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Tag: "film"

The Persisting Vision

[ 67 ] September 3, 2013 |

Martin Scorsese gave a great talk for the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. It’s reprinted in the New York Review of Books and is on the importance of preserving our language of film in a culture that values little but the weekly game of box office numbers. A snippet:

So not only do we have to preserve everything, but most importantly, we can’t afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards—particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it’s become a kind of sport—and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film.

And for young people today, that’s what they know. Who made the most money? Who was the most popular? Who is the most popular now, as opposed to last year, or last month, or last week? Now, the cycles of popularity are down to a matter of hours, minutes, seconds, and the work that’s been created out of seriousness and real passion is lumped together with the work that hasn’t.

We have to remember: we may think we know what’s going to last and what isn’t. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don’t know, we can’t know. We have to remember Vertigo, and the Civil War plates, and that Sumerian tablet. And we also have to remember that Moby-Dick sold very few copies when it was printed in 1851, that many of the copies that weren’t sold were destroyed in a warehouse fire, that it was dismissed by many, and that Herman Melville’s greatest novel, one of the greatest works in literature, was only reclaimed in the 1920s.

Just as we’ve learned to take pride in our poets and writers, in jazz and the blues, we need to take pride in our cinema, our great American art form. Granted, we weren’t the only ones who invented the movies. We certainly weren’t the only ones who made great films in the twentieth century, but to a large extent the art of cinema and its development have been linked to us, to our country. That’s a big responsibility. And we need to say to ourselves that the moment has come when we have to treat every last moving image as reverently and respectfully as the oldest book in the Library of Congress.

What’s more, he referenced one of my favorite films of all time, Edison’s boxing cats. Because of that, I will once again embed it. Maybe we should get Scorsese to write a guest post here about it.

Ted Post, RIP

[ 10 ] August 24, 2013 |

The director of Hang ‘Em High and Magnum Force is no more.

Stand Beside Her And Guide Her

[ 69 ] August 9, 2013 |

As you probably heard, Karen Black died. A key actress to so many major films of the 70s, she succumbed to cancer. She could have had a dignified end of life. Or maybe even defeated her cancer. Instead, she lived in the United States, where our disastrous health care system (even after the significant improvements of Obamacare) forced Black and her husband to crowdsource her cancer treatments after they used up all their savings.

At least Black had the name to do this. How many thousands of people just die because they don’t have the ability to put up even a basic fight against illness?

Global Water Crisis

[ 3 ] August 7, 2013 |

I did a long-form film review for Radical History Review on films dealing with the global water crisis. The abstract and link is here; any of you with access to a university library should be able to get it. Others I’m not sure. But this is almost like academic knowledge has some timeliness and accessibility!

Saturday Night

[ 28 ] August 3, 2013 |

May your Saturday night be like Harold Lloyd standing on his head, risking his life for a stunt.

More Farina

[ 5 ] July 30, 2013 |

An outstanding obituary of the great Dennis Farina by Alex Pappademas. Farina is one of those people who had a fairly minor career in the big scheme of things, but who affected so many people and who everyone loves and misses dearly upon their death.

Dennis Farina, RIP

[ 52 ] July 22, 2013 |

Well that sucks.

Scorchy

[ 32 ] July 21, 2013 |

Because we all need to see Connie Stevens chase William Smith through the streets of Seattle in 1976 for 6 minutes on a dune buggy.

12 Years A Slave

[ 41 ] July 16, 2013 |

Although I could do without the big sweeping Hollywood music in the trailer, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s slave narrative 12 Years a Slave looks to be incredibly promising. Given the deep attention to physical detail in McQueen’s films and the fact that there really are so few good movies that deal with slavery in any serious way, I am more excited about this than any film in the last year.

One Way to Celebrate July 4 is to Take Action Against This Travesty

[ 115 ] July 4, 2013 |

And by this travesty I mean the threat of Steven Spielberg directing a remake of The Grapes of Wrath, a movie I would like to think exactly 0 people would find necessary or interesting, but then again Esther Zuckerman seems excited about it in the linked article so I just don’t know what’s wrong with people.

I mean really, a Grapes of Wrath distanced from the political connotations but wrapped in more sentiment? Gross.

In less disturbing artistic news, here we have a list of the 100 greatest American novels written between 1893 and 1993, with a limit of one book per author. Good for argumentation. I’d question the inclusion of Goodbye Columbus as the Philip Roth entry over Portnoy’s Complaint. Or about 7 or 8 others actually, though I have nothing negative to say about the book. Some of the more recent books feel a bit questionable to me. Is Roots that great of a novel? Or is it just very important? Of course, given that The Fountainhead is on here, it’s clear the list is emphasizing important above good. Or readable.

The Roberts Court Would Like to Add a Film to Its VRA Decision

[ 97 ] June 25, 2013 |

It seems the Roberts Court also made a film expressing its views on American race relations and the proper order between the races. You can watch it below.

When Andrei Tarkovsky Took Polaroids

[ 13 ] June 23, 2013 |

Yeah, they look way more awesome and beautiful than anyone else’s Polaroids.

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