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SELECTED PRESS


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Boston Globe, Oct 21, 2021

"...Finn visits the battle sites in the title general’s campaigns to defeat the Confederacy and “re-enacts” them with stop-motion animation of pieces from board games that simulate the clashes. The film’s seeming levity of the tone and style underscores the seriousness of the subject. Topics covered include the Confederate policy of executing captured Black soldiers — put to a stop when Grant threatened to respond in kind.

Grant comes off looking pretty good, with the exception of a few blunders here and there. He certainly looks better than the vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens. In his memoirs about the five months he spent as a prisoner in Fort Warren in Boston Harbor he whines about the food and the inhumanity of his relatively cushy conditions. It’s the beginning of a long tradition of white supremacists depicting themselves as victims." —Peter Keough


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The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant review

"Surveying the legacy of the Civil War through the strange remnants that linger in American society, The Annotated Field Guide Of Ulysses S. Grant is an essay film with bite, understatedly but convincingly arguing that the Confederacy’s great shame has yet to be expunged from the national consciousness. Filmmaker Jim Finn details the journey US General Ulysses S. Grant underwent to systematically crush the Confederate army, but this isn’t a documentary about military tactics. Rather, Finn photographs the war’s most famous battlefields as they appear now, as well as explores the odd ways that the country has memorialised the conflict, including through boardgames and bubblegum cards. Told in nine chapters and a damning coda, The Annotated Field Guide may initially seem playful, but the seriousness of purpose becomes evident soon enough..."                       
                                                     — Tim Grierson in Screen Daily

 



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The 25 Best Documentaries of 2020

"...On its own, Finn’s arrangement of research remains rich and compelling, subtly exposing the core of The Lost Cause and its legacy. But what makes the film work on a level worth praising are such stories in conversation with images of today’s public presentation of history: the highways where it has been paved with modernity, the gaudy products of myth-making and the silent landscapes where it is at once forgotten and remembered."  
                                                     — Daniel Christian, Paste Magazine

 

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Interview with KMOX 1120AM radio in St. Louis

My hometown baseball Cardinals radio station spent one hour chatting with me on their 50,000 watt station that blasts across a fifth of the United States. Two nights later I was on 550AM chatting with Ray Hartmann who founded the alternative paper The Riverfront Times.        

Interview with KTRS 550AM radio

 

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Festivals: Ann Arbor

"....'a counter history in which Trotsky evades Stalin’s reach by building an underground bunker and triumphs over his enemies. Though Encounters elicited laughter with its hyperbolic Communist rhetoric and lo-fi video effects, it also prompts a serious engagement with its central premise: that to imagine a better life for ourselves means, in part, imagining a different history" —Genevieve Yu

     

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Fox2 Morning Show interview  

Interview with the TV news about screening The Drunkard's Lament and running Branwell Brontë's Role-Playing Game at the 2018 St. Louis International Film Festival.

 

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Restricted, but Not Deterred

"....'The Juche Idea', by American experimental filmmaker Jim Finn, uses the theories of Kim Jong-il to satirize the process of art making under both socialist and capitalist systems... Steeped in the obsolete language of revolutionary art, Mr. Finn's meticulous, deadpan mockumentaries often play like unearthed artifacts from an alternate universe..."

     

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Year in Film, Hoberman's Top 10

#8 The Juche Idea
"...Something other than ironic, the years prize whatzit is steeped in the pathos of political kitsch as well as the "Juche"—North Korea's ideology of self reliance—that DIY filmmaking requires." (December 2010)

     

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MSNBC interview (November 27, 2010) link

Interviewed about North Korean propaganda, my film The Juche Idea on MSNBC. They also asked me what was going on in the mind of Kim Jong Il and the North Korean populace.

     

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It’s Not Quite Hollywood Above the 38th Parallel

"Jim Finn, maker of “artist films” (his own phrase, only partly ironic), will confound most moviegoers with “The Juche Idea,” his latest short-feature-length riff on radical-utopian notions of cinema. Not quite fiction but definitely not a documentary, it’s a bit like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch devoted to the film theories of North Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il...."

     

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TAKE 100: The Future of Film: 100 New Directors (Phaidon Press)

"…Jim Finn's La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo (2007) must be considered one of the most provocative films of the decade. By questioning dogma that preaches to the converted, the film induces a crisis in the viewer who is in search of comfort and speedy comprehension. Finn seeks to retrace the challenging paths which political films once traveled but which have now become overcrowded freeways. The modernity of La Trinchera lies in how Finn stays away from the tried and true without resorting to forms from ten, twenty or even thirty years ago, ones that are often presented as novel but in practice amounts to amnesia. Finn draws on these forms from the past but twists them around…" (from the essay by Sergio Wolf)
pdf link here

     

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The Juche Idea

"The evidence that current filmmaking is brimming with original, standard-breaking creations has to include the work of Jim Finn, whose brilliant "The Juche Idea"... effectively completes a trilogy of ultra-compact features that boldly upturn notions of documentary and fiction, propaganda thought, reality and restaging, and even what an "experimental film" actually is. To say that these films open up new possibilities for satire, ideas and language isn't an overstatement."

     

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Jim Finn, Communist Dreamer, Makes Up a Better World, One Movie At a Time

"Marching to the sound of his own drummer into the radiant future, Jim Finn is the solitary vanguard of post-Communist Communist cinema. Each of this enigmatic artist’s three low-budget features has been a fastidious, jerry-built re-creation of an ideological fantasyland..."

     

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Comedy of Errors

"...the filmmaker's "utopian comedies," as they have been called, reveal as much about the savage follies of democratic societies as the despotic governments they claim as subjects..."

     

Fun with Monoliths

"...Jim Finn's funny and weirdly endearing the Juche Idea, a sui generis genre-straddler that screens at the Museum of Modern Art..."

     

Cahiers du Cinema Spain: Utopía Yanqui

Spanish-language article about the The Juche Idea, La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo, and Interkosmos. Plus an interview (including translation).

     

SELECTED INTERVIEWS

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Entrevista Jim Finn

An interview printed in Buenos Aires' largest circulation newspaper's weekly cultural magazine. (Summer 2008)

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Korea Daily

An interview in New York's largest Korean-language newspaper about the The Juche Idea. English translation available here

     

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Incite! Journal: Interview with Jim Finn

 

     

SELECTED PRESS FOR LA TRINCHERA LUMINOSA DEL PRESIDENTE GONZALO

Avant-Garde 2007

"...A crypto-retro-Marxist faux-documentation of one day in a Peruvian women's prison populated by Shining Path Maoists, Trinchera has the flattened feel and relentless tempo of a long-lost artifact of low-tech propaganda... its compulsive ambition only furthers its enigmas."

     

La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo

"...Viewers arriving late will wonder what they've stumbled into, for Finn's simulation of an actual Maoist cadre is utterly convincing..."

     

La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo

"...a fertile cinematographic intervention, with its own energy and mystery that forms part of a novel genre, a kind of Brechtian theatre piece and essay film, but without commentary or reflections from director..."

     

SELECTED PRESS FOR INTERKOSMOS

Village Voice: Interkosmos

"Jim Finn's Interkosmos, a retro gust of Communist utopianism..."

     

Interkosmos

"A delightfully tongue-in-cheek homage to a fictional East German space project, Jim Finn's "Interkosmos" uses recreated newsreels combined with musical interludes to resurrect the '70s in all its Brezhnev-era glory..."

     


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art.es

Bilingual article in a Spanish art magazine about the The Juche Idea, La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo, and Interkosmos.

     

Additional Interkosmos press

     

ADDITIONAL MEDIA AND INTERVIEWS

AFI Film Fest 2008
(4:34)

Filmmaker interview for The Juche Idea at the American Film Institute Festival

     

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2008
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"Getting your film out there and more..." interview for The Juche Idea

     

Planeta Cine
(0:32)

Filmmaker interview for La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo on Spanish TV

     

RADIO

WRTI Philadelphia, Creatively Speaking
Interkosmos at the Institute of Contemporary Art 9/12/09

WBEZ Chicago, 848
Interkosmos review 5/31/06


 

 

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