Genre: Experimental

IFFR 2014

I plan to post an overview of the fest. Until then . . . Short Films A rough breakdown of all films with a running time of less than 60 minutes, listed alphabetically. PRO D’Annunzios Hohle [Heinz Emigholz] Creme 21 [Eve Heller] Deorbit [Makino Takashi & Telcosystems] Dot Matrix [Richard Tuohy] Glistening Thrills [Jodie Mack] […]

TIFF 2012 – Day 5

The Master (Anderson), Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica (Gomes), Birds (Abrantes), and Viola (Piñeiro).

Nicolas Rey: differently, molussia

Originally published at Senses of Cinema.

TIFF 2012 – Day 3

Gebo and the Shadow (de Oliveira), differently, Molussia (Rey), and Night Across the Street (Ruiz).

TIFF 2012 – Day 2

Barbara (Petzold), Mekong Hotel (Apitchatpong), Big in Vietnam (Diop), Sightseers (Wheatley), Student (Omirbayev), and Wavelengths 1.

Nostalgia, Chaos, and Moments of Ecstasy: The 36th Toronto International Film Festival

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

James Benning: Naked Repose

Originally published at Mubi.

By Brakhage

Another capsule review for the Arts & Faith Top 100. Writing a brief introduction to Brakhage for an audience that might not even be aware of the existence of a-g cinema proved to be a really fun challenge. “When film subverts our absorption in the temporal and reveals the depths of our own reality, it […]

Phantoms of Nabua and a Letter to Uncle Boonmee

There are ways of “decoding” this film, I suppose — the soccer ball as a synecdoche for military armaments, the cinema as documentarian, the hovering florescent light as ghost (or Ghost) — but reducing Apitchatpong’s films to points on a symbolic answer key seems beside the point.

Wavelengths: Tamalpais and Hotel Roccalba

Short responses to Chris Kennedy’s Tamalpais and Josef Dabernig’s Hotel Roccalba.

Lumphini 2552

My tendency when describing a film like Lumphini 2552 is to fall back on Modernist rallying cries like that old Ezra Pound chestnut, “Make it new!” Maybe a useful way to think of Nishikawa’s film is as a beautifully defamiliarized — and uniquely cinematic — landscape.

575 Castro St.

When I spoke to Olson after the screening, she told me how overwhelming it was to visit the set, to listen to Milk’s voice, and to know that it was here — right here — that he contemplated his imminent murder. She’s translated that experience well to her film, which is ghostly and deeply moving. But, of course, it wasn’t right here that Milk made his tape. This is a meticulously dressed set.

New Directions: The 33rd Toronto International Film Festival

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Pedro Costa’s “Vanda Trilogy” and the Limits of Narrative Cinema as a Contemplative Art

This essay was originally published in Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema (2008), edited by Kenneth Morefield for Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Nathaniel Dorsky: Manifesting the Ineffable

Originally published at Mubi.

RR (2007)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Railroad (with apologies to Wallace Stevens)

2007 TIFF Day 5

The Coen brothers’ No County for Old Men, Anahi Berneri’s Encarnacion, Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Bruce McClure’s Everytwo Circumflicksrent…Page 298.

2007 TIFF Day 4

Lucia Puenzo’s XXY, Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine, Saverio Costanzo’s In Memory of Myself, Hannes Schupbach’s Erzahlung, and Heinz Emigholz’s Schindler’s Houses.

2007 TIFF Day 3

Naomi Kawase’s Mourning Forest, Bela Tarr’s The Man from London, Jia Zhang-ke’s Useless, John Gianvito’s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind, and Ute Aurand and Maria Lang’s The Butterfly in Winter.

2007 TIFF Days 1 and 2

Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Wang Bing’s Fengming, A Chinese Memoir, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge, Peter Hutton’s At Sea, and Sandra Kogut’s Mutum.

P. Adams Sitney on Film Bloggers

“The other day I was talking to a group of younger filmmakers about a current situation I simply cannot understand. There seems to be a tremendous revitalization of avant-garde filmmaking now, but there’s absolutely no one publishing anything about it.”

What Are You Reading?

A few words on a few of the books I’ve been enjoying lately.

That Narrative Drive

Eye tracking technology now allows us to create “heat maps” of visual spaces. It’s of particular use to those of us with an interest in website layout and navigation. The image above is from a recent study that compares the markedly different ways that psychologists (left) and artists (right) look at photographs.

The Politics of Form

Peter Watkins in a 1981 interview with Scott MacDonald (A Critical Cinema vol. 2), discussing the television miniseries Roots (if the quote seems jerky and repetitive, it’s because I mashed together snippets from several pages).

Schuss! (2005)

Nicolas Rey’s Schuss! is an experimental essay film that is concerned, ultimately, with the spoils of capitalism. More specifically, it’s about the rise of the aluminum industry, the building of a French ski resort, and the economic interests that joined the two.

Silk Ties (2006)

After seeing the Jennings film and Nathanial Dorsky’s Song and Solitude on the same program, I walked away wishing I could recalibrate my view of the world around me, which, I guess, is one of the more noble functions of a-g cinema.

History and Politics

These Girls is a difficult film to watch. Rached avoids over-sentimentalizing her subject, and, frankly, the girls have been hardened to the point that, at times, I found it difficult to muster the appropriate sympathy for them. (I say that with embarrassment.)

Collins and Jost

What most interests me — and what I lack a vocabulary to properly describe — is the direct connection between the form and political content in both of these films. That brief frisson that occurs when the pose drops — when a person who lives in an image-marketed and -mediated culture suddenly finds herself set adrift in the semiological flux — that moment, I think, is an instance of political resistance.