Bill Murray Introduces Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (And Plays FDR In December)

Excit­ed Wes Ander­son fans: do you need one more watch­able to tide you over before Moon­rise King­dom enters wide release tomor­row? Wes Ander­son-neu­tral film­go­ers: do you need a lit­tle help cut­ting through the fans’ cloud of antic­i­pa­tion so you can make out what Moon­rise King­dom actu­al­ly is? Both groups could ben­e­fit from a tour of the film by comedic super­star and unlike­ly Ander­son reg­u­lar Bill Mur­ray. The film, a sto­ry of two young sweet­hearts on the run in 1965 New Eng­land, fea­tures Mur­ray in the role of the girl’s father. Or, in his own words: “I play a, um… a man in the film.” He goes on to describe the direc­tor (“a nice guy, he’s made some good movies”), his co-stars (“Bruce Willis, play­ing a police­man — type­cast, I guess”), and the pro­duc­tion’s sim­ple accom­mo­da­tions (“we had tents — like, pup tents”). He even cross­es a wall from one set to anoth­er, echo­ing his tour of the Bela­fonte in The Life Aquat­ic with Steve Zis­sou, three Ander­son movies back. Whether you need the excite­ment inflat­ed or deflat­ed, leave it to Mur­ray, mas­ter of the dead­pan mul­ti­ple mean­ing.

If you fol­low Mur­ray’s craft and the some­times unex­pect­ed chal­lenges to which he applies it, keep your eyes open this awards sea­son for Hyde Park on Hud­son, a dra­ma built around Mur­ray as for­mer Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt. Can’t envi­sion it? Then give the trail­er above a watch. The pic­ture comes from direc­tor Roger Michell, best known in the last decade for Venus, and Not­ting Hill in the decade before that. This new peri­od piece rep­re­sents not a break from his usu­al Eng­lish ter­ri­to­ry and sen­si­bil­i­ty so much as a recon­tex­tu­al­iza­tion of it: it takes place dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar week­end in 1939, the first time a British monarch made the trip to Amer­i­ca, when Roo­sevelt enter­tained the King and Queen at his upstate New York home. The Wes Ander­son faith­ful will note a reunion of sorts between Mur­ray and Olivia Williams, who near­ly four­teen years ago played Miss Cross in Ander­son­’s Rush­more. Her role in Hyde Park on Hud­son? Eleanor Roo­sevelt.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Fact Check­ing Bill Mur­ray: A Short, Com­ic Film from Sun­dance 2008

Wes Anderson’s New Com­mer­cials Sell the Hyundai Azera

Rare Footage: Home Movie of FDR’s 1941 Inau­gu­ra­tion

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

Watch: New Film by Roman Polanski, Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Ben Kingsley & Prada Shoes

At the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val this week, Roman Polan­s­ki screened a restored ver­sion of his 1979 film, Tess. And then he tan­ta­lized the audi­ence, at least momen­tar­i­ly, when he offered a sneak pre­view of his new film, which turned out to be a cin­e­mat­ic com­mer­cial for Pra­da. A Ther­a­py stars Hele­na Bon­ham Carter and Sir Ben Kings­ley, with Pra­da shoes and coat serv­ing as the props. Or actu­al­ly it’s the oth­er way around.

Film­mak­ers putting their tal­ents in the ser­vice of fash­ion design­ers isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly new. Just two years ago, David Lynch shot his own film, Lady Blue Shang­hai, for Dior. It starred the Oscar-win­ning French actress Mar­i­on Cotil­lard. You can find it online here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Lynch’s Sur­re­al Com­mer­cials

Fellini’s Fan­tas­tic TV Com­mer­cials

Ing­mar Bergman’s Soap Com­mer­cials Wash Away the Exis­ten­tial Despair

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The First Films of Great Directors: Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Tarantino & Truffaut

Great direc­tors — unless they’re Orson Welles — rarely start off mak­ing mas­ter­pieces. Their craft evolves, remind­ing us that great film­mak­ing (like every­thing else) takes tal­ent, but also hard work. In case you’re doubt­ful, we’re pre­sent­ing the first films by five icon­ic direc­tors, all fea­tured here before, but nev­er brought togeth­er into one place. Some first films are down­right chop­py; some are work­man­like; some are more refined. But none exact­ly soar to cin­e­mat­ic heights. Above, we start you off with Quentin Taran­ti­no’s 1987 debut film My Best Friend’s Birth­day, a chop­py pro­duc­tion that has some­thing unmis­tak­ably Taran­ti­noesque about it, accord­ing to Col­in Mar­shall.

In some sense, [My Best Friend’s Birth­day] bears an even deep­er imprint of Tarantino’s per­son­al­i­ty than his sub­se­quent films [Pulp Fic­tion, Reser­voir Dogs], since he stars in it as well. To behold the ear­ly-twen­tysome­thing Taran­ti­no por­tray­ing the good-heart­ed and aggres­sive­ly enthu­si­as­tic but jit­tery and dis­tractible rock­a­bil­ly DJ Clarence Poole is to behold the Quentin Taran­ti­no pub­lic per­sona in an embry­on­ic form, a dis­tilled form — or both.

Long before Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la shot Apoc­alpyse Now and The God­fa­ther in the 1970s, he made his real direc­to­r­i­al debut with a 75-minute, black-and-white psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror film called Demen­tia 13 (1963). He had made a cou­ple of small-time nudie films before that. But this was his first main­stream, legit effort.

As Col­in, our res­i­dent film crit­ic has not­ed here, “To watch Demen­tia 13 now is to wit­ness Coppola’s con­trol of ten­sion and dark­ness in its embry­on­ic — but still impres­sive — form. Nobody involved in the pro­duc­tion could have delud­ed them­selves about its goal of shoot­ing a few max­i­mal­ly grue­some axe mur­ders as quick­ly and cheap­ly as pos­si­ble, but even such strait­ened cir­cum­stances allow for pock­ets of artistry to bub­ble through.”

When you think Cop­po­la, you think Scors­ese too, anoth­er direc­tor who put his stamp on 1970s and 1980s cin­e­ma with Mean Streets, Taxi Dri­ver, Rag­ing Bull, and Good­fel­las. We recent­ly revis­it­ed Scors­ese’s NYU film school days dur­ing the ear­ly 1960s, when he first cut his teeth as a direc­tor. We showed you sev­er­al of his ear­ly shorts (find them all here), but high­light­ed one of his ear­li­est works, What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This (1963). Scors­ese would lat­er describe the film as “nine min­utes of visu­al non­sense,” while also say­ing “it had no depth at all, but it was a lot of fun. And it won me a schol­ar­ship, so my father was able to use it for the tuition for the next year.”

Where­as Mar­tin Scors­ese went to NYU and leisure­ly stud­ied the his­to­ry and aes­thet­ics of cin­e­ma, Stan­ley Kubrick, a poor stu­dent, skipped col­lege, start­ed work­ing as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er for Look mag­a­zine, and even­tu­al­ly began mak­ing movies to eke out a liv­ing. In the ear­ly 1950s, Kubrick start­ed shoot­ing news­reel doc­u­men­taries, hop­ing to turn a tidy prof­it. And here you’ll find his first effort, Day of the Fight, a 1951 noirish doc­u­men­tary on mid­dleweight box­er Wal­ter Carti­er and his match with Bob­by James. It’s a work­man­like film, yes. But not exact­ly an obvi­ous pre­lude to 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clock­work Orange. Mike Springer has more on Kubrick­’s ear­ly doc­u­men­taries here.

The 1957 film, Les Mis­tons (The Brats), was tech­ni­cal­ly François Truf­faut’s sec­ond film but the first that ever sat­is­fied him. Sens­es of Cin­e­ma has else­where called it “the director’s first short film of any real con­se­quence.” Rel­a­tive to the ear­ly efforts of oth­er direc­tors, this short demon­strates a more mature set of film­mak­ing skills, the kind that would be on dis­play two years lat­er when Truf­faut released Les qua­tre cents coups (The 400 Blows), one of the defin­ing films of French New Wave cin­e­ma. Col­in Mar­shall takes a clos­er look at Les Mis­tons right here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

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The Idea TED Didn’t Consider Worth Spreading: The Rich Aren’t Really Job Creators

Late last week, The Nation­al Jour­nal pub­lished a sto­ry called The Inequal­i­ty Speech That TED Won’t Show You, along with a relat­ed sto­ry explain­ing the con­tro­ver­sy, which boils down to this:

TED orga­niz­ers invit­ed a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Seat­tle ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist named Nick Hanauer – the first non­fam­i­ly investor in Amazon.com – to give a speech on March 1 at their TED Uni­ver­si­ty con­fer­ence. Inequal­i­ty was the top­ic – specif­i­cal­ly, Hanauer’s con­tention that the mid­dle class, and not wealthy inno­va­tors like him­self, are America’s true “job cre­ators.”…

You can’t find that speech online. [Note: it has now been inde­pen­dent­ly pub­lished on YouTube.]  TED offi­cials told Hanauer ini­tial­ly they were eager to dis­trib­ute it. “I want to put this talk out into the world!” one of them wrote him in an e‑mail in late April. But ear­ly this month they changed course, telling Hanauer that his remarks were too “polit­i­cal” and too con­tro­ver­sial for post­ing.

The Nation­al Jour­nal and Hanauer present it as a case of cen­sor­ship. But TED’s lead cura­tor Chris Ander­son respond­ed in a blog post, say­ing: “Our pol­i­cy is to post only talks that are tru­ly spe­cial. And we try to steer clear of talks that are bound to descend into the same dis­mal par­ti­san head-butting peo­ple can find every day else­where in the media.” He went on to offer this anal­o­gy: Some­times you send an op-ed to The New York Times and they don’t pub­lish it. Does that mean your ideas are being cen­sored? Or does it maybe mean your ideas aren’t very well put? Or did some­one else do a bet­ter job of fram­ing the argu­ment?

One way or anoth­er, TED did­n’t see Hanauer’s ideas as being “worth spread­ing.” The video now appears on YouTube. You can watch it above and decide what you think: Cen­sor­ship or selec­tiv­i­ty? Or, let me add a third option: a desire to please any­one and every­one at the expense of open­ing deeply-held beliefs and oft-stat­ed mantras to real debate?

via Fora

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Seven Questions for Stephen Hawking: What Would He Ask Albert Einstein & More

If Stephen Hawk­ing could talk with Albert Ein­stein, what would he say?

“I would ask him why he did­n’t believe in black holes,” says Hawk­ing in this video from Time mag­a­zine. “The field equa­tions of his Gen­er­al The­o­ry of Rel­a­tiv­i­ty implied that a large star or cloud of gas would col­lapse in on itself and form a black hole. Ein­stein was aware of this but some­how man­aged to con­vince him­self that some­thing like an explo­sion would always occur to throw off mass and pre­vent the for­ma­tion of a black hole. What if there was no explo­sion?”

The famous cos­mol­o­gist, the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist and author of the best­seller A Brief His­to­ry of Time made the remark in late 2010, when he agreed to take part in the Time’“10 Ques­tions” series. The mag­a­zine invit­ed read­ers from around the world to sub­mit ques­tions for Hawk­ing, but because of the sci­en­tist’s disability–he is ful­ly par­a­lyzed due to motor neu­rone dis­ease and has to painstak­ing­ly com­pose his answers using a sin­gle cheek mus­cle to oper­ate his word processor–the inter­view was pared down to sev­en ques­tions.

One read­er asks if Hawk­ing thinks civ­i­liza­tion will sur­vive long enough to extend itself into deep space. “I think we have a good chance of sur­viv­ing long enough to col­o­nize the Solar Sys­tem,” says Hawk­ing. “How­ev­er, there is nowhere else in the solar sys­tem any­thing like as suit­able as the Earth, so it is not clear if we would sur­vive if the Earth was made unfit for habi­ta­tion. To ensure our long-term sur­vival we need to reach for the stars. That will take much longer. Let’s hope we can last until then.”

Relat­ed con­tent:

A Brief His­to­ry of Time: Errol Mor­ris’s Film of Stephen Hawk­ing

Stephen Hawk­ing’s Uni­verse: A Visu­al­iza­tion in Stars and Sound

Stephen Hawk­ing: Aban­don Earth or Face Extinc­tion

Ridley Scott Demystifies the Art of Storyboarding (and How to Jumpstart Your Creative Project)

Some film­mak­ers put sto­ry­boards, those com­ic book-look­ing shot plans you some­times glimpse in mak­ing-of doc­u­men­taries, at the cen­ter of their cre­ative process. Ter­ry Gilliam, he of Brazil and 12 Mon­keys, has described sto­ry­boards as the one thing he can safe­ly “lock onto” dur­ing the com­pli­cat­ed, ever-shift­ing shoot­ing process. Oth­er film­mak­ers, such as the hearti­ly impro­vi­sa­tion­al Wern­er Her­zog, have dis­missed sto­ry­boards as the tool of “cow­ards,” of “those who lack imag­i­na­tion,” of “those who are bureau­crat­ic and noth­ing else on the set.” Hav­ing spent sev­en for­ma­tive years in art school, Alien and Blade Run­ner direc­tor Rid­ley Scott devel­ops his films by think­ing as much through the frame­work of visu­al art as through that of cin­e­ma. In the video above, a laid-back Scott, cig­ar in hand, dis­cuss­es how sto­ry­boards, sketch­es, and oth­er pieces of hand-drawn imagery help him make movies.

Telling how he’s found loca­tions, envi­sioned scenes with­in them, and used draw­ings to build those scenes, Scott offers an insight into the look and feel of his own work and use­ful advice to fel­low cre­ators, whether or not they work in a visu­al medi­um. His inspi­ra­tion begins with an activ­i­ty as sim­ple — but nonethe­less a source of “great enjoy­ment” — as look­ing at indus­tri­al land­scapes out the win­dow of a car. Some­times he even begins thumb­nail sketch­es then and there, in tran­sit. Not only does his draft­ing back­ground enable him to do that, but it leads to clos­er work­ing rela­tion­ships with his pro­fes­sion­al sto­ry­board artists. Con­fer­ring with them men­tal­ly pre­pares him to “hit the floor” and shoot the scene. He reveals that, whether you’re direct­ing a $120 mil­lion motion pic­ture, paint­ing a paint­ing, or even writ­ing a blog post, you face the same chal­lenge: “Get rid of the white can­vas. Get some­thing right across the can­vas. Oth­er­wise you’re always look­ing at that area of white, which is like a blank sheet.” He notes that his meth­ods have led to some call­ing his films “overde­signed and over-thought out,” but admits that, at this point, “I’ll prob­a­bly just stay with the plan.”

via @webacion

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Mak­ing of Blade Run­ner

Rid­ley Scott Read­ies a Pre­quel to Alien; Guy Pearce Gives Its “TED Talk”

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

Sigmund Freud’s Home Movies: A Rare Glimpse of His Private Life

Not long ago we post­ed the only known record­ing of Sig­mund Freud’s voice. Today we present rare home movies of the founder of mod­ern psy­chol­o­gy, cap­tured dur­ing the last decade of his life.

The scenes are nar­rat­ed by Freud’s youngest daugh­ter Anna, who allowed the footage to be shown only with­in the psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic com­mu­ni­ty before her death in 1982. The first scenes in the clip above were filmed in 1932 at Freud’s sum­mer home in Pöt­zleins­dorf, a sub­urb of Vien­na. He is shown vis­it­ing with his old friend Emanuel Löwy, an archae­ol­o­gist, and pet­ting his dog Jofi. The next sequence was shot between 1934 and 1937 at Freud’s lat­er sum­mer home in Grinz­ing, now a dis­trict of Vien­na. It shows Freud relax­ing with a book while his wife Martha and her sis­ter, Min­na Bernays, do their sewing. The movies were made by Freud’s friend and patient Mark Brunswick, hus­band of the psy­cho­an­a­lyst Ruth Mack Brunswick, a close asso­ciate of Freud’s.

You can watch the com­plete 24-minute film from which these scenes were tak­en on YouTube. And you can view or down­load a series of anno­tat­ed clips at the Freud Muse­um Web site.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Charles Bukowski: Depression and Three Days in Bed Can Restore Your Creative Juices (NSFW)


Pico Iyer once called Charles Bukows­ki the “lau­re­ate of Amer­i­can lowlife,” and that’s because he wrote poems for and about ordi­nary Amer­i­cans — peo­ple who expe­ri­enced pover­ty, the tedi­um and grind of work, and some­times frayed rela­tion­ships, bouts of alco­holism, drug addic­tion and the rest. Bukows­ki could write so elo­quent­ly about this because he came from this world. He grew up in a poor immi­grant house­hold with an abu­sive father, took to the bot­tle at an ear­ly age, worked at a Los Ange­les post office for a decade plus, and had a long and tumul­tuous rela­tion­ship with Jane Cooney Bak­er, a wid­ow eleven years his senior, who drank to excess and died at 51, leav­ing Bukows­ki bro­ken.

And then there’s the depres­sion. Bukows­ki expe­ri­enced that too. But he knew how to chan­nel it, how to turn days of dark­ness into sources of per­son­al and cre­ative renew­al. He explains it in some char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly NSFW detail above.

To gain a more in-depth under­stand­ing of depres­sion and its bio­log­i­cal basis, we’d rec­om­mend watch­ing this lec­ture by Stan­ford’s Robert Sapolksy.

Here’s a tran­script of what Bukows­ki has to say:

I have peri­ods where, you know, when I feel a lit­tle weak or depressed. Fuck it! The Wheaties aren’t going down right. I just go to bed for three days and four nights, pull down all the shades and just go to bed. Get up. Shit. Piss. Drink a beer down and go back to bed. I come out of that com­plete­ly re-enlight­ened for 2 or 3 months. I get pow­er from that.

I think someday…they’ll say this psy­chot­ic guy knew some­thing that…you know in days ahead and med­i­cine, and how they fig­ure these things out. Every­body should go to bed now and then, when they’re down low and give it up for three or four days. Then they’ll come back good for a while.

But we’re so obsessed with, we have to get up and do it and go back to sleep. In fact there’s a woman I’m liv­ing with now, get’s around 12:30, 1pm, I say: “I’m sleepy. I want to go to sleep.” She says: “What? You want to go to sleep, it’s only 1pm!” We’re not even drink­ing, you know. Hell, there’s noth­ing else to do but sleep.

Peo­ple are nailed to the process­es. Up. Down. Do some­thing. Get up, do some­thing, go to sleep. Get up. They can’t get out of that cir­cle. You’ll see, some­day they’ll say: “Bukows­ki knew.” Lay down for 3 or 4 days till you get your juices back, then get up, look around and do it. But who the hell can do it cause you need a dol­lar. That’s all. That’s a long speech, isn’t it? But it means some­thing.

via Bib­liok­lept

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Bukows­ki:

Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukows­ki

The Last Faxed Poem of Charles Bukows­ki

Charles Bukows­ki Reads His Poem “The Secret of My Endurance”

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.