The Big Sick
Finds that laughter-through-tears sweet spot, often in the unlikeliest of places.
Marie writes: I love photography, especially B/W and for often finding color a distraction. Take away the color and suddenly, there's so much more to see; the subtext able to rise now and sit closer to the surface - or so it seems to me. The following photograph is included in a gallery of nine images (color and B/W) under Photography: Celebrity Portraits at the Guardian."This is one of the last photographs of Orson before he died. He loved my camera - a gigantic Deardorff - and decided he had to direct me and tell me where to put the light. So even in his last days, he was performing his directorial role perfectly, and bossing me around. Which was precious." - Michael O'Neill
Orson Welles, by Michael O'Neill, 1985
From the Grand Poobah: Netflix is great, but they don't have everything and seem to be weak on silent films. Here's a pay site streaming a large and useful selection of high-quality films, world-wide....
Marie writes: when Roger told me about this place, I signed-up to see if I could watch one their free movies? Yup! I can stream MUBI in Canada; though content will vary depending on where you live (that's also case with Netflix Canada) and so nothing new there. And after looking through their current catalog, I can report that they do indeed have some rare movies - stuff I've never found anywhere else. I even read that Martin Scorcese is a member.
Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh at a Charity party in 1957 with Frank Sinatra and his then-wife, Ava Gardner. (click to enlarge) Marie writes: the best celebrity photos are invariably candid shots. :-)
Marie writes: Club member and noted blog contributor Tom Dark took this astonishing photograph near his home in Abiqui, New Mexico. The "unknown entity" appeared without warning and after a failed attempt to communicate, fled the scene. Tom stopped short of saying "alien" to describe the encounter, but I think it's safe to say that whatever he saw, it was pretty damned freaky. It sure can't be mistaken for anything terrestrial; like a horse pressing its nose up to the camera and the lens causing foreshortening. As it totally does not look like that at all. (click to enlarge.)
I've been reading Mitchell Zuckoff's "Robert Altman: The Oral Biography" before going to sleep each night, and it's reminding me of how much he influenced my life -- from the life-changing epiphany of "Nashville" in 1975 to the first time I met him in 1977 to the countless hours I've spent living with (and in) his films, writing about them, talking about them with people who knew him and knew his movies...
Reading this, from Julian Fellowes (Oscar-winning screenwriter for "Gosford Park"), made me feel the loss acutely once again -- and kept me awake, wandering down memory-trails, for hours:
The standard thing in Hollywood is to direct the camera with a movement on the scene. The dog goes down the walk and the camera follows the dog, and it leads to the body. With Bob, the dog goes one way and the camera goes the other. He creates this illusion in the mind of the spectator that they are directing the camera. It becomes an autonomous being that is moving around the room. Because you are the viewer, you take responsibility for the image. You are given the impression that you are exploring this film.
"You take responsibility for the image." Was there ever a director who offered his audience so much freedom, trust, responsibility (and everything that word implies)?
Of course, Altman's camera did sometimes "follow the dog," but more often than not both the dog and the frame would continue moving, allowing new elements to enter and exit so that you were fully aware of the world that extended beyond the edges of the frame. The frame wasn't just a proscenium, but a permeable membrane through which life continually ebbed and flowed...