2015 Updates

2015 in Review: 5/25 – 6/12

This week: pigeons reflecting on existence, Game of Thrones, the LA and Mammoth Lakes film festivals, and yes men.

Review: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Sometimes, rather than taking the audience to the past, the past abruptly marches upon the present; literally, as the army of King Charles XII commandeers a modern coffee shop. One of the last segments features a casual, horrific act of creative colonial brutality. In this Gothenburg, the dull stones of today are paved over the crushed bones of yesterday. Humans can’t find peace or fulfillment or love because they’re too cruel or poor. It’s horrible and depressing … but also kind of funny. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting On Existence settles itself into that idiosyncratic cross-section of tone, between bleakness and humor. It’s not always engaging, but if existential satire is your thing, it’s definitely fun to think about afterwards.

How to Start a Film Festival

Have you ever wondered where film festivals come from? What happens between point A of an idea and point Z of actually hosting a festival? We talked to Shira Dubrovner and Paul Sbrizzi to find out just that. Together, the two have developed the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, which kicks off its inaugural run this week. Dubrovner is the festival’s director and artistic lead, while Sbrizzi is its director of programming.

Game of Thrones and the Diminishing of the Episode

Imagine if some edit bay rejiggering were to take place for “Hardhome.” What if all the North-based scenes from the past few episodes having to do with Jon’s decision to bring the wildlings south of the Wall were folded into this one? Then you’d wind up with something resembling a sensible story. Wouldn’t that be nice? I think it’d be nice.

Review: The Yes Men Are Revolting

There’s worthwhile territory to explore on the subject of how personal matters can hinder one’s devotion to a larger cause, and what it’s like to feel like your efforts at affecting change have been pointless. But The Yes Men Are Revoltingeludes serious interaction with these ideas and charges straight for pat reassurance. It draws a line between the Yes Men’s anti-consumerist spirit and that of Occupy Wall Street, even though the latter movement’s actual, tangible effects on culture are currently debatable at best. The thought that perhaps the best anyone can do is fight, even though it may end in defeat, is ignored.

5 LA-Based Films at the LA Film Festival

The unseasonable chill may mean it doesn’t feel like summer, but we’ve still got a familiar summer event to look forward to: the Los Angeles Film Festival. From June 10-18, LA Live and other venues around the city will host screenings of the most notable films in contemporary indie (and some decidedly mainstream) cinema. And unlike some other big regional festivals, LAFF makes sure to pay special attention to its hometown. The “LA Muse” program features movies that take place right in our backyard.

By Dan Schindel

Born and raised in Maryland and currently based in New York, Dan Schindel is an associate editor at Hyperallergic, freelance culture writer, and available for any copy-editing/proofreading needs you may have. This website was originally a blog called Days of Docs, and chronicled his attempt to watch and review a documentary every single day for a whole year. He was mostly successful at this, and now he knows everything. He puts this knowledge to use by writing about movies, TV, games, books, comics, art, and more.