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‘Detective City Angel’: A short film by Alessandro Cima
11.03.2011
04:31 pm

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Of his latest film, Detective City Angel, director Alessandro Cima says:

‘I think if you show this film to one thousand people, two will finish it. One of those will hate it. The other one won’t understand a damn bit of it. It’s too long and most people just won’t put up with it.’

A harsh and unfair summation from such a talented and original film-maker.

I like Alessandro Cima’s work, for it demands the full attention and response of its audience - it’s not enough to watch, Cima wants you to think about what you’re watching and question it. Dangerous film-making in these days of empty CGI spectacle and the worn words of scripts edited by focus group.

Films should be dangerous, and as Orson Welles once said:

‘A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.’

Which is a fair description of Cima’s vision.

Even so, he’s correct. Detective City Angel will not be to everyone’s taste - why should it? It’s a dream film that crosses genres, and plays with identity and authorship. it also hints at Goddard, Anger, Polanski, and Jarman, but is very much Cima’s film, in his own distinct style. Alessandro explained some of the ideas behind Detective City Angel to Dangerous Minds:

‘It’s a dream noir about Los Angeles and the unconscious creative mind which has several parts in conflict at all times. That conflict is deadly and life-affirming at the same time. The detective is perhaps an imaginary threat of failure, inertia or the eventual exposure of an artist’s feelings of fraudulence. The city is both muse and death dealer. Its outward mask presents sexuality and beauty which conceal a vicious survival of the fittest. The angel is seemingly innocent and always threatened with extinction. Its creative spirit is neurotic but ultimately pure. I try to balance all of these and keep them in some sort of pleasurable conflict.’

What was your intention in making it?

‘To make something totally mystifying. I wanted to mix genres in several ways. To mix the fundamental viewpoint of noir with documentary, abstract film, and narrative film, without any concern for reproducing the look and technique of noir. To make abstraction that collapses into a narrative, which sort of has the effect of making the viewer forget having seen the abstract part. I’m not sure if that works. It’s sort of like having a dream and not remembering what it was later in the day. I see no reason why experimental film should not mix freely with narrative film. In addition, I wanted to use the tendency toward secret identities in the world of street art and pull that into the crime genre. I think it’s a perfect fit and presents enormous possibilities for crime films.’

What drew you to the subject?

‘I’ve been somewhat involved with the art world and felt that the concealing of identity was in itself an interesting artwork. I was also intrigued by the surprisingly deep and wonderful history of Los Angeles. Noir and the crime film are the best available forms for representing L.A.

‘I make films in a rather dream-like state. I allow my thoughts to wander and actually spend time following false leads. I tend to operate in a general mode of playing with identity. No one is ever who they seem to be or think they are. The layering of image, sound and meaning demands that a viewer watch with extremely focused attention - a demand which is nearly impossible for a web viewer to fulfill. The film is a secret revealing itself very gradually and with many false impressions. It incorporates images that are both invented and real but it doesn’t want you to know which is which. Layering unrelated things, if done with seriousness, creates new meanings and propels a film in a direction that is not entirely under the director’s control. If something happens with layered images on any given day that suggests a new course for the film, then I take the new course. I use a few black & white found footage clips in this one to punch up certain noir/crime aspects.’
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Alessandro Cima’s ‘Glass Boulevard’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Attention children of the night: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula cape is for sale
11.01.2011
11:44 pm

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Bela Lugosi’s cape is up for auction. It’s being offered by Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena.

When one hears the name “Dracula,” it is difficult to imagine anyone but Bela Lugosi wearing his signature mode of dress—white tie and tails and a cape—which he wore in the 1931 Universal Pictures classic Dracula. The “Dracula” cape embodies the iconic horror figure and is now up for auction. The cape is screen-used and consigned by his son directly. Prior to his death in 1956, Bela Lugosi gave the cape to his wife of 20 years, Lillian Lugosi, and the mother of Bela Jr., telling her that it was the cape from the film and to keep the cape for his son.  Upon Lugosi’s death in 1956, the family decided that he should be buried in his Dracula costume.  Given Bela Lugosi’s wish that his son should have the cape, the family dressed the body in a lighter weight version of the cape he used when making personal appearances.  Lillian retained the original 1931 cape and left it, along with her other possessions, to Bela Jr. upon her death in 1981.  It has remained in his possession continuously.  Without question, this is the greatest single horror garment in cinema history. The auction pre-sale estimate is $1,500,000 - $2,000,000.

I think I’ll pass on this and wait for Klaus Kinski’s Noseferatu cape to become available.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Life from an out of body point of view: God’s eye movie mix
11.01.2011
10:32 pm

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Man, I get queasy looking at this vertigo-inducing montage of “God’s Eye View” scenes from the movies

This type of shot is commonly referred to as a “God’s Eye View” angle. The camera lens is perpendicular to the subject without any POV reference, which gives the viewer an omniscient viewpoint of the character and the surrounding space.

The video is cut to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Down Boy” from the “Is Is” album.

Another great video mix by Editcadet.
 

 
Via The High Definite

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Hot Rods, Bods And Mods: Sixties rock rarities and celluloid sleaze
11.01.2011
08:55 pm

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Lost and found rock and roll gems meet 42nd street sexploitation, biker movies, Blaxploitation, Euro-sleaze and more!

NSFW unless you work the night shift at a strip joint.

01. “The First Time I Saw You” - The Others
02. “Hot Smoke And Sassafras” - Nite People
03. “You Got Me High” - New Order
04. “Spoonful” - Rats
05. “Psychotic Reaction” - Positively Thirteen O’ Clock
06. “Sha-La-La-Lee” - Small Faces
07. “Satin City News” - Trolls
08. “This Week’s Children” - Twas Brillig
09. “Please Don’t Hurt Me” - Nomads
10. “Hold On” - Rupert’s People
11. “Every Day, Every Night” - Trolls
12. “Reality” - Prodigal
13. “Lawdy Mama” - Cream
14. “Dirty Old Man” - Twas Brillig
15. “Vagrant Writer” - Bob Seger And The Last Heard
16. “Just Wanna Be Myself” - Na-Na-Mees
17. “I Found A New Love” - Ognir And The Nite People
18. “Nadine” - Smokestack Lightning
19. “Facts Of Life” - X-Treems
20. “The Two Of Us” - The Yellow Payges
21. “You Can Make It” - Richard And The Young Lions
22. “Fifteen” - Highway Robbery
23. “Sweet Woman Like You” - Stonehenge
24. “Tiki God” - The Legends
25. “Deathhead” - Punch

“Nitrate Love” from me to you.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Occupy Your Mind: An Interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky
11.01.2011
04:06 pm

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The great Chilean-born director, artist, writer, shaman and “criminal madman, ” Alejandro Jodorowsky interviewed via Skype from a hotel room in NYC on October 30th.

Topics include Occupy Wall Street, why revolutions fail but mutation succeeds, the magical side of reality, the search for gurus and wisdom and why Twitter is the haiku of this century!  Jodorowsky’s films El Topo and The Holy Mountain are available on Blu-ray from ABKCO.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Death Watch’: Bertrand Tavernier’s cult sci-fi film from 1979
11.01.2011
03:09 pm

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In 1979, the acclaimed French director, Bertrand Tavernier arrived in Glasgow to shoot his latest project - a science fiction film called Death Watch. It was a move away from Tavernier’s best known work - historical drama (Que la fête commence…), crime (The Watchmaker of St. Paul’s), and his scripts which focussed on the complex psychological interactions between characters.

Based on the novel, The Unsleeping Eye by David G Compton, Death Watch centered on a young man, Roddy, who is hired by a TV organization to have a camera implanted in his eye, in order that he may follow and film the last days of a terminally ill woman, Katherine. Tavernier developed this into clever and layered film starring Romy Schneider as Katherine, Harvey Keitel as Roddy, with a supporting cast of Harry Dean Stanton and Max Von Sydow, and early appearances for Robbie Coltrane and Bill Nighy.

For the cast alone should have ensured Death Watch‘s cult status, but it opened to negative reviews, and was quickly damned to obscurity in the growing multiplex world of The Empire Strikes Back, Smokey and the Bandit, Airplane! and Any Which Way You Can.

Tavernier had proven himself to be too clever by half and had made an intelligent and polemical film, which raised issues of the ethics and morality involved in film-making. Tavernier was also presciently examining the affects of Reality TV and Ob Docs, and questioning the role of media intrusion in our lives. Big issues, big subjects, and worth far more than comic book mix parped out by Lucas and co.

Almost entirely filmed in Glasgow, Death Watch captured the city at its most bleak and desolate - its heart ripped-out by unthinking town planners, who wanted to create a container city that mimicked an idealized America of freeways and skyscrapers. Their actions were akin to hacking off the legs of a prize winning racehorse, then entering it in the Grand National. Communities were destroyed, rehoused in high-rise, shoe-box apartments on the outskirts of the city, or scattered further afield in New Towns. The city’s industries were in fatal decline, the docks abandoned, ship-building almost gone. Yet, for all this, there is an inherent beauty to Tavernier’s vision, where Glasgow looks like a martian out-post, while at the same time capturing the mahogany warmth of its mythical Victorian past as the “Second City of the Empire”.
 

 
Previously on dangerous Minds

Bertrand Tavernier’s ‘Death Watch’


 
With thanks to Joseph McKay
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Trailer for ‘Eames: The Architect and The Painter’
11.01.2011
02:11 pm

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This looks splendid! Eames: The Architect and The Painter opens on November 18, 2011 at Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles. For more playdates go here. From the movie’s webiste:  

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life—from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age—has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

Eames: The Architect and The Painter

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Charles and Ray Eames: Mystical toys
Eames Inspired Prosthetic Leg
 

 
(via Kotte)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Little Malcolm’: George Harrison’s lost film starring John Hurt and David Warner
10.31.2011
02:18 pm

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A “lost” film produced from “top to bottom” by George Harrison, has been rediscovered and released on DVD by the British Film Institute. Little Malcolm was made in 1973, and starred John Hurt, David Warner,  John McEnery, Raymond Platt and Rosalind Ayres. Based on the play Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs by David Halliwell, it was Harrison’s first film as producer, and one that was thought long lost, as director by Stuart Cooper explained in an interview with the Guardian:

“George never said this to me,” says Cooper, “but I definitely got the feeling that Little Malcolm may have been the first and last time George ever went to a play. But he was a big, big fan of it and also a big fan of [its star] Johnny Hurt, so he was in our corner already. Also, at the time, the other Beatles all had a film gig, John had done Imagine, Paul, I guess, directed Magical Mystery Tour, and Ringo was in Candy and The Magic Christian. So the only one without a film gig was George. He financed Malcolm through a company called Suba Films, which existed solely to receive profits from the animated Yellow Submarine. It was financed entirely by Yellow Submarine! It wasn’t a big budget, somewhere around a million, million and a half pounds – not expensive. He financed it top to bottom. He stepped up, wrote the cheque, and we made the movie.”

Little Malcolm is the story of Malcolm Scrawdyke (Hurt), a delusional Hitlerite revolutionary, who plots his revenge after his expulsion form college, by forming the Party of Dynamic Erection, with fellow slackers, Wick (McEnery), Irwin (Platt) and Nipple (Warner). Malcolm’s battle is against an unseen enemy, and the film is a mix of Young Adolf meets Baader-Meinhof via Billy Liar.

Halliwell wrote Little Malcolm in 1965, it was his first and most successful play. Directed by Mike Leigh, the role of Malcolm was originally played by Halliwell, who explained his thoughts behind the drama at the time:

“The Nazis made a big impression on people of my age, they almost destroyed Europe. But as well as being pretty threatening they were also seen as a laughing stock even during the war.”

The play’s director, Mike Leigh had a different view of Halliwell and the production, as he wrote for Halliwell’s obituary in 2006:

David Halliwell was a loner. He lived alone and, typically, it seems he died alone. Indeed, his eponymous loner, Little Malcolm Scrawdyke, was in many ways a self-portrait, although David always denied this. Having met at Rada and become close friends, he and I founded Dramagraph with Philip Martin in 1965, and I directed and designed our original production of Little Malcolm at Unity Theatre. David played Scrawdyke. He was impossible to direct, resisted cuts, and the production was famously overlong and unwieldy. But it was and remains a magnificent piece of writing, and it is truly tragic that this quite brilliant and original dramatist procrastinated for the remaining 40 years of his life.

Halliwell didn’t really procrastinate, he was a prolific writer, who, as Michael Billington also pointed out:

...pioneered the idea of lunchtime theatre and multi-viewpoint drama and left his mark on several close collaborators, including Mike Leigh.

Unfortunately, through his determination to do things his way, Halliwell never fully developed his ideas, and as Billington noted, “Halliwell suffered the fate of the pioneer whose ideas are refined and improved by later practitioners”.

Originally Little Malcolm ran for 6 hours, but after subbing by Leigh, it transferred to London’s West End, where John Hurt took over the title role - it was a career defining performance - one of many in Hurt’s case - and after a short run, moved to Dublin and New York. The play won Halliwell a Most Promising Newcomer Award, and also attracted Harrison’s interest, enough for the Beatle to bank roll the movie. But once made, the film was caught up in The Beatles’ acrimonious split, as Cooper explained:

“In the end, we got hung up by the Beatles’ breakup, when all of the Apple and Beatles assets went into the official receiver’s hands. So Little Malcolm just basically sat there for a couple of years. Whatever heat and buzz we generated was all lost. It didn’t diminish the movie but it stopped the momentum. George had to fight to get it back.

“Berlin was the first airing we managed, but it won best direction and the response was incredible. We got great reviews from Alexander Walker and Margaret Hinxman, but by then it really didn’t have any legs. It was a film that got lost, and I had to put it on a shelf and say to myself, well, there might be a day for that one day – and here we are now, after so many years.”

In 1974, Little Malcolm won the Silver Bear at Berlin Film festival. It was Cooper’s first, he won a second in 1975 with Overlord before directing Hurt, Warner and Donald Sutherland in the film version of Derek Marlowe‘s The Disappearance in 1977.

Harrison was certainly an innovator as Little Malcolm and his later movies Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and The Long Good Friday proved. Now, nearly forty years after its first screening, Harrison’s “lost” first film as producer is available at last.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Twin Peaks’ in Red Vines® by Jason Mecier
10.31.2011
12:52 pm

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Endlessly creative artist collage/mosaic artist Jason Mecier’s new exhibit “Licorice Flix, Edible Movie Mosaics” also features portraits of Harry Potter, Willy Wonka, ET, Elizabeth Berkley in Show Girls and Freddy Krueger rendered in Red Vines®. As usual, they’re pretty amazing.

Appropriately, there is a portrait of Charlie Chaplin included. It’s a little-known fact that the shoe the Little Tramp boils and eats in The Gold Rush was made of licorice by the American Licorice Company, the same company who make Red Vines® (and who are sponsoring the art show).

The show is opening at the IAm8Bit Gallery at 2147 W. Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, with a reception for the artist on November 4 from 7-10 PM.
 

 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Horror Express: Campy gore classic returns
10.31.2011
11:47 am

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Playing almost like a particularly claustrophobic Argento film produced by Roger Corman, but starring Hammer’s two most notable leading men, the gory low-budget—but totally wonderful—Horror Express is one of those films that we of a certain age saw repeatedly on “Chiller Theater” type TV shows in the mid to late 70s. When I was a ten-year-old kid, this film absolutely scared the shit out of me.

In Horror Express, which is almost a horror comedy, a supposed “missing link” is discovered in Siberia, but the frozen creature is merely the vessel for an extraterrestrial spirit of “pure evil” that can hop from victim to victim turning them into zombies that bleed from their eyes. It stars Christoper Lee and Peter Cushing as two competitive archaeologists. Telly Savalas has a great supporting role as a brutal Cossack officer who’s a nasty piece of work and there is even a weird Rasputin character, too.  It was written by Arnaud d’Usseau and Julian Zimet, the same (one-time blacklisted) screenwriters who penned the “undead biker” classic Psychomania. It was directed by Eugenio Martín. Like many European films of the time, this Spanish production was shot without sound and the actors dubbed their voices in later so it’s got that loopy sort of feel.

The film has been in the public domain for years and crappy quasi-bootleg copies have been making the rounds for a while (I have one that has the film reels out of order). At long last, Horror Express fans are getting treated to a new deluxe 2-disc dual DVD/Blu-ray release from cult meisters extraordinare, Severin Films. The new high-definition master has been created using the original camera negative and DVD extras include a recording of an extensive 1973 interview with Peter Cushing. (Cushing’s wife died before filming on Horror Express commenced. He almost backed out of the film entirely).

Pre-oder a copy of Horror Express on Amazon.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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