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Monday, May 30, 2005

See You In A Bit

When your car is too old to fix it, you are buying a new car. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you'd be able to change you human body as easy as you can change a car. Let's say that your identity is a driver, and your body is a car. Moving your identity into a new, younger human body will make you young again! Brain Transplantation made it possible. We can preserve your identity by moving you brain into new body. See what we can do for you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Richard Linklater's 16 reasons to love Two-Lane Blacktop.

For all of you who still haven't catched up, here's a sweet reminder:

Because it's the purest American road movie ever.

Because it's like a drive-in movie directed by a French New Wave director.

Because the only thing that can get between a boy and his car obsession is a girl, and Lori Bird perfectly messes up the oneness between the Driver, the Mechanic, and their car.

Because Dennis Wilson gives the greatest performance ever by a driver.

Because James Taylor seems like a refugee from a Robert Bresson movie.

Because there was once a god who walked the Earth named Warren Oates.

Because there's a continuing controversy over who is the actual lead in this movie. There are different camps. Some say it's the '55 Chevy, some say it's the GTO.

Because it has the most purely cinematic ending in film history.

Because it's like a western. The guys are like old-time gunfighters, ready to out-draw the quickest gun in town. And they don't talk about old flames, but rather old cars they've had.

Because Warren Oates has a different cashmere sweater for every occasion. And of course the wet bar in the trunk.

Because unlike other films of the era with the designer alienation of the drug culture and the war protesters, this movie is about the alienation of everybody else, like Robert Frank's American Comes Alive.

Because Warren Oates, as GTO, orders a hamburger and an Alka Seltzer and says things like "Everything is going too fast and not fast enough."

Because it's both the last film of the '60s -- even though it came out in '71 -- but it's also the first film of the '70s. You know, that great era of "How the hell did they ever get that film made at a studio/Hollywood would never do that today" type of film.

Because engines have never sounded better in a movie.

Because these two young men on their trip to nowhere don't really know how to talk. The Driver doesn't really converse when he's behind the wheel, and the Mechanic doesn't really talk when he's working on the car. So this is primarily a visual, atmospheric experience. To watch this movie correctly is to become absorbed into it.

And, above all else, Two-Lane Blacktop goes all the way with its idea. And that's a rare thing in this world; a completely honest movie.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

And a prize after all!

Okay so Broken Flowers gets the runner up Award. The Grand Prix prize is slowly becoming the category to watch (last year Oldboy, now Jarmusch). Actually I'm sorta glad with this list of winners. It's also really good to see two awards for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada which sounds like a very interesting film. Guillermo Arriaga (21 grams fame) is a great screenwriter. And well I guess the Dardennes are ok. I liked The Son (Le Fils).

But good one Jim & a nice speech as well. I wonder what your "very strange jury" comment was about. My bet is you're just being your funny self but one newspaper already interpreted this as "you being disappointed", which seems to be ridiculous if you read the whole speech:

"I'm speechless, exclaimed Jarmusch. It's a great honor to accept this prize on behalf of all those who worked on this film. When making a film, all the cast and crew are on equal footing. Thanks to all who made this film possible, especially Bill Murray. Without him, the scenario would never have been written. And I thank this very strange Jury and the Festival who have also welcomed my work here throughout the years, to Thierry Frémaux, and Gilles Jacob who is one of the great gentlemen on the planet."

He added, "I would also like to say quickly that I do not believe in competition for artistic works. It's already an honor to be selected in the competition and to be here next such great directors as Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Amos Gitaï, Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Johnnie To and Mr. Hou Hsiao-Hsien as I am one of his students, Wim Wenders who has been so generous with me when I began making movies 20 years ago and Robert Rodriguez. I accept this award in the name of all filmmakers who follow their heart and make films that interpret their vision. We are part of the same family and it's an honor to be included in this family."

The complete list of winners:

Palme d'Or (Golden Palm): "The Child," Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
Grand Prize: "Broken Flowers," Jim Jarmusch (United States)
Jury Prize: "Shanghai Dreams," Wang Xiaoshuai (China)
Best director: "Hidden," Michael Haneke (Austria)
Best actor: Tommy Lee Jones, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" (United States)
Best actress: Hanna Laslo, "Free Zone," Israel
Best screenplay: "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," Guillermo Arriaga (Mexican screenwriter, U.S. film)
Golden Camera (first-time director): "Me and You and Everyone We Know," Miranda July, (United States), and "The Forsaken Land," Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka)
Best short film: "Wayfarers," Igor Strembitskyy (Ukraine)

okay so more cannes posts

but one totally on the pop ephemera side!

What is with that Cannes red carpet & boobs???

Last year we had Alexandra Kerry showing off.

This year Sophie Marceau has a dress incident. The fans who think that movie was too short and want pictures, should go here btw. It was nice to see you were still smiling Sophie!

Still the Tara Reid boob slip movie last year was much more funnier, especially since she's not aware of it and because she had a real bad plastic surgeon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Permanent Vacation

Personally I don't use email. I do use the Internet to get information. I think of it as kind of a tool. There are positive and negative aspects to technology and I'll tell you that these days in the United States, there's no way to get news that is not censored outside of the Internet. That's a great gift in a way. I still write my scripts by hand in a notebook; I like something that you can actually physically carry around with you. I'm terrified to have my ideas in cyberspace.
-- J.J. needs to add me on messenger

Broken Flowers has finally hit Cannes and you all should check out the video clips & interviews on the official site.

Apparently the bookies had put Jarmusch on a first spot before the festival started but I would be totally surprised if he would indeed get the palm d'or. My guess is on the Haneke or Von Trier phoneys.

Also, the first Broken Flowers reviews are in. It's looking good:
The Hollywood Reporter
Globe and Mail

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Invisible Imaginary Ubiquitous Winged Witness

On Film-Making: An introduction to the craft of the director
by Alexander Mackendrick & Paul Cronin (Editor)

When on set or location, a film director is apt to have an absent manner, as if his mind were in another place. In a way this is true, for he is not really there. In spirit he has removed himself into the future and is already sitting in the movie-house, watching the screen as if it were a window into an imaginary world. Already a member of the audience for his as yet unmade film, the director is feeling what the future spectators of his work might feel and reacting as they might react.

As someone who seeks to know what will 'work' for the audience, the director becomes his audience whilst making his film. He looks at the crowd of people surrounding him in the studio in a strange way, blind and dead to much that is going on. Why? Because his mind is fragmented. He is screening out everything not relevant to the as yet not-present world of the story being told. Concentrating only on what he can see, he is busy arranging in his head the short, narrow segments, those disorientated pieces of this soon-to-be assembled reality that will be seen and heard through that open window of the cinema screen. He is, in his mind's eye and ear, involved in make-believe just as complex as that of the actors before him. He is living not only in the future but also, in another sense, in the past, when, during the writing stage, he was gradually constructing a fully focused concept of the film: its atmosphere, its visual qualities, its characters' appearance and behavior, their emotions and interactions.

Though nothing is fixed and finalized in his mind, standing on location as the individual personification of his future audience, he is able to run the film though in his mind's eyes and ears. As he looks through the viewfinder and puts the jigsaw together, he is using his memory as a guide to the hundreds of decisions he has to make. His dream film is progressively becoming more concrete and specific: the actors have been chosen, the sets have been designed and constructed, the locations found, the dialogue revised and polished. Even though when shooting starts the director will be working just as much from his memorized fantasy as from anything that might appear in the typed-up shooting script, every single decision related to camera position, image size and editing pattern is determined by the question "What do I need to see now?" - with the 'I' being that group who exist in a now that is really the future: the potential audience.

I have tried to illustrate these ideas by creating a character who represents the director at this stage: the Invisible Imaginary Ubiquitous Winged Witness, a creature designed to personify the mind's eye and ear of the director leaping about in time and space of an imaginary world constructed in front of the camera lens. This movement, this shifting point of view, is what the director needs when planning camera set-ups and staging performances.

The camera may be a mechanical instrument that records images, either static or in motion. But the Witness is an utterly different kind of creature with a magical and mythic presence that has very human qualities and characteristics. Far from being passive, it is an active participant in the imaginary events being portrayed. It is the embodiment of the audience's curiosity, a creature whose attitude to persons and events is colored by feeling: sympathetic on occasion, alienated at other times. It can watch as an imaginary observer or it can feel as a participant. It has, in other words, a point of view, seeing at all times from one precise point in space, but able to shift that viewpoint in an instant. To answer a complex question very simply: where does the director place the camera? Answer: at the precise spot from where at any given instant the Witness can see all that needs to be seen and only what needs to be seen. Whether it is a longshot, a medium shot or a close-up, the Witness is able to observe it all. This is no simple matter since, as every film cameraman and director will tell you, the real world in which the filming is done may be intractable in providing, within the limits of the viewfinder, all that the Witness desires to see.

Every cut in action is always something of a disorientating shock for the audience. This is sometimes forgotten by the filmmaker who thinks that all cuts in action must be smooth. The way to make a cut seem smooth is to make the jump of the mind's eye one that the audience wants to make. Simply, the cut to an image is accepted when it supplies to the viewer the satisfaction of some curiosity stimulated by the previous image, or when the shock of the cut is a surprise presentation of something that is interesting and stimulating, even if unexpected. To answer a second complex question simply: when should the director make a cut in the action? Answer: when the Witness wants to see something it cannot yet see. As such, the motivation for every cut should always be built into the preceding angle. There should automatically be within every shot something that creates in the audience a desire to move at the right moment, along with the Witness, to the next angle. This is what the film editor looks for: a motive for a move within space and time.

In this respect, the Witness is a strange disembodied and mythic creature. It has magical faculties, living in an entirely fictitious and imaginary world, oblivious to real space and time. It is a being able to leap about with total freedom, taking up impossible positions in space, as for instance when it hovers outside a top floor window of a skyscraper looking into to see the action. The Witness is able to look not only through solid walls, it can even take up a position inside a brick wall. It can fly in close to enough to study the facial expressions (those secret and private reactions) of a character who is sitting alone. Or it might fly out to allow the audience an appreciation of the geography of a crowded room. From this it will be clear where the characters lie in respect of each other and where the objects that surround them are standing.

The Witness can make leaps in time too. Intensely inquisitive as well as being somewhat impatient, and because it is in touch with the desire of the audience, it tends to anticipate. Seeing what may happen next, it jumps to the next interesting action, thus telescoping time. Seeing an intention, it might even leap to the conclusion, while on other occasions will explore the realm of memory by retracing time into the past.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Script Formatting

There is no absolute "standard" format used by all professional screenwriters working in the American film industry. Slight variations abound in scripts written by professionals.

Some good links on Script Formatting:


Screenwriting in Style has various sections and many useful tips

The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting provides a good insight with a Screenplay Format Example

Scriptologist How to Format a Screenplay Part 1
Scriptologist How to Format a Screenplay Part 2
Scriptologist How to Format a Screenplay Part 3

US Screenplay Presentation


The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

The Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats: The Screenplay
(but beware: it was written in 1983)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fresh Toppings

Monday, May 09, 2005

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Have we not seen it?

The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life, in general, so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it-this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience, and they occur in country and in town, and in the most differing stages of education. If experience consists of impressions, it may be said that impressions are experience, just as (have we not seen it?) they are the very air we breathe.

Therefore, if I should certainly say to a novice, 'Write from experience, and experience only,' I should feel that this was a rather tantalising monition if I were not careful immediately to add, 'Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!'

(c) Henry James : The Art of Fiction

Monday, May 02, 2005

Etymology: Greek, literally, common place

A given culture never possesses a complete vocabulary for itself. The current language games only ever emphasize select topics and leave other phenomena unaddressed. This applies as well to the vocabulary of theory in the late twentieth century. In past decades, one could speak elaborately and with great nuance about everything that had to do with the temporal structure of the modern world. Tons of books on the historicization, futurization, and processing of everything were published—most of which are completely unreadable today. By contrast, it was still comparatively difficult ten years ago to comment sensibly on the spatialization of existence in the modern world; a thick haze still covered the theory landscape. Until recently, there was a voluntary spatial blindness—because to the extent that temporal problems were seen as progressive and cool, the questions of space were thought to be old-fashioned and conservative, a matter for old men and shabby imperialists. Even the fascinating, novel chapters on space in Deleuze and Guattari's Thousand Plateaus couldn't change the situation, since they arrived too early for the chronophilic, or time-worshipping, zeitgeist of those days. The same goes for programmatic propositions in late Foucault—according to whom we again enter an age of space—which in their time were still unable to usher in a transition.

My Spheres trilogy obviously belongs to a widespread reversal among philosophical and cultural-theoretical discourses that has taken place in the strongholds of contemporary reflection over the course of the past decade. As I began in 1990, while a fellow at Bard College, in New York, I had only a vague premonition of this topological turn within cultural theory. Only now, after the completion of the trilogy, do I see more clearly how my work is connected with that of numerous colleagues around the world, such as Homi Bhabha, Arjun Appadurai, and Edward S. Casey. Even Ilya Kabakov's installation art and the work of architects like Frei Otto, Grimshaw and Partners, or Rem Koolhaas, belong to the circle of theoretical relations. At the time, I wanted to work with the figures of the circle and arrow in order to offer my students in Vienna and New York, who were mainly young artists, an introduction to philosophical thinking. I thought that graphic figures would be useful in that context.

I was also fascinated by a chalkboard drawing Martin Heidegger made around 1960, in a seminar in Switzerland, in order to help psychiatrists better understand his ontological theses. As far as I know, this is the only time that Heidegger made use of visual means to illustrate logical facts; he otherwise rejected such antiphilosophical aids. In the drawing, one can see five arrows, each of which is rushing toward a single semicircular horizon—a magnificently abstract symbolization of the term Dasein as the state of being cast in the direction of an always-receding world horizon (unfortunately, it's not known how the psychiatrists reacted to it). But I still recall how my antenna began to buzz back then, and during the following years a veritable archaeology of spatial thought emerged from this impulse. The main focus may have been Eurocentric, but there was a constant consideration of non-European cultures, in particular India and China. Incidentally, I also owe something to Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space, although later I quite stubbornly departed from his promptings.

(c) Bettina Funcke talks with Peter Sloterdijk

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