Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Links to Recent Reading

-- RIP, Ken Russell. Any personal favorites by this filmmaker? I've seen just a small fraction of his work.

-- Joan's Digest, a new feminist film quarterly edited by Miriam Bale. Also: Bale interviews Cronenberg on A Dangerous Method at Moving Image Source.

-- At MUBI, translated by Ted Fendt: "Jacques Rancière, Philippe Lafosse and the public in conversation about Straub-Huillet."

-- At Cine-Tourist, a collection of framegrabs of about 20 hand-drawn maps from films.

-- Image-posts: "The Striped Shirt in Cinema" (Cynthia Lugo) and "The Scarves of Grey Gardens" (Srikanth Srinivasan).

-- At Occupied Territories, Trevor Link's Tumblr page: "Depression, Melancholia and Me: Lars von Trier's Politics of Displeasure"; and a conversation about Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea.

-- How I wish I could catch this Edward Yang retrospective currently playing in NYC: David Hudson gathers links to pieces on Yang's films.

-- (via Andrew Klevan) Yakuza Graveyard is an interesting image-filled Tumblr page featuring posts such as this collection of images of teapots in Ozu's films.

-- The Film Quarterly site is featuring several web-exclusive pieces.

-- via Catherine Grant, a video: "The Cinema According to Luc" [Moullet]. Also: Catherine posts links to sample chapters from over 50 new Palgrave Macmillan/BFI film books.

-- At Serge Daney in English: some postcards Daney sent to actor Melvil Popuad.

-- At Press Play: "Pictures of Loss," a personal series of pieces by Peter Tonguette on grief and mourning in film.

-- An article on gender inequality in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera.

-- This new book by Jordan Mintzer, Conversations with James Gray, looks wonderful.

-- Amy Taubin and J. Hoberman discuss Melancholia and J. Edgar.

-- An interesting re-take on Francois Truffaut by Richard Combs in the new Film Comment.

-- David Phelps on "The silent cinema of [UC Davis] Chancellor Katehi's slow walk of shame".

-- Olive Films is releasing a number of classic Hollywood titles on DVD in 2012.

-- "The End of an Era Arrives as Digital Technology Displaces 35mm Film in Cinema Projection"

-- Great news: BFI is putting out a 4-DVD box of Ozu's silent "student comedies".

-- I notice that Straub-Huillet's Moses and Aaron is being released on DVD by New Yorker Video in a couple of weeks. Is New Yorker back in business? If so, great news.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cinephile Business: Streaming, Lists

Thanks to Jaime Christley — who has just fired up a new blog called thefilmsaurus — I recently discovered Hulu Plus. It’s been common knowledge for a while that Hulu features hundreds of Criterion titles that you can stream to your TV. But I’ve also learned that:

(1) Several terrific films not yet put out by Criterion on DVD are available for streaming there, for example: Bitter Rice, Remorques, a half-dozen Naruse films, Welles’ The Immortal Story, etc.

(2) Even better: a large number of titles are streaming in HD.

A quick scan reveals that Japanese cinema is particularly abundant. There are a dozen films by Mizoguchi (most on HD) including The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum, The Life of Oharu, Utamaro and his Five Women, and The 47 Ronin; 17 by Ozu (more than half on HD); 9 by Oshima (nearly all on HD); and over a dozen by Naruse. Suzuki, Imamura, Shimizu and Teshigahara are also represented. And Kurosawa is the most generously available of all, with around 25 titles.

All of Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales” are on HD, as are three great Bressons (Au Hasard Balthazar, Mouchette, A Man Escaped), ditto Buñuel (Simon of the Desert, The Exterminating Angel, Viridiana) and Ophuls (Le Plaisir, La Ronde, Lola Montes).

* * *

Of late, I’ve been confining new DVD purchases to non-region-1 titles. Recent acquisitions in that department include: A Man Vanishes (Imamura, 1967), Before the Revolution (Bertolucci, 1964), Sparrow (Johnnie To, 2008), Our Beloved Month of August (Gomes, 2008), Deep End (Skolimowski, 1970), The Hunter (Pitts, 2010), On Tour (Amalric, 2010), The Banishment (Zviagintsev, 2007), Red Psalm (Jansco, 1972), I for India (Suri, 2005), Up the Junction (Collinson, 1968), De bruit et de fureur (Brisseau, 1988), and vol. 1 of the new Humphrey Jennings collection.

I won't be traveling to and from India this winter, so I'm hoping to have time on my hands to make my way through most of these over the holidays.

* * *

In Tim Palmer’s recent and interesting book Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema, there is an appendix devoted to a list, prepared by the great French film critic Alain Bergala, of “The 156 Films You Must Have Seen.” It was created as a guide for entering students of the French film school La Fémis. Each filmmaker (with just a couple of exceptions) is represented by only one work.

Bergala writes that these are neither “best” films nor his favorite films; instead he believes them to be the most productive for a contemporary beginner. As with all lists, he reminds us that it is highly contingent and unstable, a starting point for debate and multiplication.

I’m linking to the list at Google Books; the last page of the list is missing, so I’m recording below the films on that absent page:

André Téchiné Wild Reeds (1994)
Jacques Tourneur Cat People (1942)
François Truffaut Stolen Kisses (Baisers Volés, 1968)
Tsui Hark Once upon a Time in China (1991)
Johan van der Keuken De Platte Jungle (1978)
Agnès Varda Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi, 1984)
Paul Vecchiali Drugstore Romance (Corps à coeur, 1979)
Dziga Vertov Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
King Vidor Duel in the Sun (1946)
Jean Vigo L'Atalante (1934)
Luchino Visconti The Leopard (1963)
Raoul Walsh High Sierra (1941)
Orson Welles The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Wim Wenders Kings of the Road (1976)
Billy Wilder Kiss Me Stupid (1964)
William Wyler The Children's Hour (1962)
Valerio Zurlini Family Portrait (1962)

* * *

Your thoughts on streaming films or on Alain Bergala's list above? I'd love to hear them.

* * *

A few links:

-- There's one film and filmmaker on Bergala's list that I'd never heard of: Paul Vecchiali's Drugstore Romance (Corps à coeur, 1979). I notice a Vecchiali box set on sale at Amazon France but alas, without subtitles.

-- Two interviews with Chantal Akerman on her new film Almayer's Folly: by Darren Hughes at MUBI; and Michael Guillen at Fandor.

-- At Catherine Grant's place: A recently updated list of open access film e-books.

-- Caboose has a new project called "Planetary Projection" in which film projectionists around the world are invited to describe their work.

-- (via Cinetrix) Sergey Levchin's account at Senses of Cinema, "I Was a Captive Audience at the 57th Flaherty Seminar."

-- At his blog Journey by Frame, Trevor Link has been running a series of posts on Joe Swanberg's movies.

-- Cynthia Lugo on color and Derek Jarman's book Chroma.

-- James Benning's Landscape Suicide and American Dreams (lost and found) are now on DVD thanks to the Edition Filmmuseum.

-- I just learned that J. Hoberman and Yvette Biro have their own websites.

pic: Almayer's Folly (Chantal Akerman, 2011)