The House


Abel Ferrara

1. "It's Criminal and My Name Is On It." Abel Ferrara on his Strauss-Kahn-inspired Welcome to New York, his battle with distributors, and Pasolini.

"Women know what's going on. We're grown-ups. We're big boys. That's why this idea of an R-rating is a joke. I've never made an R-rated film. I wouldn't even accept the term 'R-rating.' A long time ago when I used to work with these guys [speaking of film studio execs in general] and make the cuts... I was there when the MPAA was invented, I was there when the whole thing came about. It came to a moment in my life where I realized I was thinking in those terms, and then I stopped. Because I cannot do what I do, worrying about that. I wouldn't even accept the concept of an R-rated film—and I live in and work in Europe, so that doesn't exist [here]. These people, IFC, put out unrated films. That's their fucking thing. And Wild Bunch as a European-fucking distributor...c'mon man. Blue is the Warmest Color, Nymphomaniac, all these films, ya dig? And they [IFC and Wild Bunch] know who I am. We've made five films together. They [IFC and Wild Bunch] grew up watching my films. They know I don't make R-rated films. And this subject matter, this story, the way I shot it, you cannot. I wouldn't have made it, I wouldn't have done it. They're tyrants. They act with impunity. It's not going to fly with me, or people who have any sense of the truth."

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TAGS: abel ferrara, alejandro jodorowsky, askold melnyczuk, cinderella, cinema scope, elise nakhnikian, entertainment, guerrero: the monster in the mountains, ifc films, juliano ribeiro salgado, los angeles review of books, phil coldiron, rick alverson, Rob Walker, the l magazine, the salt of the earth, welcome to new york, where the bird sings gest, wim wenders


God Help the Girl

1. "The Unbearable Whiteness of Indie." Pitchfork's Sarah Sahim sees God Help the Girl and it gets her thinking about whiteness in indie music.

"The price of being outspoken about race—the price of speaking their truth—for Heems or Dap, for M.I.A., is much higher than it is for any white musicians with a message, be it Kathleen Hanna or Kim Gordon's mass appeal white feminism or Bono, whose career is foundationally built on his white savior complex. Heems' work (both solo and with Das Racist) explores racial problems in both American and Asian society with a distinctly satirical slant, but the label of 'joke rap' is one that has become difficult to escape, and one that invalidates and writes off the truth of their experience as Asian Americans. M.I.A. prefers to take a route that relies less on humor and blunty screams about her problems with both the West and Sri Lanka. The often casual dismission of her politics ultimately results in her having to scream even louder. M.I.A. or Heems' assertion of their racial identities and experiences, becomes, at best, inconvenient, and often plays as badly in the underground as it does in the mainstream."

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TAGS: backcountry, daniel kasman, empire, from mayerling to sarajevo, god help the girl, heems, it follows, letter from an unknown woman, m.i.a., mark harris, max ophüls, pitchfork, richard brody, sarah sahim, toni morrison, wesley morris


Angelina Jolie

1. "Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery." For The New York Times, the actress pens an op-ed about her decision to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

"I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren. I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful. That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: 'You look just like her.' I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so 'let's get on with it.'"

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TAGS: angelina jolie, fran lebowitz, israel, jon hamm, mad men, nadia awad, palestine, robert greene, slow west, the new inquiry, the jinx


Looking

1. "Looking, Marriage, and the New Gay Sadness." The New Yorker's Daniel Wenger on the HBO series.

"The aimlessness is by design. This is no shapely sitcom with memorable, freestanding episodes; the camera shakes, colors are muted, there is no soundtrack, scenes interrupt each other, time advances by skips and jumps. Underneath, Looking seems to sweat. The primary writers are gay men, and in the course of two seasons the hint of autobiography begins to express itself: an improbable, impregnable loneliness. Like Girls, to which it's often been compared, Looking has replaced consciousness-raising with self-consciousness-raising, the pastime of those whose assimilation has ostensibly put them past politics but who can't believe that politics are unnecessary when self-acceptance hasn't been wrought. The effect of Looking is not, as the National Gay Task Force might have had it, to show straight audiences that gay people deserve to be citizens. It is to show that being a citizen only gets you so far when you have never thought of yourself as one. Plenty of people, straight and gay, are sexually immature and romantically inept; but Patrick seems as little ready to connect to another man, in any fashion and for any length of time, as when he was a closeted fifteen-year-old with no sense of being entitled to any rights, hiding what he had transformed into criminal urges under a blanket in the back of a bus."

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TAGS: daniel wenger, fka twigs, genevieve valentine, glass & patron, hbo, j.f. lawton, looking, los angeles plays itself, pretty woman, the dissolve, the new yorker, thom andersen, video games


M.I.A.

1. "Arular 10 Years Later: M.I.A. Reflects on Globe-Shaking Debut." How fights with Diplo, an altercation with Oprah and being labeled a terrorist have shaped her past decade.

"Everybody in the media was calling me a [terrorist]. It was horrible because even my friends and people in the music industry had to disown me. The pressure got so intense. The media turned against me, my ex-boyfriend turned against me and became a pawn to actually do that and, yeah, it's like it was this really difficult time — to be like, no, this is real, this is real, this is real. It was a really difficult time because I felt that what I'd done up to that point is offered really positive things and had music and fashion and visual stuff that represented something that was positive and not negative. I don't know, you could debate the gunshots [played over the music at her shows], but generally if you came to my show you did not go away feeling sad and you did not go away in a negative way. You went away having experienced a whole bunch of happy things and you felt empowered."

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TAGS: arular, ashley judd, diplo, grantland, insurgent, kodak, m.i.a., mission: impossible rogue nation, oprah winfrey, quentin hardy, robert greene, rolling stone, sean penn, shailene woodley, the gunman, the new york times, wesley morris


The Jinx

1. "Just Say No to Reënactments." Richard Brody on The Jinx and its use of fabrication.

"The reënactment is the bane and the curse of the modern documentary film—more so, even, than ominous-drone music. Andrew Jarecki's irresistibly fascinating investigative series The Jinx strains mightily under this curse (it's got the music, too). It's a curse of Jarecki's own making, a result of his directorial choices, and, ultimately, it's why the series—for all the remarkable research that went into it and the real-life justice it may well help to bring about—is largely mediocre. The Jinx is a model of post-facto filmmaking, which exists not to be seen but to be discussed. The series is a delivery, not a creation, a great and memorable investigative success, but a failure of aesthetic judgment. For much of its span, it plays like In Cold Blood as written by Dan Brown."

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TAGS: adam sandler, Andrew Jarecki, david ehrenstein, eric benson, fandor, glenn kenny, grantland, jauja, larry kramer, michael sicinski, pixels, richard brody, the american people: volume 1: search for my heart, the hateful eight, the jinx, viggo mortensen


Empire

1. "What Empire Means for Blackness on Television." Fox's new series has broken ratings records—and it's also broken ground in terms of its portrayal of race, queerness, and women on television. But that doesn't mean it's perfect. (Below are thoughts from BuzzFeed staff writer Ira Madison III.)

"If there's one positive takeaway from Jamal, it's his introduction to mainstream black America. Part of the reason the homophobia-in-the-black-community myth persists is because of representation. We've seen some of television's most popular series dealing with the gay son soap archetype, and the image of gayness and acceptance of homosexuality has permeated white culture for nearly 50 years (Susan Harris' 1977 satirical sitcom Soap introduced one of television's first gay characters in Jodie Dallas). Black characters who appeared on these kinds of soaps were the divas like Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll's character on Dynasty) or Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams' character on Ugly Betty). They rarely had lives of their own. And here we are now, with Jamal fighting for his father's dynasty. If this show had existed in the '80s—as it should have, because black people had money in the damn '80s too and we loved soap operas back then—I truly believe the notion of a black community being more homophobic would be retrograde. But look at Empire's ratings. They're huge and growing each week. In the '80s, Dynasty was one of the highest-rated dramas on television. Jamal's character, however I may feel about him, is important not just for our community but in the context of television history in general."

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TAGS: adam nayman, andrew o'hehir, buzzfeed, claire cameron, empire, fargo, fox news, if i fall i die, ira madison iii, irish-american, jauja, jean-luc godard, kumiko the treasure hunter, lisandro alonso, michael christie, nathan zellner, prix suisse remerciements mort ou vif, reverse shot, the millions


The Jinx

1. "Beverly Chills." For Grantland, Molly Lambert on the ongoing saga of The Jinx.

"Everything about The Jinx is Shakespearean: the empire divided among children, the moneyed power of the throne, the human inadequacies that can undo even the most well-planned and (relatively) well-executed revenge—even the reenactments, like the play within the play in Hamlet. The Jinx's finale aired on March 15, the Ides of March. In the sequence in which Jarecki shows Durst the damning block-lettered 'BEVERLEY' handwriting comparisons and Durst realizes he may be screwed, I thought of Julius Caesar. Et tu, Jarecki? A friend tweeted me a quote from Macbeth: 'When you durst do it, then you were a man,' Lady Macbeth tells her husband, admonishing him to keep his promise of regicide. Durst, in this context, is an archaic conjugation of dared. Throughout The Jinx, we marveled at Robert Durst's daring, his audacity, the fucking balls on this guy."

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TAGS: Andrew Jarecki, community, dick cheney, grantland, harper lee, james murphy, matt zoller seitz, molly lambert, nbc, playboy, robert durst, the jinx, ultimate breaks & beats, we used to dance, while we're young


Cinderella

1. "A Girl, A Show, A Prince." Linda Holmes on the endlessly evolving Cinderella.

"The idea that animates the classic Cinderella is that the prince would not be free to consider Cinderella a desirable mate if he first saw her as she is, but he can meet her under false pretenses and fall in love with her. And, most importantly, once achieved, that love will be durable enough to survive her reversion to her real identity. Getting him to literally recognize her—getting him to look at a woman in rags and realize she's the woman he wants to marry—seems to function as sort of a stand-in for him proving that he can overlook her low status and choose her as a partner. Whether that's more a fantasy of romantic love or a fantasy of economic security, power and rescue from a lifetime of washing floors may depend on who's telling it and who's hearing it and when."

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TAGS: andy warhol, björk, cinderella, erykah badu, family, interview, Jeff Reichert, jordon cronk, kendrick lamar, linda holmes, Michael Snow, michał oleszczyk, piotr szulkin, wavelength


The Searchers

1. "Marin Scorsese on The Searchers." The legendary director writes for The Hollywood Reporter about the troubling John Wayne western and the new book about it by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Glenn Frankel.

"First, apart from being an American epic, The Searchers also is a John Wayne Western; for many, even at this late date in film history, that's still an excuse to ignore it. Secondly, it doesn't go down quite as easily as the pictures mentioned above. Like all great works of art, it's uncomfortable. The core of the movie is deeply painful. Every time I watch it—and I've seen it many, many times since its first run in 1956—it haunts and troubles me. The character of Ethan Edwards is one of the most unsettling in American cinema. In a sense, he's of a piece with Wayne's persona and his body of work with Ford and other directors like Howard Hawks and Henry Hathaway. It's the greatest performance of a great American actor. (Not everyone shares this opinion. For me, Wayne has only become more impressive over time.)"

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TAGS: bleachers, disasterpeace, entropy, ethan hawke, girls, grimes, mark harris, martin scorsese, matt barone, nick pinkerton, richard brody, serial, seymour bernstein, seymour: an introduction, the dissolve, the hollywood reporter, the jinx, the searchers







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