Cahiers du Cinema

There’s a terrific essay by Emilie Bickerton on Cahiers du Cinema—the best-known film magazine in the world—in a recent issue of the New Left Review. At 30 pages, it’s a lengthy and informative piece, and is readable on-line, but for a steep fee. So I thought I’d try to summarize it here and include a few brief passages I found especially interesting. I’m often paraphrasing Bickerton below, and all unattributed quotations refer to her words.

* * *

A few basic facts. Co-founded by Andre Bazin, Cahiers du Cinema first appeared in 1951. Quickly, it began featuring several writers who would, a few years later, be responsible for the birth of the French New Wave: François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer. (A piece of trivia I never knew: Maurice Scherer changed his name to Eric Rohmer as an homage to Erich von Stroheim and Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu Manchu.) From the beginning, these writers were (1) all united by an ardent, passionate cinephilia; and (2) intent on taking aim at the kind of polished and ‘respectable’ French cinema that was in favor at the time (“the Tradition of Quality”).

The 1950’s. For years, every issue of the magazine sported a yellow cover with a single black-and-white still from the film most admired in the issue. Typically, the writer who was most enthusiastic about a film would be assigned the task of writing about it. The manifesto in the first issue decried “the malevolent neutralism that would tolerate a mediocre cinema, a prudential criticism and a stupefied public”; films championed in that issue included Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, Vittorio De Sica’s Miracle in Milan and Edward Dmytryk’s Give Us This Day.

The appearance, like a gunshot, of Truffaut’s famous and notorious article “A Certain Tendency in French Cinema” (1954) coalesced the polemical charge of the magazine:

“[That essay] formulated the politique des auteurs into an axiomatic programme. Unlike a mere director, an auteur was a film-maker with a vision of the world that was made manifest through his mise-en-scène: it was not the particular subject but the way the author chose to treat it that was important; in the hands of a master, the flimsiest detective story could become a great work. Viewing therefore involved not a concentration on the content but on this cinematic staging, which was where the auteur’s ‘griffe’, or mark, could be grasped. Even—perhaps especially—the worst films of an auteur were to be appreciated in this fashion, in contrast to an oeuvre-by-oeuvre analysis. As Doniol-Valcroze would later put it, with Truffaut’s article, ‘something bound us together. From then on it was known that we were for Renoir, Rossellini, Hitchcock . . . and against X, Y and Z.’”

The Cahiers writers of this period are occasionally misunderstood as being monolithically united with a common, homogeneous sensibility. In fact, they were a markedly diverse bunch:

“Early contributions on Nicholas Ray bring out the distinctiveness of each critic. Rivette addressed his readers with a set of elegant imperatives: this must be loved, that must be recognized—a style of criticism always conscious of the spectator he had to convince. For Godard, with characteristically infectious grandeur, ‘Bitter Victory, like the sun, makes you close your eyes. Truth is blinding.’ Truffaut was aggressive, prescriptive and darkly comical […] Rohmer was always more sober, though no less enraptured. ‘May I be forgiven my vice’, he asked readers, ‘of evoking the memory of the ancient Greeks’ to read Rebel Without A Cause as a ‘drama in five acts’. The contrast was instructive: Godard and Rivette celebrated the unprecedented in Ray; Rohmer drew out the timeless issues of morality and tragedy.”

Cahiers was not without its blind spots. It largely bypassed Third World and avant-garde cinemas for a long time; and often paid scant attention to animation, fantasy and comedies. More importantly, it was relatively apolitical, ignoring both Indo-China and the Algerian war. This was in contrast to Positif, its frequent rival, which was openly political, anti-colonial, and surrealist-influenced. Positif was founded in 1952, a year after Cahiers, and in comparison, featured less Hollywood and more Latin American and Third World cinema, and was also less auteur– and more genre-sympathetic than Cahiers.

* * *

The 1960’s. Just 40 years old, Bazin died from cancer in 1958. Rohmer succeeded him as editor. An internal revolt led by Rivette a few years later aimed to move the journal in a new direction, freeing it from its pure devotion to cinephilia, or at least connecting it to wider intellectual trends and movements. The clash came to a head over one particular issue (# 144) which both opposing factions worked on; Rohmer’s was the one that got published. But it was his last as editor; Rivette took over with the next issue, in 1963, and called for a more serious consideration of the social context of cinema. He said:

“Such are the perils of the ‘pure gaze’ attitude that leads one to complete submission before a film . . . like cows in a field transfixed by the sight of trains passing by, but with little hope of ever understanding what makes them move.”

Under Rivette and following him, Cahiers opened itself up to the broad intellectual currents of its time: anthropology (Lévi-Strauss); literary theory (Barthes); psychoanalysis (Lacan); ideology (Althusser), and structuralism. Among the most influential writers at Cahiers over the next several years were two former medical students from Algeria, Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni. Design changes announced the new track of the journal; the famous yellow (perhaps now a symbol of golden-ageism) was replaced by a different color each month. The new editorial team became more diverse and inter-disciplinary. Rivette left the editorship in 1965 to make The Nun; Comolli and Narboni took over.

* * *

The 1970’s. A time of serious political events: the struggles in Vietnam and Indo-China, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the events of May 1968. The direction at Cahiers shifted from structuralist preoccupations to a vocal political militancy.

“As a cinema magazine, ‘operating in a situation in which the majority of films are produced within the capitalist system and its dominant ideology’, the first question was to ask which films served simply to transmit that ideology and which attempted to intercept it, to reveal its mechanisms. They discerned seven categories altogether. The first and largest, whether ‘commercial’ or ‘art-house’, ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’, was of films ‘imbued through and through with with the dominant ideology’, and gave no indication that their makers were even aware of the fact. In form, they ‘totally accept the established system of depicting reality: “bourgeois realism” . . . Nothing in these films jars against the ideology’. A second category—Straub’s Not Reconciled and Rocha’s Terra em Transe were cited—directly challenged the ideological system both through form and subject matter; or category three, did so indirectly (Bergman’s Persona). Fourth, with Costa-Gavras singled out for criticism, were apparently political films that were in fact unremittingly ideological. Fifth, apparently ideological films (Ford, Dreyer, Rossellini) which in fact reveal the ideology to be cracking under its internal tensions. Good (formally reflective) and bad (pseudo-realist) forms of grass-roots cinema direct made up categories six and seven.”

This was a time of dense Cahiers texts, often with a strong Lacanian-Althusserian influence. Essays—famous examples include those on Young Mr. Lincoln and Morocco—were longer and thicker than ever before. The influence spread to Britain: Screen was formed using Cahiers as a model. A strong turn toward Maoism followed, and for that and other reasons, several long-time writers left the magazine (Truffaut, Doniol-Valcroze, Kast, Eisenschitz, Sylvie Pierre). Publication and sales sank to an all-time low.

Serge Daney and Serge Toubiana took over the reins in 1974. A reorientation followed, Daney advocating a heterogeneity and producing several key texts during the next few years. Without abandoning its political commitment, Cahiers attempted to get back in touch with its cinephilic roots while maintaining connections to the intellectual culture of the time. (Foucault, Deleuze, and Rancière all appeared in the magazine during this time.) However, a slow move toward the mainstream began in the late 70’s as a response to large-scale corporatization of the media which, Cahiers decided, needed to be addressed and taken up seriously in the magazine.

* * *

The 1980’s to the present. Hollywood films (E.T., Apocalypse Now, The Shining) now began to get wide coverage as Cahiers moved toward populism, consciously seeking to expand its reader base. Design changes introduced full-color and more white space for easy readability. Daney had quit by this time (“Toubiana has a very precise idea of what he wants to do with the journal: to relocate it at the cinematic centre. My idea is less clearly defined, more vagabond—but his has a future.”) The Le Monde group purchased Cahiers in the late 90’s.

Bickerton adds:

“Cinema has already entered its second century. Yet in order to flourish, it requires a broader critical culture around it, arguing, pushing, demanding more. The pockets of interest—an experimental initiative here, innovative festival there—all too often occur in isolation. Without a responsive audience around it, any film can exist only in the temporality of its own screening. What sustained Cahiers was its use of writing (with pen and camera) and later theory, as the means to grasp the unarticulated potentials and achievements of film. These tools remain essential for film criticism today. Recalling Bazin, Daney wrote, ‘Cinephilia was not just a relation to cinema, it was a relation to the world through cinema.’”

[…] “Cahiers still appears each month, now in a glossy magazine format indistinguishable from the ruck of mainstream cinema guides. Festival films, commercial offerings, educational angles, archives: the well-intentioned coverage is wider than ever, the style mannered, if curiously affectless; the overall effect—so much to choose from, so little at stake—has the mind-numbing quality of an upmarket consumer report. For thirty years, the journal’s interventions had helped shape the way cinema has been understood and experienced, popularly and theoretically. Cahiers both engaged and provoked film-makers into action, making it for a long time, to paraphrase Alexandre Astruc, the real stylo-caméra. Today it would seem little more stimulating than the inflight magazine on the plane to the next film festival. How did it come to this?”

* * *

More Emilie Bickerton articles: On Jafar Panahi at Vertigo; literary critic James Wood at Culture Wars; Martha Fiennes’ Chromophobia at Spiked.

* * *

Your take on Bickerton’s account of Cahiers du Cinema? And/or any Cahiers-related reflections you may have? Your thoughts are most welcome. [Time flies: this is post #250 at the blog…]

pic: Divine reads Cahiers du Cinéma in Polyester (John Waters, 1981).

Comments (86):

  1. girish

    February 19, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Some links:
    For all of us list-lovers: Cahiers du Cinema best films of the year lists all the way from 1951 to the present.
    Brian Darr has a post on the year (2006) of movies in San Francisco.
    At Elusive Lucidity: Zach Campbell writes a letter to Matthew Clayfield on John Cassavetes.

  2. Daniel Kasman

    February 19, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    This is an interesting, and to my mostly ignorant mind, fairly accurate survey of the evolution of Cahiers. Most of what I know about the magazine is from the introductions to the invaluable books translated by Jim Hillier on Cahiers criticism (I’ve only read the 50s and 60s ones, has anyone looked at the later book?). I wish more of the writing outside of the years made famous by the New Wave critics was translated. I highly recommend the blog which focuses almost exclusively on Cahiers content, and is an invaluable on-line resource.

  3. alsolikelife

    February 19, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    wonderful overview and thanks for digesting it into a quick primer!

    “the malevolent neutralism that would tolerate a mediocre cinema, a prudential criticism and a stupefied public” – that’s priceless. i struggled both with and against prudence while writing my review of COLOSSAL YOUTH (to appear on House Next Door this week) — I wanted to be fair and discerning, but less for the sake of politeness than for a reaffirming a fundamental passion for cinema.

    it’s stunning to think of the creative brain trust in the early days of Cahiers, with no less than four “Hall of Fame” directors regularly contributing. You’d be damned to find four directors writing on any film on a regular basis these days.

    i found the seven ideological categories of filmmaking they hatched in the 70s to be interesting, especially in light of my recent viewing of THE OFFICIAL STORY (which I think would go in category four). It would be interesting to see which buckets contemporary films would fall under today. I actually find this to be a more in-depth politique than the “auteur vs. director” model introduced by Cahiers 1.0.

  4. Filipe Furtado

    February 19, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    I never get why everytime someone wrote this sort of big overview of Cahiers history, it has to end with a 80’s-present, as if the magazine was pretty stable afterwards. I also don’t get this line: “Cahiers still appears each month, now in a glossy magazine format indistinguishable from the ruck of mainstream cinema guides”, which is sort of true from any period of the magazine but the maoist one (those yellow covers are pretty unique but that has more to do with the fact that the magazine kept the same layout for ages). The same goes to the more commercial covers.

    I would tak those Hilliers book with a little suspicion. Both the intros and the structure (this is more clear in the 60’s one) try pretty hard to sell an idea of evolution towards theory that is far less clear in the magazine itself.

  5. Unknown

    February 19, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    I was quite disappointed in this article. It provides very little insight and information that can’t be easily found in all the standard English academic publications on the French New Wave and Cahiers legacy.

    Still, the only important overviews (and analyses) of post-Mao Cahiers are Berenice Reynaud’s long introduction to the fourth volume (ed. David Wilson) in the Hillier-begun Cahiers anthologies, and Chris Darke’s excellent article on 1980s Cahiers in the Winter 1993 issue of the journal SCREEN. Darke also touches on these developments in his writings in Film Comment on Daney and Cahiers’ 50th anniversary.

    Those are worth seeking out, and Emilie Bickerton’s bland overview doesn’t add much of anything new to the story. It’s especially ludicrous that it so heavily focuses on the most extensively discussed first two decades of the magazine. Why?!?! What’s the use?!?!

    – Paul Fileri

  6. Anonymous

    February 19, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Another nice find, Girish. For those in the Bay Area who want to read the whole article for a mere $10, Modern Times on Valencia carries New Left Review (of course) and, as of this afternoon, still has several copies of the Nov/Dec issue on the shelf.

    They also have a good selection of muckraking documentaries on DVD.

  7. Steve

    February 19, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Is Bickerton’s entire article as dismissive of recent CAHIERS as you make it suggest? Does she discuss it in the context of the evolution of POSITIF, film coverage in LES INROCKUPTIBLES, the creation of TRAFIC, etc.? I wouldn’t make any great claims for present-day CAHIERS, but I do find it more worthwhile reading than, say, SIGHT AND SOUND or most other English-language film magazines.

  8. girish

    February 19, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you, everyone!

    Phyrephox — Great blog recommendation there. I just subscribed to the RSS feed.

    Kevin — It would be interesting to apply those fine-grained categories to today’s cinema; it never occurred to me.

    Filipe — “1980s to the present” was a paragraph title that I made up for the purposes of the post; it’s not in the article. Instead, there is a section (a couple of pages long) on “1980s-1990s” in the article. It was difficult for me to take this extensive 30 page article and condense it into a blog post, so I had to sacrifice many (most) of the details…

    Rob — I couldn’t find the issue in my library and had to order it by interlibrary loan instead. Has anyone else noticed that when libraries drop subscriptions to print versions of articles and go with the electronic version alone (in research databases), it takes you at least 3 months before the article becomes available to the library? (Which is too bad.) I think it’s done to get the library to purchase the periodical twice, once in print form and then in electronic form…

    Paul — Thanks for the references. And I should mention that I’ve enjoyed your writing (Film Comment; Val Lewton, etc).

    I wasn’t aware of either the Reynaud or the Darke/Screen articles!

    “It’s especially ludicrous that it so heavily focuses on the most extensively discussed first two decades of the magazine. Why?!?! What’s the use?!?!”

    Actually, it devotes as much time to the third decade (the 70s) as it does it to the first (the 50s), which is more than the coverage on either the 60s or the 80s/90s. And the article didn’t strike me as bland, but instead quite strongly polemical…! But I’m sure I’ve read much less Cahiers than you have. I’ve only recently started to learn the details of its history…

    Paul, thanks again for thoughtfully taking the time to give me the specific Darke and Reynaud references! I will go hunt them down now.

    P.S. in general to all: Just a word on the article: it helps to keep in mind that this was an overview (and a relatively extensive one) written not for a film-specialist publication but for a generalist one…

  9. girish

    February 20, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Steve, the entire article does not dismiss recent Cahiers; most of the article traces the history of the journal from 1950’s to the present. (Yes, Positif and Trafic are taken up; I can’t remember about Les Inrock.) But both the opening and the closing passages unambiguously present Bickerton’s polemical appeal, that Cahiers is not what it once was or what it could be today.

    From what I’ve seen of recent Cahiers (I have about 30 or so issues from the last few years), and from what my limited French can judge, I agree with you about your comparison with Sight & Sound, etc.

  10. girish

    February 20, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Ack. I meant to say above: when libraries drop subscriptions to print versions of periodicals [not articles]…

  11. Tuwa

    February 20, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Girish, you’ve hit on the subject of longstanding library debate: print journals have the implicit license “you buy it, it and perpetual access are yours”; database access tends to have the explicit license “pay for access, renegotiate periodically.” Some libraries have refused to deaccession print resources in lieu of database access simply because it’s such a pain to negotiate perpetual licensing for digital resources. Of course you can serve more people at once with a digital resource but the tradeoff becomes length of access and, with it, often a push to verify the “right” to access and limit what can be done with it. It’s a thorny issue.

  12. Anonymous

    February 20, 2007 at 6:39 am

    Thanks for summarizing all this, girish! I just posted a few conflicting assessments of Pauline Kael, and they raise similar points about criticism. How much of what a critic writes reflects a devotion to “theory” (even the so-called “auteur theory”) and how much has to do with the film itself (or filmmaker him/herself) in a non-theorectical context? I appreciate the spontaneous, improvisational aspect of deadline-driven criticism, but I don’t think it’s by any means the only kind that should be practiced. And what happens when this “gut response” (as Adrian Martin described it) becomes more important to the critic than examining the film itself with an analytical intelligence? I take umbrage at pronouncements (even though, sometimes, they’re funny) — when the critic is saying “This is the way it is because I say so,” rather than, “Let me share with you what I see.” I think all the Cahiers New Wave crowd made far better filmmakers than critics (based on the English translations I’ve read), but they wouldn’t have made their films as they did if they hadn’t been critics first. And look at how different their films are!

    I wholeheartedly agree that movies need to be rescued from the museums, where they are enshrined and embalmed. But how and where to get them shown? Is DVD the best available alternative? I don’t have an answer yet…

    Great quote from Paul Schrader in defense of Kael (whose obsession with dividing things into “art” and “trash” has always puzzled me):

    “She wrote for people who went to movies, not for those who read magazines — a technical distinction, but an important one.”

  13. girish

    February 20, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks, Jim & Tuwa.

    Tuwa — I didn’t realize the difference between those two distinct and different kinds of access licenses…

    Jim — Your choice of Pauline Kael for the Contrarian Blog-A-Thon is a brilliant one! And I had never seen the 2002 Artforum discussion of her before…

    In fact, I think Kael might even deserve a blog-a-thon of her own! Her reputation in American film-crit is so legendary that I think that many of us are a bit reluctant to mount a sustained and serious critique of it (at least in the blogosphere). Perhaps I’m in the minority, but my struggles with her criticism have only grown with time…

  14. girish

    February 20, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Some links:
    — Just read these Contrarian Blog-A-Thon posts: Steve Carlson on Freddy Got Fingered; three different posts at Andy Horbal’s place; and The Siren on Once Upon A Time In The West (I remember having a spirited discussion with Mr. and Mrs. Campaspe about this film!).
    Matt Clayfield responds to Zach’s letter on Cassavetes.
    Acquarello has been reviewing films from the Film Comment Selects series.
    Aaron Hillis reviews and grades films from the Berlin filmfest.

  15. andyhorbal

    February 20, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    I am really going to miss having free access to any and every periodical that interests me after I’ve left the employ of my major university. Oh well, at least I use this resource: it’s shocking how infrequently I venture down to Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum to watch that more famous Andy’s films…

  16. HarryTuttle

    February 20, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    via GreenCine Daily : e-Cahiers, the new online version special for English readers!
    Girish, check out Lynch’s doodles published page 20-23, from the exhibition of his oeuvre in Paris (soon). 😉

    Also an ongoing thread at the Cahiers forum about the Mao years

  17. Anonymous

    February 20, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    I’ve found your last two posts about film criticism and Cashiers very interesting Girish. Thanks for sharing them. They’ve both inspired me to think more about how and why I write about film.

    I think a Pauline Kael blog-a-thon would be really interesting since I’ve been thinking a lot about female film criticism lately. If you plan one this year I’d happily participate.

  18. girish

    February 20, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Andy, I’ve been meaning to make a weekend pilgrimage to Pittsburgh and the Warhol Museum; it’s about three hours away but I’ve never been…

    Thanks for posting those, Harry! That’s very interesting and timely (and bookmarkable)…

    Cinebeats, I’m glad you liked the posts. I was just reading your recent, detailed write-ups on Cammell/Roeg’s Performance and Fox. Also, I tried to subscribe to your blog but couldn’t seem to locate the RSS feed. If you know where it is, perhaps you could send me a note or post it here? Thanks. I’d like to be able to keep up with your posts…

  19. Anonymous

    February 20, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed my recent rambling posts about Performance & Fox Girish.

    I believe the RSS feed for my blog can be found here:

    (I’m still figuring out my way around

  20. Anonymous

    February 20, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Harry, thanks for pointing out that Cahiers English translation. Love the way the pages turn — and they even incorporate YouTube clips (like the one of the guys who discover Lynch making his promotional appearance on Laura Dern’s behalf, sitting with a cow on Sunset Boulevard — the title of one of his favorite films, BTW).

    That intro to the “Lynch Event” strikes me as Cahiers at its worst: so much puffery and pontificating; so little analysis. (Well, it is only an intro…) But it’s kind of embarrassing. How many times does the writer use “great” and “artist”? (I know it’s a translation, but is it a bad one?) I want to say to this person (in French, if I could): Stop telling me how “great” David Lynch is and start telling me why you think so, based on your observations of his work!

    “the greatest exhibit ever of his graphic work”

    “a first-rate contemporary artist”

    “splendid photos, drawings and paintings”

    “broad, cohesive artistic vision”

    [That’s all in the first paragraph, and already I feel like I’m being gassed. Is this writer the Peter Travers of France?]

    “the many talents of Lynch, the artist”

    “one of a (great) artist in the classical fields of painting, musical composition or literature”

    [this is in a FILM journal?]

    “his perfect command of form”

    “And this makes the great artist David Lynch an artist of filmmaking perhaps for the first time.”

    “the broadest, most convincing evidence of David Lynch’s artistic creativity” (reference to Lynch’s non-film work)


    Stephane Delorme’s piece on “Inland Empire” actually has something to offer. Too bad it was preceded by the print equivalent of a hard-sell TV trailer pounding you with superlatives.h

  21. jtakagi

    February 21, 2007 at 4:01 am

    In defense of CdC, I think they can get by with such rapt praise of David Lynch because of their tireless support of his entire body of work. My assumption is that their readership already either loves Lynch or, based on prior experience with the magazine, already accepts Lynch as a cinema god, there is no need to prove his worth.

    I would be most interested in knowing what Bickerton had to say about the most recent changes in the magazine. A few years back (when Tesson took over, part of the Le Monde acquisition I assume), there was an almost complete turnover of the writing staff. I’m curious to know how this was perceived.

  22. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Hi Jonathan: What you say is undoubtedly true. Which has me all the more perplexed as to why they would feel the need to bludgeon readers with so many hard-sell superlatives. It’s the sort of suck-up stuff I’d expect in People magazine, perhaps, but not from a serious film journal. But that’s a pet peeve of mine about about film criticism in general: It’s too much about about praise or damnation and not enough about simply describing, explaining, illuminating, exploring. That’s where I think the much-hated (by critics like me) star ratings actually come in handy. You can spend your limited review space actually talking about the movie rather than bloating your word count with a lot of pejoratives and superlatives. For those who complain that they can’t tell whether a critic “likes” or “dislikes” something from the review — hey, there’s always the handy star rating to quantify it! (OK, I’m being facetious — but not entirely.)

  23. girish

    February 21, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you, Jim, Jonathan and Cinebeats.

    Jonathan — The subject of the turnover in the writing staff after Tesson arrived isn’t taken up in the article.

    Bickerton says about this recent period:

    “By the time Toubiana left, officially in 2000, Cahiers was battling for sales againsit magazines such as Premiere and Studio, which shared a similar place in the market. A deal with the Le Monde publishing group came into effect in 1999, when Franck Nouchi and Charles Tesson arrived. Nouchi (an editor-in-chief at Le Monde) described it as an act ‘to save the world’s greatest film magazine’, an explanation striking for its vacuity and detachment from any critical project. The format altered again in 2000 with further coverage of television, video, dvd and industry news. Sales continued to fall, with circulation down to 12,000 in 2002, a drop of 13 per cent on the previous year, and a further drop of 11 per centt in 2003. Le Monde considered shutting the review down, but opted instead for editorial change, bringing one of their own, Jean-Michel Frodon, as Director in Chief.

    “A standard issue today is nearly a hundred pages, a slightly over-sized magaine with four sections: the monthly ‘event’, usually a retrospective or a film festival; the ‘Cahiers critiques’, varying length reviews of the latest releases; the “Journal’, no longer a mini-newspaper, but functional news listing; and “Repliques’, a random collection of short articles on or around cinema, past and present, from a selection of theorists, critics or film specialists. Interesting writers, it should be said, continue to make occasional contributions. Yet as an intellecual project, Cahiers is finished — a victim of the same market realism on display in a 2000 interview with Toubiana in Debat. Only the American industry had been able to keep pace with the changing nature of the audiences, the former editor insisted; it had far more money and was better at the reinvention of genres. In Europe, ‘what is there new to say?’ Cahiers’ reception of Amelie seemed to confirm his outlook: the salient comparisons were with Shrek and Tomb Raider‘s Lara Croft.”

  24. girish

    February 21, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    From a post by Chuck Tryon:

    “Jason Mittell alerted me to a bill currently under consideration in the Arizona senate that would severely curtail academic freedom. According to Inside Higher Ed, if this bill were to become law, faculty members could be fined for endorsing “one side of a social, political, or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.” As Jason points out, such a law would essentially make it impossible for many faculty members to do their jobs.In my media courses, I consistently take poisitions on “partisan” issues such as media ownership, media ethics, advertising discourse, and political coverage. Like him, I feel little obligation to teach “both sides” of the debate when students are usually only given one side of the story. Fauclty members could also be fined for “endorsing, supporting or opposing any pending legislation, regulation or rule under consideration by local, state or federal agencies.” Professors who violate this rule would be fined $500.”

  25. andyhorbal

    February 21, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Girish, I’m sure that this is too short notice and that a weekday wouldn’t work anyway, but to anyone else contemplating a visit to our beloved Warhol:

    They’re hosting Peter Tscherkassky himself on Tuesday, March 6!

    And while I’m talking Pittsburgh film news: Inland Empire is locked (I’m pretty sure it’s locked) for a March 23 opening.

    Oh! I’m glad I typed in the word verification letters wrong because I just thought of something:

    Girish, if you’re thinking about visiting the Warhol you might look at the dates May 11-20: that’s when the second edition of the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival will be running. They had a pretty good lineup last year and they’ll only get better: the fest director Harish Saluja (The Journey) is a dynamo…

  26. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Finally! Please see Ed Halter’s review “Béla Tarr’s Slow Burn” in the Village Voice. Give this writer a promotion!

    “Festivals, exhibitors, and critics maintain— both in practice and in attitude—an invisible demarcation between the avant-garde and the art film. On one side of this curatorial DMZ lie figures like Ken Jacobs or Jennifer Reeves, ghettoized in experimental sidebars, small-gauge cinematheques, and galleries, cultivating relatively insular but devoted audiences. Just over the border sits a mostly non-American panoply of visionary directors—say, for example, Claire Denis or Apichatpong Weerasethakul—more widely celebrated for their expansions of narrative form.

    But this relatively recent aesthetic apartheid (was Warhol cordoned off from Godard in the ’60s?) feels increasingly untenable. Availability won’t work as a criterion; after all, New Yorkers have far more opportunities to see Stan Brakhage in theaters than Tsai Ming-liang, and DVD has made each equally available otherwise. Nor will a narrative versus non-narrative distinction hold: Stateside, at least, Reeves’s THE TIME WE KILLED was too often categorized as mere “experimental narrative,” unlike the equally idiosyncratic storyline of Apichatpong’s TROPICAL MALADY. And let’s be frank: Mention names from either camp to the average moviegoer and you’ll elicit both blank stares and broken movie dates.”

    So true . . .

  27. HarryTuttle

    February 21, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Jim Emerson,
    You’re right about that overblown introduction, but Jean-Michel Frodon isn’t famous for his subtelty… look at his star rating on last page, he gives away 4 stars like there is no tomorrow.
    This said, I believe there is a cultural barrier to consider. The word “artist” is not an eltist curse over here, it’s a common job. We call pop singers “artists”.
    Also the foundation Cartier hosting this exhibition is specialized in the contemporean art scene, so Lynch is welcomed for his pictural artwork not the attraction of a movie star promotional tour.
    “greatest exhibit” just means “largest”.
    The rest is suck up lyrism indeed, although it is just an introduction for the neophyt, there are 10 pages of in-depth analysis following it. Did you listen to the soundbites (in e-Cahiers) of that american journalist interviewing him (I assume she’s an art critic or something), she’s all “woaw… amazing… I can’t believe it…” 😉
    I can’t say I was annoyed by this though, Lynch is far from being overpraised/overexposed as it is, even less at home than in France.

  28. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    jmac: You know, I think Warhol actually was cordoned off from Godard (and other European “art” films) in the ’60s. His films certainly didn’t get national releases in commercial cinemas (I’m talking about Warhol’s “experimental” films, not the Morrissey features.)

    Just thought I’d throw that in. And as Joe Flaherty used to say: “You can knock me down and stomp on my head if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am…”

  29. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for that perspective, Harry! I guess I just accepted that (especially within the pages of Cahiers du Cinema), Lynch would be considered an artist, that would be understood as the reason for doing the “Lynch Event” in the first place, and that it wouldn’t be necessary (or desirable) to flog the thing so heavily — especially once people are already reading the magazine.

    But I’m all too painfully aware of the American goo-gaw you refer to. I mentioned it in my own post about Lynch’s Q&A with “Inland Empire” in Seattle…

  30. jmac

    February 21, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks for your note. I cannot comment on how the Andy Warhol/Godard connection was perceived in the 60s. However, by the term “invisible demarcation” I don’t think that the writer is referencing national distribution in commercial movie theaters. Please. We are still working on the recognition of experimental cinema just here in NY!

    The point of Ed Halter’s essay is to see how the avant-garde film and the widely recognized international art film are connected. This may not seem like an epiphany, but it is!

    P.S. Thanks for your blog-a-thon & comments! So much fun. I’ve enjoyed reading!

  31. girish

    February 21, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Hey thanks, everyone, for the links and the comments!

    Just emerged from classes, exhausted and wrung out like a sponge…

  32. Brian Darr

    February 22, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Well, I hope you get some good rest then, amigo!

    Interesting that Apichatpong Weerasethakul is among the names brought out to represent one side of the fence, as he’s very open about his a-g influences: Warhol, Baillie, etc.

    Also, I might note that his next film will be “distributed” here in San Francisco at an art gallery screening room, for six showings over three days. Same with Tsai’s newest film. I guess that, despite rapturous reviews in local papers for Tropical Malady and Goodbye, Dragon Inn, their commercial theatrical engagements weren’t lucrative enough to inspire the theatre owners to want to continue showing their films there.

    I think Halter is very eloquent in describing the divide, and the ludicrous of it. However, I’m under the impression (not having lived through the era) that Warhol and Godard were cordoned off from each other to some extent, though there were attempts to tear down the fence. Flipping through Mekas’ Movie Journal I’m always struck by the passages where he recounts a European filmmaker such as Varda or Antonioni visiting New York, being exposed to examples of the “New American Cinema”, and dismissing it as mere dabbling. Who can forget Andrei Tarkovsky’s angry reaction to seeing Brakhage’s films at Telluride in 1983?

    The thing is, it’s in a way easier to forgive, understand, explain this dividing line between the foreign “art film” and the “personal” experimental film in the past, than it is today, with all the possibilities technology has opened up for cross-pollination, communication, and putting the means of production in the hands of filmmakers rather than financiers. Luckily I do think there are signs of the wall being slowly dismantled, but it’s a brick-by-brick process at best.

  33. Brian Darr

    February 22, 2007 at 3:55 am

    That should be “ludicrousness”, the noun, not the adjective.

  34. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Brian mon ami–as always, eloquently put…
    And I didn’t know about the Tarkovsky/Brakhage story–what a read!! Thanks for posting it!

  35. andyhorbal

    February 22, 2007 at 4:48 am

    Now that you’ve introduced me to that reaction I’ll never forget it. Wow…

    Incidentally, I love Rybczynski’s (“the Polish animator”) Tango (1981). And Zanussi translating! I have a new answer to that old chestnut “If you could go back in time to a screening… “

  36. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Andy, I’ve never seen it! Just added it to my Netflix queue, thanks for the tip…

    And Tscherkassky in person sounds like a super-cool event! I look forward to your blogging it…

  37. Noel Vera

    February 22, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Tango is on DVD? Really? Interesting. It was a winner at Annecy–one time Alliance Francais lent me tapes of all the Annecy winners (Part 1, Part 2, and that stood out, along with Svankmajer’s Dimensions of Dialogue (which Anthony Lane called his masterpiece).

  38. Anonymous

    February 22, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Brian — Thank you for bringing back memories of Telluride 1983! (I didn’t know about the whole Tarkovsky/Brakhage thing — especially interesting because I’ve thought of Brakhage while watching some of those long takes of scummy water in Tarkovsky!) Of course, what I remember most was tributee Richard Widmark taking the stage at the Sheridan Opera House the night after Tarkovsky’s tribute and attacking Mr. T for all the things he said about American filmmaking. And you know where Tarkovsky was just before the fest, yes? He was making a pilgrimage to John Ford land, driving through Monument Valley with Zanussi! (See “A Year of the Quiet Sun” for one of the results of that trip.) Great memories…

  39. Uncle Gustav

    February 22, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Apropos of nothing, this clip of Joni Mitchell in the studio with Herbie Hancock and an exceptional lineup of musicians. There’s no embed code, so I couldn’t place it on my blog. It appears to have been shot in 35mm. Does anyone know if this is part of a documentary or anything that may be available on DVD?

  40. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Thanks, Noel, Jim and Flickhead.

    The Joni footage with Bobby McFerrin, David Sanborn, etc. is most likely from a 1987 Showtime show called “Coast to Coast,” hosted by Herbie Hancock on which she was a guest (details). I don’t know if it’s on DVD…

  41. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Michael Guillen points to an interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa and to a number of online-available interviews in Believer magazine.

  42. Flickhead

    February 22, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks girish!

  43. Anonymous

    February 22, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the link to the Brakhage essay, Brian! It was like reading an absurdist play. I could never have expected Tarkovsky’s outrage. It’s fascinating. But maybe his reaction makes sense in a certain way? Do you ever feel when writing that even a basic grammatical tool, such as the exclamation point, can be an absolute blight, and so wrong, when compared to the use of maybe an ellipsis or question mark?

    (I really need to stop daydreaming and start working now. By the way, I love your description of a “cross-pollination.” That is really beautiful.)

  44. Michael Guillen

    February 22, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Neat Joni clip, Flickhead, thanks! I’m pretty sure I have that program on VHS somewhere in the closet. If I ever locate it, I’ll transfer it to dvd for you. I’m a major Joniphile. Met her in Memphis once. She gave me a rose. The performance I keep hoping will turn up somewhere is back during the Bread & Roses concerts at Berkeley’s Greek Theater, around the time of “Mingus.” She sang “The Thrill is gone” with B.B. King. It was a truly amazing duet.

    Coincidentally I was just cracking a joke about Joni in that Believer piece. Your timing, as ever, is impeccable, Girish.

  45. Anonymous

    February 22, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    I can’t believe so many of you are Joni Mitchell devotees, too! BTW, there’s a new book in in the 33 1/3 series on “Court and Spark,” by Sean Nelson. A song-by-song critical approach.

  46. Tuwa

    February 22, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Fascinating Tarkovsky/Brakhage writeup.

  47. The 'Stache

    February 22, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    They really should do a book on Hejira. That’s Joni’s masterwork, one of the few pieces of pop lyrical writing that really should be called poetry.

  48. Gareth

    February 22, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I’m going back to the original topic after the conversation has already gone in many different directions, but I was struck by a few of Bickerton’s comments, both specific and general.

    On a very specific point, her reference to Les Cahiers‘ reception of the film Amélie intrigued and bemused me if for no other reason than the opening paragraph of their review comments that, unlike many other large-scale French films of the time, the film is ‘animated by no fantasy of American cinema’, and indeed the two explicit points of comparison made by the writer are with Jules et Jim and Les Disparus de Saint-Agil, a Christian-Jaque opus that would no doubt have raised the hackles of Cahiers critics (one of the points of the review is how, in their view, Jeunet makes no real distinction between the cinéma de qualité and the films of the nouvelle vague).

    On a broader point, the magazine is clearly suffering from something of a crisis of identity at present, though collapsing sales figures are by no means unique for French monthlies (Le Monde diplomatique, for example, has experienced a major drop in sales, to give the example of another ideologically-minded publication with its own identity crisis). I don’t see this dynamic as being entirely internal, either: the magazine was roundly criticised in the past for failing to discuss, say, African cinema, whereas now that they’ve addressed that to some extent Pinkerton comments, rather patronisingly, that the ‘well-intentioned coverage is now wider than ever’; damned if you do…

    There are also so many competing interests on the part of cinéphiles now that it’s very hard to cater for the broad church with seeming to be a bit of a mixed bag. It’s illustrative to go back and look at the number of films being released in Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s (the magazine had a page or two outlining the films and their countries of origin – fascinating in itself) and to note how one could, in the absence of DVD, realistically have kept up with quite a few of the films coming out month by month. Now that’s simply impossible, and if the magazine doesn’t pay at least lip service to these many different cinemas, it’ll be condemned anyway.

    As to the comparison with other monthly ‘glossies’, I don’t really think the point holds; certainly a few more Cahiers covers than before are of very mainstream fare (like The Departed) but they also focus at length on filmmakers like Johnnie To, Pascale Ferran, David Lynch, and the interior contents (especially the tone and content of the reviews) bear little resemblance to those of Studio or the French Première, while the puff pieces – which I enjoy, of course! – in those magazines are more or less entirely absent from Les Cahiers.

  49. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Yes, a huge Joni-head here!

    Court and Spark, Blue and Hejira are probably my favorites but I also like her much-maligned 80s “commercial” period (e.g. Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm).

    Yes, TLRHB, Hejira has great lyric-writing (“It was a hexagram of the heavens/It was the strings of my guitar”!) and also her killer rhythm guitar parts + all that great Jaco fretless bass playing….mighty stuff.

    Speaking of 33 1/3, they even have a blog…

  50. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Great points, Gareth. Thanks for taking the time to make them.

    And what you say about the Amelie review is interesting; I’ve never read it. As Steve said earlier, I think Cahiers still outclasses most of today’s English-language film mags. But it isn’t as exclusively committed to ‘art cinema’ or a-g cinema as say the Canadian Cinema-scope.

    I’m wondering: what are French print mags/journals that are seriously (maybe even more or less exclusively) committed to such cinema? Also, I’m wondering if others have any ideas on this: Where is the some of the best French writing on cinema to be found these days? (Whether print, online, or both…) Any tips?

  51. girish

    February 22, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    So here’s the Internets for ya: the number one google search that brings people to this blog is a small, generic pic of Emmanuelle Devos in some long-forgotten post…

  52. Anonymous

    February 22, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Everything from “Blue” through “Hejira” is priceless, but I’m with TLHRB: I think “Hejira” is my favorite. (In college I had to do a “best albums of the ’70s list, and that was the Joni Mitchell one I chose…) “Song for Sharon” sums up so much of what she’s about — longing for “romance” while fully aware that it’s an illusion. It runs (like a “River”) right back through “The Last Time I Saw Richard”…

  53. Tuwa

    February 23, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Girish, I’m curious how your images are indexed on Google in the first place. I’ve read a bit about what’s supposed to happen and so far as I can tell, none of my images turn up. Puzzling.

    But yeah, that’s cool.

  54. Anonymous

    February 23, 2007 at 1:44 am

    I’d also like to know how you did that Google search. Just for fun, I just did a search with my blog title. The top blog was for The Savage Innocents, followed by Beautiful Boxer. I now have to wonder if I would have gotten more hits for the Ray film had I used a screenshot of Yoko Tani going topless. And to answer a likely question – this is an R0 disc for those wanting to add this film to your collection.

  55. Michael Guillen

    February 23, 2007 at 2:21 am

    How odd. There’s this Joni vibe in the air. The other day buying groceries for dinner I was surprised to hear “River” on the music system. The other evening at PFA watching “v.o.”, one of the 70s vintage gay porn appropriated by William E. Jones depicts a breakup where one of the guys is rifling through albums. They didn’t show anything other than the corner but I recognized “Clouds” rightaway.

    Many years back, shortly before he passed away, Wally Breese and I became friends. He knew of my love for Joni and tried to talk me into starting up a website for her. I gave him all the Joni-paraphernalia I had for his archives and contributed some time and writing to the launch of that site. Some of my first online writing were treatments of “Sex Kills” and “Moon at the Window.” They’re no longer on the website I notice. Perhaps I should replicate them over on The Evening Class?

    All of Wally’s hard work won him the chance to meet Joni on concert tour and then to receive a personal invitation to her home. He was very ill by that point and could hardly enjoy the experience as he deserved. One of the great gifts he gave me during our friendship was a compilation of Joni rareities. Have you heard her Canadian Coca Cola ad?

  56. Uncle Gustav

    February 23, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Maya, if you’re sincere in that offer to copy the Joni TV appearance, thanks! I’d love to see it.

    Joni also recorded two excellent tracks on Herbie Hancock’s Gershwin’s World.

  57. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Tuwa and Peter — I found out about the Devos google search through the referral stats I’m provided by my domain provider. They listed the top 10 search terms that brought people to the site. And some of those terms were weird…!

    Didn’t realize how big of a Joni fan you were, Maya.
    Re: your write-ups, indeed, why not replicate them at The Evening Class? I’m sure we’ll enjoy reading them.

  58. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Great, must-read conversation about B films at David Bordwell’s place among faculty and students at the University of Wisconsin. Here’s the opening:

    “The Film faculty and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin—Madison are a close-knit bunch. Keeping in touch via email, we exchange ideas about teaching and research, as well as passing along gossip and peculiar things that appear on the Internets. Our community includes grad students and alumni from several generations. The youngest are taking courses now; the most senior were here in the early 1970s, and they still have all their marbles.

    Over three days earlier this month, there was a lightning round of exchanges on B films. With the permission of the participants, I’m posting highlights of the correspondence here because it exemplifies one way in which the Web can advance film studies.

    Most film writing on the web comments on current films or video releases. Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re a researcher into film, you also want to talk about history. It’s rare to find an online debate about historical evidence and alternative interpretations of that evidence.

    So to scratch my academic itch, I give you mildly edited extracts from our UW cyber-dialogue. You’ll see some hard-working professors practicing imaginative pedagogy, and you’ll find ideas for research and teaching. You’ll also see, I hope, that film studies can make progress by asking precise questions and refining them through inquiry and critical discussion.”

  59. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    — At the ever-reflective Andy Horbal’s: “Bad” Film Criticism; and a contrarian post on blog-a-thons (part of Jim’s Contrarian event). Plenty of comments and discussion at both.
    JIm’s blog-a-thon post mortem.
    Two posts by Weeping Sam on Rivette.
    Mubarak Ali at Supposed Aura:
    “This past week I finally saw my first F.J. Ossang film: Le Trésor des îles chiennes (Treasure of the Bitch Islands, 1990). The opening/closing of the iris, the intertitles, it’s expressionistic black-and-white photography – like a Georg Trakl poem that has been drained of colour – take us back to Murnau and Epstein, and in other ways (worthy of further future investigation) brings to mind ‘the b-movie’, Eraserhead, New Rose Hotel, or a Ruiz elaboration.”

  60. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Jonathan Rosenbaum’s column: Charles Burnett’s 2003 film Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property. And I read somewhere that Killer Of Sheep is getting a theatrical release at the IFC Center in NYC in March.

  61. Michael Guillen

    February 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Flickhead, will do! Just give me a little time. All of my VHS pirates were consigned to beacon boxes and many of them aren’t labeled or anything but that motivates me to process them. Something I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

  62. Anonymous

    February 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    FYI – Just received word that Dis Voir has published Raoul Ruiz’s long awaited Poetics of Cinema 2.

  63. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Matt Zoller Seitz has a post on Lillian Ross:

    “Ross disliked the phrase “literary journalism.” She also seemed uncomfortable with being described as the ancestor of Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Gay Talese and the like (though that’s exactly what she was). She described herself only as a writer with a distinctive, personal style, nothing more or less — and not necessarily as a news reporter, either. Explaining her approach in a 2002 letter to Media Bistro, Ross wrote:

    “”The old fictional portrayal of the journalist — at his desk, fedora on his head, pecking away at the typewriter, cigarette drooping from a corner of his mouth, a half-full whiskey bottle near at hand — is for the birds. Some of my former colleagues who followed that way of life found that it was damaging to their work, to their productivity, to their lives. A marvelously talented tennis player, Monica Seles, was asked recently why she goes on playing competitive tennis. She replied: “It’s what I love to do, and it’s given me a special and wonderful life.”

    “Controversially — to pretty much any journalist born after 1950 — Ross resists using a tape recorder because, “To me, the machine distorts the truth. It’s a fast, easy, and lazy way of eliciting talk, but a conversationalist is not necessarily a writer. Tape-recorded interviews are not only misleading; they are unrealistic; they are lifeless….Literal reality rarely rings true.” She prefers taking notes in 3 x 5-inch spiral Clairefontaine notebooks with a micro-point Uni-Ball pen. Again, from Media Bistro:

    “”I make sure to write down key, identifying phrases and words that help me remember the rhythm and context of what I’m hearing. Then I’m able to reproduce long exchanges. When I’m working against an imminent deadline, I have the theme of the story in mind as I report, and I’m able to write my story from my notes. Often, I prefer to transcribe my notes as soon as possible in a way that makes it easier for me to remember exactly the way the talk, especially the dialogue, went. Invariably — and from the time I started doing this work — I found that I’ve had a sense of what the “story” should be right away, and, as I’d go along in writing it, there has been a certain mystical force — something outside of myself — that takes over and the story seems to write itself. Once that force takes over, it makes the work seem delightfully easy and natural and supremely enjoyable. It’s sort of like having sex.””

  64. girish

    February 23, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks, Acquarello!
    Just found it at Amazon:

    “”Eleven years separate these lines from the first part of my Poetics of Cinema. Meanwhile the world has changed and cinema with it. Poetics of Cinema, 1 had much of a call to arms about it. What I write today is rather more of a consolatio philosophica. However, let no one be mistaken about this, a healthy pessimism may be better than a suicidal optimism.” Following his research in Poetics of Cinema, 1 on new narrative models as tools for apprehending a fast-shifting world, Ruiz makes an appeal for an entirely new way of filming, writing and conceiving the image. “‘Light, more light,’ were Goethe’s last words as he died. ‘Less light, less light,’ Orson Welles cried repeatedly on a set–the one and only time I saw him. In today’s cinema (and in today’s world) there is too much light. It is time to return to the shadows. So, about turn! And back to the caverns!””

  65. Brian Darr

    February 23, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Looks like Michael just scored his debut interview at sf360: Little Miss Sunshine‘s screenwriter.

  66. Michael Guillen

    February 24, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Thanks for the shout-out, Brian. That’s a helluva lot more graceful than me tooting my own horn (he says as he hides his horn behind his back).

  67. girish

    February 24, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Brian, thanks for posting that…and Michael, congratulations! There’s no horn-tootin’ about that whatsoever. We’re proud of ya…!

  68. ZC

    February 24, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I’m also a Joni fan, though I admit not a very studious one–I think I only own 3-4 of her albums …

    And thanks for the heads-up on the new Ruiz, Acquarello!

  69. Tuwa

    February 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    In my inbox this morning: Inland Empire is coming to Gainesville March 9-22! Wow. Considering the Hippodrome, where it’s showing, has had Pan’s Labyrinth held over for about five weeks, I wonder if that will be long enough.

  70. Anonymous

    February 25, 2007 at 3:34 am

    Zach: I hope the Joni Mitchell CDs you own include “Blue,” “For the Roses,” “Court & Spark” “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” and “Hejira”! The JM love here has inspired me to work on a post about some of my favorite “movies” of hers. OK, they’re songs, but she’s got a cinematic eye and ear (even employs film terminology & techniques in her writing and music) — and the relentlessly analytical intelligence and intent observational powers of a critic.

  71. Noel Vera

    February 25, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Why is Rosenbaum writing about Burnett’s Nat Turner doc? Is it coming out on dvd?

    I haven’t seen it since it aired three years ago (Part 1, Part 2.

  72. ZC

    February 25, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Jim–I know off the top of my head I’ve got Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, and Court and Spark. Without scouring my collection (which is not actually that big), I think I may have one more, but can’t recall which. I have listened to all the others you’ve mentioned–borrowing them from the library, for instance. I’d look forward to a Joni post!

    Noel, I think Rosenbaum’s reviewing Nat Turner because it’s playing locally: today at 2pm, “DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E 56th Pl.”

  73. girish

    February 25, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Hey there, y’all…
    Jim, I too look forward to your Joni post.

    Zach has a great and meaty post called “Modernisms of the Global South,” in which he asks:

    “What are some good resources (by which I mean things like DVDs, sure, but also cultural centers, websites, publications, critics) for cinema of the Global South–by the citizens of these nations, particularly–and especially if not exclusively, the cinema that can be seen as taking a deliberately resistant approach to the notion of cinema as a profit machine, whether it appears to be deliberately “aesthetic/apolitical” or “polemical/anti-aesthetic”?”

  74. girish

    February 25, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Just added these Netflix new releases to the queue: Kazuo Hara’s The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On; Sokurov’s Elegy of the Land (contains 2 short films from the late 70s, Maria and Last Day of a Rainy Summer); Terry Gilliam’s Tideland; and Stranger than Fiction.

  75. girish

    February 26, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Tuwa, I heard somewhere that he got arrested when he screened the film…

  76. Anonymous

    February 26, 2007 at 1:57 am

    That guy should have been arrested after his FIRST film – and every other film after that!

  77. girish

    February 26, 2007 at 2:01 am


  78. Tuwa

    February 26, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Oh, that’s funny. 🙂

  79. HarryTuttle

    February 26, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Then there is Duras’ own slow paced travelling across paris at dawn in Les Mains Négatives. 😉

    Girish, I’ve also made the leap to the NEW template, for labels and RSS feeds. I hope you do too so we can subscribe to your active threads. (Btw, the blogroll was automatically imported so I didn’t have to re-enter all the links)

  80. girish

    February 26, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Harry, I’m going to have to work on that a bit. Because I modified my existing template quite a lot last year to get away from the “standard” Blogger template look, it’s now giving me errors when I try to switch automatically. I have to debug the code line by line at some point….

  81. HarryTuttle

    November 13, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Emilie Bickerton’s article is translated in french and published in La revue internationale des livres et des idées. See Cahiers forum here

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