Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The big "event" of last week was the death of Andrew Sarris, one of the most important film critics in the United States. Over at her IndieWire column, Anne Thompson has been compiling a list of the various tributes to Sarris. My thoughts are rather complicated, but i'll say this: the popularizing of the politique des auteurs was a considerable achievement. There's a lot more to say, but i spent the last week finishing an article (which will be published in a new online journal) where i've tried to think about various issues in terms of film criticism and scholarship. One thing i'll say is that the problem is the politique des auteurs has caused the coarsening of critical ideology into a preference of directors, so that whether or not one likes a certain director becomes a paramount critical issue, and other critical perspectives have been neglected. That's all i can say at the moment, as i try to think about the current situation of criticism.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

June 7, and last week was a tough one: another bout of gout, though relatively mild. But i went to several press screenings, and i'm trying to get back to seeing movies. Last week: Tuesday (May 29), Maurice Pialat's "We Won't Grow Old Together", which is finally getting a week's run at BAM Cinemathek; Wednesday (May 30), Matthew Aker's "Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present", which will be playing at Film Forum before its television premiere on HBO; since then, i  saw ten films as part of the BAM CinemaFest. Friday (June 1): "Sleepwalk With Me"; "Welcome to Pine Hill"; Monday (June 4): "Radio Unnameable"; "Tchoupitoulas"; "The Comedy"; Tuesday (June 5): "Francine"; "The Impostor"; "Pavilion"; Wednesday (June 6): "Walk Away Renee"; "Compliance"; "Nobody Walks". I also went to Liz Phillips and Mariko Endo Reynolds's performance "Biyuu" at Roulette on Saturday, June 2; and we attended an event centering on the Audrey Flack retrospective exhibition at Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts Gallery on Sunday, June 3. That's a lot to take in, and right now i've watched two documentaries on Showtime: "No Look Pass" about the Burmese-American woman basketball player Emily Tay, and "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston". I'll be writing more on all of these. I must admit that i found "Marina Abramovic" to be highly informative, especially since i was in Germany all the time when the exhibition "The Artist Is Present" was at the Museum of Modern Art. Of course, the most exciting phenomenon of the season so far has been Lena Dunham's TV series on HBO, "Girls", and so it was fitting that the last film shown as part of the BAM CinemaFest press screenings would be Ry Russo-Young's "Nobody Walks" with its script by Dunham and Russo-Young.