A fun concert movie of a Byrne show, starring the man himself in fine vocal form, a full barefoot band, and two excited theater kids. Unfortunately it’s impossible to watch this without comparing with Stop Making Sense, the best concert film ever made, especially when they keep performing the same songs, giving me flashbacks to those performances, the staging, the lighting from 35 years earlier. Byrne even does his signature dance moves during “Once in a Lifetime,” which doesn’t work great for me, despite being a crowd pleaser… in fact, I realized during “Burning Down the House” that it’s mirroring SMS‘s decision to not show the audience except in occasional scraps. I made note of some fave songs… “I Zimbra” is very fun, the first song with the entire band, and I need to revisit “Everybody’s Coming to My House” and “Toe Jam.”

Byrne with his understudy and Mary Jo Pehl:

Leading the barefoot band:

Greaves and his crew film in the park (they have permits!) a couple of actors performing a trite scene – but they’re also filming themselves filming these things, and filming the director trying to work things out, and filming the crew voicing their concerns about the scene and the director. It’s an exciting concept, hampered by the small problem of being no fun to watch.

I suppose these are professionals, not hippies, but it’s still 1968 and listening to them talk invites dark flashbacks of Lions Love. And the editing of individual scenes is nice but the overall structure seems slack and random – I want to have examples, but Criterion Channel is mad that I’ve got an external monitor attached, so it’s not letting me review.

“She was extremely fearful that america would replicate nazi Germany,” so these things come in cycles. Marion started recording the news during the late ’79 Iran hostage crisis, didn’t stop until her death in 2012, and this doc was made years later so we get interviews (with her two families and the nurse and chauffeur) and re-enactments. Most of the tape footage shown is news highlights of major events, not necessarily something you’d need a comprehensive archive for, but a couple of obscure gems are thrown in. Centerpiece of the doc is a split-screen of four networks in real-time watching the WTC disaster. Marion produced a talk TV show in Philly – her favorite topic was the open exchange of ideas, though at home she was extremely controlling. Guess it’s hard to fit the life of a complicated person and 30+ years of news coverage into ninety minutes, but I look forward to the projects that’ll come out using the digital archive of her tapes.

Choice footage of this guy getting scolded for being racist:

A final film that works just as well as an introduction.

On one hand, it’s mainly a career summary, and I didn’t need one. But I guess I did, because Jane B. looks different than I imagined it, and it’s really time to rewatch Le Bonheur, and it even made me think that One Sings needs another look, and time with Agnès is always well-spent.

From the Bressane straight into another movie opening with a long take, wind overloading the mic. Sometimes long static shots of empty rooms – but this one goes even further than the Bressane, if that was our goal. Consumer-grade looking and sounding, despite the evident care that went into editing.

Chantal hangs out with her mom… later, her mom is not doing so well. In the kitchen they talk about escaping Belgium during WWII, and on skype they talk in circles. One great bit when Chantal zooms all the way into the screen during a skype call to see her own reflection overlaid on her mother. Otherwise, I have to say I preferred the documentary.

Andréa Picard in Cinema Scope gets it, and links it to Akerman’s memoir and her gallery work that came out shortly before the feature:

In No Home Movie, it is as if Chantal Akerman, perhaps for the first time in her career, has revealed the core of her work and her wounds in the most naked of ways: her frequent focus on confinement, repetition, and confrontation; her longing to be elsewhere; her dizzying instability.

LNKarno opening night is an Akerman doc, watching as prep for LNKarno closing night No Home Movie. I ended up enjoying the doc, with its discussions of editing strategies in the feature, more than the feature itself. I am a sucker for these things.

Akerman worked at a gay porn theater’s box office, raising money for her early shorts, then stole boxes of expired film to shoot Je, Tu, Il, Elle. “My mother was at the heart of my work,” flashbacks to News from Home. Wonderful to see Saute ma ville, which I just watched, intercut with Jeanne Dielman, discussion of their similarities and her mother’s take on the latter feature. Gus Van Sant, whose Last Days was Akerman-inpired, weighs in. The doc has the same closing credits shot as True Stories.

It’s cool when you end up on netflix, though you’d prefer it not be because your friend’s daughter was the primary whistleblower in a sexual abuse scandal.

Respect to athletes, none for US olympics gym admin/staff.

Louisiana and Mississippi, cutting between different threads. After the lovely and gentle Stop the Pounding Heart led to the intimate look of The Other Side led to the racist militia at the end of that movie, it’s nice to reset and spend time with the New Black Panther Party. And after a month of watching movies on the laptop screen, it’s nice to see this on the big(ger) screen, experiencing as close as I’ll get to cinema this summer.

Michael Sicinski on Mubi via letterboxd:

As with Minervini’s previous films, there is something both startling and a bit disconcerting about the degree of access he achieves, as well as the fact that his camera crew is almost never acknowledged. How does he get so close, capturing key emotional moments like Judy’s cousin Michael finally visiting his mother’s gravesite, or Judy herself meeting a fellow addict and describing her years of abuse? One of the things that Minervini accomplishes in What You Gonna Do…, both with these scenes, the New Black Panther meetings, and in some consciousness-raising moments in Judy’s bar, is a careful depiction of free black discourse, the kind of discussion about identity, politics, and culture that a community can have when they are not worried about how outside listeners will misconstrue their words.