Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Godard and Other Reading

Big news: the long-awaited collection of Jean-Luc Godard's 1978 Montreal lectures and discussions is now available from caboose. Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television collects fourteen one-hour talks given by Godard at Concordia University. The talks were originally published in French in 1980, fell out of print, and have now been corrected, revised and translated for the first time into English by Timothy Barnard, who writes:

In the book, Godard sets out a philosophy of the image—in the process disproving his own thesis that words are prison, for there is nothing more liberating than this book—and outlines a theory and practice of ‘making’ film history through the act of viewing films. The Montreal talks were the forerunner to his video series Histoire(s) du cinéma. While some critics have described the latter as his Finnegans Wake, the True History of Cinema is his Arabian Nights: page-turning true stories of the movies whose idiosyncratic views, leavened with Godard’s famous caustic wit, will delight all readers. Never has Godard been as loquacious, lucid and disarmingly frank as he is here, holding forth, in an experience he describes as a form of ‘public self-psychoanalysis’, on his personal and professional relationships, working methods, aesthetic preferences, political beliefs and, on the cusp of 50, his philosophy of life.

The announcement coincides with strong reviews from Cannes of Godard's latest film, Goodbye to Language.

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Recent reading:

-- Cannes 2014: David Hudson's invaluable collection of reviews for each film; and Blake Williams' fine-grained, rank-ordered ratings, which I find enormously useful when I'm scheduling for TIFF. Also: two critic ratings aggregator pages, at Todas Las Criticas; and at Critic.de.

-- The first half of the book Découpage, by Barnard, is available to read at the caboose website. Also: Catherine Grant has put together a post of links around Barnard's text.

-- Tom Paulus on cinephilia: part one; and part two.

-- Robert Bresson interview with Ronald Hayman first published in Transatlantic Review in 1973. Via Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.

-- Cinema Guild has put online all of the essays that accompany its DVDs.

-- I've just sent away for this Jean Epstein box set from France that includes 14 of his films.

-- Alain Bergala's "The 208 Films That You Must Have Seen", via Adrian Martin.

-- Jean Eustache's great Mes petites amoureuses (1974) is now on YouTube with English subtitles. Via Vahid Mortazavi.

-- A fascinating piece on film criticism by Serge Daney from 1991. At Diagonal Thoughts, via Adrian.

-- A translation, by Adrian, of a Raymond Bellour masterclass on Daney and Trafic. Also: an interview at Transit with Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, directors of Leviathan, by Cloe Masotta and Miguel Gil, translated by Adrian into English.

-- A video of Laura Mulvey's lecture, "Becoming History: Spectatorship, Technology and Feminist Film Theory," part of the Kracauer Lectures in Film and Media Theory in Frankfurt.

-- A conversation between Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore on early Kubrick.

-- An interview/conversation between Nicholas Elliott and Stéphane Delorme, editor of Cahiers du Cinéma.

-- At MUBI Notebook: "Discovering Cinema in the Digital Age: A Roundtable with Dudley Andrew".

-- J. Hoberman on the films of artist Sigmar Polke, at Artforum.

-- Pasquale Iannone: "The 10 Greatest Films Set in Glasgow".

-- The next international Deleuze Studies conference will be held in Stockholm, with the theme "Daughters of Chaos," and will be preceded by a "Deleuze Camp".

-- A new book on Hou Hsiao-hsien, edited by Richard I. Suchenski, has been published by the Austrian Film Museum, and is being distributed in the US by Columbia University Press.

-- Joe McElhaney's essay "Terrence Malick: Moving Beyond the Threshold" is now available online.

-- Michael Sicinski has put up a page of his reviews of the films that played at Cannes last year.

-- David Bordwell on Kenji Mizoguchi; and "The Rhapsodes: Afterlives," the final post in his series on American film critics of the 1940s.

-- Rachel Kushner on Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli's Anna (1975) at Artforum.

-- At Jacobin: "The Rise of the Voluntariat".

-- Richard Porton interviews Sergei Loznitsa on his new documentary about the Ukrainian uprising and about Putin's regime.

-- Tim Deschaumes on Miklós Janscó at Photogénie.

-- "Academic citation practices need to be modernized." Via Steven Shaviro.

-- An interview in the Washington Post with documentary filmmaker Astra Taylor on "how digital culture is hurting art". I've been reading Taylor's new book, The People's Platform, a fascinating critique of the techno-utopian fantasies engendered by the Internet. It sets out to show how the Internet extends and exacerbates real-world inequalities rather than reducing or doing away with them. A very timely analysis of the economic and social justice issues (including gender issues) surrounding the Internet.

photograph by Michael Witt.