Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I've been busy with other things — so the Swanberg collection is on short-term-temporary hold, despite its first installment existing sitting-there in 90%-complete form elsewhere, awaiting frame-grabbing and i-dotting (see also: Grant, Cary; side-effects, physiological). I've temporarily back-dated the Swanberg overture-thing to another place on the blog, because I'm sick of looking at it until the real "Focus On..." series kicks off. For vainspotters, here's a tally of more-long-term promises I've made, and which I swear to follow-up upon and indeed even to follow through all the way to the end upon — at least by the end of 2010... :

— Writing about each separate work in the complete oeuvre of João César Monteiro, beyond his first film Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen — which I already shared some thoughts about here.

— Investigating each separate work in the complete oeuvre of Frederick Wiseman, the first treatment of which will follow a forthcoming piece on Jerry Lewis's The Ladies Man (90% complete). It's re: Titicut Follies, and is 90% complete.

— Thoughts on Seijun Suzuki's masterpiece Operetta Tanuki-goten [Operetta Raccoon Palace].

— Promised-to-Indiepix's-blog essay on R. Bronstein's Frownland.

— Promised-to-self Miéville consideration.

— Promised-to-self extended pieces on Godard's Sauve qui peut (la vie), and Prière pour refuzniks: 1 and 2.

Always of course there's the yearning for a cloning, so a few pleas to an alternate-universe me to fill in faster-than-I-can-get-to-them (with no promises for the materialization of such anyway) inquiries-into:

••• Dreyer's Die Gezeichneten [The Marked Ones].

••• Rohmer's La Cambrure [The Curve].

••• Suzuki's Irezumi-ichi-dai [One Generation of Tattoos / Tattoo Life].

••• Tourneur's Canyon Passage.

••• Lang's The Return of Frank James, Clash by Night, and the Indian diptych.

••• All of the Hitchcock-directed Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes, all of which are Hitchcock films / equal Works, regardless of moyens-métrages status; and North by Northwest.

••• All of Fellini, my hero.

••• von Sternberg's Caprice Espagnole (the title of which was changed to The Devil Is a Woman by the studio — but Caprice Espagnole JvS wanted it, so Caprice Espagnole it is).

••• Hawks's Land of the Pharaohs, and Rio Bravo.

••• Gehr's Glider.

••• Everything in the Ford at Fox box I hadn't seen until recently, plus The Long Gray Line and The Rising of the Moon.

••• Tsai's Hei yan quan [The Dark Circle] / I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, as the auto-critique of Tsai's work to date.

••• All of Rivette, my hero.

••• Ditto Moullet.

••• Straub's devastating Le Genou d'Artemide [Artemide's Knee]. (Note that the name in the title is Artemide, not Artémide, which name for the goddess doesn't even exist in French — it's a conscious switch from French to Italian; the title's nuance being not just my own inference, incidentally, but something stressed by Straub himself. No-one writes the title correctly. See also: INLAND EMPIRE.)

••• Lynch's More Things That Happened.

••• Assayas's Quartier des Enfants Rouges and the mindblowing Boarding Gate.

••• Lubin's Phantom of the Opera.

••• Lillian Roth in Lubitsch's The Love Parade.

••• Any or all of the beautiful multitude of Varda "boni" which are full-fledged Works (see Hitchcock's Presents entry above).

••• De Sica's Terminal Station.

••• Resnais's La Guerre est finie [The War Is Over].

••• Ruiz's L'Hypothèse du tableau volé [The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting] and L'Île aux merveilles de Manoël [Manoël's Marveled Island / Manoël's Treasure Island].

••• Visconti's Il lavoro [The Job] and Conversation Piece.

••• Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West.

••• Wise and Lewton's The Curse of the Cat People.

••• Pasolini's Mamma Roma.

••• Watkins's overwhelming, life-altering Edvard Munch.

••• Ulmer's Yiddish-language films; The Pirates of Capri; and The Naked Venus.

••• Cassavetes's The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night, as starters. (I wouldn't begrudge any person who deemed either film the best movie ever made.)

••• Hong's Geuk jang jeon [A Tale of Cinema].

••• All of Garrel, my hero.

••• Ditto Ferrara.

••• Walsh's The Bowery.

••• Brakhage's Anticipation of the Night.

••• Van Sant's Le Marais.

••• Gainsbourg's Charlotte for ever (in-depth — I wrote about it in brief in an issue of The New-York Ghost).

••• Mann's Reign of Terror.

••• Ophüls's Liebelei and Le Tendre ennemie [The Tender Enemy].

••• Álvarez's 79 primaveras [79 Springtimes].

••• Ossang's Docteur Chance.

••• Robson and Lewton's The Ghost Ship.

••• Powell and Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

••• Bertolucci's Agonia [Agony].

••• Jia's Zhantai / Platform.

••• Shinoda's Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke [The Strange Story of Sarutobi Sasuke].

••• Schoedsack's Mighty Joe Young.

••• Grandrieux's Sombre.

••• Tarr's Kárhozat [Damnation].

••• King Vidor's The Texas Rangers.

••• Costa's O sangue [Blood].

••• All of Bergman, my hero.

••• Martel's La ciénaga [The Swamp].

••• Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha and Peoples House.

••• Pabst's Die 3groschenoper [The 3penny Opera].

••• Greaves's Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2-1/2.

••• Sallitt's Honeymoon and All the Ships at Sea.

••• Anger's Puce Moment.

••• Sandberg's Nedbrudte nerver [Rotten Nerves / Shattered Nerves].

••• Kawase's Sharasôju.

••• Burnett's Quiet as Kept.

••• Baldwin's Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America.

••• Revier's Child Bride.

••• Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Sakebi [Retribution].

— and then —

••• Roffman's The Mask


  1. yes promised to indiepix! and what of the JOE SWANBERG essay?

  2. Craig, how can you plan in advance to write so much, about so many (and so different) films? Not counting that in between you can see some more you may then wish to write about with more urge...
    Miguel Marías

  3. Miguel, I only promise to write about the Monteiro, Wiseman, Swanberg, Suzuki, and Lewis bits; the very long list is just wishful thinking, what I'd like to have covered on this blog if I could spontaneously "will" the writing into being.

    I also (seriously) forgot to include Tom Green's amazing Freddy Got Fingered from 2001, and, from 1994, Paul Flaherty's Clifford, with Martin Short and Charles Grodin.

    Not to mention all of Elaine May...


  4. tease.

    We have parallel Wiseman projects - interesting [So far I've only published on High School].


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