A presentation by Director/Producer Hugh Welchman, describing the behind the scenes production process of the world’s first most eagerly awaited hand painted, animated feature film:
Cinema in our time is almost completely dominated by aesthetic. This has curiously been the case with both Hollywood mastodons and lower budget fare. The look of a film now supersedes its narrative, as evident in much of this year’s offerings ranging from Blade Runner 2049 to Wonderstruck. But Loving Vincent, an elegant and enrapturing film experience, proves that when approaching the life of a great artist, aesthetic is key — the trick is how to fuse the gesture with an engaging narrative. The film is an exploration of the cryptic life of Vincent van Gogh, his dark aura and wondrous talent, brought to life through his own visions. Here is a film worth seeking out in whichever local arthouse lucky enough to be showing it. I am grateful I accepted an invitation to see it from a dear friend who had just returned from those burning lands in the Middle East, who confessed Van Gogh was her muse and so was drawn to this film like a moth to flame. [Read more…]
After starring in several Coen Brothers comedies, actor/writer-director George Clooney strives to make one of his very own, helming Suburbicon. The crime-comedy began as a Coen Brother’s script nearly 20 years ago. Then Clooney and his writing partner, Grant Heslov, gave the draft a makeover, working in a true story of suburban racism they’d hoped to spin into a compelling biopic. But the result is a jarring combination that goes together as well as peanut butter and poison. [Read more…]
Translated into English by Hester Velmans
Reviewed by Christopher Michno
In Dutch writer Niña Weijers’ debut novel, The Consequences, the story of a young conceptual artist and rising star in the rarified world of international art fairs and blue chip galleries, a portrait emerges of a person who has been on the verge of disappearing into herself from the earliest moments of her life. Through various turns, Weijers explores the question of what it means to be–both as an artist and, in an even more basic sense, as a person–present in one’s skin and one’s own life. [Read more…]
The concept of toxic masculinity is not a difficult one to grasp. Just last week it was evinced throughout social media, as millions of women testified to the regular abuse they suffer at the hands of misogyny and the patriarchal structures that shape power relations in society. At the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn, French-born Brooklyn-based artist Anne Mourier was staging her own subtle stand in the form of a solo exhibition she titled Elevation. [Read more…]
Oozing avant-garde, post-industrial gravitas, Hauser & Wirth’s ultra-trendy Los Angeles Arts District location is currently housing Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011, an exhaustive survey of internationally-renowned late sculpture and performance artist Mike Kelley’s rarely-seen Kandors. These miniature cityscapes encased in variously-colored glass bell jars offer a truly unique and poignant emotional viewing experience, revealing how it would feel to be a superhuman, omnipotent being gazing upon a civilization below. Exploring themes of memory, loneliness and desperation, Kelley’s titular Kandors are inspired by legendary comic book hero Superman’s home city of Kandor on the planet Krypton. [Read more…]
In 1969, Cary Raditz, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina, quit his job in advertising and headed to Europe to bum around with his girlfriend. They ended up in Matala, on the island of Crete, where they found a bunch of hippies living in a network of caves. Raditz soon decamped for Afghanistan in a VW bus; when he returned, his girlfriend had bailed, but there was word that a new girl was headed to Matala. Raditz didn’t know much about Joni Mitchell, but “there was buzz” among the hippies, and, soon enough, he found himself watching the sunset with one of the most extraordinary people alive. Raditz and Mitchell shared a cave for a couple of months, travelled around Greece together, and parted ways. That’s where you and I come in, because Mitchell wrote two songs, among her greatest works, about her “redneck on a Grecian isle”: “California” and “Carey.” I’ve been singing along to those songs, or trying to, since I was fifteen. I learned from them what you learn from all of Mitchell’s music, that love is a form of reciprocity, at times even a barter economy: “He gave me back my smile / but he kept my camera to sell.” Mitchell’s songs were the final, clinching trade.
Carey, from Blue
“Strangler Bob” is one of five stories from Denis Johnson’s forthcoming collection, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, which was completed just before his death in May of this year. See Riot Material’s earlier tributes to Denis Johnson here.
You hop into a car, race off in no particular direction, and, blam, hit a power pole. Then it’s off to jail. I remember a monstrous tangle of arms and legs and fists, with me at the bottom, gouging at eyes and doing my utmost to mangle throats, but I arrived at the facility without a scratch or a bruise. I must have been easy to subdue. The following Monday, I pled guilty to disturbing the peace and malicious mischief, reduced from felony vehicular theft and resisting arrest because—well, because all this occurs on another planet, the planet of Thanksgiving, 1967. I was eighteen and hadn’t been in too much trouble. I was sentenced to forty-one days. [Read more…]
There is a strange sense in modern cinema that to be avant-garde means to be vague, whereas pop entertainment wears its idealisms or opinions on its sleeve. A look at this year’s offerings offers a startling set of comparisons to make this point. Early in the year the surprise box office hit Get Out offered a vicious B-movie critique of race relations in contemporary America, while the arthouse darling It Comes at Night was a somewhat sluggish bore about people in the woods, trapped in some vague post-apocalyptic future without much of a point (or coherent plot). Even Ridley Scott’s latest rehash of the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant, had more to say about the rise of Fascism in the modern world than anything else released in the season. [Read more…]
Echo chambers are considered by many to be the bane of intellectual thought. They dominated the news cycle after the 2016 United States presidential elections, with headline after headline blaring that echo chambers (along with fake news and Russian intervention) were partly responsible for costing Democrats the vote. Leftists, liberals, and millennials alike were blamed for the creation of “safe spaces” in polls, magazines and Internet comment sections, blinding themselves to the popularity of Donald Trump against opponent Hilary Clinton. They were blindsided because they’d secluded themselves away in worlds of their own making, left bewildered to the idea of huge swaths of the population identifying with, and voting for, a racist, sexist demagogue like Donald Trump. [Read more…]
The Snowman had all the makings of a great horror crime-thriller in the vein of Silence of the Lambs. It too was based on a provocative mystery novel, Jo Nesbø’s acclaimed international bestseller. It was helmed by an esteemed director, Tomas Alfredson. The Swedish filmmaker chiseled a reputation for crafting compelling adaptations of tricky novels with his celebrated vampire tale Let the Right One In, and the Oscar-nominated espionage drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. With a cast that boasts such critically heralded stars as Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and J.K. Simmons, Alfredson seemed destined for a three-peat success with his latest. So perhaps the greatest mystery of The Snowman is not the identity of its merciless murderer, but just how all this promise came together in an incoherent and tone-deaf mess. [Read more…]
Tom of Finland might not be the movie you’re expecting it to be, but it’s the movie it needs to be. This quiet masterpiece of a biopic assumes that the viewer already knows how the story ends, with its eponymous protagonist becoming a living legend of progressive gay culture in the late 20th century, an artist whose critical and popular claim both celebrated and transcended its context. Tom’s art was boldly proud and beautiful in a specific way that demanded respect for his community, making sure as his partner says in the film, “that everyone knows we exist,” while at the same time, the work was also just so undeniably original and fresh and exuberant that no one could resist its charms. Based only on the art, one might anticipate more of a romp from this film — and there is romping; but its true power lies in its strange subtleties and in Tom himself, an unexpectedly unassuming army vet and urbane ad guy whose inherent sense of dignity and justice combines with his talent to make him exceptional. [Read more…]
45 years ago, Jackie Shane, a 1960’s transgender soulstress, walked away not only from her career but from the public spotlight, not to be heard from again. Until now. A reluctant Ms. Shane is back with a two-disc retrospective titled Any Other Way, set to be released on October 20. Below is the title track from the new release, as well as an electrifying performance of Shane singing “Walking the Dog,” from 1965:
Nixon has been demonized, and rightfully so. But to compare him to Trump, who is no less than a Demon, is far too easy. What can at least be said of Nixon is that he was thoughtful, that he was a contemplative man. This, obviously, cannot be said of Trump. Imagine Trump ever giving consideration to anything but his own small-hand syndrome, which has its own impressively large orbit of satellite syndromes; imagine Trump ever in good faith reaching out to another human being, let alone to the other side of the so-called aisle. This of Nixon we cannot disclaim, as this video hightlights, and it is this quality alone that sets him high above the lowly cretan currently in office.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. — Friedrich Nietzsche.
It is hard to doubt that many inhabitants of the American imperium are going insane. The irrational nature of sudden, public outbursts of violence escalates to new levels of horror every year. The recent bloodbath in Las Vegas has raised many, quite necessary, debates over the gun-crazed culture that frames the American mindset, but little attention is being paid to the actual mental state of the republic. Surrounded by hyper-capitalism, predatory competition, and an increasingly isolated way of living, new monsters are being bred and formed, to roam the countryside and inflict new body counts. It is almost fitting that the current White House occupant is himself deranged, because shouldn’t a leader be a mirror image of his people? [Read more…]
An extract from “China Is Laughing About This Situation,” The Global Politico/Susan Glasser interview with Ai Weiwei.
Ai Weiwei is making a strong case for himself as America’s leading dissident of the Trump era.
Never mind that he’s Chinese, or that he lives in Berlin in de facto exile these days.
The legendary artist, who has long embraced political themes in his work, has gone full-out activist in a new feature-length documentary film about the global refugee crisis, called Human Flow and released in theaters across the U.S. Friday, and in a new, New York City-wide public art exhibit of 300 works in dozens of locations called “Good Walls Make Good Neighbors.”
Both are explicit rebuttals of the nationalistic, America-First-fueled policies espoused by Trump, from his proposed Mexican border wall to his curbs on immigration that include admitting the smallest number of refugees to the U.S. in decades. [Read more…]
The sound of the freeway, the roar and hum, the rumble of lowriders, the rattle of the classic models, the whirr and whine of a proper gear shift, the chortling idle — many creative minds have made hay of the musical, or at least harmoniously hybrid wind-and-percussive, properties of traffic noise. In LA, it’s part of the air. The voice of the freeway, the boulevard, and the sweeping blacktop is our rushing river, it runs through us. [Read more…]
Harmony of forms and symmetry are of the utmost importance in renowned New York-based, Colombian-born abstract painter Fanny Sanín’s sublime, geometric compositions currently on display at Venice Beach’s prestigious L.A. Louver Gallery. As her Los Angeles debut, this comprehensive retrospective traces this acclaimed color field artist’s prolific 50-year career as part of the collaborative Getty-led initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA which aims to highlight Latin American culture across scores of exhibitions presented by 70 of Southern California’s most prestigious museums and galleries. [Read more…]
For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,” he wrote on one notepad. On another, “Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.” [Read more…]
My grandmother Lea once told me a story about the woman who lived next door to her in Tel Aviv, of her capture by the Nazis in Belgium and of an unfathomable decision she had to take to save herself. I never forgot it, and am pleased to share it with you in this Op-Doc film: [Read More…]