28.February.2012: A couple of days after the Academy Awards, but some writers are still trying to figure out The Artist’s earlier win at the Independent Spirit Awards. Scott Macaulay recounts the entire evening for Filmmaker, including the late arrival of The Artist crew fresh from their victories at France’s Cesars the night before: “When Ben Kingsley opened the envelope and announced The Artist as Best Feature, a prize it would score again a day later at the Academy Awards, this charming shapeshifter of a film had succeeded in truly being all things to all people. ‘The nominating committees can be as bold as they want,” an industry colleague said to me. ‘But ultimately the broader membership of Film Independent has as broad taste as everyone else.’ Which is not to denigrate The Artist, but what does it mean when the same film can receive Best Picture awards by the American film industry, the French film industry, and the American independent film industry?” Indiewire’s Anthony Kaufmann takes a harder line in his editorial “Do the Spirit Awards Still Suck?” (spoiler alert: he says yea): “I know that the organization does a lot to support independent artists and needs money to float those worthy programs, but the Spirit Awards needs to do more to raise the profile of the American independent filmmakers that FIND cultivates and champions year round.”
The Criterion Collection posts a nugget from Oscar past in the form of a letter Ingmar Bergman wrote refusing his 1960 nomination for Wild Strawberries and asking “to be released from the attention of the jury for the future.”
Writing The Guardian, Pamela Hutchinson points out that while The Artist may be the most talked-about silent film of the moment, Metropolis has been significantly more influential on this year’s runways. “At the Paris couture shows this year,” she writes, “Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci and Versace’s Donatella both revealed themselves as Metropolis ans. Givenchy’s tightly sculpted, embellished gowns from the spring/summer 2012 collection channelled the movie’s gothic-industrial vibe, while Versace’s metal ridge details, flaring on the hip and accentuated cups on corseted tops, were pure fembot chic…Tom Ford’s collection at London fashion week has been kept away from the cameras—but he too claimed Metropolis as an influence…In Milan last week, Max Mara became the latest label to pay tribute to Lang’s futuristic nightmare, with a collection of overalls, dungarees and heavy caps that remodelled the utilitarian clothes of the workers of Metropolis in crocodile skin and cashmere.” Fortunately for the clothes conscious, Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic is streaming on Fandor.
Blogger Girish Shambu is looking forward to the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference to be held in Boston March 21–25, where he’ll be presenting on a panel about “The Video Essay.” “Especially with the efforts of critics such as Matt Zoller Seitz, Kevin Lee and Jim Emerson, this form of criticism has witnessed a great flowering in the last few years” he writes, and you can explore many examples of the new mode in the video section of Fandor’s Keyframe blog.