This week on IFC News:
Aaron Hillis interviews Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, the directors of doc "War Dance" (formerly with slightly artier punctuation: "War/Dance"). On the prettiness of the images (the film was shot in HD) versus the subject matter (a Ugandan refugee camp):
I’ve filmed awful things, like somebody dying, but to see a
small child emotionally gutted was probably the most difficult thing
I’ve ever filmed. I can see in my shooting where I get uncomfortable
and start to shake. The camera moves farther and farther back. I waved
everyone else off. It was just me and the sound man, and I’m thinking
the whole time, I shouldn’t be here. It went on for two hours.
Then the other half of me was like, I have to be here if we’re
going to do right by these kids. This might be the one time where you
see the complexity unfold right in front of us. You see her [traumatic
reaction], but you also see a parent having to deal with her child.
This mother has taken her daughter to a place where she buried her
father in pieces by herself. No one thinks about the mom, what she’s
going through, and at the same time, [having to] explain to her
daughter how and why this happened. She can’t. How do you comfort a
young daughter like that? So for those reasons, I think we had to hang
in there. It was that golden hour, towards the end of the day. I hope
this isn’t taken the wrong way, but there is a beauty in something so
raw like that.
Ambivalences are discarded; why are no poor people interviewed in the socialized countries, and only the poor in the U.S. are? It’s easy to assume why: because the relative situations are complex, probably too complex for a mere feature film to unentwine. But that’s Moore‘s peculiar position in the public sphere: he’s an activist (not, please, one in the practice of "propaganda," which should, by my lights, be redefined as persuasive media designed by state power, not individuals acting in resistance to that power). Moore isn’t interested in fighting fair or attempting a "balance"; he’s scrapping with Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch and Sean Hannity on their own terms, and movies like "Sicko" aren’t freestanding essays on social issues, but fireball volleys hurled across the landscape. Inciting social change â€” Moore’s real target â€” is more important than the integrity of cinema, and who could argue?
On the podcast this week, we turn our thoughts to TV as a medium, with its relative advantages and disadvantages over film.
I’ve seen over 80 new releases in the five months since I saw "No Country For Old Men" at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, including fine works by directors like Steven Soderbergh, Michael Winterbottom and Abel Ferrara. But none has stayed as fresh in my memory â€” or, hell, just straight-up kicked as much ass â€” as the Coen brothers‘ "No Country For Old Men." I’d say it’s their masterpiece, but they’ve already put out two or three other movies that might qualify for that title.
And Chris Bonet has what’s new in theaters.