About Peter Bowen

Peter saw his first movie when he was just a little boy, and has never gotten over that experience.

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indieWIRE talks Balmes and Babies

Posted April 30, 2010


Peter Knegt reports on IndieWIRE about "Balmes' Babies is Born," a piece that profiles the director's recent talk at the Apple Store in SoHo. (check here for video of the event).  Among many things, Balmes talks about his empathy for the four families he filmed:

"The committment we were expecting from them was kind of tough,” he laughed. “I mean, I had just had a baby and it could have been perfect. But we spoke a little bit with my wife and she said ‘no way.’ Even me being there doing that was too intrustive. Just imagine having a family have this French guy in their living room for such a long time…"


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Globe and Mail: Bringing up Babies

Posted April 27, 2010


In Toronto's  Globe and Mail article "Planet Baby: What can a new doc teach us about parenting?" correspondent Adriana Barton talks with Babies director Thomas Balmès as the film screens at the Canadian film festival Hot Docs. The focus in on what we learn, which in the end, is very little--but we have a great time learning it. When asked, "You reconnected with the children long after filming. Which seemed the healthiest and happiest?" Balmes reply: " Seriously, the four of them are doing so well. This is again proof that there is not a good way or a bad way to do it."

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London Times: Jane Eyre and the Brontes Rule

Posted April 26, 2010


The first reports (and first photo) of Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre are starting to pop up. In the TimesOnline, Ben Hoyle’s “Brooding Brontës replace Austen as ‘bonnet drama’ returns” looks at how Charlotte and Emily Brontë have become all the vogue in film circles. In addition to Fukunaga's Jane Eyre (which will have the meteoric new star Mia Wasikowska as the title heroine), British director Andrea Arnold is working on a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights. As Hoyle notes, both new films are being directed by filmmakers better known for their tough storytelling then their fancy flourishes. For Jane Eyre’s producer Alison Owen, this is a good thing and Cary is the perfect person to do it: “He is someone who is outside the culture, so he can shake it up, [meaning] we don’t get the chocolate-box version that everyone is familiar with.” As for the bigger question of why are the Brontë so boss today, Owen speculates:

There is something about the current situation that the world finds itself in where the Brontës more suit the mood of the moment [than Austen]. Jane Austen is a lighter cut than the Brontës, who are much more brooding and bleak.

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Eagle of the Ninth is Myth Popularity

Posted April 26, 2010


Several articles of late have notice popular cultures contemporary fascination with ancient myths. Philip Sherwlell in Telegraph considered how “Hollywood turns to ancient warriors and legends to win audiences,” and in an earlier USA Today article Focus CEO James Schamus told Susan Wloszczyna and Maria Puente, “Something clearly is in the air…We Americans are wondering about just what phase of our own empire we're in. And those anxieties certainly fuel mass culture's fantasy life." Focus upcoming Eagle of the Ninth is just one in a triumphant march of Greek, Roman and other mythic legends. Directed by Kevin McDonald, Eagle of the Ninth adapts Rosemary Sutliff’s novel of two men––a roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) and a Esca (Jamie Bell), a slave from Britain––who travel into the unknown world of Roman Britain in search of a vanished Roman legion.

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Phoenix on Somewhere's soundtrack

Posted April 21, 2010


In a recent blog post for BBC Radio, the members of the French band Phoenix talked to Greg Cochane about their rise to fame and scoring the music for Sofia Coppola's new film Somewhere (out soon from Focus Features). Band member Thomas May (who is also Coppola's long-term boyfriend) says of the score:

It's very minimal...It's almost like sound design. It wasn't like writing songs, it was more about trying to make a sound that fits with a Ferrari and the city of Los Angeles's theme. It was more of an engineer work than a composer.

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The Daily Beast Wrestles with Greenberg

Posted April 16, 2010


At The Daily Beast, Stephen Farber in his “Blogs and Stories” considers the political import of Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg on the discussion of reproductive rights. There’s a spoiler in the piece, but I’ll give you the first section so you can get an idea––it goes on to talk about a range of current and old movies to see how public perceptions have evolved (or not):

Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, starring Ben Stiller as a 40-year-old malcontent, has received many enthusiastic reviews praising its acute characterizations and evocative rendition of Southern California anomie. But almost no one has called attention to one of the most startling things about the movie: its matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental depiction of abortion.

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Babies Everywhere You Look

Posted April 12, 2010


Paul Bond's recent article in The Hollywood Reporter poses the poignant question, "Are babies Hollywood 's new obsession?" in looking at a featue films like The Back-up Plan and The Switch, Bond includes the documentariy Babies, of which the director Thomas Balmes, "All the parents are doing totally different things, with totally different tools, to make sure their children are growing up in the best way possible."

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Baumbach on mix tapes in LA Times

Posted April 05, 2010


In the Los Angeles Times music blog "Pop & Hiss," Todd Martens spoke with Noah Baumbach on music, character and mix tapes.  He points out, as Baumbach has often recounted, the origins of the film Greeenberg "could be traced to a specific song. LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" is a 7 1/2-minute tragi-comedy, a post-partying reflection from principal James Murphy." Through out the post, Baumbach talks about the use of popular music in the film as meaningful in many different ways. At one point, Florence (Greta Gerwig) picks the 1971 Paul McCartney song "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" for an emotional connection. For Baumbach, the choice says more about Florence than contemporary music: "You can justify that her parents had some Wings albums and she liked that song." In the end, for Baumbach:

I’m interested in music as an extension of character....Taste is an important part of self-definition for many of the characters I’ve written, particularly Greenberg, since he is so about his opinions. There’s a notion that music is defining you. There are the people who overthink making mix CDs and playlists, and how that works generationally is all really interesting to me.


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Richard Brody, The New Yorker and Greenberg

Posted April 01, 2010


Richard Brody, who writes the Front Row blog for The New Yorker website, has been bringing up Greenberg a lot recently.His March 18 post “Being Greenberg” echoes The New Yorker film critic David Denby’s rave review of the film. But even more recognizes how Greta Gerwig shines in Baumbach’s feature. Then on his March 29 post “Ever Greenberg” reconsiders the film’s genre, seeing the movie now more as a romantic comedy than a character study. He writes about the film: "It reminded me that the rules of romantic comedy have changed—that the high-concept variety of the genre is more or less dead. The best romantic comedies of recent years are distinguished by their lack of a mainspring; they are, in effect, stories of people tossed together by circumstances who try to cope together. They’re linear films, which build more on character than on situation, and which, theoretically, could run indefinitely long."

And recently, in his March 31 post “The Stories of their Morals,” he holds up the film, but now as the measure of reality against which to judge several recent columnists take on contemporary morality.

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