“Lipstick Under My Burkha, a drama that explores the sexual awakenings and personal struggles of four small-town Indian women, was initially denied classification [by the Central Board of Film Certification] … On Wednesday an appeals board overturned that decision, saying … ‘There cannot be any embargo on a film being women oriented or containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women.'”
Typical of the responses at a panel following the Tribeca Film Festival screening of the opening episode was this from Elisabeth Moss: “For me, it’s not a feminist story. It’s a human story because women’s rights are human rights. … So for me, you know, I never approach anything with any sort of, like, political agenda. I approach it from a very human place, I hope.” As reporter Laura Bradley puts it, “[these] answers were much less in tune with the audience than the episode itself had been.”
Connor Towne O’Neill travels to Woodstock, Alabama to ask the folks there about finding themselves the subject of a record-smashing podcast – and finds some fair-mindedness, some defensiveness, plenty of ambivalence and even more awkwardness. After all, they really do all know each other. (Warning: includes spoilers)
“This is a decision long in the making and not an easy one. I’ve had the greatest job I can think of, working with the finest colleagues anyone could ask for, for as long a stretch as I could imagine. But, looking ahead to my seventies (which start all too soon) I feel that it is time for me to begin a new phase of life. Over the next few months, I hope to figure out what that will be.”
Director Kevin Smith says, “The weird thing about it is, you know, when you look at it now – to borrow a term from the present – it was very woke for 1997.” Queer critics didn’t agree: as Shannon Keating sums it up here, “Ultimately, the film assumes that a lesbian can go straight, even if just for a little while, as soon as the right guy comes along.” But then, Keating continues, “Questions about how to define different queer identities, the possibilities and limits of sexual fluidity, and what mysterious chemistry drives attraction are as much a part of the contemporary queer conversation as they were in the mid-’90s. Chasing Amy was, in many ways, ahead of its time.”
“The British Library has launched a preservation and access project which will save almost half a million rare and unique recordings which are threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats which can no longer be played. … Recordings include oral histories from WWI and WWII, Cornish brass bands, local dialect from the UK regions, drama and literature readings, regional radio, traditional music, pirate radio recordings, music from around the world and the sounds of rare and extinct species.”
“Niche reality shows reveal a range of American cultures and give the audience a new experience: the chance to plunge into others’ unfamiliar realities. Dividing “reality” into ever more microscopic fields, the joyously weird new contest shows celebrate the deviations from the normal, amplifying a subculture’s arcana to stadium size. A cynic might cavil that networks are merely exploiting the American viewer’s new taste, trained by social media, for variety and distinctiveness.”
A last-minute deal could happen, but “if writers walk off the job, scores of productions would be halted at a time when Los Angeles is enjoying a surge in the number of TV shows that shoot in the region.”
And the #deleteUber movement gets more fuel for its fire: “The practice, called fingerprinting, is prohibited by Apple. To prevent the company from discovering the practice, Uber geofenced Apple headquarters in Cupertino, changing its code so that it would be hidden from Apple Employees.”
Which fan group’s illegal copies and iffy translations would get released? How would all of the anime fans come together to watch said illegal copies with iffy translations? And if they did, would cosplay – dressing up as a character from the anime series in question – be allowed?
Whoa. “PureFlix.com offers bingeable programming like ‘The American Bible Challenge,’ a game show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy; ‘Family Affair,’ a sitcom starring Brian Keith that ran from 1966 to 1971; ‘The Encounter,’ a Pure Flix original scripted series about people who are visited by Jesus; and stand-up comedy from Sinbad and Louie Anderson. Next up is ‘Hilton Head Island,’ a soap opera starring Antonio Sabato Jr.”
“Raw” is the French director Julia Ducournau’s first feature film, and it’s already made waves. Here’s how she made the coming-of-age cannibal film, from getting the actors to bond through horror and beer to recreating the feel of a college down, aka places that “swim in the organic, heaving messiness of teens.”
“If history was any guide, the director Terry George figured, there’d be weirdness around his new film, The Promise, about the Armenian genocide. Sure enough, he was right” – there was a concerted pile-on at IMDb, and the unanticipated release of a competing film on strangely similar material, The Ottoman Lieutenant. Cara Buckley lays out the strange circumstances around the two titles.
The two were among seven titles to receive honors in the entertainment category.
Also among the winners of 2016 Peabody Awards in the documentary category were 13th, Zero Days, and MAVIS!.
Over the past couple of years, print pundits have wondered at the sizable female audience for new true-crime TV series such as The Jinx and Making a Murderer (not to mention the audio phenomenon that was Serial). American Studies scholar Melinda Lewis argues that the pundits shouldn’t have been surprised and unpacks the attraction to the genre.
“It was the chance of a lifetime. It was a terror like no other. Five promising filmmakers, most young and all hungry, were competing for a $1 million grant to make a feature that would have its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival next year. The money came from AT&T, and the setup was very ‘Shark Tank’: They would have 10 minutes to pitch their movie to a jury whose members included Lee Daniels, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Mackie.”
“Many podcast trends continue to rise, from the percentage of the 12+ population that has heard the term podcasting (60 percent, up from 55 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened to a podcast (40 percent, up from 36 percent last year) to the percentage that has listened in the last month (24 percent, up from 21 percent last year) or last week (15 percent, up from 13 percent). And the term “listened to” isn’t a loose one. And overwhelming majority of listeners get through either all of a podcast (42 percent) or most of it (44 percent).”
Much of the response to Samuel L. Jackson’s complaint about the wave of black British actors playing high-profile African-American roles has been along the lines of Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya’s “I resent that I have to prove that I’m black.” Angelica Jade Bastién argues that this is not the issue: for one thing, “the black experience throughout the diaspora isn’t an interchangeable one,” and for another, there’s a group of black American actors as highly trained as any from Britain that still have trouble getting work.
“For one thing, … our attitudes toward television have yet to catch up to the age of peak TV. In fact, … as shows have become increasingly complex in recent years, watching TV has become a more cognitively stimulating activity.”
“It just seems inevitable. Cannes has always been auteur driven, and they are showing episodic work by directors whose work they’ve supported and loved. Those of us who are programmers, are always looking for great work. In this day and age, why would anyone still restrict to one time format?”
While there’s no such thing as an “official” podcast for any 12-step program, “plug ‘AA’ or ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ or ‘Recovery’ into your iTunes search and you’ll find the options are abundant and growing.” Emanuel Cavallaro meets several of the people making and distributing these podcasts.
“A strike would have serious implications. When writers walked out a decade ago, the impasse cost the Los Angeles economy an estimated $2.5 billion. As production halted, income dried up not only for writers but also for set decorators, caterers, limo drivers and florists. Fans were not thrilled, either, as television schedules became a sea of reruns.”
“The sight of a Syrian toddler’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach was among the horrors that drove Vanessa Redgrave to make her directorial debut with a feature documentary about the refugee crisis, she said.”
“Shows like [teen suicide drama] 13 Reasons Why are very honest and raw and I’m not sure you’d find that on terrestrial TV and old school channels. Netflix has taken the model of [US cable channel] HBO, which revolutionised quality TV drama with shows like The Sopranos, and flown with it.”
“In recent years, many of the indie-boutique shingles that the major studios once supported — Paramount Vantage, Warner Independent Pictures — have closed up shop. They’ve become victims of an increasingly corporatized, IP-centric major studio strategy. Those that remain, including Fox Searchlight, Miramax, and Focus Features, have been weakened.”
From inside these communities, there is a clear, rich stream of storylines that are less concerned with the physical details and more with the interior life of LGBT characters. “Look, we know what straight, white men think, what their hopes, desires and fears are, because we’ve been told nothing but them on TV. Which is precisely why a younger generation no longer owns TV sets. Programme-makers have to catch up or they’ll make themselves extinct.”
“This is an astonishing feat for a decade and a half old franchise that launched as a marginalized car culture movie with no stars and no imaginings of a long-term franchise future.”
Few shows have earned more ink of fascination and fury during their runs. “In addition to a magnificent deployment of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car,’ the episode (which is discussed further in this critical dialogue) offers up a glimpse of what growing up might look like for these characters.” [If you’re the kind of person who cares about Girls but didn’t have time to watch it, fair warning: The article contains many spoilers.]
But films – especially documentaries after the recent rule change at the Academy – on Netflix are shut out of Oscars consideration next year. Still, “for filmmakers like Mr. Leon, the flexibility of the Netflix option is an artistic lifesaver.”