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Topics/titles for next Flickerings (apologies to Mike H)


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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:13 PM

I know it's way too early, and Mike H is the legendary... um... I mean... he's the head honcho on this Cornerstone film program, so anything discussed here is purely speculative unless he says so.

But I so enjoyed this year's focus on Dogma filmmaking that I'm eager to consider themes and titles for next year's programs. Sure, he'll probably want to focus on titles that are released this year, but last week's program included some titles from as much as three years ago, so I assume the same flexibility would be in action again.

Any ideas out there?

How about "Being Different": We could focus on films about people suffer from alienation and persecution, and discuss the difference between being born different and behaving differently. Titles could include films about the minority experience, or even a comic book title like X2 (to draw a larger audience in and then persuade them to stay for something more obscure.)

Or we could focus on metaphor... on how we see. Punchdrunk Love and Magnolia use complex networks of symbols and repeated terms. Kieslowski's films are rich with visual metaphor. We could discuss how symbolism can be used without being used heavy-handedly... this would be a natural extension of this year's discussions.

#2 Persona

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 09:56 PM

If they couldn't handle the brief nude scene in The Celebration, there's no way they'd be able to handle the onslaught of profanity in Magnolia. Don't get me wrong, i have grown to love that film as one of the closest to my heart from last decade. However, it brings new meaning to the word "laced."

Having just finished a review of Ordet, i think it may be the most important film that mainstream audiences, particularly Christian, haven't seen. Most of what i perceive as the modern day church is so stale and mediocre that the reality depicted in that film would be a jolt to us all. It shows a faith that's more powerful than the kind that just wants a place to hang out with on Sundays with like-minded friends.

-s.

#3 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 08:40 AM

: If they couldn't handle the brief nude scene in The Celebration,
: there's no way they'd be able to handle the onslaught of profanity in
: Magnolia.

Regardless, there were also two nude scenes in Magnolia, so I think it's fair to scratch that out.

Apparently, mike_h_et_al decided on the Dogme idea for this year the day after last Cornerstone, so I suspect this may be a moot point. It's still fun to what-if, however, so for the day when I am rich enough to buy out Cornerstone, here will be the oh-so-clever topics:

First Person:

Cast Away (Zemeckis)
Mr. Death (Morris)
The Truman Show (Weir)
My Dinner With André (Malle)

---
Second Chances:

La Promesse (Dardenne/Dardenne)
A Moment of Innocence (Makhmalbaf)
25th Hour (Lee)
The Straight Story (Lynch)
The Thin Blue Line (Morris)

---
Third Wheels:

In the Mood for Love (Kar-Wai)
Leila (Mehrjui) [already shown, apparently; dang it]
"Play" (Minghella short)
"The Heart of the World" (Maddin short)
Far from Heaven (Haynes)
The Aviator’s Wife (Rohmer)
Home Sweet Home (Leigh)

Dale

#4 M. Leary

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 09:49 AM

How about "Acting as Another"

Exploring concepts of personhood in text and film by analyzing narratives that deal with someone pretending to be someone they aren't. I am sure there are a lot of good films out there about this.

(But to be honest, I was trying to come up with a way I could say this:)

And we could invite the honorary Donald Napolean Sprim to be the narcissistically sagacious guest lecturer!

#5 mike_h

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 09:56 AM

Hey, you guys are back to being avatars – but I’m fairly certain I wasn’t dreaming and got to meet a few of you behind the screennames. It was one of the highpoints of my festival this year! Every year, inevitably, I find out about the cool concert or the quintessential “Cornerstone moment” after the fact, and I missed it. But I also get to participate in a few that not everybody knows about, like that “Code Unknown” discussion we had at flickerings, when, as somebody said, the Promontory board discussion came to life for an incredible hour or so as we wrestled with a great and challenging film together. Absolutely amazing. I’m so excited to come home to find people talking about Flickerings and the short films and possible themes and films for next year already here on the board. I love the idea of introducing more critical feedback into our shorts program: it’s exactly the right “next step” in our growth as a festival and film culture. As for next year, well I’d welcome any and all suggestions – though I probably balance several evaluative criteria that may not always be readily apparent and am hopelessly dependent on being lucky enough to catch a great film (like “Code Unknown”) before most people have heard of it. But suggest titles and I will track them down. The filmmaker component of Flickerings has already been making some suggestions for program themes, including actor-driven directors like Mike Leigh, or independent icons like John Sayles. I’m also wondering if it’s time to do a program of shorts from other festivals to give our crowd a better idea of what the short film is capable of being. For me, it’s a combination of trying to figure out where the ongoing conversation is/should be going, what the different audiences of Flickerings will best respond to, what’s available and affordable, and what we can show within certain constraints the festival board ask me to stay within (though they always surprise me with how flexible and open they are.) I’m going to try to put together a post-fest report in the days ahead as I can get most of my marbles gathered, and maybe even post some of the films themselves. Thanks again Jeffrey, Robert, mleary, Prins and Stef – you legendary cinephiles – for showing up and making this an incredibly cool year for the event, and for me personally. I really am glad to have met you all and look forward to the ongoing conversation.

#6 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 11:07 AM

The parenthentical M:

: How about "Acting as Another"...Exploring concepts of personhood in
: text and film by analyzing narratives that deal with someone pretending
: to be someone they aren't. I am sure there are a lot of good films out
: there about this.

There are, there are. In fact, a number of them are listed right here. (It's slightly more broad a topic than your suggestion, but.) Further, A Moment of Innocence, The Truman Show and In the Mood for Love from my above lists fall into the category. I like it.

: And we could invite the honorary Donald Napolean Sprim to be the
: narcissistically sagacious guest lecturer!

Through his agent, D.N. Sprim requests a $2000 honorarium and a plane ticket to Elba.

Dale

#7 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 12:02 PM

mike_h: Welcome back, we all loved the program, it was great meeting you, hope your suggestion box got more full, we are all jealous of you for getting to program a film festival, etc. Now then:

: I’m so excited to come home to find people talking about Flickerings and
: the short films and possible themes and films for next year already here
: on the board. I love the idea of introducing more critical feedback into
: our shorts program: it’s exactly the right “next step” in our growth as a
: festival and film culture.

Despite my pre-'Stone statement that I did not want further feedback on "Eileen," I agree. The question, I suppose, is how. Kevin obviously went out of his way to solicit feedback on "Church," and there was certainly that opportunity for him at Flickerings. However, for those of us who, ahem, need criticism more than Kevin does -- me! me! -- and yet do not go out of their way to receive such -- me! me! -- what can be done? Or what, if anything, should be done?

The main possibilities, as I see it:

1) Q&A sessions after each short film -- problematic for time reasons, for filmmakers-not-there reasons, and for I-am-not-going-to-tell-Mr.-Filmmaker-to-his-face-that-I-think-his-entire-concept-needs-an-overhaul-even-if-I-think-it-does reasons. (Or in one case, telling the director that he is a poor, expressionless actor; if anything, that's even worse to say to someone. And I have no idea how to make that criticism more constructive other than to say, "Don't cast yourself next time.")

2) Nice little letters to directors saying what you (or y'all) liked about the films and what you'd like to see them try next year. One rejection letter I received from a festival isn't too far from the ideal (corrected slightly for grammar):

"Unfortunately, '12 Stories About Eileen' did not make the list for this year's festival. However, there was a lot of positive feedback about the film. The main concern about the film was in the acting. The actors seemed to be reading or being prompted from cards, and their interviews seemed more like readings than performances. There was much praise for the writing, though, which we all found to be excellent. The story itself was extremely well-constructed, and each character's revelation contained wonderful details. The interpretive connecting sequences --the fingers flicking cows, etc.-- were beautifully shot. The editing itself was
also carefully done.

"Thank you for entering the festival, and I hope that these comments will be helpful. It's difficult to make our choices from so many
films."

It's honest, it's largely positive, the criticism is mostly constructive, and it points to a specific moment (the cows) the writer liked, which is helpful in considering which direction to go in future films. (Also, from personal preference, I like getting the bad crap first, followed by the ego-stroking. But that's just me.) Other than the rejection part, there's no reason this couldn't have been written as a Flickerings follow-up.

3) Have me write nasty comments about the films I did not like on this board, then wait until the directors Google their own movie, find my criticism, and cry in despair. (There is a reason I'm keeping my film-specific comments to a minimum and then only to the more "professional" films.)

: The filmmaker component of Flickerings has already been making some
: suggestions for program themes, including actor-driven directors like
: Mike Leigh...

Dang. You must really want me to attend next year.

The problem with Leigh is if nudity is a hard no -- and given that children couldn't easily be carded, I won't disagree -- that leaves you only Secrets and Lies and High Hopes among his theatrical releases (and maybe his early '70s Bleak Moments, which I've not yet watched). All of his full-length TV movies would be a-okay, however, some of which -- Home Sweet Home, Grown-Ups, The Kiss of Death -- I prefer to a couple of his feature films.

: I’m also wondering if it’s time to do a program of shorts from other
: festivals to give our crowd a better idea of what the short film is capable
: of being.

If that's possible to do -- I'm not sure where you're going to see these other films, unless the program's going to be (a) Chicago-centric or (cool.gif major-filmmaker-centric (Ozon, Maddin, and others have their early shorts on DVD) -- then yes. Go for it.

I’ve spoken too long.

Dale

#8 Persona

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 12:25 PM

Mike-

All or Nothing was brilliant and you'd still be ahead of the mainstream audiences with that choice.

#9 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 10 July 2003 - 12:29 PM

But it does have nudity.

Dale