Best of Enemies is a fascinating film about brilliant people behaving stupidly. It would be reassuring in a way to think that in the distant past, there was a time when American intellectuals could duke it out on the public stage before a mass audience held rapt by the sight and sound of ideas being wrestled into coherent form. We know such things don’t happen anymore. How many Americans can even name two intellectuals to have such a debate?
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The appeal of “crowdfunded” art, facilitated by websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is easy to comprehend. Crowdfunding allows artists to free themselves from the strictures that come from corporate and studio funding; if they can pitch their vision for their artwork to enough people willing to chip in, they can have total artistic control over the end product. That claim was made by director Zach Braff when he set up a Kickstarter campaign for his most recent film, Wish I Was Here. The crowdfunding model, so this pitch goes, democratizes the creation of art, allowing consumers of art to have a monetary stake in the creation of the art they want.
“The United States is where most drugs are sold.” The Mexican meth cooker is working at night, his face covered by a bandana, protection against both smoke and any sort of identification. “We know we do harm with all the drugs that go there,” he goes on as you watch one of his colleagues stir a huge blue vat and another documents amounts with a cell phone camera. Their arms and hands swirl in smoke, rising as if from a witches’ brew, “But what are we going to do? We come from poverty. If we were doing well, we would be like you, traveling the world or doing good clean jobs like you guys.”
“I was scared.” In August 2006, Renata Hill and six friends were arrested in the West Village. As she remembers it, they were walking outside the IFC Theater when a man accosted and then attacked them, leading to a fight when the women defended themselves. When police officers arrived on the scene, the man claimed the women assaulted him, at which point they were arrested, processed, and sent to Rikers Island, where they were locked in the fearsome BullPen, left to sleep on the floor.
The Peanuts Movie is out on 6 November in the USA and 21 December in the UK.