Daily | Goings On | 3D, LaBruce, Fellini

James Cameron's 'Avatar' (2009)

James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ (2009)

“It took over a century, but 3D is finally generating some cultural goodwill,” writes Blake Williams:

With two major retrospectives of 3D filmmaking taking place next month—one at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (May 1-5), focusing on a broad range of stereoscopic experimentation throughout avant-garde history, and the other, BAMcinématek’s 3D in the 21st Century series (May 1-17), looking at both experimental and mainstream manifestations from the last fifteen years—the tenacious “here again/dead again” format is apparently beginning to transcend its stigma as a box office gimmick; its capacity for new formal breakthroughs now more than ever met with inklings of trust instead of contempt. Pernicious connotations of commerce, power, and excess haven’t been exorcised from 3D so much as they’ve been fused into its very infrastructure, opening up new opportunities for radical abstractions, poetics, disruptions, and historical inquiries to subvert grand institutions and languages from within the form itself. This potentiality is not actually new, we just needed Godard to give us the go-ahead to embrace it.

The essay comes from the Notebook‘s critical supplement to the BAMcinématek series that so far has gathered Zach Campbell‘s piece on James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) and four more from the archive: Danny Kasman and Ted Fendt on Godard’s Goodbye to Language, Danny‘s interview with Jodie Mack and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Resident Evil: Retribution 3D. On the way are articles on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Wim Wenders‘s Pina, cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger on shooting Werner Herzog‘s Cave of Forgotten Dreams and more.

“While most of the experimental shorts here are programmed with a feature, [Ken] Jacobs commands his own program—only appropriate, as his work with the stereoscopic image stretches back to the late 1960s,” writes Nick Pinkerton for Artforum. “I was able to view a projection of Jacobs’s Capitalism: Child Labor (2006), an aptly assaultive piece that marries a din of industrial noise to a twitchy stereograph view of a Victorian-era factory floor where bobbins of thread are manufactured by haunted-looking Dickensian waifs…. For Jacobs, the only ‘novelty’ in cinema is the flat image: ‘2D is a remarkable invention, crazier than most anything that can happen in 3D. Imagine the world flattened to a single insubstantial plane, a mere surface reflection! I must look into it. But can’t.'”

Also in New York. Tomorrow’s the last day for MoMA‘s Bruce LaBruce retrospective and Alexander Cavaluzzo‘s spoken with the filmmaker for Hyperallergic: “LaBruce’s work constantly mixes abject subject matter: zombies, gore, explicit gay sex, punks. He says that because his father was a hunter he witnessed a lot of carnage growing up, which translated into a B-movie sensibility for violence and other squeamish elements. Campy, but political.”

Monday evening at Light Industry: An Evening with Carolee Schneemann.

Recommendations from the L: Jake Cole on Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (1976; starting Sunday at MoMA), Abbey Bender on Jacques Demy‘s The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967; today through Sunday at the IFC Center), A.J. Serrano on Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001; tonight and tomorrow at the IFC Center), Aaron Cutler on Bertrand Bonello’s Cindy: The Doll is Mine (2005; Sunday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center) and Elina Mishuris on Jean Renoir‘s The Rules of the Game (1939; Tuesday at the French Institute Alliance Français).

Los Angeles. From the Academy: “In connection with our event The New Audience: Moviegoing in a Connected World, This Is Widescreen offers a colorful assortment of films (including classic musicals, crime films, sci-fi chillers, ghost stories and more) that demonstrate how filmmakers found new means of engaging the flexibility of the cinema and the key larger-than-life film formats in the ’50s and ’60s.” Today through June 19.

Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s Flowers of Shanghai (1998) screens on Monday at REDCAT.

The week-long Chicago Critics Film Festival opens today and, at, producer and programmer Brian Tallerico presents a “night-by-night preview.” Among the more than two dozen Chicago premieres are the latest films by Joe Swanberg, Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Bujalski, James Ponsoldt and François Ozon.

The Reader‘s J.R. Jones rounds up more local screenings and events.

UK. Starting today, the BFI is sending a new restoration of Federico Fellini’s (1963) around the Isles, and the Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw notes that it’s “the director’s compellingly fluent and sustained meditation on films as dreams, memories and fears, and the way they offer a fascinating but illusory way of rewriting and reshaping one’s own life.” The BFI’s Samuel Wigley lists “8½ films inspired by ” and, back in the Guardian, Jonathan Romney picks “10 best films about films.”

London. Chimes at Midnight (1965) screens tomorrow afternoon at the Curzon. “Orson Welles‘s ‘lament for merrie England’ was his favorite among his films but remains one of his least well known,” writes Geoffrey Macnab in the Independent. “Dogged by rights issues, it has rarely been revived. This digitally restored version is being released to mark both Welles’s centenary (he was born on May 6, 1915) and the 50th anniversary of the film itself.” Peter Bradshaw and Tom Huddleston (Time Out) recommend catching it.

Tonight at the Horse Hospital: “An evening of film screenings, readings, art activism and conversation to celebrate the publication of the new edition of Shulamith Firestone’s groundbreaking manifesto,” The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.

Vienna. From Sunday through Thursday, the Austrian Film Museum presents Liberation Footage – Atrocity Pictures, eight programs and approximately 25 films shot in concentration camps at the end of WWII, “which for the most part are being shown in Austria for the very first time.”

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