Wednesday, September 08, 2010


I leave for Toronto tomorrow. Thanks to the vagaries of the festival lottery for advance ordering, I was shut out of a handful of films that were high on my list: Apichatpong's Uncle Boonmee, Godard's Film Socialism, Michelangelo Frammartino's The Four Times, the Russian film My Joy. But I'll be trying to add those films to my schedule once I get to Toronto. Here are the screenings I have tickets for:

A Married Couple (Allan King, Canada, 1969)
Guest (José Luis Guerin, Spain)
Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
Ruhr (James Benning, Germany)
Inside America (Barbara Eder, Austria)
Women Art Revolution - A Secret History (Lynn Hershman, USA)
Boxing Gym (Frederick Wiseman, USA)
ANPO (Linda Hoaglund, Japan/USA)
Curling (Denis Côté, Canada)
The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat, France)
I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhang-ke, China)
The Ditch (Wang Bing, China)
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Andrei Ujica, Romania)
Promises Written in Water (Vincent Gallo, USA)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz, Portugal/France)
You Are Here (Daniel Cockburn, Canada)
Sandcastle (Boo Junfeng, Singapore)
Mavericks: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (A presentation/conversation)
The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
Erotic Man (Jorgen Leth, Denmark)
Oki's Movie (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
Genpin (Naomi Kawase, Japan)
Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, USA)

Here is a link to the festival film list.

* * *

Recent reading:

-- I've been eating up Jonathan Rosenbaum's wonderful collection "Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia".

-- I recently revisited Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life; it looks stupendous on Blu-ray. Here is a great piece by B. Kite on the film and Nick Ray.

-- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: "If Fritz Lang's is a "cinema of the hand," then Rohmer's is a "cinema of the elbow.""

-- Michael Guillen interviews Chris Fujiwara at The Evening Class. Also, at Undercurrent: Fujiwara on the Richard Porton-edited collection Dekalog 3: On Film Festivals.

-- More Fujiwara, at La Furia Umana: A conversation with Pedro Costa about Jacques Tourneur. Also at the site: Tag Gallagher on Jacques Tourneur.

-- Kristin Thompson provides a handy annotated list of several blog entries at Observations On Film Art.

-- Part 2 of Paul Brunick's piece in Film Comment on Internet film criticism.

-- Adrian Martin at Filmkrant:

"On the contents page of issue 68 of Bright Lights magazine, the summary of an article by Joseph Jon Lanthier catches me: 'Shutter Island might be the only psychological thriller abetted by a lack of interest in the psyche'. A similarly gripping assertion was made on Facebook by US scholar Corey Creekmur concerning the most recent current talk-fest film, Inception: its cagey view of dreams, Creekmur thought, showed little interest in or knowledge of Freudian dream-interpretation.

This is not only a cinematic phenomenon or trend. In Melbourne recently, the famous Lacanian expert Renata Saleci spoke about the movement in social fields such as criminology and pharmacology towards a certain, often quite banal form of neuroscience: the kind that pores over images of parts of the brain lighting up in different colours, as if in proof that 'psychological deviations' (like juvenile delinquency) can be seen, charted and quantified this way. Saleci summed up the problem by throwing her hands up in despair: "No psychoanalysis! They see no difference between the brain and the mind!"

And the mind, lest we forget, has an unconscious. And the unconscious is not so easily retrieved or narrativised as we are seeing in these recent, ambitious 'mind game' movies (as Thomas Elsaesser and others have called them). More than ever, people like to take the soft option and replace Freud's term with 'subconscious' - implying that there is something (a thought or feeling) just out of reach, just below the surface, something ultimately easy to fish out into full and mastered consciousness.

But the unconscious is the negation of the consciousness, its true shadow realm, not some adjacent room one can simply enter and ransack. The unconscious is what cannot be ever entirely mastered, the zone that eludes us - at the same moment that it drives us. The unconscious is the space of denial, of fantasy, of distortion, the elaborate revision and transformation of all that is easily viewable or knowable."

Any other recent reading you'd like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments.

pic: Raúl Ruiz's Mysteries of Lisbon.


Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

What a great itinerary, Girish! Can't wait to read your responses to the films.

September 08, 2010 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Girish, forgive me if I interrupt this strand to go back to your recent post, "The rebirth of MOVIE", when there was discussion about English critics. Unfortunately I didn't come accross your site until three days ago, by which time the thread had rather died out. I would like to address those who expressed interest in Jill Forbes' work, which I'm keen should be recognised by a new, wider audience.
I was Jill's partner until the end of her all too short life in 2001, and was very touched to see that her friend Jonathan Rosenbaum had reprinted his piece about her. Also that Gareth, yourself, Adrian and Corey were interested in her work. If you type "Jill Forbes" into Google there's quite a lot about her, including an obituary by the playwright David Edgar and others, plus details of her other publications and academic papers.
Should Jonathan Rosenbaum read this, Jonathan I don't have your current email and would like to make contact...mine is
Thanks and muchbibest wishes to you all

September 08, 2010 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

It looks like you've chosen a worthy list, and one that appears not to be overwhelming for the ten days of the festival.

I've finished reading the book of interviews with Henry King, and will refer to what he's said about making of his films from time to time at my place. Currently I'm reading a collection of stories by Eileen Chang, Love in a Fallen City and have Ann Hui's film on DVD to watch. Chang wrote the story that was the basis of Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, and wrote screenplays from some Hong Kong films like June Bride.

September 09, 2010 12:26 AM  
Blogger ExperimentoFilm said...

MYSTERIES OF LISBON could finally be the chance for someone to do a DVD commentary with Ruiz. As it's four-and-a-half hours, maybe a tag team?

September 09, 2010 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

"Mysteries of Lisbon is an elegant, exquisitely produced jewel of a film that sees Ruiz finding a renewed confidence and voice" - a typically idiotic cookie-cutter film festival catalogue remark, which shows that its author has not seen any of the filmmaker's work in Chile of the past decade or so !!

September 09, 2010 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Bobby Wise said...

Love Fujiwara's review of Porton's edited collection on film festivals. I'll only disagree with the thought that festival reports are "destined to be read by almost no one". I, for one, love reading festival reports. If only because of the fact that they focus on film viewing culture almost by default. This very culture that Fujiwara feels is in need of a cogent critique is dealt with in most festival reports that I read. It's more interesting for me as a reader to know what the critic thinks of the festival than the actual films in the festival itself.

Though I haven't read Porton's book (it sounds great), I will likewise disagree with Martin's excerpted quote that "there is surely no genre of film criticism that is more ephemeral, or of less 'general interest'". Here's hoping that festival reports will be given more space and more attention to expand and delve more into the diverse viewing cultures and experiences on display in the millions of festivals across the globe. Here's hoping the lesser-known of those millions of festivals will be attended and written about.

September 09, 2010 5:02 PM  
Anonymous adrian said...

Bobby, I actually agree with your disagreement !! Look out for the next volume of the FILM FESTIVAL YEARBOOK co-edited by Dina Iordanova, I have a new piece on this topic (focusing on Jeonju as the example) arguing for exactly what you say and want.

September 09, 2010 9:27 PM  
Blogger ExperimentoFilm said...

Adrian, agreed that the "renewed confidence and voice" remark is a bit vexing. MYSTERIES OF LISBON was a project Ruiz signed up for when Chilean funding dried up on his Alberto Blest Gana adaptation (similar period and genre to Castelo Branco) and he was unable to complete his planned Chilean folklore triptych (after LA RECTA PROVINCIA and LITORAL, both of which are a similar length to MYSTERIES though smaller-budget). So yes, as always, many of the ideas in MYSTERIES will be carryovers from his Chilean work.

September 10, 2010 11:01 AM  
Blogger David said...


Anyone know how to see these films?

September 10, 2010 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Steve Elworth said...

Hi Girish,
Ruiz has been impossible to follow even living in NY. This was true 30 years ago and it is true now. Exhibitors always make selections and tell us this film by Ruiz is being shown because it is different. It usually is not true. Meanwhile, they are so many films of his that I have not seen in several languages. He is sometimes uneven but I do want to see what I can see. The new one sounds so interesting. It is only being shown at NYFF once and I had a NYFF conflict so I did not try. Please let us know what it is like.

September 11, 2010 6:13 PM  
Blogger Joseph "Jon" Lanthier said...

Hey, thanks for mentioning my SHUTTER ISLAND piece, even if only the summary of it...admittedly it was penned before INCEPTION's release, so it dated itself rather quickly. The points you make, however, are essential to the consideration of either of these films; ultimately I felt SHUTTER the stronger piece because its faux-psychology turned out to be a rather engaging and occasionally baroque "science fiction" of sorts. I expand on those thoughts a bit through a prolonged analogy in the piece, which I may revisit considering the similarities to Nolan's film. Anyway...enjoy Toronto.

September 12, 2010 3:06 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2010 6:29 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Alas... Claude Chabrol has just passed away. I'd be tempted to call him the last great Classical Hollywood director, along with Clint Eastwood. R.I.P.

September 12, 2010 6:31 AM  

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