Laugh, cry, or gasp -- in horror, delight, or incredulity -- but chances
are you won't be bored by Darren Aronofsky's sui generis extravaganza, "Black
Swan." He feels pretty good about it, anyway: he's relaxed, dapper looking with his new
moustache, and cracking jokes as he answers questions at a press conference for the
film at the appropriately rococo, near kitschy lobby of Hollywood's Pantages
When humans go up against nature in films like 127 Hours, they usually
come out short. Such is the case also in Werner Herzog's compelling documentary Grizzly Man
(2005), in which the director finds someone almost as strange as himself,
Timothy Treadwell, who just wanted to share his life with the ursines of the
title in the Alaskan wilderness.
Quite the contrast between interviewing Danny
Boyle, promoting "127 Hours," and
the other big name British director I chatted with last month, Stephen Frears,
promoting "Tamara Drewe." One is
vibrant, engaged, enthusiastic, candid, friendly, informative, and
The other is Stephen Frears.
There are no dull interviews. Only dull interviewers. And those who blow obvious follow-up questions.
PK: Do you think younger people would be entertained by this movie?
SF: Yes, of course they would be, but they won't go to the cinema.
PK: And that's because...
SF: That's because they're programmed; they like pop culture.
In which we ponder what's wrong
with the kids today.
PK: So how did you become a
SF: Sort of by accident. I worked in the theatre and then I met a film director
and he said, ‘come and work on my film.'
PK: This is Karel Reisz?
SF: Yes. Karel. I'd never been on a film set before.
PK: So you've been working in film since.
His career in British cinema goes back to the 60s when he worked with Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson (he was an assistant director on one of my favorite movies, Anderson's "If..." ). As a director his films have ranged from "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1985) to "The Grifters" (1990) to "The Queen" (2006).
As we near the midterm election and you feel
an enthusiasm gap growing might I recommend seeing "Inside Job," or at least
looking at this cogent interview with the director Charles Ferguson conducted
by the Phoenix's Chris Faraone.
I would also recommend seeing "Fair Game,"
Doug Limon's infuriating dramatization of the Valerie Plame affair, starring
Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
This article in
"Slate" about why women seem to be so proficient at film editing reminded me of
the late Karen Schmeer, who died in
a tragic accident last February. Her memory is being honored by the
establishment of The Karen Schmeer Film
Editing Fellowship. Applications will be accepted
until December 15 from candidates of both genders.
The 34th Montreal World Film Festival (August 26-September 6),
proved most heartening for those of us anxious about the state of global
cinema. I saw splendid works from all over the world, from both first-time and
veteran filmmakers. Over several days, I watched eight movies in a row that I
PREVIOUSLY: Part I | Part II
PK: So did you have particular filmmakers that inspired you
to want to make movies?
ABL: Yeah, I had Werner Herzog.
PK: I would guess Herzog actually.
ABL: Yeah, I like his films, narrative or documentary. I
watch a lot of documentaries.
PK: It feels sort of "Grizzly Man" in
In which Pvt. Tillman Meets Pvt. Lynch and
Bar-Lev sees religion in everything. (Read Part I of my interview here.)
PK: Also, military service was a tradition in
ABL: Yeah, part of my reading list was stuff
about Wittgenstein. It's not uncommon that people who live very safe lives
volunteer to fight because.
Now that the Iraq War is over we can focus more of our anxiety,
outrage, and depression on another flummoxed and bloody miscue, the war in Afghanistan.
Already Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's "Restrepo" has recounted with harrowing detail of the day-to-day trials and heroism of an
American outpost in one of the country's