Monday, July 25, 2016

Links: Victor Perkins, Richard Dyer, SCMS Fieldnotes, etc.

-- A wonderful tribute post to the late Victor Perkins by Catherine Grant, including short videos produced in his memory by her, Chris Keathley, Hoi Lun Law, and Patrick Keating. Also included are links to writing by and about Victor -- and a 12-part video interview with him.

-- From a superb interview with Richard Dyer by Catherine Grant and Jaap Kooijman in NECSUS journal: "My dream was always to do things that showed that the aesthetic and political were not different. The article I wrote about Blaxploitation came the nearest to saying ‘actually the politics is in the aesthetic, not in the films’ overt politics’ ... What is driving a project for me is always politics and pleasure, but sometimes it is more pleasure and sometimes it is more politics. So when it was about the pleasure, I had to think of the politics; when it was about the politics, I had to think about the pleasure. White was very much a political project. Most of what I wrote about in that was not what I particularly liked or disliked, but I thought I must do some case studies on things that I do really like..."

-- A great archive is growing here: SCMS Fieldnotes, a project of in-depth interviews with film scholars including Dyer, Tom Gunning, Laura Mulvey, Jim Naremore, Scott MacDonald, Linda Williams, Dudley Andrew, and others. Most are video interviews, a few are audio, and some are available in transcript form. My favorite aspect of these interviews is that the scholars narrate in parallel both their personal history and a history of the discipline over the last few decades. Something fascinating emerges: a sort of "cubist portrait" of the film studies discipline as it has evolved over the last five decades.

-- An invaluable resource: The Black Film Critic Syllabus, compiled by Fanta Sylla.

-- Some interesting lists of favorite movies at Grasshopper Film: Matías Piñeiro; Pedro Costa; and Thom Andersen.

-- From a few months ago: on the occasion of its going open-access, the journal Film Criticism devoted its first issue in its new reincarnation to (of course) the topic of film criticism. Contributors include Catherine Grant, Adrian Martin, Tom Gunning, Steven Shaviro, and many others.

-- The Metrograph website has a section called Edition, which collects specially commissioned writings on films and cinephilia, and filmmaker interviews.

-- Jonathan Rosenbaum on Kiarostami (in a post that includes a conversation between Jonathan and Ehsan Khoshbakht about the filmmaker): "... some of the memories of him [Kiarostami] that I treasure most include going shopping with him in Chicago for CDs by John Coltrane for one of his sons, getting stoned with him on home-grown joints at a party in Tehran, seeing The House is Black for the first time a few rows in front of him in Locarno, and hearing him say jokingly on a panel that we were both on at Stanford University that my objections to his removing the final scene of Taste of Cherry from some of the prints shown in Italy was like the commands of a mullah."

-- Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan's striking film For The Plasma (I wrote on it in a post on US micro-budget cinema a couple of months ago) has now received is theatrical premiere at Anthology Film Archives. Here's a smart and thoughtful interview with the filmmakers by Nicholas Elliott at BOMB magazine. Also: Bryant on Helene Surgère, B-actress in the films of France's Diagonale directors.

-- In the new issue of The Cine-Files, Corey Creekmur has an essay on "affective videographic criticism" in which he writes: "Laura Mulvey’s bracing call for feminist film criticism to “destroy” pleasure and beauty – what she summarized as the “ease and plenitude of the narrative fiction film” — is perhaps itself now regularly challenged by the desire of some practitioners of affect theory (as well as creators of video essays) to maintain the emotions experienced by spectators of the original work, even as they still seek to mount a feminist (or queer) critique ... In many instances, it appears, video essays embrace the pleasures (and other affects) that an earlier generation of film theorists was determined to keep at arm’s length."

-- In the journal Visible Language, Holly Willis proposes four modes of critical analysis that use cinematic tools, making a case for "the cinematic humanities, or humanistic inquiry enhanced through the practices and modes of cinema."

-- Filmmaker Edwin Martinez: "The brutal truth is that the history of documentary filmmaking is rooted explicitly in cultural, racial, gender and class-based colonialism. For decades upon decades, Western filmmakers—almost exclusively white men—traveled to other countries and cultures to extract resources (footage), which they would exploit (edit) for the benefit of their home culture (theaters, film festivals, PBS, etc.). This flow of power, and along with it the control over these stories, historically traveled in one direction—from those without it to those with it."

-- On the occasion of David Bordwell's 69th birthday, he contrasts movie-watching in 1947 and 2016. Also: Bordwell on King Hu's A Touch of Zen at Criterion. Related: notes on the making of the film by King Hu himself, published as part of a press kit in 1975.

-- In the new, loaded issue of Senses of Cinema, a valuable essay by Daniel Fairfax on Rivette's less-examined late-1960s writing for Cahiers du Cinéma: "A second period of critical activity [well after his more widely known 1950s criticism] ensued between 1968 and 1969, as Rivette made a return to writing for the journal. He lent his name to 15 pieces within a roughly 18-month period, a body of work which included interviews (with Rivette on both sides of the microphone), short critical pieces, and participation in a round table on the topic of montage."

-- Dan Sallitt's book on the films of Mikio Naruse is now online.

-- Over 40 essays by the scholar Laura Marks are available at her website.

-- Big news: Robert Bresson's Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971) comes out on blu-ray in Japan. (Via David Jenkins on Twitter.)

-- An epic 2013 interview with Peter Kubelka (with Jonas Mekas chiming in occasionally) by Andrew Lampert in The Brooklyn Rail: part 1 and part 2.

-- Thomas Beard in Artforum [subscription required] on programming the film series "Queer Cinema Before Stonewall": "As I began to assemble the lineup, I recalled a film critic friend complaining about suffering from a sort of auteur fatigue. And I understood exactly what he meant, because the dominant model of repertory film programming has largely been, and continues to be, single director surveys. Though he said it half-jokingly, it made me think about what that model leaves out. It made me realize that you would never have a Barbara Loden retrospective or a Jean Genet series, because even though both of those filmmakers made extraordinary contributions to the history of cinema, they essentially made only one film each. It's also no mere coincidence that the filmmakers who make one or a couple of remarkable films and then fall silent happen to be disproportionately women and people of color."


Anonymous Paul said...

Thanks for yet another great links compilation Girish, I always look forward to them. The Black Film Critic Syllabus has a link to an interview with Claire Denis, which itself contains another link to a Denis Lavant dance class video. And that was enough to make me want to see the Beau Travail finale again!

August 04, 2016 7:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Paul! I'm glad you found the links of interest.

August 05, 2016 12:49 AM  
Blogger Remy Renault said...

Hi Girish:

I was just curious to know what your thoughts were on this essay:



September 19, 2016 7:04 AM  

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