Monday, January 28, 2008

Film Magazines



I'm curious to know: what film magazines do you search out, read, and find valuable?

For me, in addition to the mainstays--like Cineaste, Cinema Scope, Film Comment, Rouge, Screening the Past, Senses of Cinema--I've just taken out a subscription to Film Quarterly. And I cancelled my long-time Sight & Sound subscription (a tad expensive).

I've been looking at e-Cahiers in English but a good portion of the magazine proper is available only to paying subscribers. (Are there any Cahiers subscribers out there who would recommend it?)

I've also been frequenting the musty periodical stacks in the college library for old volumes of Film Comment from the 70s and 80s. Not only do they contain many writers I know and like (e.g. Durgnat, Rosenbaum, Robin Wood) but also some new-found favorites like Richard T. Jameson (see Jim Emerson's post which quotes from Jameson's wonderful 1980 essay "Style vs. 'Style'") and Ronnie Scheib (I think she writes for Variety now but among other pieces I can recommend an amazing Ida Lupino essay from the Film Comment archives).

The new issue of Film International is devoted to Bazin. The articles look interesting but are available in the print edition only (e.g. William Rothman's "Bazin as Cavellian Realist"; Diane Stevenson's "Godard and Bazin"; TIFF report by Barry Keith Grant). I'm considering subscribing to it.

I like to visit the Film Reference Library in downtown Toronto from time to time. They carry a large assortment of international film mags and they keep a deep archive (their periodical holdings are searchable here). On my next trip, I'll be looking to dig into the archives of Framework and the Asian journal Cinemaya.

Last week, thanks to Keith Uhlich and Adrian Martin, I discovered the Danish magazine 16:9. Each issue has one article in English. From the archives, I've culled a selection: Joe McElhaney on Fritz Lang's "cinema of the hand"; Ethan de Siefe on Frank Tashlin; a 4-part interview with David Bordwell (one; two; three; four); Richard Raskin on Groucho Marx; Murray Smith on popular music in film; Maximilian Le Cain on Tarkovsky's Mirror; V.F. Perkins on Letter from an Unknown Woman; Jonathan Frome on Mizoguchi's Life of Oharu; and Adrian Martin on Abbas Kiarostami and Larry Clark.

Finally, any particular magazine archives (and periods therein) you value and recommend hitting up at the library? Suggestions always welcome.

pic: Larry Clark self-portrait, 1962.

59 Comments:

Blogger nitesh said...

A friend of mine gave me a couple of issues of Vertigo, an independent Film and Video Magazine(Published Quartley ), and I found the magazine extremely interesting and absorbing. The magazine had articles on Straub to Raul Ruiz; they not only covered various artist and development in the field of image and sound, but also presented a lot of reflection on the foundation and motion of images. And, I for one, found the magazine really worth every single second I spend reading it, definitely highly recommended.

Vertigo Website:- www.vertigomagazine.co.uk

Last Year at the Osian film festival, I bought a couple of back issues of Cinemaya(Osian foundation are the publisher of the magazine), none of the issues I bought had anything interesting or absorbing to say or interpret, except for few articles here and there, the magazine was a pretty waste of money for me.

January 28, 2008 7:40 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Nitesh, I have a couple of old, interesting issues of Cinemaya from about 8 years ago, before it was taken over by Osian, but I haven't seen any issues since. I do like Vertigo and have only read it on-line. On my recent visit to India, I tried searching for non-Bollywood film mags (focused on Indian 'art cinema' or world cinema) but didn't come across any.

January 28, 2008 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Ben said...

It's been awhile since I've read it but I used to enjoy the Canadian magazine "Cineaction." Robin Wood is a regular contributor to the magazine.

January 28, 2008 8:26 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me, Ben. I have about a dozen issues of Cineaction, bought singly at Toronto newsstands over the years. I remember Robin Wood's pieces on teen cinema and Ethan Hawke; and a great, illuminating interview Mark Peranson and Andrea Picard did with Bruno Dumont around the time of Humanite. I'm not sure I've seen any of the pre-'99 issues; I'll have to add that archive to my digging list at the Film Reference Library.

btw, the library also carries a large selection of films you can view on-site. I just discovered they have Yang's Confucian Confusion on laserdisc. And they also carry Claire Denis' terrific but rare U.S. Go Home. I've heard it's where most of the screeners sent to TIFF end up, which means they have a lot of undistributed films available to watch.

January 28, 2008 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Ah, a topic that brings out the 'library lover' in me! Many magazines I have looked into because I was searching for particular writers: hence, the long-forgotten (it seems) AMERICAN FILM, from roughly mid or late 70s to mid or late 80s, has some good pieces by Rosenbaum, Durgnat, Wollen and Scheib (glad you mentioned her. Girish: her work is not prolific, but it's great); the British FILMS AND FILMING (naive me had to learn from reading Richard Dyer why that magazine had a curious penchant for 'male beefcake' on the cover of so many issues!) used to use Durgnat as its 'house intellectual' through the '60s and then again (when it was just FILMS) in the '80s; MONOGRAM from the mid 70s by Elsaesser & Co, about 6 issues, is very much worth digging up and devouring. MOVIE in the 70s and 80s is very rich, and late 70s FRAMEWORK is very eclectic, before it goes into a more militant (but just as interesting) period under Willemen's guidance. The Australian magazine (aimed at media teachers) METRO (less well known than the Aussie Internet mags) has some fine pieces, particularly in the mid 90s when it went 'cinephile' for a while: Scheib, Durgnat, Tim Lucas, Rohdie, some translations. Very rare and hard to get today are the STUFFING publications done in Australia by Philip Brophy: the one on film genre which I co-edited in 1987 holds up well.

January 28, 2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger Ali Arikan said...

I only read Sight and Sound these days. I sometimes pick up a copy of Antrakt, a Turkish film magazine, which is a particularly good resource for contemporary Turkish cinema (it also features translations from other international journals, though the translations themselves leave a lot to be desired).

I used to read Neon, a short-lived middle-brow British film magazine from the mid-90's. I still have all the issues, which I revisit from time to time. I also enjoy London Time Out's film section.

January 28, 2008 10:06 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Adrian--some great tips in there! They'll come in handy on my next visit to Toronto.

Since you mentioned Metro, I will put in a word and hope that your piece, "There's a Million Stories, and a Million Ways to Get There from Here," (2004) will be available to link and read on the Internet someday. It's among my favorites of your writings and it really helped me to think through some basic issues about cinema when I first encountered it. I still think of it often. I know that the essay it led to, "Driven," is available on pdf at Experimenta but the text size is super-small and difficult to read. (And this essay deserves to be widely read!)

January 28, 2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ali, Antrakt sounds like the magazine I tried to unsuccessfully find an equivalent for when I was in India recently. I still have the old issues of Sight & Sound (about 10 years worth) but one thing I've been doing (and my parents find this sacrilegious) is razoring out all the reviews and essays I really like and putting them in 'author files'.

January 28, 2008 10:15 AM  
Blogger Moviezzz said...

One of the problems with film magazines is that, unless you live in a big city, and have a great newsstand, it is impossible to find them. Even CINEASTE isn't always available in Barnes and Noble.

FILM COMMENT is probably the best of the widely available, and CINEASTE. PREMIERE was good until its demise.

I used to subscribe to SIGHT AND SOUND in the early to mid 90's, but it was always so filled with mistakes that I couldn't continue subscribing. I was cringing from all the errors more than I was getting anything from it. Once they stated that Udo Kier was a regular in all of Wim Wenders films, that was it.

SHOCK CINEMA can be a fun one, and is usually found in Barnes and Noble. It is reviews and interviews about obscure cult films.

There are also a lot of British film magazines that can usually be found. Rather expensive, so I don't buy them regularly. But, they sometimes have some good writing.

January 28, 2008 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Goodness, I don't know how you guys do it. Even with just what I found on the internet---and that has to be severely slimmed down or else it becomes overwhelming---and with whatever book on cinema I'm currently reading, I have so little time for other print reading. Beyond Film Comment and Cinema-Scope, which I barely have time for even with the extended lag between new issues, I'm not sure I can handle all these recommendations!

January 28, 2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Moviezzz and Daniel.

Daniel, if I lived in New York, with its plentiful access to theatrical cinema, I might go to a few more movies and read somewhat less! And even a quick look at your screening log shows what a dedicated film-goer you are.

I'm not sure if others have this experience but I feel the strong need to maintain a certain balance between film-watching and film-reading, not just on an aggregate level (e.g. yearly or monthly) but also on a micro-level (e.g. weekly or even daily). So, the day doesn't quite feel 'right' if I haven't done some watching and also some reading.

Also, Daniel, you referred to the difficulty of keeping up just with Cinema Scope and Film Comment. I don't read any of the film mags from cover to cover, and I'm usually drawn to certain writers more than others ('auteurism' in criticism?). So my magazine reading is extremely non-comprehensive.

January 28, 2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

An advocate of online film journalism, there are only a few print trades that I dish subscription money out to: Film Comment and movieScope. I also subscribe to Esquire and Wired, which feature the infrequent cine-essay, often more entertaining than analytical. When I'm out-and-about with loose change in my pocket, I've often picked up Paste (for Rob Davis' work and those nifty DVD samplers), Creative Screenwriting, Written By and Script (to keep in touch with the screenwriting angle), and Filmmaker (for its indie-focus). I subscribed to Variety for a long while but now I just pick them up whenever they're offered free in press rooms at film festivals.

Like yourself, Girish, I frequently research at Senses of Cinema, Rouge and Screening the Past. Like Nitesh, Vertigo has been on my Evening Class magazine sidebar for some time now.

Some you haven't mentioned: I'm a great fan of Bright Lights Film Journal. Gary Morris and his team strike an inspiring balance between academic and populist concerns and they queer films in insightful, humorous and—as far as I'm concerned—necessary ways, let alone underscoring the value of queer auteurship and queer spectatorship.

I browse through Undercurrent, Offscreen and Film-Philosophy a lot. Midnight Eye is essential for Japanese. There are several others; but, that's enough for now.

January 28, 2008 3:52 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Disagree on Cinemaya, at least on individual articles covering films that otherwise wouldn't have any exposure. I'm thinking of Filipino, Indonesian, Malay films in particular.

January 28, 2008 5:23 PM  
Blogger Ignatius Vishnevetsky said...

Girish,
On "auteurism in criticism," I'll have to agree: I'm more likely to read an article if its by a writer I like (or have heard good things about) than if it's about a film or filmmaker I'm interested in.
And I'll second Maya on Bright Lights Film Journal.

January 28, 2008 6:03 PM  
Blogger weepingsam said...

My journal reading is fairly standard - Film Comment, Cineaste, Film Quarterly - after years of annoyance at not being able to find CinemaScope, I subscribed to it. Other than that, I'll pick up things that look interesting, or if I need to have something light to carry with me to read, but that's about it. I usually buy CineAction when I can find it, though I don't exactly seek it out. Truth is, with the amount of reading I do - not all that much, comparatively - if I read many more magazines, I'd never have any time to read books - takes me ages now to get through a book. I also keep up with a bunch of music magazines - Mojo, Wire, Signal to Noise, The Big Takeover - and occasionally more general interest things like Stop Smiling... and of course The Comics Journal.

January 28, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Ryan Krahn said...

As you might know, Screen Journal (a journal that needs no introduction to you, I'm positive) put their full issues online (accessible from any library/university with a subscription) and I've especially benefited from their portfolios (their recent Haneke portfolio in particular).

January 28, 2008 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Jim Flannery said...

JUMP CUT is also largely, if not completely, online back to issue 1, here.

Usually FILM HISTORY (in JSTOR) has at least one article per issue with appeal outside a subsubsubdiscipline. e.g. bayareans who are going to the PFA "Medieval" series this month might find an article from 14:1 (2002), called "Were the Peasants Really So Clean? The Middle Ages in Film" useful :-).

January 29, 2008 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Jim Flannery said...

oops, that should've been 14:2. Sigh. Spellcheck can't fix everything.

January 29, 2008 1:20 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

I really like Trafic, but it's in a language I don't read very well. I keep stacks of them around the house to encourage me to learn, and sometimes they'll publish a French translation of something that I've read elsewhere in English (like Rouge does in reverse), which is a great opportunity for learning French.

January 29, 2008 2:14 AM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

Girish, this just arrived in the mail. It may be of interest to the community:

Dear Editor,

This email is to inform you about our upcoming event, Design Cinema 2008,
Third International Design and Cinema Conference, Istanbul Turkey between
November 19-22, 2008.

Design and Cinema Conferences are one of the major conference series in
the intersecting realm of design discipline and filmic creation.
The theme for the upcoming conference is design-en-scene and it will be a
great occasion to bring researchers and professionals from various
disciplines of design, cinema and also philosophy and film & production
studies together.

The event also includes the Works Exhibition where physical outcomes of
both disciplines will be presented.

At the moment we have two calls open: call for papers and call for works.
We would like to kindly ask you to include a brief news or information on
your publication about our conference. For all detailed information and
hi-res images please refer to the press section on our website:

http://www.designcinema2008.org/press.html

Thanks in advance,

Best,

Editor
Design and Cinema Conferences
http://www.designcinema2008.org
editor@designcinema2008.org

January 29, 2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

I think LITERATURE/FILM QUARTERLY is interesting. It has great articles on Alain Robbe-Grillet among other things. You can browse the topics of the articles here

I sometimes read German Films Quaterly online, but only when they have articles on interesting directors. You can read this magazine here

Or you can go directly to articles about interesting directors here

January 29, 2008 10:23 AM  
Blogger Christian Keathley said...

Great to see the reference to Richard Jameson's "Style vs 'style'", which was one of the most important things I read as a high school cinephile. Also, try to track down some copies of the Canadian film magazine Take One, from the late 70s. Good stuff.

January 29, 2008 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

Girish, I subscribe to E-Cahiers (after I learned that it would be less than half of the price i used to pay for it at newstand here, I suspect it's probably cheaper for US readers than the print french version as well). I don't think their system is very user friendly and the magazine has never been as bland as it is now (I always took more pleasure in reading Les Inrock nowadays), but if you have time to read them there's always a few articles worthy the attention and the translations aren't bad.

As for my reading habits I usually buy Film Comment and El Amante. Every year I tell myself that I'm gonna start to sign Cinemascope, which is impossible to find here in São Paulo, but I never do, but I always like the articles that they late available on their site. Also, I only read a couple of issues but the Spanish version of Cahiers is actually better than the french one.

As for online reading outside of the usual english reading places, I strong reccomend two spanish magazines Miradas del Cine (http://www.miradas.net/), whom did the original of that Adrian Martin interview that you link lasy year, and Tren das Sombras (http://www.trendesombras.com/). And in portuguese, we have at least three real good magazines: Cinetica (www.revistacinetica.com.br), Contracampo (www.contracampo.com.br) and Paisà (http://www.revistapaisa.com.br/).

January 29, 2008 12:57 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael, Noel, Ingnatius, Sam, Ryan, Jim, Rob, Ray, Jit, Chris & Filipe -- Thank you so much for all the great suggestions and links!

January 29, 2008 2:08 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Girish, thanks for the heads up on the new issue of Film International; as a Bazinophile, I'm really curious to check it out. (Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way of purchasing single issues via their website; it's subscription only.)

One online journal we should mention is Alexis Tioseco's Criticine, which offers commentary (especially on indie, underground, experimental films) on Southeast Asian cinema by indigenious writers.

January 29, 2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Doug, my local Barnes & Noble carries Film International but they haven't gotten the new, Bazin issue in yet. And thanks for reminding us of Alexis' magazine; I have his blog (Concentrated Nonsense) on the blogroll under his last name.

January 29, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

I've been subscribing to e-Cahiers for six months now, and I love it! I feel as if I've been wandering all my life and finally found my home.... Not that the content of the magazine is beyond reproach; and it's amazing that they still haven't implemented a "print all" function. But, having grown up with a version of auteurism that was increasingly inflected by American pragmatism, I'm thrilled to tap into an alternate world where the politique evolved while retaining its French temperament.

I enjoyed Adrian's fine article on Larry Clark, who has gotten nowhere near the appreciation he deserves.

January 29, 2008 2:52 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh cool, I think I even have a B&N gift card with some cash left on it (from years ago). I'm surprised I hadn't noticed the mag before.

January 29, 2008 2:52 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Did't think I contributed much, just endorsed the value of Cinemaya, however imperfect, as a magazine.

I'll throw this in, however: Tilman Baumgartel's Kino-Sine: Philippine-German Cinema Relations" is not just a history of German and Philippine cinema interatction, it's also practically a history of Philippine independent cinema. Most of the significant players are named, from granddaddy Kidlat Tahimik to newcomers like John Torres and Lav Diaz.

It's probably too esoteric for most film enthusiasts, but for fanatic completists and those actually interested in Philippine cinema, it's fascinating stuff.

January 29, 2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see if this time I make it, at my third try. But really, being a compulsive reader, I think that, although this may not be the best of times, there are yet enough things that can give you clues if you read them, as well as some past criticism that should be reminded, specially for younger people who may have never read it.
Apart from the (largely English-speaking) sources you listed (and about which I'm not so generous: I feel "Bright Lights" and "Film Comment", interesting as they remain, saw better, much better times; I only very occasionally can find anything worth reading in "Sight and Sound" or any of the "Cahiers" wherever since 1989, apart from Alain Bergala for one year and Jean Douchet as yet, so I keep buying it every month, out of a long-lived habit), and although several others have been mentioned in the previous posts, I must say the two most interesting magazines (on paper) are for me still French: Raymond Bellour's "Trafic" and Bernard Eisenschitz' "Cinéma" (which excised from the far too expensive "Cinémathèque" review and has arrived at least to its 014issue, of late always including very interesting DVDs).
Alongside which I try to take a look, regularly, to several other things, on paper and on-line, in as many languages as I can read.
In English, apart from Chris Fujiwara, Adrian Martin, Fred Camper, and sometimes David Bordwell, Kent Jones, Tag Gallagher or Jonathan Rosenbaum, I usually find interesting Noel Vera's "Critic After Dark", "Cinemasparagus", "Kino Slang", "Elusive Lucidity", "Film Journey", "Gareth's Movie Diary", David Kehr, D+Katz, "My Gleanings", Dan Sallitt, Matt Zoller Seitz, "Self-Styled Siren" (I regret to say that women writing on film remain much too scarce, even on the Net), Alexis Tioseco, "Flickhead", "Bent Clouds", James Quandt's "Cinematheque Ontario", "CinemaScope","Film International", the few things in English in the Danish "16:9", "Off Screen" (or "Hors-Champ" in French), the hard to find "CineAction" (only for Robin Wood it would be worthy of reading), your blog and several other things I may not recall just now. I miss very much, and should be searched-for in old book stores or libraries, the English "Movie", "Monogram" and "The Brighton Film Review", and even "Motion". And I wish Victor F. Perkins were writing all the time, and Andrew Brittoon was not dead. "The Velvet Light Trap" was for some years my favorite American magazine, together with the early, beautiful "Bright Lights". Both "Cinema" (UK and US) were interesting, as were "Framework" and "Wide Angle" before they became almost unreadable. "Rouge", "Undercurrent"and "Senses of Cinema" (all on-line) seem to house the most interesting things I read nowadays in English.
In France, "La Lettre du cinéma" seems to have ceased its activity, as did before "Tausend Augen", "Cineorgon" and several others (and well before "Présence du Cinéma"), so I'd have to settle with "Cadrage", "Dérives", "Décadrages". I much prefer the French "revue" called "Vertigo" than its British namesake. Once I knew of several Canadian, Belgian and Swiss magazines which were of interest, I have no idea nowadays. Occasionally, "Positif" has a good dossier on some filmmaker or other, as always.
Italy had a good tradition (for me, rather "Filmcritica" and the short-lived "Cinema e film", even "Ombre rosse", than "Bianco e Nero" and such things) which seems to have vanished (together with the good Italian films?). I'm unable to find where Adriano Aprà writes, Enzo Ungari died prematurely, Maurizio Ponzi became an unrespected filmmaker...
The same seems to have happened with Mexican magazines, and in most South American countries the time of "Hablemos de Cine" (Peru), "Cine & Medios" (Argentine) or "Ojo al Cine" (Colombia) seems past, and there are only a few survivors, some pretty much in activity (Argentine's "El Amante Cine"), others languishing (Peru's "La gran ilusión").
Portugal had also very interesting magazines like "M", but I cannot read even Joao Bénard da Costa anywhere. Some very interesting things can be found in Portuguese on line, mostly from Brazil: "Contracampo", "Paisá", "Dias felizes", "Dragao", "Anotaçoes de um Cinéfilo".
I once read three "Filmkritik" issues (on Ford, Godard & Straub) with the help of a dictionary, but I have no more the energy or the time to such an effort. However, one must keep searching and reading. The same as a filmmaker must know both the past of his art and the farthest contemporary manisfestations of it, I feel anyone writing about movier or cinema should read other critics, and of course, follow only those he finds truly interesting or intriguing. Even if you disagree with them and don't share many of your tastes, they may give you insights. I wish I could get more Hasumi or Tsyvian or Olaf Müller or Peter von Bagh or John Belton in any language I can read.
Best,
Miguel Marías

January 30, 2008 4:32 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you--so many great ideas in there!

January 30, 2008 7:50 AM  
Blogger Ali Arikan said...

Flıckhead - Thanks for the link to the Design and Cinema conference in Istanbul. It looks very interesting.

January 30, 2008 7:58 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

Michael, thanks for mentioning Paste. I sometimes feel like the cinephile in the wilderness over there, but it can be fun writing about, say, Hou Hsiao-hsien for an audience that wouldn't otherwise look for that sort of thing.

January 30, 2008 11:52 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Well, I'm happy to say you're not in the wilderness here, Rob, and we enjoy your dispatches, most recently your Sundance round-up.

January 30, 2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger Gareth said...

The magazines I open have almost all been covered by this point, although I do also try to keep up with a few academic journals, since I have access to a big university library. The journal I seek out most often is Studies in French Cinema, and more occasionally the Australian Journal of French Studies. The latter obviously has a broader focus, but film is a pretty reliable theme.

In complete contrast, I often find that some of the "serious" magazines don't do much to nourish my interest in the more mainstream parts of cinema: I love the French Premiere for its production photos of upcoming films (especially French films), but also appreciate that the magazine is willing and able to step beyond the mainstream from time to time, too (sometimes the "serious" magazines seem less able to pull off this trick of straying from their usual arthouse/festival beat). If you are interested in mainstream genre cinema, especially films given short shrift by those of an auteurist bent (e.g. French popular comedies), magazines like Premiere or Studio are an essential resource for reviews and background, though academic articles on such films don't always exploit this resource, preferring instead to read between the lines of e.g. Cahiers.

January 30, 2008 4:15 PM  
Anonymous jim emerson said...

Girish: I still pick up Sight and Sound on the newsstand occasionally, but I feel the same way: a US subscription is really expensive! Most of my film reading these days is done online or in books -- and there's more of it than I can possibly keep up with. (As an admirer of Peter Gay's Freud biography, I just started his latest book "Modernism: The Lure of Heresy," which includes a section on film.)

RTJ gave me permission to reprint "Style vs. 'Style'" but I haven't figured out how to OCR it from my Film Comment photocopies yet!

January 30, 2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

I second Jim here: I read about 95% of my film-related content online these days, partly in a research capacity (searching out provocative links for The House Next Door) but mostly because it's an addiction that I'd feed anyway.

Among established mags that still put out a print edition, I'd probably Sight and Sound as the best overall, in that it satisfies my craving for straight reviews, thinkpieces, features and interviews, and even when they're behind the curve (due to the world's release schedule) they can usually be counted on to say at least something that intrigues me or gets my dander up.

I read Cineaste as well, although the time lag between film releases and when the reviews appear is so great (by 21st century standards) that my fire has often cooled a bit by that point. They have a knack for finding the personal and the political in pretty much everything they cover.

My favorite film mag overall is still the late American Film. I still miss it. They were smart, funny and readable even to punks like me, who discovered the publication in high school back before I had sufficient knowledge and vocabulary to engage with much of what they wrote about; that didn't matter much, though, because unlike a lot of serious film publications, they took the trouble to explain references that might not be instantly recognizable to every reader, pointed me in new directions by connecting unknown films to known ones, and otherwise struck a nice balance between provocation, showmanship and instruction.

When American Film ceased publication in the early 90s, they replaced my subscription with Movieline -- a hit-and-miss, often willfully trivial magazine that had its share of great moments (Joe Queenan!). Movieline is now defunct as well.

I will stop now before I depress myself further.

January 30, 2008 8:23 PM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Also: Thanks, Adrian, for prompting me to share my American Film wistfulness.

January 30, 2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Gareth, Jim and Matt. I don't believe I've ever cracked open an issue of Studies in French Cinema, Australian Journal of French Studies, or American Film. But I will.

Jim, I'm not a hi-tech fellow, but couldn't you scan in the RTJ piece and convert it to pdf? Or would that make the file size too large?

January 31, 2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Links:
-- Dan Sallitt on Jia Zhang-ke's Still Life.
-- The Siren on the best and worst of the Best Actor Oscars.
-- Chris Cagle: some reflections on film theory and the film studies discipline.
-- At Filmbo's Chick Magnet: News of Godard DVD announcements and some JLG video clips.
-- Larry Aydlette posts a Youtube clip ("The Future of Online Film Criticism?").

January 31, 2008 5:14 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

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January 31, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

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January 31, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

Also: back issues of the Canadian "Take One". I've only ever found one issue (with Brian De Palma on the cover, with a sponsored contest asking inspiring writers to send in a couple pages of a screenplay based on an unproduced De Palma treatment ... the published treatment being BLOW OUT!)

January 31, 2008 9:32 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

Working in a bookstore has encouraged me to once again to keep up with the monthlies and quarterlies, something I've stopped doing in recent years due to just how much damned wonderful stuff is out there on the web (and this site is but a fine example).

The ones I never seem to miss are the regulars others have stated: "Film Comment", "Cineaction", "Cinemascope", "Sight & Sound" (which I now seldom purchase after a lengthy perusal at work) -- but one area that I've not seen brought up yet are the ones dedicated to genre, particularly "Video Watchdog" and "Filmfax"; these are two magazines that I simply couldn't do without.

And I may have missed "American Film" when it was new due to my age, but I've got an almost complete run now and no doubt find it just as invaluable as others have mentioned above. The Blake Edwards cover issue (promoting VICTOR/VICTORIA) is a must for any of his enthusiasts.

January 31, 2008 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Recktal Brown said...

Just a margin leaning question, given the discussion of film magazines, etc. What are peoples opinions on the '68-'72 era of Cahiers du Cinema? It always seemed funny, or at least revealing, to me that the english language translations are available in paperback in two volumes up until '67 or so and the '68-? volume is only a hardcover. Perhaps this reveals the sort of "academic" appeal of this era of Cahiers but it is an era I've always found to be on great interest. It certainly marks a much greater interest in more intricate philosophical and political ideas and has seemed to have a legacy and influence inside academia whereas earlier eras have a more general and populist (within the marginal world of film-nerds) appeal and influence (perhaps due to the presence of such great directors in its pages).

This also leads to a question of recent trends in Cinema Studies that deal with the legacy and import of ideas in the field, I'm thinking of the interesting essay/reaction in the recent issue of the journal October, (122) (a journal that does often deal with film, though more widely focused on the arts and beyond, though I would offer it in these listings as a very worthwhile consistent read) D.N. Rodowick's An Elegy for Theory(thats from memory, not sure if it is the exact title) in which he discusses the one time dominant modes of film theory (largely in academia), and wisely recognizes both Deleuze and Cavell as thinkers with lasting revelance worth learning from and thinking with, or perhaps buggering if you will, and the Malcolm Turvey response which counters Cavell while looking towards Wittgenstein (as Cavell does though Turvey disagress with his ideas and interpretation) and analytic philosophy as an illuminating source.

February 01, 2008 2:43 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Aaron, thanks for the tip on the Blake Edwards issue of American Film. Edwards is one of the few auteurs by whom I've seen fewer films than my (Clouseauian) parents have! But I found two Peter Lehman books on him recently and plan to do an Edwards immersion this summer.

RB, I ran off a copy of the recent Rodowick essay (and Turvey's response to it) the other day but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Re: your Cahiers du Cinema question, this post from last year featured some related discussion on it that you may find of interest.

February 01, 2008 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Jim Flannery said...

Oh, this talk of Cavell and Wittgenstein makes me feel silly for forgetting: Film-Philosophy, also with all of their archives online. Book reviews are a major portion of the text, often with responses from the authors.

February 01, 2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Jim, that's another one for the blogroll.

Adrian's column in the new Filmkrant: "Lists, Lists and more Lists."

February 01, 2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger craig keller. said...

Hi Girish --

An interesting post. Actually, e-Cahiers is available to anyone, not just subscribers -- separate issues can be purchased for 4 or 5 euros. Of course, one can also "e-subscribe" for a cheaper rate, and access every issue as it hits the virtual kiosk. As you noted, a selection of pieces are posted on the main cahiersducinema.com domain in English and a few other languages.

I'm always stunned when people pooh-pooh the Cahiers -- "it's bland" or "not what it used to be," etc. Pure contrarianism. One single Emmanuel Burdeau essay in any given issue basically shames the entirety of the English-language film-criticism that finds it's way into print any bi-month period in North America. (And take into account the fact that the rédaction of Cahiers are producing a word-count on a monthly basis that's ten-fold+ what any English-language critic is expected to turn in the same, or even across a substantially longer, amount of time whether on salary or on an assignment basis!) Even if/when Burdeau doesn't make "rational" sense -- and there's far too much rationality in anglophone criticism, so god bless him -- he's never got a lack of ideas, no matter how ridiculous (le cinéma subtil) they may seem at first glance. He's always testing the limits of new concepts, regardless of when they themselves, or the theoretical-readership, push back.

There are no Bergalas, Douchets, Skoreckis, in English-language criticism.

Real ideas — real abstract concepts — a real attempt to posit every month's or year's cinema into a personally conceived (singular) narrative or indeed "histoire du cinéma.." Side-by-side with an engagement in the literary and/or philosophical "événements" of the moment — a stark contrast to the decidedly anti-intellectual attitude at play in the anglophone rags, where a writer must always (presumably) assume a lower-/middle-brow audience (or at least assume a reader who is too busy with "real life" — a spouse, children, a job he/she doesn't care much for but which pays city rent and entitles one to benefits — to be able to keep up with other things going on in books, movies, history, world-affairs, culture, — that is, "unreal-life"), doffing his cap to the reader should "too high-falutin" a reference or concept bubble up, lest he or she "don't know what you're talking about" — all this, and in the age of Google, no less!

But more (or less) broadly speaking, the grand problem is the stultifying lack of poetry, ardor, polemic, art in the anglophone print-runs — everyone is so goddamn level-headed, master-of-his/her-domain, doubtless, urbane. American critics seem almost exclusively to be looking for legs-up toward "getting published on a consistent basis" — and, thus, all seem perfectly content to play the "good little student," the well-behaved boy-becoming-a-man. So shameful — so indexical!

The dominant anglophonicritical attitude being, after all: "I believe I can express this mystery in a film. Watch me attempt it in 500 words, strong [and ruinous -ed.] in the conviction that criticism is a simple liminal tool. We delight in turning the Ghost into the Wafer."

Hardly any of these eminently publishable anglophone film-writers want to be different, they merely wish to be good, or professional, or something like that. Far cry from Serge Daney stuffing a hundred francs down the little monkey's underwear.

craig.

February 02, 2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi, Craig -- You draw some rousing and thought-provoking distinctions between anglophone and francophone film criticism! Your words and Dan's have inspired me to venture forth into a Cahiers subscription.

February 02, 2008 10:10 PM  
Blogger girish said...

New releases at Netflix this morning include: a Godard box set (Passion, Detective, Prenom: Carmen, Helas Pour Moi); Paradjanov's Shadows of Forgetten Ancestors & Ashik Kerib; Sembene's Mooladé; Allan Moyle's Weirdsville; The Assassination of Jesse James; Patricia Rozema's When Night is Falling; and Julie Taymor's Across the Universe.

February 03, 2008 9:22 AM  
Anonymous thepopview said...

The Atlantic just opened their archives on a free basis. It's very hard to search them, unless you know what you're looking for, but then you might stumble across a 1964 essay from Pauline Kael entitled "Are Movies Going to Pieces?" which starts off as a critique of horror films and then turns into an examination of contemporary films that don't seem to hang together solidly. Or perhaps you might want to read Kael's 1966 profile of Marlon Brando? Here's a transcript of a 1994 panel on the state of film, with Michael Sragow. Finally, here is a collection of film articles, from 1915 to 1980.

You might also think about getting the complete collection of New Yorker magazine issues from February 1925 to February 2005.

On an unrelated note, do you own a copy of Roger Ebert's Book of Film?

February 03, 2008 6:26 PM  
Anonymous thepopview said...

To echo Matt above, in its day, Movieline was a great snarky alternative to Premiere. I wish I'd kept my copies, just as I wish I'd kept my copies of Spy.

February 03, 2008 6:34 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

I agree with Craig about Burdeau, though it might not true for every Cahiers writers (Frodon being more of the anglophone type). And at Positif they do the same... pro bono (their staff is usually less "whimsical"/mystifing.
"Against insight" as Bordwell once said...
The internet should be the place of critical confrontations, where critics ought to justify their theories to their peers, instead of laying authoritarian statements in the revues that give them carte blanche whatever they come up with.

Adrian Martin talked about the presence of online Australian critics in his slovenian interview linked here earlier. And it's true they seem to rule the high-brow internet with Rouge (which is the online version of Daney's Trafic!), Senses of Cinema, Screening the past... That's more that the rest of the world combined (Canada does well too). Every country should be as productive as Melbourne! ;)

February 03, 2008 6:38 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Pleased to see mention of Tioseco's Criticine, proud to have contributed a few articles to it. Would like to point out interviews of Raya Martin and Lav Diaz--practically everyone of consequence in the new Filipino digital cinema. I think they're interesting reading, even if they might be slightly out of date (might be, haven't checked lately).

February 03, 2008 10:48 PM  
Blogger Christian Keathley said...

Check out Paul Tatra's site, www.wallofpaul.com. He was critic for CNN online a number of years back, but got laid off during the AOL/Time-Warner merger and consolidation. In addition to his own blog, he writes columns for the LA-area magazine, Inland Empire, and has recently begun contributing to The Guardian (of London).

February 04, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Pop View, Harry, Noel & Chris!

Pop View, I've found that Ebert's The Great Movies, volumes 1 and 2, make for good gifts, esp. to non-hardcore cinephiles. They are a good introduction to a solid 'canon' (I would argue with almost none of his choices) and his prose is clear and unostentatious, like that of a good teacher. It's a good way to be 'initiated' into the classics of world cinema.

Chris, I didn't know of Tatra's site and have added it to my blog subscriptions. (And thanks much for the package in the mail!)

I'll try to return with a post after my classes end today.

February 05, 2008 11:11 AM  
Blogger FIlmaka India said...

Filmaka A global network of Film makers In our new session we Announced Two new contests One short film making and other Script writing For further Have a look

"Short Film Contest"

Enter Filmaka.com's new international short film competition and win $500 to $3000 USD, PLUS entry into their contest for feature film funding. All you have to do is make a 1 to 3 minute film about "Help Wanted" and upload it by July 2. If you win, your next film will be watched by their Jury members (http://www.filmaka.com/jury.php) - who include Paul Schrader, Zak Penn and Werner Herzog. If the Jury likes your film, you could get your feature film idea produced by Filmaka - like this guy did (http://www.themovieblog.com/2008/04/21-year-old-nuru-rimington-mkali-wins-filmaka-backing) Contest details for "Help Wanted" at
http://www.filmaka.com/competition.php?page=current&competition_id=257

"Script Writing Contest"

Filmaka.com and SAB Miller have added to the prize for their international short script competition. If you submit a winning pitch for "Because life is what you pour into it", SAB Miller may decide to convert it into a web series or put it together with other selected shorts and play it in theatres, so give it your best! They have also extended the deadline to June 11 to encourage everyone to submit their best work. SAB Miller will choose 15 of these pitches and give each filmmaker $1500 and 3 weeks to make their pitch into a film. 5 of those films will win $5000 - plus maybe the web series and/or theater screening. More info at:
http://www.filmaka.com/competition.php?page=current&competition_id=253
Regards
Angela
Rajnesh.filmaka@hotmail.com

June 07, 2008 7:53 PM  
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