Hot Freaks: Fictional Rock Stars on Film

By Michael Azerrad

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

New York / New York

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.

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Opening Seen: An Annotated Soundtrack

By Gabriele Caroti and Lili Chin

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

The Paper Chase: On the Origins of Reverse Shot

By Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert

Why would we ever want a website? That was the question that arose among Reverse Shot’s founding 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

Cinephilia and Comics

B-Movie Filmish Image. © Edward Ross, 2011By Edward Ross

Cinema is a medium tied to temporality.  We experience a film one frame at a time, and barring a projector meltdown or remote control mishap, we watch it from start to finish in the order designed by the film’s creators.  Comics, on the other hand, are a profoundly spacial medium.  Time is read between the lines and between the panels, but it is the space of the page that we primarily consume.  Over a two-page spread, all moments are one, and page-time is traveled as the eye darts back and forth across the page. Continue reading

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

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

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

Cinephilia, love and being caught off-guard

Wind From The East (Groupe Dziga Vertov) 1970 Italy/France/West Germany 100 min

From: Genevieve Yue

To pick up on Daniel’s question, what is the birdie that we cinephiles swat around? Or as André Bazin put it more bluntly, what is cinema? It’s interesting to me how this question continually crops up long after the medium’s many deaths, from the various proclamations of critics and filmmakers throughout the twentieth century to the now-undisputed technological end of celluloid (first heralded by television, video, and finally, the digital turn). If anything, the end of the cinematic century has only opened new questions as to what cinema was, or continues to be in augmented forms. For historians of early cinema, these lines of inquiry have been particularly fertile: in an era of multiple viewing platforms, for example, how might we reconsider the history of cinema as that of a screen practice, as Anne Friedberg and Charles Musser have done? And when we look at the long history of the medium, what might we anticipate for its future? Continue reading