Daily | VA, Demy/Bresson, Tarkovsky

Miami Vice

Colin Farrell and Michael Mann on the set of ‘Miami Vice’ (2006)

“Do we really need the term ‘vulgar auteurism‘? Does it do any new work for us today?” These and other related questions are put forward in the latest entry from Girish Shambu in which he sketches a brief history of what’s already being abbreviated as VA in the very lively, very substantive discussion in the comments so far. Girish also does a bit of compare/contrast footwork with VA in relation to J. Hoberman’s 1982 essay “Vulgar Modernism” and to “the first wave of auteurism” as originated by the Cahiers du Cinéma crowd in the 1950’s. The read of the day, obviously.

And for the weekend? Girish has us covered there as well: “I’m most honored to be part of a group of ten ‘guest scholars’ (along with Christian Keathley, Adrian Martin, Laura Mulvey, Victor Perkins, Lesley Stern, Kristin Thompson, and others) in the new issue of The Cine-Files, the online journal of the Savannah College of Art & Design. The issue is devoted to ‘Mise-en-scène’.”

Adrian Martin not only appears there but also in the comments section of Girish’s VA entry—and he points us to a major piece in Photogénie by Tom Paulus, “Serious Sentiment, Serious Art: Demy and Bresson (and Soderbergh).” A snippet:

Of those new-wave directors whose style was shaped by Bresson’s ideas on performance, framing and editing, Godard and Demy are key: like [Demy’s] La Baie des Anges [1963], Godard’s Vivre sa Vie (1962) is indebted to Bresson’s fronting of episodic structure, parallelism and variation. And like Godard, Demy is enamored of tight, straight-on framings in the manner of Bresson. Unlike Godard, however, Demy seems relatively uninterested in exploring the parallels between Bresson’s theories of editing and those of Eisenstein and Pudovkin. Like the Soviets, Bresson believes in eliminating “distraction” from the filmic representation, keeping the mise en scène sparse to heighten the expression of the relevant detail. The only difference is that in Soviet cinema that “detail” is mostly made emblematic of ideological expression, whereas in Bresson it expresses a spiritual core of meaning.

Related: Michael Smith‘s “Top 10 Favorite Notes in Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematographer.”

In other news. The Festival del film Locarno will present a Pardo alla carriera, that is, a lifetime achievement award, to Italian actor, director and screenwriter Sergio Castellitto during its 66th edition running from August 7 through 17. The tribute “will include a conversation with him that is open to the Festival public, and screenings of five films spanning his career: Jacques Rivette’s Va Savoir (Who Knows?) (2001), Marco Bellocchio’s My Mother’s Smile (2002), Alessandro Angelini’s Raise Your Head (2009), as well as Love & Slaps (2010) and Twice Born (2012, presented as a Swiss premiere) directed by Castellitto himself.”

Viewing. From Carles Matamoros and Covadonga G.Lahera for Transit:

New York. BAMcinématek is currently screening a new 35mm print of Andrei Tarkovsky‘s Nostalghia (1983), and for BAM’s blog, Keith Uhlich writes that Tarkovsky’s “objective, as he notes in his manifesto Sculpting in Time, was ‘to make a film… about that state of mind peculiar to our nation which affects Russians who are far from their native land.’ ‘State of mind’ encapsulates the experience of this filmmaker’s penultimate feature, a story about borders (of the brain, the soul, the body politic) that tries its damnedest, fool’s errand though it may be, to abolish them.”

Los Angeles.Hungry Hobos, a 1928 Walt Disney animated short film that was considered lost for decades, will screen Saturday at UCLA as part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 24th annual Silent Film Event,” reports Rebecca Keegan in the Times. And Sherrie Li has more in the Weekly.

France. Meantime, when the Annecy International Animated Film Festival opens next week, it’ll be featuring the debut of Disney’s new Mickey Mouse short, Get a Horse!, featuring “a vocal track by Walt Disney himself as the voice of Mickey,” notes Cartoon Brew‘s Amid Amidi.

Brussels. The exhibition Film as Sculpture opens today at WIELS.

List. The Telegraph‘s Tim Robey picks his all-time top ten documentaries.

In the works. “Tom Hardy will star in The Outsider, a Silver Pictures film that will mark the English-language debut of Japanese director Takashi Miike, who’s in negotiations to direct the Andrew Baldwin script,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr.

From Peter Martin‘s roundup of projects in the works at “Denzel Washington has made only occasional forays into science fiction (Virtuosity, Book of Eli), but he’s in early talks to head back to the near future in Shovel Ready. He would play a professional assassin who is contracted to kill the daughter of a mad evangelist before changing his mind and becoming her protector. The project does not yet have a screenwriter hired or director attached.”

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