Saturday, March 29, 2014

Resources for March 29, 2014

Dialogic Cinephilia archives:

Django: Unchained (USA: Quentin Tarantino, 2012)

Top Films of 1962

Top Films of 1993

Top Films of 1999

Top Films of 2009

Top Films of 2012

Daub, Adrian and Elisabeth Bronfren. "Broomhilda Unchained: Tarantino’s Wagner." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Recommended film: "Reasons you should watch this film: 1) one of the best bluegrass/americana films I have seen (and it is Belgian!) -- a must for musicians and music fans 2) the powerful electricity between the two leads -- and all around great cast 3) Felix van Groeningen great directing/scriptwriting which includes varying timelines and dealing with powerful subject matter with the intensity and seriousness it deserves 4) the breathtaking touches of joy, comedy, wonder and eroticism that is sprinkled throughout this film."

Kaufman, Anthony. "The Occupied Soul of Ukraine." Keyframe (March 24, 2014) ["If there was ever a film that might metaphorically express the current political situation on the ground in Ukraine, Loznitsa’s narrative feature debut, MY JOY, might be it."]

Murray, Robin and Joseph Heumann. "Earth bites back: vampires and the ecological roots of home." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bottle Rocket (USA: Wes Anderson, 1996)

Bottle Rocket (USA: Wes Anderson, 1996: 91 mins)


Bordwell, David. "The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson takes the 4:3 challenge." Observations on Film Art (March 26, 2014)

Brubaker, Philip.  "The Childhood Whimsy of Wes Anderson." Keyframe (May 5, 2017)

Catley, Anna. "Wes Anderson & Yasujiro Ozu: A Visual Essay." (Posted on Keyframe: March 30, 2015)

Reft, Ryan. "The Sexuality of “Whimsy”: Gender and Sex in the Films of Wes Anderson." Tropics of Meta (September 24, 2012)

Seitz, Matt Zoller. "The Substance of Style, Pts 1-5." Moving Image (March 30 - April 19, 2009)

---. "The Wes Anderson Collection Chapter 1: Bottle Rocket." (Posted on Vimeo: 2014)

Studio Binder. "The Wes Anderson Style Explained — The Complete Director's Guide to Wes Anderson's Aesthetic." (Posted on Youtube: April 26, 2021)

Tyree, J.M. "Unsafe Houses: Moonrise Kingdom and Wes Anderson's Conflicted Comedies of Escape." Film Quarterly 66.4 (Summer 2013)

Velenczei, David. "Wes Anderson's Violence." (Posted on Vimeo: April 22, 2015)

Wes Anderson Archives Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

"Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket." Criterion Cast (May 22, 2012)

Wes Anderson // Centered from kogonada on Vimeo.

Resources for March 28, 2014

INTERSECTION, a videographic film study of In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) By Catherine Grant, Chiara Grizaffi and Denise Liege

Dialogic Cinephilia archives:

Hannah Arendt (Germany/Luxemborg/France: Margarethe von Trotta, 2012)

The Square (Egypt/USA: Jehane Noujaim, 2013)

My Top Films of 2011

Dialogic archives:

Resources for March 25, 2014

Resources for March 27, 2014

Resources for March 28, 2014

Morris, Earl. "The Unknown Known: Errol Morris’ New Doc Tackles Unrepentant Iraq War Architect Donald Rumsfeld." Democracy Now (March 27, 2014)

Seitz, Matt Zoller. "Please, critics, write about the filmmaking." MZS (March 24, 2014)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Lady Vanishes (UK: Alfred Hitchock, 1938)

The Lady Vanishes (UK: Alfred Hitchock, 1938: 96 mins)

Barr, Charles. "The Lady Vanishes: Tea and Treachery." Current (November 19, 2007)

O'Brien, Geoffrey. "The Lady Vanishes: All Aboard!." Current (November 19, 2007)

Wilmington, Michael. "The Lady Vanishes Current (March 26, 1998)

Resources for March 18, 2014

Kapica, Stephen S. "The multivalent feminism of The Notorious Bettie Page." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

The Universal Clock - The Resistance of Peter WatkinsbyGeoff Bowie, National Film Board of Canada

Vanderwees, Chris. "Sartorial signifiers, masculinity, and the global recession in HBO's Hung." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Greven, David. "Ida Lupino’s American Psycho: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)." Bright Lights After Dark (February 27, 2014)

McFarland, Kevin. "True Detective ends its first season as it began: with two indelible performances." Boing Boing (March 10, 2014)

Greven, David. "Bringing Out Baby Jane: Camp, Sympathy, and the 1960s Horror-Woman’s Film." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Lapekas, Jenny. "Descent — 'Everything’s okay now.': Race, vengeance, and watching the modern rape-revenge narrative." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Kreider, Timothy. "The End of Everything: Apocalyptic Films." Jump Cuts #55 (Fall 2013)

Dialogic Cinephilia archives:

The Turin Horse (Hungary/Germany/France/Switzerland/USA: Bela Tarr, 2011)

Triumph of the Will (Germany: Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)

Triumph of the Will (Germany: Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)

Triumph of the Will (Germany: Leni Riefenstahl, 1935: 110 mins)

Barker, Jennifer Lynne. The Aesthetics of Antifascist Film: Radical Projection. Routledge, 2013. [Get through interlibrary loan]

Brockmann, Stephen. "Triumph des Will (1935): Documentary and Propaganda." A Critical History of German Film Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010: 151-165. [Professor has copy of the book]

Olson, Dan. "Triumph of the Will and the Cinematic Language of Propaganda." Folding Ideas (Posted on Youtube: February 10, 2017)

One Hundred Years of Cinema. "1935: Triumph of the Will - The Power of Propaganda." (Posted on Youtube: January 21, 2018) ["Triumph of the Will is regarded as one of the most powerful propaganda pieces ever made, but how did the film advance the racist and anti-Semitic ideology of the Nazi party? What is the history of cinema as a tool of propaganda? Triumph of the Will is one of the most famous propaganda movies ever made. The films is a semi-documentary take on sixth annual National Socialist conference in Nuremberg in 1934, by director Leni Riefenstahl. It covers 4 days worth of speeches, parades and city wide celebration. It’s edited together out of hundreds of hours of footage, and it unveils the core message of the conference without commentary or inter title. Although it’s often praised as revolutionising the art of film propaganda, it actually adds very few techniques of its own, instead drawing on the decades of development in propaganda that came before. So lets take a look at the history of the propaganda film and how theses techniques were used by Riefenstahl to advance the Nazi Ideology."]

Rivas, T.J. "Cinematic Responses to Fascism." Film History and Aesthetics Wiki (A Project of Film 110: Introduction to Film History and Aesthetics at Westminster College)

Sontag, Susan. "Fascinating Fascism." Under the Sign of Saturn Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux: 1980.

The Turin Horse (Hungary/Germany/France/Switzerland/USA: Bela Tarr, 2011)

The Turin Horse (Hungary/Germany/France/Switzerland/USA: Bela Tarr, 2011: 146 mins)

Cutler, Aaron. "Multiple Vision: Deciphering the isolated gazes in the films of Béla Tarr." Multiple Image Source (February 2012)

Handley, David. "The Turin Horse and the End of Civilization As We Know It." Offscreen (April 30, 2012)

Kreider, Timothy. "The End of Everything: Apocalyptic Films." Jump Cuts #55 (Fall 2013)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Red River (USA: Howard Hawks, 1948)

Red River (USA: Howard Hawks, 1948: 133 mins)

Blakeslee, David. "Howard Hawk's Red River." Criterion Cast #149 (September 24, 2014)

Freedman, Carl. "Post-Hetrosexuality: John Wayne and the Construction of American Masculinity." Film International 5.1 (2007 [Professor has copy])

McGee, Patrick. From Shane to Kill Bill: Rethinking the Western. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.[Professor has copy]

Hudson, David. "Sex in the Movies." Green Cine (2005)

Casablanca (USA: Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Casablanca (USA: Michael Curtiz, 1942: 102 mins)

Daseler, Graham. "The Fall of the House of Warner: The Warner Brothers." Bright Lights Film Journal #82 (November 2013)

"The immortal ‘Casablanca’: Why the Old Hollywood’s Everlasting Masterpiece Is Still Beloved." Cinephilia & Beyond (ND)

LoBrutto, Vincent. "Classical Hollywood Film Style: Casablanca." Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005: 67-76. [BCTC Library: PN1994 L595 2005]

Rivas, T.J. "Cinematic Responses to Fascism." Film History and Aesthetics Wiki (A Project of Film 110: Introduction to Film History and Aesthetics at Westminster College)

Stephens, Kyle. "Teaching Casablanca: Clay, Ink, Documentary, Set." The Cine-Files #9 (2016)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Resources for March 14, 2014

via Criterion: "We directors have a very large responsibility. We have it in our hands to lift the film from industry to art… We must want something, we must dare something, and we must not jump over where the fence is lowest." — Carl Theodore Dreyer


Dialogic Cinephilia:

Top Films of 1989

Top Films of 2011

McCahill. Mike. "21st Century Directors You Need to Know About: Andrea Arnold." Movie Mail (February 27, 2014)

Dialogic: Resources for March 13, 2014

Inside Job from dunyagercekleri on Vimeo.

Samer, Roxanne. "New Queer Cinema." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

David Hudson: Věra Chytilová, 1929 – 2014 Best known for Daisies (1966), Chytilová was a major figure in Czech cinema.

Věra Chytilová, 1929 – 2014
Best known for DAISIES (1966), Chytilová was a major figure in Czech cinema.

by David Hudson Keyframe

“The director and screenwriter Věra Chytilová, the first lady of Czech film, died today in Prague at the age of 85,” reports the Prague Post. “As a filmmaker, Chytilová already made news with her student films, Ceiling (Strop, 1961) and A Bagful of Fleas (Pytel blech, 1962), but it was her provocative 1966 film Daisies (Sedmikrásky) that made her a household name in then-Czechoslovakia, even at the height of the otherwise male-dominated Czech New Wave that included such luminary figures as Miloš Forman and Jiří Menzel.”

“She was unique in the history of Czech cinema as a high-profile director during the New Wave, Normalization, and post-Communism periods who did not pursue a filmmaking career outside the country,” notes Kevin McFarland at the AV Club. “Chytilová didn’t simply represent a female presence in a male-dominated cinematic movement; she stood out as the most vocally political and aesthetically experimental filmmaker of the bunch.”

The AP notes that Daisies “proved her reputation as a provocateur and helped establish her as an artistic force at home and abroad. Like the movies of other new Czech directors of the time, it represented a radical departure from socialist realism, a typical communist-era genre focusing on realistically depicting the working class’ troubles. The heroes of Daisies—two teenage girls—decide to get spoiled because the entire world is spoiled, and they want to have some fun. It was immediately banned before winning the Grand Prix at the Bergamo Film Festival in Italy in 1967…. Of her 20 feature movies, her major works include Fruit of Paradise, Calamity, Panelstory, The Very Late Afternoon of the Faun and The Inheritance.”

To Read the Rest



Resources for March 12, 2014

Ferguson, Susan. "Capitalist Childhood in Film: Modes of Critique." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Dialogic Cinephilia archives:

Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA: Benh Zeitlin, 2012)

La Vie de Bohème (Finland: Aki Kaurismäki, 1992)

Slumdog Millionaire (UK: Danny Boyle, 2008)

Top Films of 1992

Top Films of 2000

Top Films of 2011


La Vie de Bohème (Finland: Aki Kaurismäki, 1992)

La Vie de Bohème (Finland: Aki Kaurismäki, 1992: 100 mins)

Wikipedia entry on Henry Murger's 1851 La Vie de Bohème and the many adaptations of it

Murger, Henri. Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (Available on Project Gutenberg)

"Adapting La vie de bohème." The Current (January 24, 2013)

Sante, Luc. "La vie de bohème: The Seacoast of Bohemia." The Current (January 20, 2014)

Wilms, Andre. "On La Vie de Bohème." The Current (January 28, 2014)

Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki's 2011 film features many of the characters from La Vie de Bohème


Monday, March 10, 2014

ENG 282 Week 8: The Square (Egypt/USA: Jehane Noujaim, 2013)

Kelly Battiato

Chelsea Toth

Emily Hensley

John Moloney

Megan Kurkowski

Destini Wright

Patrick Reynold

Seth Gardner

Eric Acton

Spring 2014 ENG 102 Students Brainstorming for Research-Argument Essay

[Don't forget we are meeting at William T. Young for Wed/Thur classes at the front entrance. Show up on time because we will be leaving that space as soon as class starts.]

Check out the subject archives on the right hand side of Dialogic

Check out Resources for Re-Thinking the World

Check out film studies resources at Dialogic Cinephilia

Student suggestions for possible topics:

Abortion (for/against) 7

Animals (testing; cruelty; treatment of animals in zoos) 6

Civil/Human Rights (Women's Rights; Gay Rights; Freedom of Speech; Native American; same-sex marriages; nanny culture; airport security; Civil Rights Movement; human trafficking) 11

Class in America (Raising the Minimum Wage; Inequality) 4


Culture (mythology; rituals; comics; Stonehenge) 4

Death Penalty 5

Drugs (Marijuana Legalization; Drunk Driving; Chemicals in Cigarettes; Lower Drinking Age to 18; medical marijuana) 12

Economics/Business (small businesses; sales tactics) 2

Education (Bullying; Study Abroad; Music Education; Home Schooling; Costs/Tuition; Is a College Degree Necessary?; Public Education; G.E.D.; Elementary; High School College Preparation; common core standards; teacher salaries; art education; pledge of allegiance) 21

Elections (campaign funding)

Energy (corn ethanol; offshore oil drilling; alternative energy) 3

Environment (Pollution; overpopulation; green politics; green architecture) 4

Evolution 2

Family (alternative families; violence; working mothers; divorce) 4

Food Politics (Growth Hormones; eating disorders; GMOs; vegetarianism) 5

Gender (stereotypes; men's rights groups; women's studies; 2nd/3rd wave feminism) 4

Geopolitics (Western Intervention in Africa; should the USA help countries facing poverty/abusive governments) 2

Government (general funding; welfare; govt. subsidized agriculture; drug testing; democracy; socialism) 8

Healthcare (Alzheimers & Dementia; Costs; Malpractice Laws; Obesity; Right to Die/Euthanasia; Vaccines; microbe research; genomics; sleep deprivation; history of mental illness; fitness; diets; obamacare payment for birth control) 19

Immigration (immigrants as positive force; illegal immigration) 2

Language (English Language Origins)

Media Issues (Social Media; Media Consolidation; Politics & Media; Creativity vs Business; Representation of "bad behavior"; representation/meaning of mermaids in different cultures/media; advertising; public relations; propaganda; representation of unrealistic body types; Wikileaks; censorship) 17

Prisons/Punishment (rehabilitation over punishment; punishment over rehabilitation; corporal punishment; loss of rights due to a felony conviction; funding) 6

Psychology (Violence)

Public Transportation in Lexington

Religion (Christianity; creationsim) 2

Sexuality (Queer Culture; polamory) 2

Sports (should high school athletes be forced to got to university before turning pro; stereotypes of women athletes; paying college athletes; concussions; steroids in baseball; racism in sports) 7

Stem Cell Research 6

Technology (physical effects of electronic devices; reliance on computers; over-reliance in general; privacy issues; google glasses; cell phones; internet) 9

Violence (rape culture)

War/Conflicts (Soviet Era Politics; Vietnam War-effects on soldiers; American Interventions; PTSD; Iraq/Afghanistan; child victims, NAZI society and history; WW II) 9

Weapons (Gun Control Laws - for/against) 5

Youth (troubled childhood; beauty contests for children; child abuse; generation Y/millennials; youth offenders; pedophiles) 7

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Resources for March 8, 2014

García-Crespo, Naida. "National identity, cultural institutions, and filmmaking in “paradise”— Puerto Rican successes of Talento de barrio and Broche de oro." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

McFerrin, Bobby. "Catching Song." On Being (February 27, 2014)

Romney, Jonathan. "Songs of Innocence and Experience: The Coen Brothers continue to break new ground with Inside Llewyn Davis, a tender but tough portrait of a beautiful loser." Film Comment (November/December 2013) [Available to BCTC students through the BCTC Library.]

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.

Godmilow, Jill. "Killing the Documentary: An Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Takes Issue With The Act of Killing." IndieWire (March 5, 2014)

Shaviro, Steven. "The New Cinematography." The Pinocchio Theory (March 4, 2014)

“Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth. And it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.” ~ Kurt Cobain talking in November 1991 about the background behind the song ‘Polly’

“Look, I’m glad ‘12 Years [A Slave]’ got made and it’s wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened in America. But I’m not real sure why Steve McQueen wanted to tackle that particular sort of thing.[‘Fruitvale Station’] explains things like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the problems with stop and search, and is just more poignant. America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past: ‘We freed the slaves! It’s all good!’ But to say: ‘We are still unnecessarily killing black men’ – let’s have a conversation about that.” ~ Samuel L. Jackson (source Sociological Cinema)

Dialogic Cinephilia: My Top Films of 2007

Michael Dean Benton: Dialogic Cinephilia 5.0

[This was a Pecha Kucha presentation for Filmslang 2013 (There was an image for each number in the presentation). It was the original inspiration for this website.]

1 I would like to start with a spin on a quote by the philosopher Bertrand Russell: The observer, when she seems to be observing a film, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the film upon herself.

2 By the time Americans reach 18 years of age, on average they will have witnessed on screens 14,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence.

3 During this time they will also have seen 350,000 commercials. They will have totaled nearly 17,000 hours of viewing experience and will watch at least 20 films for every book they read. Eventually the average American spends 10 years of their life viewing entertainments.

4 It is essential that we learn to understand what happens during the viewing process. So that we can better understand the stories that construct our understanding of the world; but just as importantly, so that we can defend against those that seek to manipulate our screen conditioning.

5 The lawyer instructs a jury on how to “see” a video; advertisements pretend to peel back the frame only to encapsulate us again in a seductive sales pitch; and, politicians adopt the phrases and imagery of movies to sell us on their agendas.

6 If we spend so much time passively sitting before screens, letting images tumble over us, what form of conditioning is taking place? Humans are very susceptible to crowd conditioning in which they follow the dictates of the popular, what happens when that crowd is a mediated mass audience and people have difficulty separating their authentic feelings from conditioned impulses?

7 What is Dialogic Cinephilia? It is my call to develop a critical relationship with that which we passionately love. The movies in all of their manifestations from the boob tube, to the church-like cinema, to the more intimate media shrines we build in our home, and yes, even the tiny streaming pictures on our ever multiplying technological devices.

8 At a young age I became a cinephile, much later I was trained as an academic. Cinephiles reject the academic’s utilitarian approach toward films as simply a canvas for the discussion of their totalizing theories.

9 Academics look down on the cinephiles seemingly undiscriminating addict approach to film viewing which includes films perceived as distasteful or trashy. I seek a rapprochement between the two.

10 In order to remain open to the potential and possibilities of an engaged cinema. I seek a dialogic relationship with the movies I view and a strong critical awareness of filmmakers that encourage dialogic relationships in their films.

11 Let me briefly explain my awareness and appreciation of dialogism through my experience of an experimental film that vividly demonstrates the potential of dialogical creativity.

12 The British filmmaker Peter Watkins’ 2000 French film La Commune (Paris, 1871) is a clear example of dialogical creativity. This 345 minute film was co-created with the participation of 220 actors, most of them acting for the first time. Collectively they researched the radical history of the Paris Commune of 1871 and together over a period of a month they developed their characters.

13 Watkin’s outlines his reason for the collaborative development of the film: “The Paris Commune has always been severely marginalized by the French education system, despite - or perhaps because - it is a key event in the history of the European working class, and when we first met, most of the cast admitted that they knew little or nothing about the subject.

14 It was very important that the people become directly involved in our research on the Paris Commune, thereby gaining an experiential process in analyzing those aspects of the current French system which are failing in their responsibility to provide citizens with a truly democratic and participatory process."

15 This dialogic collective creativity is vividly brought to life through Canadian filmmaker Geoff Bowie’s documentary The Universal Clock: The Resistance of Peter Watkins. We see how the actors’ creative participation in developing their characters irrevocably changes them.

16 We see the young man who learns of the radical history of his ancestors, the undocumented Algerian immigrant who realizes what he has in common with earlier working classes, the social worker who recognizes her complicity in the state’s attempts at social control, and the young man who develops an understanding of how popular media anesthetizes him to brutal realities.

17 Furthermore, the stories and characters in the film are represented through contemporary media forms that are anachronistic to the actual historical period. At first it seems strange to see historically marked personalities commenting on TV about the Commune’s resistance,

18 but this estrangement develops in the viewer an awareness of how contemporary media also serves to distract and distort the actual issues surrounding the resistance and rebellions of social movements around the globe. Collectively we gaze back into the camera to see the siren call of the spectacle.

19 Watkin’s in “Notes on the Media Crisis” (2010) states that he seeks to challenge the dominance of a moniform that “gives no time for interaction, reflection or questioning.

20 Its dense layering of sound, its lack of silence (except for manipulative purposes), is … hostile to reflection. … rapidly edited images are like small railway cars … designed to move the story (the message) in a pre-determined line (pre-determined by the producers, not the public), rising and falling between impact points to a final climax and termination.

21 This Monoform is designed to entrap - to catch and hold the attention of the public over prolonged periods of time. It is organised to create pre-determined responses, which means that before the audience sees any Monoform film or television programme, its producers already know how they (the audience) will react - or at least such is the intention. No allowance is made for any reaction from the audience which might be different to the anticipated and created one.

22 As can be expected Peter Watkins has been marginalized within the global corporate media structure that favors pre-determined, simplistic concision over open-ended collective dialogues. Still his resistance continues … and his creative collaborations are inspirations for the potential of engaging cinema.

23 I have many more examples of dialogic filmmaking and films and would be thrilled to discuss them further with those who are interested. I think, most importantly, we must initiate critical awareness, multi-literacy and engagement with media in all of its forms/manifestations.

24 I would like to see the development of a critical forum, perhaps an online publication/forum/website in which we could continue to build critical awareness and share our dialogical relationships with films/filmmakers.

Resources for March 6, 2014

New website: Discover African Cinema

Hedges, Inez. "Amnesiac memory: Hiroshima/Nagasaki in Japanese film." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Cho, Violet. "Thauk gya paw hee thwi deh thwi (Blood’s Oath to Beautiful Flower) — drama of insurgency in a Burmese Pwo Karen Film." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Davies, Andrew and Penny Woolcock. "Gang Culture: On Screen and In Print." London School of Economics and Political Science (Literary Festival 2014: Recorded on 27 February 2014 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.)

Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Interview with Alain Resnais on MON ONCLE D’AMÉRIQUE (1980)." (Personal Website: February 26, 2014)

Guo, Caroline. ""We lost our way": The time and space of alienation in Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Kalmár, György. "Body Memories, Body Cinema: The Politics of Multi-Sensual Counter-Memory in György Pálfi’s Hukkle." Jump Cut #55 (Fall 2013)

Parkinson, David. "Chile: Emerging from the Shadows." Movie Mail (February 24, 2014)

Culp-Ressler, Tara. "New Study Disputes Robin Thicke, Finds Sexual Aggression Doesn’t Actually Have Blurred Lines." Think Progress (march 5, 2014)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

David Hudson: "Alain Resnais, 1922 – 2014 The director whose impact on cinema is immeasurable was 91."

Hudson, David. "Alain Resnais, 1922 -2014." Keyframe (March 2, 2014)

At the end of Life of Riley, a young woman places the image of a happy skull on the coffin of a man around whom all the action, all the talk has revolved throughout the film. That man, George, is never seen; all we know of him is what others have been saying about him. That image, that smile, that memento mori, is a final playful gesture from Alain Resnais, who died last night at the age of 91.

When the Arsenal here in Berlin ran a retrospective back in 2012, the programmers noted that Resnais had originally intended to become an actor:

However, he studied editing at Paris’ film school, the IDHEC, and the notion of montage remains essential to his work today. He started making miniature portraits of artists in 1946 and moved on to short documentaries in the 1950s. These were often commissions and were largely essayistic in form, treating a variety of subjects. At the time, he was especially interested in the relationship between film, art, language, history and society. Although Resnais was a contemporary of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers, he felt more affinities with the loose “Rive Gauche” group (mainly Marker and Varda). In contrast to those of his colleagues who came from the Cahiers du Cinéma, Resnais has till today never written his own screenplay. To begin with, he worked from original screenplays written by novelists such as Marguerite Duras, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Jorge Semprun; he later adapted plays by Alan Ayckbourn or Jean Anouilh. His films Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and L’annee derniere a Marienbad (1961) made a significant to the modern age of cinema. His trademark became the breaking of traditional linear narrative structures in favor of complex compositions with different time and space relations. Whereas until the end of the 1960s, his works examined war and the complicated relationship between past and present, between remembering and forgetting, in the 1980s, Resnais started examining the artificiality of theater’s impact on cinema. He has since developed a very personal form of anti-realism, and as his interest in the “trivial” has grown he has been inspired by material from boulevard theater, popular literature and chanson. The gap between high and pop culture is one he continues to bridge today in a playful manner.

There’s that word “playful” again. But let’s not get carried away. In 2003, Kent Jones noted that “Hiroshima mon amour’s status as a milestone in film history is both a blessing and a curse. It can be hard for new audiences to find their way to the actual movie, buried as it is beneath its own daunting reputation, monumental subject matter, and high cultural pedigree. Unlike Breathless, with its jump cuts and light, spontaneous feel, Hiroshima is deliberate, highly constructed, decidedly grave, and emotionally devastating. Where Godard is loose-limbed, Resnais has a spine of modernist steel. Where the Godard film feels like a free-jazz improvisation, the Resnais feels like a piece of atonal music with the weight of history on its shoulders—Ornette Coleman vs. Anton Webern.”

When Last Year at Marienbad turned 50 in 2011, I gathered links to essays measuring its impact in the Notebook. In “The Game,” another piece for the Notebook by Miriam Bale, she notes that the film “is often relegated to a peak of the separate-but-not-quite-equal Left Bank branch of the French New Wave, but as revealed in a longform interview with director Alain Resnais by André Labarthe and Jacques Rivette (Cahiers du cinéma, September 1961) Marienbad was major influence on French New Wave filmmaking strategies, particularly on Rivette.”

Just the other day, Jonathan Rosenbaum posted his 1980 interview with Resnais. Introducing the conversation, he wrote of Mon Oncle d’Amérique: “Resnais exhibits here his usual flair for composing beautiful shots that are at once richly suggestive (especially in color) and hauntingly symmetrical—like those centering on a wild boar, a sewing machine, or Russian dolls—and then arranging them in mysterious mosaic-like patterns in the editing. But these opulent visual pearls are basically strewn about for kicks, not provocation; and all the minor puzzles that Resnais sets up are neatly solved along the way.”

To Read the Rest and to Access Linked Materials