Browsing: Other Arts

His films were loved by audiences, and his personality was admired and respected by his peers, Sydney Pollack was an innovative director, actor, and producer who will not be soon forgotten. The legendary director passed away on May 26, 2008 nine months after being diagnosed with cancer. His calm and collaborative approach to filmmaking made him a standout from his peers and gave him the ability to pull the best out of his cast and crew. His films were successful with both critics and audiences and traces of his daring, humanistic, and meticulous personality were present in all of his…

New York, NY — With Tribeca now in full swing, I have blissfully ignored the tedious details of my daily life – the incessant tracking of Obama websites, the weekly hoarding of Arborio rice from my local Gristedes — in favor of the far more compelling dramas playing out on the festival’s screens. Here’s a short run down of what’s been happening in the past few days:Armed with my digital camera and reporters pad, I attended Tribeca’s opening press conference last week, attended by an all-star cast including Tribeca co–founder and producer Jane Rosenthal; the new Governor of New York…

New York, NY — With the Democratic candidates busy beating themselves up, the U.S. economy beating itself down and the price of a night on the town equivalent to a week on the job, New Yorkers have good reason to feel a bit bruised and confused. Which has given me a great excuse to seek the perfect distraction and hike on down (who has cab fare?) to the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 23-May 4. While the polls have barely opened on this one, I can already report that this year’s edition promises to be one of the…

After several years of planning, Madrid will finally serve up its newest entrée in the city’s tapas bar of international cultural events with the first edition of Filma Madrid, otherwise known as the Madrid International Film Festival, from March 28 through April 5. You may be one of those cineastes who feels the world hardly needs another film festival; there’s already more than 500 worldwide, catering to every manner of major and not-so-major features, shorts and videos. (Filma Madrid itself falls right between two of the granddaddies, Berlin and Cannes.) But this promising upstart appears to have the all private…

Some weeks ago, way back in 2007, I said I’d deliver the second part of my column on the folks behind the extraordinary The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which since has snagged two Golden Globes (best foreign language film, best direction). Alas, that story seemed to have fallen down a mystery rabbit hole located somewhere in the nether regions of my computer desktop. I’m now happy to report that I have dived down after it (sans diving bell, thankfully) and have retrieved the orphaned item. Apologies for the late rescue. It’s nice when filmmaking runs in the family. Somewhere…

Next week Border Crossings goes to the 58th Berlin International Film Festival (Feb. 7-17), better known as the Berlinale, to check out the films, parties, news, gossip… and that crashing sound of the dollar falling against the Euro. How bad is it? Well, let’s just say I’ll be hitting as many sponsored buffets and dinner parties as possible. I’ll tote along a tripod and Handycam to capture the festivities with a crew of one (yours truly), or maybe an unpaid friend/lacky to hold the camera once in a while. Production values will be in keeping with our budget, which is…

In the new film Juno (directed by Jason Reitman who also did Thank you for Smoking and written by Diablo Cody), the main theme dealt with is teen pregnancy. Yet instead of looking down on Juno (played by Ellen Page) for making a ‘mistake’ by having sex at such an early age (16 years old), the screenwriter chooses rather to empower her and show her strength in this situation. We see her grow as she deals with things some people even twice her age haven’t gotten to yet.We eventually meet the adoptive mother, Vanessa (played by Jennifer Garner) who appears…

Ask Julian Schnabel what drove him to make his current feature The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, and this is what he offers:“I wanted this film to be a tool, like his book, a self-help device that can help you handle your own death. That’s why I did it.”As explanations for movies go, this has to rank as one of the least sanguine in film history. A primer for the bitter end? Definitely not the kind of quote you’d stick on a movie marquis to drive up box office. But then, who really…

My particular interest in “No Country for Old Men”, the new Coen Brothers’ film, lies in the invisibility of the female characters throughout the film, which leaves the adventure solely to the men. While I can’t say this film was bad, conversely being one of the best films I have seen in a while, its characters nonetheless seemed rather skewed within the masculine/feminine spectrum. This skew is one of the factors that lead us to placing it among the Westerns like any classic John Ford film or the more recent Eastwood films. Consider the Western genre, and one of its…

The Poetry of Everyday Life: Picture Virgil and Horace spooling their lyrical dramas and tales a millennium later on the streets of Rome. Once telling of mortals sacrificing their children to the gods and carrying their fathers on their shoulders across the seas surrounding Italy or feuding with jealousies and infidelities of their own, the eloquent verses take to city traffic and crank themselves out in mid-20th-century images. The betrayals and crimes, loyalties and desires, are still there, and so are the ashes of war; but the gods are fascists and the mortals are men on bicycles riding to work,…

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