Wednesday, September 08, 2010


I leave for Toronto tomorrow. Thanks to the vagaries of the festival lottery for advance ordering, I was shut out of a handful of films that were high on my list: Apichatpong's Uncle Boonmee, Godard's Film Socialism, Michelangelo Frammartino's The Four Times, the Russian film My Joy. But I'll be trying to add those films to my schedule once I get to Toronto. Here are the screenings I have tickets for:

A Married Couple (Allan King, Canada, 1969)
Guest (José Luis Guerin, Spain)
Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
Ruhr (James Benning, Germany)
Inside America (Barbara Eder, Austria)
Women Art Revolution - A Secret History (Lynn Hershman, USA)
Boxing Gym (Frederick Wiseman, USA)
ANPO (Linda Hoaglund, Japan/USA)
Curling (Denis Côté, Canada)
The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat, France)
I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhang-ke, China)
The Ditch (Wang Bing, China)
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Andrei Ujica, Romania)
Promises Written in Water (Vincent Gallo, USA)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz, Portugal/France)
You Are Here (Daniel Cockburn, Canada)
Sandcastle (Boo Junfeng, Singapore)
Mavericks: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (A presentation/conversation)
The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal)
Erotic Man (Jorgen Leth, Denmark)
Oki's Movie (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
Genpin (Naomi Kawase, Japan)
Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, USA)

Here is a link to the festival film list.

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Recent reading:

-- I've been eating up Jonathan Rosenbaum's wonderful collection "Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia".

-- I recently revisited Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life; it looks stupendous on Blu-ray. Here is a great piece by B. Kite on the film and Nick Ray.

-- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: "If Fritz Lang's is a "cinema of the hand," then Rohmer's is a "cinema of the elbow.""

-- Michael Guillen interviews Chris Fujiwara at The Evening Class. Also, at Undercurrent: Fujiwara on the Richard Porton-edited collection Dekalog 3: On Film Festivals.

-- More Fujiwara, at La Furia Umana: A conversation with Pedro Costa about Jacques Tourneur. Also at the site: Tag Gallagher on Jacques Tourneur.

-- Kristin Thompson provides a handy annotated list of several blog entries at Observations On Film Art.

-- Part 2 of Paul Brunick's piece in Film Comment on Internet film criticism.

-- Adrian Martin at Filmkrant:

"On the contents page of issue 68 of Bright Lights magazine, the summary of an article by Joseph Jon Lanthier catches me: 'Shutter Island might be the only psychological thriller abetted by a lack of interest in the psyche'. A similarly gripping assertion was made on Facebook by US scholar Corey Creekmur concerning the most recent current talk-fest film, Inception: its cagey view of dreams, Creekmur thought, showed little interest in or knowledge of Freudian dream-interpretation.

This is not only a cinematic phenomenon or trend. In Melbourne recently, the famous Lacanian expert Renata Saleci spoke about the movement in social fields such as criminology and pharmacology towards a certain, often quite banal form of neuroscience: the kind that pores over images of parts of the brain lighting up in different colours, as if in proof that 'psychological deviations' (like juvenile delinquency) can be seen, charted and quantified this way. Saleci summed up the problem by throwing her hands up in despair: "No psychoanalysis! They see no difference between the brain and the mind!"

And the mind, lest we forget, has an unconscious. And the unconscious is not so easily retrieved or narrativised as we are seeing in these recent, ambitious 'mind game' movies (as Thomas Elsaesser and others have called them). More than ever, people like to take the soft option and replace Freud's term with 'subconscious' - implying that there is something (a thought or feeling) just out of reach, just below the surface, something ultimately easy to fish out into full and mastered consciousness.

But the unconscious is the negation of the consciousness, its true shadow realm, not some adjacent room one can simply enter and ransack. The unconscious is what cannot be ever entirely mastered, the zone that eludes us - at the same moment that it drives us. The unconscious is the space of denial, of fantasy, of distortion, the elaborate revision and transformation of all that is easily viewable or knowable."

Any other recent reading you'd like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments.

pic: Raúl Ruiz's Mysteries of Lisbon.