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Jessica Yu in the Realms of the All-Too-Real

Jessica Yu

By Aaron Hillis

Jessica Yu's followup to In the Realms of the Unreal, Protagonist, premiered at Sundance and we had two people on the ground who caught it and sent immediate word to the Daily. Brian Darr sets up the doc: "Posed with the problem of making a documentary with the great tragedician Euripides as an inspiration, Yu put out a call for people ready to tell their stories of a cathartic awakening that they had been traveling for too long down the wrong path." Craig Phillips noted that it "reminds me a bit of Errol Morris's Fast, Cheap, Out of Control, as it's an ambitious film with a quartet of subjects that don't always fully connect with each other but fascinate anyway."

Now that Protagonist is beginning a tour of theaters around the US, Aaron Hillis talks with Yu about interweaving four personal tales of catharsis and resolution.

 

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Brian De Palma: "Making You Aware of What You're Watching"

By Sean Axmaker

Brian De Palma

"Brian De Palma is one of cinema's most hypnotic stylists, a virtuoso whose multilayered tracking shots can expand your perception of space, time, and motion onscreen; so it's a major statement when he throws away his jazzy technique and goes for something rough-hewn and immediate," writes David Edelstein in New York.

And that's precisely what he's done in Redacted, "a controversial film, a fictionalized portrait of real-life war crime in the current Iraq occupation, which De Palma has made more provocative by using the techniques of non-fiction filmmaking, TV news reporting, video diaries, and propaganda pieces to challenge audiences to question what exactly they're seeing," notes Sean Axmaker, introducing his interview with the director.

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Joss Whedon and the Vampire Detectives

By Sean Axmaker Joss Whedon

"Joss Whedon's 'Buffyverse' included both his brilliant series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel," notes Richard Harrington in the Washington Post. "Factor in Firefly, the space cowboy series canceled by Fox in 2003, and you've got a good case for Whedon being one of television's visionaries."

On the occasion of the release of Angel: Complete Series, Sean Axmaker asks Whedon, "What is it about TV vampires that they all want to become detectives?" But there are more questions, too, of course - about what else he's been up to lately and about the movie he's "finishing a polish on" even now.

 

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Carla Garapedian, 4 Angry Men and Countless Screamers

Screamers

By David D'Arcy

When a resolution calling on the president to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians [between 1915 and 1917] as genocide" was introduced, debate raged in the House of Representatives until, just this past week, sponsors of the measure decided to postpone a vote on the issue. Among those bound to be deeply disappointed are System of a Down, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning band and centerpiece of the unique film, Screamers.

The documentary is something of a hybrid between an uproarious concert film and a brisk and urgent history lesson, linking that first genocide of the modern era to the all too many that have followed. The congressional resolution may be tabled, but campaign for recognition of the atrocity is far from over. David D'Arcy talks with filmmaker Carla Garapedian about becoming a Screamer.

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Nerd's Progress: The Life and Career of Tim Lucas

By D.K. Holm

Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark

1,128 pages, 12 pounds and gorgeously designed, Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark is much, much more than the coffee table book of the year. "Besides the life and career of Bava himself, the book also features essays on the theory and appeal of horror films, a history of Italian cinema, essays on cinematography, special effects, movie poster art and advertising, and biographies of most of the key personnel associated with Bava's career, including Barbara Steele. It is perhaps one of the most interesting, dedicated, thoroughly researched books ever published," writes D.K. Holm in his profile of the author of this magnum opus, Tim Lucas.

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Ang Lee: "I Like to Keep That Mystery"

Ang Lee

By Sean Axmaker

"I think I'm running out of things to make film about in my conscious world," Ang Lee tells Sean Axmaker in a conversation about Lust, Caution that quickly moves to the Oscar-winning director's entire oeuvre. "Starting from The Ice Storm, I started to go the other side. I think up to Sense and Sensibility, I did everything that I know of myself consciously... But I like to keep that mystery and make movies about what I need to find out."

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AJ Schnack: "We hope that we've given a true sense of him."

By Francine Taylor

AJ Schnack

"Taped conversations between Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain and music journalist Michael Azerrad form the attention-grabbing center of director AJ Schnack's otherworldly documentary Kurt Cobain About a Son," writes Steve Ramos at indieWIRE. "The true highlights of the film, more than Cobain's never-before-heard commentary on life, death and the price of sudden fame, are Schnack's artful technique, pinpoint editing, clever animation and beautiful collage of Pacific Northwest landscapes and everyday Seattle people."

Here, Francine Taylor talks with AJ Schnack about his unique approach to a tragic story, the differences between documentaries and nonfiction films and what he hopes audiences will take away from Kurt Cobain About a Son.

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Béla Tarr's Man from London

Bé Tarr

Perhaps no other director is more immediately associated with the long take as Bé Tarr. In his latest film, The Man from London, Tarr couples his unique aesthetic with, of all things, a murder mystery written by Georges Simenon. Michael Guillé/a> asks him about his emphasis on his characters' situations - as opposed to the story he's telling.

The Man from London premiered in Cannes, screened in Toronto and is part of this year's New York Film Festival, screening Sunday and Wednesday.

In an earlier interview, Jay Kuehner spoke with Tarr about Werckmeister Harmonies.

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Robert Benton: Character Determines Action

Robert Benton

Bonnie and Clyde. Kramer vs. Kramer. Nobody's Fool. As a screenwriter, and often as a director as well, Robert Benton has had a hand in more than a few landmarks of American cinema. His latest, Feast of Love, is an adaptation of a novel by Charles Baxter, recommended to him by novelist Richard Russo.

Sean Axmaker talks with Benton about his genre-tweaking background, about what all he owes Robert Altman, about the ongoing debate over violence in movies and about what he's after in Feast of Love: "My interests have shifted away from film and more toward life, and that what interests me are those things that I don't understand. Love is one of those things."

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William Friedkin: The Thin Line Between Good and Evil

Cruising

Cruising is one of the most controversial films in American cinematic history. Protests fired up once word got out that it was being made, carried on through its initial theatrical release in 1980 and fired up all over again when it was revived in 1995. But this year it was met with a standing ovation in Cannes.

When director William Friedkin recently attended a special screening in San Francisco, Jeffrey M. Anderson sat down to talk with him about what's changed, about "the existence of good and evil in all of us, which is what all of my films are about," and about the connection between Cruising and The Exorcist.

 

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