For the next week, Seattle is Noir City and Parallax View is helping put it on the map.
“Noir City,” the traveling portion of The Film Noir Foundation’s annual San Francisco noir festival, opens it fifth edition in Seattle on Friday, February 11 and casts its long shadow with a week of double features, all presented on 35mm and presented in person by Eddie Muller.
On Monday, February 14, “For the Love of Film (Noir) Blogathon,” a celebration that casts its web across the Web to raise money for film restoration, kicks off and Parallax View is playing a part this year.
The timely convergence of the two out-of-time celebrations is too fateful (emphasis on the fate part) to ignore and Parallax View hopes to make the most of it.
A splendid year, in both quality and quantity. These were all shown for the first time in the Washington, DC area in 2010.
The best film is a tie: Certified Copy-Kiarostami Carlos-Assayas
The next seven, in roughly descending order: A Prophet-Jacques Audiard Somewhere-Coppola The Social Network-Fincher TheGhost Writer-Polanski The Strange Case of Angelica-Oliviera Red Riding Trilogy-in total, with James Marsh’s 1980 segment putting it on the list The Kids are Alright-Cholodenko
And for the final entry, a pairing I couldn’t resist: Police, Adjective-Poromboiu Winter’s Bone-Debra Granik
Truth proved far stranger than fiction in many of 2010’s best films. My favorite was Craig Ferguson’s devastating documentary, Inside Job, which painstakingly demonstrates just how our economy was hijacked by greed and ideology. In Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer, Pierce Brosnan gives a career-best performance as a politician clearly based on Tony Blair. In Doug Liman’s Fair Game, Naomi Watts is equally persuasive as Valerie Plame Wilson, a vulnerable spy whose marriage is nearly demolished in a political feud. James Franco wins this year’s versatility award for convincingly reincarnating two exceptionally different people: Allen Ginsberg in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s underrated Howl and a carefree rock climber in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. Jesse Eisenberg deftly captures the drive and insecurities of Facebook’s billionaire chief, Mark Zuckerberg, in David Fincher’s The Social Network. The shameless wartime exploitation of the late Pat Tillman’s heroism is the focus of Amir Bar-Lev’s The Tillman Story, an excellent documentary that goes behind the headlines to suggest the personal extent of that loss. Jim Carrey’s excesses are tapped and artfully used in I Love You Phillip Morris, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s mostly true comedy about a con artist who is locked away in prison, but for how long? More fictional, but still quite strange, are Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, a brave portrait of a mid-life washout played by Ben Stiller, and Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling daring to play the walking wounded in an impossible marriage.
A second 10: The King’s Speech, Animal Kingdom, Cairo Time, Life During Wartime, Toy Story 3, Never Let Me Go, Shutter Island, Restrepo, Cell 211, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.
1. A Prophet
2. Winter’s Bone
3. Four Lions
5. The Ghost Writer
6. Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired Girl
7. Mid-August Lunch
8. True Grit
9. The Kids Are All Right
Parallax View contributed a few pieces for the Blogathon, which we spotlight in remembrance of Chabrol. By way of introduction, I quote Richard T. Jameson’s essay:
Claude Chabrol was one of the “young Turk” critics-turned-filmmakers who constituted the New Wave of French cinema at the turn of the ’60s. At the time, he ran a distant third to the iconoclastic, theoretical Jean-Luc Godard and the warm-hearted, soaringly lyrical François Truffaut. But in the late ’60s, Chabrol emerged as a magisterially accomplished classicist, with an unbroken string of masterpieces that established him as one of the world’s finest directors. He has managed to remain commercially viable—indeed, awesomely prolific—over the ensuing decades, while pursuing his own distinctive, coolly detached vision of life and cinema.
And leave you with a short piece by Chabrol not on any compilation we know of: a commercial for Winston cigarettes directed as an American detective noir, in English, with a Bogie drawl and French subtitles. Salut, M. Chabrol!
The following press release was sent by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and Chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, in response to the report in The New York Times about a possible deal that would allow Google and Verizon greater access to the Internet, which they would then sell to customers at a premium. To quote the article, which was published on August 4: “Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another. In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.”
We reprint the letter in its entirety. Please feel free to copy, paste and run on your site and blogs or E-mail around. (See also our interview with Lloyd Kaufman on Parallax View, where he discusses, among other things, his efforts to fight for net neutrality in the face of corporate pressure.)
As many of you may know, there is disastrous news on the front page of The New York Times today. Verizon and other mega-conglomerates have conspired to kill the last democratic medium: the Internet. It is imperative that we all take action immediately to fight for the only true agent of free information and diversity left in this country. Please spread my anti-mega-conglomerate PSA to all your contacts and post it on your blogs. Call the FCC and your elected representatives and urge them to defend net neutrality. Go to Save the Internet and contribute your thoughts. We must use the Internet to speak out on this matter while we still can.