Want to watch films about artists?

Sticking with the art theme from my last post, here are some recommended films:
How to Draw a Bunny
A friend lent me this movie and it sat at my house for months before I got desperate enough for entertainment that I put it in. Silly me, I loved it.
A documentary about the late modern artist Ray Johnson. This guy was so enigmatic, no one really knew him, except through his artwork. Then there is the mystery of his death. Was it just a final piece of performance art? Totally fascinating. Just drop into this alternative world and enjoy the ride. This is from a review I just found on IMDB:

The movie, at least temporarily, lifts the viewer out of the mundane world of tabloidization and banal politics and consumerism, shakes him (or her) up, rearranges him, however slightly, in his view of himself and the world.


American Splendor
You may have heard of this one, but it might have looked too weird to see. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This film was so unique and wonderful. Paul Giamatti, well, (even if you hated him in that sucky — sorry if you liked it — Sideways,) is.fucking.brilliant. The movie is about comic book author Harvey Pekar, whom I had never heard of before seeing this. The amazing thing is the way the both the actors and the real life characters appear the movie and it works. Pekar himself narrates. Wow. Here is a short review excerpt I stole from amazon:

Which is the “real” Harvey? Is it Giamatti, the actor who plays him? The author Harvey Pekar, who actually appears in the film as himself? The comic-strip character Harvey, who is sometimes animated in the film? It sounds confusing, but the film is so tightly constructed that it’s fun rather than bewildering, an offbeat commentary on the differences between “real” life as it is lived and as we observe it.


Rivers and Tides
Okay, you might have seen this one. If not, what are you waiting for? Okay it is slow, but slow is good! Anyone who has the abilty to stop and appreciate the ephemeral beauty of the natural world will dig this. And now to the stolen review excerpt:

Human beings spend so much time feeling to be master in command over nature, one another, material and living objects, and RIVERS & TIDES truly brings the message of the temporary state of nature and humankind in the world. It ebbs and flows, and Goldsworthy’s unassuming but dutiful continuity as a true natural artist, working with the medium of mother nature, to design intricate visual sculpture and installations out of the elements we take for granted all too often. This is an especially timely film in this day and age, where we are questioning what is to be done to work toward sustainability and conservation in the world.

One of my favorite parts was hidden in the special features: Leaf horn.

Tom Dowd and the Language of Music
Same friend who owned How to Draw a Bunny turned me on to this one (Thanks, Rook!)
This guy Tom Dowd was behind the scenes at many legendary recording sessions. A highlight for me is a scene where he sits down with the raw tracks of “Layla” decades after the first time he recorded and mixed them. He messes around there at the board, “remixing” the song, reminiscing about the day Duane Allman and Eric Clapton recorded those legendary guitar parts. Great for me as a music fan.


1 Response to “Want to watch films about artists?”

  1. 1 Dr. Monkey December 30, 2007 at 10:29 am

    I loved Rivers and Tides and American Splendor as well, and I like Sideways too, so there. I’ve seen How to Draw a Bunny at the video store but I always walk past it. I’ll rent it some time now that it comes recommended.

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