Today’s Video of the Day is an exclusive clip from “Samsara,” a new movie featuring mesmerizing scenes from more than 20 countries. Filmed over a period of five years, the footage covers sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites and natural wonders, demonstrating that human’s life cycle mirrors that of the rest of the planet. The film’s title is a Sanskrit word meaning “the ever turning wheel of life.”
Although it is a documentary, Samsara has no dialogue or descriptive text. Instead, the viewer is encouraged to find inspiration from the images on screen and musical score in order to make their own interpretations. Director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson sought out to make the film in order to capture the “elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.” In other words, the filmmakers hoped to encapsulate the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence. They traveled across the globe in order to make the film, including the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, a village in Ethiopia, Chateau de Versailles in France, and a doll factory in Japan.
Samsara will be shown on the big screen in select cities starting Friday, August 24. For a full schedule of screenings in the United States, click here. You can also watch the theatrical trailer after the jump.
Think movies are just a way to enjoy a night in with friends? Apparently, not. According to tourism boards in European cities that have been featured in Woody Allen films – such as “Match Point,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Midnight in Paris,” and “To Rome With Love” – these films have boosted travel to these destinations. In fact, Adrian Wootton, the CEO of FilmLondon, says studies have shown 1 in 10 visitors to the United Kingdom come because of movies they’ve seen. This type of tourism generates about 2 billion pounds per year.
Cities are catching on to the trend, and running with it. For example, FilmLondon, who has used footage, photos and quotes from Woody Allen’s London-based movies to help promote the city, partnered with VisitLondon to create a “Match Point” map for tourists.
“He loves to shoot in these iconic locations, and he often films them quite beautifully,” explains Wootton.
In fact, Allen shoots his films so wonderfully, tour companies have begun offering city tours allowing people to follow in the footsteps of the lead characters. For instance, Icono Serveis offers a “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” tour via their “Barcelona: The Movie Walking Tour,” while Paris Underbelly features a “Midnight in Paris” tour. According to the operators, these are their most popular tours, with clients often making plans to go to other cities to taken Wooden Allen movie-themed excursions.
While most eyes are on the Tour de France, there’s a much more intriguing form of cycling that’s quickly becoming a phenomenon: underground bicycle messenger racing.
Yes, it’s a real thing, and it appears to be spreading. Filmmaker Lucas Brunelle spent more than a decade profiling and documenting messenger cultures around the world, and he recently released “Line of Sight,” a 60-minute documentary film that premiered Saturday at the 2012 Bicycle Film Festival in New York City. According to the description:
This is bike riding like you’ve never seen before, in gripping first-person perspective through the most hectic city streets, on expressways in Mexico City, over the frozen Charles River, under the Mediterranean Sea, across the Great Wall of China and deep into the jungles of Guatemala.
Sounds much more gripping than the winding, tree-lined roads of France.
Behind every iconic movie moment lies months, sometimes years, of painstaking research, planning and execution. This month, a new film exhibit at New York‘s Museum of the Moving Image seeks to explore the sometimes-obsessive craftsmanship behind 30 of the most pivotal scenes in film history.
The exhibit, titled “Persol Magnificent Obsessions: 30 Stories of Craftsmanship in Film,” is sponsored by eyewear manufacturer Persol and curated by Michael Connor, who was named one of Time Out New York’s “Young Curators to Watch” in 2010. Presented in three installments, the exhibit attempts to draw parallels between the craft and dedication required to create epic films as well as high-quality eyewear. See, for instance, how director Todd Haynes used color charts to evoke emotion in “Far From Heaven,” or how actor-director Ed Harris drew from years of character immersion for his role in “Pollock.”
The first installment of the exhibit was unveiled last summer, and the second opened to the public on June 14. This year’s installment showcases artifacts, research notes, sketches, clips and stills from ten iconic films, including “W.E.,” “The Last Emperor,” “Amelie” and “Million Dollar Baby.” The exhibit runs through August 19 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York.
It’s one of the icons of American civilization, combining Hollywood with car culture. The drive-in movie theater was once a mainstay of every American city, and plenty of small rural towns too. In the 1950s there were more than 4,000 of them. They were a place for families to enjoy a night out together, and for teenagers to be initiated into the games of adulthood.
Now the drive-in theater has fallen on hard times. According to The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association, there are currently only 366 drive-ins in the United States with a total of 606 screens. The states with the most theaters are Pennsylvania (33) and Ohio (31). Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii and Louisiana sadly have no drive-ins. Many other states are in a precarious position with only one or two.
Competition from cable TV and movie rentals along with rising real estate costs have seriously hurt the drive-in theater industry, yet it clings to life. It’s gone from that great American hero – the success story – to that other great American hero – the underdog.
The first drive-in opened in New Jersey in 1933 and the idea soon caught on. Their heyday came in the economic boom years of the 1950s and ’60s. They began to feel the pinch in the 1970s with the spread of more TV channels. With VCRs and cable TV becoming popular in the late 1970s and early ’80s, things got even worse.
%Gallery-155976%Now most drive-ins are gone. Others have remained as spooky abandoned lots that offer the photographers in this article’s gallery the chance to lend atmosphere to their images. Visiting a dead drive-in theater is a bit like visiting a ghost town. It leaves you wondering about the people who used to spend time there.
Unlike with ghost towns, many of us can remember being one of those people. I remember going to the DeAnza Drive-in in Tucson, Arizona. My friend and I used to put a futon on top of her VW van and watch movies under the Arizona starlight. The DeAnza is gone now, and all that’s left is a webpage of memories.
But don’t despair, movie fans, there’s hope. The remaining drive-ins are keeping the flame lit. There are places like Hollywood Drive-in, which has been showing movies on Route 66 near Troy, New York, since 1952. New technologies like video projection are making it easier to open up drive-ins in any location where there’s a blank wall or the space for a screen. My favorite indie cinema, Ragtag Cinema in Columbia, Missouri, has done some outdoor shows in a nearby parking lot. Check out the photo gallery to see a cool Belgian drive-in using an inflatable screen.
As the great Joe Bob Briggs always says, “The drive-in will never die!”
(Clarification: The Hollywood Drive-in is on New York State Route 66, not the more famous Route 66. Plenty of businesses in New York like to play off the Route 66 designation, though, and why not? Retro entertainment is more important than nitpicking!)