Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seen over the last few days: "It Always Rains on Sunday", "Vivere", "Blind Mountain" and "Judex". Also "The Gates".

Right now, shall concentrate on "It Always Rains on Sunday" and "Vivere".

To start with "Vivere": Angelina Maccarone has made films which have appeared in the gay/lesbian circuit, "Everything Will Be Fine" and the recent "Punish Me" as examples. In those films, there was an earnestness which often mitigated against the mood she was trying to create. But "Vivere" is different. It's an attempt on Maccarone's part to create a modern-mosaic film, in which little fragments of the story, individual scenes, are woven together, and eventually form a pattern. Here, the "story" is (supposedly) told from three different perspectives, but the individual scenes are often very moving, and visually the film has a lovely texture. The film is set at Christmastime, and the usage of colored Christmas lights provides glinting hints of warmth and cold. In a sense, it's rather predictable: when you realize that the two young women's mother ran off, even if the encounter is accidental, you know that the middle-aged woman they encounter will figure into the story. It was strange, i didn't expect that i would find "Vivere" such a lovely movie, i was surprised by the delicacy of the film, and the expert way in which the film was edited and constructed.

"It Always Rains on Sunday" is a British thriller from 1947; i'd never seen it, but it was the first really big success for Ealing Studios (headed by Michael Balcon). It's a terrifically trim little thriller, about one afternoon in Bethnal Green (London's East End). This is another movie where a number of stories intersect (quite dextrously), but what's really fascinating is how open the film is about ethnicity, in particular, about the Jewishness of many of the characters. In this, it was reminiscent of many English thrillers which followed, especially in the late 1950s, where social issues were tackled, under the guise of the thriller format. Thus racism is considered in "Sapphire", immigrants are featured in "Tiger Bay" and homosexuality is the issue in "Victim". "It Always Rains on Sunday" is a beautiful movie, and i'm glad i finally saw it. In the notes, it is mentioned that Michael Balcon was Jewish; Henry Cornelius (who was one of the three credited writers on the film, as well as the associate producer; Cornelius would go on to direct one of the perfect Ealing comedies, "Genevieve") was also Jewish. (This leads me to wonder how Michael Balcon raised his daughter Jill, because that would factor into her son Daniel Day-Lewis's upbringing. I never would have guessed that one thing that Rebecca Miller and Daniel Day-Lewis had in common was Jewish ancestry.)

Anway, "Vivere" and "It Always Rains on Sunday" are fascinating little movies. And that's the operative word: "little". They're not movies to go to when you're expecting to be overwhelmed, but both are trim and succinct.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The preliminary ratings are in, and this year's Academy Awards had some of the worst ratings ever. Not surprising. In a very real sense, the Academy Awards shouldn't have tried to go on as usual: they should have tried something different, i don't know what, but not the same attempted ceremonial crap. Listen: if Miss America can't find an audience, why should the Academy Awards?

The New York Times has reported that the reason that Brown and the other universities have decided on this new grant program is that the endowments that these schools sit on are huge, and if the money isn't dispersed as indicated in the charters, if these endowments do not result in "charitable" work, then the federal government will have the right to revoke the educational and nonprofit status of those schools. If they say they're taking in money on behalf of needy students, damn if those students shouldn't get that money.

Brown University has now joined Harvard, Princeton and Stanford in replacing a student loan program with a grant program. These schools are trying to ease the financial burden, particularly on families where the income is less than $100,000.

That's the gist of a very short article on the Associated Press. Perhaps there'll be a longer article about this in tomorrow's Times. But it's a step in the right direction, because the debt load of so many students when they graduate is just enormous.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The one thing i always find interesting about the Academy Awards is the strange moments (which many people may not understand). This year: Daniel Day-Lewis's very public acknowledgement of his son Gabriel. This is like a few years ago, when Roman Polanski was announced as Best Director for "The Pianist" and whoever was doing tech direction zoomed in on Anjelica Huston, who looked like someone had just mugged her. (There is a very complicated history between Huston and Polanski, though Jack Nicholson has remained good friends with Polanski, the rumor in Hollywood was that Nicholson did a lot of campaigning for Polanski and for Adrien Brody; it's like the year Geoffrey Rush was nominated for "Shine", and Mel Gibson - they had gone to drama school together, and had been roommates - gave parties to introduce his old chum to Hollywood, this was during the period when Gibson was certainly persona grata, and Gibson threw whatever weight he could behind Rush.)

The Weinsteins. "Nine". Marion Cotillard. Plus a lot of people actually watched the screeners of "La Vie en rose" (a.k.a. "La Mome"). Enough said.

What the hell is happening in Hollywood? Daniel Day-Lewis was asked why he kissed George Clooney before he went onstage to accept his Oscar... and Day-Lewis gave a long answer about all the other nominees, and actors who should have been nominated this year and weren't (he cited Emile Hirsch, Ryan Gosling, Frank Langella and Benicio Del Toro) and then about how George Clooney is just such a generous person, and then he finally said, well i'd kissed my wife Rebecca, so i had to kiss George for parity.

This on top of the end of the Independent Spirit Awards... hmmm....

Have to admit that what i didn't figure in (in thinking about the Oscars) was the predilection of the Academy in liking these show biz biopics. "Ray", "Walk the Line"... or biopics in general: "The Last King of Scotland", "The Queen". Marion Cotillard is just another...

However, this is good news for the Weinsteins, because they've signed her as one of the stars of their upcoming "Nine" (also announced have been Javier Bardem and Sophia Loren). Interesting: Cotillard now joins Loren in getting an Oscar for a non-English language film.

The Academy Awards are now on their last half hour, and the thing seems to be moving pretty fast. A lot of surprises. Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress; Marion Cotillard won Best Actress. Another surprise: Robert Elswit won for Best Cinematography for "There Will Be Blood". I was glad the song from "Once" won.

"The L Word" had its showdown, the trial of the Rose Rollins character; Kelly McGillis played the prosecuting officer. Plus there was another one of those disastrous dinner parties that always seem to pop up on TV shows; this time Marlee Matlin's character was the hostess. It's funny, last year, "The L Word" episode that ran opposite the Academy Awards was really hot, this one wasn't hot at all, it was ok, but rather plot-heavy.

"Freeheld" won Documentary Short, and "Taxi to the Dark Side" won Documentary Feature. Worthy choices. (Best Foreign Film was "The Counterfeiters".)

But this is the end of award season, and the start of the new season: the first week of March will bring the Whitney Biennial and the press screenings for New Directors/New Films.

Oh, well: a while ago, the Best Adapted Screenplay went to the Coen Brothers for "No Country for Old Men"; Diablo Cody just won Best Screenplay for "Juno". So some things are as expected. But the other day, got some books that i ordered, for some reason, when we moved, i couldn't find the first two novels by Iris Murdoch, "Under the Net" and "The Flight from the Enchanter" and i just wanted to read them again. And i do know why i wanted to read them again; like some of the novels of Mary McCarthy (particularly "The Company She Keeps", "A Charmed Life" and "The Groves of Academe"), these are stories in which the discussion of ideas is integral to the plot. And i'm still interested in that, in trying to find a way to "dramatize" ideas.

Daniel Day-Lewis was very amusing in his acceptance speech: he ended by acknowledging his three sons. Three! His eldest son is Gabriel whose mother is Isabel Adjani, then there are his two sons with his wife Rebecca Miller. Initially, there was a lot of contention with Adjani: he refused to accept any responsibility. He acknowledged that he was the father, but he wanted nothing to do with his son. But in the past few years, he has reconciled with his son, just as he was the person who decided to bring Arthur Miller's retarded son (who had been placed in an institution) back into the family. So that was an interesting moment.

Joel and Ethan Coen won Best Director. What's strange is that on this project, the two of them took credit for writing and directing (on many of their projects, they split up the credits). And "No Country for Old Men" won Best Picture.

So some surprises, and some as expected. But in a way it was all anticlimatic, because the drama of the past few months was the writers' strike, and the changes that everyone is looking at in terms of the media.

Is the idea of "drama" (by that i mean acted and written stories) outdated? And is the theatrical model outmoded? I was thinking that today when i was reading Kent Jones's piece on "Zodiac" in Film Comment (i admit that i passed over the article, waiting until i had seen the film), and many of the points he was making about the film were very much determined by the idea of concentration which that particular film requires. And that concentration is a theatrical construct.

But that concentration dissipates when the film is seen in other ways, as part of home viewing on television or streaming on a computer. And other factors become prominent.

I also watched "The Jane Austen Book Club": i had liked the novel (it's a very clever entertainment, perfect for its designated audience) and i was curious. The casting was ok, though everyone is younger than in the novel. But it's the kind of film which is well done, but you can watch it with no real attention: it moves along, it's agreeable... the acting is mostly good, but only a few of the actors really try to go further than a kind of moderate television involvement. (Even Kathy Baker, who used to have a knack for finding moments of genuine intensity, is putting on the sit-com charm; it works, but it doesn't go far enough.) Emily Blunt and Kevin Zegers seemed to try to go further in their parts, and Hugh Dancy was dashing, but Maria Bello, Amy Brenneman, and Jimmy Smits were perfectly fine, but just not really compelling. I hate to say this, but it was as if the years of television work made them facile, and that's what they do for this film.

But i think this was Robin Swicord's first work was a director, certainly it was smoothly professional. But she's another person (Tony Gilroy is another, with "Michael Clayton") who has spent years as a Hollywood screenwriter, and she's now directing.

Ralph Nader announced his plans to run for president (again). One thing: during his interview on CNN, there was... how do i say this? The way he phrased some of his answers, he seems tone-deaf to the fact that the Democratic nominees are a woman and an African-American man. If he is not checked in this, if he continues in some of his statements, he will come across as sexist and racist, and his campaign will self-destruct. Also: he seems to have no interest in addressing the Republican nominees, in trying to debate their ideas. This also looks patronizing, as if he is treating the white-male establishment of the Republicans as sacrosant.

This is a very interesting political season. But let's hope that the energy that seems to have emerged for the Democratic Party really lasts and can actually bring some needed change.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Well, today the Independent Spirit Awards were on IFC: what a raucous event! By the end, the jokes were certainly ribald. I voted online, but i did keep the ballot i was sent, and i marked my choices, so i could see how my vote compared with the majority. (Ok, four of my choices won... but i had a feeling my choices weren't going to be popular; they never are.) There's a cutesy factor to the Independent Spirit Awards which i wish they would lose (the musical parodies and so on) but i did like The Moldy Peaches singing one of their songs included on the soundtrack of "Juno".

Julian Schnabel won Best Director. I'm glad; i think that this year, with all the attention to the Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson, he was rather overlooked. (David Salle had quite a spirited defense of Julian's film in Artforum.) I have to say i'd hoped that there'd be more recognition for Todd's movie, but i knew it wasn't in the cards. (Cate Blanchett's win as Best Supporting Actress was rather expected.)

In previous years, there was a weighted ballot, where you got to vote from "1" to "5", "1" being your top score and "5" your bottom score. This year, they did away with that system, and you could just vote for your top choice. Anyway, it was an interesting show, and the one (big) surprise was that Jason Reitman didn't win Best Director for "Juno": usually, when a movie sweeps, it really sweeps at the Independent Spirit Awards, and "Juno" won everything else it was nominated for: Best Actress (Ellen Page), Best First Screenplay (Diablo Cody) and Best Film.

Aside from that, this week i finished with the Rendez-vous With French Cinema screenings. I saw "Let's Dance", "Those Who Remain", Cedric Klapish's "Paris" and Sandrine Bonnaire's documentary "Her Name Is Sabine". Yesterday there was a snow storm, and so i missed the very first movie, but made it to "Her Name Is Sabine". I also missed Thursday's screening, because i went to see Laura Dunn's "The Unforeseen" (which won the Truer Than Fiction Award at the Independent Spirit Awards). I have to admit that i went to see "The Unforeseen" after reading about it on Doug Cummings's blog (, and it was often visually quite lovely.

So out of the fourteen films in this year's Rendez-vous With French Cinema, i've seen ten of the films. I have to say it wasn't utterly miserable, but it was not a year of outstanding achievement. The best film (of the ones i saw) was Klapish's "Paris", which was a wonderful movie. Klapish has been doing these multi-character movies since "Le peril jeune" (which i saw as part of the Age of Chevalier series at MoMA) and "When the Cat's Away" (which had been part of New Directors/New Films a while back), and he's become a master at weaving several stories at once. Sandrine Bonnaire's documentary was fascinating and frustrating: there's never a real explanation as to what exactly happened to her sister Sabine. We see film of her when she's able to function, and then we're presented with someone (in the present) who's often totally out of it, who's almost totally closed-up. There's a mention of the fact that Sabine became self-destructive, and hit her head against a wall so hard that there was sufficient brain damage. (We see her do things like bite herself.) There is a therapist who gives a clinical explanation of Sabine's condition, but it still leaves a lot of questions.

One curiosity about this year's Rendez-vous films: there were films which were very explicitly about Jewish identity. Which brought up the fact that the cultural position of Jews within France has been very complicated. In the classical French cinema, most people who were Jewish often... not so much denied it, but tried to ignore it. (Simone Signoret's autobiography, "Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be", is very acute about the ambivalence she faced because she was Jewish.) Jean-Pierre Melville and Nicole Stephane never addressed "the Jewish question" (though they were Jewish). Claude Berri dealt with this in "The Two of Us"... it's interesting that of the Nouvelle Vague directors, the one who was the most tolerant (about EVERYTHING) was Truffaut. It's also interesting because, though he wasn't Jewish, his first wife was (and it was her father who put up the money for "Les 400 Coups"). I remember having a discussion about the Nouvelle Vague directors with Steve Harvey, and Steve said that Truffaut's humanism was actually quite radical, and that the formal inventiveness of (say) Godard and Rivette couldn't mask the fact that both of them had rather narrow views on a lot of subjects (hence the homophobic jokes in some of Godard's films, etc.). I can see what he meant. And it's interesting that the directors who were close to Truffaut, such as Claude Berri and Claude Miller, would deal with Jewish subject matter. (I missed Claude Miller's latest movie, which was in Rendez-vous, but i was told it was one of the best films in the series, and that it dealt with Jewish subject matter.)

More later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Of course, the joke was that George Robinson, Ira Hozinsky, and Ronnie Scheib did like "Shall We Kiss?" No masterpiece, but they agreed that it was the best of the three French films screened today. One problem with the films so far is that there's no solid foundation: both "The Feelings Factory" and "All Is Forgiven" had very lax scripts. In the case of "All Is Forgiven", there were gaps in the story which were supposed to suggest a lifelike versimilitude, but too much had to be taken on trust.

Quick notes. Spent most of this week at the press screenings for Rendezvous With French Cinema, the annual series of recent French films at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Well, a more discouraging week i can't imagine. Is this going to be one of those instances where the movies i see are duds and the ones i missed are brilliant? Yesterday, for example, i skipped Claude Miller's film (he's a variable but often worthwhile director) to go to see the press screening of "Chop Shop" at Film Forum. I missed this morning's film, "Shall We Kiss?" but am going to see "The Feelings Factory" and "All Is Forgiven": if someone tells me that i really missed a little gem with "Shall We Kiss?", i'll really go nuts. (Last year, one of the highlights was "La Mome", a.k.a. "La Vie en rose" here in the States, with Marion Cotillard's much talked-about performance.) But so far, have seen "Roman du Gare", "Love Songs", "Heartbeat Detector" and "The Grocer's Son".

"Chop Shop" really was thoughtprovoking... not so much because of the story as because of the style, the attempt to recreate the conditions of neorealism in terms of digital filmmaking.

Fox Movie Channel showed "Ladies in Love" yesterday! Finally! It's the best of the Fox perennial of three-girls-sharing-an-apartment, and this time the three are Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young, and Constance Bennett. It's a real treat.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Writers Guild of America officially announced that the strike is over, now Hollywood can get back to work.

But can it? So many shows have been left in turmoil, seasons have started with no resolution, no story arc.

Kon Ichikawa was certainly prolific! He was working until the last year. Evidently, he was hospitalized in January and just never recovered his health. But he lived a very long and productive life, so that's certainly admirable.

Some of the movies that i loved (aside from "An Actor's Revenge"): "Kagi", "Kokoro", "Ototo", "Being Two Isn't Easy", "Nihonbashi", "The Makioka Sisters". I'd especially like to see "Ototo" again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kon Ichikawa has died. One of the great directors from Japan after World War II. "An Actor's Revenge" remains one of my favorite films, but i haven't seen it in years. There's a DVD from the BFI, but i've heard that the color (one of the great features of that movie) is faded.

Hopefully, one day, someone will put out a really first-rate DVD of "An Actor's Revenge". So far, Criterion has put out "The Harp of Burma", "Fires on the Plain" and "Tokyo Olympiad". But so many of his movies really deserve greater exposure. One irony: the Kon Ichikawa retrospective which James Quandt organized was in New York City (at the Museum of Modern Art) when 9/11 happened.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh, yes: Eva Dahlbeck (one of the great Swedish stars of the 1940s and 1950s, and the entrancing Desiree Armfeldt in Ingmar Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night") died on Friday, February 8; she had been in a nursing home due to Alzheimer's. But if ever an actress remains incandescent because of a signature role, it was Eva Dahlbeck. (For Bergman, she was always the witty sophisticate, the worldlywise woman-of-the-world, and she had such grace and sharp wit.)

According to a report from Associated Press, there was an armed robbery at the E.G. Buhle Collection in Zurich, in which a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Cezanne and a Degas were stolen. Estimated worth: over $163 million. From Ernest Abegg's report from AP, Zurich sounds like a hotbed of art thievery!

It's supposed to be cold for the next two days, and then rain on Wednesday. Oh, yes, in terms of the BAFTA Awards, Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for "La Mome"/"La Vie en rose" (US title) and Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for "There Will Be Blood" and the Best Picture was "Atonement". Javier Bardem was Best Supporting Actor for "No Country For Old Men" and Tilda Swinton was Best Supporting Actress for "Michael Clayton". Best (Original) Screenplay: Diablo Cody for "Juno". Best Adapted Screenplay: Ronald Harwood for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". Javier Bardem really is unstoppable, much like the character he plays.

And i did cast my vote for the Independent Spirit Awards on Friday. Did it online, since there was this big to-do about the Spirit Awards going green. It's still not fair to broadcast one's vote (online voting continues until Wednesday) but i will say it was tough, but the nominees were really strong this year. There was no Netflix queue but there was online streaming of various films. I still hate looking at movies on a computer. My prediction stands (especially since the 100 million dollar mark was passed a while ago): expect a sweep for "Juno" as Best Film, Best Director, Best First Screenplay, and Best Actress. At least, that's what i'm expecting at the next Independent Spirit Awards.

Roy Scheider died of skin cancer. Which reminds me that the times i would see him (he used to live near the Metropolitan Museum), he would be sitting on his terrace, sunning himself (often with those reflectors to really make sure he was getting a tan).

He was nominated for two Academy Awards. Which reminds me: unless i missed it, Luise Rainer is still alive (the original two-time Academy Award winner), so will she be trotted out again for the 80th Anniversary of the Academy Awards (assuming there is a next time)? The Writers Guild has a (tentative) deal with the studios. (Last week, one of the big announcements was that the Writers Guild had struck a deal with four independent production companies, including Killer Films and This Is That.) So we'll see....

And this time, i hope someone invites Joan Fontaine first, and lets Olivia De Havilland sit it out in Paris.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Just a few quick notes while watching the BAFTA Awards on BBC-America.

Actually, "Frozen River" is a film which i knew, but i just didn't know the title. Four years ago, when i was "on staff" at the IFP Market (on the selection committee for short films), that was one of the films which i championed. And the short that Courtney Hunt made was developed into this feature. I remember that the short also had Melissa Leo; Leo stuck by the project.

So i'm quite excited about seeing "Frozen River".

The last few days, tried to think about some of the things i've watched. On Wednesday, went to the press screening of "Violent Saturday", which i remember seeing on television. Good to see it in a 'Scope print, and the Deluxe color seemed pretty accurate. Interesting sidelight: one of the major settings is the quarry, which is the same one used in the 1955 "A Kiss Before Dying", another 'Scope and color noir (which also starred Virginia Leith).

On Thursday, saw "Ezra". A solid film, filled with social anger. This story of child soldiers in Africa is very scary, but somehow the blunt storytelling doesn't quite transcend the obvious.

Also (finally) watched "Zodiac". Need to think about it some more.

One thing i wanted to say: in the last week or so, read some excellent criticism. In ArtNews (January 2008), Kim Levin's review of the Martin Puryear show at MoMA was really wonderful, because she was able to look at the work and reveal its subtleties and the multitude of meanings. In The New Republic (February 13, 2008), Stanley Kauffmann reviews three movies, "Caramel", "Woman On the Beach", and "The Silence Before Bach". Quite incisive and full of insights, and also full of a very real perspective. I especially appreciated his understanding of the historical dimensions of Surrealism and how that history informs Pere Portabella's "The Silence Before Bach".

The problem now is that so many people think that criticism is simply a declaration of likes or dislikes. And that's not the case. Criticism should be an analysis of a creative work.

Stanley is somebody who has been overlooked for a very long time, yet he is one of the only critics who continues to grow. For example: in the 1960s, it is true that he was one of the critics who was highly antipathetic to Godard. And (of course) there were reasons for this. If there was any critic interested in "classical" values, it was Stanley Kauffmann. And to a classical critic, Godard was (as Susan Sontag put it) the great destroyer. And so why would Stanley like Godard?

But since then, Godard has become the classical tradition: his iconoclasm proved to be influential, and many of the filmmakers who followed, including Fassbinder, Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, were influenced by Godard. And since Kauffmann was a great advocate for those filmmakers, he had to reassess Godard, to understand the qualities in Godard that prompted these filmmakers to find inspiration from Godard's work. And so, if you compare his review of "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" when it was released in 1970, and then you read his review of "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" when it was rereleased last year, you'll see that he has really reconsidered Godard's work.

But Stanley is always interesting to read, and never more so than his recent review of "Caramel", "Woman On the Beach" and "The Silence Before Bach".

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Well, yesterday was certainly exciting.

Over the weekend, there was such a flurry of letters and e.mails and announcements, all about the primaries. Several of the Kennedys (first Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, then her cousin Patrick, then her uncle Ted) endorsed Barack Obama, but Robert Kennedy Jr. and his sister Kathleen endorsed Hillary Clinton, and then Maria Schriver endorsed Obama.

Robin Winters sent an e.mail, urging people to vote in the primary (he also added an endorsement of Obama) and included a letter-to-the-editor that Joan Baez wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle, where she endorsed Obama (a really unusual move on her part, as she has studiously avoided these kinds of party politics; she has always thrown her support towards causes and issues, and i guess she feels that Obama's candidacy is really a cause).

No matter what happens, the fact that we have a primary in which the two major candidates for the Democratic Party are a woman and a black man show that change has happened in this country.

So this is all to the good. (Of course, the situation that the country is in because of the Republicans is so dire almost anything would be better. Almost, but not quite.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Today, went to see two films by Lin Cheng-Sheng at Anthology Film archives. Glad i did! There was a possibility that the films might have been shown digitally, but, instead, these two were shown projected in very beautiful 35mm prints! And they are extraordinary looking! In the 1990s, Lin Cheng-Sheng was one of the most interesting of the "younger" Taiwanese directors, his films "Drifting Life" and "Murmur of Youth" made the rounds of the festival circuit. (If i'm not mistaken, we tried to get "Murmur of Youth" for the New Festival... which reminds me that i haven't seen Robin Vachal in ages.)

But these two recent films by Lin Cheng-Sheng, "Robinson's Crusoe" and "The Moon Also Rises", were exceptional films.

Yesterday saw "Wolfsbergen", a Dutch film by Nanouk Leopold, and "Dark Matter", an American independent film by a Chinese-born director, Chen Shi-Zheng.

But the films this week which really were truly special were Seidl's "Import Export", Emigholz's "Schindler's Houses", and "Robinson's Crusoe" and "The Moon Also Rises". I did enjoy Rivette's "The Duchess of Langeais" quite a bit, and it's very intriguing to think about. But it wasn't a generative film, it didn't suggest formal or stylistic possibilities which might prove fruitful in terms of pursuing.

I remember Max Kozloff reviewing Manny Farber's book "Negative Space" in Artforum, and saying how Farber's point of view was that of a painter, and when he looked at movies, it was with a painter's sense of usable form.

Just some quick notes: politically, this week was very exciting. I am so glad that Giuliani dropped out of the race: i hope this ends his political career, the man is odious in the extreme! The endorsement of the Kennedys (Caroline, Patrick and, finally, Ted) for Obama was intriguing; i was glad that Ted Kennedy took the time to make a statement about Bill Clinton's underhanded tactics on behalf of his wife.

There was a small article last week in the business section of the New York Times: the editorship of Interview was changed, and Ingrid Sischy is out. And the same is expected for Art in America. Peter Brandt has bought out his ex-wife, and he's now moving to make those publications profitable.