1. Has Michael Haneke jumped the shark? At Frieze, Bert Rebhandl ponders to what extent Haneke’s hit new film The White Ribbon is a radical turn away from his earlier, audience-subverting works. An excerpt:
The success of The White Ribbon raises the question of whether universal recognition has reached Haneke at a point when he has actually given up on his core project. The crusade against mainstream entertainment that he set out on by making movies which flew in the face of conventional cinematic values – for example, realistic representation, identification, traditional storytelling – has resulted in a film that is not directed against those values, but follows them.
2. The death of movie sound? At Metamute, Nina Power offers a provocative piece on the good and bad uses of soundtracks in movies. Here’s the punchy last paragraph:
Increasingly film music seeks to lend humanity itself a veneer of the cinematic, an eco-friendly soundtrack to dampen the fears of the antagonisms and asymmetries of everyday existence. Coupled with the painful loudness of Dolby surround sound and the brutal atonality of sounds of cinematic violence – explosions, car crashes, gun shots – the modern cinematic ear is trained for nothing less than the sickening, yet omnipresent, combination of cruelty and fake humanism that characterises contemporary life.
3. Hungry Freaks, Daddy! At the A/V Club, Mike D’Angelo gives his a ride down the rails.
5. Steve McQueen: The King of the Close-Up. For your reading and viewing pleasure, Jason Bellamy delivers a fantastic appreciation of the iconic star of the 60s and 70s. Read his written appreciation on The House Next Door, or better yet, watch this video essay he produced and narrated: