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Tourneur, Baudrillard, Loden, Pasolini, More

Many thanks to Matthew Flanagan for pointing out the fifth issue of the multi-lingual journal La Furia Umana with its rapporto confidenziale devoted to Jacques Tourneur. It opens with a conversation on the filmmaker, and the talkers here are none other than Pedro Costa and Chris Fujiwara (author of Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall; see, too, Michael Guillén's recent interview with him). Tag Gallagher and Gwenda Young and Marco Grosoli have contributions in English as well.

"Curiously perhaps, for an influential thinker whose work was so concerned with issues of the image, illusion, the sign, spectacle, and representation, this is the first collection of essays on Jean Baudrillard and cinema." Jon Baldwin introduces the latest issue of Film-Philosophy (and thanks to Catherine Grant for the tip-off). Baldwin on one essay in particular: "Baudrillard's fate was to have a hollowed out, in more ways than one, copy of his Simulacra and Simulation appear in The Matrix, whereas the title page of Derrida's Of Grammatology appears in a montage sequence in Jean-Luc Godard's Le Gai Savoir (1967). Perhaps this appearance is appropriate for a thinker who had claimed 'I would rather see a second-rate American film than a French film' (Baudrillard 1993: 33). Alan Cholodenko takes this sentiment, and 'allergy to culture with a big C,' as an acknowledgement that Baudrillard's preference is for B movies.... The B movie morphs into the hyper-B movie, hyperreal film 'increasingly simulates film,' and Baudrillard, contrary to those who would cite Bourdieu or Barthes, is proposed as the 'extreme' French theorist of aesthetics, the 'singular theorist of the hyper-.' In so doing Cholodenko reveals what I consider to be the virtue of the collection as a whole: the taking of his ideas to places Baudrillard might not have anticipated himself."

Criticine has put out a call for contributions related to "archiving decisions and practices" in Southeast Asia.



Kate Taylor in the New York Times on Barbara Loden: "She survived a hardscrabble Southern childhood; moved at 16 to New York, where she was a pin-up model and nightclub dancer; then went on to win a Tony award, marry the director Elia Kazan, and in 1970, write, direct and star in her own film — the bracingly realist Wanda — before dying of cancer 10 years later at 48.... The cinematographer and editor of the film, Nicholas T Proferes, who also had an on and off romantic relationship with Ms Loden, said this month in a telephone interview that she was driven by a desire to overcome her past and was fierce about becoming an artist. She fully inhabited her character in Wanda, he said, 'because it was her story.'"


A couple of weeks ago, Doug Cummings listened to UCLA's Ross Lipman discuss the film's restoration: "Loden saw the film partly as a critique of the false glamor of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and the grungy settings, natural light, and non-professional actors lend the film (originally shot on 16mm) potent verisimilitude. Lipman — who places it in the vanguard of American neorealist films that includes The Exiles (1961) and Spring Night, Summer Night (1967) — chanced upon the original A/B rolls at a local lab just one day before they were scheduled for destruction."

Do read the rest of that entry; Lipman's decisions are fascinating. At any rate, the newly restored Wanda screens today at the Venice Film Festival.

"The career of Pier Paolo Pasolini begins in the wasteland of Accattone (1961) and ends in the inferno of Salò (1975)," writes Peter Keough in the Boston Phoenix. "Perverse, graphic, and despairing, his films are some of the most humane in cinema. A Marxist and a homosexual, he lived his life as an assault on the status quo; it ended in 1975, allegedly at the hands of a male prostitute, though evidence has been adduced to suggest he was the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. But the films endure. They are fevered explorations of the extremities of experience violating the norms of taste, propriety, and æsthetics, yet cleaving in form and meaning to the oldest myths and rituals." The Complete Pier Paolo Pasolini opens at the Harvard Film Archive tomorrow and runs through September 27.

"Was any comic as fixated on (mis)perception as Jacques Tati?" asks Nicolas Rapold in the LA Weekly. "'Sight gag' doesn't begin to cover the worlds Tati designed: a seaside village, an ultramodernist house, a hall-of-mirrors city, all laced with playful misprision and graceful goofs. A compleat comedian-auteur like Chaplin or Jerry Lewis, Tati played his most famous character, Monsieur Hulot, with music-hall–honed agility, but also as the windswept bystander to his mass orchestrations." The Films of Jacques Tati screen each Friday in September at Cinefamily in Los Angeles.

"We've had our eye on L'Etrange Festival for a few years now and we are very much looking forward to the 16th edition of the event, which takes place from September 3-12 in Paris." A preview in Electric Sheep.

Jim Jarmusch has curated a three-day festival for All Tomorrow's Parties happening in Monticello, New York this weekend. Christopher R Weingarten's interview with him for the Voice is as loose and fun as it should be. For goings on in the City this weekend, see Steve Dollar's very fine roundup for the Wall Street Journal.

Images: Tourneur's Night of the Demon (1957) and Loden's Wanda (1970).

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I hope re Pasolini special attention is played to the Ninetto films. Ninetto was the love of Pasolini’s life and his non-appearance in “Salo” is very significant. In “Salo” you’re either a torturer or a victim and Pasolini couldn’t bear to see Ninetto as either. “Che Cos Sono Nuovole?” is hi sgreatest film, IMO.

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