As with many Italian filmmakers of his era, Michelangelo Antonioni got his start in journalism. After a childhood of privilege and precocious talents (it is said he was a marvelous violinist by age nine), he fell in love with cinema. Indulged by his overprotective parents, he has free reign to explore all aspects of his impending muse. It was during his time at the University of Bologna when he first developed an affinity for the “lower” classes. He found them more alive and vibrant than the staid and stiff members of the pre-War bourgeoisie. After graduation he struggled as a film journalist, went back to school to study the artform, and eventually found a job with the official fascist publication of the subject (run by dictator Benito Mussolini’s son, Vittorio). After a stint in the army (where he helped other future filmmakers with their efforts), he fell back in to his favorite form, using his time in the military to create documentary style neo-realistic takes on everyday Italian life.
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There are really two Kenneth Anger’s running around in the new millennium—three if you add in his current crusade as a certified pagan, supporter of the works of Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, and advocate of Wicca. Many might know him from his famous show biz tell-alls, Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II, terrific pre-tabloid tomes that exposed many of Tinsel Town’s tawdriest secrets. But for the chosen few who have followed the careers of such motion picture mavericks as John Waters and David Lynch, Anger is an idol, an experimental underground filmmaker who forged a specific celluloid identity out of his experience with old school studio films, a complicated childhood, and his emerging homosexuality. By the time the ‘80s rolled around, he had contributed more to the fringes of the full blown independent movie scene than any other artist from his time.
Arrica Rose & the ...‘s release their third full-length, Let Alone Sea, August 22nd on pOprOck records and it’s chock full of the hook-filled folk-pop which is the group’s trademark. While sounding thoroughly contemporary, Arrica Rose’s sound is rooted in the classic pop of the ‘60s with nods to even earlier eras like the harmonies heard on ‘40s swing recordings. Her band, the …’s (“The Dot Dot Dots”). is meant to “describe the collaborative nature of her project which evolved from a four-piece guitar-driven band into an intricate sonic landscape including keys, mandolin, toy piano, omnichord and more.” Let Alone Sea contains 10 new tunes, but we have a special treat for you today… the premiere of “Lions & Tigers & Bears”, which doesn’t appear on the new album, but compliments the new work’s style perfectly.
New York has had it good concerning Shakespearean theater recently, given that The Merchant of Venice, which starred Al Pacino as Shylock, was successfully produced. This summer, New York is presently hosting a six-week residency from England’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, which the New York Times has called one of “the most famous classical theater companies in the world.” The R.S.C. will produce five plays in 45 performances, until 14 August. The plays are as follows: As You Like It,Julius Caesar,King Lear,Romeo and Juliet, and The Winter’s Tale. Don’t miss any one of them!
What defined Paul Thomas Anderson as a filmmaker early in his career was his ability and ambition at such a young age. Upon the release of Hard Eight in 1996, a 26-year-old Anderson was already preparing his breakthrough opus, Boogie Nights, a film that would see him immediately and often compared to his idols, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. Instead of flaming out like Orson Welles, Anderson has developed from a mere wunderkind to a singular voice playing in the sandbox big themes: love, self-destruction, family and death.
Perhaps most astounding is his recent creation of Daniel Plainview, a man who stands alone in There Will Be Blood but also in the larger context of Anderson’s oeuvre. His misanthropic use of Manifest Destiny ends up eating him alive. Plainview embodies the direct consequence of not finding an outlet for love, a vacant man left only to gasp, “I’m finished.” If Blood is any indication, Anderson is only at the beginning of a new phase in his career, exploring scope through the use of restraint.