Monday, April 23, 2007

Nose + Grindstone

Two more weeks left in the semester and it's grading time, big time. (Honestly, I like the life and work of the academic but will never learn to enjoy grading.) I've been watching films—back on the movie-a-day regimen and it feels good!—so I hope to return with some film thoughts next week. Before I go, let me leave you with a few links. Have a good week, everyone.

* * *

-- The William Shakespeare Blog-A-Thon at Peter Nellhaus's place.

-- Acquarello has been filing dispatches from the Carlos Saura retrospective in New York.

-- The Siren travels to Josef von Sternberg's Macao.

-- I hope you've been keeping up with Andy Horbal's adventures at "film criticism boot camp" in New York.

-- Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader on Paul Verhoeven's Black Book and Jafar Panahi's Offside.

-- A great, meaty essay by Tag Gallagher, "American Triptych: Vidor, Hawks, Ford," in the last issue of Senses of Cinema.


Blogger girish said...

Wish I was going to San Francisco to hang out with cinephile pals, the way Darren's doing [his film list for the fest].

April 23, 2007 12:14 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael Sicinski has been reporting from the Syracuse film fest and has me *very* curious about the Indian film Vanaja by Rajnesh Domalpalli:

"Almost from its opening frames, Vanaja announces itself as something altogether unique in Indian cinema. Although Domalpalli's film is in the Telugu language, his style and approach imply a vibrant pan-Indianism. This hybrid cinema draws on the Hindi traditions of Bollywood, the Bengali art traditions of Satyijit Ray and especially Ritwik Ghatak, and the fitful rebelliousness of Mani Ratnam's Tamil films."

[...] "So in summation, Vanaja is a modernist examination of the crushing force of tradition over female desire, one that ultimately owes as much to Henry James and Henrik Ibsen as to the grand legacy of film on the subcontinent. In fact, Vanaja's exploration of resiliency and loss, hatred and forgiveness, makes it seem like nothing so much as a de facto eighth New Crowned Hope film, produced with a fraction of the support. And then, as the credits roll, the kicker: "This film was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University." Wow."

April 24, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Wow, this is amazing. Our good pal John Seroff, who pilots The Tofu Hut, has put up audio files of dozens of interviews he's done with a wide range of musical artists.

April 24, 2007 4:08 PM  
Blogger girish said...

-- On this page, there is a pdf link to David Bordwell's out-of-print book on Ozu in its entirety.
-- Jonathan Rosenbaum blogs about the new issue of Oxford American, which is devoted to Southern cinema.
-- Noel Vera has a great post on Welles' Chimes at Midnight.
-- At The House Next Door, Travis MacKenzie Hoover on Claire Denis' doumentary about Rivette.
-- Jesse at Memories of the Future kicks off a series of Nina Simone posts.
-- An eyeful of great poster art at Panopticist.
-- Bloated big bag of bloatation: For some reason, I don't seem to remember the Great Grunge Hoax of 1992. [via Tofu John].

April 24, 2007 4:22 PM  
Blogger girish said...

I just purchased the Jean Renoir box set that Dave Kehr writes about in the NYT:

"This is certainly the DVD bargain of the year so far: five features and two shorts by Jean Renoir, one of the movies’ genuine masters, presented in first-class restorations for the preposterous list price of $29.98 (much less from discount sellers). As Lionsgate did with its recent set of early Hitchcock films, it has leased the definitive versions of these titles from Canal Plus, the French rights holder, fitted them out with subtitles and offered them to the unwashed American masses for a fraction of the price the individual discs go for in France."

[...] "Fittingly, the first shot of the first true Renoir film is of flowing water; it was an image to which he would repeatedly return, as if unconsciously, symbolizing the continuity of life and movement beyond the edges of his films’ frame. Renoir followed “Whirlpool of Fate” with a large-budget production of “Nana,” the Zola novel set in a 19th-century Paris in which the theater merges with prostitution, and the city’s biggest star (Ms. Hessling again) is also its most notorious courtesan. And so was born Renoir’s second-most-characteristic theme: the notion of life as theater, as a continuous performance in which the greatest risk lies in stepping out of character."

April 24, 2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger cineboy said...

Two more weeks left in the semester and it's grading time, big time. (Honestly, I like the life and work of the academic but will never learn to enjoy grading.)

I hear ya! I never liked grading when I was an adjunct, but I loved teaching. I certainly miss the life though. Now I am back in school (MBA) and in crunch mode. oof!

April 25, 2007 8:05 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Thanks for the mention, girish.

Was wondering--is that Tag Gallagher article on Senses their brand new issue? One is supposed to go up on April. Far as I know this one has been around since January.

April 25, 2007 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Girish - thanks for that Ozu book pdf link. I'm leaving to pick up a dozen new ink toner cartridges right now. :)

April 25, 2007 4:55 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Girish, good luck with those grading chores!

Thanks also for the Sicinski link to his review of Vanaja, which is part of the SFIFF50 lineup. Now I'm intrigued. I couldn't fit it into my schedule but can catch it on screener.

April 25, 2007 5:26 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Girish, you didn't know about the NYT grunge hoax before? What a cob nobbler. ;)

I echo Michael's thanks for linking Sicinski's Vanaja review. I may be able to fit it in- here's hoping.

April 25, 2007 6:06 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Tucker, Noel, Thom, Michael, Brian -- Merci, mes amis!

Tucker ~ Best wishes to get through crunch time. And on another note, I bookmarked your Stranger than Fiction post to read after I've seen the film. (And my two cents worth: I like those long posts...)

Noel ~ Yes, you're right--the Gallagher article is in the January issue...

Thom ~ I picked up the Bordwell/Ozu book used on Amazon a few years back, not realizing it was OOP and rare. The book I need to print off in its entirety is Barton Byg's Landscapes of Resistance, on Straub/Huillet.

Michael ~ I have a special soft spot for your personal reminiscence posts, like your new one which talks a bit about your month-long Paris vacation. (More in the future, please!)

Brian & Michael ~ I've been scouting around for a San Francisco conference to attend (and thus be able to hang out with you guys) but haven't found one yet. But I intend to keep looking...

Have a great SFIFF!

April 26, 2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Walter at Quiet Bubble has a great post on alt-comics artist Chris Ware.
-- Dave Kehr:
"I have my copy of “Histoire(s) du cinema” in hand, and a thing of beauty it is, if only for the gorgeous and highly Godardian packaging. Although I haven’t had time to watch it through, I can confirm that the English subtitles are there, and the discs are all-region. It looks good but it sounds great, though I was disappointed to find that JLG hadn’t remixed it for 5.1 (it’s 2.0 DD). It ain’t cheap, but you can buy it with the money you save on Renoir, right? Right?"

If I may ask: any suggestions for the best place (and deal) to order Histoire(s) du Cinema? Thanks.

April 26, 2007 8:50 AM  
Blogger acquarello said...

Fnac, alapage, and are basically all charging the same price for the Histoire(s) set, and all of them will take off about 9€ for the VAT for shipments to the US. Fnac has the quickest shipping and charges the most for it (~16€), everything I've received from them has been Fedex'ed and arrive within the week of shipment. The other two use the post and is sloooow (3-4 weeks). charges the least (~10€, it seems to be counting the boxset as a disc), alapage is high for this one, probably because it's being factored as multiple discs (~15€).

April 26, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Acquarello, thank you so much for that!!
I'll order right away and will most likely go the Amazon route...

April 26, 2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Girish, there's simply GOT to be some kind of conference here in the Bay Area that you can take advantage of. At the very least, we must join forces at next year's Palm Springs International (which, when all is said and done, I like a little more than our own shindig).

And I'm glad you're fond of my memory posts. You're probably one of the few. Objectivity is the lord of the realm, I've been noting, and all in the name of criticism. Every now and then I remind myself that I first wrote about films in my diaries as moments of experience. Said experiences were personal, invested with references that framed the biographical. Moments in movies were like underlined sentences in books, which Joe Campbell taught me was his form of meditation.

The more I write about film, the more I feel this incredible pressure to write about film in a certain way and the more I resist. Memory, dream, film. I will not separate these children.

April 27, 2007 3:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael, well put!
I see what you mean by 'framing the biographical': one of my very favorites among Evening Class posts is the one about Speedy Gonzalez, which begins with the account of your parents as migrant laborers in the vegetable fields of California. Michael, write precisely the way you are moved to: especially in the blogosphere, where we are not bound by economic factors, we are free to do that! And that's a great freedom to have.

April 27, 2007 7:26 AM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Capsule reviews of many films playing at SFIFF by Michael Hawley at the Evening Class.
-- Great image post by Matthew Swiezynski at Art of Memory on Christ.
-- Steve Erickson on Middle Eastern cinema at Tribeca, at The Reeler.

April 27, 2007 7:35 AM  
Blogger Marina said...

Just stopping by to point to a magnificent short, not so much in its form and realisation but in its matter: the sense of doomness and yet inevitable and awaited/desired doomness that it builds to the point where, by quessing the outcome, we could decide how to perceive it.

(I hope the site is accessible outside Bulgaria)

Great posts, Girish! Haven't stopped visitting them!

April 28, 2007 6:46 AM  
Blogger Marina said...

Sorry for the double post, but I now saw it is on youtube:

April 28, 2007 6:49 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

girish: "the Gallagher article is in the January issue"

Thanks. I'm hoping an article I have is coming out in the next ish, and thought that for one reason or anther they had failed to include it again.

April 28, 2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Marina and Noel!

Marina, I enjoyed the Kiwi short; I hadn't seen it before.

Some reading:
-- Filmbrain covers Tribeca.
-- A horror thread at a_film_by. Just saw Brad Stevens' comment and added Ganja and Hess to the queue; I'd never heard of it.

April 28, 2007 1:32 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

For what it’s worth, my review of Ganja & Hess.

April 28, 2007 1:43 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Flickhead. Your review totally whets my appetite for the film.

April 28, 2007 1:58 PM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Ganja & Hess is fantastic!

(I wrote a few brief words on it here.)

April 28, 2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Zach. By a weird coincidence, I recently re-watched L'Age D'Or (and read the Paul Hammond BFI book on it, which is great).

Now I know why Ganja & Hess sounded familiar--I remember reading your post about it. In fact, there are many films you've mentioned over the last year or two on your blog that I'm just now discovering. I need to do a serious EL 'archiveological dig' and return to all those posts...

April 28, 2007 3:33 PM  

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