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The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena), 1973 (Trailer)

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Indagación lírica en las entrañas de un tiempo amordazado, atrapado entre la desolación y la derrota, y exploración a la vez de los paisajes interiores del mito (organizada sobre imágenes primordiales, desligadas de toda servidumbre explicativa o psicológica), la narración arranca de una mirada infantil capturada por unas imágenes primitivas. Y su itinerario nos propone, simultáneamente, la inmersión en el sueño para escapar del mundo real, el triunfo del imaginario sobre una realidad devastada, que no es otra sino la de aquella dolorosa posguerra española que sume en el silencio emocional y en el exilio interior a los habitantes de la colmena.

Era la primera vez, en la historia de nuestro cine, que un guerrillero, un maqui, aparecía contemplado desde la óptica de los perdedores y con una mirada solidaria. Faltaban un par de años aún para que la figura del combatiente antifranquista conquistara finalmente la palabra de la que aquí carece, todavía, ese personaje episódico – pero de tanta significación – que irrumpe en la vida de Ana como trasunto terrenal del fantasma que, en ese momento, se corporiza para ella y también para una cinematografía que, con la aparición de El espíritu de la colmena, empieza a ajustar cuentas no sólo con la memoria histórica secuestrada por el franquismo (corría la fecha de 1973 y el dictador no se había muerto aún), sino también con las pautas de una modernidad cinematográfica que llegaba a España con retraso. (…)
Carlos F. HEREDERO
http://www.elcultural.es/HTML/20040122/Cine/CINE8704.asp

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Public domain collection of film noir at Archive.org

It turns out that Archive.org has a collection of 43 film noir titles.

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Archive.org’s Welcome to Film Noir: expressionistic crime dramas of the 40s and 50s: tough cops and private eyes, femme fatales, mean city streets and deserted backroads, bags of loot and dirty double-crossers.

It turns out that Archive.org has a collection of 43 film noir titles. If you’ve seen any of them, I’d appreciate it if you added your recommendations in the comments.
Archive.org’s Welcome to Film Noir: expressionistic crime dramas of the 40s and 50s: tough cops and private eyes, femme fatales, mean city streets and deserted backroads, bags of loot and dirty double-crossers.

Dormitorium

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Today is your last day to see Dormitorium, an exhibition of interior sets from films by the Brothers Quay, on display now at Parsons in New York City. Dormitorium, we read, “explores the macabre fantasy world of twin brothers Stephen and Timothy Quay through the highly detailed miniature sets of their influential stop-motion animations.”

The dean of academic programs at Parsons adds:

    This exhibition gives our students an opportunity to see how the Quay brothers create intricate fantasy worlds, from set design to finished film through their compelling engagement with literature, their command of sound and lighting design, their uncanny use of focus, color and texture, as well as their mastery of digital editing processes.

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Abandon Normal Devices

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Abandon Normal Devices’ (AND) is a new biennial of ‘new cinema and digital culture’ that was launched in Liverpool last week. It’s a quirky affair – a sort of film festival with bonus exhibitions (or vice-versa, depending on your bias). Highlights that floated my boat included a new commissioned work by Thai maestro Apichatpong Weerasethakul at the Foundation for Art and Technology (FACT), an exhibition by British filmmaker Duane Hopkins at the Open Eye Gallery, and a one-off performance lecture by Carolee Schneemann at Tate Liverpool.

So why ‘Abandon Normal Devices’? Kate Taylor, the festival’s director tells me the exhibition’s title is a reference to Brian Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’: a set of cards invented by Eno as a resource for breaking deadlocks during the working process. ‘AND’, it seems, is seeking a way forward as celluloid cinema gives way to digital cinema (peer-to-peer file sharing, movie players on mobile phones), and the whole ‘post-cinema’ condition. Exciting stuff. Taylor notes – with confident optimism – in the festival guidebook: ‘this is just the start’.

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Bathing Beauty

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Since My Architect, interest in Louis Kahn’s work has grown exponentially, and many of his lesser-known buildings have received greater care. Among the most endangered was the Trenton Bath House in Ewing, New Jersey. Though it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, it’s future was uncertain until 2007 when the Township of Ewing and Mercer County, NJ acquired the property and agreed to restore it, a process you can now follow on a new website.

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How ‘The Big Lebowski’ became a cultural touchstone and the impetus for festivals across the country

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So there’s this guy named the Dude, and some dudes break into his apartment and pee on his rug, so the Dude, an LA burnout whose real name is Jeffrey Lebowski, goes to find the other Jeffrey Lebowski, a rich guy the intruder dudes were actually looking for, so he can get him to replace the soiled rug, which totally tied the room together.

That’s the basic premise of “The Big Lebowski,’’ the Coen Brothers’ 1998 stoner caper, which also involves bowling, nihilism, a kidnapping, and many, many White Russians – a cocktail whose parts combine more cogently than the film’s plot points.

To the uninitiated, “The Big Lebowski’’ probably doesn’t sound like the sort of cinematic watershed that would translate to an enduring cultural phenomenon. But the movie has become just that. And we’re not talking about action figures and keychains, although they’re yours for the ordering.

The film – which was released to mixed reviews and spent all of six weeks in theaters, barely recouping its $15 million budget – has spawned a vibrant subculture that draws both scholars and slackers to the fold.

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Gaza we are Coming

A moving docu-thriller.

In August 2008, two wooden Greek ships laden with 44 activists from 17 different countries managed something no other vessel had in 41 years and broke the marine blockade that Israel has unilaterally imposed in Gaza, in contravention of international law.

The mission was the brainchild of the Free Gaza Movement, founded in 2006, who realised that the only realistic way of breaking through the blockade was via the sea.

However the project was fraught with delays and risks from the outset and in the words of Paul Larudee from the group: “This project died a thousand deaths and every time it was about to die someone, somebody new, stepped forward to save the project.”

The last such person was Vangelis Pissias, a Greek who was touched by the Palestinian issue during his youth in Egypt and provided the boats for the group to undertake the mission to Gaza.

All involved were aware of the perilous nature of the mission. Previous attempts have been thwarted and boats even exploded. Activists have also been found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Gaza, We Are Coming, is a special documentary that charts the history of the project to break the blockade of Gaza by sea.

It explores the motives of those involved including the ordinary Greeks who volunteered to participate in this dangerous but successful operation.

It also recounts how the boats were built secretly in Greek shipyards, the logistics involved, the attempts to thwart the mission and why it was laden with such historical importance and pressure to succeed.