Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

VIDEO ESSAY: An Open Source Epic - Nina Paley's SITA SINGS THE BLUES

Adaptation and appropriation are important subtexts to Nina Paley’s award-winning animated epic, Sita Sings the Blues. Paley herself became a cause celebre among Fair Use activists seeking reforms to copyright law during her struggle to secure rights to jazz vocalist Annette Harshaw’s recordings. With this video essay, I look at how Paley took inspiration from both the tragic story of Sita in the Ramayana and Annette Harshaw’s bittersweet torch songs to deal with her own breakup, combining them to transform her personal suffering into art. In visualizing the legend of Sita, Paley incorporates traditional Indian and South Asian art forms that were themselves creative innovations on the source material at one point in history. In doing so, Paley plugs her work squarely into a cultural history too rich to be contained by digital rights restrictions, illustrating that true art is open to all.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • February 10, 2012 2:06 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Actor Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL

Brad Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. But he is also a fantastic actor. His phenomenal range has allowed him to play delirious and zany, as in "Twelve Monkeys," but also understated and restrained, as in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Those films brought Pitt a Best supporting actor and a best leading actor Oscar nomination respectively, but both times, he went back home empty-handed. This year, Pitt is once again nominated as best actor in a leading role Academy Award for his performance in Bennett Miller’s "Moneyball." Press Play believes that he deserves the Oscar, and, in this video essay, we will tell you why.
  • By Ali Arikan & Ken Cancelosi
  • |
  • February 9, 2012 7:21 AM
  • |
  • 21 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Actress Viola Davis, THE HELP

Four out the five performances nominated for Best Actress are in part based on fulfilling audiences’ preconceived notions of what they should be. Both Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams do impersonations on the level of genius. Streep dares to make Margaret Thatcher seem all too human; Williams lets us look beyond Marilyn Monroe’s wiggle and teasing smile and see the insecurity, sadness and natural born talent that is required to be a star. Rooney Mara becomes a star by bringing to life one of popular literature’s most revered heroines in recent history. She allows us to feel the heat of Lisbeth Salander’s rage and burgeoning soul. Glenn Close pulls off a stunt that some actors believe is the ultimate test of their talent, be it Dustin Hoffman, Linda Hunt or Hilary Swank.
  • By Aaron Aradillas & Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • February 8, 2012 6:54 AM
  • |
  • 14 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: PRESS PLAY picks the Oscars

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Press Play presents "Should Win," a series of video essays advocating winners in seven Academy Awards categories: supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture. These are consensus choices hashed out by a pool of Press Play contributors.]  
  • By Press Play Staff
  • |
  • February 7, 2012 6:21 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Supporting Actress Janet McTeer, ALBERT NOBBS

Pretty much all of this year's Best Supporting Actress nominees are great, although a puking, pooping Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids "may not exactly be the stuff of Oscar dreams. Bérénice Bejo offers a charming modern take on a silent film ingenue-turned-star. Jessica Chastain especially can do no wrong as "The Help"'s Marilyn Monroe-style damsel in distress. And in that same film, Octavia Spencer offers a terrific steadying subversion as a maid who won't tow the line. But it is Janet McTeer who should take this award.
  • By Lisa Rosman and Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • February 7, 2012 5:38 AM
  • |
  • 8 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer, BEGINNERS

Almost all the nominees for Best Supporting Actor do terrific work in roles that feel tailor-made to highlight their strengths. Kenneth Branagh's early work as director/star on stage and screen earned him comparisons to Laurence Olivier; he fulfills his destiny by actually playing Olivier in "My Week with Marilyn." Nick Nolte reminds us why he's one of the last great tough guys as the hard-ass recovering alcoholic father in Warrior. Jonah Hill gets the MVP award as a baseball-loving numbers cruncher in "Moneyball." And in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Max von Sydow gives a master class in "less is more." But Christopher Plummer does something extra in "Beginners."
  • By Aaron Aradillas & Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • February 7, 2012 5:33 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: The Double Life of James and Juliette: Mysteries and Perceptions in Kiarostami's CERTIFIED COPY

The newest film from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, "Certified Copy," is a complete and total enigma. Many films pose mysteries at their centers, including detective stories, thrillers with multiple twists, and now often art films that pose ambiguous endings. But "Certified Copy" emerges as something of a different order, because it challenges the spectator to explore the mystery yet never come to any particular solution. But by examining the clues Kiarostami gives us, we, the audience, can understand the philosophical ideas of what our answers may suggest.
  • By Peter Labuza
  • |
  • February 3, 2012 6:06 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment

FESTIVAL VIDEO: Rotterdam Sunset Chat with IndieWire Press Play + The House Next Door + Cine Qua Non

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has been called a cinephile’s festival. This year’s edition (January 25-February 5) is living proof. Indiewire/Press Play editor-in-chief Kevin Lee talks with fellow critics Aaron Cutler (The House Next Door/Cine Qua Non) and Michal Oleszczyk (The House Next Door) about what films to see, old and new, in and out of competition. Recorded February 1, posted February 3. (pictured above: Awakening of the Beast, from the IFFR series "The Mouth of Garbage")
  • By Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • February 2, 2012 8:03 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments

FEATURE FILM WITH VIDEO ESSAY: Brian De Palma's RAISING CAIN is re-cut

Raising Cain Re-cut is my attempt to approximate Brian De Palma’s original vision of Raising Cain, before the director chose to compromise its structure in post-production. The re-cut uses all of the scenes in the theatrical release and puts them back in the order they were intended, giving rise to a dramatically different viewing experience.
  • By Peet Gelderblom
  • |
  • January 31, 2012 6:00 AM
  • |
  • 10 Comments

VIDEO: The Existential Noir of Michelangelo Antonioni

  • By Kevin B. Lee
  • |
  • January 24, 2012 5:20 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Follow Us

Most "Liked"

  • OUR SCARY SUMMER: David Cronenberg’s ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: Total Cinema: SNOWPIER ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: From SLACKER to BOYHOOD: ...
  • The Last Star: Elaine Stritch 1925– ...
  • Compassionate Release: The Agony and ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: In Memory of Paul Mazursky ...
  • Apes vs. Zombies: New Skin for the Old ...
  • Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD Recreates ...
  • The Value of Incoherency: Taking Michael ...
  • ARIELLE BERNSTEIN: Ciphers, Masks and ...