2019 in Review: April

2019 in Review: April

Posted in 2019 Updates by - May 01, 2019
2019 in Review: April

LACMA Renovation Is Shrinking Gallery Space, and Angelenos Are Confused About It

The newest blueprint is most notable for downsizing the complex’s scale from its previous draft. Chapel-style galleries on the top level have been removed, reducing the building’s height from 85 feet to 60 feet. It is mapped out at 347,500 square feet, which is 40,000 square feet smaller than the last version (only 109,000 of that is for gallery space). That’s also 45,000 square feet smaller than the total area of the four current buildings which are fated to be torn down to make way for the new structure. No explanation for the shrinkage has been provided as of yet, and LACMA did not respond to a request for comment. All this has shortened the projected construction time from 68 months to 51 months — one possible motivator for the changes. The museum is hoping to begin the redesign late this year and complete it by the end of 2023, at the same time that a new station on the LA Metro’s expanded Purple Line is set to open right across the street.

Mike Leigh on Why His New Film About an 1819 Massacre Feels Eerily Relevant Today

“To me, the way people are, what they do, how they work, how they interact—all of those are the fascinating things about them that make me want to make films. So in a way, it kind of looks after itself. I see the action naturally in terms of all the things you’re talking about. Obviously, one straddles the dual responsibility of minute detail and the broad strategy of the storytelling, but that is the ordinary business of constructing a drama.”

DeviantArt Relaunches, Hoping to Foster Digital Creative Communities

“We have a very, very passionate community, and we’ve certainly been listening to them. A part of DeviantArt’s ethos has always been customization, the ability to take your profile page and make it uniquely your own. In our first build of Eclipse, we’d gone for a slightly more uniform approach, and we got a lot of feedback that users really wanted the ability to personalize their pages, and we made that change. That’s a very specific instance of the community guiding the redesign, and it’s certainly not an isolated one. We’ve heard from users on everything from the size of thumbnails to how to add new things to how notifications should work. Taking the feedback of these very engaged, very passionate people is important. You don’t want to sacrifice the overall mission of creating something new, but it is important to make sure that their needs are being looked after.”

A New Trend Among Superhero Movies: The Villains Are Right

These stories — and audience reactions to them — aren’t happening in a vacuum. Information about the existential threat posed by climate change grows more dire every day, and news about governments either not doing enough or going backward on the subject inundates us as well. The same goes for class and racial inequality. In this light, radical action becomes an increasingly valid-looking prospect. But Hollywood productions can’t actually endorse radicalism. So anxieties around racism and global warming are ultimately marginalized, or even dismissed.

The Afghan Films Left Unfinished Under Communist Rule

The documentary focuses on films made during communist rule in Afghanistan, from 1978 to 1991. This was a period of constantly shifting power, of coups and counter-coups, of Soviet occupation, American meddling, and civil war. Social reforms clashed against a reactionary insurgency. Caught in the middle of all this were filmmakers trying to do their work. Which was difficult, as changing circumstances meant that what was and wasn’t allowed to be shown and said in film kept changing. It was for this reason that each of the movies spotlighted in What We Left Unfinished were abandoned, even after they had been shot.

Claire Denis on Black Holes, Olafur Eliasson, and the Making of High Life

“To me, science fiction means something we are not that aware of, like maybe people living in another planet in another galaxy with another atmosphere. But this movie is about things we know today about our own galaxy. It’s not an unknown future. It’s almost here.”

A New, Highly Eclectic Space for Arthouse Films in Los Angeles

So far the Now Instant Image Hall has done a low-key but impressive job at sticking to that philosophy. Upcoming shows range from a film and performance from Alexandra Cabral and Escape-ism’s Ian Svenonius to an evening dedicated to venerable Mexican director Arturo Ripstein (once an assistant director under Luis Buñuel). The Hall is already carving out an identity for itself as a venue for artists no one else in the city will show. When asked what kind of a mission statement he might lay out for the space, Raphael offers: “Listen to the image! Does it sweat?”

Kronos Quartet Tells Its Story in a Live Documentary

There’s a healthy tradition of screening movies with musicians performing the score live. After all, for decades, this was how films had any sound at all. Today this generally takes the form of revival screenings of old silents, or special events that showcase a film with a grand musical score — think of the many iterations of 2001 with a live orchestra. But with A Thousand Thoughts, directors Sam Green and Joe Bini have put together an entirely different experience. It’s a biographical documentary about the venerable string group Kronos Quartet, designed to be played with musical accompaniment by … Kronos Quartet. The result is being referred to as a “live documentary,” though even that seemingly paradoxical categorization can’t fully capture how unique this performance is.

This post was written by
Dan Schindel is a writer and editor. He lives and works in New York.
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