Monday, August 22, 2011

Finding the Criminal

"Lots of Cigarette Play, Like in Donovan's Reef." —Tag Gallagher

Finding the Criminal by Craig Keller, 2010:

"The story is told — ancient and told." —Pedro Costa

My film Finding the Criminal is out today, included in the DVD release for Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth from The Masters of Cinema Series.

Finding the Criminal runs 118 minutes and documents a conversation that took place among Pedro Costa, Andy Rector, and me in November 2008 on the history of cinema, cinema aesthetics, politics, music, etc. Lighting and sound-recording were provided by Jason Murphy and the late, great Sam Wells. Music is by Nick Wrigley and Jonathan Lomax.

Colossal Youth is accompanied by Costa's three shorts Tarrafal [2007], The Rabbit Hunters [Portuguese title: A caça ao coelho com pau, or Hunting the Rabbit with a Stick, 2007], and his recent O nosso homem [Our Man, 2010].

A 56-page full-color booklet contains a facsimile of Ventura's letter, and writing by Jacques Rancière, João Bénard da Costa, Arthur Mas, José Oliveira, Martial Pisani, and Andy Rector.

You can buy it from Amazon UK here.


"A fascinating shambolic 2 hours where Costa reminds us that 3 secs of a John Ford western is equal to 3 hours of some less illuminating contemporaries." —Andrew Lucre

1 2 3Matthew Flanagan


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Bowery

Although work prohibited me from submitting my piece at the time the post was to go live, Danny Kasman was nice enough to append my 'essaylet' about Raoul Walsh's extraordinary 1933 film The Bowery to the final installment here of the Notebook's series highlighting Film Forum's Essential Pre-Code retrospective (which ended this past Thursday).

This Notebook entry also includes writing by Ben Sachs, Matthew Flanagan, David Cairns, Miriam Bale, Adrian Martin, and Zach Campbell.


Flunky, Work Hard

The Earliest Surviving Naruse Film

Koshiben ganbare [Flunky, Work Hard] by Mikio Naruse, 1931:

• Ragged cutting, which attains a lyricism in the shots of a toy plane gliding through the air.

• The same blighted suburban landscapes that appear in other Shochiku output of the period, specifically Ozu's I Was Born, But... (one year after) and Passing Fancy (two years after).

• Kaleidoscopic effects, and in the most beautiful image, the toy planes have been transformed into 'ghost planes' by virtue of crude superimposition across the would-be deathbed. (In a roundtable at the Notebook site here, Dan Sallitt writes: "The really interesting thing about the 'montage of inner revelation' is that the last montage interlude occurs as the child is coming around. It seems to suggest that the protagonist's anguish has staying power even in the face of a relatively happy ending.")

• The 'sick child' motif, also found in Ozu's 1931 Tokyo Chorus and Passing Fancy, among other films.

• "Flunky, Work Hard": One of the most beautiful titles in cinema — an adept and inspired translation of "Koshiben ganbare".