A couple of years ago, while on a trip to a city I’d wanted to visit in ages, I ended up with an extra night there due to a canceled flight. At least, I nominally had an extra night in town — but instead, I stayed in my hotel room because I’d just started reading Paul G. Tremblay‘s The Cabin at the End of the World — and there was no way I was going to put it down before I knew how it ended. Since then, I’ve sought out more of his work, impressed by both his command of dread and his ability to sustain narrative ambiguity across the space of a novel. Knock at the Cabin, an adaptation of the novel that first drew me to Tremblay’s work, is now in theaters, and provided the perfect backdrop to talk to him about his work, the movies, and the places they intersect.
“I can observe my own body cut open, without suffering!… I see myself all the way down to my entrails; a new mirror stage… I can see to the heart of my lover; his splendid design has nothing to do with sickly sentimentalities… Darling, I love your spleen; I love your liver; I adore your pancreas, and the line of your femur excites me.” –(from Orlan’s Carnal Art manifesto)
Fresh off the heels of selling his own kidney stones in a 24-hour auction, David Cronenberg teased fans with a tantalising soundbite regarding his upcoming film, Crimes of the Future:
“I cannot say much, obviously, but if people thought Crash was divisive back in 1996, this is going to create way more chaos and controversy for sure.”
The other night, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years: watch William Friedkin’s 2006 adaptation of Tracy Letts’s 1996 play Bug. That it had taken me so long remains a mystery to me: Friedkin is, after all, the director of The Exorcist. I’d seen Letts’s play August: Osage County on Broadway and loved it. And the film’s two leads were the always reliable Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. It took me over a decade to watch the film, but in the end it might be that I saw it at exactly the right time.
A Lebanese-American ferry pilot. A Chinese-American grocer. A Midwestern-born misfit with a gift for gab. A self-styled provocateur and his salon of associates.
They are among the many small-town eccentrics you meet in Fire Bones, a new multimedia series from the mind of poet Greg Brownderville. He describes the format of the series as “the world’s first-ever go-show.” Part film, part podcast, part musical performance, it’s a daring, genre-defying work of fiction designed specifically for your smartphone. If all this sounds overly conceptual, the story itself is anything but. Imagine a formally inventive take on Twin Peaks or True Detective, and you start to get the picture.
As long as there’s been a holiday season, there have been writers inspired by it. During this 2020 pandemic holiday, we’ll likely be spending a lot of time couchbound and watching movies. So, here’s a roundup of some of the best films about writers, literature, writing and publishing.
Few musical formats have had the comeback narrative that vinyl has in the last decade or so. A new documentary film, Vinyl Nation, explores the enduring appeal of LPs and the subculture that’s grown around them recently — including the rise of Record Store Day. I talked with directors Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone to learn more about the film’s origins and how the project came to fruition.
Around these parts, we are huge admirers of the works of Dennis Cooper, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, novels told in GIFs or his comprehensive blogging. Recently, Cooper has been working on a film, Permanent Green Light, in collaboration with Zac Farley. Later this month, it will be shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and a trailer has been released–which uses minimal music and one image that’s beyond unsettling to powerful effect.
At first glance, legendary film editor Walter Murch seems like an unlikely choice for a literary muse. Murch is a groundbreaking figure in film, to be sure–and, as an author, he’s written the acclaimed In the Blink of an Eye, about the craft he’s helped shape. Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists is actually the second nonfiction work by an already-admired author that’s taken Murch as its subject. The first is Michael Ondaatje’s […]