Older texts in French about video art were published by L’Harmattan (see end page list), but for some time now I mostly write in English about what I see happening in films and the film industry.
Note: If you see typos kindly let me know. English is a very rich language and it’s also my third.
While watching The end of Summer (1961) by Yasujiro Ozu, a shot brought to my mind the Swiss painter Félix Vallotton. The more I looked at Vallotton’s paintings, the more I saw echoes of them in Ozu’s films.
The shot that made me think of Vallotton – a lesser-known Nabis painter, is below.
On the left: a frame from The End of Summer, on the right: Félix Vallotton’s The Ball (1899).
This might be a visual coincidence but the two little figures in the far background gave me doubts and there are other Vallotton paintings reminding Ozu’s shots, notably some deep perspectives.
Like Ozu, Valloton often uses deep perspectives punctuated by lateral rooms – these are not that frequent in Parisian apartments because they are rarely of the railroad’s type.
Left: Yasujiro Ozu’s The end of Summer (1961). Right: Vallotton’s Interior with Woman in Red Seen from Behind (1903).
Like in most of Ozu’s shots, Vallotton often paints a frame within the frame.
Left: Yasujiro Ozu’s The end of Summer (1961). Right: Interior with Woman in Pink (1903-1904).
For both artists, windows open to a world behind. Either one sees a street as in Vallotton’s Woman Writing in an Interior (1904) – Right. Or as in Ozu’s Tokyo’s Story (1956) – Left, the street can also be at ground level with the neighbors popping up through the window.
Just like in Ozu’s films, a lot of Vallotton’s characters are seen turning their back to the spectator – which, in painting, was unusual at the time.
Below, left: a still from Ozu’s The End of Summer, right: Vallotton: Interior with a Woman in a Shirt.
Vallotton painted interiors with furniture and architecture being as important as people. When watching Ozu’s films we are, like in Vallotton paintings, constantly looking around and behind the characters.
Last, they share the same fascination for patterns.
Left: Yasujiro Ozu’s The End of Summer (1961), right: Vallotton’s The Artist’s Mother (1884).
There are so many similarities that I wonder if Ozu wasn’t aware of Vallotton’s work.
This is the word I found in three successive reviews about The French Dispatch: ‘a portmanteau movie’. I had to google this beautiful faux-ami. All of you American-born know its two meanings: either ‘a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others’ or ‘a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts’. Wes Anderson’s movie opens in three parts though and I’m not sure how a suitcase can do that but it’s not the point. The point is that for me, as for any French, a Porte manteau is the object in the picture below: a coat hanger. To be exact, this one is called a Porte manteau perroquet (a coat hanger parrot) which gives it a befitting Surrealist tinge.
It’s most particularly interesting for me to watch a film related to my birth country through the eyes of an American director living in Paris as we are in mirror positions. This brings me to the notion of authenticity. There is nothing authentic in Anderson’s movie. It’s all about his style, his reverence toward Jacques Tati, his very American clichés about France and French history, in short, his own world. Notice in passing that no one in France screamed ‘Cultural appropriation!’ or ‘Cultural colonialism!’ maybe because we know better. We know that there is something both beautiful and true in any appropriation that reveals or creates something new: a coat hanger becomes a stiff leather suitcase and can now travel to another country.
I do believe that a foreign eye can be as acute if not more so than a native one, and see through historical and cultural heavy layers of what makes a society’s heart and bones. Take Alexis de Tocqueville for example, he saw and wrote about the shape of the American stiff leather suitcase when Americans were too busy pilling their clothes inside. So does Anderson. If there is one thing that struck me in The French Dispatch it’s the heavy presence of police. In the first segment there is a prison and its ‘gardienne’, in the second the May 68 riots and police repressions, and the last segment takes place in a commissariat. Prison-Riots-Police and here you have a macaron movie being the most politically relevant film about France today… unless it’s about America.
October 28, 2021.
If I had to teach film, I would challenge my students to make a 90 minutes narrative feature set in mostly one room with only three characters, two of whom never speak. Then I would show them Melville’s The Silence of the Sea.
October 23, 2021.
NYC Film Festival opened yesterday with Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.
I kept thinking: why Macbeth now?
Then I thought about what other major male American directors recently filmed or are working on.
– David Lowery: The Green Knight, set in medieval times.
– Robert Eggers: The Northman, set in the Viking age, his previous film, The Light House, was set in the 1890s. So far all his films have been set in the past.
– Damien Chazelle: First Man, set in the early 60s, now filming Babylon rumored to be set in period Hollywood.
– Barry Jenkins: If Beale Street Could Talk, set in the 70s. His following mini-series, The Underground Railroad, is set in 1850.
– James Gray: Armageddon Time, set in the 80s.
– Paul Thomas Anderson: just wrapped up Licorice Pizza set in the 1970s, while his previous film, Phantom Thread, was set in the London fifties.
– Wes Anderson: The French Dispatch, set in the 1950s.
– Richard Linklater: upcoming Merrily We Roll Along, set between the 50s and the 80s.
– David O. Russell: wrapped up an Untitled film, set in the 80s.
– David Fincher: Mank, set in the 1930s.
– Quentin Tarantino: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in the 70s.
– Ridley Scott: upcoming, The Last Duel, set in the 14th-century.
– Steven Spielberg: West Side Story, set in the mid-1950s.
– Michael Mann: in development, Enzo Ferrari, set between the 20s and the 60s.
– Terrence Malick: in development, The Way of the Wind, set in… biblical times.
– Martin Scorcese has a project titled Roosevelt.
– Noah Baumbach is abandoning his habitual contemporary New York set for the 80s somewhere with his upcoming adaptation of Don DeLillo’s White Noise.
Why are so many American male directors retreating into the past? The past is secure, the past is a shield, it allows all that isn’t allowed anymore.
September 25, 2021.
Patty Jenkins recently tweeted that direct-to-streaming films looked ‘fake’, she wrote: “I don’t hear about them, I don’t read about them. It’s not working as a model for establishing legendary greatness”. A year of data shows that direct-to-streaming or day-and-date is deeply detrimental to movies partly because the public associates this type of release with lower-quality films. Big studios are now discussing a serious backpedaling from an all-online model and considering expanding the theatrical window.
The lack of cultural discussion born from movies released online is a much more important issue than the loss of revenue. The best movie released on day-and-date or direct-to-streaming soon dies off regardless of the publicity noise made during its premiere. It doesn’t last and it doesn’t come back, there is no second life for films online and the cultural discussion turns short. On the other hand, there is no denying that online series have a cultural impact and are widely talked about without any theatrical releases. So what’s the catch?
Series are brought up each week to our attention. It’s their repetition that creates the space needed for cultural discussion. Repetition is a space. Meanwhile, the one-time online watch of movies isn’t enough for them to take root in our collective imagination. Studios tried to make them last in our minds by making them last longer… 3 hours, 4 hours, but it’s still a one-time experience and length doesn’t beat repetition. The multiplication of screens through theaters all over the country is the repetition that creates the cultural space where movies can endure. It seems to me that what we witnessed during the pandemic is a fantastic in-vivo experiment: time without space. I think we all understood from this how public common space is essential to us as human beings. Turns out it’s essential for movies too.
September 8, 2021.
As usual with big festivals, one has to step back and see through the noise and the prizes. What was interesting at Cannes was neither Titane nor Anette but a fast-developing trend: the parachuting of known actors and particularly actresses into real-life work settings with non-actors as partners. I am talking about Ouistream, a film where Juliette Binoche works on a ferry line at Caen along with real ferry agents. I’m talking about No Fucks Given where Adèle Exarchopoulos is a flight attendant on real flights. I’m talking about De Son Vivant where Benoît Magimel is attended by Gabriel Sara, a real-life cancer specialist from NYC Mount Sinaï Hospital.
All these films come in the trail of Nomadland about which everything has been written but little thought was given about its Neo-Realism with a twist. Or shall we call it Celeb-Realism? Maybe we should because all these films are centered on their high-profile actor or actress carefully chosen to be able to blend in with their non-actor partners on-screen who, by contrast, are poor and from the working class. Basically, a star visiting the ‘real’ world brings us along in her journey. Yet, beyond the cheap thrill of seeing these actresses without makeup, no one forgets who they are. Isn’t interesting that today, an actress can’t play a gender that she isn’t in real life, certainly can’t play any minority that she doesn’t belong to, but no one pips about a major star playing a poor among the real poor.
I am not saying that one should restrict even more what directors and actors can do. In the US, we are already strapped in a very tight corset. From my point of view, an actor should be able to play anything and anybody in a fictional setting because fiction has its own rules disconnected from the real world. Now to catapult an actor into real-world misery and make the actor in turn act in it and look at it while bringing us along as eye witness opens a new set of questions. What’s Nomadland? What are these films? What does it mean to surround know actors with real people in real settings? Is it a virtuous trek among the poor? Is it a ruthless use of non-professionals, even if paid, even if willing, as backdrops for movie stars’ fantastic acting skills under the moral pretense of ‘showing’ poverty? Notice that ‘watching’ poverty is a very secure guiltily pleasurable endeavor when behind a screen and led by a star actress. Is it a well-meaning effort to get out of the Hollywood bubble? If so, what’s next? Adam Driver among real sanitation workers? Discover the fascinating world of cleaning ladies with Saoirse Ronan? Go can-picking in New York with Timothé Chalamet? Ah no, one still needs some ‘poetry’ to wrap it all, hence the nomads, hence the flight or ferry attendants.
Yes to dirtying one hands but with lyricism!
July 22, 2021.
Tribeca Film Festival dropped the word “film” from the event’s name, rebranding itself Tribeca Festival which makes perfect sense since for many years they prioritized all kinds of virtual reality/internet bravados. Goodbye ‘films’ then. They should drop the word ‘Tribeca’ too because everybody knows that it’s the richest zip code in the country which sounds quite obscene when associated with poor and underrepresented minorities’ films (80% of Tribeca’s lineup).
But who knows what’s obscene today? In Battery Park, one of the poshest places in NYC where luxury yachts anchor in summer and Goldman Sachs traders gulp $9 apiece oyster, a doc about the Nigerian gays trying hard to transcend their utmost poverty made the screening looks like social porn. Depending on where they screen and who watches them, films shine different lights and New York City is far from being a neutral background which is to say: in a fragmented and highly unequal society what but also where you screen matters.
June 20, 2021.
In praise of thieves, the smart and elegant ones, not the shoplifters picking easy shots such as someone coughing after smoking a first joint, low angle shot from a grave with earth thrown from above, youths standing or seated on top of a car, high angle shots of women in bathtubs, and the laziest shot of all: hands floating from a car’s open window.
No, I’m talking about master burglars, expert pickpockets, holdup artists. Tarantino and Schrader stole from Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, James Cameron plundered Borzage’s History Is Made at Night for his Titanic, Iñárritu looted Tarkovsky’s shop for The Revenant, Chloé Zhao cleaned Terrence Malick’s vault. Sometimes it’s a character: ask Melville, he will tell you that Elle Driver has a big sister who also likes to play the lethal nurse in A Cop. Sometimes it’s an actress’s move: a woman swirling from Kurosawa’s Stray Dog to Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole. Same dress, same moves, same shot.
Sometimes it’s only a color: the glorious moss green trench passing from Monica Vitti in Red Desert to Catherine Deneuve in Hôtel des Ameriques, and again to Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, before landing on Nicole Kidman’s shoulders in a forgettable series.
I always liked heist films by the way. I rewatched Dog Day Afternoon yesterday, Heat the day before, and noticed that both films end up on an airport tarmac… with an almost identical soundtrack. Michael Mann, Sidney Lumet, it takes a thief to catch a thief.
May 18, 2021.
In the midst of movie theaters’ bankruptcies, there is no mention of what they bring to the public beyond films and occasional meetings with directors. Movie theaters are places like no others, dark places where strangers gather together. They used to be ‘the’ place to kiss for young lovers without a room. Of course, much more happened at all ages. From the start, there was an obvious link between movies and sex but it’s the brick and mortar theater that brought this alchemy into the public space. In its most crude form, starting in the 70s, we find porn theaters in plain sight, whether in Times Square or Clichy. Even in regular theaters, in the 60s and 50s, there were sometimes intermissions consisting of on-stage stripteases as Bertrand Tavernier recalls in My Journey Through French Cinema. But theaters did not need this to be erotic places whatever the film screened. In fact, the most boring the film, the more probable one would be interested in one’s neighbor which could explain the success of superheroes’ tentpoles. Nothing like kissing during Thor’s Asgardian exploits, the defeating sound of explosions is an ideal backdrop.
The late political correctness put an end to anything remotely erotic in films and the closure of theaters due to covid enforces this pushback, taking away one of the three urban public spaces with an “erotic aura”. The two others are clubs, but these open much later at night shutting out whole segments of the population, and bars whose purpose beyond drinking is defeated by social distancing. So, how do strangers gather together now? Well, you can go to church or you can demonstrate in the street. It seems that the country is doing one or the other lately. A lot of frustrations, not enough dark places.
April 22, 2021.
The last time I rewatched
La Dolce Vita, what struck me this time is that during the three hours of the movie, we witness no less than six dawns and logically, some memorable nights. Yet, it’s the dawns that show Mastroianni’s desire to go on despite everything small, dull, senseless, despite betrayal, lack of passion, love, career, talent, family, you name it. It’s no coincidence that a character says at the end of the biggest party: “it’s the first time in my life I see the dawn”. She is a twenty-something aristocrat, a debutante who hasn’t lived yet.
There is no gentler hour than the hour of dawn after a party. Do you remember? When you get out of the party and the night becomes day and the sky is a dimmed grey – always grey no matter what color it will become later, and one feels at once fragile like the first human on earth and powerful like the master of the universe? There are no promises at dawn, promises are for silly sunsets, there is only a quiet whisper: I am alive today – and it feels even better when wearing a tuxedo. La Dolce Vita is fantastic in many respects, I just discovered that it’s one of the best films to get a feel of time passing, life going…
April 16, 2021.
Gitt Magrini week.
Today, Godard of course with 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (upper part of the picture) and La Chinoise (lower part of the picture), both from 1967. Observe the Mondrian hues (red-blue-yellow) that Magrini chooses for La Chinoise, a combination that Godard always liked and which was already in Contempt. 2 or 3 Things has a more diverse palette, including pink and green echoing the commercial signs probably inspired by pop art. I wonder if Alberto Moravia’s The Woman of Rome, a novel where prostitution is part of everyday life and takes place in the family apartment, is not the starting point of 2 or 3 Things which shows the same story in Paris as if to say: in modern capitalist societies everything is prostitution, including the making of a movie. Contempt was fully based on another of Moravia’s novels of the same title. Maybe Godard went on Moravia binge reading. He said in an interview that it’s from this kind of cheap literature that one does the best movies. Not too kind but kind of true.
April 2, 2021.
Gitt Magrini week.
Donkeyskin is a French fairytale by Charles Perrault and, to my knowledge, the only tale directly talking about incest. Imagine that: a king has a beautiful wife and a rich castle, including a marvelous donkey whose droppings were gold. One day his wife dies, after making him promise not to marry a woman whose beauty and attributes would not equal hers. The king grieves but is, in time, persuaded to seek another wife. It becomes clear that the only woman who would fit the promise is his own daughter whom he asks to marry. The daughter goes to her fairy godmother who advises her to make impossible demands as a condition of her consent: first a dress all the colors of the weather, then a dress the color of the moon (below), and finally a dress the color of the sun. When the King meets each demand, she asks him to kill the donkey which is the source of the kingdom’s wealth.
In the 1970 film by Jacques Demy, Catherine Deneuve is Donkeyskin and Jean Marais, the King. I wasn’t born when the film was theatrically released so I never had a chance to watch it as a kid but growing up I had a flimsy book about this tale with illustrations by Paul Durand (adding them in comments). I’ve always been fascinated by the poetry of the dresses, especially the first one because the words ‘weather’ and ‘time’ are spelled the same in French. As a kid, I wondered what could be “a dress the color of weather”? Maybe a dress that would change color between seasons or from dawn to dusk? And what if it meant instead “a dress the color of time”? What could be the color of time I asked myself? And I’m still thinking about it.
Gitt Magrini week.
Today is about her work in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) based on Alberto Moravia’s novel. It’s the only film about which I found something written concerning her contribution (link in comments) maybe because it’s such a visually stunning film. The Conformist is the story of the failed salvation of a morally bankrupt main character, Trintignant, through a mix of fascist art deco architecture and luscious bodies. It’s almost too stylized and I wish Magrini would have worked for Visconti instead.
The picture above shows the stunning Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda dancing tango in the most icily sexy scene of the film. Watching them in horror in a corner of the club is Jean-Louis Trintignant, a fascist spy who is honeymooning in Paris with Sandrelli but falls for Sanda. His young wife, Sandrelli, is not the white dove she seems to be and that’s probably why Magrini gave her a white and black gown, half of her is already corrupted. Facing her, Sanda is fully in cream silk. She seems ethereal but she wears other outfits showing her masculinity and her animal magnetism. There are scenes where Sandrelli wears a dress echoing the geometric pattern of rays of light through the blinds and this alternation of black and white is a constant theme in the film as if to say nothing is pure. It’s a feat for the eyes although I’m not a devotee of Bertolucci. He only goes that far into the bodies and the souls.
March 31, 2021.
What is elegance?
Is it a taste, a garment itself, the way it is worn, a gesture, a moment? The first time I watched Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, I could not take my eyes off Monica Vitti but also off her wide boat neck’s top-skirt suits. I never found the equivalent in vintage stores which led me to think that they have been entirely created by the costume designer.
Shortly after, I watched Red Desert and wondered how anyone could survive the green coat that Vitti was asked to wear which nonetheless made her unforgettable against the greyish industrial landscape. Years later, I watched La Notte and felt that the bare shoulders under constantly falling spaghetti straps, worn by both Vitti and Moreau, were a powerful metaphor for the fragility the movie pursued. Finally, yesterday, I rewatched Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, and I felt the same jolt as every outfit in this film is a genius find. Out of curiosity, I checked the film’s costume designer: Gitt Magrini. Then I looked her up on IMDb. L’Eclisse, costume designer: Gitt Magrini. La Notte, costume designer: Gitt Magrini. Red Desert, costume designer: Gitt Magrini. And then I saw that she worked for Truffaut, Godard, Rivette, Ferreri, Monicelli. Yet, I never heard about her, never saw a retrospective or an article on her work. There is almost nothing about her on the internet so I decided this week will be Gitt Magrini’s week. Starting with Moniva Vitti in L’Eclisse (1962). Her two pieces suit makes her erect and abstract. She is an exquisite and vacillating column, like the one that separates her from Delon in Rome’s stock exchange, like the white walls of the new constructions in the wealthy suburb she lives in.
March 30, 2021.
Thoughts after rewatching Bitter Rice.
Go figure how Italian filmmakers from the fifties and sixties – presumably ‘machos’ and from a very ‘paternalistic’ culture – created such magnificent, complex, strong, lead female characters totally in charge of their destinies and superb unapologetic role models whether good or evil, while women directors coming out of the Metoo movement – which I support to a point- give us bland film-tutorials? I’m not sure what’s at work here: either American women directors such as Great Gerwig or Olivia Wilde who finally have access to a large public unconsciously comply with a form of neutered filmmaking with asexual characters or those are the films selected by the market and the institutions. One way or the other, I would happily trade these “corporate-training films” for one minute of Silvana Mangano dancing.
June 30, 2020.
The best cinematography I have seen recently is by Claire Mathon who made the sober yet velvety picture of Portrait of a Lady on Fire. RED 8K Monstro and the Panasonic magic in low light is a nice departure from the Alexa picture omnipresent at Sundance.
Claire Mathon is amazing in that by her cinematography alone she managed to transmit something that I thought was dead in French movies: a Jansenist image. Think Bresson, simplicity, grace, restrain – Jansenism is an ascetic form of Catholicism that stressed predestination and grace, much like the theology of the Protestant reformer, John Calvin. When people think about French movies they most of the time think New Wave’s smart coolness or Caro & Jeunet’s baroque quirkiness, but there is another tradition that was lost and I’m glad Claire Mathon revived it because it might be the very best.
And the magic is hers, rather than Sciamma’s whose other films don’t have this quality and who, despite a great screenplay, added unnecessary shots like the ghostly apparition of the bride, or insisted too much on the red/green dresses – the exact same color contrast as in Beanpole. Luckily, and unlike Beanpole‘s young cinematographer, Mathon prevents these strong colors to bleed into the whole picture. She contains and channels their wild power with her unique soft light, with her grace. I can’t wait to watch Atlantique and see the full scope of her outstanding talent.
February 17, 2020.
What’s scary is how Baumbach and Chazelle perpetuate the American myth of the career as the prime definition of who you are. Whether in La La Land or in Marriage Story, ‘career’ is the God one should sacrifice everything to. I’ve always been amazed by how eagerly people are willing to put on this puritan-capitalist corset and stiff their life to the point of collapsing. Even the new Hollywood power couple is telling: Baumbach-Gerwig are lovers-colleagues.
December 21, 2019.
I love both the location of the Anthology Film Archive and its building.
The location because it stands diagonally to the Marble Cemetary which is always a comforting sight, and the building because it reminds me of a massive Florentine palazzo. Meanwhile, it’s an ex-courthouse and I can tell you that films there are severely judged. Don’t bring in your entertainment junk and your organic popcorn, Anthology is dedicated to ‘the study of the medium’s masterworks as works of art’ – as written on their website. This week they screen a ‘cryptic, largely dialogue-free work that both approaches and resists narrative’ (I want the job of the person describing films at Anthology).
Anthology Film Archives is the only theater that boasts a manifesto, but the place also exudes a certain spirit. Push the heavy grey door, walk in the mournful lobby, take the lugubrious staircases leading to the beautiful 187 seats theater, and you’ll find a group of cinema ghouls, I mean goers. They don’t talk, they whisper, they all know each other and they truly love Cinema in all its unspeakable shapes and names.
Now a double confession: I love Anthology’s community center aesthetic and I don’t eat popcorn (which they don’t have). I could give a 5/5 to its facility which will seem totally irrational to anyone who went to their bathrooms, but irrational we are so…- Facility and popcorn: 5/5.
I tend to think of Anthology as the AA of filmmakers and talking about shelter, the crowd is very nice, especially at four-walled screenings where it’s all friends and relatives and you get free wine. But there is more to it. I remember watching Aleksei German’s Hard to be a God and at the end, the dozens of people in the public gathered in the lobby around Jed Rapfogel, the programmer – I think Joe Neumaier was there too. They all formed a circle and started to whisper among themselves and I was sorry I wasn’t part of the brotherhood. Maybe there is an initiation to pass or something… Let me try: thank you Jed Rapfogel for screening German’s last film that no other theater in America wanted to host, I too find them ingrateful, how can they forget someone who made Twenty Days Without War? I’ll sign that with my blood if you ask.
The program however is studded with too many Mekas films (Jonas Mekas is the president of Anthology). Only in summer, are you allowed to bask in these wonderful retrospectives of Tarvosky or Bresson. But the weakest point at Anthology is communication. They have this funky American Apparel style in lieu of com: blurry grey pictures with yellow dates marked on them and lot of unknown people with red eyes. It’s beyond avant-garde, but if they hold onto that and add young chicks with beanies they might beat the cool out of Metrograph.
When it comes to connecting with the local indie film scene, they do… some job. The one-time screening offer by the New Filmmakers New York series, curated by Bill Woods and Barney Oldfield, can leave filmmakers frustrated as there is no publicity nor any kind of coverage by film critics. It’s a great thing it exists though and screening at Anthology is a must for a New York filmmaker but guys… since you are renovating, what about doing something new and crazy when you reopen? I don’t know… organize a carnival instead of one more festival, do something really wild like giving a two weeks run to unknown films, sending costumes and masks to Manohla Dargis, Eric Kohn, Bilge Ebiri and the like, and then keeping them after the party in your dungeon with champagne and caviar until they review everything. We’ll say it’s an art performance.
April 12, 2018.
Reading Roberto Bolaño, I get inspired. Let’s create an indie film group just as a pretext to drink and talk about films without walking on eggshells. In homage to Bolaño’s Visceral Realists (mocking his own group of poets initially named the ‘Infra-realists’), we should call ourselves either the ‘Visceral Filmists’, the ‘Ruthless Flickists’, the ‘Irresponsible Screenists’, or whatever name you could come up that sounds like a serious disease. We should crash every institutional seminar that teaches you ‘how to make a no-budget film’ while charging a steep fee, every godforsaken forum about ‘VR reinventing the world’, every condescending ‘women filmmaker’s lab’, every workshop titled ‘find your audience and learn how to make the most of it’. We will not handle leaflets, write a manifesto or take ourselves too seriously. We will answer like Brigitte Bardot in Contempt when Piccoli tells her that swearing doesn’t befit her. We will feel great not being beggars anymore. We will have a good laugh.
December 30, 2017.
Let me pitch you a project.
Two lead actors: Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman. Woody Allen will write the screenplay with the help of Louis C.K. for the dialogs polish. Direction by Polanski. Music by James Levine. Set photographs by Terry Richardson. Catering by Mario Batali. Weinstein will, of course, produce and Kreisberg be the executive producer. With our contacts at NPR, The New Republic, NBC, Vox Media, CBS, and The New Yorker, we will have tons of press. I just don’t have the title yet.
December 16, 2017.
. Question 1:
do we need another American movie where the women are either:
a) sex bombs with no lines but a bra you can see in nearly every frame (Riley Keough who can’t believe what she is wearing).
b) the nagging mother type.
c) the grandmother weirdo with her pink perm.
d) the clever power-woman that gets outsmarted by the cracker-barrel dude at the end.
Answer 1: No.
If not for Daniel Craig’s performance, you can skip Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, a film that manages to be shot in an outstanding location, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, without even using it.
– Do we need another French movie where the daughter of a fifty-something bore realizes that her father has a lover her age and these two young, smart, and pretty women compete for the old grub’s attention in a rewarmed New Wave style?
Answer 2: No.
Philippe Garrel’s Lover for a Day, stuck in the 70s but playing at NYFF 2017.
September 29, 2017.
Watch the Hidden Fortress and you will be amazed how a charismatic character such as Toshiro Mifune playing the noble hero is outpowered by two secondary roles of rowdy, greedy, and ridiculous peasants. It’s a lesson on the importance of having likable characters (something I should have learned earlier for According To Her). Watch Seven Samuraï and you will be taught the importance of movement and rhythm within the frame. Nothing more beautiful than the waves of soldiers breaking again and again into the fortified village. The best about Kurosawa is that his films are full of flaws, literally part of the film’s fabric, and these flaws are also why his films are likable. One feels the struggles, the hesitations, and every pain is a pleasure.
September 17, 2017.
3 reasons to watch 3 Women by Robert Altman:
– You will never see anywhere else a film all yellow and purple
– You will never see anywhere else an all yellow decorated apartment
– You will never see anywhere else such outfits as Shelley Duvall is wearing to cover her utmost loneliness.
Kubrick certainly watched Altman’s 3 Women exactly three years before shooting The Shinning – he got the twins and Duvall’s horrified face from it, and so should you.
October 22, 2016.
. I watched for the first time Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Medea. Don’t say: ‘Medea, the princess who killed her own children?’ this would be missing the true subject of this drama. Every immigrant should watch Medea (Maria Callas), crying after she left her land and folks to follow her lover. Once arrived in Greece, the foreign country where she has now to live in, she screams: ‘I see the sun but I don’t recognize the sun, I see the moon but it’s not the moon I know, the land has lost its center!’
Pasolini’s Medea is not about the cruel revenge of a mother, it’s about being uprooted and unable to create new roots, it’s about the old not succeeding to survive in the new. I can vouch for Medea, not recognizing the sun is a scary thing.
September 1, 2015.
Other publishers (selection):
– From Nam June Paik to Pipilotti Rist, paradoxes of the video installation.
in. Videoformes, XXI ° international Video, and New Media Festival, Paris.
– In Clint Eastwood’s shoes.
in. La Voix du Regard n°18, literature and philosophy magazine, Paris.
– Space for collective works: Film and Video.
in. Divus, Umelec International n°4, Contemporary Art Review, Prague.
– Le Temps en Partage.
in. Plastik n°4, revue du CERAP, the magazine of contemporary art, Paris.
– The contemporary status quo.
in. Encrages, magazine of contemporary art n°4, L’Harmattan, Paris.
– The confused body.
in. Grenoble university publications, Grenoble.
– On obscenity.
in. La Voix du Regard n°15, Paris.
– Troubles and inheritance
in. Plastik n°2, revue du CERAP, the magazine of contemporary art, Paris.