1. “Scottish independence: Scotland votes No.” Alex Salmond’s dream of independence has been shattered after Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom.
“Scotland today rejected independence and voted to remain part of the United Kingdom at the end of the most intense political campaign the country has ever seen. The silent majority finally raised its voice on a tense yet utterly compelling night of political history. During a referendum that attracted record numbers of voters and was hailed as a triumph of democracy, the people voted to maintain the 307-year Union. A decisive No vote was the culmination of two and a half-years of vigorous and at times edgy campaigning, which looks certain to change the constitutional map of Britain for ever. As the votes were counted, a grim-faced Alex Salmond was seen boarding a private jet at Aberdeen airport just after 3am. Photographed with his wife Moira, the First Minister was contemplating his political future after the referendum he had strived for throughout his life delivered a telling blow against him.”
2. “Iranian Cinephilia: Between Real and Surreal.” Over at the newly revamped Reverse Shot, Azadeh Jafari and Vahid Mortazavi on being a cinephile in Iran.
“There’s a long story to how and why this two-sided cinephilia has formed. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, very few foreign movies are screened in theaters, and whatever is shown on national TV—the only TV in Iran—is severely censored. But despite all restrictions, Iranian film buffs have for years used many different sources, even in the pre-download age, to watch the movies they want. Walking the streets of Tehran, one encounters various peddlers selling the latest movies from all around the world. You can find them at the entrance of shopping malls, restaurants, and subways, and they will offer you various cheap DVDs with decent-looking covers and Persian-English subtitles—anything from the latest Fast and Furious to Dardenne brothers title. If you are a more serious film lover, you can hire someone to deliver desired DVDs to your home every week. They are ’movie couriers,’ carrying black suitcases full of films. Thanks to these secret agents—who were quite active even in the VHS years—Iranian film culture has remained as lively, colorful, and passionate as it was in prerevolutionary years.”
3. “The State I Am In: Stuart Murdoch on Scottish Independence.” Speaking to Sarah Larson of The New Yorker, the Belle and Sebastian frontman, weighs in on the referendum on Scottish independence.
“Yesterday, we spoke about it again, on the phone. I asked him about the mood in Glasgow. ’The mood is now quiet expectancy,’ he said. ’We’re all children before Christmas.’ He said that he had come to his ’yes’ position gradually. ’It was almost like a religious awakening. Piece by piece, in a very small way. I was talking the talk to people in kitchens and parlors around Scotland, especially English people, who were asking me what all the fuss was about. This was a year ago. And they couldn’t understand why Scotland was thinking about breaking away. And I was presenting a case to them, even though I was ostensibly pro-union. The trigger point was the 2008 crash—we went back to business as normal, with the rich carrying on getting richer, and the poor staying the same. In fact, the poor took the brunt. It was down to just normal folk in Britain to pick up all the debt, all these austerity measures. And everybody got down to it, everybody knuckled down. But when you see all these reports of bankers still making bonuses, and people playing the stocks and shares, preying on other people’s misfortunes, there’s a core of people who just find that unacceptable.’”
4. “Joe Berlinger on Michael Moore and The Changing Market for Documentaries.” In this guest post from director Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker responds to Michael Moore’s 13 rules for documentary filmmaking and tracks the documentary form from the ’Golden Age of Documentaries’ through today.
“Not calling ourselves ’documentarians’ is a very old argument that ignores the amazing expansion of the form and the pushing of boundaries that Michael himself was huge part of ushering in. When we launched Brother’s Keeper at Sundance in 1992, we made it part of our press strategy to call it a ’nonfiction feature film’ and to avoid the word ’documentary’ because of the ’castor oil’ baggage of the word—we certainly weren’t the first and obviously not the last to make a conscious effort to not only avoid the ’D’ word, but to make an issue of how we were different from traditional (i.e., ’boring’) documentaries…that was 23 years ago.”
5. “Bombast: Blitz Package.” Nick Pinkerton on football films, the all-auteur football team, North Dallas Forty, and The Longest Yard.
“The counterculture sports movie rejects the causal relationship between sports and character-building. The game is an end unto itself, useless and nevertheless beautiful—or perhaps beautiful because it’s useless. It allows figures who in actual life would be considered losers a shot at glory. And at worst, it offers a counter-myth as spurious as the mainstream sports movie’s myth, as in an edifice of soaring clichés like The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a 2014 documentary which aired as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series about the Portland Mavericks, a Minor League baseball team which existed from 1973 to 1977, whose primary distinction was a lack of affiliation with any Major League franchise.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain:
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