The look of a Tim Burton movie is unmistakable and he has managed to define a unique style (a sort of decrepit, fantastical exaggeration of something recognizable) in nearly all facets of his cinematic designs. He tends to favour a polarizing colour palette, with dark blues and greys being offset by splashes of red or a rainbow of pastels. He did employ a black-and-white approach for his biopic about cult classic filmmaker and tragic figure Ed Wood (his most grounded film to date and quite possibly his best, too), but he rarely strays from his iconic blend of gothic darkness and whimsical brightness (see the deceptively dark summer blockbuster Batman Returns  for one of the best examples of this). Burton’s strict adherence to a singular style may feel repetitive in later movies, but his overall filmography reveals a gifted storyteller with a slightly demented Willy Wonka-esque flavor all his own.
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Born in Jim Crow Mississippi and raised in riot-era Watts, the early years of Charles Burnett were typical of the people living in his neighborhood and atypical of the people making or being represented in film at the time. And while cinema has since aspired to capture some aspects of the South Central neighborhood where Burnett grew up—mostly the gangs, cops, and Korean groceries—we remain frighteningly unfamiliar with the lives of the people who live there. Burnett’s films are necessary because they confront this reluctance. But this is not what makes them great.
What makes Burnett great is that he is far more interested in the poetic mundanity of everyday life than he is in polemics. His early work especially relies on this quiet, observational style. Ditching plot-driven narrative for a series of loosely connected vignettes, Burnett’s seminal Killer of Sheep and his assured first short Several Friends (1969) can feel more like cultural artifacts than movies. Kids pummel a passing train with rocks; men wrestle a washing machine through a tight doorframe; a woman rubs lotion on her leg. It’s easy to forget there’s a camera in the room.
In his review of SXSW 2010 Jayson Harsin described British band Zun Zun Egui as “funked up [Talking Heads] meets Indian folk music and Jimi Hendrix.” as well as agreeing that they may just be “The Greatest Band In Britain Right Now”.
Well, Zun Zun Egui have recently signed to Bella Union in the UK, announced details of their forthcoming debut album Katang, expected on 3rd October, as well as a new 12” single “Fandango Fresh” which will be released in August, and comes with this extra special video.
This is most definitely a band to keep an eye on.
That crotchety old man shouldn’t fool anyone: Spain’s finest filmmaker was farcically compelled by humanity’s blemishes and particulars—he just filtered them through stinging humor and outlandish narrative. And while Luis Buñuel is remembered for the lingering threats of violence or frank sexual encounter in his films, his aesthetic was so loosely-confined that he was never exploitative; there’s a casual sensuality to even his most seemingly-mundane scenes.
Born at the start of the 20th century, Buñuel was able to witness (and take part in) the changes that were carried through that century’s premier art form. Un Chien Andalou, needs little explanation to cinephiles: made with one Salvador Dalí, it remains a quintessential example of 1920s Parisian decadence, standing as the first great cinematic immersion into full-blown surrealism.
In an industry haunted by the individualistic expectations of auteur theory and often hobbled by the overbearing ministrations of government intervention, Robert Bresson stands out as an unmistakable independent with a formidable personal vision. Justified by the principles and philosophy outlined in his personal notes, Notes on the Cinematographer, written from 1950 to 1974 and published in English in 1997, Bresson set about fashioning a new kind of cinematic language. He rejected traditional film elements such as professional actors and commissioned scores, which he described as filmed theater, and limited himself to the essentials, striving to create in his films an organic synthesis of music and painting.
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