Munich

Culture Warrior

The Oscar montage reel is a genre on its own. It’s transparently demonstrative of the overall function of the Academy Awards. These montage reels summarize and make explicit what the annual ceremony attempts to accomplish writ large: to create and solidify a canon of important American films, along with a delimited understanding of their importance. Yes, the Oscars have occasionally given a voice to the indie underdog and rush through their obligatory movies-with-subtitles category, but besides the occasional screenplay nomination for a truly innovative film and the rare foreign language film that broaches through the marginal categories, the Oscars are by and large a celebration of American cinema, specifically Hollywood cinema. During the 2006 ceremony, a moment occurred that has been seared into my memory. I haven’t been able to find a clip of it online since it aired six years ago, so I hope this isn’t wishful or inaccurate. The 2006 ceremony consisted of a spate of overtly political films, as Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck competed for top honors, and Syriana was in the running for other awards. In likely hopes of gaining cultural capital from celebrating mainstream cinema’s rarely explored but ever-present political function, the Academy aired a self-congratulatory reel of past Oscar-nominated films that have addressed other topical social problems, from In the Heat of the Night to Philadelphia. When the lights came back and the audience applauded with anticipated decorum, host Jon Stewart then graced the stage and stated, in a […]

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He achieved critical acclaim by shooting in England for Match Point. He won people’s hearts by shooting in Spain for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. And he achieved his greatest financial success ever by filming in France for Midnight in Paris. For a filmmaker who people have often said has his best days behind him, Woody Allen has been doing pretty well for himself by taking his, some would say uniquely New York, perspective overseas. Not one to mess up a bad thing, Allen is currently shooting another ensemble comedy, this time in Italy, which will be called The Bop Decameron. And before he’s even finished with that project, there are reports that he’s already negotiating where to take his film crew next. According to THR, Allen is currently in negotiations with Bavaria Studios in Munich, Germany to set his next project in their city. Initially I would have thought that filming a movie in Munich was just a ploy for Allen to get paid to hang out during Oktoberfest, but apparently he is looking to start filming on this new film next summer rather than next fall. There is not yet any word on a title or plot summary, but at this early stage those sorts of things might not even exist. With the speed that Allen bangs these things out, it could be that the only thing he knows he wants to do next is go to Germany, story to follow. Whatever his recent process has been, I hope he […]

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Culture Warrior

Today is the day of the midterm elections, a day which will mark the stark transition from functionaries on the center who can’t accomplish anything holding office to functionaries on the right who are too busy yelling in every direction to accomplish anything holding office. Under that grand political tradition whose unwavering slogan is “Losing = Tyranny,” much has been made from candidates on the far right (who will become mainstream right if elected or exponentially grating windbags if not) about staging an armed revolution if, y’know, that whole democracy thing doesn’t work out for them. Well, before the pasty and overweight turn off the Fox News echo chamber and actually embody the daunting degree at which human action can precede human thought by taking arms against an administration that has done nothing to challenge their 2nd Amendment rights, I’d like to use the history of cinema to illustrate what true revolt against actual political oppression looks like.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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