Girish Shambu has come back from Bologna, “only to be reminded of how fast Internet film reading piles up if you go off the grid for a couple of weeks.” He links to enough material to last us through this young month of July, and among the discoveries that haven’t yet been mentioned here is Interiors, a newish online journal, “published on the 15th of each month, in which films are analyzed and diagrammed in terms of space.” Then, at White City Cinema, Michael Glover Smith asks, “Does any major director from Hollywood’s studio system era remain as unjustly neglected as Raoul Walsh?”
There’s also a slew of new articles added to the second issue of LOLA, the journal Girish co-edits with Adrian Martin, since the first round went online last month: Alexander García Düttmann on Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably, Helen Grace on “aesthetic risk,” Sarinah Masukor on Harun Farocki’s War at a Distance, Janine Burke on David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, and Cloe Masotta on Philippe Grandrieux’s Masao Adachi.
And then there’s the inaugural issue of Frames, which, as Fredrik Gustafsson notes in his introduction, addresses the question, “Have Film and Moving Image Studies been Re-Born Digital?” The guest editor is none other than Catherine Grant, who curates Film Studies for Free; she adds: “In other words, what can we do now that we couldn’t before—and what can we no longer do as well—as a result of our increasing take up of particular digital scholarly technologies? Is a language of ‘re-vitalization’ an appropriate one to describe digital developments in our subjects?” 39 contributors tackle these questions, among them, Girish and Adrian Martin, our own Kevin B. Lee, Matthias Stork, Pam Cook, Kristin Thompson, and Nicholas Rombes.
Meantime, Screen Machine has relaunched “without anything so impressive as a polemical statement about unified aims and objectives,” as editor Brad Nguyen puts it, introducing Issue 1, “On Realism.” Nguyen: “Students of cinema today are well-versed in the lesson: All films are constructs, all films are manipulations of reality. But what does this mean politically today? A certain timidity, perhaps. The French philosopher Alain Badiou has remarked that ‘our age, in order to be cured of the Plato sickness, has swallowed such doses of the relativist, vaguely skeptical, lightly spiritualist, and insipidly moralist medicine, that is in the process of gently dying, in the small bed of its supposed democratic comfort.’ The question becomes: How to avoid the self-congratulatory deconstructions and relativist evasions of rejecting reality without reverting to naive realism? Under what conditions are we willing to engage reality and deploy the notion of realism?”
Not only does he take on the challenge himself, but this issue also offers Huw Walmsley Evans on Wes Anderson, Phil Coldiron on celluloid fetishism, Louise Sheedy on Jeff Nichols, Daniel Fairfax on Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Hail and Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, Andrew Gilbert on Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse, Elliott Logan on Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre, Rebecca Harkins Cross on Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, and James Douglas on Josh Trank’s Chronicle.
Matt Singer poses this question to around 30 Criticwire contributors: “We need to honor Andrew Sarris for one more week. Sarris, as one of the patron saints of the auteur theory, loved to champion filmmakers he felt did not get the respect or recognition they deserved. So this week I want to know: who, in your eyes, is an underrated auteur? Who would be the director readers would be most surprised to find in the pantheon of your own version of ‘The American Cinema?'”
In the works. Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers) will direct a based on a BBC television series, “a dark comedy called Ideal which ran for seven seasons between 2005 and 2011,” reports Joe Cunningham for the Playlist.
New York. René Clair’s The Crazy Ray (1925) and Robert Frank’s C’est vrai (1990) screen tonight at Light Industry.