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This month, we interviewed the director of this Serbian “satirical documentary fairy tale,” and we can’t recommend his movie highly enough. A paean to the art of aphorisms, this constantly inventive movie is a searing satire on the absurdity of the modern world.
The Paramount Vault — YouTube
This is a real hidden gem of the Internet. This YouTube channel features 92 feature films, mostly old ones, which you can watch for free, including several classic Jerry Lewis movies (The Stooge, The Errand Boy, Visit to a Small Planet, and The Patsy), film noir (No Man of Her Own), the Preston Sturges classic Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and many more. YouTube’s format makes browsing a little difficult, but The Paramount Vault is well worth checking out.
Adieu au langage
Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard’s latest feature is a contemporary masterpiece, featuring probably the most innovative and thematically potent use of 3D in the history of cinema. The narratively opaque (to say the least) film follows two couples and a dog, the director’s own, and is a richly constructed and masterfully composed work of art.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
This classic Bollywood film is one of the most popular Indian films of all time. At three hours long, it’s an incredibly epic melodrama with maybe the most intense love story of all time, filled with song and dance numbers.
Top Cop: The Truth About Dan Gilbert
A somber and hilarious presentation by a former East Lansing police detective detailing Detroit Downtown Tycoon Dan Gilbert’s involvement in an illegal bookmaking operation in East Lansing in the early ‘80s, including what sounds like some Goodfella’s-type mob tactics.
The winner of this year’s prestigious Peripheral Excellence in Film at the Tribeca Film Festival goes to Aferim!, a remarkable period piece about a constable searching for an escaped gypsy slave in 1835 Romania. Read Philip Conklin's review of the film and coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival here.
Into Great Silence
Philip Gröning's two-and-a-half-hour experimental documentary about French monks with almost no dialogue or action may sound boring, but watching it is an utterly transfixing experience. Deliberate, meditative, and mystical, this is as close to pure as cinema gets.
Fed up with Netflix? Hulu got you down? Try Fandor, a superior movie streaming website! With selections ranging from the latest Foreign Language Film Oscar-nom to rare Chaplin shorts, Fandor focuses on foreign, independent, art, and cult cinema. But the site has selections for any taste, as well as a great section devoted to film news and criticism, and, for our money, features the best interface and search options of any streaming service on the web.
Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion
This 1972 Japanese cult classic, which inspired a slew of sequels, remakes, homages, and rip-offs, is a tour de force of campy, psychosexual, decadent weirdness. A woman-in-prison narrative meets feminist revenge fantasy meets surrealist nightmare, this grotesque and beautiful masterpiece is worth every minute.
Although limits were placed on what they could film, filmmakers Rob Whitworth and JT Singh offer many rare, insider glimpses of Pyongyang. Their time-lapse film, published by National Geographic, highlights day-to-day activities, such as riding a subway, using a computer lab, and playing at a skatepark.
The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek ruminates on the latent meanings in such films as Matrix, Fight Club, and Wizard of Oz. Directed by Sophie Fiennes.
Sound of Two
Jack Stratton, the man behind Vulfpeck, produces a series of mash-up youtube videos that juxtapose two often disparate musical video clips that are by turns hilarious, disturbing, and soulful.
The Lost Michel Foucault Interview
Recorded in the hours before his famous debate with Noam Chomsky, this interview reveals that Foucault was paid partly in hash for his participation, and that the moderator of the debate tries to cajole the French philosopher into wearing a red wig during the televised conversation.
A Hong Kong action-comedy directed by Stephen Chow, one of the funniest films ever. Read more here.
RSA Animate: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
A speech by Slavoj Zizek about how ethics and charity have been co-opted by capitalism, with animation. Read more here.
This Is Not a Film
An Iranian film by Jafar Panahi, a director sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on filmmaking. Read more here.
Whores' Glory | Workingman's Death | Megacities
Austrian director Michael Glawogger's "trilogy on work." Read more here.
The Red Chapel
A documentary about Danish comedians performing in North Korea offers a fascinating look at the DPRK. Read more here.
This beautiful film directed by Uruphong Raksasad mixes documentary and fiction, exploring rice farming in rural Thailand. Read more here.
These three films by Aki Kaurismaki — The Match Factory Girl, Ariel, and Shadows in Paradise — tell stories of work and relationships in modern Finland. Read more here.
Directed by Gotz Speilmann, this psychological drama is tragic and beautiful. Read more here.
A joint project of the Communist Research Cluster and Viewpoint Magazine, this colossal, 565-page PDF document collects the major essays about black radical and revolutionary movements in the 20th century, is the first of its kind, and can be accessed for free.
The Marshall Project
This nonpartisan news organization works to stimulate conversation about and provide transparency to the US criminal justice system. All articles pass their in-depth “Code of Ethics” to provide the highest quality journalistic work. Subscribe to their free weekday morning newsletter to receive the most compelling articles about criminal justice on the web. Abnormal: Lectures at the Collége de France, 1974-1975
Starting from the function of expert psychiatric opinion in criminal cases and traversing through the Christian confessional, the bourgeois condemnation of childhood masturbation in the 19th century, and other phenomena, Michel Foucault's 11-lecture series traces the historical development, right up to the present, of the “abnormal” individual in Western society.
Set in 1970 California, Thomas Pynchon’s narrator is a floundering hippie detective trying to outwit a bunch of LAPD cops and private counter-subversive agents, all the while smoking way too much weed to be a reliable narrator. The film adaptation is set for release January 9th.
The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood
Edward Jay Epstein's book is the only one we know of that offers a comprehensive analysis of the economic workings of the modern film industry — except The Hollywood Economist, essentially a much abridged and slightly updated version by Epstein on the same topic.
Don Dellilo's 2010 novel is funny, sharp, cerebral, and chilling. Read more here.
The Complete Stories
A collection of Flannery O'Connor's short fiction. Read more here.
If Beale Street Could Talk
A 1976 novel by James Baldwin about race and struggle in New York City. Read more here.
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From August 5-9, the Detroit Improv Festival will host shows across metro Detroit featuring nationally renowned improvisers, including Horatio Sanz and Detroit native Tim Meadows. Schedule and information at detroitimprovfestival.org.
No offense, but it looks like you guys got a little pudgy this winter. Detroiters Speak Series
From January to April 2015, Detroit community leaders and University of Michigan faculty will lead this seven-week series of panel discussions, ranging from topics such as the Detroit riot aftermath to Motown sound. Check the schedule here, and join the conversation at Cass Corridor Commons (4605 Cass Ave).
Detroit Discusses Ferguson
A reading of excerpts from Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 and a community discussion about the events in Ferguson held on December 17, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. at the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.
Detroit FREQ is an online community radio station operating out of the 5e Gallery and offering programming by and for Detroiters. With shows ranging from jazz, hip-hop, and soul, as well as broadcasts of live events around the Detroit area, FREQ’s programming is well worth checking out. improv4humans with Matt Besser, episode 174
This special, conceptual episode of Upright Citizens Brigade founder Matt Besser’s improv comedy podcast is a fantastic parody of Whiplash, a movie deserving a parody if there ever was one. Throughout the show, the pugnacious Besser berates novice improviser Armen Weitzman with questionable teaching techniques in one of the podcast’s all-time funniest episodes.
Atomic Basie & Consummation
Just watched Whiplash and jazz got you down? Atomic Basie by Count Basie and Consummation by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra are two classic albums available on YouTube that will remind you that big band jazz can be joyful, swingin’ music.
The Goat Rodeo Sessions
This eclectic album, featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile, won the 2013 Grammy for best folk album. Read more here.
The Partially Examined Life, episode 83
Frithjof Bergmann, professor at the University of Michigan, asks how we can more effectively use our time, work, and technology. Read more here.
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First published in LIFE in 1948, this fascinating photo essay by W. Eugene Smith chronicles the day-to-day challenges of rural physician Ernest Ceriani.
it's no biggie
This blog by illustrator and animator Thoka Maer features simple, beautiful GIFs that are, by turns, delightful and poignant. Each hand-drawn creation — from the surreal to the dramatic — bursts with life, making it difficult to stop scrolling.
This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind
This collection of simple graphs expose the strikingly similar state and federal law patterns of some of America’s largest social issues: interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana. The question is, will these patterns continue in the near future?
Photoshop Your Dreams
Crazy dream last night? Send your nighttime delusions to this site, and the person behind the Tumblr will breathe life into your dreams through Photoshop.
WorldMap, a comprehensive mapping project led by Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis, allows users to publish geospatial research. With a vast array of maps to choose from, our suggestion is to start with the Africa Map, where viewers can overlay visual data sets of language, religion, Trans-Atlantic slave trade routes, night lights, and other fascinating intersections. Punch a Monet
A man attacked and punched a hole through "Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat," a $12 million Claude Monet masterpiece housed in the National Gallery of Ireland, earning him jail time in 2014. Whether you have a personal vendetta against Monet or have some anger to release, this silly simulation lets you punch the painting yourself, without the risk of a five-year prison sentence.
21 Maps of Highly Segregated Cities in America
These maps use clusters of colored dots to illustrate 2010 Consensus data, illustrating the most segregated cities in the US. Finishing this list is the most segregated city in the country: Detroit.
Do-It-Yourself Glitch Art
Use this website to play with glitch art styles. Upload any photo and make it flicker, blink colors, and collapse into pixels.
23 Maps and Charts on Language
Linguaphiles aren't the only ones who can spend hours exploring these maps that cover various topics of language and communication from New York tweets to endangered languages.
It's Nice That
This British design website aspires to “champion creativity across the art and design world” by publishing at least nine new articles daily spanning topics from logos and identity branding to doodles and architecture.
Where We're From
The International Organization for Migration has an app called Where We're From, an interactive map that shows how many people migrate to and from every country, based on data collected in 2010. The app is visually compelling and has tons of interesting information, making it easy to keep clicking around.
A website that remembers those slain by the NYPD. Read more here.