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Daily Briefing. "Commodified Cinema"

Also: Lubitsch, Hitchcock, Lumet, Wes Anderson and James Bridges on DVD.
The Daily

Peter Kubelka's Schwechater (1958)

Filmmaker Paul Clipson, profiled last month on the occasion of his winning a Goldie from the Bay Guardian, presents Commodified Cinema: Art, Advertising, and Commodities in Film today at noon at SFMOMA. Brecht Andersch: "Clipson is on to something here: from its inception, cinema has been seen by hoity toities as the commodified form par excellence, a cultural equivalent to advertising. As time rolls on, the bitter ironies of these notions become painfully evident: due to their relative fragility as art objects when run through a projector, celluloid artworks have never worked as collectible items of envy, and the on-going currency of critique in contemporary art has rendered much of it advertising for shallow, if politically correct ideology. In recent years, the ascendency of digital moving image technologies in all their many forms has been embraced by those with un- or semi-conscious resentment towards the photochemical art which ruled the psyche of the 20th c. Nevertheless, there are still aficionados who find their sacred within the supposed profane. Clipson's Commodified works, selected from a 50-year time span of world cinema, tap into a hidden vein of ecstasy and poetry. Constructed in the form of a whiz-bang time travel tour, the show butts up films achronologically in order to illuminate different facets of a multilayered theme."

New York. Starting this evening and picking up again on the two following Tuesdays, First Shorts: Pialat, Truffaut, Godard and Resnais runs at the French Institute Alliance Française. The series sparks some thoughts on Truffaut from the New Yorker's Richard Brody and an overview from Charles H Meyer at Cinespect.

DVDs. "If you've read my recent book The Films of James Bridges, you know how highly I think of the writer-director's 1978 film September 30, 1955," writes Peter Tonguette. "You also probably know how hard it has been to see September 30, 1955. Apart from a VHS release in the late 90s, the film has had no presence on home video. That is, until now. I was thrilled to learn that September 30, 1955 is finally — finally! — available on DVD from Universal's Vault Series, via Amazon."

Criterion's releasing Design for Living (1933) today and Joseph Jon Lanthier notes that it's "often considered minor Lubitsch and major pre-Code — but it's more accurately major Ben Hecht." More from Erich Kuersten (Bright Lights After Dark), Kim Morgan (Criterion) and Bill Ryan.

Also in Slant, Jaime N Christley writes that Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938) "is almost deceptively fluffy; a closer look reveals intricacies not just in the mystery and espionage narrative proper, but in its seemingly benign take on the central love story, beginning (as would become the template for this kind of movie forever after) with mutual animosity." As for the DVD and Blu-ray, "Criterion deserves high marks once again."

And Chris Cabin on Rushmore (1998): "Criterion's stellar reputation for Blu-ray releases continues unabated by their phenomenal treatment of Wes Anderson's first masterpiece, a sublime comedy about death, ghosts, ambition, and hubris."

"The title of Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men (1957) demands to be taken literally." Chuck Stephens introduces a guide and photo gallery at Criterion, colorfully sketching the careers of each of the dozen actors.

Lists. Zach Wigon puts Steve McQueen's Shame at the top of his list of 20 films of 2011 for Filmmaker.

Ben Sachs carries on counting down his top ten at the Chicago Reader. His #9 is Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, "a little less woolly than his best work (Dead or Alive 2: Birds, Izo) but no less weird or exuberant."

At Séptimo Vicio, "Una relación de 75 bandas, 75 álbumes y 75 clips."

The Millions' "Year in Reading 2011" series is well underway.

Viewing (7'24"). At the AV Club: "For this video, we challenged ourselves to name not just their favorite piece of pop culture of 2011, but the 5-10 seconds that really stuck with them. We're calling it Our Favorite Moments, because that's what it is."

In the works. Bérénice Bejo, currently breaking through in The Artist, joins Emir Kusturica and Raphaël Personnaz in Nicolas Bary's adaptation of Daniel Pennac's novel The Scapegoat (Au Bonheur des Ogres), reports Simon Dang at the Playlist.

Constantin Film has picked up the film adaptation rights to Charlotte Roche's latest novel Schossgebete, reports Miriam Widman for Variety.

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