‘The Last Silent Star Standing’: An Oral History of 1920s Film with Diana Serra Cary
To delve into her life – almost Zelig-like in the manner she appears in photographs sparring playfully with Jack Dempsey, performing a graceful pose with Irene Castle, being held in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s arms – is to encounter a living connection to a who’s who of 1920s American history and culture. Cary, who possesses an IQ of 145, was discovered in 1920 at 19 months and immediately paired with a veteran performer: Brownie the Wonder Dog. Her 50 two-reelers circled the globe, making Century, that long-ago Poverty Row studio she worked for, a tidy profit. Her movies were so lucrative that Century (which had Universal as its distributor) boasted a ‘Baby Peggy unit’: a production crew entirely devoted to turning out this successful series.
Jeffrey Crouse has talked to Diana Serra Cary, the last(?) of the silent stars.
The Passive Hero: From Yugoslavia to Independence, an Investigation into Slovenian Film
As a part-time resident of Slovenia myself (married to the Slovenian artist and translator Urška Charney), I was pleased to attend the premiere of Shanghai Gypsy. There, in a theatre in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s fairy-tale capital, I encountered a who’s who of the Slovenian screen. The majority of the nation’s film and television stars occupied the relatively small theatre space, faces and names that I recognize because of their ubiquity. In a nation of 2 million souls, there are perhaps 100 recognizable film and television personalities, and they seem to appear in everything. A new entrant to the group is a rare thing. While this may seem small to the point of claustrophobia, there are advantages, at least from a foreigner’s perspective, to swimming in what one might reasonably call a ‘small pond’. If you know any one person in this Slovenian screen-world, you are likely connected to everyone else in it. Kevin Bacon may require six degrees of separation in the popular who-starred-with-who Hollywood game. In Slovenia, you’d need only one or two degrees to reach anyone else.
Noah Charney has met the people that matters most in the small world of Slovenian film-making.
A Pacifist and/or Cowardly Yank in Britain: The Americanization of Emily (1964) as anti-war classic
Very controversial upon its original release the film was indeed a pioneering anti-war film that poked fun at silly patriotism, noble self-sacrifice and the glorification of war before such films were fashionable in Hollywood and widely accepted by the public. Columnist Liz Smith years later described The Americanization of Emily as ‘too good for its time, and now a classic for the cognoscenti’. [Director] Arthur Hiller has always insisted that the film was not anti-war but rather ‘anti-glorification of war’. ‘It’s not war that’s insane; it’s the morality of it,’ as James Garner’s Charlie Madison puts it. With an ambiguous ending that leaves viewers today feeling either cheated and/or confused about the larger implications of the film, perhaps only the satire and black comedy rescue Emily from ‘dated, overblown oblivion’…
From the vantage point of the era of neverending ‘war on terror’, Richard A. Voeltz celebrates an ‘anti-glorification of war’ film that will turn 50 in 2014.
Time is Money – The Acceleration of Time and the Vanquishing of Space in Melancholia, Another Earth, and In Time
Resembling the true-life story of Patricia Hearst, the granddaughter of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who ended up joining the very group that kidnapped her, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in the mid-1970s United States, [In Time] then develops into a Bonnie and Clyde scenario. However, Will and Sylvia can ultimately be seen as the progenitors of a new species of humans, a species liberated from the slavery of time as a life-binding currency. Will and Sylvia, as the first couple to have actively worked out their freedom from the shackles of time and as freedom fighters, are a novel yet subversive Adam and Eve. Having tasted of the tree of forbidden knowledge (becoming conscious of the reality of things), they actively decide to leave the Garden of Eden and the governance of hierarchical time zones.
William Anselmi and Lise Hogan look at the politics of three high-profile dystopic films of the 2010s.
Spotlight on Gillian Armstrong
‘In the beginning, I was a novelty, and it was very easy for journalists to label me as a feminist only. But also I think it did affect some people’s perception of my films – a woman made this. And you don’t want that, really.’
Australian director Gillian Armstrong interviewed by Anna Weinstein.
Catching up with The Silver Goat: an interview with Tom Colley
‘Aaron [Brookner] was a joy to work with, and as an actor your aim is to be free to deliver an intuitive performance whilst retaining the integrity of the director’s intention.’
Actor Tom Colley discusses his work on The Silver Goat with Tom Ue.