Thursday, September 20, 2018

35 Shots of Rum (France/Germany: Claire Denis, 2008)





35 Shots of Rum (France/Germany: Claire Denis, 2008: 100 mins)

When is a rice cooker more than just a rice cooker? When it’s in the masterful hands of Claire Denis, who somehow transforms it into a moving metaphor for the evolving relationship between a Parisian train conductor (Alex Descas) and his devoted twenty-something daughter (Mati Diop) as he gently nudges her out of the nest and each tests the waters of new relationships. Warmed by the ember-glow of Godard’s beautifully burnished cinematography, Denis’s delicately bittersweet take on the Ozu-style family drama conveys worlds of meaning and emotion—attraction, heartache, loss, hope—in a mere glance, a gesture, and, yes, a kitchen appliance. -- The Female Gaze (2018) 

Dooley, Kath. "Foreign Bodies, Community and Trauma in the Films of Claire Denis: Beau Travail (1999), 35 Rhums (2008) and White Material (2009)." Screening the Past #37 (September 2013)

Ebert, Roger. "35 Shots of Rum." Roger Ebert (January 20, 2010)

Funderburg, Christopher, et al. "Claire Denis." Wrong Reel #122 (April 3, 2016)

Hughes, Darren and Michael Leary. "Claire Denis." Movie Mezzanine (2015)

Lee, Kevin B. "Essential Viewing: Claire Denis on 35 Shots of Rum." (Posted on Vimeo: February 2017)

---. "Essential Viewing: Roger Ebert on 35 Shots of Rum Keyframe (August 9, 2011)

Nayman, Adam. "The Major and the Minor: 35 Shots of Rum." Reverse Shot #25 (2009)

Sarmiento, José. "The Strangers of Claire Denis: Her cinema speaks of the borders that divide humanity, and the people who cross them." Keyframe (March 24, 2017)

Swinney, Jacob T. "12 Essential Women Cinematographers." Keyframe (August 10, 2016)






Dialogic Cinephilia - September 20, 2018

We must suffer alone. But we can still reach out our arms to our similarly tortured, fractured, and above all else, anxious neighbors, as if to say, in the kindest way possible: 'I know ...' -- Alain de Botton's Book of Life: Developing Emotional Intelligence 


When he was US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus declared what he called "a war of perception... conducted continuously using the news media". What really mattered was not the facts but the way the story played in the United States. The undeclared enemy was, as always, an informed and critical public at home. 
Nothing has changed. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerised the German public. 
She told me the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of an uninformed public. 
"Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?" I asked.

"Everyone," she said. "Propaganda always wins, if you allow it." 
-- "Guest Media Alert by John Pilger: 'Hold the front page. The reporters are missing'" (September 20, 2018)

Darden, Jeneé interviews Jeanne Theoharis. "A More Beautiful and Terrible History Corrects the Fables Told of the Civil Rights Movement." Los Angeles Review of Books (September 16, 2018)

Edwards, David and David Cromwell. "Anatomy of a Propaganda Blitz." Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality. Pluto Press, 2018: 1-19.

Mace, Ryan. "'A Matter of Life and Death': : Trump Admin Slashes Refugee Cap to Historic Low, Imperiling Thousands." Democracy Now (September 19, 2018) ["The Trump administration has once again slashed the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the new cap on refugees would be a historic low of just 30,000 next year, down from the current level of 45,000. The actual number of refugees allowed in to the country is expected to be even lower than the 30,000 cap. Monday’s announcement represents the lowest ceiling any president has imposed on the U.S. refugee program since its creation in 1980. Under President Obama, the refugee cap reached 110,000. For more on the Trump administration’s refugee policy, we speak with Ryan Mace, refugee specialist for Amnesty International USA."]

Maguire, Mairead. "Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era." Counterpunch (September 17, 2018)

Olenick, Michael. "Debunking Another Misleading Gun Study." Naked Capitalism (September 12, 2018)

Smith, Yves. "Ending the Secrecy of the Student Debt Crisis." Naked Capitalism (September 16, 2018)


Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward path had been lost.
--Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy: Inferno, Song 1 (1320)







The Journey by Mary Oliver (in Dream Work: 1986)
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - September 19, 2018


The Worm's Waking by Rumi (1207 - 1273)

This is how a human being can change:
there's a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.
                         Suddenly he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he's no longer
a worm.
                He's the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn't need
to devour.

Coleman Barks, Tr., The Essential Rumi (San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1995)

Feitlowitz, Marguerite. "A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture." The New York Times (Reproduction of Ch. 1 from the book of the same name)

Kelley, Robin D.G. "Sorry, Not Sorry." Boston Review (September 13, 2018)

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "BlacKkKlansman / Top 5 Spike Lee Shots." Filmspotting #693 (August 17, 2018) ["Master filmmaker, trickster, provocateur, Spike Lee has been making bold and timely films for over three decades now. And with his latest, BLACKkKLANSMAN, he's also made one of his best. On this week's show, Adam and Josh give Lee the career retrospective treatment with the Filmspotting Top 5: Spike Lee Shots, along with a review of the outstanding and thought-provoking KLANSMAN."]

Popova, Maria. "What Power Really Means: Cheryl Strayed Reads Adrienne Rich’s Homage to Marie Curie." Brain Pickings (April 24, 2018)

Santini, Antonio and Dan Sickle. "Dina." Film School (October 13, 2017) ["DINA, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, invites her fiancé Scott, a Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. Having grown up neurologically diverse in a world blind to the value of their experience, the two are head-over-heels for one another, but shacking up poses a new challenge.Getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him in to only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter.She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved DINA, after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, DINA, remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. DINA captures the cadences and candid conversations of a relationship that reexamines the notion of love on-screen. DINA is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickle join us to talk about their empathetic, moving and enveloping documentary."]

Strang, Pekka. "Tom of Finland." Film School (October 15, 2017) ["This stirring biopic follows the life of the artist Touko Laaksonen (Pekka Strang), known to the world as Tom of Finland, whose proudly erotic drawings shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? After serving in the army in WWII, Touko returned to repressive Finnish society of the 1950s, haunted by traumatic experiences. Moving in with his affectionate but unenlightened sister Kaija (Jessica Grabowsky), he fell in love with her lodger, handsome dancer Veli (Lauri Tiklanen), who Kaija also fancied. Unable to express his feelings openly, Touko poured them into his drawings, creating his vision of the hypermasculine leatherman. Soon his art was famous under his secret pseudonym, but getting it published was a struggle that took Touko to California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s.Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem. Finland’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at the 90th Academy Awards. Actor Pekka Strang joins us for a conversation on his nuanced and winning portrayal of an iconic artist and unexpected champion of equal rights for the LGBTQ community."]





Fieldnotes: Annette Kuhn interviewed by Catherine Grant from SCMS on Vimeo.

















"To conquer a beast, we must first make it beautiful." - Ancient Chinese Proverb [Quoted on the inside cover of Sarah Wilson's first, we make the beast beautiful: a new journey through anxiety (Dey St., 2018)]







Saturday, September 15, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - September 15, 2018

Andrews, Benedict. "Una." Film School (October 13, 2017) ["UNA, based on David Harrower’s play ‘Blackbird’ follows a young woman’s journey to reclaim her past. Fifteen years earlier, UNA ran away with an older man, Ray, a crime for which he was arrested and imprisoned. When she comes across a photo of him in a trade magazine, UNA tracks him down and turns up at his workplace. Her abrupt arrival threatens to destroy Ray’s new life and derail her stability. Unspoken secrets and buried memories surface as Una and Ray sift through the wreckage of the past. Their confrontation raises unanswered questions and unresolved longings. It will shake them both to the core. UNA gazes into the heart of a devastating form of love and asks if redemption is possible. Bolstered by the remarkable performances of Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelson, UNA rips at the fragile facade of two irreparably damaged people forced to reconcile entangled their past. Director Benedict Andrews talks about the making of his complex, intimate and relentlessly raw tale of abuse, and unresolved emotion."]





Auberjonis, Remy and Kate Nowlin. "Blood Stripe." Film School (October 13, 2017)

Bohatch, Emily. "SC officials won’t evacuate medium-security prison despite mandatory order." The State (September 11, 2018)

Goro, El and Stephanie Wiley. "Fright Night (1985) and Re-Animator (1985)." Talk Without Rhythm (October 22, 2017)

"L.A. Breakdown, a Hitman In Crisis: Michael Mann’s Collateral."  Cinephilia and Beyond (ND)

Publius, Gaius. "Big Oil Seeks Billions from U.S. Government to Protect It From…Climate Change." Down With Tyranny (September 10, 2018)

Roberts, Tim. "What Was also Wrong About the Claim that Andrew Gillum’s Election as Florida’s Governor 'Would Monkey This Up.'" History News Network (September 9, 2018)

Rose, Steve. "'We can't wait for Hollywood to change' - the directors reframing black history." The Guardian (April 1, 2017) ["From Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro to Ava DuVernay’s 13th, the factual film-makers tackling race in the era of Black Lives Matter."]









PICK ONE from Catherine Grant on Vimeo.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - September 12, 2018


Angela Y. Davis: African-American Studies/Critical Theory/Feminism/Gender Studies/History/Marxism/Philosophy/Prison Abolition Dialogic Cinephilia  (Ongoing Archive)

Blackmon, Douglas A. Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to WWII. NY: Doubleday, 2008.

Criminology/Policing/Crime/Prisons Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Lombardi, Amy J. "On the Origins of the term 'Doublespeak.'" The Daily Doublespeak (September 4, 2008)

Michelle Alexander: Civil Rights Lawyer/Legal Studies/Social Justice Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Ng, Alan. "Rodents of Unusual Size." Film Threat (September 12, 2018)

Slavery and Its Legacies ["The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition is pleased to announce “Slavery and Its Legacies,” a podcast series featuring visiting scholars, activists, and others about their contributions to the understanding of slavery past and present and its ongoing role in the development of the modern world. New episodes will be available every other Monday."]

Slavery By Another Name (PBS Documentary, 2012: 84 minutes) ["Slavery by Another Name “resets” our national clock with a singular astonishing fact: Slavery in America didn’t end 150 years ago, with Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, the film illuminates how in the years following the Civil War, insidious new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, persisting until the onset of World War II."]

Social Movements/Resistance Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)











Monday, September 10, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - September 10, 2018

Beau Travail (France: Claire Denis, 1999) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Denali Outside (June 9, 2015) ["There's no easy way to say goodbye to a friend, especially when they've supported you through your darkest times. Denali is the story of photographer Ben Moon and his beloved dog, Denali. A collaboration between director Ben Knight, producer Ben Moon and cinematographer Skip Armstrong, Denali celebrates the human-dog bond and illuminates the incredible resilience we can conjure up with the help of friends."]

Goodman, Amy, et al. "Rise for Climate: Tens of Thousands March in San Francisco Calling for Fossil-Free World." Democracy Now (September 10, 2018) ["Hundreds of thousands of protesters in more than 90 countries joined a worldwide day of protest demanding urgent action to address climate change Saturday. In San Francisco, up to 30,000 people took part in the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice march. It is believed to be the largest climate march ever on the West Coast. The protest came just days before the start of the Global Climate Action Summit being organized by California Governor Jerry Brown. Democracy Now! was in the streets of San Francisco for the march."]

Health/Healthcare/Medicine/Body Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Petzold, Christian. "On Transit, the Refugee Crisis, The Sopranos, and Cinematic Rules." The Film Stage (March 13, 2018)

Rossellini, Isabella. "Rome Open City."  Film Forum (September 17, 2014) ["(1945) Rome, winter 1943: as screeching-tired Gestapo dragnets blanket the “open city,” Resistance leader Marcello Pagliero escapes from his apartment by running across the rooftops (as did co-screenwriter Sergio Amidei in real life), as pregnant widow Anna Magnani prepares for her wedding, parish priest Aldo Fabrizi uses the “frying pan method” to hide the local boys’ bomb brigade’s hardware, and effete Major Harry Feist riffles through his collection of incriminating ID photos – but betrayal, a broad-daylight machine-gunning, a Partisan ambush, blowtorch torture, and death by firing squad loom… Based on actual people and all-too-recent incidents (Magnani’s electrifying final scene was inspired by her enraged pursuit of her boyfriends’s escape by truck); written in a week in Federico Fellini’s kitchen (the only place with heat); shot on a number of the real locations, and cast mainly with non-pros (Fabrizi and second-choice Magnani were already famous, albeit for comedy), Open City’s documentary look and still hair-raising violence rocked audiences and critics around the world, making Neo-Realism, Rossellini, and Magnani world-famous, sharing the top prize at Cannes, and running twenty-one consecutive months at a single New York cinema. For years seen only in beat-up copies with hopelessly inadequate subtitles, this new restoration conveys the full meaning (and even the humor) of the dialogue for the very first time."]

Scofield, Jerri-Lynn. "Plastic Watch: First Ocean Cleanup Array to Launch Tomorrow." Naked Capitalism (September 7, 2018)




















Sunday, September 9, 2018

Slurring Bee 15

Also need 15 absurd/quirky warm up questions

1st Round: warm-up question followed by a word
2nd Round: 3 words in succession for each contestant
3rd Round: Round-robin until we have a winner (keep track of last three - the order they come in)
3 mispelled words and a contestant is out

Pronouncer Information 1. Read carefully the Judges, Recorders, Spellers and Audiences information that is included in the Scripps pronouncers’ guide. 2. Familiarize yourself with all words on the confidential word list. Pronunciation is important. A meeting with the judges to insure pronunciation of words and procedures will be scheduled prior to the Bee beginning. 3. Speak clearly for contestants, judges and audience alike. Grant all requests to repeat a word until the judges agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the speller. You may request the speller to speak more clearly or louder. 4. “Pace” yourself. You need time to focus attention on the pronunciation of the new word and the judges need a few moments between each contestant to do their tasks.

Speller’s Information 1. Each speller needs to focus on the Pronouncer, to aid his or her hearing and understanding of the context of the word. A speller may ask for the word to be repeated, for its use in a sentence, for a definition, for the part of speech, and for the language of origin. 2. Each speller should pronounce the word before and after spelling it. If the speller fails to pronounce the word after spelling it, the judge may ask if they are finished. If they say yes, the judge will remind the speller to remember to repeat the word the next time. (No speller will be eliminated for failing to pronounce a word.) 3. When a speller is at the podium spelling, the next speller should be standing at a marked location ready to proceed to the podium.

417) orgulous

418) circuitous

419) quintessance

420) xenophobia

421) fungible

422) taciturn

423) symposium

424) quiddity

425) imperturbable






Saturday, September 8, 2018

Beau travail (France: Claire Denis, 1999: 92 mins)



Beau travail (France: Claire Denis, 1999: 92 mins)

Denis’s loose retelling of Billy Budd, set among a troop of Foreign Legionnaires stationed in the Gulf of Djibouti, is one of her finest films, an elemental story of misplaced longing and frustrated desire. Beneath a scorching sun, shirtless young men exercise to the strains of Benjamin Britten, under the watchful eye of Denis Lavant’s officer Galoup, their ritualized movements simmering with barely suppressed violence. When a handsome recruit wins the favor of the regiment’s commander, cracks start to appear in Galoup’s fragile composure. In the tense, tightly disciplined atmosphere of military life, Denis found an ideal outlet for two career-long concerns: the quiet agony of repressing one’s emotions and the terror of finally letting loose. -- The Female Gaze (2018)

Burchett, William, Brian Risselada and Josh Ryan. "Claire Denis." Syndrome and a Cinema #3 (October 17, 2011)

Chan, Andrew. "Men at Play: Beau Travail." Reverse Shot #29 (2009)

Cooper, Julia. "This Is the Rhythm of My Life: Failure in Claire Denis’ Beau Travail." cléo 1.3 (July 28, 2013)

Dooley, Kath. "Foreign Bodies, Community and Trauma in the Films of Claire Denis: Beau Travail (1999), 35 Rhums (2008) and White Material (2009)." Screening the Past #37 (September 2013)

Funderburg, Christopher, et al. "Claire Denis." Wrong Reel #122 (April 3, 2016)

Hughes, Darren and Michael Leary. "Claire Denis." Movie Mezzanine (2015)

Ogundare, Tope. "Male Love Through Female Eyes - Five films about men, each directed by a woman. What do we learn?" Keyframe (March 24, 2016)

Reardon, Kiva. "Claire Denis and Objects of Desire." Keyframe (March 3, 2016)

Reichert, Jeff. "The Great Beyond: Beau Travail." Reverse Shot #29 (2009)

Sarmiento, José. "The Strangers of Claire Denis: Her cinema speaks of the borders that divide humanity, and the people who cross them." Keyframe (March 24, 2017)

Tracz, Tamara. Beau Travail Senses of Cinema (February 2007)

Vicari, Justin. "Colonial fictions: Le Petit Soldat and its revisionist sequel, Beau Travail." Jump Cut #50 (2008)