postmodern condition, casting about for a way to say the Texas Tower Sniper was wrong, without resorting to yet another judgmental narrative. But, again, the implicit attack on narrative authority makes me unsure of what if anything else he was up to. (And I love the "Camera Eye" etc in Dos Passos, too. But weren't those sequences occasional intermissions in an ongoing main narrative that we kept returning to?)
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