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Darren H

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Everything posted by Darren H

  1. I haven't tried it outside yet, but I'm really pleased with how it looks in my basement. My only small complaint is I wish I could've paid a little extra to have the screen shipped to me rolled instead of folded. The frame works really well and pulls the screen taut, but when the center of the image is really bright, the crease from the fold is hard to ignore.
  2. That looks great, Ken. The screen I ordered has a metal frame and legs that can be sandbagged, so I'm hoping it'll be stable outside. I should find out in a day or two.
  3. This is only somewhat related, but I just ordered a portable, 100-inch screen with the idea that I might start inviting friends over for safe, outdoor movie nights. The projector I bought five years ago when we started The Public Cinema has been sitting unused for nearly a year. The screen hasn't arrived yet, but it looks like I should be able to remove the legs and hang the screen in my basement too. Since I'm not sure when I'll ever get to go back to a festival or a theater, I'm getting desperate for a more cinematic experience. I'll post pics if it works out like I hope.
  4. I can't wait. I just ordered a portable screen and am going to try to figure out how to get that image as big as possible in my basement!
  5. Ken, do you really not know what a 4K restoration and release is? I've seen Beau Travail dozens of times over the years but still don't know exactly what it's supposed to look like, because I've only seen it once on film (on a beat up print whose colors had shifted) and the original DVD release, which is a low definition scan of a beat up print. There are very few prints of Beau Travail in circulation, and most of them look and sound terrible. This new release is a full restoration made from the best existing physical materials, which were then scanned at the highest reasonable resolution (4K), and then restored and color corrected, under the supervision of the DP and director. This will be the first chance for most people to really see this film. And because Janus is rereleasing the film, it will be available to every theater with digital projection. I wanted to show Beau Travail at our planned Denis retro at Big Ears, but because we didn't have access to 35mm projection this year, it wasn't an option. From now on, it will be! Janus Films will have a number of DCPs (hard drives, basically) that any theater, including microcinemas like mine, can rent for a flat rate per screening (typically $250-$350) or for a smaller guarantee and a percentage of the box office. A restoration and a rerelease like this, especially because it's from Janus/Criterion, will effectively place Beau Travail in the film canon. The print I saw of Beau Travail a couple years ago looked quite a bit like the top-left image from Jaws below.
  6. I watched Joanna Hogg's first feature, Unrelated, yesterday and it inspired me to revisit Archipelago and Exhibition this week. I really like her.
  7. Darren H

    Young Ahmed

    Has anyone mentioned that Olivier Bonnaud, who plays the main case worker here, is also the medical intern in The Unknown Girl? I'd be curious to see him in a lead role. I finally watched Young Ahmed this morning. I like it quite a bit, mostly because it fits into my favorite genre of Dardenne film: Affectless Lead Performance (see also The Kid with a Bike, The Son, and The Unknown Girl). On paper this film is basically an afterschool special, but most of their films are. The pleasure is watching such a precisely controlled balance between realistic technique and expressionistic mise-en-scene. Critics: The Dardennes are working in the neo-realist tradition. Dardennes: More paint! I really like most of the final scene. 90% of Ahmed's character is communicated by how the young actor moves -- I'm sure that's why the Dardennes had him run a relay race -- so I was moved by the stupid desparation of his climb and, midway through the sequence, predicted he would fall. The staging of that shot is great. I don't like ambiguity for ambiguity's sake, but cutting to black just as Ahmed asks for forgiveness is so on-the-nose. And yet, I'm not sure how to improve the end. I'm curious, did any other former evangelical youth-groupers identify with the scenes of Ahmed alone in his room? The guilt and shame about not learning verses, not saying prayers (having a daily "quiet time"), not properly impressing the group leader? Tribalism is a hell of a drug, especially when you're a kid who doesn't feel totally at home in the world.
  8. My sense of the Venice, TIFF, NYFF partnership is that they're essentially agreeing to drop (temporarily) their battles over premiere status. Not that it really matters this year. Everyone is just trying to keep people employed and their bills paid in hopes of returning to some new sense of normal in 2022. I suspect the fall festivals will function primarily this year as launch platforms for VOD releases. The festivals will take a small cut of that revenue, but whatever streaming they do will have to be locked down tight. I wonder if the virtual screenings will be like press screeners, with the user's name watermarked on the image? As an aside, I remember attending a public screening of Jia Zhangke's 24 City at TIFF a decade ago. It was in a small room and every seat was sold. I asked a friend, who was formerly a TIFF programmer, why they would put a Jia film on such a small screen. Her answer had never occurred to me before: "This film already has Canadian distribution, and Toronto is Canada's biggest market. Every ticket TIFF sells is one less future ticket sale for Films We Like." Now imagine how a virtual premiere will undercut the market value of a film! I have to imagine that the people behind the fall premieres are essentially writing off US box office -- as we're seeing with the shifting release strategy of films like Tenet. Their best hope is to get the films onto European and Asian screens for two or three weeks and then rent/sell the films online to as many people as possible. Actually, I guess their best hope is a deal with Netflix or Amazon. I have a lot of dear friends who earn their meager livings as filmmakers, publicists, programmers, critics, etc. I don't know how most of them are going to make rent for the next two years. EDIT: After looking at TIFF's lineup, I'm not sure how many of these have VOD launch potential? There are a lot of films by major directors ready for release, not to mention the acclaimed films that premiered at Sundance and Berlin. None of them are playing at TIFF. Looks like we won't be seeing any of them for quite a while. EDIT 2: Variety just published an interesting conversation with Oren Moverman.
  9. This will be the first time since 2004 that I haven't spent at least a week at TIFF. Which will be weird. I did the math recently and discovered I've spent more than five months in Toronto over the years. Also weird -- and a little worrying -- is that I have zero interest in online film festivals. To be honest, I've lost most of my interest in films, generally, during the quarantine. When we were all preparing for the Top 100, I binged on great movies. But over the past two months, I've only watched eight feature films, and seven of them were with my kids. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing Chloe Zhao's new film, which is playing Venice, TIFF, and NYFF. It's sad to think I might never get a chance to see it on a big screen.
  10. My first thought when I saw the subject of this thread was body/spirit, which is in the same ballpark as immanence/transcendence.
  11. I forgot about this thread! Since the quarantine began, my kids have gradually shifted to a later bed time, which means I have less than an hour to myself every night before I start falling asleep. I've gotten in the habit of fixing a cocktail and watching something from the Tell Me series on Criterion Channel. I'm a little more than halfway through the collection so far, and it's been a real treat. Few of the films are excellent on their own, but the program has such a clear voice. Most of the films were made in the early-'70s, when I was a child, so it's giving me a new perspective on my mother and other women of her generation. Also, it's just fun to see inside homes, businesses, schools, and grocery stores of the era.
  12. Sorry, you're only allowed to watch Satantango projected in 35mm in a single day with one 30-minute intermission. Like I did.
  13. Joel, I read one of Paul's early drafts of the script and was able to so clearly imagine that scene. It gets me every time I watch it too. Paul guided me through the process of writing a script treatment and first draft of a feature screenplay, and I think about one of his observations all the time now when I'm watching movies. "Beginnings and endings are usually pretty easy. It's figuring out all of the stuff in the middle that takes so much work." They trimmed the heck out of Light from Light in post-production. One big scene was cut completely, another brief scene was added, and I get the sense it was all about finding the pace that would maximize the effect of those final moments. He's really good at it.
  14. I'd love to. Working from home while three kids run around me is starting to take its toll, so I'm struggling to find the energy and concentration I need for writing. But I'll give it my best shot.
  15. Only thing that strikes me as odd is Scorsese is sneaking in above the Dardennes.
  16. Here's the top 25. The number after each title represents the slots it moved because of the final round of voting. The big winner is The Seventh Seal, which jumped eight slots. No other film moved more than four slots. I was happy to see there were no ties. The most interesting facet of this round is that many of us appear to have voted strategically in hopes of causing more significant moves, but for every person giving Three Colors: Blue a 1, there were two people giving it 23, so it ended up in the same slot. 2001 is the most divisive film, with a standard deviation of 8.1 (average is 6.1). Five people gave it 24 or 25 but nine people put it in the top seven, so it ended up climbing four slots. The only other two films that fell out of the standard range of consensus are Of Gods and Men and First Reformed. The four films that we are in most agreement about are Andrei Rublev (deviation of only 3.8), Into Great Silence, The Flowers of St. Francis, and Make Way for Tomorrow. All in all, I'd say this looks like an Arts & Faith Top 25. 1. Ordet (1955) 0 2. Andrei Rublev (1966) 0 3. The Tree of Life (2011) +2 4. Babette's Feast (1987) +2 5. Of Gods and Men (2010) -2 6. Silence (2016) -2 7. The Kid With a Bike (2011) 0 8. Do the Right Thing (1989) 0 9. Ikiru (1952) +1 10. Diary of a Country Priest (1951) +1 11. First Reformed (2017) -2 12. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) +4 13. The Miracle Maker (2000) +1 14. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) -1 15. Into Great Silence (2005) -3 16. The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) -1 17. The Seventh Seal (1957) +8 18. Three Colors: Blue (1993) 0 19. The Night of the Hunter (1955) -2 20. Night and Fog (1956) -1 21. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) +2 22. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) 0 23. Sunrise (1927) +1 24. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005) -4 25. Monsieur Vincent (1947) -4
  17. Darren H

    Sophie Scholl

    I mentioned this briefly in another thread, but a great companion with Sophie Scholl is Su Friedrich's The Ties That Bind, which is on Criterion Channel right now. It's an experimental essay film that compares 20-something Friedrich's life in 1980s Chicago to her mother's in 1940s Germany. Her mother was the same age and from the same town as the Scholls.
  18. If they made it today Elisabeth Perceval would probably be credited as co-director of Heartbeat Detector. She and Klotz have been making films together for almost 30 years but it's only been in the last few that she's taken a director credit in addition to screenwriter.
  19. From Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer: "I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then I read the two sentences over and turn them both around." I've taught the shitty-first-draft approach to writing because in theory it makes sense, but I also tell my students I've never been able to use that technique myself. I write a sentencen and then read it out loud nand then rewrite itn and then reread it out loud along with the preceding paragraph, and then eventually, when I don't absolutely hate it, I move on to the next sentence.
  20. So jealous of everyone who can write quickly. After doing this for 25 years, I now average about 100 words/hour.
  21. I thought about nominating Su Friedrich's The Ties That Bind (1984) as my +1, but it had been 15 years since I saw it and I couldn't remember it well enough to judge how it fit the tenor of our list. I revisited it this morning as part of the Tell Me series and now think it certainly needs to be on our growing alt-list. I'd encourage whoever writes the blurb on Sophie Scholl to try to see this film, which is a portrait of Friedrich's mother, who was a peer of the Scholls.
  22. Ken, I did this for two seasons of The Public Cinema.
  23. Ken, since 7th Heaven and The Immigrant made the cut, I might be interested in writing something about expressionist American melodrama, also pulling in Sunrise, Frisco Jenny, and possibly other films like The Best Years of Our Lives, The Grapes of Wrath, The Song of Bernadette, and others. I'm seriously considering jumping into a grad program this summer, so I should know soon if I'll have time for serious writing.
  24. Here are the films from my original 25 nominations that made the final cut. Asterisk beside the ones I've advocated for most strongly over the years. Two asterisks beside the ones I'd love to write about. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Beau travail (1999) ** Close-Up (1990) Frisco Jenny (1932) ** In a Lonely Place (1950) * In Praise of Love (2001) * My Night at Maud's (1969) Night and Fog (1956) Ordet (1955) Still Life (2006) * The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) The Gleaners & I (2000) The Grapes of Wrath (1940) What Time Is It There? (2001) ** I didn't end up nominating Heartbeat Detector (I chose In Praise of Love for that slot instead), but I'd enjoy writing about it too.
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