1. A couple of 24/7’ers are heading out to South By Southwest, which has quickly emerged to rival Sundance as the most happening indie film fest in America – and that’s just part of its sprawling lineup of music and interactive events covering a wide swath of alt-culture. The Austin Chronicle has a huge preview.
2. But after reading Vadim Rizov’s take on the True/False Film Festival at the House Next Door, I’m just as inclined to head to Columbia, Missouri next year. Quoth Vadim: “Columbia was an incredibly pleasant and welcoming place to be; I was treated with unprecedented kindness and friendliness without exception. In my dreams I abandon the New York ratrace and fall into a life of beatific college town slackerdom. If I did, Columbia would be as good a place as any.”
3. Jafar Panahi, whose films The Circle and Offside rank among my favorite films from Iran, is under arrest in Iran for his support of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Apparently, his alleged work in preparing a documentary on last year’s protests of the Iranian presidental election led to his detainment.
The world cinema community is doing what they can to lobby for his release. For example, check out Cineuropa’s “>talks to Slant Magazine.
5. “What makes Hollywood so much better than anything else in the world is not only the quality of certain directors, but also the vitality and, in a certain sense, the excellence of a tradition…The American cinema is a classical art, but why not then admire in it what is most admirable, i.e., not only the talent of this or that filmmaker, but the genius of the system, the richness of its ever-vigorous tradition, and its fertility when it comes into contact with new elements.”
– That was Andre Bazin, citing “the genius of the system” for what made classic Hollywood movies great. Girish Shambu opens a lively discussion on his blog debating the merits of this argument (which often implies that American films today are vastly inferior).