Performance Art

Even when the studio flies you up and puts you in a nice hotel, movie press conferences are usually incredibly dull. They largely consist of general questions and meaningless answers. If you’re lucky/unlucky, the foreign press will be there punctuating the conversation about story structure with inquiries into what color underwear stars are wearing or who they’re currently bedding. So, it’s all pretty boring. Unless it’s performance art. Enter Sacha Baron Cohen. Instead of appearing to answer bland questions about The Dictator, he arrived in character with a host of female body guards and proceeded to make brashly anti-semetic statements, call for fairer treatment of dictators, and to take at least one planted question about how glorious and wise he is. The fine folks at IndieWire got his introduction on video. It’s not monumental, but history has been made. Minutes into the press conference, almost no one in the crowd looks asleep.  

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Criterion Files

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of Guest Author month at Criterion Files: a month devoted to important classic and contemporary bloggers. This week, David Ehrlich, whose bimonthly column Criterion Corner was a favorite at Cinematical, takes on Paul Schrader’s incredible biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Tune in next week as Adam Charles returns Criterion Files to its usual rotation, and in the meantime you can take a look at the previous entries from guest contributors here. Infamous Japanese iconoclast Yukio Mishima once said “I still have no way to survive but to keep writing one line, one more line, one more line…,” a sentiment which suggests that his eventual suicide came only once his creative resources had run dry. Yet, as Paul Schrader’s sublime film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters so fluidly illustrates, Mishima ended his life with a self-administered sword thrust to the chest not because he was out of words, but rather because the page had never been a sufficient canvas for his artistic expression, or one to which he had ever intended to confine himself.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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