We’re a little under the weather and have been remiss â€” here’s this week’s IFC News update:
Aaron Hillis talks to Noah Baumbach:
Even though Margot has some dislikeable qualities, you’ve said before that you hope audiences will understand her. Reverse Shot
wrote about this film that "the compassion [Baumbach] once showed
toward his neurotic characters, starting from his 1995 debut, ‘Kicking
and Screaming,’ has turned into rancor." In defense of that, would you
personally want to spend time with these characters, and how
mean-spirited do you see the film to be?
A lot of us do spend time with these characters. People might not want
to see that in a movie, but I think this behavior is a lot more common
than what people let on or recognize. On the other side of it, I’m not
writing about people I necessarily want to go hang out with. It’s
certainly not why I’m writing about them. In a lot of ways, I think the
question is wrong. I’m not saying yours is; you’re reading from a
review. I don’t really know how to start talking about these people
with "Oh, they’re unsympathetic." First of all, I don’t think that’s
true from even sensitive people’s criteria. Pauline is not a perfect
human being, but I think she’s very sympathetic. I think Malcolm, the
kids and John Turturro’s character are sympathetic. I have a lot of
empathy for Margot, but I understand how people might… you know, I’ll
give them a pass on that one. She dominates a lot of the movie, and I
know that can be difficult for people, but in the movies and books I
like, there is such a thing as an unreliable narrator. I suppose it
fits in a Jim Thompson novel, but why not have it in movies that are
actually closer to our lives, that are about real human interaction
[rather] than trying to sympathize with hitmen, murderers, or some
On the podcast, we discuss motion capture and whether it should be considered animation.
Michael Atkinson tackles "Berlin Alexanderplatz" and "Killer of Sheep." On the latter:
There’s no story, but there are people â€” mainly, Stan (Henry Gayle Sanders), a poor slaughterhouse laborer with a loving wife and curious children whose life in the outer-urban wastes is in the process of bulldozing his pride and confidence. Burnett’s film proceeds from the very beginning as if every image and moment of Stan’s life is a mythic truth to gaze upon, and damn if it isn’t sweepingly convincing in the process. The action, for instance, of attempting to carry a disembodied car engine down a flight of tract-housing stairs has positively Sisyphean traction. It’s not a movie you pick dramatic highlights or even visual memories from; instead, it flows before you like a despairing folk song made real, a blues anthem older than movies or Burnett himself.
Matt Singer reviews "Southland Tales" here ("For all its cleverness and evocative imagery, an incredibly uneven movie") and "Margot at the Wedding" here ("[Baumbach] may have invented [a dysfunctional family] so convincingly screwed up, so far beyond repair that spending 90 loveless, awkward minutes with them could be seen as a waste of time").
And Christopher Bonet has what’s new in theaters. And we’re headed home to steep ourselves in tea.