Editor Ronald Caputo notes that many of the articles appearing in the new issue of Senses of Cinema were first presented as papers at the Cinema in the Digital Age symposium hosted by Film Program at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand: "While the 'digital' is the mainstay term that anchors each of the articles, the authors approach it in various and distinctive ways. Sean Cubitt's 'Making Space' provides one of the most comprehensive historical overviews of how classical theories and practices informing perspective and dimensionality in the pictorial arts, theater and architecture have informed the computer generated graphics of today's visual culture. As he puts it, 'The challenge is all the greater because digital screens and projectors afford only a strictly limited form of display, and the codecs associated with them share features which make the construction of space conform to the Cartesian grid of two dimensional geometry. In this tension lies the basis for what we do not yet truly possess: a digital cinema free of the chains of the past.'"
It's a fascinating piece, taking us, in one section among other throughlines, from Palladio's Teatro Olimpico (image above) and the evolution of stage design, through Georges Méliès and André Bazin's objections to shallow focus to the ways James Cameron trains his audience how to watch Avatar, even as we're watching it. The other essays in this batch: "The Older Grows the Body, the Faster Run the Machines," by John Downie; "The Cinemas of Interactions: Cinematics and the 'Game Effect' in the Age of Digital Attractions," Leon Gurevitch; "Pixie Dust: Gender, Embodiment and Consumer Identities in disney.go.com/fairies and Pixie Hollow MMOG," Allison Maplesden; and "We (Still) Need a Woman for the Job: The Warrior Woman, Feminism and Cinema in the Digital Age," Lee-Jane Bennion-Nixon.
Also in Issue 57: "There is no doubt that the French New Wave and its menagerie of talented directors changed cinema forever," writes Wes Felton, "yet out of all the burgeoning filmmakers from this era, there is a blind spot that is brazenly overlooked: that of Francophone African filmmakers and their influence on the French New Wave and visa versa. These films and filmmakers were literally caught in the undertow of the French New Wave."
For Pedro Blas Gonzalez, "Citizen Kane highlights the struggle that often exists between the private, internal and metaphysical reality that makes up the essence of each individual, and its distillation in objective reality."
Lorraine Mortimer introduces Edgar Morin's essay on Ava Gardner, which originally appeared in 1958; the journal's debuting the English translation. Genevieve Yue talks with Olivier Assayas about Carlos. Joseph Natoli sees "A Dark Allegory" in Anton Corbijn's The American. There are also new festival reports, book reviews, annotations and three names have been added to the Great Directors database: Robert Farmer on Jean Epstein, Matt Losada on Jean Rouch and Mattias Frey on Michael Haneke.
At Film Studies for Free, Catherine Grant alerts us to new issues of two more journals: Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture on fandom and fan studies and In Media Res on spectatorship.
LISTS AND AWARDS
"At the beginning of Sweetgrass, a sheep viewed in profile for a long time suddenly turns, stops chewing its cud, and looks directly and intensely into our eyes...." Or this one: "A ghostly white hart — star of Arthurian myth and Miyazaki's sublime Princess Mononoke — drifting through a frozen forest, leading Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to the Sword of Gryffindor; arguably the lone moment of magic in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I..." Just two of this year's "Moments Out of Time" from Richard T Jameson and Kathleen Murphy, "a tradition established in Movietone News, revived in the 90s in Film Comment under Jameson's editorship, and now gracing the virtual pages of MSN Entertainment," as Sean Axmaker reminds us at Parallax View, where he's archived previous editions dating back to 1971.
Katie Kitamura in the new issue of frieze: "Some of the year's best films fell into two camps: those that are about, in one way or another, obsolescence (Olivier Assayas's epic Carlos, Claire Denis's White Material, Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers), and those that are frenetically of the moment (David Fincher's The Social Network, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's Restrepo, Giorgos Lanthimos's Dogtooth). Both groups could be said to be responding to a growing anxiety about the relevance of cinema in an environment awash with social media and online content; that anxiety is both commercial (the collapse of the current film distribution model has been well documented) and somewhat existential." On that same page, Mike Sperlinger, assistant director of lux, recalls the highlights of the year in London; this, plus Dan Fox on Amos Vogel's 1996 essay "Thirteen Confusions" and John Waters filling out the Questionnaire are all part of the "Looking Back Looking Forward" theme of the January-February issue.
The five contributors to Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow are highlighting the best of the year in Japanese cinema, with each of them listing their top five theatrical releases and/or festival screenings, plus their top five DVD releases. Chris MaGee's also posted the nominations for the 34th annual Japanese Academy Prize, "popularly known as the Japanese Academy Awards." He adds: "Looking over the list of nominees in the major categories you see the same five films being repeated again and again... and again — Sang-il Lee's Villain, Yoji Yamada's Younger Brother, Tetsuya Nakashima's Confessions, Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, and Izuru Narushima's A Lone Scalpel." 13 Assassins also makes Todd Brown's top ten at Twitch.
With seven nominations, Benjamin Heisenberg's The Robber is a front-runner for the Austrian Film Award.
The IMDb opens up its big "Year in Review" section. Kenneth Turan's and Betsy Sharkey's lists are part of the Los Angeles Times' "Year in Review" package. Turan also lists ten "overlooked" films of the year and argues in a separate piece that "2010 has seen a remarkable resurgence" of the documentary. AP critics David Germain and Christy Lemire pick their top tens.
From the Playlist: "Continuing our run of favorites from filmmakers and musicians, we're pleased as punch to present a truly awesome list of underrated films, standout scenes, favorite performances and more from Scott Pilgrim vs the World director Edgar Wright." Roger Ebert has posted a top ten from Ali Arikan in Istanbul. You'll find Ambrose Heron's list at FILMdetail.
Killian Fox's gathering of the "best short films on the web" for the Observer is not a year-end ranking. Instead, he's interviewed the directors whose shorts (which, of course, are also embedded in the piece) have both made an impact online and captured his own imagination: "This selection, compiled over months of viewing, aims to represent not just the quality of what's on offer from a new generation of web-savvy filmmakers, but also the variety."
3:AM Awards 2010.
IN OTHER NEWS
"With six films invited to the Festival, the first half of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino program for 2011 has been decided before the holidays. On February 20, Berlinale Kinotag (the Berlinale's cinema day for the public), it is a tradition to announce the winners of the Max Ophüls Award feature film competition for 2011. And this year for the first time, the winner of the First Steps Award for 2010 in the category documentary film (Ein Sommer voller Türen, directed by Stefan Ludwig) will be presented. Hence three events that are committed to the next generation of German filmmakers will come together: First Steps, the Max Ophüls Award, and the Berlinale's Perspektive Deutsches Kino section."
"Karen Sortito, a movie-marketing executive who pushed the limits of product tie-ins when she put the world's most famous Aston Martin driver, James Bond, behind the wheel of a BMW and put him in business with Visa cards, Smirnoff vodka, Heineken beer and even L'Oréal lipstick ('Bond Bordeaux'), died in Manhattan on Monday," reports Bruce Weber in the New York Times. "She was 49.... A specialist in what marketers call brand enhancement, Ms Sortito was at the forefront in a relatively new era of product tie-ins in the movies."
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