27 septembre 2012

desire/possibility; history/modernity


“The subject of the cinema [...] prefers to verify that something else is still possible (a body, a friend, a world)”
- Nicole Brenez, “The Ultimate Journey: Remarks on Contemporary Theory”

04 juillet 2012


WHEN in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. 
[et seq.]

04 juin 2012

farce, realism.

When the golden couple married, in 1947,
the following was lavished on the ceremony:
jewellery from other royals, a washing machine, a fridge,
76 handkerchiefs, 148 pairs of stockings,
38 handbags, 16 night gowns,
500 cases of tinned pineapple, 10,000 telegrams,
2000 guests, 5 Kings, 7 Queens,
8 Princes and 10 Princesses,
and for the 10,000 pearls sewn onto her wedding dress,
Her Majesty allegedly saved all her clothing coupons.
Even more money was wasted on her Coronation,
as yet another fossil monarchy justified its existence by tradition
and deluded itself with the notion of 'duty'.
Privileged to the last, whilst in England's green and pleasant land,
the rest of the nation survived on rationing
in some of the worst slums in Europe.


"The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time." (Willem de Kooning)
The trouble with being rich, is that it takes up everybody else's.
After farce. Realism.

- Terence Davies, Of Time and the City

A 2011 study from the OECD showed the gap between the highest and lowest paid has grown more quickly in Britain than in any other advanced economy over the past three decades.

A monarch in a barge like a burnished throne, sailing up London's river from Chelsea, home of oligarchs and plutocrats, to the City, home of the unpunished financial sector for whose misdeeds the rest of us are paying, cannot be a value-free act. Contemporary London offends as well as dazzles. So can the monarchy.

Back to Mesopotamia?

by Banksy

02 mai 2012

a film about the Holocaust

"We, the survivors, are not the true witnesses.... We survivors are not only an exiguous but also an anomalous minority: we are those who by their prevarications or abilities or good luck did not touch bottom. Those who did so, those who saw the Gorgon, have not returned to tell about it or have returned mute, but they are the “Muslims,” the submerged, the complete witnesses, the ones whose deposition would have a general significance. They are the rule, we are the exception."
- Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

“In the Holocaust, I discovered the human condition, the terminus of a great adventure at which Europeans arrived after two thousand years of culture and morality.”
- Imre Kertész

and of course, the oft-forgotten final image...

[quotes via Genocide and the Fine Arts, Adam Thirlwell's review of Claude Lanzmann's The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir]

01 mai 2012

the possibility of intervening

"The occupations movement was the sudden return of the proletariat as a historical class, a proletariat now enlarged to include a majority of the salaried employees of modern society and still tending toward the real abolition of classes and of wage labor. The movement was a rediscovery of collective and individual history, an awakening to the possibility of intervening in history, an awareness of participating in an irreversible event."
 - The Beginning of an Era (Internationale Situationniste #12, September 1969)

21 février 2012


You asked for neither glory nor tears,
Not the sound of the organ or the prayer for the dying;
Eleven years already, how quickly they pass, eleven years;
You did naught but use your weapons:
Death doesn’t dazzle the eyes of partisan.

Your portraits were on the walls of our cities,
The black of beards and night, wild-haired, threatening;
The poster seemed like a stain of blood, and
Because your names were so hard to pronounce
It sought to strike fear in those who passed.

No one looked on you as French by preference,
The whole day people passed without a glance;
But at the hour of curfew
Wandering fingers wrote under your photos:
And the dismals mornings were no more the same.

All had the uniform color of frost
At the end of February, at your last moments;
And then it was that one of you calmly said:
I wish happiness for all, Happiness for those who will survive
I die without hatred for the German people.

Adieu pain, adieu pleasure, adieu roses
Adieu life, adieu light and wind;
Marry, be happy and think of me often,
You who will remain among the beauty of things
When things are over later in Erevan.

A great winter sun illuminates the hill
How beautiful is nature, and how my heart breaks;
Justice will follow upon our triumphant steps
My Melinée, oh my love, my orphan girl,
I tell you to live and to have a child.

They were twenty-three when the gun barrels blossomed,
Twenty three who gave their hearts before their time,
Twenty three foreigners and yet our brothers,
Twenty three who loved life to death;
Twenty three who cried out “La France” as they were struck down.
- Strophes pour se souvenir, Louis Aragon

02 janvier 2012

2011: A Year in Cinema

Continuing the tradition, what follows is a list of films seen for the first time in 2011, or revisited and reconsidered, in rough order of preference. I also wrote some little things for year-end roundups at Vinyl Is Heavy and for the Mubi Notebook. I've got some other thoughts, but not sure they'll drift their way into print in the immediate... for now, let's just say these top 5 (and maybe 6) will be influencing me for a long, long time.

Adam's Rib (George Cukor, 1949)
Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry, 2011)
This Is Not a Film (Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi, 2010)
Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)
Passeio com Johnny Guitar (João César Monteiro, 1996)
A King in New York (Charles Chaplin, 1957)
The Pinochet Case (Patricio Guzmán, 2001)
Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark (Al Jazeera documentary, 2011)
Eadward Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (Thom Andersen, 1974)
The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (William E. Jones, 1998)
The Exiles (Kent Mackenzie, 1961)
The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987)
Ars Colonia (Raya Martin, 2011)
Big (Penny Marshall, 1988)
Salvador Allende (Patricio Guzmán, 2004)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog, 2010)
Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer
Palestinian Chicken episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2011)
A Village Fading Away (Patricio Guzmán, 1995)
Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard, 2010)
The Angel Wore Red (Nunnally Johnson, 1960)
Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)
The Firm (Sydney Pollack, 1993)
Mister Softee episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2011)
The King's Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010)
"Hang With Me" (Max Vitali, 2010)
Get Out of the Car (Thom Andersen, 2010)
Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
History Lessons (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1972)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Leonard Nimoy, 1986)
Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924)
To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944)
The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-soo, 2011)
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr & Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)
Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987)
George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Martin Scorcese, 2011)
Tauw (Ousmane Sembene, 1970)
The Ace of Hearts (Wallace Worsley, 1921)
Bi-Sexual episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2011)
Car Periscope episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2011)
Almayer's Folly (Chantal Akerman, 2011)
Three on a Couch (Jerry Lewis, 1966)
Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)
The Loneliest Planet (Julia Loktev, 2011)
The Immortal Story (Orson Welles, 1968)
Bhopali (Max Carlson, 2011)
Goodbye, Michael episode of "The Office" (2011)
Bobby Fischer Against the World (Liz Garbus, 2011)
Cops (Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton, 1922)
Cabs Are Here! episode of "Jersey Shore" (2011)
Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
Ministry of Fear (Fritz Lang, 1944)
The Trip [theatrical version] (Michael Winterbottom, 2010)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
The Scarecrow (Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton, 1920)
The Aristocrat (Greg Croteau, 2010)
Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010)
Young Adult (Jason Reitman, 2011)
Dallas (Stuart Heisler, 1950)
The Tall Target (Anthony Mann, 1951)
The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935)
Super 8 (J.J. Abrams, 2011)
Cold Weather (Aaron Katz, 2010)
Notorious (George Tillman, Jr., 2009)
The Wolf Man (George Waggner, 1941)
The Paleface (Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton, 1922)
The Devil is a Woman (Josef von Sternberg, 1935)
Union Depot (Alfred E. Green, 1932)
The Descendants (Alexander Payne, 2011)
British Agent (Michael Curtiz, 1934)
The 3 Rs (David Lynch, 2011)
Haiku (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009)
Two & Two (Babak Anvari, 2010)
Raffles (George Fitzmaurice, 1930)
The White Meadows (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2009)
The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)
The Professionals (Richard Brooks, 1966)
House Party (Reginald Hudlin, 1990)
Along the Great Divide (Raoul Walsh, 1951)
All Blossoms Again: Pedro Costa, Director (Aurélien Gerbault, 2006)
Knight Without Armor (Jacques Feyder, 1937)
Jumping (Osamu Tezuka, 1984)
Killed (William E. Jones, 2009)
Discrepancy (William E. Jones, 2008-2010)
Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010)
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone, 2010)
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (William Greaves, 1968)
Faust (Alexander Sokurov, 2011)
Fun on Mars (Sally Cruikshank, 1971)
Too Big to Fail (Curtis Hanson, 2011)
Cinema Verite (Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, 2011)
Due Date (Todd Phillips, 2010)
Autumnal (Scott Nyerges, 2008)
Film Montages (for Peter Roehr) (William E. Jones, 2006)
Berlin Flash Frames (William E. Jones, 2010)
Punctured (William E. Jones, 2010)
Cop Out (Kevin Smith, 2010)