The House


Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg to head Cannes film Festival jury.

As Castro era drifts to close, a new face steps in at number two.

The great gift of Van Cliburn.

Marco McMillian, openly gay black mayoral candidate, slain in Mississippi.

Families claim that Zero Dark Thirty used 9/11 voices without permission.

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TAGS: 911, anthony kaufman, cannes film festival, cuba, fidel castro, harlem shake, jonathan rosenbaum, kevin b. lee, lena dunham, leviathan, marco mcmillian, miguel diaz-canel bermudez, mississippi, steven spielberg, transgender, van cliburn, zero dark thirty


The We and the I

Waiting for an F train at the Delancey Street station a few summers back, I witnessed a display of condensed teenage effusiveness that seemed to have been loosed from the very heart of a classic musical, with two groups of kids engaging in an amazingly raucous cross-track dance battle. Taking place across a feverish bus trip home on the last day of school, Michel Gondry's The We and the I is basically the cinematic equivalent of such an explosion of adolescent magic, a delirious representation of incipient personalities in bloom, its form as amorphous and reckless as the vibrant youths it portrays.

A magnificent ethnographic experiment, the film comes as the end product of a long working association between the French director and students at a Bronx high school. Gondry apparently spent two years laying groundwork and forming relationships, finally coming up with a loose, collaborative script, in which the bus is established as a performative space, a venue for the 30 or so teenagers to vent their fears, doubts, and insecurities. Almost all the action takes place in this enclosed world, except for a few quick jaunts into whimsical fantasy, with some oddly staged flashbacks and one increasingly prominent viral video. Using the connection between these dramatic flights of fancy and the more realistic action on the bus, the director manages to tell their stories in a naturalistic way that's tinged with intermittent moments of homespun enchantment.

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TAGS: film comment selects, jean rouch, michel gondry, the green hornet, the we and the i


Gay Divorce

The preculiar mechanics—and heartbreak—of gay divorce.

Kathy Bates to star in season three of American Horror Story.

Anne Hathaway knows that you hate her.

Watch Benedict give his final address as pope.

Jim Emerson on the long day's journey into Muriel.

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TAGS: academy awards, american horror story, anne hathaway, downton abbey, gay divorce, gay marriage, ignatiy vishnevetsky, jim emerson, john keeney, jonathan rosenbaum, justified, kathy bates, kevin b. lee, lupe ontiveros, muriels, park chan-wook, pope benedict xvi, raymond barry, stoker


My Name Is Ki

Watching My Name Is Ki, the debut by promising director Leszek Dawid, one might conclude that little has changed for women in his native Poland since the fall of communism. The economic situation that Dawid depicts is dire enough to beg the question of what, if any, support has been put in place for single mothers in what is now one of the sturdiest European economies. The movie's protagonist, Ki (Roma Gasiorowska) is an aspiring artist, let down by her child's father who seems more interested in overcoming his own emotional hang-ups. She finds herself blackmailed by a bigoted social worker and at her wits' end.

The movie is haunted, albeit indirectly, by Agnieszka Holland's fierce and brilliant A Single Woman. Holland's film was an uncompromising study of a single mother, Irena (Maria Chwalibóg), her alienation and powerlessness, in a society that was closed-off and shell-shocked from years of communist brainwashing. Nineteen eighty one in Poland was when independent unions were squashed and military rule imposed. It was a dark period, and the final murder of Irena, at the hands of her handicapped, socially inept lover, Jacek (Bogusław Linda), who promises to take her abroad but ends up strangling her in a hotel room on their ludicrously failed escape attempt to the West, is symbolic of the brief period of openness and euphoria followed by interment camps and despair.

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TAGS: a single woman, agnieszka holland, boguslaw linda, indiescreen, leszek dawid, maria chwalibóg, my name is ki, pawel ferdak, roma gasiorowska


Jon Huntsman

Republicans sign brief in support of gay marriage.

Why Seth MacFarlane's misogyny matters.

Anthony Lane on the pleasant shocks of the Oscars.

David Denby also chimes in on the big night.

Listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Sacrilege."

Ancient "micro-contitent" found under Indian Ocean.

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TAGS: academy awards, anthony lane, david bowie, david denby, gay marriage, how to survive a plague, indian ocean, jonathan rosenbaum, michael koresky, nick pinkerton, republican party, sacrilege, searching for sugar man, seth macfarlane, the bleeding edge, the stars are out tonight, thomas pynchon, tilda swinton, yeah yeah yeahs


Kentucky Route Zero

"Pseudoscience is the marriage of whimsy and process." So speaks a drifter in Kentucky Route Zero who's stopped to tell your character, Conway, about the experimental adaptation of a Robert Frost poem that he hopes to perform. It's a meaningless encounter (there are no inventory items to obtain from him, no actual quest to fulfill), but those who appreciate gothic and philosophical flavor text will have no problem getting behind Jake Elliot and Tamas Kemenczy's pseudo-game, which weds a tense and Lynchian atmosphere of abandoned, ghostly properties along the various back roads of Kentucky with a series of metaphysical encounters. Samuel Beckett would be proud of such unexplained and non-interactive scenarios, like the one in which two "almost broken" men push a small aircraft across a narrow strip of highway, or another in which the sight of roadside debris has Conway waxing poetically to his dog.

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TAGS: jake elliot, kentucky route zero, out of this world, robert frost, samuel beckett, steam, superbrothers sword and sworcery ep, tamas kemenczy


Jennifer Lawrence

The Oscars were last night. Click here to see who won.

On Saturday, the Razzies honored (roasted?) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.

The Independent Spirit Awards announced their winners on Friday...

...and some are wondering if the the show has lost its indie quotient.

And on Friday, Amour was best in show at the Césars.

River Phoenix's Dark Blood isn't the epitaph he deserves.

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TAGS: academy awards, amour, béla tarr, cesar awards, dark blood, independent spirit awards, jean-pierre dardenne, jennifer lawrence, luc dardenne, marion cotillard, nine inch nails, razzie awards, richard brody, river phoenix, the twilight saga breaking dawn - part 2, trent reznor


Argo

Tonight, Slant offers live coverage of the 85th Academy Awards. Check out our comprehensive predictions and then follow Slant's Tumblr beginning at 8 p.m. EST for our real-time commentary. Hit us on the Twitter and we'll loop you into the conversation.

In addition to House managing editor R. Kurt Osenlund, contributors Ted Scheinman, Eric Henderson, Ted Pigeon, and John Semley, Slant's special Oscar commentariat comprises:

Amanda Hess, a freelance writer and Slate contributor focusing on sex, technology, and the youths. (She lives in Los Angeles.)

Chris Klimek, prolific arts contributor to Washington City Paper, the Washington Post, and NPR. ("Semipro aesthete; rather-less-pro athlete," Klimek says of himself. "I teach a little boxing on the side.")

Kate Conger, contributing writer and photographer at SF Weekly, Village Voice, and San Francisco Magazine.

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TAGS: academy awards, amanda hess, chris klimek, eric henderson, john semley, kate conger, r. kurt osenlund, ted pigeon, ted scheinman, tumblr, twitter


An Evening with Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.

We're in the middle of a comedy boom. Scores of young comics are using the media platforms and formats at their disposal to develop a voice and make it directly accessible through the Internet. When everything syncs up right, many of these comics are able to build a loyal following in the process. But if ready access to resources has altered conventional creative pathways for comedians on the rise, the looming inconstancies and fleet-footed pace of show business remain fundamental barriers to lasting success. It's impossible to predict if or when a comedic talent will arrive at a place where his or her distinct artistic voice will still be heard, clearly and in spite of its own success, through a clamoring audience. So at a time when comedy as an art form seems as wide open as it can be, it's thrilling to witness somebody like Louis C.K. perform live stand-up comedy in person.

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TAGS: louie, louis c.k.


Nights with Theodore

Romantic idealism and environmental psychology become enmeshed, and indistinguishable, in the intimate Nights with Theodore. Sébastien Betbeder's Paris-set tale opens with a kaleidoscopic observation of the nooks and crannies of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, layered with a pleasant, Wikipedia-esque voiceover introduction that summarizes its historical and mythological elements. It's a sublime device of immersion, establishing the uniquely hilly park and its unique attributes—the grotto, "suicide bridge," storied underground caverns, the Belvedere de Sybil—that evoke a voyeuristic thrill and suitably set the tree-filled stage.

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TAGS: agathe bonitzer, beach house, belvedere de sybil, film comment selects, nights with theodore, parc des buttes chaumont, pio marmaï, sebastien betbeder, that summer, the antlers







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