Never mind slow criticism, here’s slow aggregation: I’m finally catching up with Cinema Scope 57. In what we might as well call the cover story, Phil Coldiron takes on work by “the filmmaker I consider to be the greatest cause for hope to come along lately in the field of experimental cinema, Jodie Mack, who, after a decade of excellent work which nonetheless remained largely on the fringes of the fringe that is the experimental scene (not yet 30, Mack has completed more than two dozen films), broke through in a big way with five new films… shown together in a solo show at this year’s edition of Views from the Avant-Garde.” For more on last year’s Views, by the way, see Manohla Dargis (New York Times), Daniel Kasman (Notebook), Tony Pipolo (Artforum), Genevieve Yue (Reverse Shot), and listen to Peter Labuza and James Hansen. At any rate, Mack is “the only director working today to have seriously taken up the line of inquiry begun by Owen Land, who went looking for the mystery of eternity equipped with only a video camera, the drawing on a box of Land o’ Lakes butter, and a structuralist’s knack for repetition, laughing all the way. Where Land was serious about his jokes, Mack tends to very subtly joke about the serious.”
In the two other features online, Michael Sicinski considers Gianfranco Rosi’s surprise Golden Lion winner Sacro GRA and Christoph Huber argues the case for the neglected late works by Jerry Lewis (see yesterday’s roundup on books for more from that corner). Interviews: Paul Dallas with Joanna Hogg (Exhibition) and Aaron Cutler with Lois Patiño. Also: Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s DVD column, always a must-read; Andrew Tracy remembers the late critic Stanley Kauffmann; and Andréa Picard on Mati Diop, Chuck Stephens on Curtis Harrington, Olaf Möller on Aleksei German‘s Hard to Be a God, Jerry White on Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, Blake Williams on Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy, Jay Kuehner on Gilles Deroo and Marianne Pistone’s Mouton, Max Nelson on Miguel Gomes‘s Redemption, Adam Nayman on the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis, and Julian Carrington on Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Issue 38 of Screening the Past features a special dossier on “Cinematic Thinking,” Sam Rohdie on “Jean-Paul Sartre, Hollywood, Citizen Kane and the Nouvelle Vague,” Jacob Leigh on Chabrol‘s Merci pour le chocolat (2000), Raymond Bellour on Chris Marker and Level Five (1996), among other essays and sixteen book reviews.
“Women, Cinema, History” is the theme of the latest issue of Offscreen to go online.
In the latest in his “series of posts exploring the grand sets of cinéma de papa” for the Notebook, Ehsan Khoshbakht turns his attention to Christian-Jaque’s La Chartreuse de Parme (1948). Production designer Jean d’Eaubonne “proved to be almost a divine gift to French cinema whose design perfectly matched the world of collaborators such as Jean Cocteau, Jean Grémillon, Raymond Bernard, Marcel Carné and Max Ophüls.”
At the Chiseler, Jim Knipfel revisits Mervyn LeRoy’s Five-Star Final (1931), “a film whose sheer, ugly nastiness is timeless,” and Poor White Trash (1957, aka Bayou): “In general, rabid [Timothy] Carey fans aren’t disappointed.”
David Lynch’s student film Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) (1967) via Dangerous Minds
In Necessary Fiction, Masha Tupitsyn tracks the evolution of her appreciation of Robert Bresson.
Jeremy Izzo examines what he considers to be the three phases of self-reflective films in Hollywood.
Josef Braun talks with Jennifer Baichwal and Ed Burtynsky about Watermark. More interviews: Emma Brown with Gia Coppola (Interview), Pamela Cohn with Michelangelo Frammartino (BOMB) and Mark Godfrey with Amie Siegel (Artforum).
Eight Guardian readers explain “Why we love Michael Bay.”
“Stop buying so many movies,” pleads Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. “Or at least take a moment and consider whether flooding theaters with titles is good for movies and moviegoers alike. Because no matter how exciting Sundance will be this year, no matter how aesthetically electrifying, innovative and entertaining the selections, it’s hard to see how American independent cinema can sustain itself if it continues to focus on consumption rather than curation.”
Dargis has also asked around 70 industry types about the state of independent cinema and the NYT runs a good number of choice responses from the likes of James Gray, Sundance director John Cooper, and producer Christine Vachon.
Anne Thompson argues that “while many films open in the admittedly congested New York corridor, they do so in order to meet contractual obligations and obtain that all-important New York Times review…. But all of those films do not make it to other cities; in fact, remarkably few do.” And “to tell buyers to buy fewer films is the wrong answer.”
And she gets in touch with Ted Hope, who, as you’ll have heard, will be Fandor’s new CEO in a couple of weeks. Films wouldn’t be scrambling to squeeze into the NYC market, he suggests, if the NYT reviewed “all films when they premiere regardless of platform… The industry has done a poor job matching people with the content they are most likely to enjoy, particularly in a presentation and context that they will appreciate. We can really build it much better.”
Criticwire‘s Sam Adams notes that “some of the best movies in the world opened nowhere at all—I’d rather watch a random title from the top 25 undistributed films in Indiewire‘s poll than 90 percent of major studio releases.” He, too, calls for a change in NYT policy, “since according to some other New York critics, it’s the Times‘ fault so many open in the first place.”
EFG1914 aims to digitize 661 hours of film and ca. 5,600 film-related documents on the theme of the First World War
“Try as I might, I can’t shake the feeling that 2014 is the year we lose the Web,” writes Cory Doctorow (via Movie City News). “And it’s basically all being driven by Netflix. Everyone in the browser world is convinced that not supporting Netflix will lead to total marginalization, and Netflix demands that computers be designed to keep secrets from, and disobey, their owners (so that you can’t save streams to disk in the clear). We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.”
“What came to be known as ‘the @aoscott incident,’ ‘the @aoscott affair’ and even ‘#aoscottgate’ seemed to be at once hugely significant and utterly trivial.” A.O. Scott reflects.
IN OTHER NEWS
“In 1945, Hitchcock had been enlisted by his friend and patron Sidney Bernstein to help with a documentary on German wartime atrocities, based on the footage of the camps shot by British and Soviet film units. In the event, that documentary was never seen.” The Independent‘s Geoffrey Macnab reports that the film once known as Memory of the Camps has been restored and will be released later this year. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody emphasizes that “Hitchcock’s role in the production was minor but significant.”
Actor Jon Gries has a Kickstarter campaign going for Another Man’s Gun.
Writing for the Atlantic, Monica Kim suggests that “while anime has always struggled to be taken seriously as an art form, one director might be able to make critics reconsider: Shinichiro Watanabe, director of Cowboy Bebop.” His new series, Space Dandy, is now on the Cartoon Network.
“Amiri Baraka, a poet and playwright of pulsating rage, whose long illumination of the black experience in America was called incandescent in some quarters and incendiary in others, died on Thursday,” reports Margalit Fox in the New York Times. “He was 79.”
Viewing (12’49”). “In place of film reels, digital cinema packages (called D.C.P.s) are the new industry standard,” writes Sky Dylan-Robbins, introducing a video at the New Yorker. “But plenty of small theatres haven’t been able to make the transition; as the industry idiom goes, they’ll soon ‘go digital or go dark.'”
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