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LIFE'S WORK: THE FILMS OF ROMAN POLANSKI - Chapter 4: Chinatown: Frames and Lenses

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Press Play is devoting much of its content this week to a study of the films of Roman Polanski, whose new movie Carnage opens the New York Film Festival this Friday, September 30. We are counting down to the event by running a new video essay every day this week under the title Life’s Work: The Films of Roman Polanski. Chapter 4 of the series is a video essay by contributor Jim Emerson called Chinatown: Frames and Lenses. You can view Chapter 1 of this series, Polanski’s God, here. You can view Chapter 2 of this series, Spaces, here. You can view Chapter 3 of the series, Uniting The Fragments: Cul-de-Sac, here.]
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 29, 2011 11:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

SIMON SAYS: Austin's Fantastic Fest 2011 screens the notorious and the raunchy

By Simon Abrams Press Play Contributor
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 29, 2011 6:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: In defense of Andy Rooney

Yes, he's grumpy, often way off-base and very easy to parody. But Andy Rooney is also a terrific American writer By Matt Zoller Seitz Press Play Contributor
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 29, 2011 5:55 AM
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MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: An interview with the dean of COMMUNITY

Dan Harmon, the hit sitcom's creator, talks to Salon about comedy, agony, paintball, The Simpsons and Glee By Matt Zoller Seitz Press Play Contributor
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 29, 2011 1:14 AM
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LIFE'S WORK: THE FILMS OF ROMAN POLANSKI - Chapter 3: Uniting the Fragments: Cul-de-Sac

“Roman Polanski” is a fragmented name, one that encompasses numerous identities and connotations. To some, “Polanski” is the child who survived the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. To others, he is the womanizer whose wife was brutally murdered by a homicidal cult. And still, to others, he is the criminal who fled to Paris while awaiting a statutory rape trial. Yet, to a select group of cinephiles, actors and filmmakers, the name “Polanski” is an adjective, one that ignores the “man’s” personal life and describes the “artist’s” prolific career, which spans nearly six decades. This career produced numerous films that exemplified the “Polanski” style; they explore the psychology of the psychotic, they blend the conventions and iconography of various genres and, oftentimes, they look towards pessimism as a means of comfort. It is Polanski’s third feature film, Cul-de-sac (1966), that best exemplifies the “Polanski” style. The film unites the various elements of a “Polanski film,” creating a self-proclaimed masterpiece.
  • By Jose Gallegos
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  • September 28, 2011 10:28 AM
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LIFE'S WORK: THE FILMS OF ROMAN POLANSKI - Chapter 2: Spaces

Roman Polanski has been making films for five decades now. His latest film Carnage is yet another of his works that takes place within a single, confining location, the better to allow Polanski to explore social, political and sexual issues. From his student shorts at the National Film School in Łódź to his early features Knife in the Water and Repulsion through his more recent films The Pianist and The Ghost Writer, Polanski has consistently explored how a physical space can affect a character's mental state.
  • By Steven Santos
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  • September 27, 2011 11:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: Civilization gets a prehistoric reboot in TERRA NOVA

In Spielberg's new drama, a time-space rift lets us escape the consequences of befouling Earth and start over
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 26, 2011 6:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
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MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: The plot-crazy spectacle of BOARDWALK EMPIRE

In season two, HBO's Prohibition-era drama has enlarged its scope but still hasn't found its reason for being By Matt Zoller Seitz Press Play Contributor
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 26, 2011 6:42 AM
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  • 1 Comment
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INTERVIEW: Matthias Stork talks about his two-part essay CHAOS CINEMA and himself

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following interview with Matthias Stork is being republished with permission from Empty Kingdom.
  • By Matthew Seitz
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  • September 26, 2011 5:21 AM
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LIFE'S WORK: THE FILMS OF ROMAN POLANSKI - Chapter 1: Polanski's God

I think people who go to see [Roman Polanski's films] for escapism are not going to be necessarily disappointed, but they're going to have to tweak their understanding of what entertainment is. When you watch a Polanski film, you're watching this sense of abundance in them. They have very cheerful settings — deceptively cheerful. You get the sense that you're watching the seasons change from this brightness to this inner gray that takes over. Violence in Polanski's film is psychological. It's largely implied and it's rarely explicit, and when it is explicit, it's for comedy's sake. When Jake gets his nostril slit in Chinatown, he looks ridiculous for the rest of the film, with the bandage on his nose.
  • By Serena Bramble & Simon Abrams
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  • September 26, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 14 Comments

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