1. “The Lost Interviews.” Todd VanDerWerff interviews Damon Lindelof about 10 episodes from the show’s first season.
“A decade after its debut, Lost seems ever more like a weird, collective dream we all had. A complicated, character-driven sci-fi/fantasy hybrid with heavy elements of horror? And we all watched it? And it was on broadcast network television? When looking at the modern TV landscape, it’s hard to find anything quite so ambitious, especially on the broadcast networks, which increasingly manage toward the margins in a dying business model. ’Even if you fail, people will appreciate you having attempted the harder trick and crashed than just kind of doing the easy stuff,’ said co-creator Damon Lindelof during a 90-minute interview about the show’s first season. He said this wisdom was instilled in him by his fellow co-creator, J.J. Abrams. Abrams would leave the show seven episodes in, but leave an indelible mark upon it: the mark of going for broke, of trying anything, of never settling for the routine.”
2. “The F.B.I. Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes.” Rapid-DNA technology makes it easier than ever to grab and store your genetic profile. G-men, cops, and Homeland Security can’t wait to see it everywhere.
“Despite the new technology’s crime-solving potential, privacy advocates are wary of its spread. If rapid-DNA machines can be used in a refugee camp, ’they can certainly be used in the back of a squad car,’ says Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ’I could see that happening in the future as the prices of these machines go down.’ Lynch is particularly concerned that law enforcement agencies will use the devices to scoop up and store ever more DNA profiles. Every state already has a forensic DNA database, and while these systems were initially set up to track convicted violent offenders, their collection thresholds have steadily broadened. Today, at least 28 include data from anyone arrested for certain felonies, even if they are not convicted; some store the DNA of people who have committed misdemeanors as well. The F.B.I.’s National DNA Index System has more than 11 million profiles of offenders plus 2 million people who have been arrested but not necessarily convicted of a crime.”
3. “Enlighten Me.” Nick Pinkerton on Albert Serra’s Story of My Death.
“A thought that occurred to me while watching Albert Serra’s Story of My Death: the lot of filmmakers traveling the prestige Euro festival circuit is not incomparable to that of the itinerant gentleman of prerevolutionary Europe. Your currency is the letter of introduction, your etiquette upon arrival your proof of belonging. Instead of which spoon to use for dessert and which to use for soup and how to dance a quadrille, ’etiquette’ in rarefied film circles is a matter of conforming to a number of aesthetic choices that confer proper breeding, a.k.a. influences. This extends to camera movement (as little as possible), non-diegetic soundtracking (same), duration (trying), lighting (naturalistic), performance (ditto, and possibly nonprofessional). When found in one place, the combination is usually referred to as ’rigor,’ though too often the demands made on an audience are confused with the demands that the filmmakers have made of themselves. (The paradox of pop: hooks are easy to listen to but hard to write.) This world has its true aristocrats, and then it has its foppish mountebanks in paste jewelry. Hence to Story of My Death, set in Europe as the 18th century is turning over to 19th, which won the Golden Leopard from a jury headed by Lav Diaz at the 66th Locarno Film Festival.”
4. “Sex(ist): On Cinematic Nudity.” Jake Pitre, for Movie Mezzanine on male nudity or the lack thereof on movie screens
“[The Imitation Game] spans decades of [Alan] Turing’s life, with a particular focus on his extraordinary code-breaking work during World War II—but according to reviews and reports, never once does he express his sexuality onscreen (there are no sex scenes, and he never touches another man), thereby relegating this crucial aspect of his personal life to a mere footnote. Cumberbatch and director Morten Tyldum have defended the choice: Tyldum by claiming the lack of sex scenes is ’historically accurate’ (whatever that means), [Benedict] Cumberbatch by arguing that their inclusion would mean the loss of ’subtle storytelling.’ But the fire was again stirred earlier this month when Jonathan Dean of the Sunday Times reported having seen an early version of the script that did contain a gay sex scene with both characters ’tugging off each other’s clothes, hungry for sex.’”
5. “Mad As Hell and Taking It.” Mike McCabe, for CutPrintFilm, on the malaise of the ’70s and how it was reflected in the films of the era.
“These films didn’t allude to the headlines; they were direct interventions. They didn’t ’speak to’ people or ’reflect’ the times. They were amplifications of collective angst, resulting in not only catharsis, but outlets for anger. That scene in Network isn’t a metaphor—it’s a visceral, populist clarion call. Yet when have, or rather when will we see Christian Bale throw a Molotov cocktail through a Goldman Sachs window on the big screen? Why hasn’t Matthew McConaughey or Sandra Bullock given their monologue about the need for destruction of old, failed institutions? It’s difficult to watch films like Rocky or Network without getting an urge to stand from your seat and cheer, but it’s difficult to say the same about contemporary cinema, at least in regards to films based in realism (i.e. not Marvel or Christopher Nolan films). American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, along with so many other recent films canonized feel shrouded (despite their merits) by an omnipresent sense of spectacle. Award-caliber performances aside, no one would argue that the people and situations of the aforementioned films are relatable to the general audience member.”
Video of the Day: Patti Smith and David Lynch talk Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet and Pussy Riot:
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