Via The Seventh Art
"Made in Argentina in 1968, The Hour of the Furnaces (La hora de los hornos) is the film that established the paradigm of revolutionary activist cinema," argues Nicole Brenez in Sight & Sound. "'For the first time,' said one of its writers, Octavio Getino, 'we demonstrated that it was possible to produce and distribute a film in a non-liberated country with the specific aim of contributing to the political process of liberation.' The film is not just an act of courage, it's also a formal synthesis, a theoretical essay and the origin of several contemporary image practices." The New Inquiry points us to the film on YouTube as well as Getino and Fernando Solanas's essay, "Towards a Third Cinema."
In other news. "The BFI has scored a considerable coup, revealing that it has uncovered a copy of what is not only the earliest surviving film based on a Charles Dickens character (in this the bicentenary of Dickens's [birth]), but a film that apparently no-one had identified as being Dickensian before now." Luke McKernan looks into the case, adding, "And now we must now all look out for The Death of Nancy Sykes, made by the American Mutoscope Company in 1897 and starring Mabel Fenton as Nancy and Charles Ross and Bill Sykes, from Oliver Twist. The very first Dickensian film remains a lost film."
Reading. "The story of Dan Marlowe and the eight years he spent in Los Angeles — from 1978 until his death in 1986 — is one of the most counterintuitive in Hollywood history." Charles Kelly in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
"Le Petit Mac-Mahon de David Ehrenstein Strikes Back!"
New York. Geoff Dyer has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism for Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews and, as I've noted nearly every day now for the past couple of weeks, he's got another new book out, Zona, in which he records his meandering thoughts as he re-watches Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979). Filmmaker's Scott Macaulay notes that Dyer's in the city over the next few days for a series of related events, among them, a conversation at the Museum of the Moving Image for a conversation preceding tomorrow evening's screening of Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975). Alt Screen posts a roundup.
DVD/Blu-ray. "Otto Preminger's 1959 Anatomy of a Murder becomes one of the great courtroom dramas by systematically undermining most of the pleasures and reassurances that the genre provides," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "Criterion's new high-definition edition of Anatomy of a Murder returns substance and shading to this black-and-white classic, which has too often presented in mushy grays during the course of the 53 years it has been in almost constant release." Also, in La Visita (1963), out from Raro Video, Antonio Pietrangeli "offers us cartoon characters with human souls; their needs remain all too recognizable and their shortcomings all too familiar."
In the works. A first roundup from SXSW.