Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Richard Widmark died on Monday, but his family only released the information today.

It's been a busy week. Monday, went to a screening of the rough cut of "Ear of the Heart", the documentary that Jeff Lunger's been working on about Galt McDermot. Really fascinating material, because McDermot is someone who has an amazingly variegated career. Of course, he's most famous for composing the music for "Hair", but he's done so much else, and Jeff has been able to get some amazing interviews as well as all sorts of concert and performance footage. But it needs to be made tighter: after the first hour, the film starts to break into sections, it doesn't flow as smoothly, and so some of the parts seem long. But it's always fascinating, because McDermot has gone through so many different musical forms.

On Tuesday, went to the inaugural screening at Light Industry. The program consisted on four shorts and one medium-length film. The shorts were: Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson's "Swamp", Michael Robinson's "Victory Over the Sun", Jenny Perlin's "Possible Models" and Keewatin Dewdney's "Wildwood Flower"; the 51 minute film was from 1996, Michael Gitlin's "Berenice". I'd seen the shorts before, "Swamp" (in which you hear Smithson directing Holt where to move with the camera) remains a very funny little movie, but when "Berenice" started, i was surprised to see that the stars of the film were Edith Meeks and Beatrice Roth.

This brings me to a point which was brought up at New Directors/New Films with "Momma's Man" and "Moving Midway": are there objective standards that can be used as aesthetic criteria, and how do you judge work?

In other words: you know the people, you already have a feeling (for better or worse), and that translates (positively or negatively) into how you regard that work.

Some news: the ranks of New York film critics have been decimated. Jan Stuart and Gene Seymour were fired from Newsday on Monday, and yesterday Nathan Lee was given his notice at The Village Voice. A terrible period for critics.


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