FROM Jan-Christopher Horak
Eastern European Cinematographers What do the films The Deer Hunter, Deliverance and Close Encounters of the Third Kind have in common? They’re all iconic movies, and they were all shot by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. He died on New Year’s Day at the age of 85. He and his friend Laszlo Kovacs started out filming the carnage as the Soviet Union quashed the Hungarian revolt against Communist rule in 1956. Then they came to Hollywood – and they are only two of many great film photographers from Eastern Europe. How did so many extraordinary cinematographers come from one part of the world?
Berlin and Hollywood Berlin and Los Angeles share a lot in common, especially movies. Not only has Berlin always been the heart of Germany’s film business, it’s been a stepping-off point for talent that’s had a huge impact on the American movie business. Carl Laemmle founded Universal Studios. Marlene Dietrich and her director Josef von Sternberg are synonymous with the exotic American films of the ‘30s. And Billy Wilder wrote and directed one of Madeleine Brand’s favorite movies ever, “Some Like It Hot.” Of course we know names like Dietrich and Wilder. But hundreds of lesser-known German immigrés have changed the way American movies look and sound. Starting next week, Press Play will be in Berlin. Every day, we’ll be sending stories back about the political and cultural life of a city that’s both one of the most glamorous and grittiest in Europe. Publicity photo of Marlene Dietrich for the film No Highway in the Sky also known as No Highway (1951).
Previewing James Comey's blockbuster testimony Former FBI director James Comey testifies Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but his opening statement has been released. In it, he says he felt pressured by Donald Trump to declare loyalty to him and publicly clear him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?