“Hip Hop didn't invent anything. Hip Hop reinvented everything.” - Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap
#459 | September 18, 2012
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In this "Outro" dispatch from the Toronto International Film Festival, Steve Dollar praises a standout feature, Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Love, a film in which the opening scene "immediately calls to question the filmmaker's intention. What's he after? Here's a checklist, pick a couple: Politically incorrect provocation. Sensational shock value. Existential absurdity. A dare to watch the train wreck. An unflinching gaze deep into the human condition." Also: Miguel Gomes' Tabu, a breakthrough third feature for the Portuguese director, 14-year-old Elle Fanning's knockout performance in Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa, Brit wit Ben Wheatley's black comedy Sightseers and Michel Gondry's The We and the I. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: Oslo, August 31st, Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, and more. 
  • What We're Watching: Detachment, The Salt of Life.    
  • Explore:  Film of the Week: Port of Shadows, RETRO ACTIVE: The Hot Rock
Though the film takes place in a day in the life of a recovering addict (released from rehab for a job interview), "It’s a marvelously constructed personal journey, both wrenching and bittersweet, whose emotional ripple effects stay with you for days and weeks afterward," writes Andrew O'Hehir. He continues, "While much of international art cinema can seem overly talky or conceptually alien to American viewers, this second feature film from Norwegian director Joachim Trier is a dynamic, even breathtaking visual experience without much dialogue or any philosophical heavy lifting." 
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Featuring face time and freestyles from rap's heaviest hitters, Ice-T's directorial debut takes a novel approach."Unlike most genre documentaries that start at ground zero and work a historical timeline across to the present day, The Art Of Rap is completely and totally focused on how an MC goes about the creative process of taking an idea and putting it into lyrical form," writes Crave Online's Iann Robinson. "An extremely interesting insight, proving that rap music is an art form in its own right," adds Empire's David Hughes
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What We're Watching

Detachment
Movies about teachers can run the gamut from goopy to overly earnest, and even occasionally inspiring. Tony Kaye, the controversial director of American History X, gets credit for trying to explore the dark side of the genre, even darker than Half Nelson. In that movie, Ryan Gosling's history teacher wrestles his demons externally with drugs, but in the emotionally powerful, enlightening drama Detachment, the main character keeps everything inside. Read more >>
More like this  Half NelsonMonsieur Lazhar


In the 1970 comedy Where's Poppa?, George Segal's every attempt to find a romantic partner is sabotaged with senile maliciousness by his screen mom Ruth Gordon, whose needs preclude finding a romantic partner. It's cinema's ultimate Jewish mother joke about a son whose sexual instincts are incestuously redirected back into the family. Late bloomer Gianni di Gregorio repressed all such lusty urges in his directorial debut Mid-August Lunch, re-enacting his years of maternal care for a woman not ashamed to wheedle to get the care she needs. The Salt of Life dreams of the future rather than brooding over the past, with all those previously unmentioned desires gushing out. Once again, "Gianni" (di Gregorio himself) is front and center and his mother (Valeria de Franciscis) is still a financial and emotional black hole. Read more >>
More like this  Mid-August LunchWhere's Poppa?

Explore
FILM OF THE WEEK: Port of Shadows (1938), now screening at NYC's Film Forum. The misty streets of Le Havre are home to cloudy minds and spirits all round in Marcel Carné's 1938 Port of Shadows. (The film premieres today in a new DCP restoration at NYC's Film Forum.) "There's no fog in here," bar owner Panama (Édouard Delmon) tells military deserter Jean (Jean Gabin) about his dilapidated shack. "It's always fair weather." Taking nighttime shelter, Jean meets Nelly (Michèle Morgan) in the back room. "One look at you, love at first sight," he'll tell her later. Read more >>
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[This week's "Retro Active" pick is inspired by the Nicolas Cage thief thriller Stolen.] Robbery is fun and games in The Hot Rock, and dramatized with suave grace by Peter Yates, who directs this adaptation of Donald E. Westlake's novel with an assuredness that enhances its funny-ha-ha hijinks. Yates' use of widescreen alternates between workmanlike efficiency and subtle artistry, highlighting interpersonal dynamics, enhancing suspense and creating tension through his deft... Read more >>
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