Daily | Books and Podcasts

Stephan and Alfred Zweig

Stephan Zweig (standing) and his brother Alfred in 1900

We’re beginning with books and wrapping with podcasts because, today, that just happens to be where the action is. Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology, a “collection of film writings from the dawn of cinema to the present day, edited by Scott MacKenzie, is one of the most inspirational and informative volumes I’ve ever come across,” writes Wheeler Winston Dixon at Film International, “because it highlights the constant need for renewal which typifies the cinema, potentially that most compromised of art forms. It is, indeed, one of the most important volumes on the history, theory and practice of the cinema ever compiled.”

“Taken as a whole,” writes Clayton Dillard at the House Next Door, James Naremore’s An Invention Without a Future “serves as a fantastic overview of conversations concerning film history, while providing thoughtful analyses of important Classical Hollywood films and styles. The book should join Bill Nichols’s Engaging Cinema as unorthodox, but razor-sharp introduction to film-studies texts. For those familiar with Naremore’s work, this is hardly surprising; More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts remains quintessential reading for anyone who wants to understand the essence of film noir, as an idea more than a genre. While his latest isn’t quite an identical tour de force, the wealth of discussions and clearly stated case studies will undoubtedly satisfy any reader infatuated with the medium still known as cinema.”

David Davidson has not only posted Robin Wood’s review of Steven Bach’s Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven’s Gate for the Summer/Fall 1986 issue of CineAction! but also placed it within the context of the critical reception of the film on both sides of the Atlantic, highlighting a discussion between Pauline Kael and Jean-Luc Godard.


For the New York Review of Books, Anka Muhlstein reviews George Prochnik’s The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, “a gripping, unusually subtle, poignant, and honest study,” and of course, she eventually makes her way to Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel: “Of all the characters in the film, it is unexpectedly the concierge—played by Ralph Fiennes in rare form, with a trim little paintbrush mustache, shifty eyes and a supple grace to his movements, comfortable mastery of all languages, a certain latitude in his sexual tastes, and an overall sense of calm broken here and there by glimmers of disquiet—who best evokes Zweig.” Related (and unembeddable) viewing: VFX reel for The Grand Budapest Hotel from LOOK Effects, Inc.

Eat Drink Films has posted an excerpt from Anne Thompson’s new book, The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars,an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System: “The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions, and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive all these people are. How long will they struggle before they give up on the film business and take their talents elsewhere? And how flexible is the industry itself?”


At The Wayward Cloud, Volker Hummel talks with Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin about their outstanding audiovisual essays. See, for example, their pieces on Jean-Pierre Melville, Leos Carax and Philippe Garrel.

Norman McLaren infamously posits that he probably became a filmmaker because he had been unable to be a dancer or choreographer.” At animationstudies 2.0, Aimee Mollaghan considers McLaren’s fascination with George Balanchine that led to his 1968 film Pas de deux.

Also via Catherine Grant, Steven Shaviro‘s posted the paper that he’ll be delivering today at The Force of Aesthetics: Power, Imagination, Affects: An International Conference. His subjects: “workflow” and Anthony Mandler’s video for Rihanna’s “Disturbia.”

Trailer for Corneliu Porumboiu’s When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism

Tim Grierson and Glenn Heath Jr.‘s conversation about Jonathan Glazer moves into its third phase at To Be (Cont’d).


The Cannes Film Festival now has a full International Jury. Joining president Jane Campion will be French actress Carole Bouquet, Sofia Coppola, Iranian actress Leila Hatami, South Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon, Willem Dafoe, Gael García Bernal, Jia Zhangke and Nicolas Winding Refn.

Anime News Network reports that the oldest known surviving anime short by Kon Ichikawa, Yowamushi Chinsengumi (Cowardly Samurai Squad, 1935), long thought lost, has been rediscovered.

“Four nights of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards ended in Tampa, Florida, on Saturday night, as American celebrities joined Bollywood stars for pirate-themed performances and song and dance numbers.” The Guardian posts pictures of John Travolta, Kevin Spacey and more. And as Reuters reports, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag leads the list of winners.

“Scripts for Citizen Kane, Orson Welles‘s camera and a cigar ashtray were among the late director’s belongings sold at a New York auction,” reports the AP. “Sixty-seven lots fetched $180,000 at Heritage Auctions on Saturday.”


I’ve recently discovered that the Plastic Podcast, a favorite, has returned after a two-year absence. Over the course of two new episodes, Robert Davis and J. Robert Parks discuss three of the best films of the past year: Spike Jonze’s Her and Andrew Bujalski‘s Computer Chess in the first and, in the second, Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing.

Teaser for Steven Soderbergh’s forthcoming 10-episode series, The Knick

And the new episode of The Cinephiliacs it out. Peter Labuza talks with Carrie Rickey about Manny Farber, Heaven’s Gate, as it happens, Amy Heckerling’s Clueless (1995) and more.

Meantime, the Tribeca Film Festival wrapped over the weekend, and updates on that entry have been substantial. And keep an eye on the entries on San Francisco‘s 57th edition, Hot Docs, IFFBoston and Ebertfest.

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