Thursday, June 14, 2012


Adrian Martin and I are delighted to announce the second issue of LOLA. The table of contents page is here. The issue is dedicated to Raúl Ruiz and Gilbert Adair, and the theme of the issue is "Devils". It also features a special section on Chantal Akerman drawing upon material first published in German by the Viennale in late 2011 as part of their major Akerman retrospective.

Unlike what we did with the debut, Adrian and I have now decided to release each issue of LOLA gradually: we've put up the first six pieces now -- including the Akerman dossier -- and we will proceed to add to the issue, usually a piece each week, for the next couple of months. We felt this might make for a more manageable pace of reading, rather than overwhelming the reader with fifteen new pieces all at once. It will also keep LOLA 'in circulation' over the next few weeks, rather than just 'surfacing' a couple of times a year. As new pieces go up, we will post links to them here at the blog, at Twitter and on Facebook.

Here are links to the six pieces, with a little excerpt from each:

--  Raúl Ruiz, "Cinema is Another Life" (a speech he delivered upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon in 2005): "And here is the secret: dear friends, when we see a minute of film, we see thirty seconds of cinematic darkness. Thanks to the shutter, there is implanted in us an obscurity where we find, nourished and nurtured, a type of counter-film or parallel film composed by ourselves – and which, in traits of shadow, composes an entire world, a small world comprised of our doubles."

--  Alexander García Düttmann, "A Letter to My Dead Friend Gilbert Adair About Blindness": "Who is having the real Gilbert? In Raúl Ruiz’s film The Territory, for which you co-wrote the script, the characters eat the flesh of someone called Gilbert. As they keep chewing, they compare notes. Each one claims to be the one who has sunken his teeth into the man himself. It took you thirty years to become Gilbert Adair. But despite your efforts and your fears you did not foresee your blindness."

-- Dana Linssen, "A Letter": "You could call the documentaries Akerman made around the turn of the millennium ‘accidental films’. D’est, a journey through Eastern Europe, was the result of a research trip for a film about Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. Sud was inspired by fragments of Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997), which Akerman saw while teaching at Harvard, and the works of William Faulkner and James Baldwin that deal with the south of the United States – in particular, Baldwin’s musings on the beauty of the trees, on the one hand, and the invisible weight of the bodies that hung from them, on the other."

-- Nicole Brenez, "Chantal Akerman: The Pajama Interview": [Akerman on Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together] "In a film that’s this sensitive, I feel like I’m at home. A pure pleasure in cinema, in such beautiful young boys. For Wong Kar-wai, there’s a kind of hesitation, of wavering in regards to sex, that’s rarely found in a man. But he should have refused to make American movies, it’s a disservice to his work – his last film, My Blueberry Nights (2007), was a lot less inspired."

-- Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Chantal Akerman: The Integrity of Exile and the Everyday": "‘Carl Dreyer’s basic problem as an artist,’ wrote the late Robert Warshow in 1948, reflecting on Dreyer’s Day of Wrath (1943), ‘is one that seems almost inevitably to confront the self-conscious creator of “art” films: the conflict between a love for the purely visual and the tendencies of a medium that is not only visual but also dramatic.’ This is a problem addressed in one way or another by each of Akerman’s features to date, beginning with her painterly, silent, nonnarrative Hotel Monterey and her narrative and relatively unpainterly sound feature je tu il elle made two years later."

-- Chantal Akerman, "Almayer’s Folly: Synopsis and Statement of Intent": "I would like to treat this story with simplicity, a father, a mother, a girl, a young man in love with her; and with sensuality, thanks to the setting."

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I leave next week to attend Il Cinema Ritrovato, the film festival in Bologna. I've never been to Bologna (or Italy) before, and I'm eagerly looking forward to it. At the festival, I'll participate in a panel discussion with Jonathan Rosenbaum and Miguel Marías. The festival is featuring programs on Raoul Walsh, Jean Grémillon, and Lois Weber (among others). And I'm especially looking forward to seeing the new restoration of Uday Shankar's Kalpana (1948).

I'll post next (returning to my once-every-two-weeks schedule) when I'm back home in early July.

* * *

Here's some more reading:

-- There's a new issue of Experimental Conversations that includes pieces by Fergus Daly, Maximilian Le Cain and Tom McCormack, among others.

-- Adrian speaks to Kevin Lee about Philippe Garrel's L'Enfant Secret (1982), one of the films on his Sight & Sound Top 10 ballot; and writes about "freaky framings" in his latest Filmkrant column. Also: Ekkehard Knörer and Michael Baute talk to Kevin about Helmut Käutner's Under the Bridges, which sounds like a fascinating film.

-- Catherine Grant posts links to videos (featuring Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jacques Rancière and Adrian) and writings about cinephilia at Film Studies for Free.

-- "When Westerns Were Un-American," by J. Hoberman at the New York Review of Books.

-- Christian Keathley's short video essay "Does Your Dog Bite?"

-- A talk with Miriam Bale on Joan's Digest, the feminist online film journal she founded. 

-- Two mid-'50s pieces by Luc Moullet on Vincente Minnelli at Ted Fendt's place.

-- Steve Rybin at his blog Cinephile Papers on Terrence Malick and film-philosophy.

-- Having returned from the film festival, Blake Williams posts his "Cannes hierarchy" with comments.

pic: Aurore Clément in Chantal Akerman's Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978).