Céci n’est pas un cinéphile

verpool (Lisandro Alonso) 2008 Argentina/France/Netherlands/Germany/Spain 84 min

Postcard from Sunderland, by Neil Young

Dear Frances (Mike, Matt and Andrew),

Of all the people to kick off a debate on New Cinephilia, they somehow picked me. I turned 40 in March, and there’s so much of current and recent and classic cinema with which I’m unfamiliar – if I reeled off the list of prominent directors of whom I have never seen a single movie, you’d be understandably shocked and startled (details of how I’ve managed to miss out on these guys’ work can perhaps be saved for later in these exchanges, though my preference for, if possible, seeing films on the big-screen is one factor, my 15 years as a horse-racing official another). So, by most cinephile’s standards, I am most likely not eligible to achieve proper “cinephile status”.

Or am I? As cinephilia – and New Cinephilia – evidently demands an engagement with current trends in cinema, is it necessary to (a) know who’s in the New Cinephile Canon at any given time, and (b) have seen at least one movie by those directors generally accepted as lurking within the pantheon? (just to reassure anyone who reckons I’m little more than a multiplex-haunting cine-philistine, I am up to speed on the likes of Albert Serra, Lisandro Alonso, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Claire Denis, Jia Zhang-Ke and James Benning, though that isn’t to say I’m a cheerleading fan for all of their films.) Continue reading

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Online Roundtable 1: Meet the Guests

Roundtable image from http://flamesnation.ca

For the next week, Project: New Cinephilia is home to the first of our Online Roundtables, where five critics take it in turns to riff on cinephilia and respond to each other’s comments.  For this we have invited writers, programmers and distributors that many people will have encountered initially online, and whose writing has fed our cinephilia as readers, by being both infectious in their prose and generous with their links and references, leading audiences to new discoveries.

Our debut chair is Neil Young (Jigsaw Lounge) with esteemed guest contributors Frances Morgan (Sight & Sound), Mike Everleth (Bad Lit), Mathieu Ravier (The Festivalists) and Andrew Grant (Benten Films). The conversation will take place in a rough timezone order that spins from Sunderland to London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Berlin and back to Sunderland.

For full biographies please visit our Contributors page.  You will find all related posts in the Online Roundtable 1 .  Meanwhile, we welcome Neil to kick things off…