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by Cynthia Fuchs

6 Mar 2012


“Why are you doing a piece on Ron Galella?” asks Chuck Close It’s true that, on one level, Leon Gast’s excellent documentary takes paparazzo Ron Galella as its subject. But on so many other levels, it uses him as a way to ask more resonant questions—about celebrity and class, obsession and delusion, the blurred definitions of public and private. In the film, which screens 6 March at Stranger Than Fiction, followed by a Q&A with Leon Gast, Galella tells stories about himself. He’s providing a service, he’s making a living, he’s doing what he loves to do, he says. Galella himself may be most famous for the legal case brought against him by Jackie Kennedy: she argued that he harassed her children and she won. “Why did I have the obsession with Jackie?” Galella asks himself, for Gast’s camera. “I analyzed it: because I had no girlfriend and she was my girlfriend in a way.” As an analysis, this seems glib, but it may be perversely telling as well. But if you understand all such explanations as still more stories—about Gallela maybe, but more plausibly about the culture that produces him—then you might imagine he’s been told this story and now tells it back.

See PopMattersreview.

by Comfort Clinton

5 Mar 2012


Anathema began in Liverpool in 1990 as a death metal pioneer, their first label-released album was The Crestfallen EP. They’ve seen many changes in their members and even direction of their sound over the years, gradually trading their death metal for the alternative rock vibe they now feature. Anathema has produced over 11 records, their most recent effort, We’re Here Because We’re Here, which came out in 2010, is followed by Weather Systems, out April 24 through End Records. Producer Steven Wilson went so far as to describe We’re Here Because We’re Here as “definitely among the best albums I’ve had the pleasure to work on”.

by Christopher O'Riley

5 Mar 2012


Senseless (not the Wayan Bros. slapstick) is the darkest, most brutal hostage/torture narrative one can imagine (though, philosophically, and only through the thorough and empathetic characterizations wrought at Stona Fitch’s able hands that one is wholly and disparately aligned with the captive and his captors. His most famous novel, speaking of hands, is Give + Take, essentially a touring jazz pianist who in his off-hours robs jewels and riches and just as swiftly and anonymously bestows the deftly-gotten gains to a worthy charity.

by Christopher O'Riley

5 Mar 2012


2011 marked the 100th Anniversary of the birth of film composer, Bernard Herrmann, known for his iconic musical (and pure music concrete in the case of Hitchcock’s The Birds) landscapes/backdrops for films like Citizen Kane, Cape Fear, Taxi Driver (his last) and memorable and numerous Alfred Hitchcock works. Psycho has long been a favorite film of mine, and Herrmann’s score is perhaps more indelibly inscribed on my memory than even the violently etched black-and-white images Hitchcock created.

by Cynthia Fuchs

5 Mar 2012


Documentary Channel celebrates Women’s History Month with a series of films. This week’s offerings include Pink Skies and Carpet Racers. The first film concerns the ongoing struggle against breast cancer, focused through “Jump for the Cause,” a group of women skydivers who perform mass dives for money. In 2009, 181 women from 31 countries joined in a jump to raise almost $1 million for breast cancer research. “Don’t be a victim,” says the group’s instructor, “Be the hero.” Just so, Gulcin Gilbert’s film asserts that the best cure for breast cancer is prevention, a point underlined by researchers more than once here. “We live in a very toxic environment,” says Dr. Lauren Swerdloff near the beginning of “And we are able to handle some toxicity. But the environment is probably getting more toxic, more rapidly, than most of us are able to handle it.” To battle that trend, individuals need to watch out for themselves, rather than hoping that government agencies and corporations will come up with answers. The energy, drive, and earnestness of the women skydivers seems a model of pressing ahead in the face of disappointment and difficulty.

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