Back in 1947, decades before cat memes became a way of life, experimental documentary filmmakers Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid gave us a lovely glimpse of the "Private Life of a Cat." From Archive.org:
RECORDS FEMALE CAT & HER 5 KITTENS AS MOTHER CAT APPROACHES LABOR, KITTENS ARE BORN & OBTAIN MILK & MOTHER CAT THEN CARES FOR THEM IN LEARNING & GROWING PROCESS, IN WHICH TOM CAT OCCASIONALLY PARTICIPATES.
Previously: Maya Deren's Sights and sounds of Haitian vodou Read the rest
Aerial photographer and filmmaker Toby Harriman turned his lens on the soaring public housing apartment block towers in Hong Kong. Read the rest
Check out this incredibly dedicated animated flipbook re-creation of all the booby traps in the 1990 holiday scare-'em film HOME ALONE, starring Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci. Read the rest
David Lynch has directed many television commercials but this one from 1993 for Adidas, titled "The Wall," gives any surreal perfume commercials (including Lynch's own) a run for their money. (See what I did there?) You can find a directory and clips of Lynch's other commercial, ad, and promo work here.
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Enjoy this trippy kaleidoscopic ultra-HD short film posted by Michael Shainblum.
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I am proud to share my latest abstract mirror timelapse video “The Wormhole”. I knew after creating Mirror city I wanted to keep exploring the idea of kaleidoscopic imagery in timelapse. This time I wanted to expand upon the idea, creating scenes that feel like new worlds in alternate universes. I utilized camera techniques such as hyperlapse and aerial video to further showcase the surrealism in the video. Cities showcased in this video are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Shanghai. I really hope you enjoy the video!
When it was announced last month that FilmStruck, a streaming service dedicated to dishing up the greatest films of all time, would be shut down at the end of November, movie geeks, like yours truly, kind of lost their shit. Home to an unholy number of classic and arthouse flicks, it was a brainy, beautiful refuge from the fare offered up by Netflix, Hulu and other mainstream streaming services. A cry went out. A petition to save FilmStruck was thrown together. Thousands signed. Celebrities lent their voices to the cause.
Holy crap: someone actually listened.
While FilmStruck is still toast, the folks that own the Criterion Collection--a company that focuses on historically important classic films--is launching the next best thing: The Criterion Channel
From The Criterion Collection:
The Criterion Collection and WarnerMedia announced today a new chapter for the beloved collection of Criterion films. In the Spring of 2019, through a special arrangement with WarnerMedia, the Criterion Channel will launch as a free-standing streaming service. Additionally, the popular library of films will be part of WarnerMedia’s recently announced direct-to-consumer platform that is planned to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. Today’s announcement ensures that fans will have access to these films from the Criterion Collection as well as films from WarnerMedia’s deep and extensive library in what will be a rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies.
If this is your bag, you'll be happy to know that if you sign up now, you'll be given a deal as one of the service's charter subscribers: access to everything that the Criterion Channel has to offer for $9.99 a month or $89.99 for a year. Read the rest
Do you believe that we're living in a simulation? Has that belief affected your life? My old pal Rodney Ascher, director of fantastically freaky documentaries like Room 237, about weird theories surrounding The Shining, and The Nightmare, a study on sleep paralysis, is starting on a new far-out film about people who are convinced that our world is a digital creation. If you're one of those people, Rodney would love to hear from you.
"The approach, like my other films, is to focus almost entirely on first-person accounts and present them as accurately as possible - closer to a non-fiction Twilight Zone than an episode of Cosmos," Rodney says.
"A Glitch in the Matrix" (Facebook) Read the rest
In 1993, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails composed music for the first station ID for MTV Japan created by the inimitable Shinya Tsukamoto, director of cyberpunk/horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Of course, Reznor later penned the below theme song for Tsukamoto's 2010 film "Tetsuo: The Bullet Man."
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PBS premieres Dark Money on Monday October 1. It's a sobering look at how the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC is trickling down to local politics. John S. Adams, a Montana-based reporter profiled in the film, says, "This is scary stuff, but I think this is the proving ground for the American experiment." Read the rest
This NSFW film examines a fictional incel named Sam, starting with his agonizingly tense interaction with a young woman and reaching a disturbing culmination. Read the rest
Between 1947 and 1954, avant-garde dancer and experimental filmmaker Maya Deren visited Haiti and immersed herself in vodou. Supported with a Guggenheim Fellowship grant, Deren intended to study and film the trance dancing of vodou ceremony. Ultimately, Deren became an active participant in the rituals. She documented her experiences in the 1953 book Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo (Living) Gods of Haiti and the footage that resulted in the entrancing 1981 film above, completed two decades after Deren's death by her third husband and his wife. Now, the Psychic Sounds Research & Recordings label has remastered and reissued Deren's audio recordings from Haiti on vinyl. Audio sampler below. From the label:
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Maya Deren journeyed to Haiti to make a film of ritual dances, instead, she came to be accepted as a Voudoun initiate, whose devotees commune with the cosmic powers through invocation, offerings, song and dance of the Voudoun pantheon of deities, or Loa, whom are witnessed as being living gods and goddesses, actually taking possession of their devotees. Deren describes the relationship between magic, science and religion bringing a uniquely lyrical voice to her narrative. This paints a multi-textured, infinitely complex portrait of a spiritual tradition with roots stretching back to the very dawn of humanity. Joseph Campbell calls Divine Horsemen 'the most illuminating introduction that has yet been rendered to the whole marvel of the Haitian mysteries as 'facts of the mind.'' Included in this album are some of the first recordings ever made during religious ceremonies near Croix de Missions and Petionville featuring selections that serve as a soundtrack to the film she shot documenting Voodoo ceremonies and festivals conveying the incantatory power of the ritual drumming and singing.
CALLING ALL EARTHLINGS, the new documentary from filmmaker Jonathan Berman ('Commune,' 'The Schvitz') has it all: UFOs, a mystical dome in the Joshua Tree desert, psychic experiences, time travel, Howard Hughes, Nikolai Tesla, communists, eternal life, murder-- oh yeah, and Nazis. Read the rest
Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.
Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.
Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers
• Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest
BBC got to be the first to tour Intel Studios, a state of the art greenscreen facility, with no suits, no motion capture, just a live performance captured in a green dome by hundreds of cameras. Read the rest
The Royal Ocean Film Society examines and contextualizes the beach party movie genre formula perfected and then milked dry by the genius marketers at schlock house American International Pictures. Read the rest
In the course of my work as a documentary filmmaker, I sometimes find hidden gems. Samuel Fuller’s “The Naked Kiss” is one of them. Read the rest
Bill McGovern worked as a second assistant camera on a lot of shows, which is why he seems pretty unfazed to have handled the clapper and slating duties on some iconic Star Trek episodes. Read the rest