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Links for the Day: The Making of Madonna’s Greatest Music Videos, Reverse Shot in Space, Sufjan Stevens and Camille Paglia Interviews, & More

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Links for the Day: The Making of Madonna’s Greatest Music Videos, Reverse Shot in Space, Sufjan Stevens and Camille Paglia Interviews, & More

1. “Express Yourself: The Making of Madonna’s 20 Greatest Music Videos.” The directors who worked alongside the MTV-era maverick tell their stories. (Below is Mary Lambert on her “Like a Prayer” clip.)

“I knew that we were pushing some big buttons, but I sort of underestimated the influence and bigotry of fundamentalist religion and racism in this country and the world. I always think that, if my work is successful, it goes beyond my intentions and in this case it definitely did. The most important thing was to force people to reimagine their visual references and really root out their prejudices. Using burning crosses to reference racism to religion. Why not a Black Jesus? Why can’t you imagine kissing him? I wanted to speak about ecstasy and to show the relationship between sexual and religious ecstasy. I think that subconsciously a lot of people understood this and were either enthralled or outraged by it. Consciously, I don’t think a lot of the audience would have made this interpretation.”

2. “True Myth.” Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal chats with Sufjan Stevens.

Carrie & Lowell is not a sentimental affair, though. Stevens brings out all of the hurt and confusion of his relationship with his mother, as well as the debilitating aftermath of her passing, with lyrics that are poetic and unflinching. He sings of suicidal thoughts, regret, violence, brushfires, hospitals, shadows, recklessness, blood. ’I just wanted to be near you,’ he pleads on the album, exposing the core of his own history. ’With this record, I needed to extract myself out of this environment of make-believe,’ he says, pulling at his sneaker’s red tongue. ’It’s something that was necessary for me to do in the wake of my mother’s death—to pursue a sense of peace and serenity in spite of suffering. It’s not really trying to say anything new, or prove anything, or innovate. It feels artless, which is a good thing. This is not my art project; this is my life.’”

3. Reverse Shot in Space.” Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert introduce a new symposium.

“So what are we talking about when we talk about space in a purely visual sense? In an odd quirk of cinephilia, we are especially fetishizing of a film’s frame, and as such we obsess over how the director ’fills out’ the mise-en-scène. It’s perhaps why Wes Anderson is among the most widely popular of contemporary film artists: He really gives good frame, cramming it with as many colors, tchotchkes, eye-catching costumes, and eccentric folks that a 2.35:1 or wider width can handle. Other contemporary filmmakers, like Lisandro Alonso or Pedro Costa or Bruno Dumont, also tend to be discussed in terms of space, but for a different reason: there’s so much emptiness in their frames, situating characters against or within stark landscapes that seem to bear down on them rather than give them latitude for movement. We talk a lot about how the camera moves through space, and the implications of those choices to move in or out or sideways, but it’s rare that we just stop to consider the size and shape of the frame itself. And isn’t this where every film starts?”

4. Take What You Can Carry Director Matthew Porterfield, Producer Zsuzsanna Kiràly and d.p. Jenny Lou Ziegel on Collaborating Outside the System in Germany.” Andrew Grant spoke with the filmmakers at Berlinale, where Take What You Can Carry had its premiere.

“Berlin appears to be a meeting place for people from all over, but I’ve been feeling it my own life as well. Splitting my time between Baltimore and New York, combined with a lot of festival travel, I drew on my own feelings of transience and impermanence. It was a challenge to represent a city like Berlin, to find something that hadn’t been done, and without seeming too touristic.”

5. “The Catholic Pagan.” 10 questions for Camille Paglia.

“After the great victory won by my insurgent, pro-sex, pro-fashion wing of feminism in the 1990s, American and British feminism has amazingly collapsed backward again into whining, narcissistic victimology. As in the hoary old days of Gloria Steinem and her Stalinist cohorts, we are endlessly subjected to the hackneyed scenario of history as a toxic wasteland of vicious male oppression and gruesome female suffering. College campuses are hysterically portrayed as rape extravaganzas where women are helpless fluffs with no control over their own choices and behavior. I am an equal opportunity feminist: that is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women’s advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women, which I reject as demeaning and infantilizing. My principal demand (as I have been repeating for nearly 25 years) is for colleges to confine themselves to education and to cease their tyrannical surveillance of students’ social lives.”

Video of the Day: For the BBC, John Boorman reveals the films that shaped him:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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