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2004, Nov 14; 19:04 ::: Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head : The Essential Guide to Hong Kong's Mind-bending Films (1996) - Stefan Hammond, Mike Wilkins
Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head : The Essential Guide to Hong Kong's Mind-bending Films (1996) - Stefan Hammond, Mike Wilkins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Hong Kong is home to the world's third largest film industry after Hollywood and Bombay. The movies tend to emphasize action, and lots of it. But according to the press release, the 200 films covered in Stefan Hammond's and Mike Wilkins's Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head are not just chop-socky. Rather, these movies are "sexy, fast-action supernatural," not to mention historical and occasionally downright silly?even without the awkwardly translated subtitles like "Suck the coffin mushroom now" or "I know it, he is not an idiot, he is sexual detour" that by themselves are worth the price of admission. (Fireside, $12 288p ISBN 0-684-80341-0; Aug.)
Far from the orbit of Planet Hollywood, the new cinema of Hong Kong beckons.
Gone are the flying pigtails and contrived fist-thuds of your father's favorite chopsockies. These are punch-straight entertainers, movies juddering with the excitement that put the "motion" in motion pictures. Dodge a thousand bullets as you contemplate the heroic gangster-knights of Master Director John Woo. Watch international superstar Jackie Chan perform action-comedy on the edge of peril. Wrap your imagination in the fantasy of director Tsui Hark, who proffers comely ghosts floating on silk, otherworldly romance, and no-joke witches and demons. And there's much more! Fighting femme flicks featuring fatales hiking up their designer dresses and bouncing spike heels off the bad guy's forehead. Stylish tragedies rivaling the best of Hollywood noir. Brain-boiling monster weirdies to delight the grindhouse faithful. Subtitles that mangle the English language into fabulous new mutations.
2004, Nov 14; 18:59 ::: Ultraviolent Movies: From Sam Peckinpah to Quentin Tarantino () - Laurent Bouzereau
Ultraviolent Movies: From Sam Peckinpah to Quentin Tarantino () - Laurent Bouzereau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Almost all the movies included in Laurent Bouzereau's Ultraviolent Movies come from the past 30 years. Covering films ranging from Bonnie and Clyde to A Clockwork Orange, Bad Lieutenant and Hellraiser, the book is divided into seven sections on different genres, including psycho-killers, mafiosi and revenge movies. (Citadel, $17.95 256p ISBN 0-8065-1787-5; Sept.)
2004, Nov 14; 18:44 ::: The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus: The Only Book You Need to Find the Movie You Want (Henry Holt Reference Book) (1996) - Christopher Case
The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus: The Only Book You Need to Find the Movie You Want (Henry Holt Reference Book) (1996) - Christopher Case [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Publishers Weekly
The Ultimate Movie Thesaurus begins with short descriptions of 8000 movies. What makes it unique, however, is what comes next. Rather than just a handful of categories or a list of directors or movie stars, it also includes such subcategories as "In-Laws? Troublesome: see also Relatives?Troublesome"; "Trapped in a Hole" and "Cattle Herded by Barbara Stanwyck." Obviously, there are other, more inclusive categories, but if you're in the mood for a movie on, say, Austria, it has nearly 20 suggestions. (Holt, $19.95 704p ISBN 0-8050-3496-X; Aug.) --Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
2004, Nov 14; 15:05 ::: Rocking around the clock: Music television, postmodernism, and consumer culture (1987) - E. Ann Kaplan
Rocking around the clock: Music television, postmodernism, and consumer culture (1987) - E. Ann Kaplan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Publishers Weekly
Kaplan (Women and Film), a Rutgers professor of English and film, offers a full-length study of the 24-hour cable channel MTV. Even though the channel airs promotional rock videos in "one nearly continuous advertisement," she notes that its use of avant-garde techniques and Hollywood pastiche have made MTV a popular, postmodernist success. Kaplan examines the business side of MTV, then delves into the rock videos themselves, which she divides into five distinct types (romantic, socially conscious, nihilistic, classical and postmodern). She also considers violence in videos, commenting on Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More," which many consider typically nasty: "The events do not have the overall investment in a certain kind of desire that the sadistic narrative usually has." In general, Kaplan argues that MTV "utilizes adolescent desire for its own commercial ends." Her conclusions about the long-range implications of MTV and today's "massified youth culture" are perceptive, depressing and probing. --Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
2004, Nov 14; 15:05 ::: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) - Mike Nichols
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) - Mike Nichols [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
A word of advice: If George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) ever ask you over for late-night cocktails--pass. On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to see Mike Nichols's scorching film version of Edward Albee's sensational play, don't miss it! Elegantly photographed in crisp black and white by the great Haskell Wexler, the play has been "opened up" for the screen by director Nichols (The Graduate, Primary Colors) and producer-writer Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest) without diluting its concentrated, claustrophobic power. Taylor has never been better or brasher as Martha, letting loose with all the fury of a drunken, frustrated academic's wife on one crazy Walpurgisnacht bender. Burton plays her husband, George, the ineffectual history prof married to the college president's daughter. And George Segal and Sandy Dennis are young, callow Nick and Honey, who have no idea what sort of mind-warping psychological games they're being drawn into. Among the most successful theatrical adaptations (artistically and popularly) ever brought to the screen. The entire principal cast was nominated for Oscars--and Taylor, Dennis, and cinematographer Wexler won. --Jim Emerson
2004, Nov 13; 18:15 ::: Vargtimmen/Hour of the Wolf (1968) - Ingmar Bergman
Vargtimmen/Hour of the Wolf (1968) - Ingmar Bergman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
2004, Nov 12; 19:28 ::: Spun (2002) - Jonas Åkerlund
Spun (2002) - Jonas Åkerlund [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Spun is an unclassifiable ensemble piece, intentionally bleached of soulfulness and high on visual invention and comic depravity. Set in north Los Angeles, where meth freaks lurch from one motel room to another in search of companionship and a score, the film stars Jason Schwartzman as Ross, whose life is rapidly disintegrating. Fielding phone messages from his mother and trying in vain to reach an old girlfriend, Ross spends most of his time on a feverish circuit with the half-mad Cookie (Mena Suvari) and Nikki (Brittany Murphy), the dangerously paranoid Spider Mike (John Leguizamo), and a macho drugmaker called the Cook (Mickey Rourke). Director Jonas Akerlund's story is nonexistent, but then again Spun is driven by the blurry, hellish energy of a life lived on speed. An obvious influence is Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, but Akerlund is interested in nightmarish set pieces than tiny horrors of misfired nerve endings and ravaged time. --Tom Keogh
2004, Nov 12; 12:49 ::: Turks Fruit/Turkish Delight (1973) - Paul Verhoeven
Turks Fruit/Turkish Delight (1973) - Paul Verhoeven [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Although the confectionary does make an appearance at the end of the film, Turkish Delight, as a title, may be interpreted in a number of ways. This violent tale of love is told in flashback from the perspective of bohemian artist Eric Vonk (Rutger Hauer, collaborating for the first time with director Paul Verhoeven). When the film opens on a brutal attack and then a succession of one-night stands, it seems that the guy's a complete jerk. Then a sudden lurch backwards two years reveals the motivations for both his dreams and behavior, as well as the subject of the photos he spends his time pining for. He meets Olga (a fantastic Monique van de Ven) as the result of a car accident. But their tempestuous relationship is shaken by many peculiar events: a surreal wedding ceremony, unveiling a statue to the Queen and the death of Olga's father. The real problem is Olga herself, however, which leads to a shock ending many have compared to Love Story.
Somewhat dated now, and made long before his move to Hollywood, Turkish Delight is nonetheless unmistakably a product of the now-familiar Verhoeven style. The film's language and images still have the power to shock or offend, and we certainly get to see far too much of Hauer's private parts, even though some amazing visuals (mirrored candles, inspired beach art, and a nightmarish red Chinese restaurant) are some compensation. --Paul Tonks, Amazon.com
2004, Nov 12; 10:57 ::: Sebastiane (1976) - Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman
Sebastiane (1976) - Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
see also: Sebastian
2004, Nov 10; 11:40 ::: Momus on rockism [...]Re: rockism?
I didn't coin the term 'rockism'. It came up in the writings of critics like Paul Morley and Simon Reynolds in the UK music press in the 80s. 'Rockism' is a conservative and Romantic ideology of authenticity encountered in rock and pop music. Here are some of the core tenets:
rock music should be bass, drums, guitars
it's about artists and songs, not about production
a good artist is 'keepin' it real'
some artists are more 'real' than others
good songs are timeless
at some point in the past they 'got music right'
music has value to the extent that it's one person emoting sincerely
although the real is very important, the real is today absent (metaphysics)
Other artforms have their own forms of rockism. In art, Stuckists believe that art should be representational, that painting is more 'real' than video, etc etc. Check their manifesto, which begins 'Stuckism is the quest for authenticity' and continues through 'artists who don't paint aren't artists' to 'painting creates worlds within worlds, giving access to the unseen psychological realities that we inhabit' (the metaphysical bit).
More on rockism:
--Momus via http://www.livejournal.com/users/imomus/58927.html [Nov 2004]
more on Momus [...]
2004, Nov 10; 10:30 ::: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - Lewis Milestone
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - Lewis Milestone [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
This 1930 film, No. 54 on the AFI's Top 100 list, still holds up as a surprisingly forceful and honest antiwar drama. Indeed, the modern sensibility is almost as startling as the sometime stagey acting of Lew Ayres, which can be excused by the fact that, three years after the introduction of sound, actors were still applying stage techniques to talking pictures. Ayres plays a German college student during World War I, who is brainwashed into enlisting in the Army (along with the rest of his class) by a zealously inspirational college professor. Once in uniform and on the front lines, however, he quickly discovers that the glory of the Fatherland is of little concern to a soldier dodging bullets and explosions, whose comrades are dying in his arms. As powerful in its way as Platoon almost 60 years later, it remains a classic tale of young soldiers' confrontations with the possibility of imminent and arbitrary death. Director Lewis Milestone shows a surprising range of techniques in this film from the formative years of moviemaking with sound. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com
2004, Nov 10; 10:19 ::: Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941 (2001) Bruce Posner
Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941 (2001) Bruce Posner [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941 premieres the first-ever, comprehensive film retrospective of the preMaya Deren inspired avant-garde cinema in America. Bursting with one hundred and sixty titles in newly restored or preserved 35mm and 16mm film prints, the survey details the hitherto unknown accomplishments of pioneer filmmakers working in the United States and abroad during the formative period of American film. The series postulates an innovative and at times controversial view of experimental cinema as a product of avant-garde artists, of Hollywood directors, and of amateur movie-makers working collectively and as individuals at all levels of film production during the last decade of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Many of these films have not been available since their creation over a century ago, some have never been previously screened in public, and almost all have been unavailable in pristine projection prints until now.
Beginning with the invention of film technologies at the Edison Laboratory in New Jersey in the 1890s, American filmmaking attracted successive waves of artists, writers, photographers, poets, choreographers, playwrights, designers, and numerous other creative types. Affectionately labeled as "lovers of cinema" by film enthusiast Herman G. Weinberg, the dreamers and schemers crafted a significant body of films that grasped the most essential elements "in the air" at the time. Until recently, scholarly accounts may have acknowledged alternative filmmaking before World War II but generally have regarded the influential work of Maya Deren as the true beginnings of avant-garde cinema in America. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was not the first American to explore experimental cinema. The quantity and quality of the films recovered from the first six decades of cinemas genesis demonstrates a vital avant-garde film culture in America prior to Maya Deren. Furthermore, the early American film avant-garde repeatedly predated or simultaneously developed alongside many major movements of 20th century American art. Prominent examples abound within early avant-garde film aesthetics that correlate either to the style or substance of Modernism, Surrealism, Social Realism, Abstract Expressionism, and later Minimalism, Structuralism, Beat, Pop, Punk, and Postmodernism. The eventual emergence of these art movements in painting, sculpture, performance art, theatre, literature, and music followed, sometimes years later, the ground-breaking efforts of the oft forgotten experimental filmmakers. --Bruce Posner, http://www.antheil.org/Posneressay.html [Nov 2004]
2004, Nov 10; 10:09 ::: The Story of Film (2004) - Mark Cousins
The Story of Film (2004) - Mark Cousins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The Story of Film presents the history of the movies in a way never told before. Mark Cousins's chronological journey through the worldwide history of film is told from the point of view of filmmakers and moviegoers. Weaving personalities, film technology, and production with engaging descriptions of groundbreaking scenes, Cousins uses his experience as film historian, producer, and director to capture the shifting trends of movie history. We learn how filmmakers influenced each other; how contemporary events influenced them; how they challenged established techniques and developed new technologies to enhance their medium. Striking images reinforce the reader's understanding of cinematic innovation, both stylistic and technical. The images reveal astonishing parallels in global filmmaking, thus introducing the less familiar worlds of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern cinema, as well as documenting the fortunes of the best Western directors. The Story of Film presents Silent (1885-1928), Sound (1928-1990), and Digital (1990-present), spanning the birth of the moving image; the establishment of Hollywood; the European avant-garde movements, personal filmmaking; world cinema; and recent phenomena like Computer Generated Imagery and the ever-more "real" realizations of the wildest of imaginations. The Story of Film explores what has today become the world's most popular artistic medium.
2004, Nov 09; 00:08 ::: The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts (2004) - Claude J. Summers
The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts (2004) - Claude J. Summers [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
120 b/w Illustrations, bibliography and indexes. The editors of glbtq.com present a comprehensive work showcasing the enormous contribution of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer artists to painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and architecture. International in scope, the volume contains over 200 detailed entries written by some of the most accomplished scholars in their fields. Included are profiles of significant artists; overviews of artistic eras and movements; and articles discussing subjects such as the representation of androgyny and AIDS.
A distinctly queer presence permeates the history of the visual arts - from Michelangelo's David and homoerotic images on ancient Greek vases to Frida Kahlo's self-portraits and the photography of Claude Cahun and Robert Mapplethorpe. The editors of glbtq.com present a comprehensive work showcasing the enormous contribution of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer artists to painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and architecture. International in scope, the volume contains over 200 detailed entries written by some of the most accomplished scholars in their fields. Included are profiles of significant artists; overviews of artistic eras and movements; and articles discussing subjects such as the representation of androgyny and AIDS.
2004, Nov 08; 13:32 ::: No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture (1989) - Andrew Ross
No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture (1989) - Andrew Ross [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The intellectual and the popular: Irving Howe and John Waters, Susan Sontag and Ethel Rosenberg, Dwight MacDonald and Bill Cosby, Amiri Baraka and Mick Jagger, Andrea Dworkin and Grace Jones, Andy Warhol and Lenny Bruce. All feature in Andrew Ross's lively history and critique of modern American culture. Andrew Ross examines how and why the cultural authority of modern intellectuals is bound up with the changing face of popular taste in America. He argues that the making of "taste" is hardly an aesthetic activity, but rather an exercise in cultural power, policing and carefully redefining social relations between classes.
2004, Nov 08; 13:32 ::: Anti-Americanism (2004) - Andrew Ross, Kristin Ross
Anti-Americanism (2004) - Andrew Ross, Kristin Ross Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
2004, Nov 07; 22:50 ::: What Is World Literature? (Translation/Transnation) (2003) - David Damrosch
What Is World Literature? (Translation/Transnation) (2003) - David Damrosch [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Displaying great intelligence, immense literary and historical culture, and unassuming modesty, Damrosch intervenes in contemporary debates over 'world literature.' Readers will be dumbfounded by his range. He treats cuneiform-inscribed shards, Egyptian hieroglyphics, medieval German female mystics, Inca chronicles, Kafka translations and contemporary Native protest literature will equal philological attention, poise and erudition.
World literature was long defined in North America as an established canon of European masterpieces, but an emerging global perspective has challenged both this European focus and the very category of "the masterpiece." The first book to look broadly at the contemporary scope and purposes of world literature, What Is World Literature? probes the uses and abuses of world literature in a rapidly changing world.
In case studies ranging from the Sumerians to the Aztecs and from medieval mysticism to postmodern metafiction, David Damrosch looks at the ways works change as they move from national to global contexts. Presenting world literature not as a canon of texts but as a mode of circulation and of reading, Damrosch argues that world literature is work that gains in translation. When it is effectively presented, a work of world literature moves into an elliptical space created between the source and receiving cultures, shaped by both but circumscribed by neither alone. Established classics and new discoveries alike participate in this mode of circulation, but they can be seriously mishandled in the process. From the rediscovered Epic of Gilgamesh in the nineteenth century to Rigoberta Menchú's writing today, foreign works have often been distorted by the immediate needs of their own editors and translators.
Une Liaison Pornographique/An affair of love (1999) - Frédéric Fonteyne
Why worry about love when you can settle for sex?
That's the provocative starting point of 'An Affair of Love', Belgian director Frederic Fonteyne's French-language movie about feelings that sometimes even the most determinedly soulless of flings cannot keep at bay. Sure, Nathalie Baye's 'Her' - the film's principal characters are unnamed - speaks of a relationship with Sergi Lopez's 'Him' that is "purely and expressly pornographic." The trouble starts when a little word called love creeps in.
'Une Liaison Pornographique' (A Pornographic Affair) was the original European name of the movie, and the adjective "pornographic" has been excised from its title lest American audiences get the wrong idea. But the replacement title - 'An Affair Of Love' - seems a bland substitute when the film is anything but. There's something genuinely liberating in our coarsened age about such an adult treatment of an arena that too many movies treat with a snigger. If 'An Affair Of Love' seems brave, and it does, that's not merely because it restricts most of the action to two people - almost as if Philippe Blasband's script were a play. Even more radical is the movie's depiction of sexual desire and what happens when it spills over into the far messier realm of love.
At the start, that particular four-letter word isn't on the menu; the protagonists are brought together via a personals ad in Paris. We know early on that their affair comes to an end: both participants are seen after the event, chronicling the liaison's demise from different perspectives. Whose version is right? It scarcely matters, since 'An Affair Of Love' occupies a realm beyond facts. More truthful is the film's respect for the arc of a relationship begun hesitantly over coffee and cognac and ending no less hesitantly - in tears.
It's important, at first, that the two know next to nothing about each other beyond the appointed date and time of each assignation. The less that is revealed, the less room for guilt. (The woman at one point declines a lift in a car, deciding even that is way too intimate.) Nor is either partner eager to exist much in the outside world. Each creates a self-contained "ivory tower" that breaks apart as the film proceeds. The point of Fonteyne's film isn't plot; it's a gentle accretion of detail in a Gallic tradition that may remind some of the work of Eric Rohmer. (Like Rohmer, Fonteyne finds eroticism in the seemingly commonplace.)
The material is a gift for actors alive to shading and nuance. Baye's Vermeer-like features are perfectly suited to a 40-something woman of mystery who is never far from sadness. The Spanish-born Lopez is a burlier figure than one associates with tales of this sort. And there's something deeply human and recognizable about his character's uncertainty, just as there is about a naked body that resembles real ones rather than the usual cinematic perfection.
Both performers move poignantly toward the resolution of a scenario that is essentially unresolved, with each person fatally second-guessing the other and, in the process, denying themselves any shared future life. If that sounds bleak, it probably is, and bruisingly honest as well. An Affair Of Love is about two people doing themselves out of what they most feel and want, in a movie whose capacity for feeling is utterly, sorrowfully fearless. An Affair Of Love runs a short and stirring 80 minutes. For once, the R rating is fully justified, since this is an adult movie in the richest sense.
-- Matt Wolf, http://www.democratandchronicle.com/goesout/mov/a/affair.shtml Nov 2004¤
Bonjour Tristesse (1954) - Françoise Sagan
Cecile lives with her playboy father Raymond and his interchangeable girlfriends in Paris. They always spend their summers on the French Rivera. The cheerful days of swimming, sunbathing and parties are over, when Anne, a friend of Cecile’s late mother, appears. Raymond falls in love with her and has serious intentions to marry her. Driven by anger and jealousy, Cecile works out a fatal intrigue.
Well-acted, starry cast and very graciously made but, in atmosphere, oddly faithless adaptation of a sharply cynical novel, which tends to glamorize and ennoble its originally unlovable characters against luxurious backgrounds. It holds the interest, however, and the glossily colorful photography of the sunlit French Rivera in the past alternating with the bleakly black and white present, is particularly excellent.
Despite the splendid cast including David Niven, Deborah Kerr and the dazzling young actress Jean Seberg, Otto Preminger’s adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s successful novel flopped. The French melancholy à l’américaine neither convinced the American public, nor the Europeans. Disillusioned, gamine Jean Seberg - who was discovered by Preminger for his version of 'Saint Joan' – left for Paris where she was to become an icon of the 'New Wave'. --http://www.ceryx.de/medien/hk_bonjourtristesse.htm [Nov 2004]
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%E7oise_Sagan
Anna Karenina (1877) - Leon Tolstoy
Novel by Leon Tolstoy, published in installments between 1875 and 1877 and considered one of the pinnacles of world literature. The narrative centers on the adulterous affair between Anna, wife of Aleksey Karenin, and Count Vronsky, a young bachelor. Karenin's discovery of the liaison arouses only his concern for his own public image. Anna promises discretion for the sake of her husband and young son but eventually becomes pregnant by Vronsky. After the child is born, Anna and the child accompany Vronsky first to Italy, then to his Russian estate. She begins making furtive trips to see her older child and grows increasingly bitter toward Vronsky, eventually regarding him as unfaithful. In desperation she goes to the train station, purchases a ticket, and then impulsively throws herself in front of the incoming train.
A parallel love story, involving the difficult courtship and fulfilling marriage of Kitty and Levin, provides rich counterpoint to the tragedy and is thought to reflect Tolstoy's own marital experience. There is an inevitability about the tragic fate that hangs over the adulterous love of Anna and Vronsky. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay" is the leitmotiv of the story. Anna pays not so much because she transgresses the moral code but because she refuses to observe the proprieties customarily exacted in such liaisons by the hypocritical high society to which she belongs.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) wrote two of Russia's greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), as well as many short stories and essays.
2004, Nov 06; 13:05 ::: The Origins of Totalitarianism ()- Hannah Arendt
The Origins of Totalitarianism ()- Hannah Arendt [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
She also wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism, which attempted to trace the roots of communism and fascism and their link to anti-semitism. This book was controversial because it compared two subjects that many scholars believed were, by definition, opposites. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Arendt [Nov 2004]
2004, Nov 06; 12:39 ::: The Authoritarian Personality (Studies in Prejudice) (1950) - T.W. Adorno, Betty Aron, Maria Hertz Levinson, William Morrow
The Authoritarian Personality (Studies in Prejudice) (1950) - T.W. Adorno, Betty Aron, Maria Hertz Levinson, William Morrow [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
A new feature of American life in the post--World War II era, which has not been much noted by historians, was the great influence wielded, for the first time, by social scientists. Several classic studies, ranging from Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma to the Kinsey Reports, had great impact on American ideas. Widely taken as gospel, some had a direct influence on government policies.
1 Some of these works, notably Myrdal's, were magnificent; others were far less impressive.
One of the most influential but controversial of these classics was The Authoritarian Personality. Published in 1950, it was written by Theodor Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswick, Daniel Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford as part of a joint undertaking of the Berkeley Public Opinion Study and the Institute of Social Research, also known as the Frankfurt School. The latter organization, formed in Germany during the Weimar era, was leftist in orientation. Its leading members, including Adorno, aimed at understanding man and society by mixing a nonorthodox form of Marxism with psychoanalytic theory. The Authoritarian Personality was part of a series called Studies in Prejudice, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee as part of an effort to produce basic research on religious and racial prejudice, especially, but not only, anti-Semitism. That series included Bruno Bettelheim and Morris Janowitz's Dynamics of Prejudice, which came to rather different, and in some ways more convincing, conclusions.
The Authoritarian Personality examined the connection between deep-rooted personality traits and prejudice. Basing their work on insights that Adorno and his associates, especially Erich Fromm, had developed before fleeing Germany, the authors analyzed the formation of the "potentially fascistic individual" or, as they usually called it, the "authoritarian personality." That they identified authoritarianism and anti-Semitism so closely with the beaten menace of fascism is an indication of the extent to which, even then, their work was dated.
Nevertheless, The Authoritarian Personality had a major impact in the academic world and ultimately the opinion-forming media. It identified some traditional social values with an undesirable, even proto-fascist, personality structure; the principal locus for the development of ethnocentrism and anti-Semitism, this personality type was common under the conditions of twentieth-century capitalism.
2 The book's concepts became widespread and its methods and aims were widely copied, inspiring many similar studies.
THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY --http://www.worldandi.com/specialreport/2002/December/Sa22748.htm
2004, Nov 06; 12:26 ::: The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set (2004) - Various (282 discs)
The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set (2004) - Various (282 discs) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Now available for the first time, The Criterion Collection is proud to present its prestigious collection of films together in one gift set! Totaling 282 discs, The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set consists of all of their published DVDs through October 2004 (except for the out-of-print editions): that's 241 titles on 282 discs and includes a Certificate of Authenticity. This much sought after collection of films is the most significant archive of contemporary filmmaking available to the home viewer.
The 241 titles (some in sets): 3 WOMEN; 39 STEPS; CONSTANT FORGE, A; NOUS LA LIBERTE, A; WOMAN IS A WOMAN, A; WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, A; ALEXANDER NEVSKY; ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL; ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS; ALPHAVILLE; AMARCORD; AND GOD CREATED WOMAN; AND THE SHIP SAILS ON; ANDREI RUBLEV; ARMAGEDDON; AUTUMN SONATA; BALLAD OF A SOLDIER; BAND OF OUTSIDERS; BATTLE OF ALGIERS, THE; BEASTIE BOYS; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; BED AND BOARD; BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET; BILLY LIAR; BLACK NARCISSUS; BLACK ORPHEUS; BLOB, THE; BLOOD OF A POET; BOB LE FLAMBEUR; BRANDED TO KILL; BRAZIL; BRIEF ENCOUNTER; BY BRAKHAGE, AN ANTHOLOGY; CARL THEODOR DREYER BOX SET; CARNIVAL OF SOULS; CHARADE; CHASING AMY; CHILDREN OF PARADISE; CLEO FROM 5 TO 7; CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS; COCTEAU'S ORPHIC TRILOGY BOX SET; CONTEMPT; COUP DE GRACE; COUP DE TORCHON; CRANES ARE FLYING; CRIES AND WHISPERS; DAY OF WRATH; DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, THE; DIABOLIQUE; DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID; DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST; DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, THE; DO THE RIGHT THING; DOUBLE SUICIDE; DOWN BY LAW; EARLY SUMMER; EIGHT & 1/2; EISENSTEIN: THE SOUND YEARS BOX SET; ELEMENT OF CRIME; ELENA AND HER MEN; EYES WITHOUT A FACE; FACES; FAT GIRL; FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS; FIEND WITHOUT A FACE; FIREMEN'S BALL; FISHING WITH JOHN PRGMS 1-4; FOR ALL MANKIND; FRENCH CANCAN; GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA; GEORGE WASHINGTON; GERTRUD; GIMME SHELTER; GOOD MORNING; GRAND ILLUSION; GREAT EXPECTATIONS; GREY GARDENS; HAMLET; HARDER THEY COME, THE; HAXAN: WITCHCRAFT THROUGH AGES; HEARTS AND MINDS; HENRY V; HIDDEN FORTRESS; HIGH AND LOW; HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR; HONEYMOON KILLERS; HOPSCOTCH; HORSE'S MOUTH, THE; I AM CURIOUS - BLUE; I AM CURIOUS - YELLOW; I AM CURIOUS YELLOW/BLUE SET; I FIDANZATI; I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!; I VITELLONI; IKIRU; IL POSTO; IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, THE; IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE; INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE/TERMINAL STATION; INGMAR BERGMAN MAKES A MOVIE; INGMAR BERGMAN: A FILM TRILOGY; INSOMNIA; IVAN THE TERRIBLE I & II; JIMI PLAYS MONTEREY/ SHAKE! OTIS AT MONTEREY/ OUTTAKE PERFORMANCES; JOHN CASSAVETES: FIVE FILM BOX SET; JUBILEE; JULIET OF THE SPIRITS; KILLERS DOUBLE DISC SPECIAL EDITION; KNIFE IN THE WATER; KWAIDAN; LA STRADA; LADY EVE, THE; LADY VANISHES; LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST; LAST WAVE, THE; L'AVVENTURA; LE CERCLE ROUGE; LE CORBEAU; LE DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE; LE MILLION; LE TROU; LEOPARD, THE; LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP; LOLA; LONG GOOD FRIDAY; LORD OF THE FLIES; LOST HONOR OF KATHERINA BLUM, THE; LOVE ON THE RUN; LOVES OF A BLONDE; LOWER DEPTHS, THE; M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY; MAGIC FLUTE; MAITRESSE; MAMMA ROMA; MAN BITES DOG; MON ONCLE; MONA LISA; MONTEREY POP; MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL BOX SET; MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN; MOST DANGEROUS GAME; MY LIFE AS A DOG; MY MAN GODFREY; MY METIER; NAKED KISS; NAKED LUNCH; NANOOK OF THE NORTH; NIGHT AND FOG; NIGHT PORTER; NIGHT TO REMEMBER; NIGHTS OF CABIRIA; OLIVER TWIST; ONIBABA; OPENING NIGHT; ORDET; ORPHEUS; PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC; PEEPING TOM; PEPE LE MOKO; PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET; PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK; PORNOGRAPHERS; PORT OF SHADOWS; PYGMALION; QUAI DES ORFEVRES; RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER: THE BRD TRILOGY; RASHOMON; RATCATCHER; RED BEARD; RED SHOES; RENOIR BOX SET: STAGE & SPECTACLE; RICHARD III; RIFIFI; ROCK, THE; RULES OF THE GAME; RULING CLASS, THE; RUSHMORE; SALESMAN; SALVATORE GIULIANO; SAMURAI I: MUSASHI MIYAMOTO; SAMURAI II: DUEL AT ICHIJOJI TEMPLE; SAMURAI III: DUEL AT GANRYU ISLAND; SANJURO; SCARLET EMPRESS, THE; SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE; SCHIZOPOLIS; SECRET HONOR; SEVEN SAMURAI; SEVENTH SEAL; SHADOWS; SHOCK CORRIDOR; SHOP ON MAIN STREET; SISTERS; SLACKER; SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT; SOLARIS; SPARTACUS; STOLEN KISSES; STORIES OF FLOATING WEEDS; STRAY DOG; SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS; SUMMERTIME; TANNER '88; TASTE OF CHERRY; TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE; TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS; THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE; 400 BLOWS, THE; GOLDEN COACH, THE; KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, THE; MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, THE; ROYAL TENENBAUMS, THE; SILENCE, THE; THIRD MAN; THRONE OF BLOOD; THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY; TIME BANDITS; TIN DRUM, THE; TOKYO DRIFTER; TOKYO OLYMPIAD; TOKYO STORY; TRAFFIC; TROUBLE IN PARADISE; TRUFFAUT'S ADVENTURES OF ANTOINE DOINEL; TUNES OF GLORY; UMBERTO D; UNDER THE ROOFS OF PARIS; VAGABOND; VANISHING, THE; VARIETY LIGHTS; VERONIKA VOSS; VIDEODROME; W.C. FIELDS 6 SHORT FILMS; WAGES OF FEAR; WALKABOUT; WHITE SHEIK; WILD STRAWBERRIES; WINTER LIGHT; WITHNAIL AND I; WRITTEN ON THE WIND; AND YOJIMBO.
These out-of-print titles are not included: BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Original release, spine # 6), BANK DICK, THE; BLOOD FOR DRACULA; DEAD RINGERS; FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN; HARD BOILED; HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING; M (Original release, spine #30); NOTORIOUS; PLAYTIME; REBECCA; ROBOCOP; SALO; SID & NANCY; SILENCE OF THE LAMBS; SPELLBOUND; STRAW DOGS; THE KILLER; UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, THE; and THIS IS SPINAL TAP.
About The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Criterion began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors. Now in its 20th year, all of the films published under the Criterion banner represent cinema at its finest.
The Criterion Collection DVD Process
The foundation of the collection is the work of such masters of cinema as Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Fuller, Lean, Kubrick, Lang, Sturges, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Ozu, Sirk, Buñuel, Powell and Pressburger. Each film is presented uncut, in its original aspect ratio, as its maker intended it to be seen. For every disc, we track down the best available film elements in the world, use state-of-the-art telecine equipment and a select few colorists capable of meeting our rigorous standards, and take time during the film-to-video digital transfer to create the most pristine possible image and sound. Whenever possible, we work with directors and cinematographers to assure that the look of our releases does justice to their intentions. Our supplements enable viewers to appreciate Criterion films in context, through audio commentaries by filmmakers and scholars, restored director's cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, shooting scripts, early shorts, and storyboards.
2004, Nov 06; 12:18 ::: Dangerously in Love (2003) - Beyonce
Dangerously in Love (2003) - Beyonce [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The perfect timing of Beyonce Knowles’ career moves continues with the release of her debut solo album. Dangerously in Love’s best music is wildly up-to-date, craftily designed for both maximum street acceptance and positioning as some of the most cutting-edge stuff on current radio. The brash first single, "Crazy in Love," melds Jay-Z with an unstoppable Chi-Lites [Are You My Woman] horn sample, shape-shifting into something brand new. Collaborations with Outkast’s Big Boi and Sean Paul also prick up the ears, while changes of pace like "Be with You" and "Speechless" achieve their aim with credibility. The disc becomes far too ballad heavy in its second half, but the key stuff is the noise she brings. --Rickey Wright
2004, Nov 06; 11:46 ::: Mamma Roma (1962) - Pier Paolo Pasolini
Mamma Roma (1962) - Pier Paolo Pasolini [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Three new interviews about director Pier Paol Pasolini, featuring his cinematographer, a biographer, and Bernardo Bertolucci
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1995), a 55-minute documentary by filmmaker Ivo Barnabo Micheli covering the career of the controversial artist
La ricotta (1963), a 35-minute film by Pasolini about a director who sets out to make a film about the Passion of Jesus
32-page book featuring a new essay by novelist and cultural critic Gary Indiana
Combining the immediacy of Italian neorealism with potent criticism of post-war Italian society, Mamma Roma is one of Pier Paolo Pasolini's most accessible and satisfying films. This was only his second feature, but Pasolini (who was mysteriously murdered in 1975) was already demonstrating a powerful affinity for cinema as a forum for his anti-Fascist ideology. To express his outrage at the spiritual vacancy of vulgar consumerism, Pasolini cast the great Anna Magnani in the title role, a former prostitute struggling to transcend her sordid past in a desperate attempt to give her estranged teenage son the better life she never had. In Pasolini's worldview, Mamma's petit bourgeois idealism can only be doomed, and the film assumes the melodramatic thrust of tragic opera. Like most of Pasolini's films, Mamma Roma attracted controversy, but it was nothing compared to the outcry over "La ricotta," a 35-minute short featuring Orson Welles (part of the 1963 anthology film RoGoPaG, and included here for the first time on DVD). Seized and condemned "for insulting the religion of the state," "La ricotta" presents the crucifixion of Christ as an incendiary criticism of the Catholic Church, in which the actor playing Jesus stuffs himself with ricotta cheese and dies from indigestion on the cross! As usual, Criterion has done an exemplary job of assembling a wealth of supplementary materials. Pasolini's films demand at least rudimentary understanding of his life and politics, and that background is provided through new interviews with former collaborators, a clip-laden 1995 documentary about Pasolini's career, and a 32-page booklet containing excerpts of interviews from the out-of-print book Pasolini on Pasolini, along with a mini-essay on Mamma Roma that further illuminates the film in the context of Pasolini's controversial career. For anyone interested in Pasolini's art, this two-disc set provides a suitable starting point, offering important films and scholarly study in the esteemed Criterion tradition. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Anna Magnani is Mamma Roma, a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son. Filmed in the great tradition of Italian neorealism, Mamma Roma offers an unflinching look at the struggle for survival in postwar Italy, and highlights director Pier Paolo Pasolini#s lifelong fascination with the marginalized and dispossessed. Though banned upon its release in Italy for obscenity, today Mamma Roma is considered a classic: a glimpse at a country#s most controversial director in the process of finding his style and a powerhouse performance by one of cinema#s greatest actresses.
2004, Nov 04; 10:28 ::: The Wild Bunch (1969) - Sam Peckinpah
The Wild Bunch (1969) - Sam Peckinpah [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Here's how director Sam Peckinpah described his motivation behind The Wild Bunch at the time of the film's 1969 release: "I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. The Wild Bunch is simply what happens when killers go to Mexico. The strange thing is you feel a great sense of loss when these killers reach the end of the line." All of these statements are true, but they don't begin to cover the impact that Peckinpah's film had on the evolution of American movies. Now the film is most widely recognized as a milestone event in the escalation of screen violence, but that's a label of limited perspective. Of course, Peckinpah's bloody climactic gunfight became a masterfully directed, photographed, and edited ballet of graphic violence that transcended the conventional Western and moved into a slow-motion realm of pure cinematic intensity. But the film--surely one of the greatest Westerns ever made--is also a richly thematic tale of, as Peckinpah said, "bad men in changing times." The year is 1913 and the fading band of thieves known as the Wild Bunch (led by William Holden as Pike) decide to pull one last job before retirement. But an ambush foils their plans, and Peckinpah's film becomes an epic yet intimate tale of betrayed loyalties, tenacious rivalry, and the bunch's dogged determination to maintain their fading code of honor among thieves. The 144-minute director's cut enhances the theme of male bonding that recurs in many of Peckinpah's films, restoring deleted scenes to deepen the viewer's understanding of the friendship turned rivalry between Pike and his former friend Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), who now leads a posse in pursuit of the bunch, a dimension that adds resonance to an already classic American film. The Wild Bunch is a masterpiece that should not be defined strictly in terms of its violence, but as a story of mythic proportion, brimming with rich characters and dialogue and the bittersweet irony of outlaw traditions on the wane. --Jeff Shannon
2004, Nov 04; 10:05 ::: The Handmaid's Tale (1990) - Volker Schlöndorff
The Handmaid's Tale (1990) - Volker Schlöndorff [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Set in a time when a buildup of toxic chemicals has made most people sterile, Volker Schlondorff's film offers a disturbing view of a society under martial law in which fertile women are captured and made into handmaids to bear children for rich and infertile matrons. The film unfolds from the eyes of newly converted handmaid Kate (Natasha Richardson). She is trapped in this mysogynistic society which both deifies these fertile women as prized possessions and condemns them as whores. Throughout the story Kate has to cope with the jealousy of the woman she serves (Faye Dunaway), the advances of her sleazy military husband (the Commander, played by Robert Duvall), and the loss of her daughter, who has been shuttled off to a similarly aristocratic setting. She also falls in love with one of the Commander's security guards (Aidan Quinn), who sympathizes with her plight and potentially offers her a way out. Throughout The Handmaid's Tale, issues of feminism, abortion rights, male dominance, and conservative religious politics all come under fire. Some may view the film itself as antifemale considering its concepts, but it is quite the opposite. Instead it shows how only through solidarity can women bring down an overriding patriarchical mindset. The film, which works from Harold Pinter's screenplay adaption of Margaret Atwood's novel, features strong performances from those mentioned as well as Elizabeth McGovern and Victoria Tennant. --Bryan Reesman, Amazon.com
2004, Nov 04; 10:00 ::: The Tin Drum (1979) - Volker Schlöndorff
The Tin Drum (1979) - Volker Schlöndorff [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
This Oscar-winning adaptation of Günter Grass's novel is an absurdist fantasy about a little German boy (David Bennent) who wills himself at the age of three not to grow up in protest of the Nazi regime. Made unnecessarily notorious in recent years due to overzealous censors in some parts of the United States, the film is more startling and surreal than obscene. Bennent is very good, and while the 1979 film doesn't meet the high standards of the best work from the then-renaissance of German film, it has a special place in the hearts of many who saw it upon its release. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (The Handmaid's Tale). --Tom Keogh
Itchy-fingered but not knowing quite what to post, I guess I may as well talk about some of the decent films that UK posters could see at the London Film Festival 2004.
2004, Nov 03; 22:53 ::: London Film Festival guide on new forum Dissensus
Garden State is written and directed by one of the guys from Scrubs, a twisted romantic comedy in the vein of Ghost World . Nicking the plot of Six Feet Under, it has a guy coming home for a funeral (and coming off anti-depressants). His friends spend time robbing graves and amusing themselves with William Tell type danger-dares. It's certainly quirky, with both Method Man and Ian Holm making cameos, but a great character study too.
Holy Girl is a study of Catholic guilt co-produced by Almodovar (although the film is Argentinian) where a girl at a hotel is sexually harrassed by a Doctor attending a conference there. She views it as her Mission From God to save him, and tries to befriend- or is it seduce?- him. Although it's about under age sex, there's no shock tactics- a kind of Kieslowski type understanding and empathy extends to all the protagonists.
Wild Side sees female cinematographer Agnes Godard bring a bruised sensuality to Sébastien Lifshitz's tale of a tough love. A menage a trois between two men and a transexual, there's no sensationalism, it's just a a sparse, plain taste of real life in the vein of Ozu- and very moving.
Dig!, the documentary about the Dandy Warhols and (mostly) The Brian Jonestown Massacre is a standard but extremely compelling rockumentary- looking at the music biz with the ruthless scrutiny of a balance sheet breakdown. Seems music is just another business- the hard working Dandys get paid, whereas the relentless infighting of BJM means noone touches them with a barge pole.
Avoid at all costs-
Palindromes, a new Todd Solondz film. If the controversial Happiness was his Brass Eye- a slick, seductive satire that subverts and challenges taboos (notably paedophilia), this is his Jamm. It's chaotic, meandering, occasionally stunningly weird, but mostly an unprofitable 2 hours spent in someone else's unconscious.
Stander , a South African film about a bad cop turned Robin Hood style bank robber. Imagine heist thriller Heat starring ludicrous 70s stereotypes in the vein of the Beastie Boys' Sabotage video and you're half way there.
Last edited by Diggedy Derek --http://www.dissensus.com/showpost.php?p=108&postcount=1 [Nov 2004]
2004, Nov 03; 21:11 ::: Counterculture Through the Ages : From Abraham to Acid House (2004) - Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius, Dan Joy
Counterculture Through the Ages : From Abraham to Acid House - Ken Goffman, Dan Joy [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Although typically defining themselves in opposition to dominant cultures--hence the name--countercultures through history have more in common with each other than previously supposed. In fact, argues this book, breaking with tradition is itself a longstanding tradition, distinguished by Promethean antiauthority impulses, often accompanied by some sort of libertine humanism and individualism (although often conflicted about the merits of technology). Less a history of movements than of moments, Goffman's narrative hits Socrates and Sufism, among select others, en route to a more detailed parsing of the various countercultural moments of the twentieth century; at times, it reads reminiscent of an old-fashioned intellectual history, mapping influences catalyzed in heady Paris or Haight-Ashbury. Yet Goffman steers clear of overtheorizing, keeps readers hooked with hip contemporary comparisons (declaring Calvin Coolidge the Reagan of the early 1900s, for example), and, for decorum's sake, keeps his evident zeal for certain figures (Timothy Leary, for example, a posthumous contributor to this book) more or less in check. Always engaging, often inspiring, and certainly not just for nostalgic boomers. Brendan Driscoll, Amazon.com
2004, Nov 03; 20:58 ::: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (1998) - Peter Biskind
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (1998) - Peter Biskind [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Not only is Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls the best book in recent memory on turn-of-the-'70s film, it is beyond question the best book we'll ever get on the subject. Why? Because once the big names who spilled the beans to Biskind find out that other people spilled an equally piquant quantity of beans, nobody will dare speak to another writer with such candor, humor, and venom again.
Biskind did hundreds of interviews with people who make the president look accessible: Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Geffen, Beatty, Kael, Towne, Altman. He also spoke with countless spurned spouses and burned partners, alleged victims of assault by knife, pistol, and bodily fluids. Rather more responsible than some of his sources, Biskind always carefully notes the denials as well as the astounding stories he has compiled. He tells you about Scorsese running naked down Mulholland Drive after his girlfriend, crying, "Don't leave me!"; grave robbing on the set of Apocalypse Now; Faye Dunaway apparently flinging urine in Roman Polanski's face while filming Chinatown; Michael O'Donoghue's LSD-fueled swan dive onto a patio; Coppola's mad plan for a 10-hour film of Goethe's Elective Affinities in 3-D; the ocean suicide attempt Hal "Captain Wacky" Ashby gave up when he couldn't find a swimsuit that pleased him; countless dalliances with porn stars; Russian roulette games and psychotherapy sessions in hot tubs. But he also soberly gives both sides ample chance to testify.
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is also more than a fistful of dazzling anecdotes. Methodically, as thrillingly as a movie attorney, Biskind builds the case that Hollywood was revived by wild ones who then betrayed their own dreams, slit their own throats, and destroyed an art form by producing that mindless, inhuman modern behemoth, the blockbuster.
When Spielberg was making the first true blockbuster, Jaws, he sneaked Lucas in one day when nobody was around, got him to put his head in the shark's mechanical mouth, and closed the shark's mouth on him. The gizmo broke and got stuck, but the two young men somehow extricated Lucas's head and hightailed it like Tom and Huck. As Peter Biskind's scathing, funny, wise book demonstrates, they only thought they had escaped. --Tim Appelo
When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and experimentation reigned supreme. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age.
MARTIN SCORSESE ON DRUGS: "I did a lot of drugs because I wanted to do a lot, I wanted to push all the way to the very very end, and see if I could die."
DENNIS HOPPER ON EASY RIDER: "The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere."
GEORGE LUCAS ON STAR WARS: "Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see them? Why is the public so stupid? That's not my fault."
2004, Nov 03; 18:20 ::: Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Arthur Penn
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Arthur Penn [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Amazon.com essential video
One of the landmark films of the 1960s, Bonnie and Clyde changed the course of American cinema. Setting a milestone for screen violence that paved the way for Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, this exercise in mythologized biography should not be labeled as a bloodbath; as critic Pauline Kael wrote in her rave review, "it's the absence of sadism that throws the audience off balance." The film is more of a poetic ode to the Great Depression, starring the dream team of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the titular antiheroes, who barrel across the South and Midwest robbing banks with Clyde's brother Buck (Gene Hackman), Buck's frantic wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons), and their faithful accomplice C.W. Moss (the inimitable Michael J. Pollard). Bonnie and Clyde is an unforgettable classic that has lost none of its power since the 1967 release. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
2004, Nov 03; 17:17 ::: New Hollywood Cinema (2002) - Geoff King
New Hollywood Cinema (2002) - Geoff King [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Library Journal
Examining American filmmaking from both a social and an industrial standpoint, King (media, Brunel Univ., West London) seeks to define the "New Hollywood." He begins with an analysis of key films from Tinseltown's Renaissance in the late 1960s (e.g., Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Easy Rider) before exploring changes in the realms of film authorship, genre, stars, narrative vs. spectacle, and big screen vs. small screen (TV) in the 1980s and 1990s. His discussion of genre is one of the most reasonable to be found anywhere. Also illuminating is a comparison between Spartacus and Gladiator from such perspectives as director/camera detachment and average shot length (ASL). It will not surprise veteran moviegoers that Spartacus's ASL was 7.89 seconds while Gladiator's was 3.36. (King also realizes that Gladiator bears much resemblance to 1964's The Fall of the Roman Empire.) This work, which may be supplemented by Ray Greene's more downbeat Hollywood Migraine: The Inside Story of a Decade in Film, confirms that British film historians generally outperform their American cousins. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. --Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA, Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When some film buffs speak of "New Hollywood," they are referring to the artistic renaissance of the late 1960s and '70s, when directors like Scorsese and Coppola shook up the studio system; others use the label to describe the blockbuster phenomenon launched in the '70s by Jaws and Star Wars, and continued by even-more-corporate behemoths ever since. For King, the term encompasses both, and he ambitiously attempts to show how the Hollywood product of the past three decades differs from that of... read more
What is "New Hollywood"? The "art" cinema of the Hollywood "Renaissance" or the corporate controlled blockbuster? The introverted world of Travis Bickle or the action heroics of Indiana Jones, Buzz Lightyear, and Maximus the Gladiator? Innovative departures from the "classical" Hollywood style or superficial glitz, special effects, and borrowings from MTV? Wholesale change or important continuities with Hollywood´s past? The answer suggested by Geoff King in New Hollywood Cinema is all of these and more. He examines New Hollywood from three main perspectives: film style, industry, and the social-historical context. Each is considered in its own right, sometimes resulting in different ways of defining New Hollywood. But one of the book´s central arguments is that a combination of these approaches is needed if we are to understand the latest incarnations of the cinema that continues to dominate the global market. King looks at the Hollywood "Renaissance" from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, industrial factors shaping the construction of the corporate blockbuster, the role of auteur directors, genre and stardom in New Hollywood, narrative and spectacle in the contemporary blockbuster, and the relationship between production for the big and small screens. Case studies considered include Taxi Driver, Godzilla, and Gladiator, tracing the roots of New Hollywood from the 1950s to the start of the twenty-first century.
2004, Nov 02; 14:41 ::: Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 - Michael Azerrad
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 - Michael Azerrad [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Publishers Weekly
Nirvana's mega-bestselling Nevermind was credited with dramatically altering the American pop-musical landscape. Azerrad ably demonstrates that the "new" sound actually sprang from almost 15 years of innovation by hundreds of bands who remained "[b]elow the radar of the corporate behemoths." Linked under the loose rubric "indie rock," bands like Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Minor Threat and the Replacements languished in the musical minor leagues because they were too experimental for commercial radio, made unfortunate career decisions or eschewed mainstream success. Yet these bands formed the nucleus of a new youth movement. Youths who defined themselves in opposition to middle-American values found an aesthetic and a community through the music. Given the fervor for indie progeny like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the indie scene's impact was not insignificant and rock journalist Azerrad (Come as You Are) partly aims to trace that larger cultural legacy. But this thick slice of nostalgia, replete with colorful anecdotes that demystify even deliberately mystifying artists, primarily targets die-hard supporters of seminal 1980s indie bands, underground-club scenesters and 1980s college radio buffs. Though day-in-the-life bios predominate over extensive musical or cultural analysis, this is an astute insider's account of the collective accomplishment of these various bands: strong musical and political statements by people with little clout and even less financial support that reverberated throughout youth culture. A devotee himself, Azerrad is occasionally belligerent in his support of his subjects' art and attitudes, but he also deftly captures the thrill of being young, antiestablishment and impassioned the inspiring ingredients of all these bands. Photos. (July 31) Forecast: Indie culture has lost little mystique for insiders or outsiders, and with national TV and radio interviews, this tribute may draw the MTV crowd.
2004, Nov 02; 14:10 ::: Naked (1993) - Mike Leigh
Naked (1993) - Mike Leigh [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
In between his breakthrough film (Life Is Sweet) and his world sensation (Secrets and Lies), filmmaker Mike Leigh created his most abrasive and daring film, Naked. This "Angry Young Man" for the 1990s follows an acidic wanderer (Cannes award winner David Thewlis) who observes a corrosive Britain. An intellectual, bitter film filtered with debauchery and black humor, Naked follows the bemusing Johnny as he crosses in and out of doorways, drifting into old acquaintances and new lost souls. It is more of a character film than sheer entertainment and thus it can be hard to watch, but it offers one of the great performances of the 1990s. Thewlis would have been an Oscar shoo-in if he'd worn a tuxedo and repressed his emotions. He didn't, and his brilliant work went unrecognized in mainstream America. --Doug Thomas
2004, Nov 02; 14:04 ::: La Captive (2000) - Chantal Akerman
La Captive (2000) - Chantal Akerman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Handsome and hopelessly neurotic Simon (Stanislas Merhar) lives in a labyrinthine Parisian apartment with his ailing grandmother (Last Year at Marienbad"s Francoise Bertin) and Ariane (Sylvie Testud), the object of his unquenchable desire. Obsessed, Simon keeps Ariane as his willing captive; she tolerates his endless interrogations and surveillance but is able to maintain her own reserve of privacy and freedom. However, she leads a passionate double life with other women that magnifies Simon"s pain and culminates in a devastating finale. Directed by international film sensation Chantal Akerman (A Couch in New York, Night and Day), inspired by Marcel Proust"s La Prisonniere.
2004, Nov 02; 13:53 ::: The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made!
More canon fodder, courtesy of the New York Times. The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made! As these sort of lists go, it's a fairly inoffensive and safe one, covering all bases with popular and critical favorites, domestic and foreign classics, but like the AFI top 100 American list from some years back, it gives the silent era the cold shoulder. Films not included: Keaton's The General (although Boorman's is), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu, The Gold Rush, Metropolis, Man with a Movie Camera and The Birth of a Nation (which people usually shy away from including in lists like this for its incendiary racism, but you can usually replace that with Intolerance so at least Griffith's influence can be acknowledged). I'm not exactly a silent movie maven, but anyone with a cursory knowledge of film history and its evolution knows of the importance of these films. Have silent films fallen so out of favor with critics and the popular consciousness that they are no longer acknowledged, much less considered part of the canon? In a half-hearted defense of the list, these films were probably never reviewed in the pages of the Times as, in those early days, "the paper of record" considered movies an amusement and not as an artform worthy of serious discussion (that is, if I'm assuming correctly that a review in the Times is a prerequisite for inclusion).
It's also interesting to note that George Romero's gut-chomping classic Dawn of the Dead was included in the hot 1000, as its original review in the Times by Janet Maslin is (in)famous for its snide and dismissive tone and the fact that Maslin, sickened by the film's brutality, walked out of the movie after only 15 minutes. It's also interesting that this original review is not directly linked from the best 1000 list, only this laudatory appraisal by Cavett Binion from the All Movie Guide. --via http://www.bittercinema.com/2004/07/best-1000-movies-ever-made.html [Nov 2004]
2004, Nov 02; 10:01 ::: Mike Kelley: The Uncanny (2004) - Mike Kelley
Mike Kelley: The Uncanny (2004) - Mike Kelley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Taking Freud's idea of the Uncanny as a starting point, artist Mike Kelley plays Sunday curator and presents work by Jasper Johns, Paul McCarthy, Jeff Koons, Tony Oursler, and others (reprinted from a 1993 catalogue), plus photos of chewing gum wrappers, postcards, record covers, and toys, all connected to ideas of youth and the Uncanny. Essays by Mike Kelley, Christoph Grunenberg. Paperback, 8.25 x 11.25 in. / 200 pgs / 150 color.
2004, Nov 02; 09:56 ::: The Uncanny (2003) - Nicholas Royle
The Uncanny (2003) - Nicholas Royle [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
About the Author
Nicholas Royle is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. His books include Telepathy and Literature (Routledge) and Deconstruction: A User's Guide. He is coeditor of The Oxford Literary Review.
The uncanny is the weird, the strange, the mysterious, a mingling of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Even Freud, patron of the uncanny, had trouble defining it. Yet the uncanny is everywhere in contemporary culture. In this elegant book, Nicholas Royle takes the reader across literature, film, philosophy, and psychoanalysis as he marks the trace of the uncanny in the modern world. Not an introduction in the usual sense, Nicholas Royle's book is a geography of the uncanny as it manifests itself - and disturbs our thinking - in a range of disciplines.
2004, Nov 02; 09:25 ::: Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994) - Carol Joyce Oates
Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994) - Carol Joyce Oates [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The central haunting of this collection of 16 tales is not anything so concrete as a building haunted by a ghost, but rather the interior haunting of a human being by their ever-shifting sense of self. As Joyce Carol Oates puts it (in a fascinating afterword on the nature and history of the grotesque), "The subjectivity that is the essence of the human is also the mystery that divides us irrevocably from others . . . all others are, in the deepest sense, strangers." These stories, while all dark, cover a range of styles and subjects. Some are vividly violent; several are subtle and/or ironic. The New York Times praised this collection for "pull[ing] off what this author does best: exploring the tricky juncture between tattered social fabric and shaky psyche, while serving up some choice macabre moments."
Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American novelist known for being nearly as prolific as contemporary novelist Stephen King.
She teaches in the English department at Princeton University.
Oates has written several books, mostly mystery novels, under the pen name Rosamond Smith. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Carol_Oates [Nov 2004]
2004, Nov 01; 18:32 ::: Ravenous (1999) - Antonia Bird
Ravenous (1999) - Antonia Bird [Amazon.com]
When was the last time you saw a new movie set during the 1840s? The era is the first oddball thing about Ravenous, though by no means the last. This provocatively weird movie is essentially a vampire film crossed with the Donner party, that unfortunate band of hungry pioneers who got stuck in the wilderness with only themselves to eat. The setting here is Fort Spencer, a dismal collection of shacks huddled in the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Mid-winter, a nearly dead Scotsman (Robert Carlyle, from The Full Monty) staggers into camp with a story of desperate cannibalism. The skeleton crew (so to speak) manning the fort sets out to investigate, when... ah, but the twists and turns of this dark yarn should remain shocking. Be assured, however, that the cannibalism has just begun; this movie has cannibalism like Titanic had an iceberg. Director Antonia Bird (Mad Love, Priest) blends some humor into this scenario, especially in the final reels, but otherwise this is a fairly serious gore picture; a confused Twentieth Century Fox tried to market it as a black comedy, and the movie flopped anyway. It deserves a better fate--at the very least, it's not quite like anything else out there. The music, a brilliant collaboration between Michael Nyman (The Piano) and Blur's Damon Albarn, is an offbeat blend of period twang and modern drone. Carlyle and Guy Pearce (of L.A. Confidential) are fascinating in the lead roles--their sunken faces would look at home in Civil War photographs--and the eccentric supporting cast, including Jeremy Davies and David Arquette, adds flavor to the dish. --Robert Horton
2004, Nov 01; 17:44 ::: Kids (1995) - Larry Clark
Kids (1995) - Larry Clark [Amazon.com]
Larry Clark's controversial film about New York City adolescents walking the AIDS tightrope is also an unblinking look at the dehumanizing rituals of growing up. But it really doesn't add up to more than the sum of its various shocks--virgin busting, skinny-dipping, male callousness--overlayed with middle-class disapproval. Clark is hectoring us for cutting kids loose at a terrible time in modern American history, but so are a lot of other people, who also offer alternatives and ideas. The film does nothing to push us toward new thoughts, new solutions, new dreams. It is more like a window onto our worst fantasies about what our children are doing out there on the streets. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
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