As Jason Kottke says, this is masterfully edited. It shows movies are the art form where the talent works, not something obsolete like painting, and that a moving picture list will eat a Buzzfeed one alive. A vintage year.
There is a murder scene in Lore which simultaneously inhabits the world of war where this is acceptable and the post war one where it is not. The movie itself spills out of these two worlds and so breaks the ‘second and third walls’ without insulting your intelligence.
Lore is available on Amazon instant video
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Smashing Telly as a personal curated video project is now closed. However, I will be launching a collaborative version soon.
In the interim, check out Oobject which is a kind of online Wunderkammer comprising visual lists of man-made objects. A mainstream version of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Typologies, if you like. Oobject may look like yet another, crappy, weird things site, but delve in, I’ve put an unhealthy amount of effort into it.
In the spirit of the global takeover of content by the headline and listicle I also plan to do one last post on Smashing Telly with a big list of my favorite factual TV programs and clips (since Smashing Telly focused on these).
Kottke writes: “If Smashing Telly were still going, this would be perfect for it: every feature-length Andrei Tarkovsky film is available for viewing online for free.”
Indeed. See them all here.
For the record, Mirror is my favorite.
The BBC iPlayer link is here.
[Note this is not the creationist nonsense of the same name]
What Darwin didn’t know was exactly how right about natural selection he was.
This is a great documentary, not so much in terms of production, but solid content. It looks at the evolution of the concept of natural selection, from Darwin to evolutionary developmental biology, where the correspondence between the fossil and DNA records are exactly what prove the theory beyond all doubt.
The history of natural selection is the opposite of its popular perception, it is a story of slow acceptance in the scientific community culminating in total validation and proof rather than an antique concept which has raised recent doubts. Vapid but noisy objections emanating from the current rise of religious extremism are an irrelevance in terms of the time-line of evolution by natural selection as an idea and reasonable debate about it.
Who knew that without knowledge of genetics, Darwin’s humility in absence of absolute proof of his ideas, would allow him to insert in his last edition of the Origin of Species a nod to the possibility of Lamarckian evolution; that de Vries’ (false) idea of the origin of species as coming out of nowhere through single mutations almost replaced Darwin’s gradual selection after he died; or that for the 50th anniversary of his death, the Natural History Museum in London put on a show of Darwinian evolution that ignored the very idea of natural selection that makes it Darwinian in the first place?
Exotically named and unplaceable accented Dutch-Kiwi-Canadian-South-African biologist, Armand Marie Leroi, leads us through this history with the eventual triumph of natural selection. This culminates in the Neo Darwinian synthesis of evolution and genetics and the ‘evo-devo’ combination of evolutionary and developmental biology, which create an accurate view of the tree of life and realize the full grandeur of the mechanism that describes its growth – natural selection.
I have low tolerance for self indulgent artsyness and Tarkovsky films look superficially like they might be in this category, which is a shame because, as Tony the Tiger might say, they’re great. Nothing comes as close to a moving painting as a Tarkovsky film.
Here is a documentary where the director recounts his life and work.
This is a documentary about vogueing, and the extremely refined and detailed aesthetic sensibilities it reflects, shot in New York City around Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and Harlem in the mid- to late-80s. The city has changed in dramatic ways since then, to say the least.
The characters of the film are complete outsiders with, at the same time, a deep understanding of the world they are outside of. As Terrence Rafferty wrote in The New Yorker, “the material is almost too rich, too suggestive. Everything about the ball culture signifies so blatantly and so promiscuously that the movie induces a kind of semiotic daze.”
It is certainly hard to view human behavior the same way after watching this film. I hope this low-quality version will be interesting enough to inspire you to rent the real thing.
(The video player embed here should allow you to watch all 11 segments of the film.)
The Crystal’s “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)“, caused a storm of protest when it was released in 1962, and its ambiguous sentiment underlies ‘It Felt Like a Kiss’, Adam Curtis’ new film. It is a portrait of America between 1958 and 1965, a period when radical individualism emerged with superficial freedom and underlying entrapment. The film has been conceived of as much as a multi-media art piece, as a TV documentary, the BBC having given Curtis an unusual degree of freedom, possibly because they are not quite sure what to do with him.
Curtis is like the Malcolm Gladwell of film making, there is a nagging doubt that what is being argued isn’t science but the delivery is so masterful and thorough that its utterly compelling. It Felt Like a Kiss looks stunning from the trailer (look out for the full version), but perhaps its rhetoric will elicit similar mixed feelings as inspired the subject. Regardless, Curtis, who creates movies that are like the conspiracy theory films that clog Youtube (except that they produced with intelligence), will no doubt become a web celebrity when his next film, which deals with the Internet itself is released combining the meme like qualities of his format with a self-referential subject.
The BBC, in their infinite wisdom, have regionally restricted everything including trailers of It Felt Like A Kiss, so I am linking to the Guardian. A full version of the film is on Curtis’ web site, but is also UK only (I cannot watch it, because I’m in France).