Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recent Reading

-- A few of the many pieces recently posted at Jonathan Rosenbaum's website: The introduction to Rivette: Texts and Interviews, the book he edited for BFI in 1977; "Eight Obstacles to the Appreciation of Godard in the United States"; a piece on the "documentary expressionism" of William Klein; an essay, first published in Film Quarterly a few years ago, on the work of Adam Curtis; and "The Life and File of an Anarchist Filmmaker" (on Emile de Antonio).

-- Jordan Mintzer on "the legacy and continuing relevance of the French critic Serge Daney". Also: Laurent Kretzschmar translates Daney's 1984 review of Henri Verneuil's Les Morfalous.

-- Mark Rappaport on his "artist's statement" for Rock Hudson's Home Movies: "When I was asked by a film festival director for a statement of the “director’s intentions” (directors are usually the last people you should believe when it comes to talking about what their films really mean), that’s what I wrote. I’ve been using it as publicity material ever since. So now it’s part of the official story. But nothing quite that grand was on my mind when I started working on what turned out to be Rock Hudson's Home Movies."

-- Catherine Grant posts a tribute (including a brief, lovely video she made) to the recently deceased film editor, critic and theorist Dai Vaughan.

-- Via Trevor Link: a very handy Hong Sang-soo bibliography.

-- David Bordwell: "Fortunately for peace in our household, I’ve found Kristin’s claims about German cinema well-founded."

-- An interview in Film Quarterly with Patricio Guzmán on his terrific documentary Nostalgia for the Light.

-- Terrence Malick's new film To The Wonder will be at Toronto in a few weeks. Also on the program are new films by Noah Baumbach, Sally Potter, Marco Bellochio, David O. Russell, Matteo Garrone, and others. Only a small proportion of the complete festival lineup has been made public so far.

-- Adrian Martin and I have now put up the complete contents of issue 2 of LOLA. Among the pieces recently posted are: a lecture delivered a few years ago by Meaghan Morris at the International Women's Film Festival; Justine Grace on cinema at the Venice Biennale; art critic/scholar Edward Colless on the "theory demon"; and two pieces by Adrian -- an essay on the film and media theory of Vilém Flusser, and the letters he exchanged with Cristina Álvarez López about the films they saw at the Rotterdam Film Festival. (Also: At Cine Transit, Cristina and Adrian translate an essay by Nicole Brenez into Spanish and English respectively.)

pic: via Brecht Andersch on Facebook.


Anonymous Dave Johnson said...

Thanks for the list of links, Girish. I had no idea that Dai Vaughan had died. Catherine's video is a very nice tribute, and I highly recommend the book from which the long quotation comes, _For Documentary_.

July 24, 2012 12:56 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Dave! I've not read his book.

July 24, 2012 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Yusef Sayed said...


Last night, following a link from one of your recent blogposts a discovered that the panel discussion that you took part in recently at Northwestern University, with Adrian and Elena Gorfinkel has been uploaded as a podcast. I was up until the early hours of this morning listening to the conversation and was pleased that those in attendance, including Jonathan Rosenbaum, further enriched the discussion which you all, including moderator Nick Davis contributed to with tremendous insight.

Hearing all your comments only encouraged me further in my own writing, and the various possibilities that blogging in particular affords. I’m glad that these recordings enable me to benefit from talks that happened somewhere else, some other time. The delay between its occurrence and wider audibility means that the questions raised can keep circulating and inspire further consideration.

I am intrigued to see A DANGEROUS METHOD following on from your comments on the film, and am somewhat pleased that I rarely come across Armond White’s writing, as helpful as it was in directing some of the discussion.

Anyway, the link is here (have still not figured out how to do those nice clickable links, sorry):


August 01, 2012 5:45 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi, Yusef!

Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed the discussion.

I've always been drawn to the 'conversation' format, and in the pre-Internet era, that mostly meant reading interviews with filmmakers, critics, writers, etc. Like you, I too found that it spurred my attempts to think and write.

Perhaps you'll write about the Dwoskin films, Yusef...

August 01, 2012 7:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Adrian Martin's column in the new issue of Filmkrant is partly a tribute to Paul Willemen:

"The death on 13 May of the great, truly cosmopolitan educator/theorist/critic Paul Willemen has, so far, found very little echo on the Internet [...] Is this so surprising, when we remember that Paul, in his essay collection Looks and Frictions (1994), railed against the vast majority of films for the way they deny "any access at all to some engagement with the forces shaping the world we live in, as we are stuck with our noses up against samples of warm and wonderful humanity emoting in close-up"?

It would be more appropriate to put his prodigious, always political ideas to some good use. I had many disagreements over cinema aesthetics with Paul but, at theatres right now, I find myself confronted with something that interested both of us: frontal frames, those now very familiar compositions in which characters (often very many of them) are lined up stiffly, gazing (often wordlessly) into the camera. Wes Anderson, among others, has made such planimetric framings, as David Bordwell calls them the signature of his style, and he exploits them in virtually every scene of Moonrise Kingdom. What's it all about, this frontality?"

August 01, 2012 9:26 PM  
Blogger Sudhir Mahadevan said...

Thanks for these updates Girish. Very useful gateways to stuff I'm not familiar with. Just followed your link to Rosenbaum's review of the Adam Curtis documentaries - which I haven't seen and now want to. The argument that montage "becomes a form of lying" is a bold one, requires a certain conviction about truth-telling and images but also
discounts the power of narration to "vectorize" the meanings of an image, or even the more...stochastic...associations between narration and image that are always possible? Maybe I'm missing the nuances in Rosenbaum's argument, but plan to catch up on the docs (and Craig Baldwin's work which Rosenbaum mentions, that sounds fantastic!).

August 01, 2012 11:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Sudhir! Glad the links were of some interest to you. I've not seen Curtis' documentaries myself, although I've long wanted to.

August 01, 2012 11:22 PM  

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