Eliza Hittman (IU, ‘01, Theatre and Drama) has one of the most vital artistic voices in the American independent film scene. Her short and feature films use a fascinating technical style to portray moments and experiences that have rarely, if ever, received depiction in American cinema. The fact that her work focuses on characters from marginalized backgrounds adds a political dimension to her work. But this is only because of the quality that, more than anything, defines Hittman’s work as exceptional: empathy. (more…)
Guest post by Kristian Segerberg.
There is a certain beauty in not knowing what life has in store for us. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch touches upon similar ideas in his earlier films which depict foreigners traveling in novel places and exploring the unfamiliar. In his 1989 film, Mystery Train, Jarmusch shows a typical night in Memphis through varying points of view. Through rundown hotels and late-night diner conversations with strangers, Jarmusch makes one night in “the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” unforgettable. (more…)
Much has been made of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s relationship with the great Hollywood auteur Douglas Sirk, and of Fassbinder’s predilection toward working within a mode of overwrought melodrama – the kind of “weepies,” largely intended for female audiences, that Sirk was most comfortable working with in the ‘50s. Those who study Fassbinder have even come to identify a kind of “Sirk period” in his work, spurred on by his viewing of six Sirk films at the Filmmuseum in Munich toward the end of 1970, which culminated in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), a remake of sorts to Sirk’s masterpiece All That Heaven Allows (1955).
But equally important to an understanding of Fassbinder’s art is his background in German experimental theatre: his first great hero remained the dialectical playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), and even his most overtly Sirkian texts seem to practice a form of theatrical distanciation which Brecht helped to formulate. (more…)
Every month A Place for Film will bring you a selection of films from our group of regular bloggers. Even though these films aren’t currently being screened at the IU Cinema, this series will reflect the varied programming that can be found at the Cinema, as well as demonstrate the eclectic tastes of the bloggers. Each contributor has picked one film that they saw this month that they couldn’t wait to share with others. Keep reading to find out what discoveries these cinephiles have made, as well as some of the old friends they’ve revisited. (more…)
In the 2003 film The Matrix Revolutions, Hugo Weaving as the character Agent Smith stands over Keanu Reeves’ beaten and muddied Neo. It’s a short reprieve in their baroque and awe-inspiring final confrontation. Rain pouring down, lightning flashing as billions (with a “B”) of copy-and-pasted Smiths watch as the original Smith grits his teeth with genuine frustration and confusion as to why Neo won’t simply stay down when it’s so clear that the odds are against him. “Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?!?” Agent Smith snarls in annoyance. Even though this moment is about the triumph of true choice and the human will to simply keep going (Neo responds, “Because I choose to”), I understand Smith’s frustration. I understand the frustration of watching people ignore something that’s sitting right in front of their face. In my case however, it has to do with outright refusal and reluctance to reevaluate ambitious and purposefully subversive films that have been written off as cut-and-dry failures for a decade or more. I am, quite obviously, talking about the two sequels to the 1999 film The Matrix. (more…)
The Brothers Quay’s first narrative feature builds upon many of the themes found in their animated shorts. Within Institute Benjamenta, or this dream people call human life (1995), the Quays explore expressive spaces, play with sonic and visual textures, and search for the poetic within banal movement. (more…)