Monday, January 28, 2013

Archive: "Film Preservation at the Digital Crossroads"

Written in 2000 for FILM COMMENT.

"She was so old that she could still remember when they called that kind of work 'films.' Films--long strips of plastic printed with darkness and light. The memory of film, the sense and the substance of the medium of film, brought her a nostalgia as sharp as broken glass."--Bruce Sterling, Holy Fire (1998).

The name of this magazine will be an anachronism within a decade. Two at the most. The definitive art form of the 20th century will be lucky to survive even a few years past its widely celebrated 100th birthday. Fifty years from now there may still be public exhibition events that we will chose to call movies, but there will be no more "films" -- not outside museums, anyway, where antique persistence of vision devices, carefully preserved and maintained by university-trained specialists, will still be used to throw beams of light through perforated strips of celluloid, emitting a shadow-spectacle for dwindling crowds of cultural antiquarians.

This, at least, is what some people within the community of souls dedicated to keeping those films viable for a few more years, the archivists and preservationists, are saying.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Amanda Palmer

Single from 2012 albume "Theatre is Evil," production costs collected on Kickstarter. (NSFW, God bless her.)


Monday, January 14, 2013

First feature film based on a Roberto Bolaño work...

Based on Una Novelita Lumpen (2002), as yet untranslated.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Archive: Yuen Wo-ping

Martial Artist

Action cinema’s wirework puppet master

LA Weekly, December 15-21, 2000.

“Imagine you’re an actor putting on a corset,” says James Schamus, co-writer and executive producer of Ang Lee’s martial-arts fantasy "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." It’s “a heavy canvas corset with a bunch of metal cables attached to it, and you’re getting strung 75 feet up in the air while hanging from a crane. The crane is just an arm supporting wires on pulleys that are being manipulated by five guys wearing construction gloves. They have to maneuver in sync, both with the other cranes and with a team that is pulling another set of wires, attached to another actor who is whipping through the air only a few feet away. One slip-up, just two or three steps in the wrong direction, and someone could get really badly hurt.”


Sunday, January 6, 2013


========== Howards End (Classic Literature) (E.M. Forster)

- Highlight Loc. 450 | Added on Saturday, December 29, 2012, 07:09 AM

Her conclusion was, that any human being lies nearer to the unseen than any organisation, and from this she never varied.


Friday, January 4, 2013


Nice piece.

Ken Tucker's review


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Archive: "Ghost in the Shell"

The Soul of the New Machine

Film Comment, September, 1996.

"Then she got into the lift, for the good reason that the door stood open; and was shot smoothly upwards. The very fabric of life now, she thought as she rose, is magic. In the eighteenth century we knew how everything was done; but here I rise through he air; I listen to voices in America; I see men fly---but how it's done, I can't even begin to wonder. So my belief in magic returns." ---Virginia Wolf, "Orlando."

Arthur C. Clarke was the another wise person who noticed that technology, sufficiently advanced, would be indistinguishable from magic. The master Japanese manga creator Shirow Masamune shares this view: "Science," declares a character in Shirow's early cyberpunk graphic novel "Appleseed," "is the new black magic."

In "Ghost in the Shell," the animated film version of a later Shirow work, a gifted director, Oshii Mamoru, invests the author's futurism with a quality of the uncanny, as if our awe before technological advancement has gone full circle and become, instead, indistinguishable from superstition.


Archive: Tamil Cinema's Rathnam, Rahman and Hasan

When Gods Walk the Earth

This was the first article I wrote about Indian popular cinema. It appeared in the January-February 1995 issue of Film Comment, with the fairly presumptuous sub-head "Idiom and Archetype in Indian Cinema Today." The piece is transcribed here almost exactly as it was published, gaffes and all. Some updates, upgrades, and second thoughts have been tacked on as footnotes.