First off, a very happy Christmas to you and yours. If you’ve got a moment, there’s a new issue of the White Review out featuring a piece by Rose McLaren, “The Prosaic Sublime of Béla Tarr,” wherein she begins by noting that Jonathan Rosenbaum “has dubbed Tarr a ‘despiritualized Tarkovsky.’ I find him a less lapsed and more conflicted creature: a hopeful cynic or scatological mystic, whose films are as aggressively earthbound as they are inspiring.”
As it happens, George Szirtes’s translation of László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango is one of the “books that made the greatest impression” on Eileen Battersby in 2012: “Wonderful, crazy and grotesque, this daring novel takes six tango-like steps forwards and then six steps back, reflecting Gogol and Bulgakov while making its own subversive statements.” Her full list appears in the Irish Times. First published in Budapest in 1985, Satantango was, of course, the source of Tarr’s 1994 film.
Danny Kasman is running the perfect piece for the holiday season in the Notebook, Gabriel Abrantes‘s essay on Pier Paolo Pasolini: “Salò gains enormous depth when regarded as a punctuation to Pasolini’s entire discourse, and seen through the prism of his struggle to comprehend and wrestle with a society that was progressively debasing itself into a conformist and racist creed. The Trilogy of Life is the positive accumulation of his discourse, with a vision of culture that is far more elucidating than the adolescent fascination with the effect of violence: culture as the delay of death.”
At Cartoon Brew, Amid Amidi posts an appreciation of 74-year-old Italian animation director Bruno Bozzetto, who “started making films in the late-1950s, and he is in many ways the marriage of the smash-’em-blow-’em-up Warner Bros. school of animation and the cerebral modern artistry of mid-century UPA animated shorts. Bozzetto merges the best of both worlds: he loves cartoon violence, sex and all that good old-fashioned mayhem, but he combines it with introspection, social commentary, and evocative Sixties pop-psychedelic imagery.” Lots and lots of viewing follows.
“The films of Lucio Fulci, the Italian horror filmmaker, are usually lumped in with those of other ‘gore’ specialists, but it seems to me that this is just one component of Fulci’s work,” writes Wheeler Winston Dixon in Film International. “Running through all his films is a strangely dreamlike, hyper-violent abandonment of narrative, which seeks to disrupt normative social values, perhaps as a result of Fulci’s youthful excursions into Marxist political thought.”
Mentioned Jonathan Rosenbaum earlier. He’s just posted a collection of around 30 links to links, essays, and conversations that have appeared in a wide range of publications over the past six or seven years. If you find you’ve fallen into a lull between Christmas and New Year’s, well, there you go.
Speaking of lists. Craig Keller‘s posted his “Top 12 Movies of 2012,” and these are not the usual suspects. Do take a look.
Neil Young‘s got separate lists for UK and US theatrical releases, plus his “‘First XI’ 2012 world-premieres undistributed in UK.”
And Bilge Ebiri revisits the 10 worst films of the year.
New York. Museum of the Moving Image curators David Schwartz and Rachael Rakes have programmed a “Best of 2012” series that’ll be screening from January 8 through February 22.
Berlin. The full program of this year’s transmediale (January 29 through February 3) is now online.
More browsing? Catherine Grant posts a “Stocking Full of eReading and Viewing: Happy Holidays!”