Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Branded to Kill (Japan: Seijun Suzuki, 1967)

Branded to Kill (Japan: Seijun Suzuki, 1967: 91 mins)

"Branded by Design." Current (December 15, 2011)

"Branded to Kill." The Projection Booth #108 (April 2, 2013)

Dessem, Matthew. "Branded to Kill."  The Criterion Contraption #38 (September 4, 2005)

Gallagher, Ryan, James McCormick and Justin Vactor. "Seijun Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill." Criterion Cast #125 (June 24, 2012)

Julier, Jason. "Eastern Premise #36: Branded to Kill." Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second (October 27, 2011)

Klymkiw, Greg. "Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill." The Film Corner (February 8, 2014)

Knudsen, Tyler. "Branded to Kill." Cinema Yakuza #1 (December 21, 2014)

---. "Seijun Suzuki, A Director Who Influenced Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, John Woo, and Others." Press Play (July 24, 2015)

Rayns, Tony. "Branded to Kill: Reductio Ad Absurdum." Current (December 13, 2011)

Suzuki, Seijun. "Interview." Midnight Eye (October 11, 2001)

"Terror and Architecture in Branded to Kill." The Tiger Manifesto (September 19, 2014)

Tunningley, Sam. "An interview with BRANDED TO KILL director Seijun Suzuki (1997)." The Seventh Art (November 5, 2013)

Zorn, John. "Branded to Kill." Current (February 22, 1999)

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Tribe (Ukraine/Netherlands: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014)

The Tribe (Ukraine/Netherlands: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014: 132 mins)

Bergeron, Michael. "The Tribe: Interview with Miroslav Slaboshpitsky." Free Press Houston (July 22, 2015)

Bradshaw, Peter. "The Tribe – deaf-school drama is shocking, violent and unique." The Guardian (October 17, 2014)

Davis, Lennard J. "The Sound and the Fury: On Miroslav Slaboshpitsky's film 'The Tribe'." Los Angeles Review of Books (May 2, 2015)

Dowd, A.A. "The Tribe is an audacious experiment in sign-language cinema." A.V. Club (June 16, 2015)

Kohn, Eric. "How the Director of 'The Tribe' Made a Movie in Sign Language Without Speaking It." IndieWire (June 16, 2015)

Tafoya, Scout. "The Tribe." Roger Ebert (June 17, 2015)

Tatarska, Anna. "Signs of the Times: The Tribe." Keyframe (July 22, 2015)

Tobias, Scott. "The Tribe." The Dissolve (June 16, 2015)

The Tribe Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Taiwan: Tsai Ming-liang, 2003)

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Taiwan: Tsai Ming-liang, 2003: 82 mins)

Atkinson, Sarah. "Goodbye Dragon Inn." The Cinematologists #6 (May 13, 2015)

Brailsford, Zachary Phillip, et al. "Tsai Ming-liang." Syndromes and a Cinema (August 28, 2011)

Brody, Richard. "Movie of the Week: Goodbye, Dragon Inn." The New Yorker (September 30, 2014)

Goodbye, Dragon Inn Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

Totaro, Donato. "Tsai Ming-liang Retrospective." Offscreen 9.4 (April 2005)

Villiers, Nicholas de. "Leaving the Cinema: Metacinematic Cruising in Tsai Ming-liang’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn." Jump Cut #50 (Spring 2008)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

All That Jazz (USA: Bob Fosse, 1979)

All That Jazz (USA: Bob Fosse, 1979: 123 mins)

Als, Hilton. "All That Jazz: Stardust." Current (August 5, 2014)

Anderson, Barry, et al. "The Bob Fosse Experience (1968 - 1983)." Illusion Travels by Streetcar #138 (February 1, 2017)

Aradillas, Aaron. "'On Broadway' and All That Jazz." Slant (December 28, 2007)

Bradley, S.A. "Killed by Death." Hellbent for Horror #33 (February 27, 2017)

Ketchum, Kevin. "Bye Bye Life: All That Jazz as Film Criticism." Movie Mezzanine (December 19, 2014)

Kuersten, Erich. "CinemArchetype #4: The Hanged Man." Acidemic  (February 12, 2012)

"The Mind-Bending Cinema of All That Jazz." Current (August 22, 2014)

Murray, Noel. "All That Jazz." The Dissolve (September 8, 2014)

Seitz, Matt Zoller. "All That Fosse: All Those Echoes of All That Jazz." The New York Times (December 23, 2009)

---. "Why My Video Essay About All That Jazz is not on the Criterion Blu-Ray." MZS. (September 25, 2014)

Friday, December 18, 2015

There Will Be Blood (USA: Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

There Will Be Blood (USA: Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007: 158 mins)

Anderson, Paul Thomas. "On His Filmmaking and Films." WTF #565 (January 5, 2015)

Bernstein, Arielle and Nelson Carvajal. "The Inherent Vice in Paul Thomas Anderson's Films: A Video Essay." Press Play (January 2, 2015)

Buckle, Andy. "Critical Analysis: There Will be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)." The Film Emporium (October 9, 2010)

Cassidy, Brendan and J.D. Duran. "There Will Be Blood, Top 5 Movies of 2007." InSession Film #236 (August 29, 2017)

Dargis, Manohla. "There Will Be Blood: An American Primitive, Forged in a Crucible of Blood and Oil." The New York Times (December 26, 2007)

Ebert, Roger. "There Will Be Blood." Chicago Sun-Times (January 3, 2008)

Fidler, John. "There Will Be Blood." Senses of Cinema #74 (February 2015)

Foley, Darren. "Paul Thomas Anderson Trilogy." Must See Films (2013)

---. "There Will Be Blood Analysis." Must See Films (Posted on Vimeo: 2012)

Jack's Movie Reviews. "Paul Thomas Anderson - Finding a Purpose In Life." (Posted on Youtube: March 11, 2017)

Lee, Kevin B. "The Career of Paul Thomas Anderson in Five Shots." (Posted on Vimeo: 2013)

Monotreme. "Why PT Anderson is a genius: A critical analysis of There Will Be Blood." JoBlo (October 1, 2010)

Murray, Terry. "There Will Be Blood: A Hollywood hero beyond good and evil." Philosophy Now #74 (2009)

Ratzlaff, Jeremy. "Paul Thomas Anderson: A Chronological Timeline." (Posted on Vimeo: November 2015)

Sinclair, Upton. Oil!  libcom [1927 novel]

Stephenson, Hunter. "There Will Be Blood." Slash Film (February 29, 2008)

Swinney, Jacob T. "A Video Essay on Paul Thomas Anderson's Provocative Use of the Long Shot." Press Play (January 30, 2015)

Vahdani, Alirehza. "There Will Be Blood: A Study in Mise en Scène." Offscreen 15.8 (August 2011)

Wang, Lorenzo. "A Critical Analysis of There Will Be Blood: Intensional Godhood." Noisewar Internetlainen (January 28, 2008)

There Will Be Blood / Through Numbers from Ali Shirazi on Vimeo.

There will be blood Analysis from MUST SEE FILMS on Vimeo.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Duke of Burgundy (UK: Peter Strickland, 2014)

The Duke of Burgundy (UK: Peter Strickland, 2014: 104 mins)

Bowen, Chuck. "The Duke of Burgundy." Slant (October 7, 2015)

Bradshaw, Peter. "The Duke of Burgundy review – A moving story of love on the wing." The Guardian (February 19, 2015)

Brown, Heather. "Love and BDSM Meet in The Duke of Burgundy." Bitch Flicks (May 8, 2015)

The Duke of Burgundy Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

Hoffman, Jordan. "The Duke of Burgundy: Filthy and fraught with genuine emotion." The Guardian (September 7, 2014)

López, Cristina Álvarez. "The Anatomy of a ‘Safe’ Film: THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY." Keyframe (June 21, 2015) 

Romney, Jonathan. "The Duke of Burgundy review – Erotic, neurotic and utterly individual." The Observer (February 22, 2015)

Rupe, Shade. "Beyond Exploitation: Peter Strickland’s THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY." Keyframe (January 26, 2015)

Smith, Justine. "Video: Women of 2015, Trading Places." Keyframe (December 19, 2015)

Stafford, Mark. "The Duke of Burgundy." Electric Sheep Magazine (October 9, 2014)

Zacharek, Stephanie. "The Duke of Burgundy is a Delicious Evocation of Seventies Erotica." The Village Voice (January 21, 2015)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Stories We Tell: Quote File

In a globalized world it is imperative that we begin to develop a broader awareness of the interconnected cultures and societies that influence and shape world events. Anyone remotely aware of the American social landscape must recognize that many of our citizens are unaware of the broader relations and connections of the world in which they live in. Many Americans tend to have a narrow understanding of world history, filtered as it is through ethnocentric American textbooks and mediatized narratives filtered through the lenses of the dominant center, which effectively ignores the realities of the margins (culturally, economically and socially). Many concerned citizens struggle to carve out meaning in the contemporary data stream and suffer the neglect of a mainstream media that limits itself to predigested dualistic positions. In this simplified media environment, vast regions of the world are presumed to be unable to speak for themselves and rarely, in the mainstream corporate media that serves as the news for a majority of American citizens, do we receive sustained and in-depth critical analysis of issues through the voices and experiences of multiple interested parties.
--Michael Benton, 2006

As a teacher, I'm not interested in just reproducing class after class of graduates who will get out, become successful, and take their obedient places in the slots that society has prepared for them. What we must do--whether we teach or write or make films--is educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world. (15)
---Zinn, Howard. "Stories Hollywood Never Tells." The Sun #343 (July 2004): 12-15.

"What is history for? What do we want it to do? In 1731, an obscure Kentish schoolmaster named Richard Spencer offered some answers. Properly to ascertain his position in geographical space, he reasoned, required not a single map, but access to a global atlas, one that would allow him to ‘see what London and the adjacent parts are in the kingdom; what the kingdom is in Europe, and what Europe is in the universe’. Much the same, he thought, applied to history. ‘Particular histories represent to you, what things have happen’d to such or such a People, with all their circumstances,’ he explained: ‘But to understand the whole clearly, you must know what relation every history can have to others.’ Only when such connected and wide-angled histories were available, might one hope to ‘see all the order of time’." -- Linda Colley, "Wide-Angled" (2013)

"Heteropatriarchy is the logic by which all other forms of social hierarchy become naturalized… The same logic underlying the belief that men should dominate women on the basis of biology underlies the belief that the elites of a society naturally dominate everyone else[…]we must develop strategies that address state violence and interpersonal violence simultaneously." Smith, Andrea. "Preface" to The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist CommunitiesAK Press (August 22, 2016) [Quoted in Corinne Manning's "Ideal Lover." (2017)]

"World Cinema’, to a French eye, is a very welcoming notion that could mean several different, even contradictory things. Among these, I will evoke three meanings:
1) Because of its predecessor World Music, which means the ethnic music re-arranged with electronic instruments to please Western consumers, World Cinema could function as a seductive formula for acculturation – after exploiting gold, diamond and every other kind of material resource, now the Western world is exploiting the immaterial patrimony of the rest of the world, including, of course, its own inner colonies.
2) In a much more objective, generous sense, World Cinema can mean ‘every kind of cinema that appears in the world’ – as Philippe Grandrieux might have put it, according to his historical TV experiment of 1987, The World is Everything That Happens (“le Monde est tout ce qui arrive”). The syntagm World Cinema helps to identify and evaluate non-dominant cinemas all over the planet. This is the opposite of the previous meaning: World Cinema as opposed to globalised cinema, with a hidden but obvious ‘s’ at the end of Cinema.
3) In a polemical and radical sense – conceptual rather than geographical – World Cinema means the cinema in relationship to the world, cinema in its ability to conceive and reshape the world, as opposed to the ‘fantasy cinema’ that forgets, often hides and sometimes betrays realities.
-- Nicole Berenz, "Political Cinema Today – The New Exigencies: For a Republic of Images." Screening the Past (September 2013)

"The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated egos."
-- Alan WattsThe Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966)

What are “thoughts,” and what are “things”? and how are they connected?… Is there a common stuff out of which all facts are made?… Which is the most real kind of reality? What binds all things into one universe?
-- Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011)

"The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness."
-- Turner in the film Performance

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

Anyone who believes that every individual film must present a "balanced" picture, knows nothing about either balance or pictures.
--Edward R. Murrow

Democracy is a great conversation, a community defined by the scope and substance of its discourse.
--James David Barber

"Believing is seeing and not the other way around."
--Errol Morris

"There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.”
--Raymond Williams

"Art and humanities research begins with a desire to understand the human condition."
--Masoud Yazdani

Film matters because film is us. We as a society use the filmic form to tell stories about who we are and our society - they are a record of what makes us human and what concerns us in the everyday. ... The film form, narrative and styles with which we are so familiar, from Hollywood blockbusters to the avant-garde, shape our own personal narratives. Film offers us a language to speak to each other across national, class, economic, and racial lines - film is a phenomenon that allows us to understand cultures and people.
--Lincoln Geraghty

Until lions have their own historians, histories of the hunt will glorify the hunter.
-- African proverb

"So you lie to yourself to be happy. There's nothing wrong with that. We all do it."
--Teddy in Memento (2000)

My films are intended as polemical statements against the American ‘barrel down’ cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus.
-– Michael Haneke, “Film as Catharsis”

The question isn’t “how do I show violence?” but rather “how do I show the spectator his position vis-à-vis violence and its representation?”
-– Michael Haneke

As a scholar of transnational/eco-critical cinema, it is increasingly clear to me that cinema is one of the most efficient ways to debate political and cultural issues in a global society. This is especially the case with cinema's potential to visually capture the transnational and even global scale of ecological problems, and engage with them in a way that reaches wide global audiences. Cinema is not only a communicator of ideas and an essential component of the culture industries. It is also a crucial pedagogical tool that facilitates efficient learning and motivates participation from new generations of audiences. It can help audiences, 'old' and 'new', to rethink their place in the world, and crucially, it can also motivate them to do something about the injustices and exploitation to which they are witness.
--Pietari Kääpä

Openness exists . . .not only for the person to whom one listens, but rather anyone who listens is fundamentally open. Without this kind of openness to one another there is no genuine human relationship. Belonging together always also means being able to listen to one another.

--Hans-Georg Gadamer Truth and Method (Source)

Our human existence is rooted in sex. .... It lies at the very heart of love. Though conservatives reject the very idea as dangerous, I would say that the way to save us from our own perversity is by confronting sex courageously. ... Sex brings relief from tension and enmity and leads to harmony in human relationships--husband and wife, [friends] and strangers. (109)

Kaneto Shindō, qouted in McDonald, Keiko. "Eros, Politics, and Folk Religion: Kaneto Shindō's Onobaba (1963)." Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006: 108-121.

‘We do not remember, we rewrite memory much as history is rewritten’
Narrator of Chris Marker's film Sans Soleil (1983)

"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘emergency situation’ in which we live is not the exception, but the rule.”
--Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

"What is focus, and who has the right to say what is legitimate focus?
-- Julie Margaret Cameron, late 19th Century Photographer

"Death is never the end of the story, it always leave tracks."
-- Notary Jean Label in Incendies (2010)

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."
-- Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin Vol. 4 (1971)

"Power fears poetry... Poetry resides somewhere else, somewhere inaccessible to power; it evokes sentiments, touches being, and speaks in a strange tongue." (163)
--Andy Merrifield, Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination (2011)

"Like religion, a good movie really does answer the only three questions worth asking in life: who you are, where you come from, and what you should do. In its essential narrative arc, a movie gives you clues as to your ultimate identity, the nature of how the world really is, and your mission in life. And if you learn the basics of screenplay writing, you discover very quickly that almost every film script follows a dramatic formula identical to the formula of the standard religious sermon. In the screenplay, the writer’s task is to create an emotionally sympathetic character who is nevertheless guilty of some form of misbehavior, who then must, through an escalating series of forced crises, confront his or her misbehavior and overcome it. Likewise, in your standard sermon, the preacher’s art is to describe, through personal, historical, and anecdotal evidence, the universal sin (read: misbehavior) of the human species, and how God alone can solve this basic problem, and happily, how he does. Both sermons and movies (in America at least) thus, have the same theological bias that favors a happy ending."
--Read Mercer Schuchardt, "Cinema: The New Cathedral of Hollywood" (2001)

Unlike other forms of artistic expression, cinema is an "industrial form of art": in order to express itself fully, it needs ever-greater financial investments. This means that the author's artistic expression is conditioned right from the start--and it would be hypocritical not to admit this--by the capital invested. These capital sources can be motivated not just by the simple and legitimate desire for expression, but also by power groups, concentrations and lobbies of all sorts and backgrounds, who can use cinematographic media in instrumental way to advance particular interests that that have little or nothing to do with the noble--and general--principle of the freedom of expression.
--Vittorio Giacci, "Cinema, Responsibility, and Formation" (2007)

In the end, confusion is not a lack of understanding. It's more understanding. Mainstream reporting and some people in power want to make everything clear to people--at the expense of the very issues and people they deal with. They can't. If it's complicated. leave it as complicated. Give people a chance to think.
--Kal Kim-Gibson, "Dreamland and Disillusion." (Film Quarterly: Fall 2011)

Film is often just business -- I understand that and it's not something I concern myself with. But if film aspires to be part of culture, it should do the things great literature, music and art do: elevate the spirit, help us understand ourselves and the world around us and give people the feeling they are not alone…
--Krzysztof Kieslowski, "Kieslowski’s Three Colors." (Salon: June 10, 2002)

"When a morally compromised author claims the field of aesthetics as a value-free area it should make his readers stop and think."
--W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction (1997)

“In an age when reality is insufficiently real, how much reality can a fictional story possess?”
-- Haruki Murakami (2011)

"In most cases, it is virtually impossible to grasp a truth in its original form and depict it accurately. This is why we try to grab its tail by luring the truth from its hiding place, transferring it to a fictional location, and replacing it with a fictional form."
-- Haruki Murakami (2011)

"I think the whole point of OWS is encouraging people to reinvent democracy from different angles and from their own terms," he says. "On one hand, it's a very communal project and on the other hand, it's about individuals who are not necessarily in agreement finding ways to see things anew."
-- Chris Marker, quoted in Steve Dollar's Occupy This (2012)

“Why should an artist’s way of looking at the world have any meaning for us? Why does it give us pleasure? Because, I believe, it increases our awareness of our own potentiality.”
— John Berger, Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing (1960)

"How can I overcome the prejudices of the bits and pieces of mysteries that reside within me, and how can I break through the prejudices that are anchored in the mysteries of others, so that together with them we may create something beautiful out of something that is ugly?"
-- Vilém Flusser, The Freedom of the Migrant: Objections to Nationalism (1994)

“This time the invaders aren’t armed, but they have more damaging weapons than cannons: dollars! So that everything they touch turns to garbage. The whole country is rotten.”
--The Haitian maître d’ Albert, Heading South (2005)

“Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction.”
-- M.M. Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1984)

Realism? Me? I’ve not a damn thing to do with it. The religious attitude to reality has never concerned me.
-- Theo Angelopoulos, cited by Raymond Durgnat in “The Long Take in Voyage to Cythera: Brecht and Marx vs. Bazin and God.” Film Comment 26.6 (November/December, 1990): 43-46

Again and again, I was forced, as any reader is, to return to my own reality, to analyze everybody's reality. A criterion, by the way, by which I would measure any work of art.
--Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1980), in The Anarchy of the Imagination (1992)

One problem with the word “shaman,” which traces its origins to the Siberian steppe, is that it is popularly employed by people more interested in fantasizing about some alternate reality than squaring their shoulders to bear the mundane burdens of this one. However, in cultures where such an office exists, the job of the shaman is primarily to foster the interrelation of two groups or positions that have hardened into such stubborn opposition that the survival of the society is at risk. For life to go on, the two camps must overcome their polemic, and the shaman acts by throwing himself into the fray—mentally, bodily, and emotionally, sometimes at personal risk. The result of his labors typically constitutes a paradigm shift rather than a compromise: the rules, though not necessarily undone, are re-contextualized and the system changes, including the position of the shaman himself.
--Matt Kirby, "I Heart Huckabees Premodern Help for Postmodern Times." (2004)

Many film-makers, including Orson Welles and the avant-gardists Maya Deren, Harry Smith, Stan Brakhage, and Kenneth Anger, identified their practice with magic – albeit in varying ways. Welles had extensive experience as a stage magician and made his last feature, the faux documentary F is For Fake precisely about cinematic sleight of hand; Deren was a serious student of Haitian vodoo; Smith considered his cut and paste animations a form of alchemy; Brakhage referred to "trick" as the medium's fundamental rule; and Anger was a disciple of Aleister Crowley, who considered making a film akin to casting a spell. (Walt Disney would have agreed.)
--J. Hoberman, "Hugo and the Magic of Film Trickery" (2012)

"I understood writing could be dangerous. I didn't realize the danger came from the machinery."
--William Lee in David Cronenberg's film "Naked Lunch" (1991)

“You know, films are a world within a world. And maybe it’s a world within a world within a world – within another world. It’s a really beautiful thing how lost we are, and we want to get even more lost sometimes.” -- David Lynch

It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What does this person look like? Identical to me? Or somehow complementary? Does my other half have what I don’t? Did he get the looks? The luck? The love? Were we really separated forceably or did he just run off with the good stuff? Or did I? Will this person embarrass me? What about sex? Is that how we put ourselves back together again? Or can two people actually become one again?” — Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Now look again at that list of effects -- horrific, tragic, epic, comic, pathetic, sublime, absurd, intriguing, disgusting, shocking, thrilling, and wonderful -- a list that's not even a fraction complete. When we're talking about these effects achieved by the art we are talking about affects manifested in the audience, emotional responses of horror, awe, pity, amusement, intrigue and so on. When we're talking about an aesthetic as the set of principles underpinning these responses we're talking about a system which evaluates experience itself. We're talking about our tastes and distates, desires and fears, prejudices and perversions, the basic rules and relationships which shape our affective response to not just art but life itself. Our aesthetic sits at the very heart of our personality. When we respond with horror to a car crash, real or imaginary, it is an aesthetic reaction. When we respond with awe to a sweeping vista of canyons and mountains, it is an aesthetic judgement. When we respond to the image of two men kissing with appetence or abhorrence, that evaluation is defined by and defines our personal aesthetic. Good taste and appreciation of beauty? Screw that. An aesthetic is the set of principles that make you want to fight or fuck.
--Hal Duncan, "The Art of Life" (February 10, 2007)

"All the animals come out at night: whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."

Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976)

"Another Day witnessing existence in bewilderment."
Grandma in The Great Match (2006)

"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous."
--Wednesday, in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods (2001)

"There are no dangerous thoughts, thinking itself is dangerous..."
-Hannah Arendt, "Thinking and Moral Considerations"(1971)

The disruption and transgression of the normative and conceptual frameworks of everyday experience, and the provision of a space within which it is possible to imagine not just the satisfaction of familiar wants unmet by existing society, but to envisage wanting something other than the satisfactions which that society endorses and simultaneously denies: above all, to desire in a different way. -- Ruth Levitas, "For Utopia: The (Limits of the) Utopian Function in Late Capitalist Society" (2001: 38-39)

The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena: the Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television.
Brian O'Blivion, in Videodrome (1983)

"Although the assembly of the shots is responsible for the structure of the film, it does not, as is generally assumed, create its rhythm; the distinct time running through the shots makes the rhythm of the picture, and the rhythm is determined not by the length of edited pieces, but by the pressure of the time that runs through them. The pieces that 'won't edit', that can't be properly joined, are those which record a radically different kind of time" -– Andrei Tarkovsky, "Sculpting in Time" (1987: 2nd edition)

"The camera exists to create a new art and to show above all what cannot be seen elsewhere: neither in theater nor in life. Otherwise, I'd have no need of it; doing photography doesn't interest me. That, I leave to the photographer." -- Max Ophüls

“When I say this is the most important motion picture you’ll ever attend, my motivation is not financial gain, but a firm belief that the delicate fabric that holds all of us together will be ripped apart unless every man, woman, and child in this country sees this film and pays full ticket price, not some bargain matinee cut-rate deal. In the event that you find certain sequences or events confusing, please bear in mind this is your fault, not ours. You will need to see the picture again and again until you understand everything.” —Steven Soderbergh in Schizopolis (1996)

“The process of coming to know oneself, confronting one’s contingency, tracking one’s causes home, is identical with the process of inventing a new language—that is, of thinking up some new metaphors.” -- Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989)

"If his was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him." -- Christof, The Truman Show (1998)

"The artist seeks to destroy the stability by which society lives, for the sake of drawing closer to the ideal. Society seeks stability, the artist—infinity. The artist is concerned with absolute truth, and therefore gazes ahead and sees things sooner than other people.” ­ -- Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time (1987: 2nd edition)

"It is the particular distinction of Denis’ cinema that sets it apart from – almost, indeed, in opposition to – the work of many of our most celebrated ‘arthouse’ directors: Bergman, for example, or Fellini or Antonioni. Their films are rooted in autobiography – not necessarily in any literal sense, but in terms of personal introspection – whereas Denis left autobiography behind with Chocolat, and even that film is notable for its poise and critical distance, its objectivity. Where Bergman or Fellini seems to be saying to us ‘Come with me and I’ll tell you my secrets, share my experiences – how I feel about things, my thoughts about existence’, Denis issues a very different invitation to the spectator: ‘Come with me and we’ll play a game, albeit a serious one. Let’s see how much you can notice in what I decide to show you, how you interpret what you see and hear, what connections you can make, how much can be explained and how much remains mysterious and uncertain, as so much in our lives remains unclear. I’ll allow you a certain leeway of interpretation, because I don’t always understand everything myself, not even my own creations, though I’ll be as precise as possible…’" -- Robin Wood, "Only (Dis)Connect; and Never Relaxez-Vous; or, ‘I Can’t Sleep’" (2011)

"I owe Armenia a cinematographic confession. A sort of personal bible: my mother, my father, my childhood, my imprisonment. My vision of dreams... the ghosts seek shelter with me, their living heir. But I can’t take them in. I have to tell the police that they’re staying with me. They know neither electricity nor insurance agents. They know no evil. They want to stay with me. I have to prove I love them." -- Sergei Parajanov, quoted in "Deep Red: Joanne Nucho on The Color of Pomegranates (2004)

"In the old days, when you couldn't show sex on film, directors like Hitchcock had metaphors for sex (trains going into tunnels, etc). When you can show more realistic sex, the sex itself can be a metaphor for other parts of the character's lives. The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are. Some people ask me, 'Couldn't you have told the same story without the explicitness?'. They don't ask whether I could've done Hedwig without the songs. Why not be allowed to use every paint in the paintbox?" --John Cameron Mitchell, "How to Shoot Sex: A Docu-Primer" (2007): Shortbus Region 1 DVD release (Th!nk Film)

"The character of any age is tellingly revealed in the popular representation of intimacy. For all the sexualisation of our culture, we live in strangely repressed times: a late-night, infrared fumble on Big Brother is front-page news. While the online porn industry, with its humourless siliconed stereotypes, is worth a reported $10bn a year - more than the cumulative box-office receipts of Hollywood - real human sexual relationships, vulnerable and fun, are hardly anywhere to be seen." --Tim Adams, "Everbody's Doing It..." (2006)

Porter's experiments, however fumbling they appear in hindsight, point us to a curious quandary at the heart of filmmaking: what is it that makes cutting work? How is it that we accept such a violent transition — whether it be from a wide shot to a close-up, from Paris to the Sahara desert, or from the seventeenth century to the present — as a cut? "Nothing in our day-to-day experience seems to prepare us for such a thing," Walter Murch observes. "From the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night, the visual reality we perceive is a continuous stream of linked images: In fact, for millions of years — tens, hundreds of millions of years — life on Earth has experienced the world in this way. Then suddenly, at the beginning of the twentieth century, human beings were confronted with something else — edited film." What prepared them for this? Not painting, not theater, not even literature, cinematic as some of Dickens's scenes now appear. Murch speculates that it was dreams. "We accept the cut because it resembles the way images are juxtaposed in our dreams," he writes. "In the darkness of the theater, we say to ourselves, in effect, 'This looks like reality, but it cannot be reality because it is so visually discontinuous; therefore, it must be a dream.'" Director John Huston saw it differently. Cinema, he said, was not just a reflection of our dream lives but the very essence of conscious thought, with its fitful jumble of visuals and sound: "To me the perfect film is as though it were unwinding behind your eyes, and your eyes were projecting it themselves, so that you were seeing what you wished to see. It's like thought. It's the closest to thought process of any art." Watch the final moments of his film The Dead (1987) and you'll have some idea of what he's talking about. As Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) gazes out the frosty filigree of his Dublin window, somberly musing on the emptiness of his life, the film, with no more than a few simple cuts, slips aboard his stream of consciousness as it glides from thought to thought: from past memories to future projections to the lonely churchyard on the hill where his wife's lover lies buried.
--Graham Daesler, "Cutter's Way: The Mysterious Art of Film Editing." (2012)

A TV show can’t hold people and institutions to account like good journalism can. But if I can make you care about a character, I may make you think a little longer about certain dynamics that might cause you to reconsider your own political inertia or your own political myopia. You might be more willing to accept a critique of the prevailing political and social systems.
--David Simon: quoted in Julia Leyda, "'This Complicated, Colossal Failure': The Abjection of Creighton Bernette in HBO's Treme." (2012)

The moment of violence in films is never arbitrary or innocent. Yet, there is no singular reading or simple yardstick that can be used to either condone or condemn how violence is represented, taken up by diverse audiences, or used to maximize pleasure so as to give it a liberatory or fascist edge. Cinematic violence can be used to probe the depths of everyday life in ways that expand one's understanding of tyranny and domination; it can also be used to maximize the sleazy side of pleasure, reinforce demeaning stereotypes, or provoke cheap voyeurism. Cinematic violence operates on many registers and any theoretical and pedagogical attempt to deal with complex representations of violence must be discriminatory in taking up such distinctions. As widespread as the culture of violence might be, it is especially imperative that educators, parents, citizens, and cultural workers challenge the representations of violence that have become a defining principle of the visual media. Such a challenge needs to be enunciated critically as part of a broader public policy to both protect youth and to enable them to discern between the violence of the spectacle and a representational violence that allows them to identify with the suffering of others, display empathy, and bring their own ethical commitments to bear.
--Henry A. Giroux, "Racism and the Aesthetic of Hyperreal Violence: Pulp Fiction and Other Visual Tragedies." (1995)

“The concept of ‘obscenity’ is tested when one dares to look at something that he has an unbearable desire to see but has forbidden himself to look at. When one feels that everything that one had wanted to see has been revealed, ‘obscenity’ disappears, the taboo disappears as well, and there is a certain liberation.”

--Nagisa Oshima, quoted in Oshima in Words and Images

“To the leaders of the cinema still to come, I can offer only a few words drawn from my modest experience. You must ceaselessly formulate and sharpen your critical views, both of others and of yourselves.” --Nagisa Oshima, quoted in Oshima in Words and Images

"Film matters, among other things, because it has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality, to deepen our moral sensibility, and to shape our self-understandings, sometimes by moving us closer to cultures, problems, and realities that are distant from those we know well. That said, I think it is far from being the case that all films matter. The task, I think, for film scholars in the future will be to help to ensure that films that genuinely do matter continue to get made, and that they receive the attention they deserve."--Matte Hjort, "Film ... has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality." Why Does Film Matter (Intellect Books, 2008)

"Sex is just another brushstroke in the painting of life. Fear of sex is at the root of many problems that aren't directly connected to sex."--John Cameron Mitchell discussing Shortbus (2006)

“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” -- Bertrand Russell, An Inquiry Into Meaning and Truth (1950)

“At a certain point, I felt so useless!” said Roberto Rossellini. Never before had technology accomplished such miracles. Yet everywhere the world was confronting crises. Never before had civilization so needed us all to understand the great problems—food, water, energy. Yet everywhere, especially in contemporary art, there was nothing but cruelty and complaining. The mass media, Rossellini charged, were accomplishing “a sort of cretinization of adults.” Rather than illuminate people, their great effort seemed to be to subjugate them, “to create slaves who think they’re free.” -- quoted by Tag Gallagher

"What's the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. -- Cobb in the film Inception (2010)

"The fact is that war changes men's natures. The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that the horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations … I say that we cannot hope to judge such matters unless we ourselves have been submitted to the same pressures and the same provocations as these men whose actions are on trial." -- The character Major J.F. Thomas in Breaker Morant (1980)

“Originally, the embeddedness of an artwork in the context of a tradition found expression in a cult. As we know, the earliest artworks originated in the service of rituals....in other words: the unique value of the ‘authentic’ work of art always has its basis in ritual.” —Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility" (1936)

"You're television incarnate, Diana: indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy." -- Max Schumacher in Network (1976)

"It is a truism too often forgotten that what begins as movie can end up as history. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Oliver Sacks reminds us that Ronald Reagan was fond of telling a story on the campaign trail about a heroic WWII bomber pilot going down with his plane; it later came out that this was not a historical event at all, but a scene from a the movie A Wing and a Prayer. In the aftermath of 9/11, initiating the manhunt for Bin Laden, George Bush memorably declared that "There's an old poster out West that I recall that said, 'Wanted — Dead or Alive.'" This is a phrase far more common in cinema than it ever was in real life. In neither case was the politician lying, or probably even aware that his memories of movies had become so mingled with his memories of history that the two could not be separated. They were simply employing for rhetorical purposes what they believed to be truths about American history." -- Tyler Sage, "Tarantino and Spielberg: Two Visions of America" (2013)

"The struggle for self-determination, the struggle for what a character wants his life to be…I look for characters who feel strongly enough about something not to be concerned with the prevailing odds, but to struggle against those odds." -- Robert Aldritch (1976)

"Existing criminology is insufficient to isolate barbarism. It is insufficient because the idea of "crime" in existing criminology is artificial, for what is called crime is really an infringement of "existing laws", whereas "laws" are very often a manifestation of barbarism and violence. Such are the prohibiting laws of different kinds which abound in modern life. The number of these laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm. On the other hand, unquestionable crimes escape the field of vision of criminology, either because they have not recognized the form of crime or because they surpass a certain scale. In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe, but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently what is often regarded as "political" activity is in fact a criminal activity. This limitation of the field of vision of criminology together with the absence of an exact and permanent definition of the concept of crime is one of the chief characteristics of our culture." -- P.D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe (Second Edition, 1934)

“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” ― Mario Savio, December 2, 1964

"People define gay cinema solely by content: if there are gay characters in it, it's a gay film . . . It's such a failure of the imagination, let alone the ability to look beyond content . . . Heterosexuality to me is a structure as much as it is a content. It is an imposed structure that goes along with the patriarchal, dominant structure that constrains and defines society. If homosexuality is the opposite or counter-sexual activity to that, then what kind of a structure would it be?" -- Todd Haynes, quoted in "Structural/Sexual Transgression: Todd Haynes' Poison as a Critique of Homonormativity" (2013)

“I love the idea that knowledge can make us closer to the world, as opposed to make us feel superior to the world.”— Guillermo del Toro (2012)

DialogicResources for April 1, 2014

Niamh Bolton reminded me of this: "This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale; the likes in which one has never seen before...The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge...but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly, and I hope that thinking gives the strengths to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down." -- Hannah Arendt in Margaretha von Trotta's 2012 film Hannah Arendt

Emily Hensley's ENG 282 Spring 2014 response to the film Even the Rain: "Prior to watching this film I had never heard of these Water Wars. I find it very disturbing that I have been so secluded to what has been going on all around me. When this happened I was in high school and it either wasn’t taught and/or most likely I wasn’t highly concerned with current events around the world. However, now looking back I feel saddened that I have been so oblivious to what others have been through. I feel that I have learned more in this class by watching these films than I ever have over my entire life span. I’m truly grateful to have a new outlook upon life and the world we live in. I realize now that these events do matter not only because these people "matter" and they are “important” but also because one day I may not be so lucky… these horrors may come knocking at my door."

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future." -- Cloud Atlas (2012)

Film study needs to probe its limit cases – those films, directors, moments, genres and practices which return insistently to needle it, dropping an un-ignorable boodle just beyond the gates of the currently sayable and thinkable within critical writing. A reconnaissance mission for those zones of the cinema, and our experience of cinema, which are livelier, messier and more open than our present intellectual tools can allow for and accommodate. A search for a cinema of edges – hard edges, lines out, explosive paradoxes. The cinema that draws us on towards it – dumbfounding us, yet daring us, all the while, to try to speak of it. -- Adrian Martin, "Sixteen Ways to Pronounce Potato, or: The Adventure of Materials" (1987)

"Following the views of Paul Ricoeur and David Carr, I argue that our life is best understood as the product of our own narration: we account for the meaning of our lives in the terms of a story about what we have done and who we plan to be, selectively emphasizing and interpreting life's events into a unified whole, like the plot of a novel. If this view is correct, and I believe there is good reason to think it is, then the creation of a meaningful life and the imposition of meaning on the world around us is a creative process that is not dissimilar to the creation of a film. Films are realistic, I contend, not because they reflect the world the way it really is, but because they reflect the world the way we experience it - as a process of choosing among narratives we inherit from our cultural traditions and finding, or creating, our own reading of events. In short, films are realistic portrayals of how we encounter life in the one aspect that is crucial for this book: the way in which we establish meaning (5)." -- Pamerleau, William C. Existentialist Cinema. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

"The word griot...is the word for what I do and the role that the filmmaker has in society...the griot is a messenger of one's time, a visionary and the creator of the future." -Djibril Diop Mambéty (2014)

"The common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder."-- Werner Herzog

“To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he even entered it. But I must say, he maintained the illusion with grace.” -- Zero about Gustave H. (2014)

"The writings of André Bazin regarding cinematic fictions make for an interesting point of comparison. Bazin snapped into focus something that had been present for, but not as forcefully articulated by, previous thinkers about cinema, which is that there is a tripleness to watching fiction film. We watch, as it were, with three eyes: 1) attuned to the proceedings as artifice, as projected light arranged in patterns that tell a story; 2) attuned to the proceedings of the story; and 3) attuned to the proceedings as their own reality, as documents of events that actually took place. When we watch the opening of The Searchers, we simultaneously see: A) a human cipher made of light approach a house made of the same; B) Ethan Edwards return from the Civil War; and C) John Wayne ride a horse up to a solid-seeming building." -- Tom McCormack (2011)

Eve: “Can you tell your wife what your problem is?”
Adam: “It’s these zombies and the way they treat the world. I just feel like all of the sand is at the bottom of the hourglass or something.”
Eve: “Time to turn it over then.” Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

"It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now." -- Barry Lyndon (1975)

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society.... We will need writers who can remember freedom.” -- Ursula K. LeGuin, 2014 National Book Award Acceptance Speech

"And that was the nature of my game, because I'd spent most of my life as a blind receptacle to be filled with other people's knowledge and then drained, spouting synthetic languages I'd never understand. A very technical boy, sure." - William Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic" (1981)

“I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.” - Neo, The Matrix (1999)

“If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.”
George Bernard Shaw supposedly said it first, filmmaker Billy Wilder made it his credo, and now, in “The Big Short,” writer/director Adam McKay observes this first commandment of comedy. (source)

"So, I’m Leos Carax, director of foreign-language films. I’ve been making foreign-language films all my life. Foreign-language films are made all over the world, of course, except in America. In America, they only make non-foreign-language films. Foreign-language films are very hard to make, obviously, because you have to invent a foreign language, instead of using the usual language. But the truth is, cinema is a foreign language, a language created for those who need to travel to the other side of life. Good night." (2013: Source)

“our great war is a spiritual war; our great depression is our lives” (Fight Club (USA: David Fincher, 1999))

“For one may have known a thing many times and acknowledged it … and yet it is only by the deep inward movements, only by the indescribable emotions of the heart, that for the first time you are convinced that what you have known belongs to you … for only the truth that edifies is truth for you.” - Soren Kirkegaard (Quoted in Katalin Balog's "‘Son of Saul,’ Kierkegaard and the Holocaust.")

‘I like starting out in real time, and tripping into an alternate or dream reality.’ - Lily Baldwin (2015)

"In his essay The Poetics, Aristotle distinguishes between history and poetry, arguing that the former “describes the thing that has been, and the other a kind of thing that might be” (1464). The arts, although based upon imitation which might distance us from an objective access to reality, are nevertheless of “more philosophic and of graver import” (1464) because they represent reality in ways that appeal to our aesthetic and moral imaginations. By describing how a thing or an event “might be,” art broadens our conceptual grasp of history by opening up sites of discourses that allow for reinterpretation and reintegration within our shared understanding of the past. What is implied in this paradigm is the notion that all access to the past is mediated by texts and the discourses surrounding them that exist in dialectical tension: the philosopher Dominick La Capra has argued that the past “arrives” to us “in the form of texts and textualized remainders – memories, reports, published writings, archives, monuments” (128), and each of these enriches and complicates our hermeneutical horizons by decentralizing any single “authoritative” account of an event. I would like to extend this insight by suggesting that the central role that artistic texts can play in an interpretative community sensitive toward its collective history is allowing for a reevaluation of the roles its members have played, and how the aesthetic experience can shape a renewed understanding of historical responsibility." -- Ian Tan ("Rethinking Historical Responsibility Through Art: The Role of Film in Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012).")

The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot. — Werner Herzog   http://web.stanford.edu/group/bookclub/cgi-bin/wordpress/?p=3591    

"A society that has to burn witches to hold itself together is a society that has already failed, and just doesn't know it yet." -- Patricia in All the Birds in the Sky (2016: 94)

“When we agree that a work of art is, first of all, creative, we actually mean that it creates a reality and itself constitutes an experience.” -- Maya Deren, 1949 (Source)

“Human happiness doesn’t seem to have been built into the universe... It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to it.” Louis Levy in Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)

Framing is where you make your most important narrative decisions, in film—that's something else I used to impress on my students, or try to. What's inside the frame versus what's outside, what's actually shown versus what's only told. (p. 14) -- Lois Cairns in Gemma Files novel Experimental Film (2015)

How can the power and politics of maps be uncovered, given their common mask of neutrality? A starting point is to approach maps as texts and a form of language. Maps employ rhetorical devices to make statements about the world, advancing particular propositions and arguments. Interpretation therefore entails decoding that language in terms of the visible as well as hidden codes, signs, rules and conventions through which maps are constructed. It is not a case of trying to expose how maps are somehow ‘wrong’ or ‘untrue.’ Such a stance assumes that it is possible to produce a value-free image that leaves an external world ‘undistorted.’ As I have argued, that claim is untenable. More to the point for the position that I am advocating here is to analyse how claims to truth or the truth-effects’ of maps are constituted, to address how they are part of a discourse of cartography through which they derive their authority and work as a form of knowledge and of power (175). -- Pinder, David. “Mapping Worlds: Cartography and the Politics of Representation.” Cultural Geography in Practice. Ed. Alison Blunt, et al. NY: Oxford UP, 2003: 172-187.
“People who say, ‘Why do women make films like this?’ still think that women don’t have vast territories to explore.” – Claire Denis on Trouble Every Day (2001) 

"This is the only story of mine whose moral I know. I don't think it's a marvellous moral, I simply happen to know what it is: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." - Kurt Vonnegut, "Introduction" to his novel Mother Night (1973)

The fundamental problem of human existence is rooted in an inherent inability to communicate.  That's not to say that people are unable to talk to one another. In fact, people say a great deal to one another throughout any given day, much of it meaningless and instantly forgotten. It's only when the meaning of our words - the desperation of being understood by another - is made the locus of our communication, that the problems inherent to communication become impossible to ignore: wars are waged between governing bodies over conflicting intentions (we know what's best for everyone, trust us); murders occur over simple misunderstandings, wounded pride, and bruised egos (you don't know me, how dare you); a once safe, nurturing relationship is torn apart by the need of lovers to be both heard and understood (this is who I am, this is how I feel). This is the dilemma of being human: believing that something needs to be communicated - a feeling, a thought, an urgent message - not being able to communicate it; or, having made an attempt at communication and ultimately failing, causing irreparable harm. (11)
Peak, David. The Spectacle of the Void. Schism, 2014.

“[M]aking films in an Arabic culture is never ideologically or cognitively neutral. Making an Arabic film is to create a specific product elaborating a locus of meaning and specifying an ‘Arab’ experience, to construct an art objects that imparts certain knowledge about the region and its people, and to produce a knowledge that will be bound by that act of film production” (2006, p.226). -- Hafez, S. (2006). The Quest for/Obsession with the National in Arabic Cinema. In V. Vitali and P. Willeman (Eds.), Theorising National Cinema (pp. 226-253). London: British Film Institute.

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words." - Ursula K. Le Guin (2014)

"Artwash: a term describing how corporate sponsorship of the arts erases environmental destruction and obscures the strategies of oil company." (Concept coined by Mel Evans' 2015 book)

“Life is so incredible. So cruel and so paradoxical. So unpredictable and sometimes so fair.”
— Pedro Almodóvar, The Flower of My Secret (quoted in "Un Maricon Brillante: The Films of Pedro Almodovar.")

"'True philosophy needs communion to come into existence,' he wrote and added, 'Uncommunicativeness in a philosopher is virtually a criterion of the untruth of his thinking.'" -- The Philosopher Karl Jaspers quoted by Sarah Bakewell in At the Existentialist Cafe : 83.

"I know by own experience how, from a stranger met by chance, there may come an irresistible appeal which overturns the habitual perspective just as a gust of wind might tumble down the panels of a stage set - what had seemed near becomes infinitely remote and what had seemed distant seems to be close." - Gabriel Marcel, "On the Ontological Mystery" quoted by Sarah Bakewell in At the Existentialist Cafe: 132.

Put simply, it is not reasonable to expect corporate media to report honestly on a world dominated by corporations. With perfect irony, the latest focus on 'fake news' is itself fake news because the corporate media never have discussed and never will discuss the framing conditions that make it a leading purveyor of 'hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation'. -- David Edwards, "Fake News about 'Fake News': The Media Performance Pyramid." (2016)
“All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics.” -- August Wilson, "The Art of Theater" (1999)

"I am a psychological and historical structure. Along with existence, I received a way of existing, or a style. All of my actions and thoughts are related to this structure, and even a philosopher's thought is merely a way of making explicit his hold upon the world, which is all he is. And yet, I am free, not in spite of or beneath these motivations, but rather by their means. For that meaningful life, that particular signification of nature and history that I am, does not restrict my access to the world; it is rather my communication with it." -- Maurice Merlau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception: quoted by Sarah Bakewell in At the Existentialist Cafe (2016): 229.

"Where else is wisdom to be found? I long have been passionate about nature and its many forms, and the pleasures and pondering to be found on long walks in country woods and along country roads as well as in city parks, just as I have been passionate about reading, thinking, and writing: passionate about thinking and the getting of wisdom—although sometimes one learns through pain and much too late. It can be strange to have a conversation with certain people about the love of philosophy—they seem amused, embarrassed, and impatient with something that has so little popular appeal, and so little practical use. It is not enough to say, 'I love the pleasures of insight. I want to improve the way I think. I want to understand human existence. I want to have more compassion for the world I see around me.'” - Daniel Garrett, "Innocent Laughter, Intellectual Legacy: Margarethe von Trotta’s film Hannah Arendt." (2016)
The human race had the wisdom to create science and art; why should it not be capable to create a world of justice, brotherliness and peace? The human race has produced Plato, Homer, Shakespeare, and Hugo, Michelangelo and Beethoven, Pascal and Newton, all these human heroes whose genius is only the contact with the fundamental truths, with the innermost essence of the universe. Why then should the same race not produce those leaders capable of leading it to those forms of communal life which are closest to the lives and the harmony of the universe? -- Leon Blum (epigraph to Erich Fromm's The Sane Society 1955)

"So, I’m Leos Carax, director of foreign-language films. I’ve been making foreign-language films all my life. Foreign-language films are made all over the world, of course, except in America. In America, they only make non-foreign-language films. Foreign-language films are very hard to make, obviously, because you have to invent a foreign language, instead of using the usual language. But the truth is, cinema is a foreign language, a language created for those who need to travel to the other side of life. Good night." - Leos Carax, quoted in "Screen and Surface, Soft and Hard: The Cinema of Leos Carax." (2013)

"This is not to say that when discussing cinema one should treat others as children in need of instruction. On the contrary, teaching in the strict sense should play no role, for 'art cannot be taught, but must be encountered, experienced, transmitted by other means than the discourse of mere knowledge.' The greatest hurdle in this endeavor is the incitement of desire. Regardless of age, the encounter cannot be impelled; it must happen willingly, and the only way to bring it about is by acting as a 'passeur.' Bergala borrows that term from Serge Daney, persuasively arguing that enticing others to discover cinema can only happen through one’s own love and passion: 'for a passeur it is not about forcing one’s choices or predilections […] but rather about communicating the personal significance of a certain work of art and making it perceptible.' We’ve all had passeurs in our own lives, people who spoke about a film, a book, an album with fervor so alluring that it motivated us to seek it out for ourselves. Conversely, we’ve all also been confronted with passions related with such hauteur and condescension that they prompted our rejection outright. At a time when marketing is more sophisticated and pervasive than ever and cinema is either bastardized beyond recognition or relegated 'to a ghetto that is becoming more and more closed off,' arousing others’ desire for films that qualify as art by successfully transmitting our enthusiasm is an imperative of the utmost urgency."  -- Giovanni Marchini Camia, "How To Teach Cinema" (January 14, 2017)

“For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hard-liners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears. Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.” -- Asghar Farhadi, qtd in "The Search for Common Ground, A Separation (2011)." (2016)

"Heteropatriarchy is the logic by which all other forms of social hierarchy become naturalized… The same logic underlying the belief that men should dominate women on the basis of biology underlies the belief that the elites of a society naturally dominate everyone else[…]we must develop strategies that address state violence and interpersonal violence simultaneously." from the Preface to Andrea Smith's The Revolution Starts at Home (AK Press, 2016)

"Movies can’t change the world but we can change what people think about it. We can tell stories that properly reflect its diversity, its richness, and challenge the stereotypes we are fed that divide and separate us all. We need diversity of casting for sure but we also need diversity of storytelling." -- Pete Travis, "Spotlight on the Modern City." (April 12, 2017)

"... there are some things we do for ourselves, but there are some things we do for others. I am here because when I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn't find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others. If I can be that person for someone else, then the sacrifice of my private civic life may have value." - Lana Wachowski, October 20, 2012

It's weird how many people think the word "unbiased" means something along the lines of "supporting the status quo". -- Existential Comics (April 17, 2017)

"The truth is, when all is said and done, one does not teach a subject, one teaches a student how to learn it." - Jacques Barzun "Reasons to De-Test the Schools," New York Times (1988-10-11), later published in Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning (1991)

"The response to The Deer Hunter amounted to a serious public debate over the Vietnam War that extended beyond film critics to engage a wide range of viewers. It wasn’t a debate that simply mirrored prior pro- and antiwar positions. It was a debate that the makers and marketers of The Deer Hunter made every effort to avoid by describing the film as apolitical, as a character study of the war’s effects. It was a debate that gained its focus and force by the terms in which it was primarily conducted: metaphor, realism, authenticity, artistic license, literalism, irony, point of view. In other words, it was a debate that, six years after the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam and four years after Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, addressed the morality of the American war in Vietnam through arguments about the aesthetics and ethics of making cultural memory." - Steven Biel, "The Deer Hunter Debate: Artistic License and Vietnam War Remembrance." (July 7, 2016)

"We must remind ourselves that we are all human, that one person’s life affects another, and that there is no straightforward way of seeing something. We can’t fully understand the truth of anything by looking from one angle." - Hope Dickson Leach, "Kelly Reichardt and Humanism as a Political Statement" (2017)

"When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?" - Julia, in George Orwell's novel 1984 (Signet Classic, 1950: 133)

”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.” - Adam Curtis, "Hypernormalization" (2017)

“In such a world as this, what happened in Paris in the spring of 1871 represented (and still represents) the idea of commitment to a struggle for a better world... The notion of a film showing this commitment was thus born.” — Peter Watkins, "Producing revolutionary history on film: Henri Lefebvre’s urban space and Peter Watkins’ La Commune (Paris, 1871)" (2017)

“So now, today, we need to draw our monsters again, to engage the ones that we live with, to find empathy again, to forgive us our imperfections, and rebel against those that tell us that it’s the other that we have to fear, that there is an us and that there is a them, that we need to reject and demonize everything that is different from our own ... It is not true.” - Guillermo Del Toro, "Guillermo del Toro Talks Real-Life Monsters in Political-Leaning Speech" (2017)

According to Hannah Arendt, the preparation for totalitarianism: "has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject for totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist." quoted in Erika Balsom's "The Reality Based Community." (2017)

This is a very dangerous mindset and time. We as a country have become so militarily and economically powerful that we dominate the world without many of our citizens realizing how aggrandizing our power has become. The danger is that in our self-love, we applaud ourselves as ‘democratizers,’ ‘freedom-bringers,’ when in fact we can’t provide a true working democracy in our own country. When it takes a billion dollars to become president, that’s no democracy. - Oliver Stone, "'If I Can Do One More Lost Cause of a Film…' Oliver Stone on Activism." (April 23, 2014)

What is film but a medium that asks us to experience worlds — physical and emotional — beyond our own? It’s when it brings us to tears or makes us overflow with joy that film has the possibility of slipping past our defenses to challenge how we perceive the world and maybe even ourselves. The way to accomplish this isn’t to try and tell a story that aims to speak to everyone but crafting one that traffics in specificity. No recent film does that with greater success than Moonlight. - Anjelica Jade Bastién, "The Empathy Machine: Why Moonlight Isn’t Universal and That’s a Good Thing." (2017)