I don’t think this is some accident or random coincidence. The artists are reading the map. They’re showing us where we are. Even the arrival of McDonagh’s 1994 play about the bruising interrogation of two brothers who may or may not be involved in three torturous child murders, seems uncannily tuned to the times. "The Last King of Scotland," "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "The Pillowman" come at their congruent themes in different, instructively complementary ways. All three lead us toward the dark heart of torture and the poisoned blood it pumps.
At Greencine Daily, David Hudson points to an interview on the site with Rory Kennedy, the director of doc "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" in which, when asked about "the value of documentary as a corrective or instructive ameliorative against fictionalized torture porn," she responds with an anecdote:
Tony Lagouranis – who is one of the characters that we interviewed in the film – was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib but was also on a mobile unit that traveled throughout Iraq. He interrogated people at a number of different facilities throughout the country. What he said was that there were a lot of interrogators who he worked with who said that they got their ideas of how to interrogate through television.
Television really does have a significant impact in terms of having a material effect. If you go to Iraq and somebody’s torturing somebody like they torture them on 24, it’s obviously inspired by that television show.
Meanwhile, Idi Amin’s son Jaffar breaks his family’s long media silence to speak out on the news wires against his father’s portrayal in "The Last King of Scotland." Via Katy Pownall at the AP: "I’d ask dad, what happened? He’d look at me and say ‘people fought me, I fought them but I never killed innocent people. God will be the one to judge me."
Elsewhere… At the Risky Biz blog, Borys Kit writes that Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to illustrated children’s novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, with Martin Scorsese a possibility to direct:
Part of the idea for â€œHugo Cabretâ€ came to Selznick when he heard how George MÃ©liÃ¨s, the French film pioneer who made â€œA Trip to the Moonâ€ (which features the iconic image of a rocket hitting the eye of the man in the moon), died a financial failure, having lost his collection of automata, which are complex windup toys. Thus came the idea of a mechanically minded orphan and an impoverished, dispirited pioneer of French cinema, set in 1930s Paris and replete with references to the heroes of French cinema, from the LumiÃ¨re brothers to FranÃ§ois Truffaut.
Our uncertainty over whether this is a horror film or a joke begins with the title: Is J-horror scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something artificial in our world, beyond cell phones and video tapes, to attack us? Or is that the first sign this is a parody?
If these movies are meant to celebrate slacking, why must the slackers always give it up at the end? Sure, everyone likes a character arc, but there are many ways to be an adult between the extremes of the wake-and-bake and the morning commute. It seems lazy that Bujalski and the Duplass brothers don’t try very hard to represent that. After two decades of slackers on film, the genre hasn’t grown upâ€”it’s just moved to Brooklyn.
Well, these days, haven’t we all?
+ Michel Gondry Solves a Rubiks Cube with his Nose (YouTube)
+ From ’24’ to images on the big screen, our eyes are being opened to torture (SF Chronicle)
+ Interview. Rory Kennedy. (Greencine Daily)
+ Idi Amin’s son lashes out at movie (AP)
+ Scorsese Turns to Fantasy Genre (Risky Biz)
+ Horror film about haunted hair extensions skirts edge of parody (Daily Yomiuri)
+ Breaking out of the underground (Japan Times)
+ The Slacker Movie’s Quarterlife Crisis (Slate)