Detective City Angel: A Film by Alessandro Cima


First, here’s a nice review and interview about the film at Dangerous Minds. Want to follow a secret identity artist through a dangerous Los Angeles as he escapes and hits like a criminal? Hang on and watch carefully. You may need to watch it 14 times to catch the drift. But you’ve probably got that kind of time anyway. This is a Los Angeles crime film. But it’s as if several films on celluloid fused together and what you end up with is an art film that gets overwhelmed by urban documentary and then collapses into a narrative thriller. It’s filled with hints, clues, evidence and misdirection. Images, ideas and sounds bounce off each other, mirror each other. There are secrets in this film. You have to watch carefully, through layers to catch things. I’ve tried to make a film that moves like disjointed thoughts toward the preordained ending. Continue reading

Penn State University Appears to Have Covered Up Child Rape in Football Program

Pennsylvania State University appears to have abandoned its primary duty to protect the children on its campus. The betrayal of its community and its children is shocking. Its football facilities appear to have been used for an ongoing series of child rapes by football coach Joe Paterno’s longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky. Two high-ranking university officials have been arrested for keeping the rapes unreported to law enforcement. That’s called a coverup where I come from. It would seem that a graduate student told a Grand Jury that he witnessed a 10 year old boy being raped in the football locker room. His decision at the time was to allow the rape to continue. Later on he says he went to coach Paterno’s home to discuss the episode with him. Paterno says he reported the allegations to university athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the senior vice president of finance and business.


I’m sorry, but my jaw just hit the desk. Let’s go over that again. A graduate student witnesses the rape of a child and walks away. Goes to Joe Paterno’s house to discuss it! Joe Paterno goes to school administrators! No one calls the police! No one walks into the locker room, pulls the rapist off the child and beats his head against a wall. Are these guys kidding? There’s no use in this world for men who cannot help a child being raped. The rapist is an obvious psychopath and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. That’s for sure. But these other men, Paterno included, have proven themselves to be unable to muster the small amount of strength required to stand up for a child. It should have been easy to walk in and stop that rape. It should have been a reflex. This graduate student continues to work for the university for 9 years without talking about the crime he witnessed. Well this fellow quite obviously serves no useful purpose in civilization.  His departure would go unnoticed. The same for Paterno. You, sir, should be somewhat more than ashamed.  You could go apply for work at the Vatican which, along with Penn State University, seems to run an efficient child rape network.

I am free to say that because high-ranking university officials have been charged with leaving the alleged crime unreported to police.  This puts the official posture of the university as being one of active coverup. It seems probable that knowledge of the alleged crimes will be more widespread in the university than currently understood.

One thing you can count on – if it had been one of Paterno’s grandchildren getting raped in that locker room, he most certainly would have called the police. He didn’t because he just didn’t give a shit.

The disgusting refusal by grown men to defend a child warrants not only the immediate dismissal of Joe Paterno, but also the closing down of the school’s football program at least until a very thorough investigation deeper into the university’s structure can be completed.

The only correct posture when you see a kid being raped is physical violence against the perpetrator followed by a call to 911.  Whatever Joe Paterno might say in the next few days to defend himself, ignore him and remember that defending a child from rape is a very simple and easy decision to make.

Batman and Robin: Amazingly Awful 1949 Columbia Pictures Serial

Batman and Robin was a Columbia Pictures serial of 1949. It starred Robert Lowery as the batman and a rather stolid little fellow named Johnny Duncan. It’s a totally awkward, cheesy and humorless affair that very perfectly captures the true spirit of the comic book.  But shockingly there’s no batmobile!  The caped crime-fighting duo drive around in an old Mercury convertible as if they’re married and looking for a gas station.

Look, if Christopher Nolan wants to try to convince us all that he can make gritty realistic films about Batman, go ahead and let him. He’s wasting his own time. Batman is an absurdity and should be filmed as such. Enjoy this horrendous bit of movie serial history and don’t try to figure out all the machines and criminal plots. None of it makes any sense at all!

Los Angeles Plays Itself: Documentary Through the Eyes of Fiction

This astounding 2003 documentary by Thom Andersen takes what I am certain is the most thorough look ever at how films, both popular and obscure, have depicted the city of Los Angeles. Through the accumulation and precise organizing of clips, Andersen actually describes the essential heart of Los Angeles better than anyone I have seen before. Unfortunately, the film has never been released due to rights issues with some of the clips in the film. I can’t imaging what those issues might be since this all looks like fair use for a documentary to me. This is quite obviously a journalistic essay and he has every right to use the clips in short portions.

The film’s narration has a sort of dry weariness that tends to fit the general tendency toward crime or noirish films and their views of the city. His description of the brutal destruction of Bunker Hill is a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking, illustrating the horror of a corporate dead zone built on top of a once vibrant and colorful community that served as inspiration to many down-at-the-heel artists like John Fante, the great Los Angeles novelist who wrote ‘Ask the Dust.’

Andersen moves through a dizzying array of films including, Point Blank, Zabriskie Point, Double Indemnity, The Outsider, The Exiles, Kiss Me Deadly, Chinatown, The Omega Man, Blade Runner, Heat, Rebel Without a Cause, and many many more. It’s a tour with attitude through Hollywood’s fascination with Los Angeles. It’s also a look at how wrong many depictions of the city have been – how twisted, altered, faked and misrepresented L.A. has been. The film is a lifelong Los Angeles resident who knows what’s missing in the superficial portraits of the city and gets mad about it. But in general, Andersen’s film gradually and unremittingly builds a detailed portrait of the city like no other portrait ever attempted. He reserves some snide comments for a director that I have always considered to be one of the best at portraying L.A., Michael Mann. Andersen’s comments about the characters of ‘Heat’ who live in the hills overlooking the flats of L.A. are accurate but somewhat literal. Here’s an article that Andersen later wrote about Mann’s film ‘Collateral’ which was apparently an improvement on the city’s portrayal.

But Andersen’s irritation with fakery and distortion are what make this film work. He insists on showing the false, exposing it for what it is, and then showing us a contradictory viewpoint. One of the kickers in this magnificent film is when Andersen makes a very obvious and clear note of Steve Martin’s racist perspective on Los Angeles in ‘L.A. Story,’ where any non-white character must work in a restaurant. Frankly, I’m so tired of hearing about how brilliant the idiotic and dull Martin is that I vote for this film on that basis alone! He has scathing remarks for writers like Joan Didion who wrote about car culture, maintaining that nobody walked in L.A., but really meant to say that no rich white people walked in L.A. Meanwhile, the city has always had a huge and fully utilized mass transit system.

A further thought that comes to me while watching this film is that over the past 100 years, racism in the U.S. has in fact been led and encouraged by Hollywood. The mass majority of its product over the decades has portrayed non-whites in demeaning fashion. The treatment of black characters throughout the Hollywood studio heyday is an embarrassment to the nation. All you need to know about Hollywood is on view in any Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn romantic comedy. Just watch the way they treat their household employees. Casual and appalling.

I found this film while working on my own Los Angeles film that looks at the city through the prism of the imagination as conditioned by films. But my film looks at this distortion as actually being the real heart and living soul of the city. What makes Los Angeles the greatest American city is precisely its hidden history, its distorted images, and its ability to exist in different forms entirely within the imaginations of people who think they live there. There are vast numbers of people who live and work in Los Angeles who have never actually seen Los Angeles. When you summon the false gods and demons of L.A. they actually appear.

Part 2:

Parts 3 – 12 after the jump…

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Horror Short: Helping Hand

Adult Content – Not For Children Under 13

This is a graphic horror film.  It’s not intended for young children.  If you are under 13, do not watch this before discussing it with your parents!  Seriously.  Also, you should probably not watch it if you are at risk from sudden fear, anxiety or shock.

A woman answers the phone late at night and does not recognize the voice on the other end.

This is my own contribution to the specific horror genre exemplified by the series of Saw movies.  It also has some of the qualities of the moral warning fairy tales in which awful things happen to innocents because of relatively minor errors in judgment.

It’s really fun to make a hardcore scary little movie for Halloween!  I’ve wanted to make a horror film for quite a while and just never had the perfect opportunity.  It’s a very simple film but it can really give some people a bad scare.
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Crime Stories: Trust

By Ingela Richardson

The author lives with her daughter at the seaside in a rambling, crumbling house full of dogs, cats, an ancient grandmother and an equally ancient retainer who all speak foreign languages.

Adult Themes


The young girl was sleeping, her face and hair so pale under the luminous lights that the teacher held her own hand against the girl’s mouth to feel if she was still breathing.

The hospital was deathly silent with pools of light at other beds and the nurse’s station, but there were no other occupants and the nurse was fetching coffee.

“She’s okay,” a voice said and the teacher actually jumped backward in surprise, so deep had been her concentration on the girl’s face.

“Sorry,” the man apologized and extended a hand, “I’m Doctor Smith.”

“Smith?” she said, for want of anything better to say and shook his hand. He shrugged and lifted the girl’s heavily bandaged arms.

“You see?” he said, “If she were dead, the pathologists would be saying she had raised her arms against the knife in self-defense”.

“Against whom?” the teacher asked.

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