Project: New Cinephilia invited music journalist and book author Michael Azerrad (Our Band Could Be Your Life; Come As You Are) to create an audio/video installation that spoke, in some fashion, to the way that rockers are depicted in the movies. As co-producer of Kurt Cobain About a Son, a documentary based on his marathon conversations with the Nirvana frontman, we figured he would have something provocative to say about such representations, and we weren’t disappointed. “Hot Freaks: Fictional Rock Stars on Film” is an annotated guide to a very prevalent, but under-noticed conceit in the movies. It will be on display at Festivalhouse@Teviot from June 16-23, 2011, as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.Continue reading →
At Edinburgh’s Inspace gallery on June 16, Project: New Cinephilia proudly debuted Reverse Shot Video’s inaugural attempt at video film criticism following a panel entitled “Critical Approaches II: Tools, Formats, and Experiments.” The four-part piece puts two quintessential New York filmmakers–Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen–under the microscope, finding correspondences and divergences between their depictions of urban space in Taxi Driver and Hannah and Her Sisters, respectively, while also laying bare the process of the filmmakers themselves. It was presented by Eric Hynes, Jeff Reichert, and Michael Koresky.
Opening Seen debuted in March 2008 at the Whitney Biennial, as part of a live broadcast on Neighborhood Public Radio, a guerrilla radio group which sets up temporary booths and broadcasts content via FM radio and over the Internet. It was then streamed a month later on Viva Radio, an Internet radio station where Gabriele Caroti hosted a weekly radio show called “The Thicket.” The annotations appear here for the first time at the Edinburgh Film Festival’s “Project: New Cinephilia” web site, along with the entire program, which is free to download.Continue reading →
Why would we ever want a website? That was the question that arose among Reverse Shot’sfounding editors in 2003. It had been almost six months since we, along with our friends Neal Block and Erik Syngle, started what we had then dubbed, somewhat grandiosely, “the new magazine of film culture,” but until that moment we hadn’t much considered the possibility, let alone the necessity, of establishing a web presence. But now we knew we had to give it serious consideration. Reverse Shot was at this point a staple-bound, 8.5 x 5.5–inch twenty-plus-page print magazine with a “widescreen” design, self-published and hand-distributed around New York art-house theaters and museums; those who knew about it knew because they had grabbed a free issue after a screening at Film Forum or Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek, or after a shopping trip at dearly departed Kim’s Video on St. Marks, the Valhalla of rental stores (its contents currently taking up space in Sicily). Continue reading →
Michael pointed me to David Bordwell’s great and polemical piece, “Academics Vs. Critics,” and while I agree with much of the essay (I appreciate, especially, the care Bordwell takes in offering a bridge between the two camps), the scholar-critic divide doesn’t appear quite as stark to me. Of course I’m writing with only six years in the academy and not Bordwell’s thirty, but that might be part of the generational point. If film criticism was considered a lower form of journalism than art or architecture writing in the past, then it’s certainly on par today, at least from the perspective of university training. Continue reading →
Michael mentioned that “usually only passing remarks are made about cinematography, lighting, sound design, etc., as if they’re tangential aspects of a film rather than the entire presentation.” Which may be true. But of course that’s not the whole story either—plenty of writing on film exists which makes mention of the more technical, artisanal aspects of filmmaking (some would call these aspects more “cinematic,” which is a blood-red herring if ever there was one) to no insightful end. Some of the most exciting film writing I have read is that which talks about actors (stars or not) and performance in a genuine attempt to articulate what these performances are, and what they do to us. Continue reading →
Michael, in response to the question you posed to me—“How has the new accessibility of cinema changed your way of taking it in, or, as you put it, your ‘bingeing,’ and how has that affected your writing and consideration of film?”—my answer is simple: not at all. I don’t collect DVDs, am not a member of Netflix, don’t have cable, and own few gadgets (my home/portable screens are limited to a TV and a laptop). Keeping up with my journalism assignments requires me to watch three to ten films a week; the average skews higher if I’m covering a series. Most of the films I review I see in screening rooms, though occasionally titles are available only on screeners. Continue reading →
Everyone has a relationship to movies. One of our goals at Project: New Cinephilia has been to invite contributions from artists, writers, and others across non-cinematic disciplines to share with us the ways in which film has shaped or informed their creative practice. At Edinburgh’s Festivalhouse@Teviot on June 16, we’ll be debuting a new exhibit entitled “At the Movies with Marcellus Hall: Illustrations from The New Yorker, 1993-2010.” Accompanying the illustrations are annotations we’ve commissioned from Hall that speak to both his process and, at times, the impact of the films he has been assigned to cover. Below are two pieces that ran in other magazines, three from The New Yorker, and one previously unpublished work, debuted exclusively online by P:NC.Continue reading →
In the embarrassment of riches that is the new digital age, we are not lacking for critical voices. There are far too many good blogs and web sites and film-news outlets to keep up with at present, many built on the ashes of defunct print magazines and journals (Bright Lights or Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, for instance), others erected by thoughtful cinephiles (Girish Shambu) or maintained by seasoned professionals (Dave Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum) who have much more to say than the shrinking newshole at their current or former outlet normally allows for. Consider those published in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Hindi, Arabic, and other major languages, and it’s easy to be not only awed by the choice and variety of quality sites devoted to cinema, but almost oppressed by their multitudinous manifestations. On the Internet, anyone can operate a fanzine or film journal, and for the most part, we benefit immeasurably from this cinephilic outpouring. Continue reading →
Before I write another word, I want to acknowledge the quality of everyone’s responses. This has been a really interesting discussion.
I want to begin with Daniel’s inversion of my badminton birdie metaphor. I think he’s absolutely correct on that count. What’s being swatted around is the film-under-consideration itself – swatted and batted and kneaded and punched and rolled like pizza dough, ranked in a series of endless beauty contests with other movies, categorized and re-categorized, but never quite looked at. Continue reading →