Sure, there have been a lot of announcements of late – Criterion, Arrow, Shout Factory, etc. – and they’re all great, but what I’m really excited about and what has revived “Trailer Tuesday” at MMC! is the launching yesterday of Nicolas Winding Refn’s free subscription website byNWR!
byNWR calls itself “an unadulterated cultural expressway of the arts” and describes its organization as follows:
Born from a passion for the rare, the forgotten and unknown, byNWR breathes new life into the culturally intriguing, influential and extreme.
Quarterly volumes of content divide into three monthly chapters, each featuring a fully-restored film. These cinematic revivals inspire a wealth of original content, drawn together by our special Guest Editors. As we evolve and expand, we will encourage exploration of a wide range of avenues by curators, writers and the engaged public, building a community of those who like to create, to watch, to read, look or listen. In a world of the instant, byNWR takes its time on a tangential line towards the undiscovered…where we share, enjoy, and look to the future–with hope, prosperity, and the idea that culture is for everyone.
Putting the “cult” in “cultural,” byNWR seems to focus its attention on the low-end of the cultural spectrum and offers a variety of media to explore on the site’s “Expressway,” however byNWR‘s centrepiece is clearly its volumes of films. This month’s volume is “Regional Renegades” and features Bert Williams’ The Nest of Cuckoo Birds (1965), Dale Berry’s Hot Thrills and Warm Chills (1967), and Joseph G. Prieto’s Shanty Tramp (1967). Based on the restoration sizzle reel compliments of MUBI, “Regional Renegades” looks sleazoid amazing!
I spent the weekend film festival-ing and a saw a fair number of good to very good films – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sugurdsson’s Under the Tree (2017), Xavier Legrand’s Custody (2017), Valeska Grisebach’s Western (2017), Chloé Zhao’s The Rider (2017), Michael Del Monte’s Transformer (2018), Sandi Tan’s Shirkers (2018), and Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018). The stand-out for me was Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap (2018) and the festival agreed, awarding it “Best of the Fest.” The film expertly weaves years of footage to explore the friendship between a group of skater-kids in a dead-end Illinois town and the issues of economic marginalization, family trauma, and toxic masculinity that continue to impact each of them. Liu’s intricately constructed film feels full of spontaneity and never seems weighed down by didacticism despite the breadth of time it covers and filmmaker’s clear appreciation of his subject matter’s problematic significance. Minding of the Gap is a stunning exercise in a filmmaker reserving judgment and its insights are all the greater for it.
Last but not least, I’m totally absorbed by this trailer for Halifax-based Grandway Comics. Appearing to promise perfect pastiches of Silver and Bronze Age comics complete with art styles lifted from Sal Buscema and Alex Toth, I can’t wait for its début in Fall 2018 and might just revert back to being that kid with a backpack full of comics, a drawing pad, and a mechanical pencil. So long adult life and gainful employment; you had a good run!