If you’ve ever heard the term “film essay” and not had a clue what it actually meant, you’re missing out…big time. Film essays are a curious thing. They’re not quite documentaries, but they’re not full-fledged, plot-driven fictions either. So what are they? Well, it’s kind of hard to explain.
Sans Soleil by Chris Marker is one of them. Circling the theme of memory, this film travels the world with a single female narrator reading a long letter throughout the entirety of the movie. That may sound boring, but I can promise you that it’s anything but. Filmmakers are raised on this work that is self-reflexive in its form and poetically deep in its content. You can’t quite put your finger on what’s being told to you, but you most certainly can feel it. If you’re looking for a quick thrill or some action-packed sci-fi, this is not your movie — but if you’re interested in watching something that redeems the values of art-making in the last century, then this is your film.
Check out the first minute of the film in the above video, then go get yourself a copy.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Tuesday, July 14th, 2015||No Comments »|
We stumble across lots of cool, interactive projects designed by coders/animators who are looking for new ways to blend art with the digital experience. VOID, a new project produced by Hi-REs, is another interactive experience to join the fray. The project takes you on an immersive experience through space as you fall through a glittery black void, hence the name. The experience is structured much like a book, with a prologue, chapters, and an epilogue. However, the narrative is nonlinear, telling the tale of various black mirrors and ice that can be clicked to reveal cool effects. But if you approach VOID expecting an actual storytelling experience, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, forget trying to figure out the point of VOID and instead focus on simply enjoying the experience, especially the interactivity. Each chapter has a different, cool effect to play with, making it fun for mindless tinkering. Sit back, and fall into it.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, July 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Three very different (and very damaged) characters narrate author Julie Sarkissian’s debut novel Dear Lucy: a mentally challenged girl who longs for her mother, a fiercely independent pregnant teenager, and an old farm wife with a devilishly secret past. The result? A plethora of drama. While I love the twists and turns of this storyline, what really earns it five stars is how startlingly beautiful, and at times devastating sad, the main character’s perspective of the world is despite (or probably because) of her handicap. This book is layered with moments of realization and paragraphs that can stand alone as literary gems. Here’s one to give you a taste, but make sure you read the story to get your full fill:
“I get the eggs for our breakfast. They are alive. When you eat something that is alive you take the life for yourself. You can’t think of it as taking life from another thing, you think of it as giving life to yourself. That is what Samantha told me when I asked about eggs for breakfast. Samantha knows. There is something growing inside of her too.”
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Tuesday, June 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
No Pineapple Left Behind is a satirical sim about education and standardized testing, developed by Subaltern Games, creators of the serious strategy game Neocolonialism.
In this single-player PC game, players run a middle school and turn their pesky students into test-taking pineapples. Pineapples are preferable to students because pineapples just take standardized tests and sit quietly in class, while children ask questions, demand teachers’ time and energy, and other pesky things. The school’s goal is to pass exams, and pineapples are great at filling in bubbles and passing exams.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Monday, June 29th, 2015||1 Comment »|
There’s no arguing that there’s a pretty big culture of toxic masculinity in a lot of our media today, especially when it comes to our action heroes. While intelligent, earnest discussion is necessary to changing this reality, it’s also admittedly very satisfying to make fun of these tropes and characters, and nowhere is this more obvious than Kelly Turnbull’s satirical and aptly named Manly Guys Doing Manly Things.
The popular comic parodies, and routinely takes the piss out of, the overwhelmingly macho protagonists of video games, comics, TV, and film, while also following the everyday adventures of the long-suffering Commander Badass (yes, that’s his real name).
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Friday, June 26th, 2015||No Comments »|
Celebrity photographer Cass Bird may be the coolest female to ever take a photo — and that has less to do with the photograph’s subject and more to do with the casual, cool aesthetic she manages to capture within every frame.
Want to see Elizabeth Moss dressed in couture while soaking in a bathtub? How about Jessica Chastain dressed vintage-sweet behind the scenes in a Universal Studios lot while a tour tram is passing? Class Bird can make it happen, and she does regularly.
With high fashion photographers clogging up every page of the trendiest magazines, it’s more than refreshing to check out the photos of this young spirited talent. From Jay-Z to Lily Allen, her subjects may be ultra chic, but they’re not as stylish as the woman behind the lens and the images she produces… just take a look.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, June 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
I’m not usually one for the bleeding heart memoir and I started Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal with a certain amount of ambivalence. I didn’t want to be emotionally blackmailed about this story of orphans and some social justice crusader. But in all seriousness, Conor Grennan probably deserves the recognition and attention he’s received for his contribution to these children’s lives.
“They weren’t orphans. These were children who had been lost to their parents.”
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Monday, June 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|