The Noteworthy: Criticwire 2.0, Film Fest Form, A Wellman Dossier

Indiewire expands its gateway to criticism, _William A. Wellman: A Dossier_ arrives, as does a book from Adrian Martin and a manifesto.

Edited by Adam Cook


  • It's the still in a process of refinement, but Indiewire has expanded their gateway to film criticism with Criticwire 2.0, which works as a catalog of critics and criticism that offers a much needed alternative to Rotten Tomatoes. It's less about looking for consensus than it is about offering a simple way of following the critics that interest you and discovering new ones along the way.
  • The Vienna Film Festival is underway, and while all of us who are not attending lament not being able to check out Mike Ott's DJ set, we have only the coverage of others to turn to for consolation. Turns out there isn't much of that available either, unless you can read German, so for now check out our coverage here in the Notebook, and hopefully there will be more to share next week.


  • An enormous treasure has come into being: William A. Wellman: A Dossier is a 187-page monograph edited by David Phelps and Gina Telaroli, featuring contributions from Bertrand Tavernier, Toshi Fujiwara, J. Hoberman and an especially notable detailed look at Heroes for Sale by Kent Jones. The best part: it's available for free download now.
  • 50Watts provides another, though more random, assortment of beautiful movie posters, this time "Silent Ephmera", several of which have been highlighted by Adrian Curry in the past. It's hard to choose a favorite but this Godzilla-esque poster for The Lost World jumped out immediately.
  • Via Michael Sicinski, we've discovered an incredible video work by Steina Vasulka in her Machine Vision series: Switch! Monitor! Drift! (1976). It can be watched in full at UbuWeb.
  • "As a teacher, two things I often find myself coming back to are Speed Racer and Jean-Marie Straub", from Sicinski himself in his Cinema Scope Online review of Cloud Atlas.
  • Above: from Adrian Martin, a new book on the "exciting new avenues" in film theory showing up in a variety of forms. 
  • How this rather magnificent manifesto for film festivals flew under our radar until recently (it was published a month ago) is peculiar, but better late than never: from Mark Cousins, a call-to-arms of sorts in which he "challenges us to think again about the increasingly uniform forms in which film festivals – are organised, arguing that festival organisers have to be 'storytellers and stylists', not only executive of commercial machines". You can download the .PDF from the above link. 

  • Above: you've probably already seen it, but it's well worth sharing nevertheless.
  • Via Moving Image Source, an essay by filmmaker Raya Martin originally published by the Jeonju International Film Festival last year for their retrospective of Kidlat Tahimik.
  • Two notable Bresson-related links: first, the sixth part in Kent Jones and B. Kite's continuing discussion of the director for Film Comment, and, viewable below, David Bordwell analyses constructive editing via Pickpocket:

"Cinema has meant so much to so many people who did not have a culturally fulfilling childhood," he continues, "so restoring a film like that is rewarding work. A story like Colonel Blimp could not work as a book or a play; it can only work as a film. Cinema began as a sideshow attraction and developed into a reputable art form. I hate to see films fade away."

  • Via Indiewire, Celluloid Liberation Front deconstructs Silvio Berlusconi's TV empire:

"It's not by chance that one of the most influential movies ever made, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, recounts the exploits of a media tycoon and his megalomaniac empire-building. And it's perhaps not by chance either that the first case -- of the countless Silvio Berlusconi is implicated in -- that saw the former Italian Prime Minister being sentenced to jail along with Hollywood producer Frank Agrama on October 26 is related to broadcasting rights. Though popular belief in Italy and especially abroad has Berlusconi as the cause of Italy's problems, more realistically speaking he is the outcome of these problems. He embodies a social syndrome whose causes cannot be exclusively attributed to him."

From the archives.

  • Still trying to pick what movies to watch tonight for Halloween? Check out Chuck Stephens' piece on Nobuo Nakagawa's Jigoku from the Criterion Collection DVD:

"Jigoku was the last in a nine-film string of innovative and deliriously eccentric horror films made by Nakagawa during his 1950s tenure at the genre-driven Shintoho Studios. Overflowing with brackish ponds of bubbling pus, brain-­rattling disjunctions of sound and image, and at times almost dauntingly incomprehensible plot twists and eye-assaulting bouts of brutish montage, Jigoku is more than merely a boundary-pummeling classic of the horror genre—it’s as lurid a study of sin without salvation as the silver screen has ever seen."


Steina VasulkaNewsThe NoteworthyViennale 2012Robert BressonRaya MartinMike OttTi WestAdrian MartinBooksYing LiangKidlat TahimikMartin ScorseseJean RenoirMichael PowellEmeric PressburgerJoss WhedonNobuo NakagawaFestival CoverageVideos
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