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By Asides, Cinema

Godard’s Une femme mar­iée from the Masters of Cinema collection

For those read­ers who, des­pite my clues in the “About” box to the right, are still in the dark about Godard’s Contempt, A.O. Scott from the New York Times has a short video primer on the film here. It’s at the Times’ site thus no embed­ding (and no watch­ing on an iDevice) either.

I’m promp­ted to men­tion it not because I have a copy of Contempt now, I don’t. But my pack­age of delights from the Eureka! Masters of Cinema blu-ray sale just arrived and it includes Godard’s Une femme mar­iée (the film he made in 1964, two films and one year after Contempt), Fritz Lang’s M (Lang played the film dir­ect­or in Contempt and, of course, coined the name for this blog), plus Make Way for Tomorrow, For All Mankind, Profound Desires of the Gods and La plan­et sauvage.

If only the Film Festival was­n’t around the corner. I would be able to wal­low in some rare cinema clas­sics (only one of which I have seen before). Instead, I have a pile of pre­views to get through so I can pro­duce my annu­al guide to the Festival’s more obscure corners as well as talk for fif­teen minutes on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat pro­gramme on Friday lunchtime.

“Hey now!”

By Asides, TV

The great Garry Shandling describ­ing Rip Torn’s audi­tion for “The Larry Sanders Show”:

Rip came in for the first time, and his agent said he wouldn’t read. Weeks later it was just him and me in a room with no one else, and I said to Rip, “Could we read half of this togeth­er?” And he said, “I don’t want to read.” I said, “That’s totally fine,” and I pushed it to the side of the table. We talked for less than anoth­er minute, and he reached over and took the page, and he starts the scene. It’s like try­ing to describe a good date to a friend the next day. I had to say to HBO and every­body else, “Honestly, this is the best sex I have had.”

[From Garry Shandling Recalls ‘Larry Sanders,’ –]

The Larry Sanders Show” is finally get­ting the full DVD treat­ment (I am a happy own­er of Season One). And, oh man, I’ve just dis­covered that the com­plete “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show” is on Region 1 DVD. Must. Have.

And on the sub­ject of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”, here’s the fam­ous theme tune:


And while we’re on the sub­ject of Garry, please read this exten­ded inter­view with the man at GQ. That is all.

The dir­ec­tion I’m going in is even­tu­ally you won’t know if it’s a joke or not,” he explains, describ­ing his new act, which he has been quietly test­ing in clubs where his name nev­er appears on the mar­quee. “What I want to hap­pen is that I talk for an hour and the audi­ence does­n’t real­ize it is funny until they’re driv­ing home.”

Great out-of-context paragraphs of our time #1

By Literature

A strange, awful and yet won­der­ful para­graph from a New York Times art­icle on the death of an artist I had nev­er heard of:

A Hamster’s Nest is what it sounds like, but with humans in the rodent roles: You shred a few hun­dred phone books, paint the walls, then ingest enough intox­ic­ants so that every scrap of sen­tience dis­ap­pears. “It was really intense,” recalled Ms. Snow, whose divorce from Dash was final­ized this sum­mer, though she remained close to him to the end. “We were all really high, and there were con­certs. It was like a whole oth­er world, an intense moment, all these people with paper, piles of Yellow Pages, no air or vent­il­a­tion and fumes every­where. We were already so drunk. The iPods kept get­ting lost in the paper.” Three days later — with no clue how it happened — she woke up in Berlin.

Full pathet­ic story, writ­ten by Alan Feuer and Allen Salkin, here. It also con­tains a sen­tence you don’t expect to find in a news­pa­per: “Being alone, of course, is not the same as being free.”

Online reading and listening tips

By Asides

Time to draw your atten­tion to a couple of bits of media that I’ve enjoyed recently, namely an excel­lent art­icle by William Langewiesche in Vanity Fair about Captain “Sully” Sullenberger and the ‘mira­cu­lous’ land­ing on the Hudson River back in January. Langewiesche tells the story of the spe­cif­ic flight adroitly but also man­ages to tie it to mod­ern air­craft man­u­fac­ture, pilot polit­ics and even has a hint of a Right Stuff “what makes a pilot” going on too. Superb and engrossing.

In a dif­fer­ent arena entirely, I can recom­mend you down­load and listen to Elvis Mitchell’s inter­view with Rusell Brand, a fam­ous West Ham fan and some­times annoy­ing pres­ence as an act­or who I had thought was inex­plic­ably pop­u­lar. Well, now, thanks to Elvis, it is explic’d. I get it. In the inter­view Brand is pro­mot­ing the US edi­tion of “My Booky Wook” and he is funny, supremely intel­li­gent, spir­ited and self-aware. And he talks at 100mph. Download the inter­view from the KCRW site here, or down­load to the reg­u­lar pod­cast via iTunes here. Mitchell is a former crit­ic for The New York Times and his pro­gramme The Treatment is the most con­sist­ently intel­li­gent half hour on cinema on the web.

I miss Jed Bartlet

By Asides, Current Events, TV

Aaron Sorkin ima­gines former President Jed Bartlet giv­ing Candidate Obama a pep talk:

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was sur­prised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a man­date that the vice pres­id­ent be skilled at field dress­ing a moose —

Like find­ing a lost epis­ode of “The West Wing”, this has made my day.

[via Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times]