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The BBC's list of the 21st century's greatest 100(ish) movies (so far) was made in consultation with 177 international film critics. Charlie's work makes an appearance not once, but twice--and the second of his two films on the list is somewhat surprising but very cool.
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) (Source)
With Synecdoche, New York garnering such mixed reviews upon release, it's great that the movie is thought of so highly by so many, eight years later.
Thanks to Tram for the heads up.Add a comment
Here's a fun little interview with Charlie. Areas covered: Charlie's first big crush; making films in a graveyard as a kid; not doing Hitchcock cameos; favourite dramatists; Barton Fink.
What is your earliest film memory from your childhood in New York?
I think The Sound of Music was the first movie I saw in a theater, in Long Island. I fell in love with Julie Andrews, and she was my first big crush. Especially for a little kid, there’s something very maternal about her.
Have you never been tempted to do a Hitchcock and make a small cameo in one of your films?
Both times I worked with Spike Jonze, he tried to get me to do that. But no, I wouldn’t do it, it’s too nerve-wracking! (Source)
Alas, there's no mention of any upcoming Kaufman releases from Criterion.
Thanks to Tram and Tim!Add a comment
Off-Screen is a screenplay review podcast, and a couple of weeks back the two hosts looked at an early draft of Frank or Francis. Verdict: they sort of like it?
I don't think I can embed the episode here, so follow the linky dink. Fair warning: the review is spoilerific, and Charlie is no fan of anybody reviewing his scripts when the script is still a work in progress.Add a comment
Here's a long, relaxed Q&A with Charlie at the recent Karlovy Vary Film Festival. It's essentially a film-by-film overview of Charlie's career--no big news or revelations, but still fun viewing, and a few little tidbits I didn't know. He does mention future and abandoned projects like Frank or Francis and Chaos Walking.
One thing worth mentioning: when the interviewer Scott Feinberg gets to Synecdoche, New York, Charlie at first thinks he's asking about Eternal Sunshine, so things get a little confusing for a bit. Other thing worth mentioning: Charlie says Rosie O'Donnell was in Human Nature. But he means Rosie Perez.
Also fun: if a person could only see one Kaufman movie, which one would Charlie pick for them? "Human Nature, simply because no one ever mentions it. Like, you didn't even mention it and no one ever mentions it." That made me laugh.
One final thing: for business reasons, Charlie has a corporation that he's named Projective Testing. The origin of that name is pretty cool--you can Wiki it yerself or watch the video below--and it implies a bit about how he approaches his work.
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In the vein of the great short film What I Have To Offer, which was drawn from Charlie's brilliant BAFTA lecture, here's Charlie Kaufman on Zombie Ants, Mind Control & Consumerism, a short film produced by High Existence and "The Unknown". It's accompanied by a good short essay on Kaufman, Hollywood and creativity, which you can read at the link. [As I write this post, that site's offline. I guess it'll be back soon. You can still watch the video here.]
“I think ultimately if ‘Synecdoche, New York’ had made $50 million, or even $20 or $30 million, then things would have been different.” [...] (It grossed $4.4 million.) “People want to be associated with things that they think are cool, and the business — the indie business, especially — is built on that. I wonder if it’s not cool or sexy to be in business with me.”
[...] “One speculates a lot on one’s failures,” Kaufman said again, “but there’s not really a lot of reason to speculate, because the only reason to speculate about bad box office is to decide that you don’t want to do something that you believe in next time in order to make more money — that’s not a choice I’m willing to make.” (Source)
That's from an equally downbeat interview with indieWIRE, in which Charlie laments the commercial failure of Anomalisa, the current state of cinema, and his future in the business. Downbeat or not, it's a worthy read.
Thanks to Julie and Arnold for this one.Add a comment
Via Hollywood Reporter:
The actor will get the Crystal Globe for Contribution to World Cinema, while the screenwriter, director and producer will get the president's award.
[...] Dafoe will receive the fest's highest honor, the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema. Kaufman will get the president's award. (Source)
They'll both be present at the festival, which runs from July 1-9. Anomalisa will be screening there, too.
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Charlie likes to point out that cinema is essentially a "dead medium": a movie never changes. Once you've seen a movie, that's it--watch it again and it's still the same film, as opposed to a stage play, where no two performances are exactly identical--line deliveries change, accidents happen, props might get moved around, a director might tweak something here or there. That's one reason Kaufman likes to fill his scripts with enough density and enigmatic meaning that you might spot new stuff--or react differently--each time you re-watch one of his movies.
Along comes Guy Maddin, whose experimental film Seances is literally different every time you view it:
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Seances, co-created with Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, is experimental cinema for those who like drifting into a madhouse reverie, a strange almost hellishly-inscrutable dream from which there is no waking. It’s an endless hall of mirrors. No escape because there’s no exit.
Technically, Seances is web-based avant-garde cinema art consisting of a large number of short silent films set to music, which are intermixed at random in bits and pieces by computer algorithms. Maddin shot the films, sometimes one each day, at the Phi Centre in Montreal and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the participation of actors such as Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, and genre favorite Udo Keir, among many others.
[...] When you click and hold down your cursor it’s as if a roulette wheel is spinning—whatever film is generated is usually a different length, with a title selected apparently at random, with scenes plucked willy-nilly and shown in an order that changes with every viewing. The movie you watch will never be seen by anyone else, nor will it exist after you are finished viewing it. (Source)
Camila Meza is a jazzy singer/guitarist from Chile, and her latest album, "Traces," features a cover of "Little Person," from Synecdoche, New York. Here she is performing it live:
Update: Camila contacted BCK and provided a link to a better quality video. Thanks, Camila!
I came across it via Pop Matters' review of the album.
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The other spectacular cover here is Meza’s closing version of “Little Person”, which is a tune from the intriguing Charlie Kaufman movie Synechdote, NY, written by Jon Brion. The original was a subtle stride piano feeling, and Meza keeps things simple here, accompanying herself on guitar only, offering up something as tender and heartfelt as jazz has to offer these days. (Source)
It only took me forever to get around to it, but I've installed a new Contact form, because the old one was all glitchy and broken. (If you've ever wondered what BCK does with the money folks donate, it's this sort of thing: buying plugins that work.)Add a comment