"The way I work, where the movies are improvised and the actors are like, writing them with me, is fundamentally different from the get-go. I’m asking [the actors] to bring a lot more than most people are. I’m asking them to share themselves in a different kind of way. I have been on sets — not my own — where somebody doesn’t want to do something and the answer is, “Well, tough shit. You signed the contract. You took the money.” That’s so different from the kind of relationship I’m in with the people I work with, where usually they’re not being paid, and contracts don’t get signed until much later when distribution already exists. It’s like the movies are being entered into as a friendship, as relationships."

~ This frank interview in Filmmaker Magazine on the financial life of an indie filmmaker (namely, Joe Swanberg) is enlightening. 

30 July 2014 ·

"

Partly the problem is Pawlikowski’s insistence on keeping Anna so silent, rarely letting her speak, so that we can only infer what might be happening in her mind and heart. Such inferences are made from closeups, rapturously beautiful but also stark and discomfiting, that evoke the luminous facial studies of Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. Pawlikowski heightens his film’s mystery—and beauty—at the risk of making the character at the heart of it truly enigmatic. I would have liked to hear more.

But this is perhaps to fault a film for its strength. Ida sets itself on stillness and silence, and in so doing, takes aim at difficult and rewarding ironies.

"

~

Stillness and Silence in Ida," Rand Richards Cooper, Commonweal

Yes, this is about right. 

8 July 2014 ·

"When the film ended I just sat in my seat. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t want to go anywhere. This isn’t a post-screening lobby film. You don’t quite mill about after. What could anybody possibly say? In part, that sense of speechlessness is a response to the film’s muted artistry. In part, it’s a response to the movie’s transparency. For instance, you sometimes think the n-word has lost its power to appall, and yet every time it is used in 12 Years a Slave — as an appellation, a title, or a matter of fact — it hurts."

~

The Song of Solomon: The Cultural Crater of 12 Years a Slave," Wesley Morris, Grantland

This essay on 12 Years a Slave is gorgeous. 

8 July 2014 ·

"Phil Connors is the modern-day Sisyphus, sequaciously rolling his boulder with the greatest effort, and greatest trepidation, to the very peak of the mountain, only for the gods to wish it down once again to the bottom. Groundhog Day is the only Hollywood film—hell, the only film in the history of cinema […] —to truly delve into the abyss of Camus’ absurdist nightmare (or dream, I suppose)."

~ Imagining Sisyphus Happy: A Groundhog Day Retrospective,” Ali Arikan, Slant

1 July 2014 ·

"

These pieces are great not in spite of the fact that they were written quickly, but because of it. Writing fast means writing on instinct. When you write on instinct you can’t do much second-guessing or revising. You have to give up your inhibitions and let your fingertips dance on the keys. Sometimes the result is gibberish. But other times it’s better than you would have done if you’d had more time, because it comes from a pure place. The core of your being — the deep self that emerges during sports, dream-sleep, and sex — stands up, cracks its knuckles, and tells the conscious mind, “Move over, kid. I’m driving.”

As a reader, when you stumble on the second kind of piece, you feel a sense of elation.

"

~

In Defense of TV Recaps,” Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

Man oh man, yes.

30 June 2014 ·

"For reasons I cannot determine my Fitbit died. I was devastated when I tapped the broadest part of it and the little dots failed to appear. Then I felt a great sense of freedom. It seemed that my life was now my own again. But was it? Walking twenty-five miles, or even running up the stairs and back, suddenly seemed pointless, since, without the steps being counted and registered, what use were they?"

~

Stepping Out: Living the Fitbit Life,” David Sedaris, The New Yorker

Oh how I identify with this desire to have your achievements quantified. 

30 June 2014 ·

The 2014 Looking Closer Beauty Pageant

I’m a big fan of this little series by Jeffrey Overstreet on “beautiful women” in the movies this year— characters, not actors. So far there is one on Ida, and another on Ewa from The Immigrant.

29 June 2014 ·

"

About nine years ago, I started going to a church in which we knelt and verbally confessed our sin to God every single week. A few weeks in, I realized I was getting frustrated because every time I knelt down, I realized I’d just done that last week, and I had a whole new set of things to confess. And I would next week. And next week. And for the rest of my life.

And then I realized that was sort of the point.

Artists understand this intuitively—and, what’s more, can speak to it directly and model a right response by being faithful to their own calling. Every time they fall, they get up again, buoyed by the grace of what they are called to do in their very being.

"

~

The Art of Embodiment,” Alissa Wilkinson, Qideas

I like this piece about the things that artists can offer the church (aside from, you know, art). 

29 June 2014 ·

"Somehow, even deep within extreme grief, the worst pain is knowing that your pain will pass, all the sharp particulars of life that one person’s presence made possible will fade into mere memory, and then not even that. Consequently, many people fight hard to keep their wound fresh, for in the wound, at least, is the loss, and in the loss the life you shared. Or so it seems. In truth the life you shared, because it was shared, was marked by joy, by light. […]
What I do know, or sense, is that within the love that once opened up the world to you— from the birth of a child to meeting your mate— is a key that can let you back into the world when that love is gone."

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss

28 June 2014 ·

"We’d like to think of “cool” as connotative of something progressive, even radical. But Cool Girls are neither, at least not precisely. We love them because they seem to offer an alternative to the polished, performative femininity visible in both our stars and our peers. Because they “don’t give a shit”; because they don’t truck with the regulations and rules of dating and mean-girling that prove so infuriating. But to be “cool” is to tread a fine line between something different, something almost masculine, but never anything too masculine, or assertive, or independent. The Cool Girl can talk about poop, and video games, and eating Doritos, because those things are ultimately benign: Even with her short hair, Jennifer Lawrence still has the body and the face and the wardrobe that conforms to dominant beauty ideals."

~

Jennifer Lawrence and the History of Cool Girls,” Anne Helen Peterson, Buzzfeed

This is a fun long read. 

28 June 2014 ·

about

seattle writer, re: film, narratives, art.

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there are some links to things I have written here.

aesthetics and narrative at seattle pacific university, class of 2013.