The Life of Film
We envisioned our publication as a product of a particular culture—that of the “film-as-art journal,” which we knew only as specifically the domain of print—one we might have known was dying around us if only we’d checked our impetuous enthusiasm long enough to pay attention.
In a way that distinguishes them from most works that deal with pre-existing footage, Duque’s work suggests that what continues to define cinema—against a purely iconic, informative mode of visuality—is the way in which it affords us privileged access to lived experience.
Schnack and Wilson’s film implicitly pays homage to Altman’s seventies opus; like Nashville, Strangers is a backstage musical that simultaneously revels in and critiques indigenous cracker-barrel spectaculars, and frames the locale as a microcosm of American history and identity.
I’m not sure that this feature-length video work from 2005 is about “what happens in it,” not at least in the sense of story or event as movies generally give it to us. It’s something trickier, thornier, a problem more about the movie’s DNA than what it wants to “tell us.”
In lieu of stylistic fireworks or some sort of grand thesis statement, Piñeiro offers us nothing less than a window on extreme beauty, which radiates through the faces of his actresses and the Shakespeare plays that they intermittently recite in a variety of contexts.
Even while I worry about Lonergan's cinematic prospects, his film makes me optimistic about the state of the medium. I picked it for this symposium not because I foresee a litter of other Margarets in the future, but because of the happy fact of its existence.
From the moment of its opening salvo, a jarring cut from black to a nightclub interior timed to the first beat of the Jay-Z/Linkin Park mash-up “Numb/Encore,” Vice plunges us deep within an aesthetic all its own, its world of gangland subterfuge and drug-running intrigue painted in streaks of cobalt and grey.
If the primary stuff of narrative is conflict, then The Duchess of Langeais—which tours through a series of nested rooms, carefully unpacking live-wire tensions and eerie doublings—reveals the past as a practically boundless narrative resource.
Old-fashioned theorists might agree that the difference between film and digital is essentially the difference between Beyond the Clouds and Michelangelo’s Gaze: between touching (or failing to touch) a living body and feeling out the contours of a statue.
By concentrating less on the pathological aspects of Vincent’s behavior and more on the crushing weight of the trap of work, the pressures and hypocrisies of which have taken him to the edge, Cantet turns the story into a trenchant plea for liberation from salary servitude.
In thinking about a film from the last ten years that gives me hope for the next, I wanted to find some kind of reassurance that, even if most films will soon cease to exist as any kind of physical object altogether, they might still appear, to the future viewer, as dated as any saturated and seamy 35mm print.