A new short from Stryder Simms, 2021.
One could not imagine until we lived it, how it felt to enter a town whose entire occupants lay prostrate before an invisible power. When Annabell Trainer and Miguel Vega arrived at the port of Manaus exactly three weeks after Fernando Lollo was expedited to the...
I’ll tell you exactly what happened. It was a lovely fall day, no fog, clear as glass. The Farallon Islands are twenty-seven miles out. You’d have thought you could swim to them. The Marin headlands, the lighthouse, the defunct windmills, they were all in view that...
On the morning of the feast of St. Nicholas, the edges of Manhattan architecture first glimmered for me in the hard frost of early December. I was about to go ashore after seven miserable days at sea. These last seven days falling at the end of a hundred traveled from...
Shelter portfolio coming soon
Shot in Dixon and Taos New Mexico. Enjoy!
BAILOUT was awarded the “Best Picture” award at the Santa Fe Reporter 3 Minute Film Festival, which programmed 30 shorts from as far away as the United Kingdom and Latin America. It is an official selection at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival, and the New...
"Ode d' Brew" with Brendan Wedner, Stephanie Nagler and Matt Sanford. Written and Directed by Stryder Simms for Open Channel Content, with music by Jake Sproul. Special thanks to David Aubrey at Lighteningwood in Santa Fe and Scott Roche at Coupe Studios in Boulder....
90 sec. trailer for the pilot of our current proposed episodic seriesThis month’s post was intended to analyze the movie “12” (2007) from the Russian Federation’s Nikita Mikhalkov. We will push that analysis forward another month so we can dedicate this month to our...
Fame was something Riggin Thomson leveraged his pop notoriety into an illustrious career in the American theater. Ironically, it turns out, the same trick gets entertainers into to politics.
While we watch this excellent, cutting edge work of cinematic fine art, let’s be open to how Iñarratu’s achievement lets us appreciate the entire collective soul and history of Latin America as part of what we call home.
I was not up to date on which countries in this world my country’s most pissed at, so I scooped up a few low hanging statistics. There are other ways to distinguish a snake from a hiss, but “enemies of America” is something anyone could search the Internet for a list and that’s what I did.
It’s capital, Caracas, as it is exposed in Sequestro Express,” will give many a viewer the impression of a modern gold rush town. Sequestro, better known in the United States as kidnapping, is a common crime in this region. Sequestro Express is kidnapping “light,” you might say. We’re given the impression from watching the movie, this month, that it could happen to almost anyone at any time.
Pressure will build, exposing weakness until it reaches critical mass and crashes, causing corrections across the map. No thing is spared accept by luck, chance or happenstance. It is faced with just such a roll of the dice that Said seeks his one-way ticket to paradise.
If martyrs are moths, we watch this film to learn what burns one in the flame and the other one not. But this story doesn’t seem to be about some valuable result gained at great cost. It’s more about who gets left behind and what gets lost.
What is the value of community? How is it won? Who benefits most? This film is a primer in grassroots activism. If we focus on the film like a blueprint for organization, it could be used to help talented but underprivileged folk transcend their circumstances everywhere.
The opening sequence in “Iron Island” takes place in the dark. A pair of hands lights a match and attempts to light a lamp. But it’s not so easy. The hands are obliged to light a candle first, then find a lamp with some fuel in it. We are watching the passing of flame from one source to another, each one more technical and sophisticated than the previous. It suggests that there are degrees of industrialization that correspond with stages of enlightenment. Multiple levels of evolutionary processes are on parade in this allegory.
Politicians and news reporting agencies are just another bunch of storytellers. Cinema makes us a better deal. It provides us the most factual history. Because it doesn’t rely on actual names or accounts to sharpen our sense of what is false and what is real.
“Through dreaming you have the opportunity to tolerate some of the unchangeable hardships of life.” Abbas Kiarostami
Film is a migration of light, continually on the move, transforming with the times.
It is not as simple as black and white, since we are all composed of some of both, to differing degrees, but justice alone does not wield the sharpest blade. If apathy is the dulling trait we each most need to self negate, mercy is most deserving edge to activate by all peoples, parties and states.
“But what can be done when mercy has a greater force than law.” Quote opens the movie “12” (2007) by Nikita Mikhalkov.
I am confident that the advent of this easily accessed, ever improving tool for multidimensional communication will open up space in our minds for enlightened insights that allow us to outrace our present impasse and relegate its numbing inertia to the past.
As a painter does, with darks and lights, or a composer with counterpoint, Tarkovsky amplifies the emotional significance of his subject by portraying it’s polar opposite.
There is hardly a better way, in my opinion, for Americans of average education like myself to obtain an accurate understanding of any foreign culture than by watching world cinema. It gives a far more accurate assessment of our potential relations than the history books or evening news.
The intention of the filmmaker determines whether what they make will contribute more to culture or commerce. Tarkovsky speaks of art as an act of sacrifice for the sake of love and as a potential unifier of humankind. What a thing to say in a book about filmmaking.
In Tarkovsky’s cinematic language, which he calls sculpting in time, we race to outer space like we we’re surrendering to the pull of greater forces, as the leaf does, but partly also out of sheer exuberance, like the horse does in the opening sequence. But we do so out of fear, as well, like the child sprinting away from the horse in the same sequence. Whatever the motivation for this race, you can’t elude your emotional baggage, on earth or in outer space.
I should clarify here that it doesn’t seem as though Tarkovsky was much influenced by his critics. His retorts were formal, not personal. They changed nothing of the way he experimented and searched. His films are sincere acts of faith, self-sacrifice even. There’s nothing petty about them. He’s not messing with anybody’s head but his own.
It sure seems like it would be a nice time for a poet to make love to the beautiful and intelligent admirer with some of the passion she’s just finished devouring in the pages of his poetry. He takes the book from her, shuts the door again and throws it across the room. It lands in the corner. What is wrong with this guy? I think I know. I can’t answer for his love life, but what’s a piece of art to an artist after it’s made? A former mistress.
He tells her to throw away the book of translated poems she’s reading because “poetry, the whole of art in fact, is untranslatable.” This is Tarkovsky’s retort to the Soviet censors whose state he has fled in his quest for artistic freedom.
Art reaches us through our imagination and through our senses. Our senses are all going to have a common reaction to certain stimuli; that’s one thing great art understands. It seems to me an artist depends on the fact that essential associations will carve predictable lines through common precincts in our brains.
…As in a mirror, an icon, a riddle. I see life eternal which is nothing less but that blessed regard, that gaze of love that never ceases to behold me even in the most secret places of my soul.” Cusanus (1401-1464)
In “Andre Rublev”, Tarkovsky’s application of the theater of cruelty is fashioned to nourish pity, tug at the heart and urge us toward compassion and harmony. He intends for me to empathize with his victims.
Experience accumulates and organizes itself as knowledge along great forked trunks, branched, limbed and twigged networks in our minds. Tarkovsky’s camera conducts itself along similar lines.
Tarkovsky would say the experience of the present is elusive, a slippery one where anything could yet develop. The past is certain, it is therefore more solid. Evidently even a sculptor in time seeks something substantial for his chisel.
More than any other director than I can think of, Tarkovsky’s films could be strung together from first to last and represent a continuous fugue in which the artist’s grappled with the same challenge repeatedly and resolved some different aspect of it, each time, in some fascinating and inventive new way.
If I had to describe it to someone in a single line I’d say Vol. 2 unspools like one-third act of contrition, another third true confession, shedding light in cracks on his persona, as well as a few embedded in the collective unconscious, and one third of the time jabbing at the eyes of his audience.
The story I watched flat out warns us that violence breeds violence, as we watch Jo seesaw from being the punished to punisher in Volume 2. In the movie I watched, the protagonist finally learns to accept herself for what she is. That was not a predictable ending for me.
If we in the audience were, up to this point, able to surf around the unseemly circumstances of the characters in the movie and cling to some shred of erotic stimulus from the earlier setups, both filmmakers rake them out of your fists, unequivocally in their Act III climax when human acts grossly defy common sense.
In direct contrast with mainstream internet adult content, we are shown the dark side of a disease and acquire compassion. The maker of this film is depending on our social corrective instincts to kick in, not to sexually gratify his audience with one more exposé of skin.
Screenplays chosen for wide release on the big screen are selected by the filmmakers for some reason, so lets’ examine why they gambled on an adaptation of Noah’s flood this time. The story of Noah reflects our current existential landscape. Noah’s spirit resides in every person alive today that assists in protecting nature and humanity from obliteration.
As a maker and watcher of motion pictures, it is customary for me to trespass undetected into the private lives of others. They’re only actors, pretending to be real, but my brain hardly notices. The camera leaves it up to me. Artificial access delivers genuine, gratification, I assure you. I lay down an average of ten or twenty bucks a week for it.
Every time his blind heroine comes to an emotional turning point, the filmmaker speed shifts into overdrive, covering the action with no less than 100 cameras at the same time. That’s what he claims, anyway. I find the prospect of looking with that many eyes is intriguing.
Search your conscience, while examining this painting, for a key to the end of “The Ascent,” and “Dancer in the Dark.” What’s wrong with this picture?
His multi-disciplined voyage of discovery, through art and architecture, philosophy and physics, poetry and music, intertwined throughout this series, present the viewer with an encyclopedia of masterworks, anecdotes, example upon example of the genius of every generation, for all to discover, appreciate and learn from.
If machines were evil we’d have to condemn the movies as well. And if motion pictures, in the world of automated things, indeed prove to be among the greatest ones ever invented, then we may yet still learn to thrive in a world of machines.
With the advent of the personal screen, it’s no longer necessary to think of the audience member furthest back from the action. What becomes the new analogy for sitting in the nosebleed section of a theater is to be the audience member furthest away culturally from the filmmaker’s native orientation.
These “Prawn,” as they are known, walk on hind legs, like us, but are disgusting to look at and barbaric and kinky besides. Come be a spectator at Alien Relocation Chief Wikus Van de Merwe’s life while it turns to sheer nightmare. His one hope of deliverance comes by looking his enemy in the eye from inside.
Luc Besson’s eleventh movie is an futuristic western adventure comedy with plenty of serious matters addressed. Korbin’s celestial hook-up begins in a cultural melting pot, divisively classed and pressed against the glass of heavy surveillance, suspended between aggressive, armed police and roving, ruthless gangs.
If a major goal of democracy is to give everyone a gun, then a major goal of storytelling must be to prevent us from pulling the trigger. The preservation and protection of personal liberties could not be of greater importance in the minds of the great storytellers. The films in this series have that in common.
We obviously adore our gadgets. You are most likely gazing into the eyes of one this moment. Some of us adore them a bit too much it seems. The warning the prophet issues here is to forbid machines from ever having the same status as human beings.
Why so many versions? Did the previous cuts ring too false or too true? Is a motion picture as mutable as a melody on which infinite variations can be tried? Or is everything in the man made universe going to be treated like an App, from now on, subjected to continual revision? This question becomes a theme in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982).
Sam was not interested in getting out of his situation except in dreams and even that was a selfish scheme. When the woman of his fantasies walks right out of them into real life and she turns out to be a free thinker, Sam never asks her why.
Gilliam’s screenplay descends from last century storytellers, such as Franz Kafka, and George Orwell whose clairvoyant visions gave us today’s headlines fifty to a hundred years in advance.
There is such a thing as mental pollution and that is what our children must be protected from at an early age. Adults are able to filter those toxins but not children. I was kept away from violently gruesome films until after my mid-teens. Maybe that’s why I can keep my peace. Perhaps others can’t because they were exposed too early.
Does the rest of the world comprehend now how random citizens go on killing sprees in my country? The malfunction of the American dream is not part of some twisted conspiracy, but an unfortunate side effect of toxins churned up by our misuse of machines.
Of course, Dave’s journey is assisted by invisible extraterrestrials, with whom he shares some destiny. We can’t rely on such interventions, at least not yet. That’s where the movies come in.
Whenever we buy a movie ticket, or click to a live stream we’re asking for the truth. The same thing that keeps us from seeing the truth while it’s happening to us is what makes it plane as day when we watch it replayed on screen.
Most of humankind huddles closely together over the dividing line between poverty and self-sufficiency and Josh Zeitlen’s lens stands squarely over that fulcrum.
Beauty’s story should be interesting to anyone that feels trapped in a man’s world. This should be interesting to all genders when it addresses anxiety generated within our rigidly enforced hierarchy’s dominant sexual codes, and it should be interesting to all humanity in any way it might articulate our frustration when we are confronted with any of life’s polarizing dilemmas.
…this main character’s goal is not to idealize Venus so much as expose her as–as what? I am not sure. Is she a fraud, a groupie, a mere mortal, or a beast? Though it is obviously clear what has been exposed to all concerned in the story, the audience must decide for itself what the master has laid bare.
The filmmaker has gradually imposed on his audience a hip cinematic predicament, but it’s not our camera, so we can’t be blamed. We are only watching.Right?
Few of her modern adherents still connect with her illustrious lineage. Present day folk place are less superstitious and more literal. She’s morphed from The Morning Star into The Ideal Babe, blown up thirty feet tall at the local movie theater.
We surround our psyches with role models and heroes from stories we read, hear played on stage, watch inside our monitors, or up on the big screen because they expand territory for our hearts and souls to stretch out in.
Here, a clockmaker turned himself into a ghost and, with the advent of a new kind of mass hypnosis, generated the first special effects blockbuster grosses.
We reward the magician that can coax our mind to suspend disbelief, providing a new “obstacle course” for our brain. Like our bodies, our spirits want to jump the ruts and get some exercise too. Anything that allows new possibilities to bubble up, leaves us satisfied and in a good mood.
Storytellers utilize comedy and tragedy to perform an ongoing autopsy on the culture. When we talk about comedy and tragedy as different things, we are talking about a singular reality we’ve pried apart for clues. They shed light on our preoccupations, conscious and unconscious.
November’s blog post will be coupled with December’s post for a year end “double issue,” and will discuss the subjects of “Comedy and Tragedy”. Thank you for visiting Open Channel Content. (click here to read entire article)
For me, the film was an expose about what infantile fantasies secretly motivate the wealthy, power-obsessed male psyche and how nature, the feminine and all that is beautiful is shamelessly sacrificed to his insatiable appetite.
One seemingly petty, little, foolish choice is all it takes for an ideal life to turn into a nightmare. (click here to read entire article)
2011’s Arab Spring played in real-time on the Internet, with gloves off, like the Viet Nam War played on national television in the sixties and seventies. Not since those days has youth captured and held the attention of the world so impressively. (click here to read entire article.)
Here is proof that the political stage is not being managed by a secret cadre of money-grubbing fascists. If such a group existed, they would never have given us all these cameras. (click here to read entire article.)
My hometown did not offer teenagers much to do, so we often watched the same picture three nights in a row. We learned, from years of watching every movie that came through town, that there was occasionally something besides fleeting amusement to be found.
Storytelling, and particularly popular film, in this modern era, have done their best to warn us of the shapes of things to come.
It took a mere two and a half weeks for the events in “The China Syndrome” to come to pass in the near meltdown of Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, but we did not stand up then like we should have. Now, toxic nuclear byproducts have fouled the ocean and even come blowing to your hometown a result of negligence and corruption by the energy companies and the governments whom we have invested with the responsibility to watch over them. (click here to read full article)
The study of modern alienation on which Antonioni focused his lens in the 50’s and 60’s is generations deep now in the cinema, energized by global terrorism, industrial greed, and the abrupt crash of our eco-system. (click to see entire article)
BILLY-“You know, unbelievers liked to make fun, but I ask you, believers and unbelievers alike, what more literal proof of a bona-fide hell does anyone need? As we live and breathe, the flaming bowels of the under world, swell with fires in which you, me and Mother Nature are slowly roasting.” (click to read entire article)
Lies do not stand for truth. They do not change the facts. Lies are like gas, invisible, but among the most obvious things in the world. The air we breathe contains a variety of gases but a body requires oxygen. Truth is everywhere mingled with lies, but our survival depends on truth. We can tell pretty quickly when we’re breathing something else. (click here to read entire article)
Just as no photographic image can encompass the total picture, no official, or their story can claim to have done all the necessary listening and thinking for us. We must fill in the missing gaps with our own story and the stories of those around us, particularly those with whom we differ most. Good listening requires at least a momentary suspension of prejudice.
It was too long. So is hell. I looked around at the audience. No one was breathing. The movie theater felt like a Petri dish. (click to read full article).
These days “outside the box” is a commonplace term for innovative thinking and drugs are by no means the only way to achieve it. Moviemakers keep on paving the way in popular culture. Whether or not you ever ingested hallucinogens, we have all experienced them through their influence in music, movies, fashion, advertising, games and so on. (click here to read full article)
If every story combines three essential elements, plot, character and point of view, we must realize that the creators of these social websites that we are supplying with our character and plot are supplying the point of view.
No matter which side of the spectrum we are drawn to, most of us have a desire to express ourselves freely, sexually or otherwise, and we are drawn to examples of free expression in the movies. It is this same natural curiosity that draws us to pornography. (click here to read article)
Observing the actions of dating and lovemaking in movies becomes a sort of participation in the rites themselves, in which audience members are touched by characters and receive sensual gratification from them. (click here to read entire article)
You can’t control the Internet any more than you can control nature. Knowledge is born and lives in minds, not on hard drives or digital screens. (Click to read entire article.)
Toward a Unified Story
Over eons the first stories morphed and multiplied into a myriad of stories. Now, through motion pictures and the Internet, the myths, legends, and histories of all traditions will merge back together again. Through the universal language of image and song, motion pictures are presenting the world with its unified story. Click to view entire article.
Gothic artisans that provided ornate alters for the great cathedrals, had offspring who adapted the same skills, in later periods, to provide scenic backdrops for opulent operas and romance plays. The legacy continues to the artists, craftsmen and tradesmen working on location and in soundstages for our limit-pushing entertainments of today. “Click” to read entire article.
A camera is a filmmaker’s story embellisher. A photographer’s lens allows the artist to emphasize certain specific, meaningful, aspects of a moment in time. “Click” to read entire article.
Here in New Mexico ancient civilizations left behind superb examples of cyclical rituals in which storytelling was central.
This brief history of storytelling can be used as a road map into the human brain regarding which stimuli the mind is most apt to be open to and what priority the mind gives to a given stimulus. “Click” to read entire article.
The camera may still derive some authority from our age-old habit of perceiving God as an all-seeing eye.
Motion pictures, dreams and rituals share several artifices in that respect, such as plasticity of time and space, the occurrence of vivid, uncanny detail, and situations where unconscious fears and desires are expressed. “Click” to read entire article.
I think of someone who may be illiterate, they may be deaf, mute, or all of the above. For that matter, they could have only one eye and still watch my movie. When I make films, that person is my audience. I ask myself, what do I want that eye to see? “Click” to read entire article.
I am coming out on my digital front porch to say hello, take in the view, and tell my story. “Click” to read entire article.