A Report from the New Yorker Festival and This Week's Box Office
by Eugene Hernandez and Matthew Ross/indieWIRE
>> Talking Sex, Violence, and Multi-Tasking at the New Yorker Festival
(indieWIRE: 10.01.02) -- This year's New Yorker festival wasn't just for
Dave Eggers followers -- cinephiles also got in on the action for several
events. Anthony Lane, one of the New Yorker's film critics and the author
of the new book "Nobody's Perfect," delivered a speech about sex and
violence in the movies, and in the process proved he could fare well
as a stand-up comedian. He offered impressions of Marilyn Monroe, Henry
Kissinger, Fred McMurray, and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. And
he also made a personal plea to Jane Fonda to come back to acting and
joked about the Mall of America.
Between jokes, Lane also made some serious points about sex and violence in
American film. He noted that violence is rampant, but sex is all but erased
from most American movies -- he said it's easy for an American teenager to
see an American marine literally blown apart in "Black Hawk Down," while
"Hollywood has sent sex away to camp." He continued that most movies now cut
from "a panting kiss to a sunlight breakfast the next morning."
Meanwhile, he noted that "violence is everywhere," and that the ever-popular
"Home Alone" offered, in Lane's words, "a cherubic boy inflicting one act of
violence after another."
Lane gave a brief history of movie censorship -- from the Hayes Code to the
MPAA and the current Clean Flicks controversy, which has righteous censors
taking out the opening of "Saving Private Ryan" or the sex scenes in
"Shakespeare in Love." He praised the Mexican movie "Y Tu Mama Tambien,"
calling it "arguably the best movie of the year," and noted that while some
conservatives have been shocked at the film's honest portrayal of sex, he
had timed the sex scenes to be only 23 seconds of the entire movie. He said
the news that Alfonso Cuaron, the director of "Y Tu Mama," had been invited
to direct the next installment of the Harry Potter movies was "joyous news."
Lane offered possible titles for Cuaron's venture with the young wizard:
"Harry Potter and the Vibrating Egg," "Harry Potter's Tower of Bliss," or
"The Best 23 Seconds EVER in the Life of Harry Potter."
Cuaron was also brought up in a film panel called "My Day Job: Multi-Tasking
in the Movies." Salma Hayek used the occasion to announce that she is
working with Cuaron's production company to direct her next film, which will
be a Spanish-language movie filmed in Mexico. Hayek, who recently produced
and starred in "Frida" and directed the Showtime movie "The Maldonado
Miracle," was joined on the panel by other actor-directors Jennifer Jason
Leigh, Matt Dillon, and Tim Blake Nelson. All spoke about the sometimes
lengthy process of getting their movies made they way they want them made.
Matt Dillon said it took him seven years to make "City of Ghosts," his
directorial debut coming to theaters in 2003. "The hardest part is raising
the money," he said simply.
Another hot topic on the panel is the process of directing yourself as an
actor. Blake Nelson joked, "If I choose to take a role, I'm wasting a
financing bullet." Jason Leigh said she was most at home when directing
herself: "I had no one to please except myself," she said of her work in
"The Anniversary Party." "Nothing felt awkward in my mouth because I wrote
it." Dillon concurred that directing himself wasn't a problem: "I went in
prepared as an actor, and that freed me to direct." He continued by saying
that as an experienced actor, he was in a good position to direct. "I think
before I directed a film, I directed myself in quite a few films. A lot of
directors I've worked with aren't interested in directing actors." [Wendy
>> "Secretary" and "Igby" Among Specialty Releases
(indieWIRE: 10.01.02) -- Lions Gate