ReelPolitik

New Anti-Piracy Campaign Is Simplistic & Racist

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 30, 2011 10:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In the midst of the congressional battles over the Protect Ip Act, which many people--including me--believe will impinge on civil liberties and the freedom of the Internet, the White House is inadvertently taking sides with a new public relations campaign aimed at combating piracy through a strategy of demonization. According to a new PSA (see below), the government suggests buying pirated products aligns you with nefarious hispanic criminal gangs.

Newt Gingrich: Indie Movie Mogul?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 28, 2011 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
I don't think Newt Gingrich will become the next president of the United States, but could he be the first great right-wing film mogul and G.O.P. propagandist? Gingrich's brushes with indie documentary filmmaking have always interested me, as have most conservative's ill-fated attempts to make quality movies. So with today's publication of an article in the National Review titled "Hollywood Gingrich," it seemed high time to examine the Gingrich movie machine.

Occupy Cinema Perseveres; Sunday Night Shorts in Zuccotti Park

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 26, 2011 9:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If Occupy Wall Street has suffered physical setbacks in the last week, several events surrounding the movement continue. On the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving weekend, and that unhappy vision of capitalist excess known as Black Friday, the collective known as Occupy Cinema is screening three films at 5pm in the now famous/infamous Zuccotti Park, with work by Abigail Child, Henry Hills and Saul Levine that "explore issues of police crowd control, urban homelessness and the economic difficulties of avant-garde artists."

New Doc on Imprisoned Anti-Putin Oligarch Shut Out of Russian Theaters

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 25, 2011 3:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Next week, New York moviegoers will get a chance to see the acclaimed new documentary "Khodorkovsky" (opening at the Film Forum)--so named for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Russia tycoon, who is now one of the world’s most famous political prisoners. But in Russia, where the movie is also set to premiere next week amid increased talk about Putin's bid to reclaim the country's presidency, the film is being suppressed, according to reports.

Michael Moore Gives 10 Goals for Occupy Movement

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 22, 2011 6:35 PM
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  • 14 Comments
Michael Moore offers this platform for the Occupy Wall Street movement:

On Truth, the JFK Assassination and Protest: Errol Morris's New Cautionary Tale "The Umbrella Man"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 22, 2011 9:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Errol Morris has contributed a new short documentary for the New York Times' "Op-Doc" section called "The Umbrella Man." Like much of Morris's work, the film explores questions of truth and understanding, and the way in which people interpret -- or misinterpret -- historical events. I'm not sure if Morris saw the odd relevance to the Occupy protest movement, but there's an intriguing subtext to "The Umbrella Man" that dovetails nicely with mainstream beliefs that passive protest movements are somehow linked to dangerous acts of subversion or worse.

Is Werc Werk Works Dead? Uncertain Future for Producer Redleaf's FilmCo

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 21, 2011 10:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Is Werk Werk Works, the bold indie film company founded by producer Christine Walker and benefactor Elizabeth Redleaf in 2008, on the rocks? Responsible for five films to date, including Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime," Rob Epstein and Jeff Friedman's "Howl," Bela Tarr's "The Turin Horse," and most recently, Lawrence Kasdan's "Darling Companion," the company appears to be at a "crossroads," according to a major story in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

Chastity and Motherhood: How Conservative is "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 21, 2011 10:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Is there any better example of the need for Planned Parenthood than "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"? That's a joke, of course. For those looking for examples of the conservative and reactionary nature of Hollywood, there's no stronger proof than Stephanie Meyer's no-sex-before-marriage "Twilight" franchise.

Oscar Doc Short-list Short on Social Issues

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 20, 2011 8:18 PM
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  • 0 Comments
When it comes to select areas of the Academy like the documentary or foreign-language branches, it's always near impossible to gauge which films will make the short-list and final cut. I was suprised not to see "Better This World" -- more than even Herzog or Errol Morris -- on the short-list, for example, with its timely social issues about the government crackdown on civil disobedience, and its engaging story and filmmaking style (and its IDA and Gotham noms). Or Steve James' harrowing and emotionally weighty examination of inner-city violence, "The Interrupters," also snubbed. So now what do we have: films about dance, photography, horse whispering, a monkey, Jane Goodall, inner-city football -- it's not exactly global warming.

Syrian Filmmaker Nidal Hassan Still Missing; France Calls for His Release

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 17, 2011 1:17 PM
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  • 0 Comments
On November 3rd, renowned Syrian filmmaker Nidal Hassan ("Three Stories of Life, Love and Death," "Flint Mountains") was arrested on his way to visit authorities to obtain his passport to attend the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX 2011). He has not been heard from since.

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