Jim Jarmusch

10 Surreal Hotel-Set Films

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A Holocaust survivor, Lucia (Charlotte Rampling), resumes her sadomasochistic relationship with a former Nazi officer, Max (Dirk Bogarde), at a Vienna hotel in Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film The Night Porter. The setting becomes a link between past and present, reflected in several hypnotic flashbacks and Max’s new position as the hotel’s night porter. “A turning point in the film is the first surreal flashback at the opera. . . . Here, Cavani begins to dispense with realistic Holocaust representation to proceed with her own discourse on sexuality,” writes Nick Impey. “The earlier flashbacks are signified as depictions of either Max or Lucia’s subjective remembering. . . . As the narrative progresses, the ‘remembering stare’ virtually ceases to be applied, indicating that we are seeing something less representative of the real collective horror, and that Cavani is presenting her own imagining of the Holocaust in the flashbacks.” Criterion has given Cavani’s surreal film the Blu-ray treatment, set to release on December 9. We’ve gathered other movies that use the transient setting of the hotel room as a site of memory, dreams, and internal struggles.
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10 Famous Poems That Appeared in Film

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For decades, Hollywood has looked to the annals of literature for inspiration. Literary adaptations are more popular than ever, but poetry is still largely untapped. Films like Ken Russell’s Gothic and Jane Campion’s Bright Star center on famous poets, and there are some great movies based on poems, but we’re looking at the appearance of poetry in films — instances where characters and narratives are reflected in poetic works, recited in the movies themselves. Here’s a video scrapbook of poetry in movies. Feel free to continue adding to the list with your own video examples, below.
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How a Legendary William S. Burroughs Documentary Was Lost… and Found 30 Years Later

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In 1983, the New York Film Festival screened Burroughs: The Movie, a feature-length documentary about William S. Burroughs — the first such film made about (and with the cooperation of) the legendary author, an expansion of a thesis film by an NYU filmmaker named Howard Brookner (with the help of classmates Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo). Tonight, 31 years later, the NYFF will host a revival screening of that film, which had all but vanished in the intervening years. The film itself is fascinating, but what happened off-screen is even more remarkable, the story of an important document’s disappearance and rediscovery by a young man dedicated to saving it. That young man is Aaron Brookner, nephew of Burroughs director Howard, who spoke to me recently about the picture’s peculiar journey — and his own.
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The 10 Oddest Elvis-Inspired Movies Of All Time

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Into the barren wasteland of late August and early September comes this week’s sole new wide movie release, and you’re forgiven for knowing nothing about it. It’s called The Identical, and it is kinda sorta weirdly about Elvis, except not! There’s a long tradition of this sort of thing — few pop culture figures have inspired more cinematic hypotheticals, dramatizations, and all-out fictions. Here are a few of the weirder ones.
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Bill Hader Made an Epic List of Essential Movie Comedies; Here’s Where to Stream Them

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We all know Bill Hader’s a funny guy; with the release this month of The Skeleton Twins and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, he’s proving himself a pretty damn fine actor as well. But your film editor was heretofore unaware that Mr. Hader is such a movie geek — at least, that’s the impression I’m left with from his epic list of “200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See.” It’s part of the new book Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sachs, shared in full over at xoJane, and it’s a pretty remarkable (and esoteric) gathering of comedies and seriocomic dramas from the 1920s up to the present day. (And, I might add, there’s a good deal of crossover with our own list of the 50 Funniest Movies Ever Made.) So, with an eye on adding to your holiday weekend viewing queue, we combed through Netflix and Hulu Plus to see how many of Hader’s picks are available for your streaming needs. Links, and a few thoughts on his selections, after the jump.
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100 Famous Directors’ Rules of Filmmaking

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Artistic expression is an assertion of individuality, and all artists compose their work differently. In the case of filmmaking, there are numerous approaches to translating a story to celluloid. Inspired by director Wim Wenders’ recent advertising short, “Wim Wenders’ Rules for Cinema Perfection,” we’ve collected the golden rules of filmmaking employed by 100 famous directors. These tips and tricks are a wonderful source of advice and inspiration — even for the most seasoned professionals. The rules also serve as a fascinating snapshot of each directors’ filmography, capturing the spirit of their …Read More