DAILY NEWS: This Week; Ticket Picket; and Zeitgeist Film
by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> New This Week: Phenomenon and Provocation from "Bully" to "Desire"
(indieWIRE/07.11.01) -- Larry Clark's debut film "Kids" was an indie cultural
phenomenon. It launched Harmony Korine's career, pushed the boundaries of
teen screen sexuality and forced Miramax heads Harvey and Bob Weinstein to
create Shining Excalibur, a separate distribution company apart from the
Disney subsidiary to release the film unrated. This Friday, Clark's latest
teen sexploitation provocation, "Bully," will receive the widest opening
among Indiewood releases via Lions Gate, in Los Angeles, New York, and San
Francisco, hoping for a similar stir.
After being pulled from its planned premiere at the Method Fest Film Festival
(allegedly because of pressures from the film's French sales agent, Wild
Bunch), "Bully" will screen with no prior public showings. But if early
reviews are any indication, Clark's return to the genre contains strong
performances by his young cast (Brad Renfro, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt), accompanied by problematic and potentially offensive
handling of the subject matter -- about a sexually abusive Florida teen
murdered by his peers.
Another cultural phenomenon can be found in "Downtown 81" (opening Friday
in New York from Zeitgeist Films), even though the film had never been shown
in the U.S. until this year. (It had its world premiere at Cannes 2000.) Made
20 years ago, you'd think it was already an established classic. Directed by
Italian photographer Edo Bertoglio, the movie follows the exploits of
legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat as he saunters the East Village city
streets, checking out the bands, the clubs, and the moment. Much of the
film's footage was lost, but screenwriter Glenn O'Brien (poet, writer,
journalist) together with producer Maripol and Bertoglio, wrested the missing
film from long bankrupt Italian financiers. Armed with the need to counter
the portrayal of Basquiat in the recent Julian Schnabel movie, the team
decided to finally bring their film to completion.
Trying to capitalize on a phenomenon of sorts, Artisan will release "Made,"
a new film from much of the talent behind the 1996 low budget success,
"Swingers." The brainchild of actor Jon Favreau, who writes, directs, and
produces, the new films features "Swingers" alumni Favreau and Vince Vaughn
as aspiring boxers who become involved in organized crime. And get this: it's
a comedy shot by Wong Kar-wai's frequent collaborator, Christopher Doyle.
Luis Bunuel, the surrealist phenom, should receive renewed attention this
week, when "That Obscure Object of Desire," the Spanish director's
masterpiece of lust and frustration, gets re-released by Rialto Pictures.
Starring Fernando Rey as the old letch, and two different actresses as the
nymphet-like object of desire, the 1977 film is probably more alluring and
provocative than the best moments of "Bully" -- or "Kids." After opening
at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York, a national release will follow.
Also premiering this week is "Adanggaman," a New Yorker Films release of
Ivory Coast-born filmmaker Roger Gnoan M'bala's newest work. Although the
director has had a 30-year career in film, his latest has been dubbed "his
most controversial work to date." Set in the 17th century, the film explores
slavery on the African continent. A detailed review of the film will appear
in tomorrow's indieWIRE Daily. [Anthony Kaufman]
>> Or Don't Go To the Movies At All: National Ticket Picket
(indieWIRE/07.11.01) -- This Friday, a consumer advocacy group called
WeCanDoThis.com, is calling for a boycott of movies "to protest the
outrageously high price of movie tickets and concession snacks," according
to the website. "DON'T see a movie this Friday July 13th. Just wait until
"By collectively boycotting movie theatres for one day," the website continues
of its National Ticket Picket initiative, "we can send a clear united message
to Hollywood that we shouldn't have to spend $10 for a movie ticket and $3 for
a box of popcorn. We can show the showbiz industry that we control our
entertainment dollars, and we're not going to sit still for this kind of box
According to The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, the website
(www.ideatown.com/wehome.html) received thousands of visits in the past 24
hours, and "hundreds of e-mails were sent asking that recipients pass the
According to its website, WeCanDoThis.com was founded "to motivate the
Internet community to improve our society through creative protest, positive
subversiveness, and active participation in the process of change." Non
profit and not affiliated with a political party or specific agenda, WeCanDoThis hopes to raise awareness through the community building of the Internet. [Anthony Kaufman]
[For more information, email email@example.com.]
>> Zeitgeist Adds to Svankmajer Library with "Otesanek"
(indieWIRE/07.11.01) -- Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer's latest
movie "Otesanek" ("Little Otik") will be released by Zeitgeist Films in the
U.S. and Canada, the company confirmed yesterday. "Little Otik" marks the
third feature film acquisition by the New York-based mini-distributor of
Svankmajer's works, following "Faust" (released in 1995) and "The
Conspirators of Pleasure" (released in 1997). Based on an old folk tale,
the film chronicles the exploits of an impotent couple who raise an infant
from a tree stump into a man-eating monster.
After a sneak preview Thursday night at New York's Film Forum as part of
a Svankmajer retrospective at the art-house theater, "Otesanek" will be
released by Zeitgeist Films in early 2001. At the film's Rotterdam Film
Festival world premiere this year, indieWIRE reviewer Mark Peranson described the film as "a comic nightmare come to life. The unconventional, surrealistic
parable is made all the more scary by its roots in a recognizable, commonplace
reality, and the questioning of a regular human urge that many breezily
satisfy without reflection -- the desire to bring life into the world."
READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW at indieWIRE.com: