Film

When You Lose All Hope, You Live For The Present

Hard-boiled is hard. One slip in tone, a moment of sentimentality, any break in story or character credibility and the tough, spare, merciless universe crumbles, usually into kitsch. Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Jules Dassin’s Rififi (1955), Claude Sautet’s Classe tous risques (1960), John Boorman’s Point Blank (1967), John McKenzie’s The Long Good Friday (1980), and Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake (2004) never waver.

What Passes for Booklearning

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst’s directorial debut The Education of Charlie Banks took a long time to find release after its festival showings in 2007. Having Durst’s name attached might not have helped its case.

When the Outside World Crashes Within

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films often envelope their characters and viewers in an intense sense of isolation and despair. When a young woman, paranoid of supernatural attack, slowly retreats into a back room, the camera moves forward to lead us further away from her world. At the end of a dimly-lit street, someone suddenly jumps down a high tower to her death. The horrified reaction of a witness is lost among the grey shades of many faceless, out-of-focus passers-by.

Shinjuku Ectsasy: Independent Films From The Art Theatre Guild Of Japan

Shinjuku, Tokyo in the late 60s and early 70s was an electrifying place: student radicals, avant-garde street performers, drag queens, and assorted hippies crossed paths in a vortex of vibrant counterculture. In the heart of Shinjuku stood the Shinjuku Bunka, the Art Theatre Guild’s flagship showplace. Painted stark grey—in contrast to the surrounding gaudy commercial theaters—the Bunka introduced Tokyoites to European art cinema as well as to the most daring Japanese independent productions of the day.

Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place

From its first shot of an eye with a flashing iris that yields to light playing upon the ocean, Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place, establishes itself as a meditation on the life and poetic vision of the 20th century American poet Charles Olson and his muse America’s oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The Chelsea Hotel on Film

Alex Cox’s 1986 cult classic Sid and Nancy recounts the whirlwind relationship and tragic end of punk rock’s Romeo & Juliet, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Gary Oldman is amazing, and portrays the Sex Pistols bassist hauntingly well. Chloe Webb is as terrific as she is irritating, and Nancy was most definitely the latter.

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APRIL 2009

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