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.”
2. “At Kodak, Clinging to a Future Beyond Film.” For The New York Times, Quentin Hardy on how the company might never live up to the legacy of its own past.
“What happens after a tech company is left for dead but the people left behind refuse to give up the fight? At Kodak the answer is to dig deep into a legacy of innovation in the photography business and see if its remaining talent in optics and chemistry can be turned into new money in other industries. Once a household name as big in its day as Apple and Microsoft have been for later generations, Kodak was part of everyday life, its film—sold in a yellow box—recording births, vacations, weddings. And then Kodak became a cautionary tale about what happens when a tech company is slow to change. For Kodak, the advent of digital photography was ruinous. Today it has $2 billion in annual sales, compared with $19 billion in 1990 when consumer film was king. It now has 8,000 employees worldwide; it had 145,000 at its peak.”
3. “Armed and Tedious.” For Grantland, Wesley Morris on Sean Penn bulking up for The Gunman and Shailene Woodley getting stuck in Insurgent.
“When Tom Cruise is half-dressed in a film, you can cheer his ridiculousness—he practically turns himself on. What turns Penn on about himself often seems to have little to do with the movies. He’s among the cause-iest of stars, having dipped a steel-toed boot into one political quagmire after the next. A Hollywood activist like Angelia Jolie survives this disjunction between being an action figure and a humanitarian because she works mostly in the realms of melodrama, science fiction, and fantasy. But touristic self-importance pollutes The Gunman. Penn’s preening obstructs your view of atrocity. He doesn’t care that, like the ’Jimmy’ Neeson’s currently playing in Run All Night and the ’Jimmy’ Penn played in Mystic River, these are immoral heroes given heroizing plots. Stardom is its own morality. Now it’s as if Penn can’t do a lousy action movie without even a patina of world betterment. But the world he’s trying to better here feels pitifully tiny—it’s his own.”
4. “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Toward Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.” The “Pass the Mic” series showcases unique voices, perspectives and ideas. This op-ed was written by Ashley Judd, an actress and advocate for women’s rights.
“What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually. I know this experience is universal, though I’ll describe specifically what happened to me. I read in vivid language the various ways, humiliating and violent, in which my genitals, vaginal and anal, should be violated, shamed, exploited and dominated. Either the writer was going to do these things to me, or they were what I deserved. My intellect was insulted: I was called stupid, an idiot. My age, appearance and body were attacked. Even my family was thrown into the mix: Someone wrote that my ’grandmother is creepy.’”
5. “How to create a documentary character.” Robert Greene on five not-so-easy steps to seeing your nonfiction protagonist up in lights.
“In my own films, I’ve been lucky enough to find great subjects that could be turned into amazing characters. Kati Genthner’s teenage idealism, heartbreaking naiveté and likeable toughness carried Kati with an I, while the pro-wrestling cast of Fake It So Real couldn’t have been more fun or captivating. My Actress star Brandy Burre allowed me to explore the nature of performance in documentary because she is such a dedicated craftsperson herself, creating an electrifying, layered character out of the very real turmoil of her life. With these and with other films I’ve edited, I’ve learned some valuable lessons in the crafting of nonfiction characters, the cinematic possibilities of exploiting performance and the limitations of exerting directorial control.”
Video of the Day: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation gets a trailer:
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