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The Noteworthy: The Rappaport vs. Carney Saga, Can’t Stop McT, Menello Remembered

Mondo’s new Taxi Driver poster, Richard Brody & James Gray remember Ric Menello, Rosenbaum is Moving Places again & more.

Edited by Adam Cook


  • The Mark Rappaport-Ray Carney saga continues (if this is new to you, see here) with Carney's first time on record about his controversial decision to hold onto creative materials once (and, according to the filmmaker, still) belonging to Rappaport. We won't editorialize here, so we'll let you read the rather gigantic essay from Carney, and make up your own mind. In our forum, both Rappaport and Jon Jost (who has been actively bringing this issue to the public eye) have chimed in and others are joining into the conversation.
  • News via the "Free John McTiernan" page on Facebook: the filmmaker is working on developing a script for a project titled Warbirds, in spite of the upcoming jail time he's facing. Not a lot of details on the film, but the page describes it as "a very dear project for McTiernan, it tells the tale of a group of aerial firefighters who also lead a secret life during the winter."

  • Scott Foundas is moving from The Village Voice to Variety to become their chief film critic.
  • Above: Italian film journal Rapporto Confidenziale's new issue has hit the web, and features a poll on the Berlinale which I was happy to be included in.


  • Above: we're kicking off this week's finds with another gorgeous, brand new, Scorsese poster, this time for Taxi Driver—put out by Mondo and designed by Martin Ansin. 
  • More Marty: writing for Humanities, Glenn Kenny looks at what he sees as the essential recurrent elements in Scorsese's cinema: love and resolution.

  • The latest podcast from The Cinephiliacs features our very own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who, among other things, discusses his involvement with Ebert Presents, MUBI and the ongoing fascination with Vulgar Auteurism.
  • Boris Nelepo, who was part of the FIPRESCI jury earlier this year at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, has filed a praise-filled piece on Manuela Morgaine's Lightning, a film ten years in the making.

"Race and above all racism, Hollywood and the Obama administration would have us thinking, are part of the American past, sanitised issues that are scarcely relevant today. Lincoln abolished slavery; the current US president is the living proof of the benefits that his individualist bureaucratic battle brought about. What more do you want than a black president? Revenge, would be Django’s answer. Revenge in Django nonetheless is not a (merely) rancorous, destructive feeling but more the realization that certain crimes allow for neither forgiveness nor forgetting."

  • Via Diagonal Thoughts, Kelsey Brain, Ted Fendt, Bill Krohn have translated an interview conducted by Serge Daney and Jean-Pierre Oudart with António Reis about his film Trás-os-Montes.

From the archives.

  • Good news: Jonathan Rosenbaum has begun republishing his seminal first book, Moving Places (one of my personal favorites), in eleven installments, on his website.
Adam Cook
New response from Rappaport in .pdf that is fairly incriminating:
It sounds like Rappaport would do well to cut his losses.
I find every single person in this whole debaccle completely insufferable. But I have to say, I find Carney’s arguments compelling for the simple reason that as a professor he is accustomed to keeping things in order, and Rappaport is clearly a disorganized mess. It’s especially bizarre to me that all parties seem to agree that when the materials were initially given to Carney, they weren’t considered to be of much value to Rappaport, but now all of the sudden they’re the difference between a legacy and obscurity. However, if Carney is so tied up in knots over what he perceives as mistreatment at the hands of higher-ups at BU—and I have no doubt that some of that is true—it would be in his best interest to not write long, rambling, passive agressive tirades about them on the internet. It seems to me that they both deserve all the misery they have inflicted on themselves. Both of them are clearly leaving out some vital piece of information about their conduct that would clarify their oponent’s grievances. Almost no fights between peers (As opposed to bullies v. the weak and defenseless) are ever so one-sided as they would have us believe. In the end, Carney gets a permanently destroyed reputation and Rappaport loses his filmography, and they clearly both did it to each other.
Considering that Ray Carney has a long and sordid past as a self-serving creep who, had he not chosen a career in academia, would most likely be biding his time on this planet as a celebrity stalker and/or serial killer, I’m more than willing to give Rappaport the benefit of the doubt. Anyone who makes FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG and ROCK HUDSON’S HOME MOVIES is okay in my book. Rappaport just wants his shit back. Carney doesn’t want to give it to him because Carney thinks he is entitled to everything he comes into contact with, because only Ray Carney truly understands what is in his possession, not even the artist themselves truly grasp what they have created. Ray Carney is a parasite. This isn’t the first time he has done something like this, and it won’t be the last.
Believe me, my opinions of Ray Carney are no better than yours. However, I simply don’t believe either party’s testimonial. Both of their polemics read like their missing some crucial piece of information. The reason I say I feel like Rappaport deserves his woes as much as Carney was because he was stupid to have left his materials with Carney in the way that he did in the first place. For one thing, from a legal perspective, his actions alone could be taken as proof that he no longer had any intention of maintaining ownership of the materials. I think Carney is exagerating the extent to which it was a simple “take my junk, I don’t want it anymore” exchange, but at the end of the day, Rappaport’s actions indicate that at the time, he might as well have said that. Carney should have simply given Rappaport the materials without any request for money but with a request that Rappaport return the favor sometime (one thing that is for CERTAIN is that he housed the materials for a considerable length of time, and I don’t doubt that at least some of his claims of having restored the stuff are true as well). He didn’t do that because he’s a weasel, we all know that, and Rappaport went ape. This is why I said they both deserve what has happened to them: Rappaport’s actions during the prologue to this whole affair were so short sighted and irresponsible that I can’t muster up any sympathy for him, and Carney’s actions during the controversy itself are enormously suspect. In this sense, Rappaport is the credit card user and Carney is the credit card company. Credit card companies are ruthless and sneaky, but it’s still your own fault if you get yourself into insurmountable credit card debt.
Great quote on Django Unchained. It’s the reason Lincoln looks so repulsive.
Django isn’t about slavery, just like Inglorious Basterds isn’t about the Holocaust. Both movies, as well as Death Proof, and the Kill Bills, are about the moral righteousness of revenge. They are movies about 9/11. They are extremely conservative films that, to me, at least, out Tarantino for the conservative knee-jerk hawk he is. Tarantino is smart enough, though, to wrap his sociopathology in subjects that will deflect attention away from his own bloodlust. Because killing Nazis and Slave owners, well, how can you argue with that? But Tarantino’s flaw is that he doesn’t take the time or the care to really ground his movies in a historical context. So since his movies aren’t really about the subjects that they purport to be about – and how could they, since they are so obviously fantasies – then they must be about something else, about the present, not the past. Eventually, though, Tarantino is going to run out of straw men to set on fire. After that happens. the source of his ire will be obvious, and he’ll end up making movies no different than Delta Force and Invasion U.S.A. Tarantino is – under all that Ghetto bluster and faux-Orientalism – nothing more than a garden-variety Champion of Empire. Like a repressed homosexual who amps up his machismo to mistrel-esque proportions of absurdity, Tarantino is a right-wing wackjob lying in wait. And when it happens, when Tarantino pulls a Dennis Miller and David Mamet, please remember who told you it would happen first.

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