16.April.2012: This week kicks off with a lot of notes from the avant-garde. San Francisco filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky will be at REDCAT in Los Angeles tonight to introduce a selection of his recent films, including the world premiere of August and After. Later this week he will visit UCLA to present the quartet of Sarabande, Compline, Aubade, and Winter. “For decades Nathaniel Dorsky has been making work of rare and sometimes startling beauty,” Manohla Dargis begins by way of introduction. “If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he makes short, silent experimental films that feature brightly colored flowers, bursts of sunlight and shifting pools of shadow instead of characters, plots and stories.”
Emma Myers recaps Michael Snow’s appearance at MoMA last week as part of the museum’s Modern Mondays series (the museum recently acquired two of the artist’s slide installations, Slidelength and Sink). “Calling Michael Snow interdisciplinary is an understatement,” Myers writes. “Though medium specificity is central to his art, it is also impossible to relegate any of his seemingly boundaryless pieces to a single medium. In talking about his work, Snow makes it all sound so easy. Each idea seems to spring spontaneously and effortlessly from a preceding project, in a never-ending chain of astonishing productivity that can perhaps be attributed to the mental flow of his improvisational musical mind, creating through creation itself—or perhaps it’s just his understated Canadian way of expressing himself.”
Jonas Mekas’s new film, MY MARS BAR MOVIE, about the recently shuttered Lower East Side watering hole, showed at Anthology Film Archives this past weekend. Mekas tells GreenCine’s Steve Dollar that, “There was practically no light” at the Mars. “You couldn’t film anything [at night]. There was no other bar like that. Other bars try to bring themselves up to date, become a bit cleaner. They didn’t care. I’m for a little bit of dirt. Every city needs some messy dirty place where you can go and lose yourself and leave some of your dirt there. Paris has. Hamburg has. New York does not have it anymore.”
Ann Hui’s A Simple Life won awards for best film, director, screenplay, actor, and actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards yesterday. The MUBI Notebook republishes Daniel Kasman’s review of the film, which concerns a lifelong maid’s transition to a nursing home: “Ann Hui risks the delicate balancing act of combining fantasy and reality with A Simple Life, another—and an exceedingly excellent and moving—mainstream ‘social message’ film from this master director.”
Finally, David Ehrenstein arranged a panoply of clips pertaining to iconoclastic filmmaker Derek Jarman at Dennis Cooper’s blog this past Friday. You can watch several of Jarman’s films, including Sebastiane, Caravaggio, Wittgenstein, and Blue, at Fandor now.