The great story out of Sundance is the shooting at Disneyland and Disney World of Randy Moore’s movie Escape from Tomorrow without any location permissions or copyright clearances. Believe me, as one who has tried to film at a Disney theme park, this is an astounding achievement – and Steven Zeitchik for the LA Times has the story. As Zeitchik says, Escape from Tomorrow is
a Surrealist, genre-defying black-and-white film… [and] one of the strangest and most provocative movies this reporter has seen in eight years attending the Sundance Film Festival. And it may well never be viewed by a commercial audience.
Say what? As Brooks Barnes for The New York Times asks in Disney World horror fantasy raises knotty copyright problems, ‘Is Mickey Mouse about to get very, very mad at Mr. Moore?’ See also The outlaw pleasures of Escape from Tomorrow by Scott Macaulay for Filmmaker. Here’s the briefest of tastes, albeit one which involves the eating of live octopus and a reference only to ‘a popular American tourist destination’. Then across the jump, there are links to other great features that I came across this week, with recommendation h/ts to @ebertchicago, @KeyframeDaily, @zimbalist and @LUXmovingimage.
• Still Dots: #102 and Introduction: over a year (ending 29 November 2012, the first of the two links), the Film & Video Department at Walker Art Center analysed still frames taken every 62 seconds from Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) – what a great project.
• Readings for the late Nagisa Oshima, the Japanese film director who died this week: In the realm of Oshima, a 2009 Sight & Sound essay by Alexander Jacoby … The sun also sets by Jonathan Rosenbaum for Artforum in 2008 … Oshima: chasing shadows – four ‘takes’ by David Phelps for Mubi.com, also 2008. Film Studies for Free also has an exceptional list of links to writings on Oshima which Catherine Grant has updated in tribute to his passing. This is the trailer for Oshima’s remarkable 1969 drama, Boy:
• Our Mr Brooks: ‘We will lose the war to China because of Twitter’; the glorious comedian and director Albert Brooks talks to Judd Apatow in the pages of Vanity Fair.
• The state of the ‘art film’: taking his cue from a 1992 Variety piece, Richard Brody reflects for The New Yorker:
… the range of styles and subjects, and of world views and experiences, that the cinema now offers is bewilderingly, dazzlingly vast—and the works in question are more readily available than ever.
• Movies in the age of Obama: A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis are, like Richard Brody, also cautiously positive about aspects of contemporary cinema, and they see hope is some unexpected places:
… the fact is that millions of girls, women and gay men have united in a rainbow coalition of lust to transform Jacob [the Wolf-boy in the Twilight series, played by Taylor Lautner] into a wildly popular pinup. A gross of $1 billion and counting signals progress of a kind.
• Building stories: an excellent piece by Phil Coldiron for Moving Image Source on Thom Andersen’s new film Reconversão about architect Eduardo Souto de Moura and ‘the awareness of looking’.
• Results – crowdsourcing a Hawaii Five-O episode ending: Mike Proulx for Harmonic Aftershock on what happened when CBS asked viewers to use Twitter hashtags in realtime to choose the murderer.
• Tweeting the documentary: the Twitter UK blog on the part the social media service played in the making of an edition of Channel 4’s Dispatches.
• Google and the future of search – Amit Singhal and the Knowledge Graph: in the week Facebook announces Graph Search, Tim Adams for The Observer hears about the future according to Google…
• Facebook is no longer flat – on Graph Search: … while one of the best writers on ‘search’, John Battelle, spells out what the FB announcement means…
• Facebook Graph Search is a disruptive minefield of unintended consequences: … and Anthony Wing Cosner takes on the subject for Forbes.
• What happened with my open-laptop exam class (part one): fascinat reflections from Henry Jenkins on shifting his pedagogical approach in a course on the key debates of the digital age, with a second post here, followed by two posts with a great collection of readings and possible group activities, Once You Open Your Laptop…: Activities from My Technology and Culture Class (Part One) and Once You Open Your Laptop… Activities from My Technologies and Culture Class (Part Two).
• Henry Jenkins on ‘Spreadable Media,’ why fans rule, and how The Walking Dead takes on a life of its own: Frank Rose at Deep Media has part one of a useful e-mail interview with Henry Jenkins about his new book.
• The death of Aaron Schwartz: a must-read, by Peter Singer and Agata Sagan for The New York Review of Books.
• Wagner’s Shakespearian birth: at Blogging Shakespeare Dave Paxton kicks off a richly interesting discussion about the two artists.
• Why name a ship after a defeated race?: I was far from sure that there was anything new to say about the phenomena that are the afterlives of the ‘Titanic’, but Thomas Laqueur for the London Review of Books convinced me otherwise.