The well-tempered critic

From Daniel Cockburn:

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

When a film calls

From Melissa Anderson:

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

The illustrated man

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 Below are two pieces that ran in other magazines, three from The New Yorker, and one previously unpublished work, debuted exclusively online by P:NC.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

Eyes Wide Shut: Notes Toward a New Video Criticism

By Damon Smith

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

About Refractive Cinema: When Films Interrogate Films

By Timothy Corrigan

The following is an excerpt from Timothy Corrigan’s book The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in August 2011. It is published here by permission.

Art about art-or better put, art through art–is a tradition as long as artistic and literary history itself, extending back through many centuries of literature and visual representation and forward into film history, from well before John Keats’s ode on an urn to well after Buster Keaton’s comedies about a film projectionist and cameraman.[i] Like its forerunners, film’s versions of this reflexivity both create and participate in their own aesthetic principles, overlapping their representations of other artistic and aesthetic experiences with their own cinematic processes and frequently reflecting those processes as a reflection on film itself. Continue reading

Re-making criticism

From Kent Jones:

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

Cinema is what we make of it

From Michael Koresky:

First of all, thanks to all of you for what is so far an incredibly engaging, provocative, and insightful discussion. Despite the depths you’ve all plumbed in terms of defining strains and eras of cinephilia, we’ve only scratched the surface. Or rather, I feel we can take these fascinatingly nebulous diagnoses about our affliction/gluttony/passion and apply them to where we are now. Continue reading