Monday, April 30, 2007

Notes on Welles (1)

I’ve been on a Welles kick the last couple of weeks. (If last fall’s revelation was Rossellini, this spring it’s been Welles.) For the first time in many years, I revisited several of his films and read the Bazin and Naremore books (both excellent). All these years I didn’t quite realize just how formally daring—transgressive, even!—his movies can be.

It's a tad curious that André Bazin championed Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons as key moments in the history of cinematic realism, a sort of rejuvenation of realism after its decline at the end of the silent era. (Of silent filmmakers, Bazin especially admired Stroheim, Murnau, Flaherty and Dreyer; here’s an older post for more.)

I find that there is so much, in large and small ways, that either disturbs or actively opposes realism in Welles’ cinema. True: the wide-angle lenses and deep focus mean that our eyes take in a large playing area, both in terms of depth of field and width of field. Also, the long takes preserve unity not just of space but also of time. Fair enough. But wide-angle lenses distort (1) the image, especially at the edges; and (2) movement, making it appear exaggerated and extreme. Both these factors, of course, detract from realism.

Also, the rationale for using sequence shots and staging in depth is that it makes the spectator an active participant by forcing her to scour the frame and determine the relative significance of its various contents without the eye being guided or manipulated. And yet, Welles, in contrast to someone like Renoir whom Bazin championed for similar reasons, is a more ‘authoritarian’ filmmaker. The frame has been designed and filled with great care and premeditation. Further, his ‘expressive’ chiaroscuro in fact guides the eye by highlighting certain elements in the frame or playing them off against each other.

* * *

Peter Wollen, from his fascinating essay on Kane in Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies:

“For Bazin, of course, the crucial feature of Citizen Kane was its use of deep focus and the sequence-shot. Yet one senses all the time, in Bazin’s writings on Welles, an uneasy feeling that Welles was far from sharing the spiritual humility and self-effacement, or even the democratic mentality, which marked for Bazin the ‘style without style’, the abnegation of the artist before a reality whose meaning outruns that of any artefact. It is easy to forget that, on occasion, Bazin talked about the ‘sadism’ of Welles, of his rubbery space, stretched and distended, rebounding like a catapult in the face of the spectator. He compared Welles to El Greco (as well as the Flemish masters of deep focus) and commented on his ‘infernal vision’ and ‘tyrannical objectivity’. But this awareness of Welles the stylist and manipulator did not deflect Bazin from his main point. Fundamentally, his enthusiasm was for the deep focus cinematography which Welles and Toland introduced with such virtuosity. It was on this that Welles’ place in film history would depend.”

[…] “So flexible, so generous in many respects, Bazin was nevertheless able at times to restrict and concentrate his vision to an amazing degree. Obviously he felt the influence of expressionism (which he hated) on Kane, but he simply discounted it—or tried to justify it by pointing to the exaggeration and tension in the character of Kane, a kind of psychological realism, similar to the way in which he defended the expressionist style of a film about concentration camps (in the same vein, Christian Metz remarks how the formal flamboyance of Kane, the film, parallels the personality of Kane, the man). In general, however, Bazin simply hurried on to his favourite theme—the importance of deep focus and the sequence-shot.”

* * *

I watched Kane, Ambersons, The Lady From Shanghai, Mr. Arkadin, Touch of Evil, and F For Fake. I had seen all but Arkadin before. I look forward to soon watching Chimes at Midnight, Macbeth, Othello, The Trial and The Immortal Story, none of which I've seen.

* * *

Some links:

— Jonathan Rosenbaum's new blog post is full of links, including a couple that are Welles-related; his latest book, which is a collection of his Welles interviews, reviews and essays, has just been released.

— At Pilgrim Akimbo, Tucker posts 42 images of hands from my all-time favorite movie.

— At her blog Cinebeats, Kimberly Lindbergs mounts an Ann-Margret retrospective.

Chris Cagle has taken on a project: to watch every single film from 1947 that he can hunt down.


Blogger cineboy said...

Girish, thanks for another mention.

Also, I think it's great that you're working through Welles' films. That's something I've been meaning to do for a while.

April 30, 2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Tucker, thanks for that great post!

April 30, 2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Steven Shaviro:

"Zizek is typically, and willfully, perverse in his praise of 300 [...]: everyone else on the Left has denounced the film as a fascist spectacle, allegorically praising militarism and the American war in Iraq, so of course Zizek must instead praise the film as a revolutionary allegory of struggle against the American evil empire.

Now, I still haven’t seen 300 (I don’t get to see many movies except on DVD these days), so I obviously can’t judge whose reading is more ‘correct.’ But that can’t stop me from wondering to what extent Zizek’s contrarianism is just a sort of idiotic macho one-upmanship (as in: I can be even more outrageous and anti-commonsensical than anybody else), of the same sort that is routinely practiced by right-wing political economists like David Friedman and Steven Landsburg (who delight in arguring, for instance, that Ralph Nader’s safety regulations caused automobile accidents to increase), or evolutionary theorists like the guys (whose names escape me at the moment) who wrote about how rape was an adaptive strategy.

There is something drearily reactive about always trying to prove that the opposite of what everyone else thinks is really correct. It’s an elitist gesture of trumpeting one’s own independence from the (alleged) common herd; but at the same time, it reveals a morbid dependence upon, or concern with, the very majority opinions that one pretends to scorn. If all you are doing is inverting common opinion, that is the clearest sign possible that you are utterly dependent upon such common opinion: it motivates and governs your every gesture. That is why you need so badly to negate it. Zizek totally depends upon the well-meaning, right-thinking liberal ideology that he sets out to frustrate and contradict at every turn. His own ideas remain parasitic upon those of the postmodern, multicultural consensus that he claims to upset."

April 30, 2007 11:33 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

in echo to cineboy's photo-essay, here is one about reading women in Godard's movies : Les belles lectrices

April 30, 2007 1:15 PM  
Blogger Pacze Moj said...

As Roger Ebert's commentary on the Citizen Kane DVD told me:

There's also so much post-production, s/fx trickery in the film!

Is realism a style that comes about only through artificial manipulation, hands-on authorship?

...I need to see more Welles.

April 30, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

You may want to netflix Around the World with Orson Welles, a collection of TV shows he made in the 1950s. Some of it’s very amusing, and the people he interviews — such as Raymond Duncan (Isadora’s brother) and the author from Basque (I forget her name) — are intriguing.

April 30, 2007 2:29 PM  
Anonymous cinebeats said...

Many thanks for mentioning my tribute to Ann-Margaret! I had a fun time putting it together.

I also enjoyed reading your thoughts about Welles and agree that he was a incredibly daring and even transgressive filmmaker.

Speaking of Welles, I'm looking forward to the DVD release of Harry Kumel's Malpetuis next month from Barrel Entertainment. The movie stars Welles and promises to be one of the most interesting DVD releases of the year.

April 30, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Would definitely like to hear your thoughts on Chimes, girish.

April 30, 2007 7:01 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I just caught THE IMMORTAL STORY on TCM and was blown away by the film, which I had never even heard of. It reminded me very much of Borges, and I loved its wistful, forlorn simplicity, as well as its television-based modesty in length and size.

April 30, 2007 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get a chance you should read The Story of His Life-Orson Welles by Peter Conrad-this is an excellent analysis of Welles and his characters. Welles has a quote in it saying Shakespeare invented the dissolve-amazing. Also you will find Chimes at Midnight fantastic. Chris

April 30, 2007 10:11 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Harry, Pacze, Flickhead, Kimberly, Noel, Daniel, Chris -- Thank you for the comments and the suggestions! I really appreciate them.

May 01, 2007 6:37 AM  
Blogger girish said...

The collection of interviews conducted by Bogdanovich, This is Orson Welles (edited by Rosenbaum), is a blast, so entertaining...

The Cambridge Film Classics series of books edited by Ray Carney has some good titles (including Scott Macdonald on Avant-Garde, James Naremore on Minnelli, etc) but their Welles book (written by Robert Garis) leaves much to be desired. It takes a "literary" and thoroughly uncinematic approach to Welles and viewed next to the Bazin and Naremore books on Welles, it's embarrassingly weak. That's a high-profile series of books; they really should've found someone with a stronger feeling for cinema to pen that volume...

Meaty reading of the day: new issue of Artforum.

May 01, 2007 6:54 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

Thank you very much, Girish, for mentioning Pilgrim Akimbo’s blog. The photos there are amazing. My Thai friend loves AU HASARD BALTHAZAR very much. I’m sure he will scream with delight when I tell him about this blog.

I saw very few films directed by Welles: THE HEARTS OF AGE (1934), THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, TOUCH OF EVIL, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, and F FOR FAKES. THE HEARTS OF AGE was shown in Bangkok in a film festival organized by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his friends. I don’t understand anything in CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, because my English listening comprehension is very bad. It’s great that Noel Vera wrote something about this film so I can gain more understanding into it. I am very impressed with F FOR FAKES. It is very complex and playful. I think I have to see it again.

A Thai critic seems to love IT’S ALL TRUE (1993, Bill Krohn, Myron Meisel, Richard Wilson). He often mentions this film and wrote a long review of it. But I haven’t seen this film yet.

I also like Orson Welles in SOMEONE TO LOVE (1987, Henry Jaglom). I like Jaglom, too, and I wish more DVDs of Henry Jaglom were available here in Bangkok.

May 01, 2007 7:58 AM  
Blogger cineboy said...

Harry, thanks for the link to Les belles lectrices. Une femme est une femme is one of my favorite films, and I love the scene when they trade insults by using book titles.

May 01, 2007 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

That quote about deep focus is a reminder that film scholarship needs to always be questioned and researched. While the technique may have been perfected and made more obvious in Citizen Kane, earlier films that Toland worked on indicate why Welles had chose him as his cinematographer. In films as disparate as Tonight or Never and The Long Voyage Home one can identify Toland's hand.

May 01, 2007 8:40 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

The Immortal Story is a beautiful film, F is for Fake an ambivalent putdown of artistic authorship (you can see Welles yearning for the annonymity of the Chartes craftsmen, the same time he as clearly wants everyone to recognize his handprint--even in a work that doesn't look anything like his other films.

Mr. Arkadin is one of the most bizarre films ever made, and his inverse reply (superior, in my opine) to his debut.

May 01, 2007 12:17 PM  
Blogger Paul Doherty said...

Girish: I have just finished the first Simon Callow book on Welles and Boy can that kid eat! Also amazed at his eye for lighting, staging, directing. On to book two.

May 01, 2007 5:47 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Girish, you and your readers might be interested to know that Welles' rarely-screened Mr. Arkadin (1955) is one of the four films David Thomson has chosen for his guest programmership on Turner Classics this month. It will be airing Monday, May 14, 9:45PM. I'm looking forward to watching it and to hear what David has to say about it.

May 02, 2007 1:30 AM  
Blogger girish said...

CelineJulie, Tucker, Peter, Noel, Paul, Michael -- Thank you!

CelineJulie ~ I'm curious about Welles's Hearts of Age, which I've heard described as partly a parody of an art film, sending up art cinema conventions up till that time. And as an aside on your favorite music list that you posted recently, it was great to see Aztec Camera/Roddy Frame on there. All the three songs you picked from their "best-of" compilation are from Love (1987), which is an album I practically committed to memory. Not sure if you know if Roddy Frame's version of Cole Porter's "Do I Love You?" off Red, Hot & Cool (1990)--it's a beaut.

Tucker ~ Like you, I want to thank Harry for linking to Les Belles Lectrices. And I look forward to other photo essay posts at Pilgrim Akimbo...

Peter ~ Very true. Also, some of Toland's work with Wyler (also valued by Bazin, of course) pre-dates Kane. And The Little Foxes, which Bazin loved and wrote a lot about, was released right about the time of Kane, maybe even a tiny bit earlier.

Paul ~ I haven't read either Callow volume, and shall have to put vol. 1 on my reading list...

Noel & Michael ~ The "Corinth Version" of Mr. Arkadin on the Criterion DVD features a fantastic commentary track by Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore in conversation. I don't listen to many DVD commentary tracks, but this one's a keeper...

May 02, 2007 6:02 AM  
Blogger girish said...

-- We need more blogs that feature such selflessness! JD Copp (who also runs My Gleanings) has an entire blog, The Bernanos Letter, devoted to tracking the history of the controversy surrounding Truffaut's classic "Certain Tendency of French Cinema" article in Cahiers du Cinema.
-- Nick Rombes is working on a book chapter on sequels in the digital era, and posts some thoughts from it.
-- Thom, at Film Of The Year, has a Marx Brothers post.
-- Darren's in San Francisco.
-- Riley Puckett, at Description Without A Place, on Bresson.
-- New blogs: Zach and Andy Rector's From The Clouds To The Resistance; and MS Smith's Where The Stress Falls.

May 02, 2007 6:33 AM  
Blogger girish said...

CelineJulie, I'm curious: could you tell us what other films Apichatpong and his friends programmed for that film festival in Bangkok? Thanks.

May 02, 2007 7:31 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Oops. Meant to say, to CelineJulie above: the name of the Cole Porter record is Red, Hot and Blue.

May 02, 2007 8:19 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

While we're scrambling to respond to celinejulie--thanks for the kind words!

Didn't someone say somewhere (Rosenbaum?), that there are in effect something like seventy versions of Arkadin?

And Thomson and Welles in the same sentence is going to raise some eyebrows. Rosenbaum doesn't think much of his book on Welles.

May 02, 2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

JR doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Parts of Thomson's Welles book are a riot.

May 02, 2007 8:46 PM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

Girish, I will answer your questions in full details this weekend. :-)

Btw, I just found THE HEARTS OF AGE in youtube:

May 03, 2007 4:21 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you for the link, CelineJulie--I didn't know about it!

May 03, 2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Great news (via Steve Erickson): Jia's Still Life has been picked up for US distribution by New Yorker.

And David Bordwell has a post on "funny framings."

May 03, 2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Again I wish that Bordwell allowed comments; I'd love to mention that shot in Holiday where we hear a horse whinny but the foregrounds is filled with a truck which then the truck passes, with a toy horse on the back, which also passes out of shot, showing the horse. Sort of a double joke, set up by framing.

May 03, 2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Hm. Well, I'll never be an editor. I see at least two bits I missed. ^_^

May 03, 2007 11:06 AM  
Anonymous jim emerson said...

Ambersons. It's all about Ambersons.

"Something had happened. A thing which, years ago, had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town, and now it had come at last; George Amberson Mainafer had got his comeuppance. He got it three times filled, and running over. But those who had so longed for it were not there to see it, and they never knew it. Those who were still living had forgotten all about it and all about him."

May 03, 2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey there, Jim & Tuwa!

Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader on Iranian cinema and the films of Ebrahim Golestan. Here's an excerpt:

"Imagine how different our understanding of film history would be if we were denied access to everything made before the so-called sound revolution. A much more profound revolution interferes with our grasp of the history of Iranian film. During the fundamentalist revolution of 1979, the Islamic clergy said cinema was a form of Western exploitation as corrupt as prostitution and over 100 movie theaters were burned to the ground.

Much of what we know today as the Iranian New Wave -- the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Jafar Panahi -- reflects some of that anxious background. But there were actually two new waves: most of the major figures from the first were driven into exile, their films rendered practically invisible in the process.

Both new waves are associated with Italian neorealism and the ethics of humanism, but there are pronounced differences. The second has notably developed in relative independence from commercial filmmaking practices in the West. But the first, associated with Ebrahim Golestan, Parviz Kimiavi, and Sohrab Shahid Saless, was contemporary with the French New Wave, and reflects the modernity of that period. Bahram Beizai, Dariush Mehrjui, and Amir Naderi are among the few filmmakers who might be stylistically associated with both waves, but given how seldom their prerevolution films are seen nowadays (apart from Mehrjui's The Cow) it's difficult to say much about them."

May 04, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Chris Darke on Jean-Daniel Pollet in the new issue of Film Comment.
-- Nina Simone at Jesse's place.

May 05, 2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

--I just read some comments in and think it is very interesting to know that THE HEARTS OF AGE (1934) might be a spoof of BLOOD OF A POET (1930, Jean Cocteau) and UN CHIEN ANDALOU, because watching THE HEARTS OF AGE doesn’t remind me of those two films. I think THE HEARTS OF AGE might be as difficult to follow or understand as UN CHIEN ANDALOU, but it still has a distinct style of its own. The faces of the characters in THE HEARTS OF AGE are very scary to me. Some parts of the film seem like a nightmare in broad daylight. And the hanging scene in THE HEARTS OF AGE makes me want to watch the hanging in CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT again. The film might be a spoof, but it still has some other interesting things beyond that.

Btw, films which really remind me of Cocteau’s are the early films from Kenneth Anger. Their films are not alike, but I guess the reason why I feel their films have something in common is because they both directed films in 1940’s and 1950’s, so the styles of that era are in their films.

--I also like that the novel FLICKER by Theodore Roszak has Orson Welles as its character, and the plot has something concerning his “HEART OF DARKNESS” project.

--To tell you the truth, it took me many years not to get confused between Orson Welles and George Orwell (but not Orca the Whale). I tend to get confused by many foreign names. On the other hand, I guess it might take a while for someone to learn to memorize the full name of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

--I didn’t know that “How Men Are”, “Killermont Street”, and “Deep & Wide & Tall” come from the same album. Wow! Thanks for telling me. I first knew Aztec Camera in 1990 when “The Crying Scene” was played on the radio. I bought his “Stray” (1990) album and like “Good Morning Britain” very much.

I can’t recall if any British film mentions Aztec Camera, but last year I saw BLUE (2001, Hiroshi Ando, A+), which is a Japanese lesbian coming-of-age film, and I was glad to see that the main characters in this film talked about Aztec Camera, though they were Japanese high-school girls in the 21st century. I think one of the girls knew Aztec Camera via her older male lover.

I really like Aztec Camera and many bands that were famous in the late 1980's, not because they are better than bands from other eras, but because they remind me of my high-school years and old friends. Apart from Aztec Camera, the bands that I love because of this include The Style Council, Deacon Blue, Prefab Sprout, and 16 Tambourines. The album "How Green Is Your Valley?" by 16 Tambourines is one of my most favorite of all time.

Myspace pages of "16 Tambourines" and "Prefab Sprout" are here:

--I really love the music videos of RED HOT & BLUE (1990) album. I like the song "Do I Love You?" very much, though I think the song is not as catchy as others in the same album. As for the music videos of that album, my most favorite ones are:

1.Well, Did You Evah? (performed by Iggy Pop and Deborah Hary, directed by Alex Cox) It makes me laugh incessantly.

2.It's Alright With Me (performed by Tom Waits, directed by Jim Jarmusch) This music video is very creepy. Everything seems to be under a voodoo spell.

3.Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (performed by Annie Lennox, directed by Ed Lachman) I always like the whiteness of Lennox' face.

4.You Do Something to Me (performed by Sinead O'Connor, directed by John Maybury)

5.Down in the depths (performed by Lisa Stansfield, directed by Philippe Gautier) Big applause for the light technicians of this MV.

Sonthaya Subyen, my cinephile friend, likes the MV of "So In Love" (performed by k.d. lang, directed by Percy Adlon). I think it is plainly beautiful.

May 05, 2007 11:25 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 05, 2007 11:34 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 05, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

I'm sorry I deleted my comment. I found that my comment seem to disrupt the organization of the web page. I don't know why. I don't know much about computer stuff, and try to rearrange my comment so the web page will appear the same.

--Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his friends in the PROJECT 304 organized the second Bangkok Experimental Film Festival in late 1999, before he started devoting most of his time to direct feature films. It was one of the best film festivals I ever came across in Bangkok. I could manage to see only 25% of the films shown in the festival. I wish I had seen more at that time. The festival showed about 100 short films and several features. I don't know which films were selected by Apichatpong and which ones were selected by his friends. But I guess Apichatpong was responsible for the showing of the Bruce Baillie retrospective, because Baillie is one of his most favorite directors, and for the showing of PERSISTENCE (1996, Daniel Eisenberg), because Eisenberg had taught Apichatpong in Chicago.

THE HEARTS OF AGE was shown in the classic film section in that festival. Films shown in this section include:

1.DREAMS OF THE WILD HORSES (1960, Denys Colomb Daunant)
2.ANEMIC CINEMA (1926, Marcel Duchamp)
3.DIAGONAL SYMPHONY (1923, Viking Eggeling)
4.RAIN (1929, Joris Ivens)
5.BALLET MECHANIQUE (1924, Dudley Murphy + Fernand Leger)
6.LE RETOUR A LA RAISON (1923, Man Ray)
7.Rhythm 21 (1921, Hans Richter)

My most favorite films in the whole festival include:

1.BLIGHT (1996, John Smith, UK)
The perfect combination between images and sound. You can read an article on John Smith in Senses of Cinema.

2.ALL MY LIFE (1996, Bruce Baillie, USA)
When I first saw Baillie's films, I thought they were so-so. But after just one week, I had a chance to see them again, and then I felt like my wavelength had been tuned into his films. I felt enraptured in bliss.

3.ALONE, LIFE WASTES ANDY HARDY (1998, Martin Arnold, Austria)
You can read an article on this film in Senses of Cinema.

4.WHAT THE WATER SAID (1997-1998, David Gatten)
Gatten put lengths of unexposed, undeveloped film in a crab cage on a South Carolina beach, and let the film be soaked by salt water, and be buffeted by sand, rocks, shells and the crab cage. WHAT THE WATER SAID is the result of this act of film rape. (Sonthaya Subyen wrote that "film rape" is a very popular tradition among filmmakers who dry film in the sun, put it in the mud, print it over and over by optical printer, wash it with acid, bleach it, degrade its colors, dye it, or scratch it.)

5.EXOTIC 101 (Michael Shaowanasai, Thailand)
In this satirical film, Michael (the star of IRON PUSSY) teaches the audience how to be an exotic male dancer. It is very funny and witty. I think it should be added as a bonus in the DVD of TRICK (1999, Jim Fall).

6.PSYCHIC TEQUILA TAROT (1998, Isabell Spengler, Germany)
Leila, the main character of this film, is described as the daughter of John Waters and Annie Sprinkle. I think the film can be shown alongside Bruce La Bruce's.

7.I MOVE, SO I AM (1997, Gerrit Van Dijk, the Netherlands)
The animation director's website is here:

8.THE THIRD WINDOW (1998, Hanna Nordholt + Fritz Steingrabe, Germany)
This animation film is inspired by Paul Virilio's essay "War and Cinema".

9.MEMORIES OF WATER #21, 6, 27 (1997, Leighton Pierce)
Jon Jost (Wow!) wrote an article called LEIGHTON PIERCE: MASTER MINIATURIST in Senses of Cinema.

10.ILE DE BEAUTE (1996, Ange Leccia + Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster)
I think Nicole Brenez also likes this film.

Other interesting films in that festival include:

1.TODAY (1996, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Finland)

2.THE FRUIT OF THE WOMB (1996, Barbara Albert, Austria)

3.MORPHOLOGY OF DESIRE (1998, Robert Arnold)
An animation film

4.ECCE HOMO (1999, Robert Cash, Belgium)
This film is inspired by some biblical stories, but chooses to tell the story in a modern day setting.

5.KITTYPORN (1999, Angela Christlieb, Germany)

6.PHILOSOPHICAL TALE (THE CAVERN) (1998, Philippe Fernandez, France)

7.IMMER ZU (1997, Janie Geiser, USA)

8.I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC (1997, Shalinee Ghosh, India)

9.PANIC BODIES (1998, Mike Hoolboom, Canada)

10.OZ MIX (1999, Harada Ippei, Japan)
Ray Pride in wrote that this film is an engaging renewal on music video, a five-minute scratch mix of Yasujiro Ozu's calm classic TOKYO STORY.

11.APPARATUS 'M' (1996, Takeshi Ito, Japan)

12.ALTAIR (1995, Lewis Klahr, USA)

13.CROSSROADS (1991, Raimund Krumme, Germany)
The drawing of this animation is very simple, but the film is great.

14.THE FIVE BAD ELEMENTS (1997, Mark Lapore, USA)
I think Film Comment has an article on Mark Lapore a few months ago.

15.GOSHOGAOKA (1997, Sharon Lockhart, USA)

16.MAKING OUT IN JAPAN (1996, Janet Merewether, Australia)


18.STARK FILM (1997, Eric Patrick, USA)
Maybe one of the best road movies. Patrick painted directly onto the film. The sound is very impressive. You can download the film freely from this website:

19.EGYPT (1997, Kathrin Resetarits, Austria)
I haven't seen this film, but I like the acting of Kathrin Resetarits in FREE RADICALS (2003, Barbara Albert) very much.

20.HIDARI (1998, Koji Shirakawa, Japan)
I haven't seen this film, but WHILE THE RIGHT HAND IS SLEEPING (2002, Koji Shirakawa) is one of my most favorite Japanese films.

21.HALL II (1997, Thomas Steiner, Austria)

22.L'ARRIVEE (1997, Peter Tscherkassky, Austria)

23.DECODINGS (1988, Michael Wallin)
You can buy Wallin's DVD from

24.WHEN I'M 21 (1997, Andrew Wilde, UK)

25.AS SEEN ON TELEVISION (1996, Denise Ziegler, Finland)
A film which plays with the imagination of the audience. This film replaces the images of three TV episodes with texts. So the audience can only read the texts on the black TV screen and imagine the images themselves. Maybe this film should be shown together with HER NAME IS VENICE UNDER DESERTED CALCUTTA (1976, Marguerite Duras).

May 05, 2007 11:49 AM  
Blogger girish said...

CelineJulie -- Thank you for posting those comments!

May 05, 2007 12:53 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...


Unless it's mentioned here and I overlooked it, you may want to track down Welles's 1982 interview with the BBC. TNT broadcast the 160+-minute version in the 80s. Welles had no grand intentions for Hearts of Age (he called it a "Sunday afternoon project") and patterned the makeup after Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

May 05, 2007 3:35 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks again, CelineJulie and Flickhead!

May 06, 2007 7:10 AM  
Blogger girish said...

New releases at Netflix this morning:
Blissfully Yours; Violette Noziere and Comedy of Power (both Chabrol); classic Chinese cinema including Spring In A Small Town, Street Angel, Crossroads, Daybreak; How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman; Linda Linda Linda; King Vidor's Texas Rangers and Jacques Tourneur's Canyon Passage (on one disc).

May 06, 2007 7:17 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Tucker at Pilgrim Akimbo on Peter Tscherkassky's Outer Space (with framegrabs).

May 06, 2007 12:50 PM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Acquarello on Maureen Turim's book on Oshima.
-- Brian Darr on the 50th International [Music and] Film Festival.
-- Cinebeats posts a sphagetti western top 10.

Well, exam week begins today. I have to give and grade about a hundred of them, after which the summer break can commence. Also working on a post; shall try to return with it by tonight.

May 07, 2007 7:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I've been meaning to pick up Vijay Mishra's book Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire. Mubarak posts an excerpt from it on Guru Dutt's Pyaasa.

May 07, 2007 8:34 AM  
Anonymous James Tata said...

"Chimes at Midnight" is one of my favorite films by anyone. I think you'll enjoy it, Girish.

May 07, 2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Blissfully Yours, Spring in a Small Town and Linda Linda Linda all in the same week sure is exciting for a lover of Asian films. And those are just the ones I've already seen...

Thanks so much for the link, girish!

May 07, 2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Jim, I searched high and low for it, then found a copy of it right under my nose in my college library. I have it checked out now.

And glad that your computer glitches are now history...

Brian, of those Asian films, I've seen only Blissfully Yours, which is probably one of my favorite films of the decade thus far. I've seen it just once, with Joe presenting and answering questions, back when it played the festival circuit in '02. I'll be happy to see it again (and again).

May 08, 2007 11:10 AM  
Anonymous mella said...

Great director!

March 19, 2008 3:52 PM  
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