Ingmar Bergman was famously described by his acolyte Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera”. Though almost equally revered in his native country as a theatre director, Bergman’s work behind the camera remains his greatest contribution, though his work remains criminally under-viewed by a global cinema audience that remains uncomfortable with his refusal to sentimentalize the darker aspects of human experience. A tireless artist with a truly frighteningly efficient work ethic, Bergman produced dozens of extraordinary films over his career (from 1946-1982 he would make a film most every winter, before spending the summer producing and directing (and sometimes acting in theatre!).
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San Francisco’s Extra Classic wanted to get completely authentic with their modern take on the sounds of classic Jamaican reggae, so they recorded all the tunes for their new album on 8-track tape using vintage ‘60s ands ‘70s recording equipment. The result is the new album, Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like a Laser Beam, releasing 27 September via Manimal Vinyl. The performing band is made up of Adrianne Verhoeven (vocals/keys), Alex deLanda (bass), Josh Adams (drums), Dustin Kinsey (guitar) and David Wetzel (keyboards), with Verhoeven (formerly of the Anniversary) and de Landa (who has worked with the Donkeys and the Papercuts) as the leading force behind the music. Today we bring you the premiere of the new song “You Can’t Bring Me Down (Discomix)”.
With an oeuvre of thematically disparate films and a serpentine career trajectory beginning in the 1970s and still shaping itself today, Olivier Assayas is a tricky figure to discuss on a broad scale. His work situates itself between highbrow and genre, academic and artfully hip, linear and experimental, Paris and Hong Kong; he seems equally indebted to influences as diverse as Cahiers du cinema (for which he wrote in the early ‘80s), the Chinese new wave, and punk rock.
His forays into filmmaking began with a series of shorts made in tandem with his critical writing for Cahiers du Cinema. These projects show an early synergy with music and indeed seem to function as music video prototypes; later feature works like Disorder (1986) and Clean (2004), which are concerned with the personal and professional lives of struggling rock stars, continue this thematic trend.
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.
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.