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The Noteworthy: New Cineaste, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, The VA Debate

A new issue of Cineaste, Takashi Miike in english, Vulgar Auteurism under fire, Richard Brody on Allan Dwan, and more.

Edited by Adam Cook


  • Takashi Miike is in talks to make The Outsider, his first English language film, with Tom Hardy set as the prospective lead. The film tells "an epic story set in post-World War II Japan, chronicling the life of a former American G.I. who becomes part of the Japanese yakuza."


  • Vulgar Auteurism is being hotly debated on Twitter, blogs and other publications. The term, which originated with Andrew Tracy and Cinema Scope, has gone through a process of re-appropriation that has occurred primarily in our community over the past couple of years. Keep your eyes on the Notebook in the coming weeks for our two cents.

"Dwan weaves taut webs of connections only to tear them apart with violence, and there’s a strange, removed side to the brutality that bursts out in his Westerns and his films noirs (such as “The River’s Edge” and “Slightly Scarlet”). The astonishing speed with which violence emerges and leaves bodies behind arises from a psychological density that matches the density of society: for Dwan, a gunfight is a complex football play with life at stake, occurring in mere seconds, and his images seem to diagram the decisive machine-like calculations that spin through the gunfighter’s head, instantaneously determining the action."

  • Over at Toronto Film Review, David Davidson has a transcribed translation of "The Modernity of Howard Hawks", an article by Henri Langois originally published in Cahiers du Cinéma.
  • For Film Comment, Max Nelson interviews Marco Bellocchio about "his relationship with the Church, his changing attitudes towards matricide, and his position (or lack thereof) on what it means to be free."

From the archives.

  • In keeping with the spirit of Vulgar Auteurism, here's Kent Jones' 1999 piece from Film Comment on John Carpenter, in which he defends the legacy of one of America's great filmmakers:

"Forget the frequently mono-tonal characters and acting. Allowances are constantly being made for enshrined directors like Aldrich, Karlson, and Fuller, whose inconsistencies and weaknesses are forever being papered over and reconstituted as “idiosyncrasies,” or strengths. Why not make the same kind of allowances for this modest filmmaker who carries the phantom and perhaps illusory- camaraderie and selfless devotion to the public of the Golden Age of Hollywood in his head? His devoted fans excepted, Carpenter is indeed a bum in America, on the one hand damned for being modest and on the other damned for not being modest enough. But if auteurism taught us any lessons at all, it’s that modesty and ambition, prose and poetry, the concrete and the abstract, can walk hand in hand in the least likely places. A paradox. This relic, so self-contained, so respectful of the rules that his elders were obliged to play by, makes films that are often more acutely intelligent than anything his less constrained contemporaries can manage."

Let the VA debate continue right here, if anyone is so inclined to express an opinion. On a related note, love the Jones article on Carpenter. It’s one of my favorite pieces of criticism.
When everything is great, nothing is. Just one big muddy broth.
The font on the Bujalski poster is all wrong.
How so, Mac?
The font, CJ, is not indicative of the milieu in which the movie takes place, nor does it evoke the world of early computering. The Motter Textura font would have been more appropriate. There are others that would have worked as well. The font used in the poster above looks similar to the Bernard MT font used in a lot of mid-90s films. The only element of the poster that works are the Activision-stripes running behind the image. Details, details, details. But then again, what would you expect from the Godfather of Mumblecore. Not exactly the most thorough and detail-oriented group of filmmakers.
Hey, since everyone is bending over backwards to prove how vital Michael Bay and Simon West are, can I make a request that someone look into the body of work of James Glickenhaus and give him his righteous props? The Soldier has to be one of the keys texts of early 80s Cold War paranoia, non?
VA But to defy them in means while doggedly abiding by them in essence is neither a subversion nor a culmination of the popular medium, but an eccentric tangent straggling away from it: a spandrel is a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic, rather than a direct product of adaptive selection.
If VA is eccentric the irony is that the films and filmmakers it tends to champion are not. If we need to take a serious look at “Fast and Furious 6” then we need to take a serious look at everything. That’s fine in theory, but unfortunately there are too many films in the world and not enough time or critics. Looking forward to Notebook’s intervention on the subject and continuing the discussion.
Justin Lin = Howard Hawks Joseph Kahn = Kenneth Anger Michael Bay = George Stevens Tony Scott = Michaelangelo Antonioni Paul W.S. Anderson = Buster Keaton F. Gary Gray = John Cassavetes Richard Kelly = Alejandro Jodorowsky Robert Luketic = Ernst Lubitsch Roger Kumble = Ingmar Bergman Tyler Perry = William Wyler Lee Daniels = Douglas Sirk Dominic Sena = Roman Polanski Brian Helgeland = Robert Aldrich Shane Black = Preston Sturges J.J. Abrams = Michael Curtiz McG = Arthur Penn Marc Rocco = Shirley Clarke

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