Real Emotion and Visual Power: Interview with Matt Needle

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Casino Royale”, 2006, directed by Martin Campbell

 
Art is about living. Not in fear and uncertainty, but in hope and with all our being. Trusting real emotion and giving free reign to imagination and artistic creativity are the best formula for communication. We need art more than ever.

Movies are one of the most accessible ways for people to experience art. The movie poster (a good movie poster, that is), an art in its own right, is the gateway to the bigger picture, and part of the movie experience. Not only does it go to the very heart of the story, simple, elegant, witty, through a revealing and striking image and typography, but it captures the mood of the times. It holds you in the thrall of that distinct story and, later on, whenever you see the poster, of that distinct memory.

This kind of artistic sensibility doesn’t come too often nowadays, but it is exactly what sets the work of graphic designer and illustrator Matt Needle apart. Just one look at his Bond movies posters series, completed this week, in the run-up to the release of No Time to Die, a daunting yet impeccably pulled off personal task, and I instinctively knew that this is how the Bond movie posters should always have looked like. And I guess that comes from the fact that the greatest impact on Matt’s art is his instinctive feeling to create. He is true to his work. Real emotions seep through into his art and further reach the audience. And I am once again convinced that movies are an extension of oneself, of the one making them, of the one watching them.

In our interview, Matt and I are talking favourite Bond films, Bond girl Vesper Lynd, design process and influences, and what cinema is truly about.

 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Dr. No”, 1962, directed by Terence Young

 

I would like to start with your poster for Casino Royale. Not just because it is one of my favourite Bond films and because it features the best Bond girl (I love how your artwork spotlights Eva Green), but because your poster is brilliant and such a class act in itself. I was looking at the official poster for the film when it was released and felt very disappointed. And that is because when seeing your posters I realised that this is how I have always wanted the posters for the Bond movies to be and that something has been missing from the Bond experience, at least from the Bond experience of the last two decades. Why do you think there is still this reluctance in approaching the official Bond poster design more creatively, to engage the viewer rather than serve as name placement for the actors starring? Does the audience of the Bond movies, which are so well established, still need to be sold the films this way?

Firstly, thank you for such high praise and kind words about my work. This project has been such a great creative outlet for me to distract from the horrific 2020 we’ve all been living through. I started the project right as the pandemic hit and it kept me sane and creatively enthused when potential projects were put on hold or cancelled all together.

From the outset, I knew I wanted to work on something that focused on my favourite film series (James Bond) to coincide with the release of the 25th film (No Time To Die) and that I wanted to created a modern, fresh, yet simultaneously vintage feeling alternative to the existing key marketing art that’s out there.

The newer key art pieces from the past few decades have fit the modern constraints of film advertisement and marketing, which is to stay a clean crisp, star and name driven photographic pieces that can be chopped and cropped into various formats, mostly consumed on a screen at a small size/resolution. Whilst I respect that (and work on a lot of it for my day job), it doesn’t always excite me personally, but I don’t need to be sold or persuaded to check out a new Bond film, I’m a life-long fan and these types of posters are aimed at the mass public.

The problem is the new posters lack the energy/action of the instantly iconic painted pieces by McGinnis, Gouzee et al. and that’s something I wanted to address. My main objective with the project was to create a free flowing, abstract series of artworks, that harkens back to the vintage routes and played on nostalgia, whilst also being modern, fresh and contemporary. Each piece was to be a different creative expression and exploration of style and technique whilst being instantly recognisable as Bond and also part of a series even though they are all vastly different and stand alone at the same time.

The Casino Royale piece in particular needed to feel elegant and classic, and as Vesper Lynd is one of the most iconic and strongest Bond girls in the series and the catalyst for a lot of the Daniel Craig era films direction, there was no doubt she needed to take centre stage. The film is essentially all about her.

Movies come to us, so why go to the movies? Never has this idea loomed larger than in the last few months. Do you think artistic film poster design, the kind that goes beyond “photographic pieces that can be chopped and cropped into various formats, mostly consumed on a screen at a small size/resolution” will face new challenges in the current environment?

To be honest, thanks to the power of social media and the rise of fan art, I think studios are looking into it as an additional online marketing tool more and more. In the past few years, I’ve worked on many projects for Disney/Marvel/Pixar and other studios such as 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures that have adopted this method, and although the pieces are not always printed out, the reach of the channels this art is posted and shared on is great for both the film they are marketing and, if correctly credited, the artist as well. Hopefully, this is a trend that continues as it allows you to see a different side of the film, supports and grows a creative community and the fan base.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “No Time to Die”, 2020, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga

 

Will you go to the cinema to watch No Time to Die?

No, unfortunately I won’t be venturing back into the cinema. I have a small child, so I barely get the time to go much anymore, plus I just don’t feel safe in the current climate. I would’ve loved to have seen both this and Tenet, but I’ll just have to be patient and wait for home rental/streaming.

With the No Time to Die poster, released this week, you’ve arrived at your 25th James Bond poster. How intimidating was it to create a whole series on the James Bond films?

As mentioned above, I’ve been a huge Bond fan from a very young age, I remember catching a re-run of Goldfinger on TV when I was probably around 5 or 6 and from then I was hooked, I would video tape (remember them?) every film in the series when it was shown on tv and rewatch them over and over again. I even watched the terrible James Bond Jr. Cartoon and collected a fan magazine. It’s fair to say I was obsessed.

I’ve been designing film art and alternative posters for the last 15 years, ever since I was at college, I created side projects for myself to keep busy and experiment with styles and techniques whilst honouring my favourite films. I’ve wanted to do something Bond-based for years, but never really known how or when to approach it. Being a now 25 film series, it’s such a sprawling/daunting task, but the pandemic has actually paved way to giving me a little more time to work on some personal projects, due to my day to day design jobs being put on hold.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Spectre”, 2015, directed by Sam Mendez, and for “Goldfinger”, 1964, directed by Guy Hamilton

 

Do you have a favourite Bond film?

It’s a tough choice. It’s either Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or Goldeneye though. I love all three for different reasons. As mentioned, Goldfinger was the first Bond I saw, and Goldeneye was the first I saw at a cinema. And On Her Majesty’s Secret Service just feels so different but integral to the series to creatively move the franchise forward.

What other movies from your childhood stand out as having had an important impact on you?

So many it’s hard to list, but here are a few… Everything from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, ET, Back to the Future. I was also obsessed with reruns of 60s/70s tv shows like The Avengers, Prisoner, Twilight Zone, Mission Impossible.
 
 
 

”That is a project that is completely by me and for me.
I made them as a love letter to Bond and something to
keep me creatively occupied during the global pandemic.”

 
 
 
Licence to Kill is another favourite of mine, less fun and far-fetched, grittier, and introducing a tougher, darker, more serious, and, in my opinion, a damn good Bond played by Timothy Dalton. I like your take on the poster. Different (as each poster in the series is different from the rest). And I would like to ask: What is your design process like?

I love the Dalton films as well. They feel more gritty and grown up and very 80s. Those posters feel quite close in style compared to the rest of the series. But my process for all the posters was informed by the themes/story elements of the films as well as the time period that the film was from, so the older films feel more classic compared to the more modern films posters. For each piece, I rewatched the movie, jotted down some notes, quick sketches and come up with some strong concepts which I would then play around with stylistically (for example, the Dalton films posters needed to feel moody/gritty, hence the chosen colour scheme for Living Daylights).
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Licence to Kill”, 1989, directed by John Glen

 

Your film poster design style taps into an earlier age of graphic design. Both simple and complex, in a pared-down palette, unearthing new thoughts and ideas, attracting and holding instead of overwhelming the viewers’ interest and eye with subtle yet effective details. How would you describe your style and were there any early influences on your work?

For years I kind of got pigeonholed in a certain vector minimalist style, as that’s the style of work I kind of broke through with, fresh out of university in 2009. As mentioned, I was creating alternative poster art which was being circulated online through WordPress/Tumblr/Twitter/ Pinterest. That work was heavily inspired by the work of Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, amongst others. That style was fun to work in and I dip into it now and again for certain elements, but my heart has always been in strong experimental/abstract collage/montage work.

This is the work I always used to produce and I’ve been shifting back towards this style for the past 5 years or so. As well as film posters, I also work pretty heavily in editorial illustration (recent clients include The Economist, GQ, Total Film) and this style works so well across all of the mediums/outlets in which I work.

I’d say my work nowadays is inspired by Bill Gold, Andy Warhol, Hans Hillman, Richard Hamilton, Polish Film Poster design movement, Dada Art Movements, Pop Art, and many more.
 
 
 

”I had no idea what this film was, but I knew I needed
to see it based purely upon that iconic/mysterious artwork.”

 
 
 

Does this style of illustration make it less challenging for you as an artist to relate your personal, freelance work to your commissioned work?

I pride myself being a fairly adaptable person, but I do prefer working in this style purely because it’s more of a creative journey and an experimental process which is way more exciting as a creative person.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “1917”, 2019, directed by Sam Mendes

 
What makes a good movie poster?

Something that is instantly recognisable, iconic and lasting. A lot of studio output is kind of slick but disposable nowadays, whilst a lot of people still fondly remember the iconic work of someone like Bill Gold or Saul Bass from 40-50 years ago.

I also like a poster that makes people think, so that when the film begins the viewer has a resonance with it. Do you remember when it was the first time that a film poster made you want to watch a film you had’t yet viewed?

I totally agree. That’s why I try to work in some easter eggs/subtle references into each of my designs. As for the first poster that made me want to watch a film I hadn’t seen was when I stumbled upon Drew Struzan’s poster for John Carpenter’s The Thing as a kid. I had no idea what this film was, but I knew I needed to see it based purely upon that iconic/mysterious artwork.

Drew Struzan once said that his work is an expression of him, and that “the filmmaker has his story but I cannot do more than have my understanding of that, my feelings for it.”

Totally agree. That is the essence of my approach on almost every project, I try to process my own emotional response to the source material and apply an effective method for visually conveying that and the key story points as well.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Thelma & Louise”, 1991, directed by Ridley Scott

 

I would bring into discussion so many posters of yours, but I first want to mention Thelma & Louise. I love that you captured the ending, that ending that Ridley Scott insisted on, a symbolic ending, focusing on the women, on their keeping driving on in the air and then the cutting off from view mid-air. “I wanted it to be a happy ending… It’s noble… a touch of class.” I know that this was a project for Scott Free, Ridley Scott’s production company. How much of a collaborative idea was your design approach?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with Scott Free on a few projects and the process is always a smooth collaborative one. They give me a free reign to come up with some ideas and then we discuss the strongest one and develop from that point. We all knew that the ending needed to factor into the piece as it’s so iconic. The final piece is actually pretty much the rough draft that I pitched, only with a few minor artist tweaks.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Roma”, 2018, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

 

Your Roma poster really captures the feeling of the film. With a clean design but specific and beautiful texture, you once again provoke an interest in the story of the film, a film that brings you into a different life and time. Can you say a few words about your work here?

Roma was an absolute masterpiece, a beautiful piece of visual poetry, which evoked a few of my favourites from cinema history (from the movies of Fellini to The 400 Blows by François Truffaut). The idea behind my poster was to take a fairly mundane scene from the film and use this to focus upon “Cleo” in her day to day work and almost iconise the image, the use of strong textures, muted colour pallete and font inspired by Italian typography from 1950s-70s, all of this came together fairly quickly as the poster was pretty much how I envisioned it when I was watching the movie.
 

Film poster design by Matt Needle for “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”, 2019, directed by Quentin Tarantino

 

“It is probably my most personal. I think of it like my memory piece. Alfonso [Cuarón] had Roma and Mexico City, 1970. I had L.A. and 1969. This is the year that formed me. I was six years old then. This is my world. And this is my love letter to L.A.,” Tarantino said about Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino is one of the last purveyors of movie making. He loves cinema. He shows that artistic freedom is still possible, that you can still think in terms of making movies just for yourself, that he puts every thought and every sense and every emotion into making a film, that, yes, he can do what he likes and say what he likes – it’s his story. But behind the black comedy crazy bravura and auteurist excursion, he showed restraint, too, in the way he depicted Sharon Tate, her image looming over the entire film. And, with your poster, you carry that feeling on, knowing how to trust real emotion and its power – I believe that’s a good summation of cinema.

That is the perfect summation of cinema and when a director is firing on all cylinders like Tarantino was with OUATIH, that is exactly what I bring to my work as well. It’s a sense that why should there be too many rules, why can’t we just make stuff that pleases us and is accessible for all at the same time?

Circling back to my Bond posters, that is a project that is completely by me and for me. I wouldn’t really care if no one else liked them. I made them as a love letter to Bond and, as I mentioned, something to keep me creatively occupied during the global pandemic. But it turns out a lot of people have resonated with the series of work through my personal vision/twist on some iconic movies.

A limited edition of Bond movie alternative posters are available for sale on Matt’s online store: needledesign.bigcartel.com

 

Website: mattneedle.co.uk | Instagram: @needledesign
 
 

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Posted by classiq in Film, Interviews | | Leave a comment

“Letter to You”: 22.09


 
Probably some of the best news of the few good news we’ve had all year is that Bruce Springsteen is going to release a new album, Letter to You, on October 23rd. There is nothing more motivating and hopeful than artists going about their work as usual. In strange times, in hard times, in changing times, music has always played a crucial role. Bruce Springsteen’s music, too.

I remember how I was deeply moved by the story behind the cover photo for the album Born to Run, 1975, designed by in-house Columbia art director John Berg, taken by Eric Meola and featuring Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons. “We used it to invent ourselves, our friendship, our partnership on an epic scale. […] When the cover is closed, the album front is a very charming photo of a young, white, punk rock ‘n’ roller. But when it opens, a band is born and a tall tale begins. […] When you saw that cover, it was filled with the resonance, the mythology, of rock’s past, and a freshness calling toward its future,” explains Bruce in his autobiography. This kind of story gets to you, just like his music does. We need this kind of stories, we need to keep telling stories and we need to turn to each other to tell them.

So here are some more new songs, released this year, that I love, from various musicians, including Springsteen’s first single from the new album. Here is the soundtrack of this September. Documenting life through the music we are listening to.
 
 

 
 

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Editorial: Driving Steve McQueen (When Porsche Beat Ford)

Steve McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset in “Bullitt”, 1968 | Solar Productions

 

It’s the car, it’s the casual elegance, it’s this time of year, it’s the times.

It was Steve McQueen’s Mustang – a very fast, dark green 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 – that got all the fame in Bullitt (1968), but Jacqueline Bisset’s 356C Porsche lent the film class and elegance. It was not often that women enjoyed the prerogative of a sports car in movies – my favourite to this day probably remains Tippi Hedren in The Birds, driving her Aston-Martin convertible through the curves of Bodega Bay, free, liberated, driving “as a vivacious expression of her combative personality”, as Camille Paglia notes in her superb BFI book about Hitchcock’s film. It’s a joy watching Tippi control that car.

Bisset turned out to be the perfect counterpart to McQueen on another level than gunning a roadster, adding a level-headed element to an otherwise very realistic and gritty cop movie. It is a fact that style comes more naturally for men. So whenever we have a female character who stands up to her male counterpart in terms of style, especially when the man is Steve McQueen, we should sit back and take notice.

Jacqueline Bisset’s wardrobe in Bullitt (1968) is simple, functional, offbeat, often menstyle inspired, and the perfect match to Steve McQueen’s low-key all-American look. Jacqueline’s camel coat over a rollneck pullover is as much of a classic as McQueen’s defining tweed sports jacket paired with a turtleneck sweater. But the one that truly stands out for me is the sweater look: paired with blue jeans, black boots and a quilted leather bag. Free and liberated and heralding the new modern. I love the contrast between her so natural look and Steve’s sharp suit. It was usually the other way around, especially in those times. And it just happens to be the right kind of look during the gap in season, preferably to be experienced on a motoring trip. The times call for micro adventures. To be mindfully pursued, quietly enjoyed and never purposely displayed. Just like good style.
 

Steve McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset in “Bullitt”, 1968 | Solar Productions

 
 

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Posted by classiq in Editorial, Style in film | | Leave a comment

Fit for Autumn: The ‘70s Style of The Streets of San Francisco

Michael Douglas in “The Street of San Francisco” | Quinn Martin Productions, Warner Brothers

 

Seventies Michael Douglas. There’s nothing quite like The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977) to help me transit and settle into an autumn routine, however different that may be at the moment, or especially because of that. There is the chemistry between Karl Malden and Michael Douglas. There is the character of San Francisco, its reputation as a city of misfits and double-crossers that has always attracted filmmakers, a city that lended so many noir films – through its labyrinthine architecture and singular topography and its thick with fear fog – the secret-concealing sharp camera angles and the dark atmosphere that honed such a distinctive visual language and cinematic style. I have always been drawn to this San Francisco, the one that makes you go deep into the human soul, that makes you double-think everyone or stay on the edge of your seat. There is the memory of all those great car chases in genre-defining cop movies like The Lineup (1958) and Bullitt (1968) that keep playing in the back of my mind as I see its crime riddled action. And there is the 1970s style of Michael Douglas, an incredibly elegant glimpse at an otherwise very particular aesthetic.

Michael Douglas, as inspector Steve Keller, displays his usual charisma and confidence and all the unalloyed style that he is capable of. He wears plaid shirts and knitted ties with a beige corduroy jacket to work, a great way to fit into a more formal work environment while exhibiting a certain amount of casualness, which is further emphasized when he goes for a roller neck and tweed blazer (what finer examples of fall layering is there?). It’s clear that he is part of a different generation and more forward-thinking than his older partner, detective Mike Stone, played by a very ‘50s-looking Karl Malden always dressed in a suit and fedora hat. Steve’s is classic preppy style, it’s timeless, and that’s even more impressive in the fashion hazardous years of the 1970s. One more proof that lasting styles often reinterpreted and frequently updated make up for most of men’s wardrobe, regardless of the passing of time.

Steve Keller is college-educated and his wardrobe seems to reflect his background, but it also shows him more modern than his fully suited partner. And it is this elegant dishevelment of a young, intelligent man that gives view of the uncertainties of the youth and of the social changes and of the sexual revolution that defined the decade. By the middle of the decade, women would take to wearing men’s tweed jackets for day and tuxedos for the evenings.
 
 

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Posted by classiq in Style in film | | Leave a comment

The Culture Trip: September Newsletter


 
 
The Classiq Journal monthly newsletter goes out every first Sunday of the month, taking you on a culture trip: a first-hand round-up of books, films, music, podcasts, talks and adventure stories. This is September.
 
 

“The world reveals itself
to those who travel on foot.”

Werner Herzog

 
 
The mountain is my reality check. It makes me present. That fleeting, savour-every-minute-of-it summer is best felt and lived up there. To reach the peak and have an open sight line, so much space, so much freedom, above the Alpine meadows, a visual and mental reset. It does not last long because you have to climb down again. But the memory of that feeling remains and it draws you back again and again, just like the magic of summer.

Maybe it’s because I love nature and the mountain so much that the stories of those who spend their lives freely, not only mountain adventurers, but all those who live in communion with nature, be it the sea, the desert, the great outdoors, the travellers who discover the world on foot, are the ones I find most inspiring and inspirational. And when someone like Tommy Caldwell speaks about other issues, I listen. “In a world of fake news and science denial it’s sometimes hard to know which stories to listen to. So I like to occasionally conduct my own experiments.” Tommy Caldwell sets an example. Each of us can make a difference.

In the last three months I have seen people rushing to go back to their “old”, “normal” life, to bigger, better, more, always more, of everything, in denial of the present, in denial of (maybe long due) change. I have also seen people who have continued to keep their distance as much as they could, maybe even in a different place, maybe even in what seems a different life, and found solace and freedom in it, taking this as an opportunity to change themselves, to grow personally, and professionally, in more meaningful ways. Because the world is changing and so are we. Who do you choose to be?

 

 
Reading

Books
If you are as stubborn as me to let summer go, consider these recommendations from filmmakers such as Kelly Reichardt (I have recently talked to costume designer Vicki Farrell about the making of Reichardt’s western Meek’s Cutoff), Adam McKay and Barry Jenkins an extension of your summer reading list. The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, which I recommended in my March newsletter and then earlier this week wrote about at large in the journal, because it is that good a book, is mentioned twice, and Lillian Ross’ Picture is also among the ones listed. “Beautiful journalism”, is how John Huston described Picture. No stylistic flourishing, no gratuitous metaphors, no speculation or gossip, just clarity and simplicity, a probing insight into filmmaking – you can read my complete book review here.

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend. “Like the generation that first dismissed it as just another Hollywood western, we think we know what it is about, but its relentless ambiguity defeats us. We honor its ambition and its artistry. But we have no firm sense of what it means nor how truly great and disturbing it is.” The book is part true story on which the film was based and part making of the movie, and I wish it were more about the film, because the author writes beautifully about it. “But the silent grace notes – the coat, the gentle farewell, Clayton’s noble discretion – were improvised on the set. The result is classic Ford – understated, ambiguous, bathed in silent emotion.”

I wish I had read How to Raise Successful People, by educator and journalist Esther Wojcicki, from the day it was published last year (I would have said from the moment my son was born, but the book came four years after). Not because the book must be taken ad litteram (I am not the biggest fan of parenting books), but because “you’re the one who truly knows what works for your family. You might find, as I did, that the parenting philosophy in your culture isn’t a good fit. Nor is what your pediatrician tells you to do, or what everyone in your neighborhood is doing. You are the foremost expert on your family, which means you know better than any other parenting experts, including me.” It aligns with my own philosophy, speaks from experience yet allows and encourages the reader to make their own judgment (my idea of success, for example, is not part of the general dictum, and, in all honesty, each one is the measure of their own success), to trust and believe in themselves and their children. It’s simply that the author’s way of thinking, and the way she has successfully applied it in her life and profession, makes sense. It makes sense for having independent, healthy, kind children, it makes sense for a better education, society and world, it makes sense for the 21st century.

Online
A travel writer’s dream dinner party: Who makes the cut?

Issimo, the online publication that explores Italian culture, philosophy and taste, writes about the costumes of Piero Tosi for Luchino Visconti’s 1963 epic Il gattopardo: “He was an obsessive perfectionist said to have slept with pieces of fabrics to “listen” to them at night, before deciding which one to choose and how to shape the costume.”

Two of the few newsletters I have a subscription to are Craig Mod’s. Ridgeline is sent out weekly and is about walking and Japan (how about that for out of the box thinking?), and Roden is a monthly letter, a little broader in scope than Ridgeline, and covers writing, photography, books and travel.

The interview
Werner Herzog talks to Peter Gwin about his new documentary, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, his singular friendship with Chatwin, the beauty of traveling on foot (it “forced us to connect to the world”) and why he makes such a good villain on camera. When asked what he thought Bruce Chatwin would have made of this moment in history when travel’s been almost completely curtailed, Herzog answers: “I don’t know. He probably would have welcomed it, because he was against tourism and tourism is destroying so many cultures. I have a dictum: “Tourism is sin and traveling on foot virtue.” He liked it. And now tourism is severely curtailed.” His answer says it all.
 
 

 
Viewing

What I’ve been watching:
Cutter’s Way (1981): I would call this a forgotten classic. A film of its time, but whose relevance is felt to this very day. Constructed as a thriller but with emphasis on characters, anti-heroes with a damaged psyche living in a damaged American society. Jeff Bridges, John Heard, in a tour-of-force of a performance, probably his best, which just shows what a great but underrated actor he was, but the role that stood out for me was Lisa Eichhorn’s Mo. Luminous, understated, when you watch her on screen you just want to follow her around, to know what happens to her, what she does, what she thinks, her power of connection with the viewer is incredible. You can watch the film on Amazon Prime.

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985): the 1980s, New York City, and Madonna (who was emerging as an international pop star when the film was released) as Susan in punk subculture looks in a fine role that fit her like a glove: streetwise, daring, original and subversively feminine. You can watch the film on Amazon Prime.

Toni (1935): Jean Renoir’s film still impresses at this second viewing for me. I went into detail about it in this interview. The film is available in a new, restored edition from The Criterion Collection or you can watch it on the Criterion Channel.

Werner Herzog’s new documentary mentioned above, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, is available online right now and you can see where it’s playing here.
 
 
Listening

Podcasts
Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives on Desert Island Discs. The intro music alone soothes the soul.

In this episode of Pieces of Me: My Life in Seven Garments, costume designer Arianne Phillips (A Single Man, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), who calls herself a “people’s detective”, tells her story through seven key wardrobe pieces, while talking about honing her creativity on the scene of 1980s downtown New York City, movies and dressing Madonna.

Alec Baldwin talks to Woody Allen on Here’s The Thing (thank you for this one, Alec Baldwin, how I love people who can think by themselves), and if you haven’t tuned in to listen to Roger Deakins’ Team Deakins podcast, please do and enjoy that archive rich in all those great names, from actors and directors to editors and cinematographers.

Music
Edith Bowman is hosting a new podcast and that’s all I needed to know. Play Next delves into the future of music, uncovering pioneering, innovative and groundbreaking new music.

Audiobook
Right now I am making my way through Taylor Jenkins Reed’s transfixing rock novel Daisy Jones & The Six (I will probably write about it in my next newsletter) and because the audiobook (narrated by a full cast, among whom Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Robinne Lee) has come with the highest praises to me, I am passing the word forward.
 

 
 

“I have never considered myself a survivalist.
But I have found that one of the most liberating aspects of adventure
climbing is how it disconnects us from the rest of the world.”

Tommy Caldwell

 
 
Exploring

Which iconic person would you ask for a tour of their city? “Salvador Dali in Spain, or Peter Pan for a night tour of London.” I like the questions Le Kasha ask and their guests’ answers take you away.

Apparently I am not the only one who thinks that this was the summer of road trips, and I appreciate those who have taken their responsibility seriously towards themselves, their families and the others, and understood that now it is best to travel locally, inside their country of residence.
 
 
Style

Each month I highlight one fashion and/or lifestyle brand I believe in 100%. This September, it’s Obakki. Made by humans. A purpose-led lifestyle brand connecting you to world-class artisans.

In celebration of George Michael’s 30th anniversary of Freedom! ‘90, Mr. Feelgood co-founder and one of the video’s stars (and the first male supermodel), John Pearson, catches up with Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Tatjana Patitz, the five original supermodels he shared the screen with, as they talk about the making of the video, those great times in modeling and pop culture and their journeys since.
 
 
On an end note

Learning from the past: Teaching in the great outdoors to keep kids safe. When tuberculosis plagued the United States and Europe at the turn of the 20th century, health expert S. Adolphus Knopf argued that “open-air schools and as much open-air instruction as possible in kindergarten, school and college should be the rule.” Lacking a vaccine and medicines to treat the disease, health professionals and urbanists focused their energies on reforming personal behavior – social distancing guidelines in diverse social contexts were put into practice – and the environment, crusading for fresh air, sunlight and exercise, demanded reductions in housing density, and called for the construction of playgrounds and parks to serve as the “lungs” of the city. In an age when screen time has eclipsed outdoor play (and I am not talking just about these last six months), we should all crusade for a reconnection with nature.
 
 

 
 

“Parents and teachers have to know that one word, sentence, or phrase
can build a kid up, can save his life – or shatter his confidence.”

Esther Wojcicki

 
 
Note: For an easily accessible, official synopsis of the books recommended here, I have linked to the respective publishing houses. However, in these trying times, our intention is to support artists and small businesses of any kind, especially bookstores, therefore we will not link to global online book chains or corporations, leaving you to make the choice of helping your favourite independent bookshop and placing your order with them. If you don’t have a favourite indie bookstore, here is how to find one you can support.

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