Auto Focus reaffirms Schrader’s position as one of America’s most consistently compelling independent filmmakers, particularly after the triumph of his Russell Banks adaptation, Affliction (1997). But Schrader’s status as an independent director also provides a revealing case study in the difficulties of sustaining a career as a filmmaker with a personal vision.
A recurring theme in Schrader’s films is the protagonist on a self-destructive path, or undertaking actions which work against himself, deliberately or subconsciously. The finale often bears an element of redemption, preceded by a painful sacrifice or cathartic act of violence.
Schrader has repeatedly referred to Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, The Canyons and The Walker as “a man in a room” stories. The protagonist in each film changes from an angry, then narcissistic, later anxious character, to a person who hides behind a mask of superficiality.(Paul Schrader wiki quotes)
Patty Hearst trailer (youtube)
Embroideryby Ruby Khan
Surviving Lindsay Lohan.. (Vanity Fair)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Paul Schrader’s screenplay for ‘Taxi Driver’, written when he was 26 and in a “low and bad place”, had a searing energy that director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro (as Travis Bickle) very effectively harnessed. This was the first of Schrader’s “outsider” films about a “man alone”. If Travis Bickle was a vigilante, he was one with existential leanings.
American Gigolo (1980)
Schrader’s most stylish movie. Richard Gere is the male escort in LA, a narcissistic outsider wearing Armani.
James Coburn won an Oscar for his performance as the mean-spirited father of a small-town cop (Nick Nolte) in this bleak but powerful adaptation of a Russell Banks novel.
(Vanity Fair fails to mention Mishima. Auto Focus, The Light Sleeper, Patty Hearst, The Comfort of Strangers are among Schrader’s best films)
“…the artist seeks…. the fiction that reality will sooner or later imitate.”
Robert Smithson from “A Museum of Language in the Vicinity of Art,” 1968
Robert Smithson homepage (simply fabulous)
Robert Smithson by Alice Neel
On July 20, 1973, Smithson died in a plane crash, while surveying sites for his work Amarillo Ramp in the vicinity of AmarilloOn July 20, 1973, Smithson died in a plane crash, while surveying sites for his work Amarillo Ramp in the vicinity of Amarillo, Texas. (via wiki)
Nancy Holt his widow passed away last February.
The awkward squad Ken Loach and Eric Cantona looked like a mismatch, until they worked together and it turned out they’re soul brothers – uncompromising and intense. So how come the result is Loach’s most light-hearted movie in years? Simon Hattenstone talks to them both
Happy birthday Ken Loach born on July 17. (his new film is called Jimmy’s House.)
Cantona & Assange working out togeher..
These Pro Athletes Gave Up Sports For Reasons You’d Never Believe
Eric Cantana, Borg, Pat Tillman were dicussed..
See Blue White – Tube - Soothing Soccor video art
Museum Hours trailer on youtube.
Old masters, sweet mystery – A.O Scott
“Museum Hours,” Jem Cohen’s quietly amazing, sneakily sublime new film, is partly a reflection on such aesthetic puzzles. Shot on high-definition digital video and super-16-millimeter film in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the film lingers over great paintings by Rembrandt, Bruegel and other European masters, inviting us to contemplate the complex, half-obscured tales they might tell. In one scene, an art historian (Ela Piplits) tries to initiate a crowd of skeptical tourists into the mysteries of Bruegel’s “Conversion of St. Paul” (1567), and Mr. Cohen’s camera supports her arguments by finding details in the picture that might be easy to overlook.
Jem Cohen directed the museum hours.
Iris Murdoch was born on 15 July 1919
Walter Benjamin, Iris and Derrida (previous post)
“Until the escape into art, then nature,
the stories are dark, dark, dark.
Parsifal with no Grail.
Isolde with no Death.
Papageno with no flute.”
Summer Interlude – Iris and Derrida
“Murdoch’s implicit philosophical position is austere, classical, rigorous: unromantic, and pessimistic. Not that pessimism precludes comedy: on the contrary, it is probably the basis of the comic spirit.
See Ingrid Bergman at the museum, looking at the sculpture.
Viaggio In Italia
Marcel Proust by Nadar (Click to see large)
He was born 143 years ago on July 10, 1871.
On ne guérit d’une souffrance qu’à condition de l’éprouver pleinement.
We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.
Celeste, La Captive and Proust Questionnaire
Alan Bates page on Proust (Janet McTeer played Celeste.)
Proust was, of course, a forceful personality. He utilized everything at his disposal to climb up the social ladder, and then to escape from it in order to hide and write. To move up in society, he had tremendous charm, effusive and extraordinary correspondence, great wit, and the psychological control that the physically weak can exert on those prone to guilt or compassion. Later in his life, when he knew he must withdraw from the vacuous life of the Fauburg St. Germaine in order to accomplish anything, he used his health to absent himself without alienating the hostesses who had brought him into it.
From his chart via Proust said that
1) Starfall camp (ABC, learn to read, stories including Greek, chinese myths etc)
Music animations – Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Scott Joplin, Offenbach and Tchaikovsky.
Quotations from Shakepeare – A horse! a horse! My Kingdom or a horse Starfall camp
The Perious Voyage
(Look out for Dragon!)
Friends stick together.. (requires practices)
These little pigs for 1 – 3 years old
3) Muffin films
(Fun, fun, fun)
Designed by Amy Winfrey.
4) Boowa & Kwala (from Australia in English & French)
Excellent site for kids..a must visit (many puzzles, stories.. totally delightful).
Their first gameSamorost is here..
Amanita Design an imaginative game site by Czech team of designers.
6) Poisson Rouge amazing game site from France. One site gives language lessons. The chinese site is excellent.
7) Future Physics
Grab a planet and play with it.
Click to see large via
NYtimes obit:Paul Mazursky Director Who Captured a Changing America
Paul Mazursky dies at 84
Mazursky on actors talking about actorsand his first film (youtube)
A link to a video of Paul Mazursky and Mel Brooks discussing Hitler is on this page here..
h/t to Patrick Morell
(Sister Wendy.. so funny.. )
Click to see large Stanley Spencer
This is Spencer’s first self-portrait in oils. In its dark and rich colour harmonies and its strongly modelled form, the painting attempts to emulate the style of an Old Master painting. Spencer recalled that he was inspired to paint it in this manner after seeing a reproduction of a head of Christ by an Italian Renaissance artist called Luini. The portrait was painted in the front bedroom of Spencer’s family home, Fernlea, at Cookham, Berkshire. (via Tate)
British Film Pathe - film of Stanley Spencer
Beattie was asked about her falling in love Wittgenstein’s Mistress, and she responded:
“I think more than just falling in love with it, or whatever, though—and I don’t mean to say this kept me removed from the book—but there was a kind of writerly awe that anybody would dare to be so uncompromising.”
Copy of picturing ( In fact, she was one of the first people to read Wittgenstein’s Mistress before it was published, as it was being rejected left and right.)
In this first-ever book of letters by novelist David Markson—a quintessential “writer’s writer” whose work David Foster Wallace once lauded as “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country”—readers will experience Markson at his wittiest and warmest. Poet Laura Sims shares her correspondence with him
On page 107 Vanishing Point by David Markson
Tardily realizing–qualms after all.
Author would undeniably be distressed at the loss of
Schnabel’s portrait of Willim Gaddis.
Markson also wrote on the same page,
Georg Trakl was a pharmacist.
E.T. A Hoffman was a lawyer.
Kate Smith could not read music.
On page 106 Vanishing Point..
E.E.Cummings died after chopping firewood
Ann Beattie – author of Chilly Scenes of Winter (youtube)