Cannes, do it yourself

kiarostami_five_still.jpgFrom J. Hoberman's halftime report from Cannes comes this description of Abbas Kiarostami's latest film: "[the] remarkably austere Five (after the number of shots) is a DV landscape study that might have been produced by a talented epigone of American minimalist Ernie Gehr."

In Five, the director says, "an entire world is revealed to us. It's a work that approaches poetry, painting. It let me escape from the obligation of narration and of the slavery of mise en scËne." [Kiarostami harshes on editing and praises the real creative action of shooting in an interview with Le Monde. Heady stuff, in French.]

Interesting, because the Gehr comparison aims squarely at art, not cinema; and "talented" or no, don't look up epigone if you're a fan.

Meanwhile, screening in Un Certain Regard is another Kiarostami film, 10 on Ten, his reflections on various elements of filmmaking like camera, screenplay, and locations [let me guess, slavery and obligation?]

It's as if he's trying to find out just how little is required to shoot a viable film. Ten was shot almost entirely with two DV cameras mounted on a taxi cab dash. And the film before that, ABC Africa, was a DV doc shot on a location scouting visit to an AIDS clinic.

Also a hit at Cannes this year is Tarnation, the most famously cheap movie since El Mariachi. Jonathan Caouette reveals his secret (note: that he used iMovie is no secret; it's the hook, yo) in the Guardian: "Making a movie is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Hopefully this will be a catalyst for people who didn't have a voice before to go out and make a movie." Check out the Tarnation weblog at Indiewire, which has launched more excellent weblogs in a month than some would-be empires do in a whole year.

Once you've made your DV film all by yourself, you can distribute it, too. The Times reports on the emerging trend of self-produced and distributed DVDs. The economics are increasingly attractive, especially for a wide array of specialized markets like fans of poetry or mountainboarding. One company not mentioned that should be: the mighty fine-looking small-run packaging system at Jewelboxing, brought to you by the design-savvy Coudal Partners.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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