The Social & Political films of Michael Winterbottom

March 29th, 2015
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    Russell Brand and Michael Winterbottom
    photo via


    Three of his films — Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People — have been nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festiva (via his wiki)

  • Winterbottom to direct Amanda Knox Murder Trial – The Face of an Angel starring Daniel Bruhl.

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    Everyday photo via

    Michael Winterbottom has made an almost unbearably moving film that follows the lives of a prisoner’s family through the years

  • In this world Left to right: Jamal Udin Torabi as Jamal and Enayatullah as Enayat

    See In this World full film – (youtube)

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    Baldessaris Yellow fin and Tristram (scroll down to see the trailer – Trastram Shandy)

  • Has made three movies based on novels by Thomas Hardy: Jude (1996), based on “Jude the Obscure,” The Claim (2000), re-setting “The Mayor of Casterbridge” from rustic England to a California mining town, and Trishna (2011), an update of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.”.(via Bio)

    Jude (Thomas Hardy) – Full film (Kate Winslett one of her finest performances).

  • Genova (Colin Firth- (trailer)

  • From Gray Gardens to Meet Marlon Brando, Documentary filmmaker Alfred Maysles Dies

    March 6th, 2015
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    See the full film here.

    “Meet Marlon Brando” is a delightful, unusually candid portrait of the world-famous movie star: A tongue-in-cheek confrontation with the press. While television journalists interview him about his most recent film, Brando counters their futile questions with wit and insight, a man unwilling to sell himself. “It’s a wonderful show,” one woman comments about the new project. “Did you see it?” he asks. “No, I haven’t seen it yet.” “Then how do you know?” Always smiling and never modest, Marlon Brando shines in one of his most revealing performances. The film premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1966, and has been telecast with much acclaim in France.

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    Photo via (Cinearchive.org)

    R.I.P Albert Maysles (1926-21015)
    Albert Maysles NEWS

    Remembering Albert Maysles (more videos from their films)

    Estabish an Empatheizing Relationship (Interview – Indiewire)

  • Eroll Morris – Ecstatic Absurdity: it’s the Confrontation with Meaninglessness.

    February 5th, 2015
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  • See full film Unknown Known..

  • Errol Morris

    Morris was born on February 5, 1948, and raised in a Jewish family in Hewlett, New York.[2]

    After being treated for strabismus in childhood, he refused to wear an eye patch. As a consequence, he has limited sight in one eye and lacks normal stereoscopic vision.[3]

    In the 10th grade, Morris attended The Putney School, a boarding school in Vermont. He began playing the cello, spending a summer in France studying music under the acclaimed Nadia Boulanger, who also taught Morris’ future collaborator Philip Glass.

    via wiki

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  • Nostalgia for the Light – Chile Documentary & Allende – Sept 11, 1973

    September 11th, 2013

    Nostalgia for the Light

    The Atacama Desert in northern Chile — the setting of Patricio Guzmán’s transfixing cinematic essay “Nostalgia for the Light” — is a place where heaven and earth converge. Or some might say heaven and hell.

    Click to see large (via)

    Patricio Guzmán has insisted that memory be restored. He has spent much of his career as a filmmaker digging deep into historical memory, beginning with the magnificent La batalla de Chile (The Battle of Chile, 1975-79), a street-level view of the coup itself at it unfolded. This remarkable film, in my view the best documentary every made, paid a high price for its existence and is a great expression of human solidarity – one of its valiant cinematographers, Leonardo Henrichsen, was shot and killed as he operated his camera. Jorge Muller Silva, perhaps the most celebrated photographer associated with the film, was taken prisoner by Pinochet and executed. The late Chris Marker, who now seems central to the international left of the postwar period, helped give birth to the film by donating thousands of feet of 35mm film. Guzmán followed this project with Chile, la memoria obstinada (Chile, Obstinate Memory, 1997), Le cas Pinochet (The Pinochet Case, 2001), Salvador Allende (2004) (the last two covered in other CTEQ reviews) and Guzmán’s most beautiful – and vexing – film to date, Nostalgia de la luz (Nostalgia for the Light, 2010). Some have accused Guzmán of monomania, which may be a measure of how low humanity has sunk, if we are indeed so unable to spot a truly heroic artist.

  • Allende September 11 1973
    (See a video excerpt of Ken Loach Chile Sept 11)

  • Democracy Now.. Chiean Coup 1973 (Amy Goodman)

  • Pinochet victim widow fights for justice
    Missing was directed by Coata Gavras.

    Ken Loach – His New Film + Documentary – 2013

    June 17th, 2013

    Happy birthday Ken Loach

    Ken Loach won Palm d”Or at Cannes in 2007 –see the trailer ..The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

    See a funny scene from Riff Raff.. Margaret Thatcher’s funeral (youtube)

    Ken Loach has suggested that the UK privatize the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

    Ken Loach – Documentary – Allende Sept 11.(youtube)
    See Previous Post – Salvador Allende Setp 11, 1973.

    Ken Loach full of fight..

    Adrien Brody was cast to play the Pianist after Polanski saw him in Bed and Roses directed by Ken Loach. (see the trailer)

    Ray of Hope, Two Documenatries – Satyajit Ray and RabindranathTagore

    June 5th, 2013
  • Pather Panchali – Full film (youtube)

  • The Art of Film: Satyajit Ray, a viewpoint (youtube) (Highly recommended)

  • Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was recently honored by the U.N.

    Click to see large (image via Old photos of India)

    Einstein and Tagore

    The film comprises dramatized episodes from the poet’s life and archived images and documents. (See full film directed by Satyajit Ray here)

    The documentary was made to celebrate Tagore’s birth centenary in May 1961. Ray was conscious that he was making an official portrait of India’s celebrated poet and hence the film does not include any controversial aspects of Tagore’s life. However, it is far from being a propaganda film.

  • Satyajit Ray (NYtimes)

    “I find I am inimical to the idea of making two similar films in succession,” wrote the great Indian director Satyajit Ray in 1966, and in this, as in everything he wrote or filmed, he spoke the truth.

  • Satyajit Ray: Introspections (1983) Part 1

  • Bruce Chatwin and Werner Herzog – the Anatomy of Restlessness

    May 13th, 2013
  • Bruce Chatwin Edinburgh flat
    Bruce was born on May 13, 1940

    Susan Sontag wrote of him: “There are few people in this world who have the kind of looks which enchant and enthrall … It isn’t just beauty, it’s a glow, something in the eyes. And it works on both sexes.”

  • Werner Herzog – Nomade in the footsteps, Bruce Chatwin

  • Werner Herzog said Chatwin was a great story teller..
    German filmmaker Werner Herzog relates a story about meeting Chatwin in Australia while Herzog was working on his 1984 film, Where the Green Ants Dream. Finding out that Chatwin was in Australia researching a book (The Songlines), Herzog sought him out. Herzog states that Chatwin professed his admiration for him, and when they met was carrying one of Herzog’s books, On Walking In Ice. The two hit it off immediately, united by a shared love of adventure and telling tall tales. Herzog states that he and Chatwin talked almost nonstop over two days, telling each other stories. He said that Chatwin “told about three times as many as me.”[24] Herzog also claims that when Chatwin was near death, he gave Herzog his leather rucksack and said,”You’re the one who has to wear it now, you’re the one who’s walking.”

    In 1987, Herzog made Cobra Verde, a film based on Chatwin’s 1980 novel The Viceroy of Ouidah, depicting the life of Francisco Manoel da Silva, a fictional Brazilian slave trader working in West Africa. Locations for the film included Brazil, Colombia and Ghana. via his wiki..

    Cobra Verde was based on Bruce Chatwin’s novel The Viceroy of Ouidah.

  • The Essential Truthiness of Bruce Chatwin and Werner Herzog

  • His Notebook..narrated by his wife (youtube)

  • Click to see large ( Photo by Eve Arnold)
    INDIA. Bruce CHATWIN interviewing in Delhi for the Sunday Times. 1977
    On the Road with Mrs G. (A witty and charming article on Indira Gandhi by Bruce Chatwin- they talked about Joan of Arc & Margaret Thatcher- describing a leader out of touch.)

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    Not a travel writer but a traveling writer, he was a biblioperipatetic. He read, that is, as he walked — large swatches of Western literature and thought were lavished on the places and people he visited — and he walked as he read.

    In Patagonia

    The quest writing was dazzling at the time (I reviewed some of it, and was dazzled). Visiting the aged Nadezhda Mandelstam, he sorts out body and soul. She lies curled up in bed, shabby and unkempt, welcoming a gift of marmalade, sniffing at a bottle of less than premium Champagne and getting Chatwin to straighten a painting she’d knocked awry by hurling an unsatisfactory book at it. It was modernist white-on-white: ”Perhaps that is all one can do today in Russia?” she muses.(via There’s No Place That’s Home)

    Bruce Chatwin Photo by James Ivory

    In the summer of 1972, before starting to work as an adviser on art at the Sunday Times, Chatwin went to Oregon (USA) trying to finish his nomad book. He stayed in a cabin, owned by the film director James Ivory, in the Lake of the Woods (Klamath County).
    Chatwin met Ivory in England in 1969, at the house of the painter Howard Hodgkin near Bath.
    Here is a Chatwin’s picture taken by Ivory in the Oregon desert (1972): (via Facebook)

  • What Am I Doing Here?
    In this text, Bruce Chatwin writes of his father, of his friend Howard Hodgkin, and of his talks with Andre Malraux and Nadezhda Mandelstram. He also follows unholy grails on his travels, such as the rumour of a “wolf-boy” in India, or the idea of looking for a Yeti.

    Chatwin Travel writing

    Chatwin was one of the first prominent men in Britain known to have contracted HIV and died of AIDS, although he hid the facts of his illness.

    Aids Memorial – previous post – Photos of Eleven Good Men

  • R.I.P Les Blank – Filmmaker of “Burden of Dreams”

    April 7th, 2013
  • Les Banks dies at 77 (NYtimes)

  • Les Blank I

  • (For years this blogger developed an allergy to Herzog after seeing the Burden of Dreams, an amazing film.)

  • Les & W.H.
    (via Our Favorite films by Les Blank)

  • See Werner Herzog eats his shoes..(youtube)

  • Les Blank II

    Les Blank – NYtimes (NYtimes)

    Mr. Blank trolled for subject matter on the American periphery, in cultural pockets where the tradition is long but the exposure limited. His films often have a geographic as well as cultural specificity, and food and music are often the featured elements. His musical subjects included Norteño bands of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Cajun fiddlers of Louisiana and polka enthusiasts from across the country.

    “You could call him an ethnographer; you could call him an ethnomusicologist or an anthropologist,” Mr. Hackford said. “He was interested in certain cultures that Americans are unaware of. He shot what he wanted, captured it beautifully, and those subjects are now gone. The homogenization of American culture has obliterated it.”

    Scott Walker – 30 Century Man

    June 30th, 2012
  • Scott Walker 30 Century Man (Now full film on youtube)

    Scott Walker: 30 Century Man is a 2006 documentary film about Scott Walker. The film gets its title from the Scott 3 song “30 Century Man”. It is directed and co-produced by Stephen Kijak, with Grant Gee serving as director of photography. It charts Walker’s career in music, with a focus on his songwriting, and features exclusive footage of recording sessions for his most recent album

    Stongest Man

    Scott Walker is the recluse’s recluse – a singer and writer who went from teenage heartthrob with incredible hair to tortured soul in the space of four eponymous albums between 1967 to 1969. In the 43 intervening years he has released only four more “proper” solo albums, each more eremitic than the last (plus others of standards and country ballads he would rather expunge from history).

    Scott Walker Interview (guardian)

    His hero was the Flemish chansonnier Jacques Brel, whose music he had been turned on to by a German Bunny Girl he had picked up at a party in the Playboy Club on Park Lane. ‘I don’t listen to Brel that much now,’ he says, ‘but in those days, hearing him sing was like a hurricane blowing through the room.’

  • Pola X is the soundtrack album to Léos Carax’s film of the same name composed, and produced by the American solo artist Scott Walker. The soundtrack also includes contributions from Smog, Sonic Youth, Fairuz, Nguyên Lê, and M. Luobin Wang. It was released on 17 May 1999. It was Walker’s first full soundtrack.

    Two stars from Pola X have departed early.

    Yekaterina Golubeva (9 October 1966 – 14 August 2011)

    (29 Palms, Pola X, I Can’t Sleep – Claire Denis )

    Guillaume Depardieu(7 April 1971 – 13 October 2008)
    Previous post on Guillaume Depardieu (Tous Les Matin du Monde + Duchess of Langlois)

    Astra Taylor’s Examined Life

    November 5th, 2010

    This is my introduction to Avital Ronell – very stylish and sharp.

    I have seen Zizek talking about Ecology in front of massive garbage many times here and there but failed to see that
    this was from a very interesting and entertaining film by Astra Taylor.

    Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Slavoj Zizek questions current beliefs about the environment while sifting through a garbage dump. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture’s fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be.
    Featuring Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor. (via)

    Sunaura Taylor (Astra’s sister) and Judith Butler on the street of San Francisco.

    Filmmaker – director’s interview

    Going against the norm of “serious” documentaries tending to be depressing, Taylor here creates a film of substance that is nevertheless light on its feet. Neither the walking philosophers nor their conversations stop for a moment during Examined Life, so the result is physically and mentally energetic piece of filmmaking. And as the ideas in Taylor’s film are engaging and thought-provoking without being overly complex, we are left invigorated rather than bamboozled.

  • One of Taylor’s inspirations comes from Rousseau’s Reveries of a Solitary Walker – Scott McLemee

  • <> <> Examined_Life_02-734770 Astra Taylor

    Astra was raised in a strange Bohemian family, she explained in this interivew.

  • Related links

    Diderot shows up here: A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. By Philipp Blom.

    Diderot and L’espirit de Fance (previous post)

    Terror’s Advocate

    April 3rd, 2009

    Meet Jacques Vergès in Terror’s Advocate

    NONFICTION FILM – MOVIES – Experiments in terror – Director Barbet Schroeder has a particular flair for films that expose the evil that walks among us.(LAtimes)

    Terror’s Advocate: Barbet Schroeder Talks

    I was using Verges as a way to tell the history of terrorism, using him to lead us into the world of terrorism. It all started with the war in Algiers. It ended with the two towers in New York. But it didn’t end with the two towers, unfortunately. Never before Algiers did you have blind terrorism attacking people in cafes who were guilty of being part of a race or group. The Palestinians after that took their lead from the Algerians. This was the story of the film, to see how terrorism evolved from the very beginning, when it was more beautiful and heroic and got corrupted rapidly.(Via)

    Celebration of “Algerian Day”, carrying the portrait of Djamila Bouhired.

    Jacques Vergès married Djamila Bouhired and in his late career he defended Klaus Barbie and other monstrous killers.

    Verges defended German Magdalena Kopp, wife of Carlos the Jackal and may have been her lover. Verges seems to have had a lifelong sexual attraction to terrorist women such as Djamila and Magdalena. In the film Verges is an enigmatic figure who enjoys enhancing his own myths. He disappears for eight years 1970-1978 and is rumored to be in Cambodia (era of the Khmer Rouge) but seems to have been mostly living in a small hotel in Paris hiding from the family of an African dictator who Verges promised to get released from prison but the dictator died instead. The extended section of film on Carlos the Jackal was possible because Carlos spent much of his time “hiding” in East Germany where the GDR’s Stasi dedicated an entire division to following his every move, copying his correspondence and recording his phone calls. Schroeder is able to tap this goldmine of information including recordings of Carlos’ own voice ranting that he knows Verges has been sleeping with his wife.

    What will surprise is the breadth and veracity of Jacques Verges activities over the last half century. It reads as a who’s who of the revolutionary / terroristic movements of the world. (Member review from Lovefilm)

    Related links
    Hate in France, Camus – Solitaire and Solidaire

    Love and War (Lebanon Civil War – Circle of Deceit starring Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla Director: Volker Schlöndorff )

    Portrait of artist as a young terrorist (Amitava Kumer)

    This morning from the NYtimes – Ghassan Elcheikhali -The Tolerance Teacher (Slideshow and talk with great photos)

    Chantal Akerman

    May 6th, 2008

    Chantal Akerman:Moving Through Time and Space at MIT List Visual Art Center –
    May 2 – July 6, 2008


    Chantal Akerman retraces a journey from the end of summer to deepest winter, from East Germany, across Poland and the Baltics, to Moscow. (via)

    D’est on youtube


    From the Other Side is an unsentimental look at the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants as they attempt the dangerous crossing from Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico, to Douglas, Ariz. (Via)

    Last month Marian Goodman gallery (New York) exhibited Chantal Akerman’s photographs. (Chantal’s main audience is from museums, galleries and film societies.)

    The first time I was introduced to Chantal Akerman’a work was her documenatary film on Pina Bausch.
    (An Italian version of this film is cut awkwardly in 6 parts, now provided on youtube).

    Other samples of film clips from youtube:
    “Jeanne Dielmain”

    Hotel Monterey (1972) Akerman – passage (Glenn Gould Bach aria is added to the silent film footage on Youtube)

    A Couch in New York – trailer (Chantal’s most accessible film starring Juliet Binoche and William Hurt)

    A week ago I decided to see “La Captive” starring my favorite actress Sylvie Testud.
    Here was a review by Hoberman (scroll down)

    Chantal Akerman’s La Captive is another sort of psycho-epistemological inquiry that asks: How can we know another?

    Visual as La Captive is in its rigorously formal compositions, the filmmaker is straightforwardly concerned with language. She filters her Proust through the old nouveau roman of Duras or Robbe-Grillet to fixate on recurring phrases: “au contraire,” “if you like,” “you think so?” Similarly, Akerman takes situations from Proust and elaborately defamiliarizes them.

    More films by Chantal Akerman by Acquarello