Browsing: Other Arts

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,…

No doubt Hollywood writers would love to write themselves out of a bad scene – the current strike – but their foreign counterparts are determined to write themselves into the drama by demonstrating today (Wednesday, Nov. 28) for an international day of solidarity with the Writers Guild. Sponsored by the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, which represents over 20,000 screenwriters in unions worldwide, the marches will rally writers demonstrating in Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Sydney, Auckland, Montreal, and Berlin. And there’ll be a rally at NBC Studios in Burbank, too.It’s great that the writers overseas are taking the cause of…

Will Russian filmmaker and opera director Alexander Sokurov follow in the footsteps of Bruce Beresford, Billy Friedkin and Garry Marshall to direct opera in Los Angeles? While on a rare visit to Los Angeles for a special screening of his newest film “Alexandra” (which competed at this year’s Cannes festival), the visionary filmmaker, best known to American audiences for his one-take 2002 feature “Russian Ark,” told Cinema Without Borders he’d “love to direct an opera here” but has yet to be approached with an offer. He was responding to rumors in the music community that he might indeed be on…

When we are exploring the effects of specifically gender-coded characters in the cinema, we are reminded of the very fundamental question about the effect of a movie on its spectator: Is it the movie that dictates the behaviors of society or is it society that dictates the behaviors in a movie? As far as exploring the relationship between gendered characters (i.e. a character who is specifically skewed as either completely feminine or masculine, and has very few androgynous qualities otherwise) we must question the purpose for that skew, as most people are not completely masculine or feminine, but rather a…

If you’ve ever walked into a pitch-dark house, only to have blinding lights turned on to a room full of friends who scream, “SURPRISE!!!”… That is the best way I can described my extreme shock and speechlessness of my siren screeching ambulance ride pitching me left and right as it darted in and out of traffic, my crash-cart rush through the ER as the excruciating knife jabbing pain pulsated in my chest, my gurney’s dream-like sleigh-ride down halls, up elevators, to the final sky-dive landing into the operating room, my left wrist burning like a forest fire. My body lay…

Javad is dead. He passionately loved Hitchcock, Mango and strawberry ice cream. Javad lived his abridged life through other people. This should explain his unending appetite for watching movies and counting other people’s money. He was a bank clerk, an Iranian communist wannabe that ended up as a Bank of America employee! I am sure Lenin would not have called him a “comrade”. Javad was a shadow. He will not be remembered by anybody. He never suffered from what others call disaster or pain. When he discovered his wife’s farewell letter, in which she explained that she was dumping him…

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