Nightlife in a Puddle – A Film by Fabio Scacchioli

Fabio Scacchioli is an Italian filmmaker who turns ordinary shots on Super 8 film and video into magical and mystical pieces about memory and all that it does for us. I am always impressed by his work and how he finds the perfect moments to let glimmer through the haze to catch us unaware. I maintain that as we move further into the 21st century, we are developing a new cinema completely removed from the theatrical aspects of the last century’s cinema. It is filmmakers who do not try to make films that look like American features who will make the new cinema. Filmmakers making films that look like American features are looking at forms as outmoded as 19th century theatrical works were during the age of the early silents. The new cinema is as natural and immediate a form of expression as writing or painting.

I know that Scacchioli is currently working on something new and I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ve posted about Scacchioli’s work before.

The Production and Decay of Strange Particles – A Film by Jon Behrens

Seattle avant-garde filmmaker Jon Behrens made this gorgeous piece in 2008 with 16mm film, latex paint and inks applied directly to the film surface. It creates a mysterious space travel and exploratory sensation that has some connection – at least in my mind – to Kubrick’s 2001.  There’s a big pile of magnificent work waiting for you to enjoy from this filmmaker.  Visit his Vimeo page and personal website for more information.

You can rent Behrens’ films for 16mm projection from Canyon Cinema.  He also has a DVD of collected works.

Glass Boulevard

Filmed in the dullest imaginable environment of shops along a major Los Angeles street at night when the shops were closed.

My Christmas film.

The music is a public domain recording of Artie Shaw and his orchestra playing ‘There’s Something in the Air’ in 1936. The singer is Peg LaCentra. I found it at the Internet Archive.

It Came From Kuchar: Underground Film Documentary

Mike Everleth at Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film, has posted this fascinating documentary about legendary filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar. They’ve been making films separately and together for over 50 years. Don’t be misled by the term underground. These are simply wonderful and exuberant filmmakers who work in their own way and make films exactly the way they want to make them. Their enthusiasm for film, from totally independent low-budget to full-blown Hollywood spectacular, is infectious and should inspire any young filmmaker to follow his or her own muse and make what they really, deeply, necessarily want to make.  You can find out a lot more by reading the Bad Lit article about the documentary.

By the way, Bad Lit is in fact the most infectiously enthralling film site you will read for a long time. Go there!

Google Opens Huge Online Ebook Store

Creating some good healthy competition for the likes of Amazon and iBookstore, Google has opened its online ebook store.  Ebooks are available for Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod and Web reading.  You can keep your ebooks in your Google library for access from different devices and readers, always maintaining sync with where you left off.  Downloads are offered in Adobe PDF or EPUB formats.  Google keeps insisting that its books are not compatible with the Kindle, even though they offer PDFs which are easily supported by later model Kindles.  I’m not sure what this double-speak is about.  You can also convert Google’s EPUB format to Kindle-friendly MOBI format by going over to download a free copy of the Calibre ebook management software that enables simple conversion and transfer.   I downloaded a free Google ebook of Sherlock Holmes stories and converted it for my Kindle in seconds.  The result looks just like a book purchased from Amazon for my Kindle.  In fact, some of the books I’ve purchased directly from Amazon have shown such grotesque typos and formatting errors that I wonder if anyone is doing any proofreading at all anymore.  That’s mainly the fault of the ebook publishers, but Amazon could certainly crack down on what amounts to seriously broken merchandise.  Competition from the Google juggernaut is a welcome bit of relief.

Google is capitalizing on their enormous library of scanned books for some of their offerings, especially in the free download area.  Most importantly however, Google is allowing independent bookstores to sell Google ebooks through their own retail sites.  The revenue from such sales is shared with the bookstore owners.  I also understand that the revenue split with publishers is very fair, with the publishers getting 70% and 30% going to Google.

Animation: Bill Plympton Interview

Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film has an interview with fiercely independent animator Bill Plympton.  I met him once back in 2003 at a film festival in Chicago and he was the most engaging and approachable guy in the entire place.  I attended one of his talks and enjoyed the spectacle of him selling his various wares out in the theater lobby.

He’s got an excellent web site where you can spy on him as he animates and see a wonderful trailer for his latest feature film, Idiots and Angels.