Primitive Cinema

Not exactly Benning, but funnier than Dvortsevoy.


A Benning Miniature

James Benning's Fire & Rain, which is the trailer for the Viennale.


Refutation of the Trickle Down Theory of Healthcare

We've been hearing a lot lately about how a public option would somehow be a stint on healthcare innovation. A competitive marketplace, some seem to think, is the best medicine no matter what the illness. A segment on PRI's The World shows the error in this way of thinking.


Really, Pat? Really?

Contemporary Nazi sympathizers with a large media footprint are hard, but apparently not impossible, to come by. In this bit of revisionist history, Pat Buchanan claims that Germany never wanted war and even perversely implies that the genocide was the Allies' fault: "Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps."

Which reminds of the time I inadvertently attended a Ralph Nader rally. It was actually a documentary that I was obliged to see for reasons I won't go in to, but you can probably imagine the crowd at a Nader-movie within spitting distance of the Pacific. It was not a subtle film; the audience booed and hissed, actually hissed, at every archival image of Ronald Reagan, who played the villain in this particular movie. Buchanan, however, was presented as an affable third-party candidate sharing Nader's pain. No hissing for Pat, the anti-Semite, just thoughtful nods and furrowed brows with one index finger over the lips. I wanted to stand up and scream, "Are you all mad?"

It was, if nothing else, a vivid reminder of the power that film form has over even well-educated people.

(Though at the end of the movie I felt like I had been hit repeatedly over the head, I politely clapped as is meet and right so to do when the filmmaker is in attendance; however, I did refuse to go to my feet when Nader himself made a surprise appearance. "Dear Lord, " I thought, "I hope he's not running for President again." Turns out he was.)


Film Goes From Big Sleep to Dreaming Big at LACMA

The Los Angeles Times reports that The Los Angeles County Museum of Art plans to expand its film program--which it recently announced it was going to cancel--provided there are donors to support it. Director Michael Govan spelled out his ambitious proposal to the coalition of film enthusiasts known as Save Film at LACMA on Tuesday.

Govan hopes to raise money for the film program from donors and patrons, much as other departments are funded. His vision includes an expansion of the budget and the hiring of several film programmers with different areas of expertise.

The goal is to create an endowment between $5 million and $10 million; however, the consequences of failing to meet this ambitious goal are ill-defined.

As the Times reports, corporate donations will allow the program to continue until larger donations can be found:
Last Wednesday, LACMA received a donation of $150,000 from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., Time Warner Cable and Ovation TV in support of the film program. The money has allowed the museum to continue the series past its scheduled closing date in October. With the donation, the program has enough money to operate through the end of the fiscal year in June 2010.