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16701


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:34pm
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot'
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> wrote:
> The CDC didn't stay with the idea that showing the
> > > equipment was a deconstructive gesture for very long --
Bonitzer
> > > deconstructed it in its turn about 4 years after the Garrel
> > article.
> > > But showing-the-camera was being done a lot back then -- the
most
> > > famous example probably being the ending of One Plus One.
Haskell
> > > Wexler did it at the end of Medium Cool etc.
> >
> >
> > Of course in order to show the camera you have to use another
> > camera (unless you show it in a mirror) which itself cannot be
> shown
> > unless you use a third camera and so on ad infinitum. A true
> > deconstructive conondrum.
>
> That was one of Pascal's points.


You mean "les deux infinis"?
16702


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:52pm
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> Is THE BIRTH OF A NATION the first anything? It's certainly not
the first feature-length film. It's supposed to be the first film
shown at The White House but I hear that CABIRIA was show "on the
grounds" of The White House. Can anyone confirm? And speaking of
CABIRIA, THE BIRTH OF A NATION is certainly not the first epic film.
But is it the first American epic film? Not sure how exactly to
define "epic" either but I'd wager that it means big budget, over
two hours at least, preferably over two and half hours., etc. Anyone?
>
> Kevin John

I don't have any answer, but I think the obsession with "firsts"
in cinema history is really strange and not a little absurd. I seem
to remember someone had written about it in Cahiers back in the late
sixties/early seventies... Again, let's ask Bill if it rings a bell.
Something about the fetishism of the "first time"... JPC
16703


From: Fred Camper
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:13pm
Subject: Re: Re: 'Boom mike in shot' & self-referentiality
 
There's a hideous camera shadow as the camera dollies in on a window to
show a party in "Written on the Wind," surely a mistake however
"Brechtian" Sirk may have been.

As for showing the camera, the ultimate ur-example is "The Man With a
Movie Camera," but there are many interesting avant-garde examples as
well, such as the playful Frampton-Wieland "A and B in Ontario," in
which they film each other filming each other.

I continue to believe that synoptic discussion of cinema in which all
the examples are narrative features are, um, just plain wrong-headed.

My favorite example of showing the camera, though, is neither Vertovian
nor avantgardian but Lewisian, the amazing end of "The Patsy."

Hoberman's "Vulgar Modernism" essay lists self-referntial moments in
comics and cartoons. I think they function very differently there and
often differently from each other, but for example MAD comics of the
early 50s include lots of references to the frame, characters discussing
the drawing style of the strip they are in, characters discussing the
fact that this is a comic book, and so on. MAD was a color comic book
for the first 23 issues before it became a magazine, and it was quite
great back then. There's a Tex Avery cartoon (I believe it's an Avery)
in which the shadow of a head disrupts the image and a voice says
something like "Let's wait until that audience member sits down." And
then there's Chuck Jones's sublime "Duck Amuck."

My point about all this is that these different instances don't have a
lot to do with each other. Vertov's showing of the camera is a profound
argument; the end of "The Patsy" is equally profound but to very
different effects and ends. And Brakhage's "Blue Moses," a scripted
sound film with a discussion of cinema and an actor and a blank screen,
has a third set of meanings and implications. And none of these are
anything like the great moment in Christopher MacLaine's "The End" when
Maclaine's voice intones while the screen is black, "The person next to
you is a leper."

Also, not every self-referential reference means anything. There's a
moment in Edgar G. Ulmer's "My Son the Hero" (which I saw once 35 years
ago and thought was not very good -- please argue with me or correct me,
anyone) in which after a particularly crazy "comedic" series of
entrances and exits leave a man sitting alone in a chair, he stairs into
the camera and says, "What a crazy picture." I think that basically was
playful but otherwise meaningless moment.

In reply to Kevin, I am not aware of any film purists on this list. I
make my judgments one film at a time. I've seen "Shoah" twice on film
complete, and later about a half hour or hour of it on video, but I have
recommended it on video to people who can't see a print, including on
this list, saying that I think it largely survives. The theater you were
seeing all those mics in might have had old aperture plates and an
ignorant projectionist and been projecting everything in Academy ratio,
while the directors, caring less about TV than the theater image, were
ignoring everything outside of 1.85:1. Many or most prints of films that
were intended to be shown masked have the full 1.37:1 image on the film.
Or they could have been showing 16mm prints, many or most of which are
1.33:1. Then too there are lots of "mistakes" in Hollywood films
projected as intended if you're looking for them.

Fred Camper
16704


From: Adrian Martin
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:19pm
Subject: re: 'boom mike in shot'
 
If the boom mike in LORD LOVE A DUCK 'sways back and forth', wouldn't
this be because that is what boom mikes usually do? - ie, move around
often quite frenetically (as it seems to the untrained or even trained
eye) to catch the different actors' lines? (This is why 'boom swinging'
is an enormously prized skill in filmmaking.)

And speaking of films that do indeed 'bare the device', see the
extremely ostentatious 'action swinging' of the boom which becomes an
incredible spectacle in and of itself in Ruiz's film about the working
process of the painter Miotte !!! Actually, I don't believe any other
film or filmmaker goes as far as Ruiz on this particular 'reflexive'
(isn't 'self-reflexive' a tautology?) point.

Adrian
16705


From: Fred Camper
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:22pm
Subject: Re: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
jpcoursodon wrote:

>
> I don't have any answer, but I think the obsession with "firsts"
> in cinema history is really strange and not a little absurd.

Tom Gunning, who knows something about film history, likes to point out
that claims that some film was the "first" to do this or that are almost
invariably dubious. Of course he's right; no one can see every film
that's ever been made, and the majority of early films are lost anyway.

I think it's of some interest when a "genetic" claim can be made: that
it's the Griffith use of close ups (I'm not saying these are true, it's
just an example) and the way that he used them that others saw and were
influenced by; that most films that use painting on film today are
influenced by Brakhage as the filmmaker who set the current filmmaker on
that course, rather than Len Lye or Norman MacLaren. If someone
establishes that technique X was invented film filmmaker Y, and that
everyone else who used it saw its first use a film by filmmaker Y or a
film of someone who got it from filmmaker Y, that might be of some mild
interest. But any such interest would hardly diminished at all if
someone then discovers, to paraphrase something Bugs Bunny once said,
"there was an earlier case in Venezuela."

Fred Camper
16706


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:28pm
Subject: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
Wasn't THE BIRTH OF A NATION the longest film shown up to that time?

By the way, has anyone seen Jonas Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION? According
to the IMDB, it includes archive footage of Jim McBride, about whom I
am currently researching a book. Jim has no idea what this footage
could be, and an e-mail I sent to the Anthology Film Archive went
unanswered.
16707


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:32pm
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
"But no doubt (to quote Andrew Sarris), "That way lies madness."

There's definitely a book to be written about 'mainstream' directors
who have made porno films under pseudonyms. Kubrick, Kiarostami,
Bresson, Malick, Cassavetes, Carax, Dreyer, Hitchcock, the
Straubs...they've all done it! The only problem is finding some proof!
16708


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:34pm
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
"my recollection of Joanna is that it contains the only scene where
an individual on whom fellatio is being performed actually comes in
the other individual's mouth and not on her face."

That may be true, but surely JOANNA is more notable for being perhaps
the only mainstream hardcore film to include an explicit scene of
male homosexuality.
16709


From:
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:40pm
Subject: Re: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
I should have explained why I asked this question in the first place.

The textbook for the class I am teaching states uncategorically that THE BIRTH OF A NATION was the first feature-length film. I'm no devotee of "firsts" myself. But I think it's more than a tad suspect (to use a nice word) to trot out that factoid as gospel, no?

Kevin John
16710


From: Programming
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:51pm
Subject: Re: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
On 10/11/04 4:28 PM, "thebradstevens" wrote:

>
> Wasn't THE BIRTH OF A NATION the longest film shown up to that time?
>
> By the way, has anyone seen Jonas Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION? According
> to the IMDB, it includes archive footage of Jim McBride, about whom I
> am currently researching a book. Jim has no idea what this footage
> could be, and an e-mail I sent to the Anthology Film Archive went
> unanswered.
>
>
>
> Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION is quite good - an assemblage of footage he'd shot
> over many, many, many years organized into a kind of "meta-portait" film.
>
> "One hundred and sixty portraits or rather appearances, sketches and glimpses
> of avantgarde, independent filmmakers, and film activists between 1955 and
> 1996. Why 'Birth of a Nation'? Because the film independents IS a nation in
> itself. We are surrounded by the commercial cinema nation the same way as the
> indigenous people of the United States or of any other country are surrounded
> by the Ruling Powers. We are the invisible, but essential nation of cinema. We
> are the cinema." - Jonas Mekas.
>
> If I can find the word version of the program notes from when I showed it in
> 1998, I'll post the list of people appearing (I'm NOT going to retype them
> all!). It's certainly an ecclectic group - Henri Langlois, Dwight MacDonald,
> Leni Reifenstahl, Fred Halsted, Brakhage, Rossellini, and (for Peter T.) Peter
> Bogdanovich, etc. Jim McBride is listed as is Kit Carson.
>
>
> Try calling Anthology rather than emailing - they tend to be a bit lazy about
> emails in my experience and better with calls. (212) 505-5181. Talk to John
> Mhiripiri at extension 11 - he's the office manager and very nice. I think
> they're a bit protective of Mekas (screening calls, etc.), so best to go
> through John and explaining what information you are looking for.
>
> Best,
>
> Patrick Friel
>
>
>
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16711


From: Dave Garrett
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:51pm
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

> I should have explained why I asked this question in the first place.
>
> The textbook for the class I am teaching states uncategorically that THE BIRTH OF A NATION was the first feature-length film. I'm no devotee of "firsts" myself. But I think it's more than a tad suspect (to use a nice word) to trot out that factoid as gospel, no?

FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS (1912) and TRAFFIC IN SOULS (1913) are two features that immediately come to mind as being earlier than BIRTH. And neither one is all that obscure - they are both available as parts of a set of VHS tapes released by Kino under the banner "First American Features".

DeMille's 1914 feature THE SQUAW MAN, generally regarded as the first feature to be shot in Hollywood, also beats out BIRTH by a year.

Of course, all of these are release dates and not necessarily production dates, but I think that tends to be implied in most claims of cinematic "firsts".

Dave
16712


From: Fred Camper
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:04pm
Subject: Re: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
Brad Stevens:

"By the way, has anyone seen Jonas Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION? According
to the IMDB, it includes archive footage of Jim McBride...."

Patrick Friel:

"Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION is quite good - an assemblage of footage he'd
shot over many, many, many years organized into a kind of
"'eta-portait" film..."

If I may be allowed my own silly post from time to time, I think it's
actually great, in part because the "cast" includes some people much
more important than Jim McBride, namely, me. I'm just in the background,
bearded, in a shot or two, attending a Peter Kubelka
lecture-demonstration on cooking, which was amazing in itself, circa 1972.

On the other hand, if McBride's appearance is as brief as mine, seeing
the film probably won't increase your knowledge of him very much.

Fred Camper
16713


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:06pm
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:


"The textbook for the class I am teaching states uncategorically that
THE BIRTH OF A NATION was the first feature-length film. I'm no
devotee of "firsts" myself. But I think it's more than a tad suspect
(to use a nice word) to trot out that factoid as gospel, no?"

If you can get a copy of Film Culture No.36 Spring-Summer 1965 you
might out that THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a 1st of something or other.
The entire 200 pages are devoted to it. It seems that it was Erich
von Stroheim's first appearance on screen:

"Erich von Stroheim began his screen career as a stunt man here...he
plays the man who is shot on the roof of his house during the
guerilla raid on Piedmont, and falls to his death in the yard."

Film Culture No.36, pp.5

Richard M
16714


From: Programming
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:23pm
Subject: Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION "cast" list
 
Found it.

Patrick.



*****************************

List of film-makers and related friends and film activists who appear in the
film, in order of appearance:


P. Adams Sitney Nelly Kaplan Kit Carson
Peter Kubelka Claudia Weil Paul Shrader
Ken Kelman Annabel Nicholson Shirley Clarke
Hollis Melton Brigit Heim Bosley Crowther
Ken Jacobs Piero Heliczer Dimitri Devyatkin
Larry Jordan Peter Gidal Ulrich Gregor
Florence Jacobs Kurt Kren Sheldon Rochlin
Harry Smith Wilhelm Hein LaMonte Young
Henri Langlois Malcolm Le Grice Robert Gardner
Annette Michelson Carmen Vigil Vlada Petric
Gerald O'Grady Bill Brand John du Cane
Hollis Frampton Regina Cornwell William Raban
Sidney Peterson Akiko Iimura Tony Conrad
James Broughton Taka Iimura George Maciunas
Joel Singer David Crosswaite Alberto Cavalcanti
Steven Dwoskin Gill Eatherley Jim McBride
Dore O. Amy Taubin Peter Bogdanovich
Werner Nekes Tom Chomont Gideon Bachmann
Kenneth Anger Peter Weibel Christiane Rochefort
Andrew Noren Carla Liss Jerry Jofen
Jacques Ledoux Robert Huot Rosa von Praunheim
Ed Emshwiller Guy Fihman Hans Richter
Saul Levine Claudine Eizykman Roberto Rossellini
Larry Gottheim David Curtis Lionel Rogosin
Pascale Dauman Barbara Rubin Robert Haller
Ray Wisniewski Kenji Kanesaka Storm De Hirsch
Taylor Mead Anna Karina Marcel Hanoun
Micheal Snow Leo Dratfield Jerry Hiler
Ricky Leacock Gregory Markopoulos Bruce Conner
Stan Brakhage Robert Beavers Myrel Glick
Jane Brakhage Robert Kramer Paul Sharits
Barry Gerson Pamela Badyk Barbara Schwarz
Willard Van Dyke Cecile Starr Lewis Jacobs
John Whitney Jerome Hill Ian Barna
Pola Chapelle Donald Richie Carolee Schneemann
Morris Engel Fred Halsted Anthony McCall
Stan Vanderbeek David Wise Diego Cortez
Amy Greenfield Sheldon Renan Leslie Trumbull
Bruce Baillie James Blue Adolfo Arieta
Chantal Akerman Ernie Gehr Louis Brigante
Sally Dixon Richard Foreman Coleen Fitzgibbon
Will Hindle Robert Polidori Stewart Sherman
Michael Stuart Leni Riefenstahl Charles Chaplin
Robert Creeley Amalie Rothschild Len Lye
Friede Bartlett Lillian Kiesler Tati
Scott Bartlett Shigeko Kubota Allen Ginsberg
Jud Yalkut Jerry Tartaglia Valie Export
Adolfas Mekas Dan Talbot Hermann Nitsch
Callie Angell Louis Marcorelles Andy Warhol
Charles Levine Michel Auder Jack Smith
Dwight MacDonald Analona Wibom
Viva Robert Breer
Leslie Trumbul Raimund Abraham



and, somewhere, uncredited, Fred Camper.
16715


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:50pm
Subject: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
"if McBride's appearance is as brief as mine, seeing the film
probably won't increase your knowledge of him very much."

Well, every little bit is important. I recently discovered that Jim
appears in Thomas Reichman's documentary MINGUS (1968). He recorded
the sound for that film, and can clearly be seen holding a microphone
as Mingus is driven away by the police (after being evicted from his
apartment).

Thanks to everyone who has helped with info/contacts for the Mekas
film.
16716


From:
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:52pm
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
Agree that "The Birth of a Nation" was NOT the first feature film.
In addition to those mentioned, "Cabiria" (Pastrone, Italy, 1912) also comes
to mind. This is not a "good movie", but it is is a feature, and out on video.
What I always read about "The Birth of a Nation" is that it was a huge leap
forward for the financial growth of the American film industry. Its box office
success changed American movies from an iffy, marginal business, to the vast
industry that has existed ever since. And also, that it started the careers of
many Hollywood moguls, who invested in distribution rights for the picture in
various parts of the country. Think I read this in Lillian Gish's
autobiography, "The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me". I am NOT an expert on the financial
history of film, and am unable to say if the above claims are true or false or
partially correct. So beware!
There are also suggestions that the colossal box office success of "The Birth
of a Nation" helped make the feature film a standard form of production.
Before it, features were occasional super-productions; after it, they became the
core of the world film industry, commercially speaking, until the rise of
television and its half hour and hour series in the late 1940's (television was
modeled on radio, which used similar formats). Once again, I am not sure if this
is true.

A side note: even though prose mystery fiction is better preserved than film
(hardly any published English language mysteries have been lost, although
unpublished manuscripts have often vanished), the concept of "firsts" in the
history of mystery are just as problematical as firsts in film history. They are a
real mess!

Mike Grost
16717


From: George Robinson
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:53pm
Subject: Godard's anti-Semitism in Notre Musique
 
I'm baffled by Akerman's comments. I'm a big fan of her work and, needless
to say, always happen when a filmmaker trumpets their Judaism (because it
means more paying work for me or an opportunity to champion non-mainstream
films in Jewish Week), but I can't imagine what she's talking about. I think
Notre Musique is actually one of Godard's most serene and reflective works
ever and pretty short on vitriol against anyone (except the people who
manufacture small video cameras). It's either a bullshit attention-getting
quote or she saw a different movie from me.

g

Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim. Silence encourages the
tormentor, never the tormented.
--Elie Wiesel
16718


From: thebradstevens
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:58pm
Subject: Re: Schatzberg (Was:A is A / Rivette's evidence)
 
"the remarkable "Street Smart" which was barely distributed."

Well, that's something to be grateful for. It's the most racist film
I've ever seen.
16719


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 0:08am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> I should have explained why I asked this question in the first
place.
>
> The textbook for the class I am teaching states uncategorically
that THE BIRTH OF A NATION was the first feature-length film. I'm no
devotee of "firsts" myself. But I think it's more than a tad suspect
(to use a nice word) to trot out that factoid as gospel, no?
>
> Kevin John

I didn't "suspect" you of being a devotee of firsts. But why do you
have to use a textbook that trots out -- not 'factoids" but out-and-
out non-facts? And why use a film text book at all?

Tell your students that Pastrone's "CABIRIA" (1913) -- which isn't
even a "first" -- had a running time of about three hours. However
maybe your textbook only takes into account American films.

JPC
16720


From:
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:09pm
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot' & self-referentiality
 
In "Weekend" (Godard) the actors complain about being stuck in such an awful
picture.
King Vidor puts in a cameo at the end of his own "Show People".
At the end of a "Moonlighting" episode, and at the end of "The Impostors",
the camera pulls back, and reveals the fact we are on a movie set. We see the
cast mingle with the crew, and move through the studio.
The reverse happens at the start of "La Ronde" (Ophuls), which opens in what
is supposed to be the studio (perhaps!) and then moves deeper into a set and
traditional filmic illusion. It is really dazzling.
A different effect is at the start of "And the Ship Sailed On" (Fellini),
which moves through different cinematic eras and their styles. Fellini also does
much cutting back and forth between illusion and reality in "Intervista".

Mike Grost
16721


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 0:56am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
>

>
> I don't have any answer, but I think the obsession with "firsts"
> in cinema history is really strange and not a little absurd. I seem
> to remember someone had written about it in Cahiers back in the
late
> sixties/early seventies... Again, let's ask Bill if it rings a
bell.
> Something about the fetishism of the "first time"... JPC

Jean-Louis Comolli wrote a series of CdC articles on Technique and
Ideology, mostly about deep focus (because of Bazin), and in one he
debunked film historians' fetishizing of "firsts." The article had
considerable added resonance for me because Richard Nixon, still in
office (just as a reminder to those who don't think they can
survive "four more years," should it come to that), was notoriously
obsessed with "firsts," too.
16722


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:03am
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot' & self-referentiality
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:

There's a Tex Avery cartoon (I believe it's an Avery)
> in which the shadow of a head disrupts the image and a voice says
> something like "Let's wait until that audience member sits down."

Actually, the shadow is gunned down by a character. (Hitchcock has
aan audience apparently getting sptrayed w. bullets in Saboteur.)

Skip this if you read my previous post on it: I bought a bootleg of
Looney Toons: Back In Action from a Mexican vendor who had a serape
covered with bogus DVDs spread out in front of him. For 5 bucks, the
quality wasn't bad. In the middle of the sequence where Daffy
destroys the Warners lot, the tiny head and shoulders of an actual
audience member (when the pirates were taping off the screen) gets up
and makes his way along his row and exits, JUST LIKE IN THE AVERY. I
told Joe Dante, who replied -- "One of the self-reflexive gags they
wouldn't let me do -- now in the film! Nyah-hah-hah-hah!"
16723


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:06am
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
>
> "But no doubt (to quote Andrew Sarris), "That way lies madness."
>
> There's definitely a book to be written about 'mainstream'
directors
> who have made porno films under pseudonyms. Kubrick, Kiarostami,
> Bresson, Malick, Cassavetes, Carax, Dreyer, Hitchcock, the
> Straubs...they've all done it! The only problem is finding some
proof!

Baloney. But there were stag films being shot in the silent days and
the subsequent Golden Age, some of which did feature H'wd personnel,
presumably recognizable. Where are they?
16724


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:10am
Subject: Re: Schatzberg (Was:A is A / Rivette's evidence)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
>
> "the remarkable "Street Smart" which was barely distributed."
>
> Well, that's something to be grateful for. It's the most racist
film
> I've ever seen.

"The Birth of a Nation" is the most racist film I've ever seen.
Correction: "Street Smart" must be the worst, the Griffith second. I
apologize for the error.

JPC
16725


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:14am
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
>
> "my recollection of Joanna is that it contains the only scene where
> an individual on whom fellatio is being performed actually comes in
> the other individual's mouth and not on her face."
>
> That may be true, but surely JOANNA is more notable for being
perhaps
> the only mainstream hardcore film to include an explicit scene of
> male homosexuality.

I remember that -- Jamie Gillis lets some guy take his penis (limp
throughout the operation) in his mouth for about 10 seconds. Big
fucking deal.

Blue Movie remains the great unfilmed Terry Southern novel. Jeff
Reiner (Blood and Concrete, Small Time aka Three Men and a Job aka
Waiting for the Man) had a script but could never get it financed.
Jeff mainly does tv to survive. Has anyone seen his work? I just know
the above-referenced two indies, which are good, particularly the one
wiyth the multiple titles -- a masterpiece of the villainy-gone-awry
genre. Theoretically, Blue Movie could be done with rubber penises, a
la Tinto Brass, no?
16726


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:17am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
wrote:
>
> If you can get a copy of Film Culture No.36 Spring-Summer 1965 you
> might out that THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a 1st of something or
other.


First blockbuster?
16727


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:22am
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot' & self-referentiality
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:

Mike -- or anyone -- what's the old dark house b-movie where it turns
out that the maniac who has been killing people is the producer?
16728


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:28am
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot' & self-referentiality
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>
> There's a Tex Avery cartoon (I believe it's an Avery)
> > in which the shadow of a head disrupts the image and a voice
says
> > something like "Let's wait until that audience member sits
down."
>
> Actually, the shadow is gunned down by a character. (Hitchcock has
> aan audience apparently getting sptrayed w. bullets in Saboteur.)
>
Perhaps the greatest self-referential gag in cartoon history is
the hair-on-the-projector-lens gag in Avery's MAGICAL MAESTRO (1952).

In live-action fiction, nothing can beat the projection booth to
screen relationship in HELLZAPOPPIN' -- a film that seems impossible
to get hold of in this country, although a movie theatre in Paris
has been running an old battered print of it for about the past 15
years. I saw it a dozen times when I was a kid. Speaking of firsts,
it was one of the earliest (I'm not saying "first", note) with a pre-
credit titles sequence: a grouchy projectionist getting into his
projection booth to start projecting -- what else: the movie we're
going to see.
JPC
16729


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:32am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> wrote:
> >
>
> >
> > I don't have any answer, but I think the obsession
with "firsts"
> > in cinema history is really strange and not a little absurd. I
seem
> > to remember someone had written about it in Cahiers back in the
> late
> > sixties/early seventies... Again, let's ask Bill if it rings a
> bell.
> > Something about the fetishism of the "first time"... JPC
>
> Jean-Louis Comolli wrote a series of CdC articles on Technique and
> Ideology, mostly about deep focus (because of Bazin), and in one
he
> debunked film historians' fetishizing of "firsts." The article had
> considerable added resonance for me because Richard Nixon, still
in
> office (just as a reminder to those who don't think they can
> survive "four more years," should it come to that), was
notoriously
> obsessed with "firsts," too.

Well, thanks as usual Bill. Now I remember the Comolli series of
article, where he never came to the point. I wrote about it in -- of
all places -- my Keaton book. I'm sure he never read it. At least he
never responded.
16730


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:36am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"

> wrote:
> >
> > If you can get a copy of Film Culture No.36 Spring-Summer 1965
you
> > might out that THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a 1st of something or
> other.
>
>
> First blockbuster?

First to be called "first"?
16731


From:
Date: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:36pm
Subject: Re: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
In a message dated 10/11/04 7:09:45 PM, jpcoursodon@y... writes:


> But why do you
> have to use a textbook that trots out -- not 'factoids" but out-and-
> out non-facts? And why use a film text book at all?
>

Well, this is deeper than I expected to go but I suppose it's necessary.

I'm the teaching assistant for this class, not the professor who assigns the
readings and screenings. Unsurprisingly, the textbook he's using is one that
he co-wrote. I haven't confronted him yet with this incorrect factoid because I
wanted to do some research and check it out with y'all.

And it's not a film course/textbook. It's a general introduction to media
studies. Film is just one week.

I'm not opposed to film textbooks, though. I really like Bordwell/Thompson's
FILM ART. When I do teach an introductory film course, I'll have no qualms
over using FILM ART, supplementing it with various essays each week (I'm FULLY
aware of Bordwell/Thompson's shortcomings).

Why NOT use a film textbook, JP? What's necessarily wrong with that?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16732


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:42am
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
>
> In a message dated 10/11/04 7:09:45 PM, jpcoursodon@y... writes:
>
>
> > But why do you
> > have to use a textbook that trots out -- not 'factoids" but out-
and-
> > out non-facts? And why use a film text book at all?
> >
>
> Well, this is deeper than I expected to go but I suppose it's
necessary.
>
> I'm the teaching assistant for this class, not the professor who
assigns the
> readings and screenings. Unsurprisingly, the textbook he's using
is one that
> he co-wrote. I haven't confronted him yet with this incorrect
factoid because I
> wanted to do some research and check it out with y'all.
>
> And it's not a film course/textbook. It's a general introduction
to media
> studies. Film is just one week.
>
> I'm not opposed to film textbooks, though. I really like
Bordwell/Thompson's
> FILM ART. When I do teach an introductory film course, I'll have
no qualms
> over using FILM ART, supplementing it with various essays each
week (I'm FULLY
> aware of Bordwell/Thompson's shortcomings).
>
> Why NOT use a film textbook, JP? What's necessarily wrong with
that?
>
> Kevin John
>
> Because the text book is telling you what to think, Kevin. Plus
it's giving you bullshit pseudo info. You're above that. Do
challenge the co-author -- nicely. Of course you may lose your job
in the process, but what's a job compared to integrity? (this spoken
by a guy who's safely retired). JPC
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16733


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:13am
Subject: Re: Re: The cinephile and the Peopl (Was: Rivette's Evidence
 
> I share the exact same auteurist tastse as everyone else on a_film_by up
> through 1975 or so. But afterwards, I seem to have enjoyed "entertainment" a lot
> more than others on the list.

I think that that's a pretty general experience. Auteurists seem to
have a lot of trouble agreeing on who's good and who's not in the modern
cinema. It makes sense, in a way, given how the role of directorial
expression has changed so much. - Dan
16734


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:21am
Subject: Rosenbergs (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
> A few pages from Ross' book are available on amazon.com. It's the
> beginning of a chapter describing the famous critic Leslie Fiedler's
> odd attack on the Rosenbergs, in which he seems to want them to die
> not for their spying but for their taste.

Robert Warshow wrote a well-known essay on the Rosenbergs' letters, in
which he too used the Rosenbergs as a sorry example of the state of
American communist culture. - Dan
16735


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:28am
Subject: Cast Away (Was: cinephilia & populism)
 
>>>I hope you mean La nuit du carrefour.
>>
>>Nope, never seen it. I mean Cast Away.
>
> Ooh! How -scandalously- provocative!
>
> Prove it.

I'm not sure I'd go as far as "masterpiece," but I was impressed with
this film too. The beginning and the end are somewhat pat in the
Hollywood way, but there's something stunning about the way Zemeckis
evokes the experience of the wreck and Hanks' solitude: there's some
really expressive control of time and space, and a good instinct for
when to ditch expressionism and let documentation take over. I hadn't
really been following Zemeckis for years (I liked I WANNA HOLD YOUR
HAND, but not the following films) - now I wonder how much good stuff
might be hiding in his filmography. - Dan
16736


From: Adam Hart
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:36am
Subject: NWFF up and running in Seattle
 
Hello all,

I've had no time to follow the comings and goings of this group
lately because I've been working 'round the clock on the Northwest
Film Forum's new space. So, for anyone who cares about Seattle, the
NWFF - a non-profit cinematheque - has now fully moved into its
gorgeous new space (about 85% of which was built by staff and
volunteers), where the cinemas and production house will all be
housed under the same roof, finally. So we are now the Northwest's
first proper non-profit cinematheque. Anyone who knows Seattle's
film scene will hopefully agree with this staff member [full
disclosure - i signed on as publicity director about three weeks
ago] and programmer about the BIG DEAL-ness of this event. Plus the
Grand Opening Party was really fun. I got to turn on the
searchlight.

-adam

ps - nwfilmforum.org
16737


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:50am
Subject: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
> - and it's worth noting that when
> Truffaut said that the more important a film's subject, the less
> likely it was to be any good, he didn't go so far as to say that a
> film with an important subject was BOUND to be poor - see DR
> STRANGELOVE.

That's not an example that would have cut much ice with the auteurists
of my day....

> Lumping all these filmmakers together irks me a bit, and reminds me
> of the uncritical trashing of "cinema du papa" filmmakers like
> Duvivier, Carne and Clair by film-lovers who haven't actually taken
> to the trouble to look at the individual works.

> He remains an example of the
> kind of filmmaker auteurists have trouble with, since he makes a
> virtue of versatility and doesn't attempt to artificially impose a
> personal style - though it's there for all to see, regardless.

I dunno, I think you need to allow for the fact that some of us have
given Wyler a good shot and still not learned to like him. I've seen 23
Wyler films and tried to approach him without preconceptions (if for no
other reason than that I adore Bazin), and the wey it fell out for me is
that I think he's a rather good director until 1936, and then gets
weirdly distant and inexpressive.

I don't think that auteurists make a special point of favoring
un-versatile directors. You can say a lot of bad things about the
history of auteurism, but I don't think it really followed much of a
schema: I think issues of taste have traditionally trumped thematic
consistency and stylistic aggressiveness. I always give the example of
Cukor, who is quite hard to justify as an auteurist favorite in many
ways. But auteurists like him and held on to him. - Dan

P.S. I like postwar Clair, especially LES GRANDES MANOEUVRES.
16738


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:52am
Subject: Barnet (Was: cinephilia & populism)
 
> Yes that's right. As soon as I saw Barnet's name I bought it. I'm
> still searching for stuff on him without much success.

Do you know about Eisenschitz's fine essay in the book INSIDE THE FILM
FACTORY, which is still in print? - Dan
16739


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:59am
Subject: Re: Re: Rivette's Evidence
 
>>>I'm reading Robert Warshow now - interesting guy - and his words
> on genre
>>were, "Originality is to be welcomed only in the degree that it
>>intensifies the expected experience without fundamentally altering
> it."
>
>>He was talking about the way audiences seem to cherish
> familiarity, not
>>making an artistic case for it. - Dan
>
> Warshaw's definition of genre is excellent and applies to anybody's
> relationship to a genre film, not just "general audiences". Genre is
> defined by the expectations that we bring to it. If all
> expectations are betrayed (as through excessive "originality") then
> the work no longer belongs to the alleged genre and self-destructs.
> The greatest genre films do "intensify" the expected experience
> rather than frustrating it.

I don't say that Warshow's statement doesn't reflect on the nature of
genre, but in context, he seems to be talking more about the success of
a particular genre (the gangster film, in this case) and the extent to
which it has imposed itself on "the general consciousness." - Dan
16740


From: Matt Teichman
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:00am
Subject: Re: film textbooks (OT)
 
LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

>>And why use a film text book at all?
>>
>>
>Why NOT use a film textbook, JP? What's necessarily wrong with that?
>
>Kevin John
>
>
I think there are a lot of problems with introductory "Film Studies"
textbooks (though _Film Art_ is most certainly the best I've come
across). Most of them seem set on promoting the fantasy that Film
Studies is a fully mature discipline with a standardized set of methods
and techniques, as though out of terror that students might eventually
discover what a big old primordial mess it really is. Not that there's
anything wrong with being a chaotic hodgepodge of conflicting
proto-approaches, of course--in the end, that's the fun of it. But
there's something disingenuous about the very idea of an introductory
Film Studies textbook, in the way that there isn't about an introductory
calculus or biochemistry textbook.

-Matt
16741


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:09am
Subject: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
>> The greatest cut of all time, just about, is from
>> O'Toole blowing out
>> a match to the sun rising in the desert. And there's
>> a nice one where
>> he holds up his new arab robes to blow in the wind
>> and we then cut to
>> him wearing them as he gallops along on a camel. The
>> epic sensibility
>> gets a welcome shot in the arm from this briskness.
>>
>
> It's neck-and-neck for greatest cut honors with the
> bone-to-spaceship cut in "2001"

Can't we come up with any nominees that aren't from Lean and Kubrick films?

Actually, favorite cuts don't leap to my mind. My
off-the-top-of-my-head favorite cuts are the cross-cuts between Deborah
Kerr and the old nun at the beginning of BLACK NARCISSUS. - Dan
16742


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:11am
Subject: Re: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
--- Fred Camper wrote:


>
> On the other hand, if McBride's appearance is as
> brief as mine, seeing
> the film probably won't increase your knowledge of
> him very much.
>

Hey Fred, am I in it?




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Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
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16743


From: George Robinson
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:13am
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
Interesting thread.

My favorite cut is towards the end of "An Autumn Afternoon," when Ozu cuts
from a dark interior after the funeral of a key character, the darkness of
the shot emphasized by the black kimonos and suits of the mourners, to a
long shot of three of the women silhoutted against a bright summer sky.
Probably the first time I'd ever seen a shock cut based solely on the light
values of the juxtaposed shots -- which is the only kind of shock cut one
can picture Ozu using.

Of course there must be dozens of great cuts in Fuller.

g


Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim. Silence encourages the
tormentor, never the tormented.
--Elie Wiesel
16744


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:13am
Subject: Re: Mekas' BIRTH OF A NATION "cast" list
 
Guess I didn't make the cut.


--- Programming
wrote:

> Found it.
>

>




_______________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
http://vote.yahoo.com
16745


From: Fred Camper
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:23am
Subject: Re: Jim McBride in BIRTH OF A NATION (was Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
David Ehrenstein wrote:

> Hey Fred, am I in it?

Sorry, don't know. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have noticed
myself in the audience if someone hadn't told me in advance that I was
in it.

Fred Camper
16746


From: Fred Camper
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:22am
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
Dan Sallitt wrote:

>
> ....Can't we come up with any nominees that aren't from Lean and Kubrick films?....

A good candidate for at least one of the greatest cuts ever occurs in
Lang's "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse," but citing it involves a major
spoiler, though if you've seen it you probably know which cut I mean:

It's a cut from the couple having dinner to a view of them on a TV
monitor, revealing that the whole hotel is being watched by the Doctor.
By retroactively bracketing everything we have seen up until now, it's a
great formal expression of paranoia: if what we had seen already was
*this* imprisoned, what future horrors await us? Thus the cut informs
the whole structure of the film, it transforms how we see every shot --
it's a true "auteurist" cut, as opposed to cuts that are simply flashy.

Almost every cut in Kubelka's "Unsere Afrikareise" is one of the
greatest of all time.

Fred Camper
16747


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:50am
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot'
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "rpporton55"
wrote:

"...if R. Mondiano can find that interview with Axelrod he
mentioned, the case will be definiteively closed. and the self-
conscious reflexivity of the boom mikes in LORD will be put to rest
as an urban cinematic legend."

I checked with my friend and he told me that the interview appeared
in Film Comment in an issue with a special supplement on screen
writers. I borrowed it from him years ago which is when I read the
interview, but he's since sold his collection. He said that Axelrod
was interviewed by Richard Corliss and that the issue dates from
around 1979 or 1980, so anyone with access to a Film Comment index
for that period should be able to find it. If I have time I'll check
the Arts Library at UCLA and report back.

Richard M
16748


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:12am
Subject: Re: Godard on Rossellini and Visconti
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Jack Angstreich
wrote:
> In "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962" Andrew Sarris wrote "Godard
> once remarked that Visconti had evolved from a metteur en scene to
an
> auteur, whereas Rossellini had evolved from an auteur to a metteur
en
> scene." Where and when did Godard say this and why?
>
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Jack Angstreich
wrote:
> In "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962" Andrew Sarris wrote "Godard
> once remarked that Visconti had evolved from a metteur en scene to
an
> auteur, whereas Rossellini had evolved from an auteur to a metteur
en
> scene." Where and when did Godard say this and why?
>

I can't find it in "Godard on Godard." I could ask on the Godard
mailing list,
http://lists.topfive.com/listinfo.cgi/godard-topfive.com .

I'd guess, given the 1962 date, that Godard thought Visconti was
taking greater risks and achieving greater personal expression with
"Rocco and His Brothers." In the case of Rossellini, Godard wouldn't
claim Rossellini had declined as an artist. Stating that Rossellini
had evolved into a metteur en scene might mean he had achieved a
greater objectivity; Godard refers to the logical necessity of
Rossellini's method in "India."

Godard's comments on "White Nights" might help explain the metteur en
scene comment (Cahiers du Cinema 85, July 1958):
"No one would deny that The Seventh Seal is less skilfully directed
than White Nights, its compositions less precise, its angles less
rigorous - and herein lies the essential difference - for a man so
enormously talented as Visconti, making a very good film is ultimately
a matter of very good taste. He is sure of making no mistakes, and to
a certain extent it is easy. It is easy to choose the prettiest
curtains, the most perfect furniture, to make the only possible camera
movements, if one knows one is gifted that way. For artist, to know
oneself too well is to yield a little to facility.

"What is difficult, on the other hand, is to advance into unknown land
be aware of the danger, to take risks, to be afraid. There is a
sublime moment in White Nights when the snow falls in huge flakes
around Maria Schell and Marcello Mastroianni in their boat. But this
sublimity is nothing comppared to the old musician in To Joy who lies
on the grass, watching Stig Olin looking amorously at Maj-Britt
Nilsson in her chaise-loungue, and think `How can one describe a scene
of such great beauty!' I admire White Night but I love Summer
Interlude."
16749


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:32am
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:

> Can't we come up with any nominees that aren't from Lean and Kubrick
films?

In Soderbergh's "Solaris", Chris, Rheya and some other dinner guests
are discussing the possibility of God. Soderbergh cuts from Rheya to
Chris, removing all sound, then back to Rheya, her being aligned with
Chris, then within a frame, cutting to her being off-aligned (slightly
to the left) and reintroducing background sound. This is my favorite
alignment cut. Normally used the opposite way to show characters
coming together, here Soderbergh uses the no sound to demonstrate
alienation and further underlines it by moving the in-frame
positioning of Rheya from center to right.

In Mann's "Ali", following the arrest of Ali by the FBI for refusing
injunction, Mann cuts to an insert of a hawk, thereby noting upon the
govential (intelligence) involvement.

In Cronenberg's "Videodrome", he cuts directly from a close up of
Nicki burning her nipple with a cigarette to a extreme close up of
Marsha lighting a cigarette, followed by a shivering reaction by Max.
This cut was originally removed by the censors.

Not really a cut, but one of my favorite character direction scenes,
in "Shichinin no Samurai", Kurosawa uses the smallest movements to
show both how green the young samurai is next to Shimura's character
and his eagerness. In one reaction cut, he initiates a step from
behind his "master" next to him, but then realises his position, stops
and steps back. In another reaction shot, his eyes go from left to
right fast, then looking at his "master" and where he gazes, then
resting his eyes in the direction his "master" looks. Kurosawa
frequently uses such small reaction shots and minimal movements to
draw characteristics.

Henrik
16750


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:09am
Subject: Re: The cinephile and the Peopl (Was: Rivette's Evidence
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
Auteurists seem to
> have a lot of trouble agreeing on who's good and who's not in the
modern
> cinema.

Whatever the reason, The American Cinema, but for some omissions, is
still the best guide to classical American cinema. Then everything
gets crazy. This is one of the things we should be examining if we
all want to get jobs when we're 70.
16751


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:17am
Subject: Re: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > - and it's worth noting that when
> > Truffaut said that the more important a film's subject, the less
> > likely it was to be any good, he didn't go so far as to say that
a
> > film with an important subject was BOUND to be poor - see DR
> > STRANGELOVE.
>
> That's not an example that would have cut much ice with the
auteurists
> of my day....
>
> > Lumping all these filmmakers together irks me a bit, and reminds
me
> > of the uncritical trashing of "cinema du papa" filmmakers like
> > Duvivier, Carne and Clair by film-lovers who haven't actually
taken
> > to the trouble to look at the individual works.
>
> > He remains an example of the
> > kind of filmmaker auteurists have trouble with, since he makes a
> > virtue of versatility and doesn't attempt to artificially impose
a
> > personal style - though it's there for all to see, regardless.
>
> I dunno, I think you need to allow for the fact that some of us
have
> given Wyler a good shot and still not learned to like him. I've
seen 23
> Wyler films and tried to approach him without preconceptions (if
for no
> other reason than that I adore Bazin), and the wey it fell out for
me is
> that I think he's a rather good director until 1936, and then gets
> weirdly distant and inexpressive.

Sarris: "Back in 1963 I denounced a career that was inflating without
expanding...A French hack director once expressed his admiration for
Wyler as 'The style without a style.' Precisely...Wyler's career is a
cypher as far as personal expression is concerned...It would seem
that Wyler's admirers have long mistaken a lack of feeling for
emotional restraint.">

> P.S. I like postwar Clair, especially LES GRANDES MANOEUVRES.

I was stunned by Grandes Manoeuvres when I saw it a few years ago. I
also like Monsieur Ripois (Freddy Francis at the lens) and Purple
Noon. Should see more.
16752


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:19am
Subject: Re: film textbooks (OT)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Matt Teichman
wrote:

a chaotic hodgepodge of conflicting proto-approaches

Very well said!
16753


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:20am
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> Can't we come up with any nominees that aren't from Lean and
Kubrick films?

The cut from the Harvard commencement festivities to the train in
Heaven's Gate. Sorry Dan -- some of us like opera.
16754


From: thebradstevens
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 0:19pm
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
"I remember that -- Jamie Gillis lets some guy take his penis (limp
throughout the operation) in his mouth for about 10 seconds. Big
fucking deal."

Ah, you must have seen the cut version.
16755


From:
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:39am
Subject: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
<>

Well, clearly, it's not telling me what to think. I researched the factoid on
my own and then I asked list members for their take. And there's no fear of
losing my job/integrity - the author of the textbook is very approachable and
good-natured (although I appreciate your letting us know the relative coziness
of your financial situation, JP - how very SOME CALL IT LOVING of you!).

Besides, any good professor acts as a supplement to any assigned text. My
film professors would probably agree to a certain extent with Matt's contention
that "there's something disingenuous about the very idea of an introductory
Film Studies textbook, in the way that there isn't about an introductory calculus
or biochemistry textbook." Even though they used FILM ART, they were (and
still are) VERY aware of the pitfalls of a Bordwellian, "scientific" approach to
film studies and they were VERY vocal about it. Nevertheless, I think, say,
the 180 degree rule is important to know and reading about it in a textbook is
no less pure, no more coercive or whatnot than me simply explaining it to my
students.

Really, what essay, review, book, etc. escapes the illusion of wholeness that
Matt alludes to when he says that film textbooks "promot(e) the fantasy that
Film Studies is a fully mature discipline with a standardized set of methods
and techniques?" Let's say I supplement FILM ART with "The Ontology of the
Photographic Image" or "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Those are
hermetically sealed, methodically argued texts. They promote an illusion of wholeness
unto themselves. But then I would also assign "The Myth of Total Cinema" or
SIGNS AND MEANING IN THE CINEMA or "Afterthoughts on Visual Pleasure..." Or talk
it out with my students. It happened with me and it's happening now with my
students.

And why are film textbooks off topic?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16756


From:
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:35am
Subject: Re: Cast Away (Was: cinephilia & populism)
 
In a message dated 10/11/04 9:30:48 PM, sallitt@p... writes:


> there's something stunning about the way Zemeckis evokes the experience of
> the wreck and Hanks' solitude
>
SPOILERS

Dead on, Dan. I cannot think of a film that better invokes loneliness
(Preminger's divine, enormously moving FALLEN ANGEL comes close). Zemeckis is a
master of carving out alienated space in the creepy airport scene towards the
beginning. But what the cast away scenes remind us is how alone we aren't. Some wag
(Mark Peranson, I think - how come he's not on this list? terrific writer!)
commented that the volleyball gave the best supporting performance of 2000 and
I couldn't agree more. Away from the time-warped FedEx universe, everything on
the island takes on a cosmic, animist quality. And when Hanks finally
attempts his getaway, he's met with the eye of a whale which somehow radiates a deep
empathy. The look recalls the relationship some extremely young children have
with one another, a mutual recognition built on instinct before language
separates us. The most touching, precious shot of the decade so far.

That's why I don't think the ending is pat. It washes back over the cast away
scenes, reinforcing their cosmic, pre-lingusitic awe. I stick by it - it's a
fucking masterpiece.

And yes, FORREST GUMP is pond scum.

Kevin John






[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16757


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:44pm
Subject: Re: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> <>
>
> Well, clearly, it's not telling me what to think. I researched the
factoid on
> my own and then I asked list members for their take.

A text book, by definition, is telling someone (the sudent, if
not the teacher) what to think.

And there's no fear of
> losing my job/integrity - the author of the textbook is very
approachable and
> good-natured (although I appreciate your letting us know the
relative coziness
> of your financial situation, JP - how very SOME CALL IT LOVING of
you!).

The coziness is very "relative", I can assure you. And being
retired is less a privilege than an unavoidable consequence of old
age (which I'm sure you're not looking forward to).
>
> Besides, any good professor acts as a supplement to any assigned
text.

That goes without saying and I'm sure you do.
>.
>
> And why are film textbooks off topic?
>
> I don't know who put them OT; not me.
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16758


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:04pm
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
> Actually, favorite cuts don't leap to my mind. My
> off-the-top-of-my-head favorite cuts are the cross-cuts between
Deborah
> Kerr and the old nun at the beginning of BLACK NARCISSUS. - Dan

Speaking of Powell, worth mentioning that the cut from hawk to
aeroplane in A CANTERBURY TALE prefigures Kubrick's more famous match
cut in 2001.

my fave Powell cuts are to the big ECU of Kathleen Byron at the
climax of BLACK NARC, and numerous of the cuts in THE RED SHOES
ballet, esp when Moira leaps into her slippers. watch it frame by
frame and you can see the tiny threads used to UNlace the shoes, in a
shot played backwards so that the shoes magically lace themselves up.
Magic.
16759


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:08pm
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
> A good candidate for at least one of the greatest cuts ever occurs
in
> Lang's "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse,"

All the Mabuse films, and SPIES too, use linking devices that are
really great, cutting from a line of dialogue to the ashot of the
thing referred to, for instance. Nearly every scene in 1000 EYES is
linked this way and I LOVE it.

Some nice linking devices in Lester films too. A dissolve from a pair
of diamonds to Geraldine Chaplin's eyes in THE FOUR MUSKETEERS is
especially nice.
16760


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:13pm
Subject: JPCoursodon (was:The cinephile and the Peopl (Was: Rivette's Evidence
 
> I may not remember right but I think I was referring to someone
> else's remarks, not yours (which stated the same thing I did)--
> could be Bill's (but then Bill doesn't need to be "corrected"
> either). This is a result of posts containing statements from
> several different people who end up being mistaken for one another
> because the authors' respective names have disappeared or become
> mixed up. It has happened more than once and will again,
considering
> the carelessness with which replies to posts are often handled... I
> apologize if I unintentionally offended you. JPC

My turn to apologise - I erroniously lumped Bazin in with the
auteurists, then corrected myself. Your only mistake was not
realizing both posts were from me, so you corrected me again.

Now I know! Thanks. :)
16762


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:31pm
Subject: Re: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
--- he didn't go so far as to say that a
> > film with an important subject was BOUND to be poor - see DR
> > STRANGELOVE.
>
> That's not an example that would have cut much ice with the
auteurists if my day...

Well, I can't help that. Any schema that leaves out Kubrick would be
a faulty one to me, but fortunately a belief or at least interest in
auteurism is by no means incompatible with a liking for Kubrick - or
Wyler. I'm sure you can supply an example of your own of a film
dealing with a major political issue which you DO find angaging and
rewarding though.

> > He remains an example of the
> > kind of filmmaker auteurists have trouble with, since he makes a
> > virtue of versatility and doesn't attempt to artificially impose
a
> > personal style - though it's there for all to see, regardless.
>
> I dunno, I think you need to allow for the fact that some of us
have
> given Wyler a good shot and still not learned to like him.

Sure, I'm not saying anyone HAS to like him because I say so. I just
have trouble with anyone saying the auteurists "saw through him" -
I'm just as devoted to the idea that there's something they're
missing as they would be to the idea I'm seeing something that's not
there. For me, he's an expressive and incredibly gifted filmmaker,
who raises skills normally labelled "competence" or "simple dramatic
sense" to preternatural levels of effectiveness.

>I've seen 23
> Wyler films and tried to approach him without preconceptions (if
for no
> other reason than that I adore Bazin), and the wey it fell out for
me is
> that I think he's a rather good director until 1936, and then gets
> weirdly distant and inexpressive.

at least you like him as far as DODSWORTH, a favourite of mine. But
he made me cry again in CARRIE, and I normally detest Olivier. there
are at least three other later films that blow my socks off, but I'm
not criticising you for remaining unmoved - different films please
different people. I'd fight anyone who said it was a lack of
commitment or skill or sensitivity in Wyler that was responsible for
you not responding - I just think you have a different sensibility
and will get the same emotional impact from different movies.

> I don't think that auteurists make a special point of favoring
> un-versatile directors.

True, but it can certainly help if a filmmaker repeats himself a
little - "Style is self-plagiarism" as Hitchcock said. If all we had
of Ford's work was THE SEARCHERS, DONOVAN'S REEF, 4 SONS and THE
INFORMER, we might not be able to talk with such authority about the
Ford style and thematic concerns.

>You can say a lot of bad things about the
> history of auteurism, but I don't think it really followed much of
a
> schema: I think issues of taste have traditionally trumped thematic
> consistency and stylistic aggressiveness.

IAL Diamond, in a scathing attack on auteurism, made a few points
that I think have a certain limited merit. He suggested that
auteurism favoured filmmakers like Fuller, Ford, and Hawks, who often
featured violent action, at the expense of Wilder, for instance, who
is distinguished more by dialogue scenes, simply because the French
were watching translations that didn't do justice to the original
scripts. This of course leaves out all kinds of things, like the
great importance of (brilliant) dialogue in Hawks, and major
exceptions like Cukor, but I think the critique can be said to have,
as I say, a certain limited merit, at least as far as certain very
good directors who didn't make the auteurists' lists.

> P.S. I like postwar Clair, especially LES GRANDES MANOEUVRES.

I think LES BELLES DE NUIT is one of his best, also. I'd like to see
the version of LGM with the tragic ending, which Cocteau castigated
Clair for altering...
16763


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:36pm
Subject: Re: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?
 
> > Because the text book is telling you what to think, Kevin. Plus
> it's giving you bullshit pseudo info. You're above that. Do
> challenge the co-author -- nicely. Of course you may lose your job
> in the process, but what's a job compared to integrity? (this
spoken
> by a guy who's safely retired). JPC

Heh.

It seems like whenever a historical untruth gets discredited (like
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY being the first narrative film - what about
Alice Guy?) another, even more ahistorical, bit of bullshit rears its
head. It's like a hydra.

The importance of BIRTH OF A NATION has nothign to do with it being
the first anything, it's a relative, qualitative thing. And though
there's a well-known anecdote about it being screened to the US
president, I'd never read a claim that it was the first film shown in
the White House until now, which makes me suspicious.

I'd correct the guy too, but very tenderly...or just say you've been
quizzed on this and ask him to show you his source...
16764


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Peter B's New Book
 
Hooray! Something for my Christmas List.

I have WTDII and re-read it constantly with undiminished pleasure.
For a follow-up I'd love Bogdanovich to write WHAT THE DEVIL IT IS,
though with a better title than that, and just talk about some of his
favourite films. Not many great filmmakers have written at length
about the work they admire, or have the critical skills to do so
well, but Bogdanovitch's account would make fascinating reading.
16765


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
> my fave Powell cuts are to the big ECU of Kathleen Byron at the
> climax of BLACK NARC


Yes, that cut is amazing! - Dan
16766


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:50pm
Subject: Re: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
> All the Mabuse films, and SPIES too, use linking devices that are
> really great, cutting from a line of dialogue to the ashot of the
> thing referred to, for instance. N

I was thinking this same thing after Fred mentioned 1000 EYES. I'm still
haunted by that cut in SPIES from the title card announcing the train
wreck to the shot of the steaming wreckage. What is it about that shot
that so impresses itself on us? You'd think a shot like that would reduce
to a simple concept and become almost invisible. But just the opposite
happens: the shot becomes some kind of concept-as-universe. I hate to
admit that Godard ever said anything of substance, but I think he was on
the trail of this elusive experience many years ago when he talked about
Lang's images becoming ideas and then going back again. - Dan
16767


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:58pm
Subject: Re: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
>> Can't we come up with any nominees that aren't from Lean and
> Kubrick films?
>
> The cut from the Harvard commencement festivities to the train in
> Heaven's Gate. Sorry Dan -- some of us like opera.

No apologies required - let a thousand flowers bloom, and all that. I
hope my bitching about auteurist love for Lean and Kubrick is coming off
as good-humored - I have no desire to narrow the terms of the discussion.
But there's still something amusing about this changing of the guard.
One of the pleasure of congregating with auteurists used to be that you
could slag off Lean and Kubrick without worrying about who you were
offending! I feel like a member of some stodgy men's club who now has to
watch his colorful language because women have been admitted. But it's
character-building. - Dan
16768


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:05pm
Subject: Re: 'Boom mike in shot'
 
>You have to admit that
> the boom mikes go well with the zaniness of the film and don't seem
as inapppropriate as
> they might in , say, Shampoo. RP

There are precedents for this kind of thing. In THE GO-BETWEEN, a bit
of camera track was unintentionally glimpsed during one of Losey's
long track-and-pan specials. Some French film writers (Ciment?)
wondered (seriously?) if this was deliberate, but Losey insisted it
was an oversight, remarking "When I'm being Brechtian I like to think
I do it more subtly than that."

The video release of REPO MAN included all the matted areas, with
numerous boom mikes and a scene where the camera tracks are boldly
displayed. Again, this seemed to fit the general nuttiness of the
film, but Alex Cox was not too pleased, Robby Muller even less so.

On the other hand, Lindsay Anderson exposed all the film equipment in
some scenes of his TV play THE OLD CROWD - and was torn to pieces by
the British press. Fellini pulls back at the end of AND THE SHIP
SAILS ON and Bava does it even better in BLACK SABBATH. To me, it's
just a nice joke - it's not fantastically clever but it can be
amusing - some critics seem to get hot under the collar about it
though.
16769


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:15pm
Subject: Re: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

> > my fave Powell cuts are to the big ECU of Kathleen
> Byron at the
> > climax of BLACK NARC
>
>
> Yes, that cut is amazing! - Dan
>

Another great Powell cut in "The Red Shoes": from
Ludmilla Tcherina declaiming my all-time favorte movie
line "He has no heart, that man." -- to Anton Walbrook
sitting in his darkened study.

Yet another favorte coat from Rivette's "Duelle": a
complete recto-verso of a mediuam long shot in which
Nicole garcia takes off her Cloris-Leachman-in "Kiss
Me Deadly"-raincoat in the bedroom with her lover Jean
Babilee. He's on the left and she's on the right until
Rivette cuts as the raincoat is being taken off and
the camera is on the other side of the scene -- Garcia
on the left, Babilee on the right.

Slavko Vorkapich would have declared this a grave
editing error.




__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.
http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
16770


From:   Jack Angstreich
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:29pm
Subject: Re: Re: Godard on Rossellini and Visconti
 
Thank you. If you could ask on the Godard list I would appreciate it.

Jack Angstreich



On Oct 12, 2004, at 12:12 AM, Paul Gallagher wrote:


--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Jack Angstreich
wrote:
> In "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962" Andrew Sarris wrote "Godard
> once remarked that Visconti had evolved from a metteur en scene to
an
> auteur, whereas Rossellini had evolved from an auteur to a metteur
en
> scene." Where and when did Godard say this and why?
>



I can't find it in "Godard on Godard." I could ask on the Godard
mailing list,
http://lists.topfive.com/listinfo.cgi/godard-topfive.com .



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16771


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:01pm
Subject: CAFE FLESH (WAS: Re: The Piano Teacher)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
>
> "I remember that -- Jamie Gillis lets some guy take his penis (limp
> throughout the operation) in his mouth for about 10 seconds. Big
> fucking deal."
>
> Ah, you must have seen the cut version.

No comment. I know better than to bandy words with The Brad on
versions.

My friends Lyn and Kim who made a terrific didgefilm, Temptation, in
which Annette O'Tool stars as a woman who has gone broke trying to
make politically correct porn, tell me that a lot of male porn
actors, these days at least, are bi. There's an odd scene in a
laundromat referencing this in their film. So if the trail Jamie
blazed has yet to be followed, it's because of audience preferences.
16772


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> <>

When I taught freshman English at Hunter and UCLA (this IS OT) I had
a collection of essays called The Rhetoric of NO, very 70s, and I
taught the students how to deconstruct it.
16773


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:
>
> > A good candidate for at least one of the greatest cuts ever
occurs
> in
> > Lang's "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse,"
>
> All the Mabuse films, and SPIES too, use linking devices that are
> really great, cutting from a line of dialogue to the ashot of the
> thing referred to, for instance. Nearly every scene in 1000 EYES is
> linked this way and I LOVE it.

Michel Chion had some good pages on this in The Voice in Cinema.
Recently John Landis has been doing it a lot, both in The Stupids,
where it's thematic, and in Slasher, which is very well edited. Chion
says it's an early sound convention.
16774


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:12pm
Subject: Re: Peter B's New Book
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:

Nice review. One disagreement: Cameron Crowe, unlike PB (often
accused of it) IS a star-fucker, and it hurts his book on Wilder.

Andy told me a bout the new long Lewis interview, which I skimmed
last night at Book Soup. It's fascinating. I can't wait for the M&L
book from Jer.
16775


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:23pm
Subject: Re: Peter B's New Book
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:
>
I'd love Bogdanovich to write WHAT THE DEVIL IT IS,
> though with a better title than that, and just talk about some of
his
> favourite films. Not many great filmmakers have written at length
> about the work they admire, or have the critical skills to do so
> well, but Bogdanovitch's account would make fascinating reading.

Much of what's in print is Peter popularizing, but in conversation
he can be very good. I interviewed him for a Locarno book about I Was
A Male War Bride -- having first taken the precaution of faxing him
Kael's famous attack -- and he was amazing, for three pages. I'll see
if I can dig it out and post it here.
16776


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:27pm
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>

>
> Yet another favorte coat from Rivette's "Duelle": a
> complete recto-verso of a mediuam long shot in which
> Nicole garcia takes off her Cloris-Leachman-in "Kiss
> Me Deadly"-raincoat in the bedroom with her lover Jean
> Babilee. He's on the left and she's on the right until
> Rivette cuts as the raincoat is being taken off and
> the camera is on the other side of the scene -- Garcia
> on the left, Babilee on the right.
>
> Slavko Vorkapich would have declared this a grave
> editing error.

Monte Hellman pointed out a moment in My Darling Clementine where
Ford "crosses the line" -- an absolute no-no -- observing that he
sometimes does it when some qualitative change happens in a scene.
Bunuel has been quoted as saying "fuck the 180 degree rule!"
>
>
>
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.
> http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
16777


From: Aaron Graham
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:28pm
Subject: Cassavetes alert
 
Tonight's guests on "Charlie Rose" are Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara and
Peter Bogdanovich.

Can't wait!

-Aaron
16778


From: iangjohnston
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:46pm
Subject: Re: Godard's anti-Semitism in Notre Musique
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "George Robinson"
wrote:
> I'm baffled by Akerman's comments. I'm a big fan of her work and,
needless
> to say, always happen when a filmmaker trumpets their Judaism
(because it
> means more paying work for me or an opportunity to champion non-
mainstream
> films in Jewish Week), but I can't imagine what she's talking
about. I think
> Notre Musique is actually one of Godard's most serene and
reflective works
> ever and pretty short on vitriol against anyone (except the people
who
> manufacture small video cameras). It's either a bullshit attention-
getting
> quote or she saw a different movie from me.
>
> g
>

I've neither seen Notre Musique nor read anything more of what
Akerman actually said than what's been mentioned here; but I guess
this is along the lines of "Criticism of Israeli policy towards the
Palestinians = Anti-Semitism". Wasn't there a BBC doco on Sharon's
grisly past from a couple of years ago that was similarly accused
of "anti-Semitism"?

As for Akerman's films (rather than her bull-shitting -- if that's
what it is), they can be a mixed bag. A Couch In New York is a bit
of an embarrassment, but I was very impressed by the rigour and
intelligence of Les Rendes-vous d'Anna when I saw it (haven't seen
it since though), and I love La Captive.
16779


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:30pm
Subject: THE Birth of a Nation
 
Seymour Stern in his "GRIFFITH; I - THE BIRTH OF A NATION (FILM
CULTURE Spring-summer 1965)waxed wroth over several pages about the
wide-spread dropping of the article "The" in the title. He recalled
that he failed students who referred to "Birth of a Nation" in test
papers "on the ground that I do not recognize the existence of any
film by this title." In conclusion he argued that "the theme of the
film" is "enunciated in the word 'The'."
16780


From: thebradstevens
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:14pm
Subject: Re: Schatzberg (Was:A is A / Rivette's evidence)
 
""The Birth of a Nation" is the most racist film I've ever seen.
Correction: "Street Smart" must be the worst, the Griffith second. I
apologize for the error."

At least THE BIRTH OF A NATION has a couple of sympathetic African-
American characters. That's certainly more than you can say for
STREET SMART, in which all the black characters are evil scumbags who
deserve to be killed by our whitebread hero.
16781


From: Matt Teichman
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:05pm
Subject: Re: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
Kevin John wrote:

>Besides, any good professor acts as a supplement to any assigned text. My
>film professors would probably agree to a certain extent with Matt's contention
>that "there's something disingenuous about the very idea of an introductory
>Film Studies textbook, in the way that there isn't about an introductory calculus
>or biochemistry textbook."
>
I'm glad--I wish more film (or media studies, as the case may be)
professors were of a similar mind.

There's nothing wrong with teaching the 180 degree rule; in fact, it's
useful. But to teach as if being able to recognize it were some sort of
"tool" that gives students the power to "unlock" previously unanalyzable
films is just silly. Film textbooks are usually written as if learning
how to understand films were like learning how to separate caffeine from
tea leaves; you get good at spotting eyeline matches and jump cuts
(hardly rocket science, by the way), "apply the technique" to the film,
and, by the laws of nature, the film's significance congeals into
something that can then be decanted off its surface into a vial.


>Really, what essay, review, book, etc. escapes the illusion of wholeness that
>Matt alludes to when he says that film textbooks "promot(e) the fantasy that
>Film Studies is a fully mature discipline with a standardized set of methods
>and techniques?"
>
There are lots, and the Bazin essays you give are a good example (the
Mulvey and Wollen pieces are a little more complicated, so I'll hold off
on saying anything about them). How could Bazin's essays have those
kinds of assumptions when there wasn't even such a thing as Film Studies
when he wrote them? In addition, I think it would be very difficult to
argue that he has a "method." What would it be? Psychoanalytic mummy
phenomenology?


>And why are film textbooks off topic?
>
>
That was a bit of a crack; I apologize for making it completely
unclear. But there are so many film courses (and textbooks) out there
which, miraculously enough, hardly ever manage to mention film! The
irony of the discipline.

-Matt
16782


From:
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Re: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
In a message dated 10/12/04 4:09:42 PM, bufordrat@v... writes:


> How could Bazin's essays have those
> kinds of assumptions when there wasn't even such a thing as Film Studies
> when he wrote them?  In addition, I think it would be very difficult to
> argue that he has a "method."   What would it be?  Psychoanalytic mummy
> phenomenology?
>
There didn't have to be such a thing as Film Studies writ large in order for
Bazin's essay to promote an illusion of wholeness. And I said his essay is
methodically argued. That is, he proceeds with a method by which he first
situates that plastic arts in terms of a desire to mummify, then moves into ontology,
next epistemology and finally, perception. These strands are very easy to
pull out and separate.

< which, miraculously enough, hardly ever manage to mention film!>>

Which film textbooks hardly ever manage to mention film? I've yet to see one.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
16783


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:06pm
Subject: Re: THE Birth of a Nation
 
And Seymour was quite right.

Did you ever meet him, J-P? Quite a character.

--- jpcoursodon wrote:

>
> Seymour Stern in his "GRIFFITH; I - THE BIRTH OF A
> NATION (FILM
> CULTURE Spring-summer 1965)waxed wroth over several
> pages about the
> wide-spread dropping of the article "The" in the
> title. He recalled
> that he failed students who referred to "Birth of a
> Nation" in test
> papers "on the ground that I do not recognize the
> existence of any
> film by this title." In conclusion he argued that
> "the theme of the
> film" is "enunciated in the word 'The'."
>
>
>
>




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16784


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:10pm
Subject: Re: Re: Godard's anti-Semitism in Notre Musique
 
--- iangjohnston wrote:

I guess
> this is along the lines of "Criticism of Israeli
> policy towards the
> Palestinians = Anti-Semitism".

If that's the case then don't show her Ken Jacobs'
"Star Spangled to Death," in which my favorite rabbi
(Ken-- whose active engagement with Judaism has been
long-standing) declares that the state of Israel is "a
crime committed by Christians and Jews against
Palestinian Arabs."

>
> As for Akerman's films (rather than her
> bull-shitting -- if that's
> what it is), they can be a mixed bag. A Couch In New
> York is a bit
> of an embarrassment, but I was very impressed by the
> rigour and
> intelligence of Les Rendes-vous d'Anna when I saw it
> (haven't seen
> it since though), and I love La Captive.
>
>
I just like the musical.

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16785


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:11pm
Subject: Re: THE Birth of a Nation
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> And Seymour was quite right.
>
> Did you ever meet him, J-P? Quite a character.
>
> --- jpcoursodon wrote:
>
> >
> > Seymour Stern in his "GRIFFITH; I - THE BIRTH OF A
> > NATION (FILM
> > CULTURE Spring-summer 1965)waxed wroth over several
> > pages about the
> > wide-spread dropping of the article "The" in the
> > title. He recalled
> > that he failed students who referred to "Birth of a
> > Nation" in test
> > papers "on the ground that I do not recognize the
> > existence of any
> > film by this title." In conclusion he argued that
> > "the theme of the
> > film" is "enunciated in the word 'The'."
> >
> >
> > Never met him, but from his writings you can tell he was quite a
character indeed.
After I read his piece on "THE" I never again wrote or
said "Birth of a Nation"
> >
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
> http://vote.yahoo.com
16786


From: Damien Bona
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:17pm
Subject: Re: Peter B's New Book
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:

> For a follow-up I'd love Bogdanovich to write WHAT THE DEVIL IT IS,
> though with a better title than that, and just talk about some of
his
> favourite films. Not many great filmmakers have written at length
> about the work they admire, or have the critical skills to do so
> well, but Bogdanovitch's account would make fascinating reading.


Bogdanovich does have a book out called something like "What Movie To
Rent This Week," or "Movie of the Week," which is a collection of
columns he wrote for the New York Observer in the '90s. The book
consists of essays about 52 films he loves and which he thinks
everyone should see. His writing is terrific and his enthusiasm is
infectious.
16787


From: Damien Bona
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:36pm
Subject: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> But there's still something amusing about this changing of the
guard.
> One of the pleasure of congregating with auteurists used to be that
you
> could slag off Lean and Kubrick without worrying about who you were
> offending! I feel like a member of some stodgy men's club who now
has to
> watch his colorful language because women have been admitted. But
it's
> character-building. - Dan

LOL, and amen to that, Dan! There used to be so much shorthand
auteurists could use among each other because there was a set of hard
and firm tenets to which we all seemed to adhere, the lack of value
in David Lean films looming large among them.

In my gang, the same applied to then-contemporary A-listers Coppola,
Friedkin, Schlesinger, each of whom I've seen over the months has
admirers here. Not to mention a serious discussion about the merits
of Peter Hyams(!). I'm fully expecting someone sooner or later to
wax rhapsodic about Michael Winner.
16788


From: Gabe Klinger
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:46pm
Subject: Akerman
 
> > As for Akerman's films (rather than her
> > bull-shitting -- if that's
> > what it is), they can be a mixed bag. A Couch In New
> > York is a bit
> > of an embarrassment, but I was very impressed by the
> > rigour and
> > intelligence of Les Rendes-vous d'Anna when I saw it
> > (haven't seen
> > it since though), and I love La Captive.
> >
> >
> I just like the musical.

Since no one has spoken up for Akerman, I think Je, tu, il, elle,
Jeanne Dielman, D'est, Akerman by Akerman, News from Home,
and Rendez-Vous avec Anna are all great films, and Tout une
nuit and The Eighties are masterpieces and among my favorite
movies ever...

Where's the love guys? I'm surprised.

Gabe
16789


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:58pm
Subject: Re: THE Birth of a Nation
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:


"[Seymour Stern was] Quite a character."

In the offices of the Cinema Studies Dept. at NYU in the mid'70s I
happened to mention an article by Stern from an old issue of Film
Culture about the responsibilities of being a film critic that I
thought was pretty good. In the article Stern dissected Bosley
Crowther's review of QUO VADIS? and talked about the Sacco and
Vanzetti case because someone was going to make a "non-political"
movie about it.

My remark produced eye-rolling and head wagging among those present
and I was too intimidated to find out the nature of my faux pas.
What exactly did Stern do to merit such a response?

Richard
16790


From: Damien Bona
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:01pm
Subject: Re: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:
>
> at least you like him as far as DODSWORTH, a favourite of mine. But
> he made me cry again in CARRIE, and I normally detest Olivier.
there
> are at least three other later films that blow my socks off, but
I'm
> not criticising you for remaining unmoved - different films please
> different people. I'd fight anyone who said it was a lack of
> commitment or skill or sensitivity in Wyler that was responsible
for
> you not responding - I just think you have a different sensibility
> and will get the same emotional impact from different movies.

I've seen 22 Wyler films, and I think there's a real dichotomy in his
output that is bordered by his years in the War. I quite like much
of his output, and think that "The Letter" is a masterpiece. For me
Wyler's coldness sets a perfect, and merciless, tone for the
narrative and the themes. I'm just mesmerized by the portrayal of
repressed emotions contrasting to the hothouse atmosphere of the
setting. I also love the way that the characters are at the mercy
of their emotions -- which get the best of their objective ideas of
common sense -- and the ambiguities in James Stephenson's lawyer and
Herbert Marshall's husband. Wyler's objective sensibility was also
perfect for "These Three" and "Jezebel," films that are in the guise
of romances but are really about the consequences of ill-conceived
self-involved behavior.

On the other hand, his coldness was completely wrong for "Wuthering
Heights." And the output beginning with "The Best Years Of Our
Lives" is pretty much worthless. I think "Detective Story"
crystaliizes which crystallizes many of Wyler's shortcomings as a
filmmaker. Based on a hit play detailing the events occurring over
the course of a day in a New York City police station, Wyler's
approach is to make each vignette a "big moment" (particularly in
terms of affording an opportunity for one or more cast member to
really ACT and boy, several of the performers are very, very bad in
their scenery chewing, particularly Lee Grant). But there's no flow,
no sense of life, and for a film in which volatile acts can (and do)
occur at any time, it is bereft of kineticism. Because everything is
done in such measured terms, there's a self-conscious sense of
gravitas slathered over the material.
16791


From:
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:36pm
Subject: Re: Re: Peter B's New Book
 
Damien Bona wrote:

>Bogdanovich does have a book out called something like "What Movie To
>Rent This Week," or "Movie of the Week," which is a collection of
>columns he wrote for the New York Observer in the '90s.

The book is indeed "Movie of the Week" and I'll second Damien's
recommendation of it. It's a compilation of 52 medium length essays/appreciations of some
of Bogdanovich's favorite movies. One could follow the book and see a movie a
week. I think it's a testament to the diversity of Bogdanovich's cinematic
taste. He writes about everything from "Ugetsu" to "Bringing Up Baby" to
"Gloria."

And "Who the Hell's In It" is indeed a marvelous book, with the new Jerry
Lewis Q&A being perhaps its high point.

Peter
16792


From: Matt Teichman
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:33pm
Subject: Re: Film textbooks are OT? (WAS: BIRTH OF A NATION - 1st anything?)
 
Kevin John wrote:

>There didn't have to be such a thing as Film Studies writ large in order for
>Bazin's essay to promote an illusion of wholeness.
>
Hmm...in that case I don't really know what you mean by an illusion of
wholeness.


>And I said his essay is
>methodically argued. That is, he proceeds with a method by which he first
>situates that plastic arts in terms of a desire to mummify, then moves into ontology,
>next epistemology and finally, perception. These strands are very easy to
>pull out and separate.
>
>
But this is just a description of the specific things that Bazin's essay
does; I don't see any method being pointed to here. Learning a method
is more like being trained in a technique; when I learn the method of
baking cakes, I learn a set of moves which, when carried out, will
produce a cake. I don't know of any attempts to emulate Bazin's
methodology here, and I'm not sure it's even particularly emulable.


>Which film textbooks hardly ever manage to mention film? I've yet to see one.
>
>
Surely you've come across "film" books that devote scads of pages to
things like deconstruction, or orientalism, or psychoanalysis, or
Marxism, or whatever, and very little to discussion of anything
particularly cinematic.

-Matt
16793


From: Richard Modiano
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:38pm
Subject: Re: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Damien Bona"
wrote:

"I've seen 22 Wyler films, and I think there's a real dichotomy in
his output that is bordered by his years in the War. I quite like
much of his output, and think that "The Letter" is a masterpiece.
For me Wyler's coldness sets a perfect, and merciless, tone for the
narrative and the themes. I'm just mesmerized by the portrayal of
repressed emotions contrasting to the hothouse atmosphere of the
setting. I also love the way that the characters are at the mercy
of their emotions -- which get the best of their objective ideas of
common sense -- and the ambiguities in James Stephenson's lawyer and
Herbert Marshall's husband. Wyler's objective sensibility was also
perfect for "These Three" and "Jezebel," films that are in the guise
of romances but are really about the consequences of ill-conceived
self-involved behavior."

Many of Wyler's movies of the '30s have many virtues, and even THE
LITTLE FOXES is interesting as a record of the play with an expert
cast, but THE LETTER is very problematical because of the racial and
colonial politics which go unquestioned. My feeling is that one is
supposed to be repelled by the hothouse atmosphere, the Asian milieu
of opium, teeming crowds, greasey Chinamen, hypnotic sexual powers of
Asian dragon ladies, etc. Since you find this movie to be a
masterpiece you have more rapport with it than I do, and I'd like to
know if there's an implied critique of the Asian stereotypes on
display in THE LETTER that I'm not seeing. I'm willing to admit that
great art can transcend racial stereotypes but I don't think THE
LETTER succeeds, at least not for me, but maybe I'm missing something
here.

Richard
16794


From:
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Re: Greatest cut (Was: Blier, editing)
 
I'm editing a special feature on Robert Mulligan for the upcoming edition of
The Film Journal. In that spirit, let me recite one of my favorite cuts from
his films (one first championed in this forum by Fred): in "Clara's Heart,"
the cut from alternating close-ups to a long shot as David reaches over to Clara
in the film's climactic scene.

Also among my most cherished moments in cinema history is Welles' editing of
different size close-ups of Hal and Falstaff during the coronation scene in
"Chimes at Midnight," when Hal says "I know thee not old man," though here I'm
talking about several cuts, not just one.

Peter
16795


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:50pm
Subject: Fuller (Was: Greatest cut)
 
> Of course there must be dozens of great cuts in Fuller.

That sounds right. What was the war film where someone dies during a
cross-cutting of closeups? FIXED BAYONETS or THE STEEL HELMET?

I think there's something about Fuller's art that's a lot more conceptual,
and a lot less about space and time, than people usually talk about. A
lot of the wow moments in Fuller's films have almost the same impact in
conversation, or in the mind. - Dan
16796


From: J. Mabe
Date: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:52pm
Subject: Re: Re: Godard's anti-Semitism in Notre Musique
 
I could be wrong here, but I think my memory of this
moment in Star Spangled is very strong due to the fact
that two people in front of my got up and walked out
at this very moment, and I found the quote (in
English) on a German language website (
http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1545538 ). The quote
is, "Israel is a crime perpetrated by Christians
towards Jews and Arabs."

Josh Mabe, a fanatical Jacob's Fan and Christian,
though not so much fanatical.

--- David Ehrenstein wrote:
If that's the case then don't show her Ken Jacobs'
"Star Spangled to Death," in which my favorite rabbi
Ken-- whose active engagement with Judaism has been
long-standing) declares that the state of Israel is "a
crime committed by Christians and Jews against
Palestinian Arabs."




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16797


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Wed Oct 13, 2004 0:09am
Subject: Re: Wyler and auteurist taste (Was: The cinephile and the Peopl)
 
"The Letter" is a masterpiece. For me
> Wyler's coldness sets a perfect, and merciless, tone for the
> narrative and the themes. I'm just mesmerized by the portrayal of
> repressed emotions contrasting to the hothouse atmosphere of the
> setting. I also love the way that the characters are at the mercy
> of their emotions -- which get the best of their objective ideas
of
> common sense -- and the ambiguities in James Stephenson's lawyer
and
> Herbert Marshall's husband.


Well, I don't know whether THE LETTER is a masterpiece, but it is
a damn good movie that I have watched dozens of times always with
the same pleasure. .
>
> On the other hand, his coldness was completely wrong
for "Wuthering
> Heights."

I agree. Dredful film.

And the output beginning with "The Best Years Of Our
> Lives" is pretty much worthless.



BEST YEARS a worthless film???!!! I'm sorry but I think it is
Wyler's real masterpiece. I liked and admired it even when I knew
you were supposed to dislike or even hate everything by Wyler.
I still think it's a great film. I keep watching it with immense
pleasure (and I know everything you can say against it, I've read it
and can write it myself at the drop of a hat). I don't care if that
brands me as a fake auteurist. (I don't know anything about movies
but I know what I like".) JPC
16798


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 13, 2004 0:13am
Subject: Rene Cl. (Was: Wyler and auteurist taste)
 
>> P.S. I like postwar Clair, especially LES GRANDES MANOEUVRES.
>
> I was stunned by Grandes Manoeuvres when I saw it a few years ago. I
> also like Monsieur Ripois (Freddy Francis at the lens) and Purple
> Noon. Should see more.

I think you might have switched from Rene Clair to Rene Clement in
mid-sentence there.... - Dan
16799


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 13, 2004 0:28am
Subject: 180 (Was: Greatest cut)
 
> Monte Hellman pointed out a moment in My Darling Clementine where
> Ford "crosses the line" -- an absolute no-no -- observing that he
> sometimes does it when some qualitative change happens in a scene.
> Bunuel has been quoted as saying "fuck the 180 degree rule!"

Right on. Who cares about the 180-degree rule? At last year's Ozu retro,
I gradually realized that Ozu broke the rule more than he honored it,
which is pretty cool. - Dan

16800


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:08am
Subject: Re: Re: Godard's anti-Semitism in Notre Musique
 
That's not what I saw.

In any event I'm scarcely surprised at the walkouts.
Ken makes Godard look like piker.

--- "J. Mabe" wrote:

> I could be wrong here, but I think my memory of this
> moment in Star Spangled is very strong due to the
> fact
> that two people in front of my got up and walked out
> at this very moment, and I found the quote (in
> English) on a German language website (
> http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1545538 ). The
> quote
> is, "Israel is a crime perpetrated by Christians
> towards Jews and Arabs."
>
> Josh Mabe, a fanatical Jacob's Fan and Christian,
> though not so much fanatical.




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