Directed by Lech MajewskiPoland | 2011
I would probably break my back trying to describe the myriad ways in which Majewski delicately conjures the religious and political upheavals of the time and makes a case for their profound influence on Bruegel’s work, but that’s probably best left to a historian. I was struck most by Majewski’s typically jaw-dropping approach to the material. His body of work continues to be marked by drastic technological and artistic innovations, including the 33-short-films-within-a-film approach of Blood of a Poet and the hand-held digital of The Garden of Earthly Delights. But here, Majewski takes his biggest leap yet into the domain of digital layering and CGI while keeping the painterly, tableau-like blocking of much of his work intact.
Directed by Werner HerzogCanada, United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom | 2010
Herzog was correct when he realized, upon first accessing this cave, that the images could only be improved by 3D, if the format was ever meant for anything beyond flinging shrapnel and tits at unsuspecting audiences. In this sense, it truly does work. I’ve always had the habit of lowering my specs just to see what effect the 3D is really having; here, that comparative analysis is mostly in the format’s favor. The color loss is still present, and significant, but it really makes some of these images pop, especially the cave paintings which seem to take on a weird motility in 3D, as if they are alive in the walls.
Directed by Frank PiersonUnited States | 2000
Like the good/bad issue in art, the entire case was built around exactly how human beings define two words, obscenity and art. Definitions of both are given in the film, but they utterly fail to help us (or anyone) in assigning such labels to Mapplethorpe’s work, relying instead on how people react to it… The same issue has followed pornography through its various trials, perhaps most famously leading to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart stating “I know it when I see it”. But what happens when we don’t know it when we see it, or when different people think they know different things after seeing it?
Directed by Sean EllisUnited Kingdom | 2006
The most startling thing about the film that will garner it either the most love or derision is the bizarre, almost bipolar, shifts in mood, tone, and focus. On the one hand, you have Ben’s profound heartache over his breakup that introduces us to his character. Ben himself is quite the sensitive introvert so it only makes sense that such a crushing blow would leave him questioning what he thinks he knows about love, women, and even time and memory… On the other hand, most of the rest of the film plays more like a quirky, extroverted indie comedy rather than any personal, romantic drama. Barry, Matt, and Jenkins are little more than caricatured comic relief, although amongst the most affable and charming of their type.
Directed by BanksyUnited States, United Kingdom | 2010
There are a lot of great, deep questions posed by Exit Through the Gift Shop, the biggest being, “Is this all a hoax?” Banksy and Mr. Brainwash are real people, but this movie is so perfectly weird in all the right places that one can feel an unseen hand pulling the levers. Guetta is referred to in the past tense a lot, and most of the interview footage we see of him is archival—I don’t know if there’s any from the Mr. Brainwash period; there’s a lot of footage of Guetta being filmed in his gallery and putting up art, which begs the question, “Who is filming Guetta?” Did he hire someone to do this? Did Banksy? If so, does that imply that Banksy had intended to turn the rise and fall of Mr. Brainwash into a movie in the first place?