Posts Tagged ‘The Blair Witch Project’

Rotterdam 2010 Preview: Spectrum Premieres

January 21, 2010

How best to define the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Spectrum sidebar? The site declares that it “brings together highlights of the film year, new work by prominent auteurs and topical, strong and innovative films by accomplished filmmakers.” So really, any old tat. This year’s assortment is particularly lively. As well as a prime cut of Dutch perversity, there are tactile love stories from Thailand, a pair of robust films from the Philippines, the return of Chris Petit, and an Austin-set horror flick. Sharp and sexy, the Spectrum is festival popcorn without tears.

Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato (Stone is the Earth)

Last year the world got the first intimations that Filipino cinema was undergoing a kind of renaissance. Ramon Mes de Guzman moved to filmmaking after becoming a literary success with the short story collection Barriotic Punk. He follows up his festival hit The Road to Kalimugtong with the story of a rural family. A homecoming is followed by a discovery which threatens to undo them all.


Writer/director Chris Petit’s 1980 debut Radio On was the kind of film it’s hard to live down. Shepherded by Wim Wenders, the mix of British road movie and rock ‘n’ roll is still a touchstone for cultists and psychogeographers alike (Petit is profiled in Iain Sinclair’s Lights Out for the Territory.) His latest promises more of the glorious same. Another journey is mediated by a new century and the zen of the stick shift.


April Fool’s Day Goes to the Movies

April 1, 2009

janet-leighApril Fool’s Day has become too damn predictable. It feels like many newspapers write the fake stories so they can then include them in next year’s round-up of fake stories published on April Fool’s Day. The Onion spoiled it for everybody. Still, in celebration of one of our more moronic holidays, The Quietus’ David Moats rounds up the top ten Hollywood hoaxes. Included are Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career, Stanley Kubrick‘s rumored involvement in the moon landings, and The Blair Witch Project. It’s in an annoying gallery-type thingy, but here’s one of our favorites:

Hitchcock went to great lengths to ensure that audiences were genuinely surprised by the infamous shower scene, which abruptly halts the Janet Leigh plotline and switches to the main act. He even went so far as to enforce a ‘no late entry’ policy. No one would have suspected that Hitchcock would kill off the top-billing actress only part way through. Although it happened because of scheduling conflicts, for the trailer he ended up filming a different actress – Vera Miles – being killed, which only confused people further. More of a good-natured deception that a true hoax – Hitchcock was pretty much doing the audience a favour.

Any other Hollywood hoaxes? The career of Alan Smithee? Hitchcock’s earlier use of a flashback which wasn’t entirely the truth? The rumors that a ghost had been captured on film in Three Men and a Little Lady? How about the midget who supposedly hung himself in the background in The Wizard of Oz? That old saw about early film audiences fleeing L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat/The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station in 1896? Your contributions are welcome.