November 28, 2005

This Thanksgiving Dinner Was Brought To You By...

Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish was what finally woke us up. Attributions are a vital ingredient to that get added after a recipe is passed along, often without the original chef's knowledge. We've been eating Val's rolls at family gatherings for as long as I've been on solid foods, but once when my mother mentioned them to Val's granddaughter--who then asked Val--Val said she wondered if she'd ever made such rolls. She doubted it. Winifred's granddaughter, meanwhile, called on Wednesday to...
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Posted by greg at 09:27 AM

August 20, 2005

"Films, like memories, seem to re-shoot themselves over the years"

J.G. Ballard takes a new look at the films of Michael Powell on the centenary of his birth. I think of Powell as a prophet whose films offer important lessons to both film-makers and novelists, especially the latter, who are still preoccupied with character and individual moral choice. My guess is that the serious novel of the future will be serious in the way that Powell's and Hitchcock's films are serious, where the psychological drama has migrated from inside the...
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Posted by greg at 12:43 PM

July 17, 2005

Going To Japan. Stay Tuned

I'm heading to Japan for a month with the family. Tokyo this time, so there's a lot to do and see. I've got a couple of projects I'm working on in and around Tokyo, and I'm going to shoot another installment of "The Souvenir Series," my 12-part short film series about different aspects of memory. I'll post more details later, but the idea is one I've had since freshman English in college. My teacher at BYU, a woman named Elouise...
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Posted by greg at 11:34 PM

March 30, 2005

"Memories are strange creatures..."

...they appear uninvited, grab you by the throat, flood your senses and then shoot away in a microsecond, leaving few traces. Mr. Lelyveld explores some intriguing themes: How much do we really remember? Why do we forget? What would happen if we found documentary records or witnesses who could fill in missing pieces of our imagined family narrative? What hidden catastrophes would fly out?from William Doyle's review of Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop, by Joseph Lelyveld A Journalist Investigates Memory,...
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Posted by greg at 10:02 PM

January 28, 2005

Noah Baumbach on 'The Squid and the Whale'

The writer-director Noah Baumbach, 35, based the film on his own experience of his parents' divorce. He said that he had struggled for years to find his voice as a filmmaker after making Kicking and Screaming in 1995 but had an epiphany at a screening of the Louis Malle classic Murmur of the Heart, organized by his friend Wes Anderson (a Squid producer). "I thought I should deal with this moment in my life," he said after an early...
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Posted by greg at 12:49 AM | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

On Remembering

I started this weblog to document a documentary I was going to make, a remembrance of sorts of my grandfathers. That film has been subsumed into the souvenir series. This week, even though he was never the subject of that film, I've been thinking about my great-grandfather a lot, too. That's because he died in 1982, at age 90. He had a shorter battle with Alzheimer's than Reagan did. These men differed in other ways, too: Reagan: Cut a deal...
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Posted by greg at 07:49 AM | TrackBack

May 31, 2004

Geezers, Screenwriters & Directors

It's my guess that we cling to the harsher bits of the past not just as a warning system to remind us that the next Indian raid or suddenly veering, tower-bound 757 is always waiting but as a passport to connect us to the rest of the world, whose horrors are available each morning and evening on television or in the Times. And the cold moment that returns to mind and sticks there, unbidden, may be preferable to the alternative...
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Posted by greg at 11:08 PM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

Souvenir Series, Sofia, and me

In the last couple of weeks, I've decided to shoot a fourth short film, which may be part of the Souvenir Series, or may not. We'll see. It was not in the original outline of the series, and it's out of the order I'd planned to shoot them, but the opportunity and idea presented themselves so clearly, I've decided to at least get it shot, then see where to take it. Long story short, it's a reconceiving of the baptism/massacre...
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Posted by greg at 12:09 PM

July 23, 2003

High on my Souvenir Series

"In 1960 I began to experiment with the idea of constructing stories whose subject matter would consist of disparate elements and unrelated characters taken directly from life and fitted together as in a mosaic." That's Paul Bowles, in the preface to his collection of 1962 short stories, A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard, which Anne Galloway heaped praised on recently. [Anne also posts Bowles' complete preface.] Bowles' stories were intended as bridges or intersections between the "two worlds" spoken of...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2003

A: Yes, Reviews of Chekhov Have Been A Great Influence On My Work

"I had a professor once who said that as Chekhov got older he lopped off the eventful beginnings and twist endings of his early works and that quivering middle was the mature short story." -David Edelstein, SlateHere's to you, David Edelstein. Geez, I love you more than you could know. This sentence (the phrase "quivering middle," actually), in a movie discussion I'd already posted about, convinced me to some changes in S(J03). Ch-ch-ch-changes? Well, I lopped off the ending, for...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2002

New Script, and the Souvenir Series

Early in the editing of Souvenir November 2001, I decided to eventually expand the short film into a related series of shorts, all ultimately interconnected a la Kieslowski's Dekalog (See the movie index for more references). A couple of weeks ago, it became clear that the original documentary project which spawned could fit in this Souvenir series in some way. The result of this confluence: Souvenir January 2003, a short film about a man's quiet appreciation of ironing. Look...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

June 05, 2002

Watching Mike Mills for 90 min

When I saw an hour and a half on Sundance Channel blocked out for Meet Mike Mills, I couldn't figure out how interesting he could possibly be. 90 minutes with Scorsese, sure. But 90 minutes with Mike Mills? Naturally, I HAD to watch it. Turns out they showed the entirety of his shorts, Architecture of Reassurance and my favorite, Paperboys. It's one of the most unassuming films in a long time, and it's got a really engaging, smart view...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2001

Logging tapes after slacking

Still too distracted in the aftermath? Project in turnaround? The terrorist subplot deemed inappropriate for our new entertainment environment? No, no, and no. Just the rest of life--including work-related stuff, shuttling between NYC and DC, planning to build one house and to find another in the mean time, on and on--constantly impinging on my time and mind. Also, recent travel has kept me somewhat out of touch with people who regularly ask, "how's the movie coming? I haven't seen an...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)