Daily | Sequence, Makavejev, Debord

Terrence Malick's 'The Tree of Life' (2011)

Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ (2011)

Another day, another round of links from Catherine Grant. Today’s, though, is huge, gathering highlights from the past month or so, some of which we’ve made note of over the past few weeks, a few of which need mentioning now. Sequence, for example, has post two new essays. Richard Grusin writes about what he calls “post-cinematic atavism,” a “reversion to or reemergence of an earlier cinematic moment through the anachronistic, atavistic expression in the present of prior, even outmoded cinematic traits that otherwise appear to have become extinct in the proliferation of hypermediated, digital, post-cinematic technical and aesthetic formats.” In part, the piece is also an extension of the ongoing discussion of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011) at Sequence.

Focusing on “the digitally composited or embellished sequences” in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011), Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) and Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light (2010), Selmin Kara argues that “their two seemingly disjunctive aesthetic realisms—one based in the analog representations of human loss and the other in the digital imaginations of primordiality and extinction, which are essentially nonhuman temporalities—do not necessarily suggest a clash. Instead, they point to the emergence of what one might call a speculative realist aesthetics, which poses an alternative to the photographic, digital, sutured, or post-humanist realisms in cinema in the digital age.”

Also new to us here is the special issue of Studies in Eastern European Cinema on Dušan Makavejev (WR: Mysteries of the Organism, 1971).

George Miller has won this year’s Comic-Con; and a sequel‘s already in the works


“This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Guy Debord (1931-1994),” notes Christopher Byrd at the top of a survey of Debord’s ideas and a primer on the Situationist International at Hazlitt. “We live in an age of dizzying economic inequality, man-made ecological disasters, and political deadlock. The fact that so many of us might agree with that statement while remaining relatively apathetic has everything to do with Debord’s project.”

For The Credits, Nick Friedman talks with Garrett Brown about his most famous invention, the Steadicam, and its evolution over the years since he first used it while shooting Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory (1975). Brown also recalls shooting Sylvester Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in Rocky (1976) and, of course, Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance cycling through the halls of the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick‘s The Shining (1980). Part 2.

For Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, writing at the AV Club, the “big problem” with Amy Nicholson’s Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor “is that it’s an almost compulsively bloodless, impersonal book, written in a soft, non-descriptive magazine-profile-ese that is equally easy to read and as it is to put down, and which leaves a reader hungry for something to mull over.”

With The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), John Cassavetes “doesn’t betray his reputation for making enigmatic films,” writes Brandon Konecny for Film International, “but this one, with both its adherence and defiance of convention, may be his most puzzling.”


Toronto. The TIFF Cinematheque series Strange Paradise: The Cinema of Jim Jarmusch rolls on through August 16 and, at Hazlitt, Calum Marsh looks back on the critical reception of Jarmusch’s films these past 30 years or so: “If you make two identical films, you’re accused of plagiarizing yourself, and the replication invariably suffers in comparison to the original. But make, say, five identical films, each in succession, and people begin to sink into the rhythm, attuned to the minor differences among the major similarities, and suddenly you’re working not in mimicry but, more appealingly, in variations on a theme.”

New teaser for Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick


“While the big news out of last night’s Comic-Con panel for his Django Unchained/Zorro comic-book was that The Hateful Eight is back on and set to shoot early next year,” writes Jordan Raup at the Film Stage, Quentin Tarantino’s been toying with the idea of, as he puts it himself, “an Earth-bound sci-fi thing.”


Listening (64’04”). In the latest episode of The Cinephiliacs, Peter Labuza talks with Dave Kehr “about his origins as a cinephile in Chicago, the challenges of keeping the archive alive in the face of the digital programming switchover, and his recent series at MoMA—Lady in the Dark—dedicated to various crime films made at Columbia Pictures from the 30s to the 50s.” Conversation then turns to William Castle’s The Whistler (1944) with Richard Dix.

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