Utopian Cinema screening and discussion series coming to Flux Factory in October
For at least 40 years, cinematic depictions of dystopia have been more or less ubiquitous in our culture. The converse, however - films about utopia - are extraordinarily rare throughout film history.
This dearth of specimens is probably the reason why films depicting utopia have rarely been considered alongside one another or theorized as a genre.
But we want to do just that.
Hope to see you there!
Please re-blog far and wide.
I’m programming this screening series in October. If you’re in New York you should come out and watch some movies with me!
Some Tweets on Film
I haven’t done much long-form film writing recently, but I have been making more of an effort to tweet short comments about the things I’m seeing. Below is a collection of some of my recent tweets on film. Follow me if you like what you read!
Expedition to the End of the World had no structure - jumble of scenes wld work just as well in any order - but fragments were v compelling— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 25, 2014
favorite line: “Maybe you don’t need two cars. Maybe you need a raft.”— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 25, 2014
mostly was reminded of the similarly named & better Herzog film - down to shot of holding the △ drawing (like Herzog’s ‘Mayan fingers’ shot)— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 25, 2014
btwn that film and reading Annie Dillard though, I’ve been feeling the urge to retreat to nature and contemplate the insignificance of man— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 25, 2014
Okay, big tweet dump coming up. Gonna talk about some of the movies I’ve seen recently. First up: Leos Carax retro @ Film Forum 2 weeks ago— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 29, 2014
Les amants du Pont-Neuf was an absolute thrill to see in a theater. Left the theater feeling like a different person than when I went in…— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 29, 2014
Walked around w Annie after cuz going home or sitting down didn’t feel right. Just kept saying “Fuck!” over & over with big smile on my face— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 29, 2014
Had I watched that film on a laptop, would have just thought “good movie” & been done w it. Renewed my faith in the theater-going experience— Tim Nicholas (@tim_nich)August 29, 2014
This strategy of automatic writing, it’s not controlled by thinking or conceiving, but straight intuition. Then comes a period of molding and sculpting intuitively gained material, and control starts there. In conceiving the film, and then also in shooting, we actually are controlling, are not really into this spontaneity of discovering something that hasn’t been conceived. I think the very beginning is the place where control isn’t welcome.
One thing I’d like to add: because of that control-freak aspect of us, it’s maybe important to have scenes, actions, moments where a certain kind of improvisation or something uncontrolled can happen, like the cat, or Clara [the young girl]. They cannot be controlled. Because of that nature, it’s important to put those elements, which can give more life to your controlled universe. It’s important that you can’t control everything."
"No film which only translates into film what is known already (from the newspaper, a book, TV) is worth anything. A film has to find an expression in its own language."
— Harun Farocki (R.I.P.)
We’ll be opening up the Etsy store to international customers very soon (before the end of August?) - just a matter of doing some research so we can set shipping prices. I’ll post here when we do. Thanks for your interest!
"Suppose a character, in one of the stories you and I write, tried to conceive of his origin, and tried to foresee beyond what he knows of his destiny at any given point of the story. His enquiries, his speculations, would lead him to hypotheses (infinity, chance, indeterminacy, free will, curved space and time …) very similar to those at which thinkers arrive when speculating about the universe.
This is why the traffic between storytelling and metaphysics is continuous.
The notion that life, as lived, is a story being told is a recurring one. Rationalism rejected this notion by proposing that the laws of nature were ineluctably mechanical. Most recent scientific research tends to suggest that the natural working of the processes of the universe resemble those of a brain rather than a machine. To think of such a ‘brain’ as a narrator—although many scientists would protest that the thought was too anthropomorphic—has again become feasible. The metaphysics of storytelling has ceased to be a merely literary concern.
What separates us from the characters about whom we write is not knowledge, either objective or subjective, but their experience of time in the story we are telling. This separation allows us, the storytellers, the power of knowing the whole. Yet, equally, this separation renders us powerless: we cannot control our characters, after the narration has begun. We are obliged to follow them, and this following is through and across the time, which they are living and which we oversee.
The time, and therefore the story, belongs to them. Yet the meaning of the story, what makes it worthy of being told, is what we can see and what inspires us because we are beyond its time.
Those who read or listen to our stories see everything as through a lens. This lens is the secret of narration, and it is ground anew in every story, ground between the temporal and the timeless.
If we storytellers are Death’s Secretaries, we are so because, in our brief mortal lives, we are grinders of these lenses."
— John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
"In film, there are two ways of including human beings. One is depicting human beings. Another is to create a film form which, in itself, has all the qualities of being human: tenderness, observation, fear, relaxation, the sense of stepping into the world and pulling back, expansion, contraction, changing, softening, tenderness of heart. The first is a form of theater and the latter is a form of poetry."
Yikes! Don’t know how I missed that. I must have just been thinking about Jack Lemon as I wrote that sentence. Fixed now. Thanks for the correction.