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ReelPolitik

Baz Luhrmann's Glitzy "Great Gatsby": Out of Step with America's 99%

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 6, 2013 11:30 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Still struggling with the Great 2008 Depression, enduring economic inequality and Congressional intransigence, Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" looks as if it will become a major miscalculation--not only a box office disappointment, I expect, but a significance misjudgment of where the country is at.

Spiritualist Activism? Occupy Meets "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 2, 2013 9:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Ever since the success of "What the Bleep Do We Know?", the 2004 spiritual self-help documentary, a cottage industry has developed around films that cater to spiritual-minded audiences. "Occupy Love" (opening Friday), a new film from a director who goes by the name Velcrow Ripper ("Fierce Light," "ScaredSacred"), melds the form with another recent nonfiction trend, the Occupy doc. But can it change anyone's minds about the movement?

"Gasland's" Josh Fox Unleashes "Occupy Sandy: A Human Response to the New Realities of Climate Change"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 27, 2012 9:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Is Josh Fox the new Michael Moore? Or perhaps Brave New Films' Robert Greenwald is the better analogy. From fracking to climate change, the "Gasland" filmmaker is turning into a one-man agit-prop movie machine, unleashing short films to activate his nearly 10,000 Twitter followers and effect the debate on energy issues. This Wednesday, Fox will join Occupy Sandy Relief organizers, 350.0rg, The Other 98%, and The Illuminator for a secret premiere of his new short film “Occupy Sandy: A Human Response to the New Realities of Climate Change." According to its Facebook page, the film "viscerally shows the damage left behind by the storm, highlights the heroic grassroots efforts of Occupy activists, and draws the connections between the storm, climate change, and the reckless greed of the fossil fuel industry."

The Perils of the 1%: From the Dark Knight to the Queen of Versailles

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 18, 2012 9:38 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In this week's Docutopia column over at the SundanceNow website, I look at the strange confluence of similar themes existing in this week's new releases, Lauren Greenfield’s indie documentary "The Queen of Versailles" and Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises," both of which offer accounts of how these dire times of financial insecurity and class conflict have put the rich and the powerful in a precarious state.

The Mixed Politics of "The Dark Knight": Anti-Occupy Critique or Attack on the 1%?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 16, 2012 9:33 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The reviews are in, and just as I suspected, the politics of "The Dark Knight Rises" are all over the map, with Christopher Nolan's morally ambiguous, maverick perspective bringing a mixed bag of ideologies that are difficult to parse. On one end of the spectrum, the Dark Knight is a caper crusader out to restore the order of the markets, the existing hegemonies of the capitalist world and a harsh critique of the anarchist collectives that drove the spirit of the Occupy Movement; on the other, it is a direct attack on the privileged, corrupt and ineffectual 1%.

Is "Killing them Softly" First Truly Anti-Capitalist Occupy Film?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 22, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
"America isn't a country -- it's a business." The quote comes from Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt's new crime film "Killing Them Softly," which premiered in Cannes for the public on Tuesday and is already being dubbed an anti-capitalist screed. The L.A. Times' Steven Zeitchik even wrote of the film, "It is arguably the first post-Occupy film -- or, perhaps, what the documentary "Inside Job" might look like if it was a fictional feature."

Economic Crisis Looms Large and Small in Cannes Films

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 20, 2012 7:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Watch out for the trend pieces: By the end of the Cannes Film Festival, mark my words, people will be talking about the global economic meltdown as thematized by Cannes' top cinematic offerings. While the festival is only in its first few days, it's not hard to find a latent sense of economy strife on display, as I have reported for the Wall Street Journal Online.

"Dark Knight" Trailer Rises on OWS May Day; Stock Exchange Erupts

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 1, 2012 9:40 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Now that the third and final trailer of "The Dark Knight Rises" has emerged--on Occupy Wall Street's May Day, no less--it's hard not to see some major zeitgeisty OWS issues coming to the fore. Not only do we have the film's ominous call for class warfare -- “You think this can last?" says the would-be Catwoman. "There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.... when it hits, you’re all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us" -- but now we have some images to go along with it, including a brief shot of sparks exploding from inside the New York Stock Exchange.

"#whilewewatch": First Definitive Doc of #OccupyWallStreet Emerges?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • April 26, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Tonight, at 8pm EST, a documentary calling itself "the first definitive film to emerge from Zuccotti Park," "#whilewewatch," will have its world premiere online at SnagFilms.com (Indiewire's parent company). Made with "full access and cooperation from the masterminds who made #OccupyWallStreet a reality," according to a press release, the film was directed by Kevin Breslin (“Living for 32") and includes interviews with Priscilla Grim (a journalist with The Occupied Wall St Journal); Justin Wedes (an educator and activist), journalist and technologist Tim Pool and Jesse LaGreca from Daily Kos--who will also be on hand for a conversation at the Paley Center in New York. Though the trailer gives little insight into the film beyond the chaos of protest and police crackdowns, it looks like it will be a largely flattering portrait of the movement.

"Cosmopolis": Post 9/11 Allegory or Economic Crash Parable?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 22, 2012 11:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Don DeLillo is my favorite author, and David Cronenberg is one of my favorite filmmakers. The announcement that Cronenberg would lend his "Crash"-like sensibility to the first film adaptation of one of DeLillo's novels -- 2003's "Cosmopolis" -- stirred in me no shortage of cinephiliac and intellectual excitement. With the French-subtitled teaser trailer now going viral, and anticipation of a Cannes premiere, I thought it might be a good time to examine what that swiftly edited montage of images is all about--and Robert Pattinson's appearance doesn't have anything to do with it.

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