Notable film links--September 19, 2008

Sight and Sound
asked several major critics to choose what work of criticism had the largest influence on them, and their answers are intriguing. David Thomson's work comes up often, yet I was surprised that only one critic, Armond White, brought up Pauline Kael.

Speaking of David Thomson, he wrote a thoughtful article for The Guardian about major disastrous film productions that had a lasting effect on the industry. I particularly liked his discussion of The Night of the Hunter as the one movie in which the audience "didn't know best":

"No, of course it doesn't look or feel like an American film of 1955, but at that moment it was essential that some movies begin to do things differently. The Night of the Hunter is not just a great film, it is among the great expressions of America's sense of childhood giving way to warped adulthood. Everything that was "wrong" about it was right - because an artist had perceived the work as a whole and brought it home. It was the public that was wrong, and nothing is more alarming."

Film In Focus continues to spotlight excellent blogs and luminaries of the history of cinema. Peter Cowie interviewed Jeanne Moreau about what is was like to act during birth of New Wave. As she said:

"What came with the New Wave was that powerful energy, that aggressive antagonism and the lack of money. The crew was very reduced. Hierarchy as such didn't exist. Prior to that, you couldn't imagine someone playing the main part, the star, without a car, a driver, a personal assistant, dresser, make-up, hairdresser... When I made Ascenseur, I did my make-up, my own hair, the costumes were my clothes, there was no driver, and nobody was following me around.

I used to do the make-up in a café at a quiet table out of sight, usually near the toilets, surrounded with the smell of urine and detergent! An assistant would close his eyes, holding a big coat while I undressed and changed."

I'm very impressed with the way the film blogosphere generates retrospectives about the careers of major directors, so how about more concerning Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick? In the meantime, one can still read Movieman 0283's thoughts on Love and Death. Kubrick fans can enjoy Sarcastig's take on The Killing in As Cool as a Fruitstand and T. S.'s celebration of Dr. Strangelove in Screen Savour.

Speaking of directors, the September 22 issue of The New Yorker includes John Colapinto's excellent profile about Spike Lee entitled "Outside Man." I can't link to that because of the retro way the magazine still seems to want us to look at the article in print.

Concerned about the financial meltdown on Wall Street? Writing for SpoutBlog, Kevin Buist gets us ready for the worst with his "Preparing for Global Financial Apocalypse: Seven Lessons from the Movies."

I like Dennis Cozallio's list of the 12 movies he still needs to see in Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. Isn't White Heat required viewing for cinephiles?

Lastly, after leaving the staff of Cinematical, Kim Voyner passionately explained in Film Essent "why it matters" that we should all continue to write intelligently about movies given market pressures to dumb down internet content:

"It’s a matter of standing up and saying, you know what? It does matter if someone writes about independent film. It does matter if a little film from Bosnia or Ethiopia has a chance to have its voice be heard, even if a review of that film doesn’t get millions, or even thousands of hits. It does matter if film critics support filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani, Claire Denis, Walter Salles, Jason Kohn, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, AJ Schnack and countless others out there – people who are passionate about the value of film as an art form, who are fighting to still get intelligent films made. It matters. . . . Music and film, like all art, reflect and refract our culture, and it is important both that artists keep striving to make the good stuff, and that writers keep writing about it and getting the word out to anyone who will listen."