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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in Directors (148)

Wednesday
Mar112015

Richard Glatzer, Co-Director of Still Alice (1952-2015)

Wash Westmoreland & Richard Glatzer. I believe this photo is from around the time of The Fluffer (2001)

Just two minutes after the last post, coincidentally about Still Alice but meant to be a random amusement, I read that Richard Glatzer the co-writer and co-director had died. He had been struggling with ALS for the past few years. If you'll excuse me getting a little sentimental, I'd like to tell you my personal story about him as a way of working through my sadness today.

I can't recall the exact circumstances of our meeting but just after I had moved to New York City in 1999, we began to talk over e-mail. He was quite literally my first online friend who was actually working in movies and television around the time I was trying to launch The Film Experience. If I remember correctly our online friendship was prompted by an interview I had done with Jackie Beat, my all time favorite drag queen, for my print zine (before the website). She had worked with Richard on his first film, the underseen gay indie dramedy Grief (1993). More...

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Thursday
Mar052015

Women's Pictures - Ida Lupino's "Never Fear"

Women’s Pictures get a bad rap. I’m not talking about this series - we’ve only been going a month and you all seem as excited as I am about it - but rather the category of film after which this series is named. During the height of their popularity in the 1940s, women's films were denigratingly known as “weepies” or “soap operas.” When women’s pictures began to be recognized as a unique category of film, they were often defined by what they lacked: few to no male leads, stories that rarely took place in the public sphere, a lack of “action” plots, etc.

Rather than define women’s pictures by what they weren’t, instead focus on what they were: films made for, starring, and sometimes created by women, films from many different genres (including traditionally male genres like noir), films with a focus on domestic life and social issues, films that tackled everything from racism to unplanned pregnancies to polio. These were films designed to speak to the interests of American women, and it turned out that American women were interested in seeing their real struggles represented onscreen. When Warner Bros glamor girl Ida Lupino started her production company in 1948, that’s exactly what she intended to do.

Disease, drama, and smokin' doctors after the jump...

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Tuesday
Feb242015

New Oscar Trivia. Courtesy of the 87th Academy Awards

What does a fresh list of winners bring? Why... New TRIVIA of course! 

Do you think Patty Arquette has seen SAVAGE GRACE?

picture birdman director alejandro gonzález iñárritu, birdman actress julianne moore, still alice  actor eddie redmayne, theory of everything supporting actress patricia arquette, boyhood supporting actor j.k. simmons, whiplash original screenplay birdman adapted screenplay imitation game foreign film ida animated feature big hero 6 documentary feature citizenfour cinematography birdman editing whiplash production design grand budapest hotel costume design grand budapest hotel makeup and hair grand budapest hotel  visual effects interstellar score grand budapest hotel song "glory" selma sound mixing whiplash sound editing american sniper  live action short the phone call documentary short crisis hotline animated short feast ...I forgot to ask all of you how you did on your predictions? I did decent but not spectacular 18/24 (but i heard from a few readers who said I helped them win their office pool so there's that) but the short film categories messing me up as usual grrrr

After the jump, there's lots of trivia brought on by the 87th batch. If you have a really good one I forgot, I can always update the post so please to enjoy and comment... 

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Sunday
Feb222015

Readers Poll Results: Who *Should* Win?

With the Oscars arriving in 12 hours and your host (er, Nathaniel -- your host here at TFE-- not NPH) still sick as a dog, I turn the time over to you. Your votes have been tallied from the polls we ran on the individual Oscar Chart pages over the past month and here's who YOU -- the collective you at least -- are rooting for tonight.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Grand Budapest Hotel won 37% of your hearts. In solid second place was Birdman with 30%. Nightcrawler and Boyhood had their fans with 16% and 12% of the vote respectively. Trailing them all with a poor showing was Foxcatcher with 4%.

acting, director, picture after the jump

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Friday
Feb202015

John Boorman on His Oscar Experience

Jose here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, The Tailor of Panama) in order to talk about his new film Queen and Country a sequel to his Oscar nominated Hope and Glory. Besides being a notoriously versatile director Mr. Boorman is also quite the cinephile, with a profound knowledge of silent cinema and obscure noirs, this led our conversation to stray into the topic of the Academy Awards...

John Boorman directs 'Deliverance' (L) 'Hope and Glory' (R)

You’ve been nominated for Best Director twice for Deliverance and Hope and Glory, can you share some of your memories about going to the Oscars?

First of all, it’s incredibly boring, because you leave the hotel at 2 in the afternoon and the show goes on until 11 at night, and you sit in the audience more often than not watching the commercials, or at least the gaps the commercials create. It’s very wearing! (laughs) I didn’t go when I was nominated for Deliverance, I went when I was nominated for Hope & Glory, I’d been nominated as producer, director and screenwriter. I was delighted that the film was nominated, but I didn’t win in any of the categories, and it makes you feel like such a failure (laughs).

You keep yourself active as an Academy member?

Yes, I see them all and vote, but the ones I vote for never win (laughs).

What were some of your favorites in the Oscar race this year?

In the Oscars this year, in the Foreign Language category, there are three films Leviathan, Ida and Timbuktu, and there are no three films in any other category that match up to these at all. I saw them recently and felt so proud to be a filmmaker! But what does their quality say about the other films? Quite good films even, like The Theory of Everything and Birdman and so on? There’s something calculating about these films, it’s a calculation that somehow the system brings up because of the way films are made. Scripts are supervised by studios and you feel these films have been overcooked, there’s something slightly contrived about them. They’re looking over their shoulder a little bit.

Queen and Country, Boorman's final film, is now playing in select theaters.

Thursday
Feb192015

Women's Pictures - Ava DuVernay's Selma

Nothing about Ava DuVernay’s career up to 2014 suggested the epic sweep of Selma. I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere are both quiet dramas, focusing on one central character and a handful of supporting players as they navigate a major, life-altering event. Race is the background against which these stories are set - coloring a heated music discussion, or shading the convict’s biased parole hearing - but racism isn’t explicitly addressed. This changes dramatically with Selma. In a year that has seen protests in Ferguson and serious discussions about diversity in the Academy, Selma has been called everything from controversial to current to incorrect. For its director, it’s proof that 6 years and 3 movies can rapidly mature a talent.

When telling the story of Martin Luther King’s 1965 protest march in Alabama, DuVernay focuses not on a man, but on a movement. She studies the Civil Rights movement as if it were a character, following not only Dr. King’s glossy speeches, but also the many behind-the-scenes maneuvering. King’s arguments with President Johnson, Johnson’s arguments with Governor Wallace, the student organizers’ arguments with King’s men, even quieter discussions between Coretta Scott King and Malcolm X expose the precarious balance between ideology and strategy that's needed to succeed. DuVernay manages to write her characters with humanity as well, populating the film with people, not symbols. Early on, Dr. King (dignified David Oyelowo) comments lightly that the reason he's in Selma is because he needs a bully to catch national sympathy, and the racist sheriff is that man. As men start dying, those words hang over King's head like a cross.

If I have one complaint with Selma, it’s that the violence is too beautiful. DuVernay deftly stages the action of hundreds of protestors for the camera, and re-teams with cinematographer Bradford Young. The result is similar to Raging Bull: every protest is shot differently, so that each violent outbreak feels fresh. If the night march feels familiar to 2014 audiences, if the first march feels claustrophobic, if the violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge looks like a hallucinatory war film, that’s not unintentional. In Selma, Ava DuVernay has matched epic sweep with humanity and brutal vision. It’s a hell of an achievement for a third film.

This close to the Oscars ceremony, reviving the question of whether Selma was snubbed is pointless. But regardless of Sunday’s outcome, Ava DuVernay has joined a different illustrious company: unnominated female directors whose films were nominated for Best Picture. In an attempt to divine DuVernay’s future, I did some research, and discovered a pattern: Of these nine female directors, seven are still directing. Of those seven directors, four (including DuVernay) are now working in TV.

As anyone with a remote or a streaming subscription knows, we are currently in a second Golden Age of television. This is due in no small part to the diversity of creative talent. Every year, more shows are created by, directed by, and starring women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. In this increasingly colorful TV landscape, Ava DuVernay will be a welcome addition when she launches her show on OWN. But at what cost to film?

2014 has been widely criticized as the whitest, most male-dominated year of the Oscars in a long time. As much as I would like to blame our old scapegoat, the White Male Voter, this is also because of the homogeny of the films being offered to the Academy. When we can count the number of Oscar nominated female directors on one hand--likewise for directors of color--we should be shouting for more of these voices in film, instead of celebrating when the ones who’ve already proven themselves move to television (where they can get snubbed by the Emmys instead). I love Ava DuVernay’s work. I can’t wait to see what she creates with Oprah’s blessing. But surely I’m not alone when I say: Ava DuVernay, please come back to film soon.

 

Thus concludes our first month of Women's Pictures. Next week will be a vote to choose our next female filmmakers. Who do you want us to cover? If you have suggestions for future Women’s Pictures directors, post them in the comments or find Anne Marie on Twitter!