Showing posts from May, 2010

Passive-aggressive (Frieze)

Yet another response, by Frieze 's chief editor Dan Fox ( 24 May 2010 ) There are more CCC discussions outside than on this blog here in the past 2 years! " spat ", " lobbing handfuls of organic flapjack at each other ", " critical storm-in-a-teacup ", " now, don’t get me wrong or nuffink… ", " upset ", " fervent fan and vociferous defender ", " lambasts ", " hits back ", " scalds "... i'll just skip the passive-aggressive attempt to escalate the animosity of impressionist journalists. "‘Real film critics giving up on art … Who is going to defend real culture then?’ he asks, ignoring the question here of who gets to say what ‘real culture’ is." If you're not born this morning, you probably know what culture is and what state it is in. Culture is not decided by the free market, culture is not what the mercantile industry chooses to greenlight, culture is not w

Le conformisme lent (Lavallée)

Sylvain Lavallée de la revue québécoise " Séquences ", commente ce débat sur le "slow cinema" après avoir lu les différents articles en questions (ce qui n'est pas le cas de tous): Le conformisme d'auteur (21 mai 2010, Séquences) "Cannes achève sa course, on y trouve dans la sélection officielle des noms comme Innaritu, Loach, Beauvois, Amalric, Liman, Mikhalkov, Tavernier… Est-ce que ces cinéastes sont tous lents? Par rapport à quoi? Ne sont-ils pas foncièrement narratifs? Par quel académisme peut-on les relier? Contrairement à ce que les textes de Thoret et de James sous-entendent, les films lents semblent être très minoritaires dans la production mondiale, même dans les festivals, qui laissent généralement la place à la variété [..] Il ne peut y avoir de conformisme des auteurs, c’est un non-sens. Il peut toutefois avoir de mauvais films d’auteur, personne ne s’en cache, mais le « genre » du film contemplatif ne peut pas être critiqué dans son en

"Boring" is not a critical argument

This Film Press drama is so entertaining! These typical controversies are the ones that split the tiny little world of film criticism between the thinkers and the followers. It's the perfect bait to lure the fake-cinephiles to reveal their true colour : only liking "slow Modern cinema" when it's fashionable and turning around when "slow cinema" loses public support from the high-brow magazines. We can see the comments aggregating after these sententious stances : the low-brow viewers who jump in the polemic to blame film criticism as a whole for preferring depth to fun; and the high-brow viewers who take this opportunity to slam the lax commercial attitude of the cinephile magazines, which tend to support the mainstream fare over anything really subversive. This front-line is all too familiar and predictable. Not to mention all the clueless readers who recount their experience with movies that are not artfilms, nor slow or contemplative! Can't you see t

Apichatpong at Cannes 2010

Trailer 2'33" Press conference for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010/UK/Thailand/France/Germany/Spain) d'Apichatpong Weerasethakul, selected in Official Competition in Cannes . The feature film is part of a multi-platform PRIMITIVE project. French/English interview 12' [ video ] | Press Conference 41' [ video ] | podcast [ MP3 ] | Press kit [ PDF ] " Hors d'œuvre " By: Antoine Thirion ( Independencia , 13 May 2010) [ENGLISH] [FRENCH] " Primitive (o el intersticio) " by Francisco Algarín Navarro & Fernando Ganzo ( Lumière , n°3, 2010) PDF [SPANISH] " Lo absoluto " by Fernando Ganzo ( eLumiè , May 2010) [ SPANISH ] [ FRENCH ] " La nuit est rouge " by Antoine Thirion ( Independencia , 23 May 2010) [FRENCH]

Long and boring art movies (Guardian)

Are all art movies long and boring? At three and a half hours, Warhol's Chelsea Girls, definitely goes on a bit. Are there any films in this œuvre which don't? By: Lisa Drysdale (3 Oct 2007, The Guardian ) Any film that pushes the 120-minute mark better have something worthwhile to say for itself. But did you ever see a long, drawn-out art house movie that was utterly compelling to the last? Last week I managed to catch a rare screening of Andy Warhol's avant-garde epic Chelsea Girls. Set in Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel, the audience plays voyeur to 12 distinct 30-minute scenes played out behind eight different hotel room doors. The Warhol twist? The episodes are double projected alongside one another onto a split screen. Just as he did with his pop art portraits of the recently deceased/newly idolised, Warhol captures the spirit of the times: Chelsea Girls is New York in its patchouli-scented, drugged-up, backcombed heyday. Thanks to Giuliani, New York

Films de festival (Thoret)

Cinéma, l'académisme d'auteur Dans son édito du dernier numéro des Cahiers du Cinéma [ n° 620 ], sobrement titré «Dégueulasse», Jean-Michel Frodon s'indigne de l'émergence insidieuse d'une expression «nouvelle» et «infâme» qui s'immiscerait dans les couloirs du CNC et autres organismes d'aide à la création cinématographique. Depuis peu (quand ?), on y entendrait ainsi parler de «films de festivals» (FDF), expression jugée «injuste»,«infâme»,«insultante». Pourtant, les FDF existent bel et bien, je les ai rencontrés. Ce sont les Films d'auteur académiques (FAA). Il serait fastidieux de procéder ici à l'inventaire des codes et de la rhétorique du FAA. Mais il suffit de parcourir certains des innombrables festivals de cinéma qui ont lieu chaque semaine dans le monde entier (j'omets ici les vitrines cannoises, berlinoise et vénitienne) pour se convaincre, moyennant un minimum d'honnêteté, de l'existence d'un genre dont l'omniprésenc

Reject-oriented antilogy (Shaviro)

I'm disappointed that Steven Shaviro's scholarly take on the debate beats around the bush. Misconceptions: He wrongly conflates CCC with Modern Cinema (Antonioni, Jancso, Tarkovsky), then blames CCC for not looking enough LIKE Modern Cinema (daring, provocative, extremist, posthuman?). Then he blames CCC for looking TOO MUCH like Modern predecessors! He uses uncontroversial big names from the consensual canon of film history, the highest masters, and then blames today's filmmakers for not being as good. He can only conceive art cinema if it is daring, provocative, original, insightful, refreshing, inventive... short of that it's not even worth considering. He calls "routine", "strictly by the number", what auteurists refer to as a stylistic signature (which explains the recurrence!) He calls "default international style" what is an unorganised transnational aesthetic convergence. I don't even know what is the "slow norm&quo

Slowish Obsession, ter

The misunderstanding sinks in deeper... Steven Shaviro fully endorses Nick James' quote in my previous post , and agrees that CCC is already a goner. But then again, he praises "new technologies", "digitalization" and "new media"... which explains where he's coming from. I beg to differ with the obtuse idea that art cinema MUST position itself against the dominant Hollywood format (the raison d'être of art was never to "oppose" commerce), that there shall be only ONE alternative style to THE dominant style, that this alternative should have to incorporate something technological or else would fail to address contemporary issues... None of this makes sense, culturally, theoretically or historically. Vadim Rizov abunds : Slow Cinema Backlash (IFC, 12 May 2010) "The problem isn't the masters. It's the second-tier wave of films that premiere at Berlin and smaller festivals, rarely get picked up for distribution, and simpl

Slow films, easy life (Sight&Sound)

Via Filmwell : "Part of the critical orthodoxy I have complained about has been the dominance of Slow Cinema, that “varied strain of austere minimalist cinema that has thrived internationally over the past ten years”, as Jonathan Romney put it [ see here ]. “What’s at stake,” he wrote, “is a certain rarefied intensity in the artistic gaze . . . a cinema that downplays event in favour of mood, evocativeness and an intensified sense of temporality.” I admire and enjoy a good many of the best films of this kind, but I have begun to wonder if maybe some of them now offer an easy life for critics and programmers. After all, the festivals themselves commission many of these productions, and such films are easy to remember and discuss in detail because details are few. The bargain the newer variety of slow films seem to impose on the viewer is simple: it’s up to you to draw on your stoic patience and the fascination in your gaze, in case you miss a masterpiece. Watching a film like t