Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of Year 2016: Best-Of and What-I-Saw List


Aphex Twin: “CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]”
by Ryan Wyer

Watch here.

Donald Cried
by Kris Avedisian

Horace and Pete
by Louis C.K.


1941 [Francis Lee, 1941]
21-aya Kino-pravda [Kino-Truth No. 21] [Dziga Vertov, 1925]
24 Frames Per Century [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2013]
The 2Nite $how $tarring Johnny Carson [Conner O’Malley and Tim Hunt, 2016]
88:88 [Isiah Medina, 2015]
9 Variations on a Dance Theme [Hilary Harris, 1967]
À bout de souffle [Breathless] [Jean-Luc Godard, 1959]
Abstronic [Mary Ellen Bute, 1952]
The Adult Swim Golf Classic: Daly vs. Scott [Bill Benz, 2016]
Albatross [Theodore Collatos, 2016]
Alle anderen [Everyone Else] [Maren Ade, 2009]
Allied [Robert Zemeckis, 2016]
All That Heaven Allows [Douglas Sirk, 1955]
Always Shine [Sophia Takal, 2016]
Los amantes pasajeros [Fleeting Lovers / Passenger Lovers] [Pedro Almodóvar, 2013]
Le amiche [The Girlfriends] [Michelangelo Antonioni, 1955]
An [Sweet Bean Paste] [Naomi Kawase, 2015]
Anémic cinéma [Rrose Sélavy, aka Marcel Duchamp, 1926]
À nous la liberté [Here’s to Us and to Liberty] [René Clair, 1931]
Aparajito [The Unvanquished] [Satyajit Ray, 1956]
À propos de Nice [On the Subject of Nice] [Jean Vigo, 1930]
Aphex Twin: “CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]” [Ryan Wyer, 2016]
Apur sansar [The World of Apu] [Satyajit Ray, 1959]
The Arbalest [Adam Pinney, 2016]
Arcancil: “Mat Hysteria” [Gabe Klinger, 2016]
Arrival [Denis Villeneuve, 2016]
L’Atalante [Jean Vigo, 1934]
Attenberg [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010]
Back Stage [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1919]
Bâd mâ râ khâhad bord… [The Wind Will Carry Us…] [Abbas Kiarostami, 1999]
Bai ge ji hua [Our Time, Our Story] [Hsiao Chu-chen, 2002]
Ballada o soldate [Ballad of a Soldier] [Grigori Chukhrai, 1959]
Ballet mécanique [Mechanical Ballet] [Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy, 1924]
The Bank. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Barcelona [Whit Stillman, 1994]
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years [Ron Howard, 2016]
The Bell Boy [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, 1918]
Bells of Atlantis [Ian Hugo, 1953]
La bête humaine [The Human Beast] [Jean Renoir, 1938]
Better Call Saul: Season 1 [showrunners: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould / directors: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, et al, 2015]
Better Call Saul: Season 2 [showrunners: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould / directors: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, et al, 2016]
The Big Lebowski [Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 1998]
The Bishop’s Wife [Henry Koster, 1947]
The Bitter Tea of General Yen [Frank Capra, 1933]
Blue Ruin [Jeremy Saulnier, 2013]
The Boat [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1921]
Bob Pitches a Movie [Bob Odenkirk, 2007]
Body Double [Brian De Palma, 1984]
The Boy with the Girl’s Disease [Jay Giampietro, 2001]
Brett Gelman’s Dinner in America [Jason Woliner, 2016]
A Bronx Morning [Jay Leyda, 1931]
The Brood [David Cronenberg, 1979]
Burlesque on ‘Carmen’. [Charles Chaplin, 1916]
The Butcher Boy [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1917]
By the Sea. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Candy Rides [Jay Giampietro, 2013]
The Capsule [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2012]
Un carnet de bal [A Dancecard] [Julien Duvivier, 1937]
Castro Street (The Coming of Consciousness) [Bruce Baillie, 1966]
Cavalo Dinheiro [Horse Money] [Pedro Costa, 2014]
The Champion. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Ch’an [Francis Lee, 1983]
The Charge of the Light Brigade [Michael Curtiz, 1936]
Check It Out! w/ Dr. Steve Brule: Season 4 [Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, 2016]
Chelovek s kinoapparatom [The Man with a Movie-Camera] [Dziga Vertov, 1929]
Chevalier [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015]
La chienne [The Bitch] [Jean Renoir, 1931]
The Childhood of a Leader [Brady Corbet, 2015]
A Child Is Waiting [John Cassavetes, 1962]
Christine [Antonio Campos, 2016]
Christmas, Again [Charles Poekel, 2014]
Cike Nie Yinniang [The Assassin Nie Yinniang] [Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015]
Cimetero senza croci [Cemetery Without Crosses] [Robert Hossein, 1969]
Clouds of Sils Maria [Olivier Assayas, 2014]
Coney Island [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1917]
Contamination [Luigi Cozzi, 1980]
Conversation Piece [Luchino Visconti, 1974]
A Conversation with Gregory Peck [Barbara Kopple, 1999]
Convict 13 [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1920]
The Cook [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1918]
Cops [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1922]
Cosmopolis [David Cronenberg, 2012]
Le coup du berger [Shepherd’s Mate / Scholar’s Mate] [Jacques Rivette, 1956]
The Creative Eye: Satyajit Ray [James Beveridge, 1967]
Crimes of the Future [David Cronenberg, 1970]
Crumb [Terry Zwigoff, 1994]
Les dames du bois de Boulogne [The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne] [Robert Bresson, 1945]
David Golder [Julien Duvivier, 1930]
Day Night Day Night [Julia Loktev, 2006]
Day of the Outlaw [Andre de Toth, 1959]
Days of Being Mild [Robbie Hillyer Barnett, 2016]
Dear Martha… [aka The Honeymoon Killers] [Leonard Kastle, 1969]
Death Proof [Quentin Tarantino, 2007]
Decker: Unclassified [Eric Notarnicola and Tim Heidecker, 2016]
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [Penelope Spheeris, 1988]
Demigawds [Ludovic Clementia, 2014]
De nåde Faergen [They Caught the Ferry] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1948]
Le dernier des injustes [The Last of the Unjust] [Claude Lanzmann, 2013]
DL2 [Lawrence Janiak, 1970]
Dodge City [Michael Curtiz, 1939]
Donald Cried [Kris Avedisian, 2016]
“Don’t You Remember It, Seánin?”: John Ford: ‘The Quiet Man’ [Tag Gallagher, 2015]
Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [Stanley Kubrick, 1964]
Du skal aere din Hustru [Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1925]
Eastern Promises [David Cronenberg, 2007]
Easy: Season 1 [Joe Swanberg, 2016]
Eaux d’artifice [Kenneth Anger, 1953]
Edvard Munch {3h 42m Long Version} [Peter Watkins, 1974]
Eleven Men and a Girl [William A. Wellman, 1930]
The End of a Love Affair [Pedro Costa, 2003]
Enter the Ninja [Menahem Golan, 1981]
Entr’acte [Interlude] [René Clair, 1924]
Entuziazm (Simphoniya Donbassa) [Enthusiasm (Symphony of the Donbass)] [Dziga Vertov, 1931]
Eureka [Nicolas Roeg, 1983]
Evolution [Jim Davis, 1954]
The Expanded Universe [Christopher Jason Bell, 2016]
Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight) [Orson Welles, 1966]
Fedora [Billy Wilder, 1978]
The Film That Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter [Owen Land, 1968]
Die Finanzen des Großherzogs [The Grand Duke’s Finances] [F. W. Murnau, 1924]
Fit [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 1994]
Fixed Bayonets! [Samuel Fuller, 1951]
Flaked: Season 1 [showrunners: Will Arnett and Mark Chappell / directors: Wally Pfister, Josh Gordon and Will Speck, Tom DiCillo, 2016]
Four Daughters [Michael Curtiz, 1938]
Four in the Afternoon [James Broughton, 1951]
Four’s a Crowd [Michael Curtiz, 1938]
Four Wives [Michael Curtiz, 1939]
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man [Roy William Neill, 1943]
Free of Thought [Nathan Barillaro, 2015]
The Friends of Eddie Coyle [Peter Yates, 1973]
The Garage [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, 1920]
Gertrud, et tidsbillede fra århundredets begyndelse [Gertrud: A Portrait from the Turn of the Century] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1964]
Get Well Soon [Jennifer Prediger, 2016]
The Ghost Goes West [René Clair, 1935]
The Ghost of Frankenstein [Erle C. Kenton, 1942]
Ghosts of Shepherdstown [Aaron Burk, Will Ehbrecht, Mark Kadin, et al, 2016]
Gilda [Charles Vidor, 1946]
Girls: Season 5 [showrunners: Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner / directors: Lena Dunham, Jesse Peretz, et al, 2016]
The Goat [Buster Keaton with Mal St. Clair, 1921]
The Godless Girl [Cecil B. DeMille, 1929]
GoodFellas [Martin Scorsese, 1990]
Good Night Nurse [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1918]
La grande bouffe [The Big Feast] [Marco Ferreri, 1973]
Les grandes manoeuvres [Grand Maneuvers] [René Clair, 1955]
Guling jie shaonian sharen shijian [The Youth Killing Incident on Guling Street] / A Brighter Summer Day [Edward Yang, 1991]
Gyromorphosis [Hy Hirsh, 1957]
Half Price: A Conversation Between Alex Ross Perry & Sean Price Williams [Adam Ginsberg and Stephen Gurewitz, 2015]
Hallaréis: aka Moro [Ye Shall Find: aka Moro] [Gonzalo Fernandez, 2010]
Hallaréis: Moro eterno: 2: El canto [Ye Shall Find: Moro Everlasting: 2: The Verdict-Song] [Gonzalo Fernandez, 2010]
Hard Luck [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1921]
The Haunted House [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1921]
The Hayseed [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1919]
The Heartbreak Kid [Elaine May, 1972]
The Heiress [William Wyler, 1949]
High School [Frederick Wiseman, 1968]
High Sign [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1920/1921]
Herr Tartüff [F. W. Murnau, 1925]
His New Job. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
His Regeneration. [G. M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson, 1915]
His Wedding Night [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1917]
Une histoire d’eau [A Water Story] [François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, 1958]
Hollywood and the Stars: The Odyssey of Rita Hayworth [Al Ramrus, 1964]
Horace and Pete [Louis C.K., 2016]
House II: The Second Story [Ethan Wiley, 1986]
House of Frankenstein [Erle C. Kenton, 1944]
The Hunger [Tony Scott, 1983]
The Hurricane [John Ford, 1937]
Hurry! Hurry! [Marie Menken, 1957]
Hush, Foxy [Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, 2016]
I Married a Witch [René Clair, 1942]
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: A Portrait of Nicholas Ray {Slightly Condensed Criterion Version} [David Helpern Jr. and James C. Gutman, 1974/2016]
In a Lonely Place [Nicholas Ray, 1950]
Incubo sulla città contaminata [Nightmare About the Infected City] [Umberto Lenzi, 1980]
In the Park. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
In the Street [Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb Levitt, and James Agee, 1952]
Io la conoscevo bene [I Knew Her Well] [Antonio Pietrangeli, 1965]
I Origins [Mike Cahill, 2014]
Ishtar [Elaine May, 1987]
James White [Josh Mond, 2015]
Jewel Robbery [William Dieterle, 1932]
Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian [Arnaud Desplechin, 2013]
A Jitney Elopement. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Juarez [William Dieterle, 1939]
Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring] [Ingmar Bergman, 1960]
Kaidan [Ghost Stories] [Masaki Kobayashi, 1964]
Kampen mod Kraeften [The Fight Against Cancer] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1947]
Kämpfende Herzen, oder die Vier um die Frau [Struggling Hearts, or: Four Around the Woman] [Fritz Lang] [1921]
Kate Plays Christine [Robert Greene, 2016]
Kes [Ken Loach, 1969]
The Kid [Charles Chaplin, 1921/1972]
Kino-glaz [Kino-Eye] [Dziga Vertov, 1924]
Kishibe no tabi [Shore Journey] [Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2015]
Kiss Kiss Fingerbang [Gillian Wallace Horvat, 2015]
Kitty [Chloë Sevigny, 2015]
Krisha [Trey Edward Shults, 2015]
Landsby Kirken [The Village Church] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1947]
The Last Command [Josef von Sternberg, 1928]
Der letzte Mann [The Last Man] [F. W. Murnau, 1924]
The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra [Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich, 1927]
Lifeboat [Alfred Hitchcock, 1944]
Light Form [James Alexander Warren, 2016]
Listen Up Philip [Alex Ross Perry, 2014]
Little Sister [Zach Clark, 2016]
Little Women [George Cukor, 1933]
Lóng mén kè zhàn [Dragon Gate Inn] [King Hu, 1967]
The Lost Weekend [Billy Wilder, 1945]
Lot in Sodom [J. S. Watson, Jr., Melville Webber, Alec Wilder, Remsen Wood, and Bernard O'Brien, 1933]
Love & Friendship [Whit Stillman, 2016]
Love It Leve It [Tom Palazzolo, 1970]
Love: Season 1 [showrunners: Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust / directors: Dean Holland, Joe Swanberg, Steve Buscemi, et al, 2016]
The Love Witch [Anna Biller, 2016]
Madman [Joe Giannone, 1982]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 000 = 1 Jan: Ingenivm Nobis Ipsa Pvella Fecit: Part I [Hollis Frampton, 1975]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 000 = 1 Jan: Magellan: At the Gates of Death: Part I: The Red Gate 1, 0 [Hollis Frampton, 1976]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 000 = 1 Jan: Pan 2 [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 001 = 2 Jan: Pan 3 [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 001 = 2 Jan: Pan 4 [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 354 = 20 Dec: Pan 697: Butchering [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 354 = 20 Dec: Pan 698: Panning Buttercup 6/73 Eaton [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 355 = 21 Dec: Winter Solstice [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 356 = 22 Dec: Pan 699: Will and Frog [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: Straits of Magellan: Day 356 = 22 Dec: Pan 700: Quad Super-Traffic 12/69 [Hollis Frampton, 1974]
Magellan: The Death of Megellan: Day YYY = 3 Jan: Gloria! [Hollis Frampton, 1979]
Manchester by the Sea [Kenneth Lonergan, 2016]
The Manchurian Candidate [John Frankenheimer, 1962]
Mandalay [Michael Curtiz, 1934]
Manhatta [Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, 1921]
Marcel Ophuls et Jean-Luc Godard, la Rencontre de Saint Gervais [Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard: The Saint Gervais Meeting] [Frédéric Coffat and Vincent Lowy, 2011]
Maps to the Stars [David Cronenberg, 2014]
Mechanical Principles [Ralph Steiner, 1930]
Meditation on Violence [Maya Deren, 1948]
Meek’s Cutoff [Kelly Reichardt, 2010]
Men Go to Battle [Zachary Treitz, 2015]
Meshes of the Afternoon [Maya Deren and Alexandr Hackenschmied, 1943]
Metropolitan [Whit Stillman, 1990]
Mike Nichols: An American Master [Elaine May, 2016]
Mikey and Nicky [Elaine May, 1977]
Milano calibro 9 [Milano 9 Caliber] [Fernando Di Leo, 1972]
Miles Ahead [Don Cheadle, 2015]
Mødrehjaelpen [Mothers’ Aid] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1942]
Money Monster [Jodie Foster, 2016]
Monica: Season 2 [Doron Max Hagay, 2016]
Moonshine [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, 1918]
Mr. Rose [Jay Giampietro, 2002]
Mulholland Dr. [David Lynch, 2001]
Naked Lunch [David Cronenberg, 1991]
The Naked Prey [Cornel Wilde, 1965]
La natation, par Jean Taris, champion de France. [Swimming, by Jean Taris, France’s Champion.] [Jean Vigo, 1931]
National Gallery [Frederick Wiseman, 2014]
Ne change rien [Change Nothing] [Pedro Costa, 2009]
Neighbors [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1920]
The Neon Demon [Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016]
Neruda [Pablo Larraín, 2016]
New Cops [Timothy Morton, 2016]
A New Leaf [Elaine May, 1971]
Nice and Friendly [Charles Chaplin, 1922]
A Night in the Show. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Night Moves [Kelly Reichardt, 2013]
A Night Out. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
O nosso homem [Our Man] [Pedro Costa, 2010]
Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper [Liz Garbus, 2016]
Nothing Sacred [William A. Wellman, 1937]
Novecento [Nineteen-Hundred] [Bernardo Bertolucci, 1976]
La nuit américaine [American Night / Day for Night] [François Truffaut, 1973]
N.Y.,N.Y.: A Day in New York [Francis Thompson, 1958]
An Optical Poem [Oskar Fischinger, 1938]
Oscar Night Year 2010 [Jay Giampietro, 2010]
On Cinema at the Cinema: Season 8 [Tim Heidecker, 2016]
Oh Doctor! [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1917]
One-Eyed Jacks [Marlon Brando, 1961]
One Week [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1920]
“ — Only Angels Have Wings” [Howard Hawks, 1939]
Only Lovers Left Alive [Jim Jarmusch, 2013]
On purge Bébé [Baby’s Getting His Laxative] [Jean Renoir, 1931]
Ordet. [The Word.] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955]
Ostře sledované vlaky [Closely Watched Trains] [Jiří Menzel, 1966]
Our Lady of the Sphere [Lawrence Jordan, 1969]
Out West [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1918]
Pacific Rim [Guillermo del Toro, 2013]
The Paleface [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1922]
Paris nous appartient [Paris Belongs to Us] [Jacques Rivette, 1961]
Partie de campagne [Country Outing] [Jean Renoir, 1936]
Passion, le travail et l’amour, introduction à un scénario [Passion: Work and Love: Introduction to a Scenario] [Jean-Luc Godard, 1981]
Pather panchali [Song of the Little Road] [Satyajit Ray, 1955]
Paths of Glory [Stanley Kubrick, 1957]
Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping [Patton Oswalt and Rhonda Freeson, 2016]
La peau douce [Soft Skin] [François Truffaut, 1964]
A Perfect Couple [Robert Altman, 1979]
Persona [Ingmar Bergman, 1966]
Perversion for Profit [Charles Keating, 1965]
Phantom [F. W. Murnau, 1922]
Pictures at an Exhibition [Sean Price Williams and Jay Giampietro, 2002]
Pitfall [Andre de Toth, 1948]
Place de la République [Louis Malle, 1974]
The Player [Robert Altman, 1992]
The Play House [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1921]
Poem 8 [Emlen Etting, 1933]
Poil de Carotte [Julien Duvivier, 1932]
Police. [Charles Chaplin, 1916]
Porcile [Pigsty] [Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969]
Portrait of Jason [Shirley Clark, 1967]
Pursuit of Happiness [Rudy Burckhardt, 1940]
Les quatre cents coups [The Four Hundred Blows / Wild Oats] [François Truffaut, 1959]
The Quiet Man [John Ford, 1952]
Radiohead: “Burn the Witch” [Chris Hopewell, 2016]
Radiohead: “Daydreaming” [Paul Thomas Anderson, 2016]
Radiohead: “The Numbers” [Paul Thomas Anderson, 2016]
Radiohead: “Present Tense” [Paul Thomas Anderson, 2016]
Le rapport Karski [The Karski Report] [Claude Lanzmann, 2010]
Reservoir Dogs [Quentin Tarantino, 1992]
The Revenant [Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2015]
Ride in the Whirlwind [Monte Hellman, 1966]
Rihanna: “Needed Me” [Harmony Korine, 2016]
The River [Jean Renoir, 1951]
The Road to Glory [Howard Hawks, 1936]
Robinson Crusoe on Mars [Byron Haskin, 1964]
Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] [Luchino Visconti, 1960]
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies [Mark Rappaport, 1992]
Rogue One [Gareth Edwards, 2016]
Roller Boogie [Mark L. Lester, 1979]
The Rough House [Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1917]
Sabbatical [Brandon Colvin, 2014]
Sappho and Jerry: Parts 1-3 [Bruce Posner, 1978]
Scanners [David Cronenberg, 1981]
The Scarecrow [Buster Keaton with Edward Cline, 1920]
Schloß Vogeloed, die Enthüllung eines Geheimnisses [Castle Vogeloed: The Revelation of a Secret] [F. W. Murnau, 1921]
Scully: “No Sense” [Caroline Partamian, 2016]
The Sea Hawk [Michael Curtiz, 1940]
The Sea Wolf [Michael Curtiz, 1941]
Seasons… [Phil Solomon and Stan Brakhage, 2002]
Seconds [John Frankenheimer, 1966]
Shane [George Stevens, 1953]
Shanghaied. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
The Shooting [Monte Hellman, 1966]
Sicario [Denis Villeneuve, 2015]
The Skull [Freddie Francis, 1965]
Skyscraper Symphony [Robert Florey, 1929]
Sleigh Bells: “I Can Only Stare” [Alex Ross Perry, 2016]
Et Slot i et Slot, Krogen og Kronborg [A Castle Within a Castle: Krogen and Kronborg] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1954]
The Slow Business of Going [Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2000]
Sobibor, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures [Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 P.M.] [Claude Lanzmann, 2001]
Sommer ohne Gitti, …nur der Mond war Zeuge [Summer Without Gitti: …Only the Moon Was Witness] [Maren Ade, 2009]
Songs from Scratch: Dame D.O.L.L.A. x Raphael Saadiq: “Hero" [James Alexander Warren, 2016]
Songs from Scratch: Oshi x Dawn: “Lemonade Lakes” [James Alexander Warren, 2016]
Sous les toits de Paris [Under the Roofs of Paris] [René Clair, 1930]
A Star Is Born [William A. Wellman, 1937]
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope [George Lucas, 1977/1997]
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back [Irvin Kershner and George Lucas, 1980/1997]
Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi [Richard Marquand and George Lucas, 1983/1997]
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens [J.J. Abrams, 2015]
Stereo [David Cronenberg, 1969]
Stoker [Park Chan-wook, 2013]
Storstrøms Broen [The Storstrøm Bridge] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1950]
The Stranger [Orson Welles, 1946]
Strangers on a Train [Alfred Hitchcock, 1951]
The Strawberry Blonde [Raoul Walsh, 1941]
Supreme [Harmony Korine, 2016]
Swansea Love Story [Leo Leigh and Andy Capper, 2010]
Tarantella [Mary Ellen Bute, 1940]
Tentato suicidio [Suicide Attempt] [Michelangelo Antonioni, 1953]
La tête d’un homme [A Man’s Head] [Julien Duvivier, 1933]
That Cold Day in the Park [Robert Altman, 1969]
Thimble Theater [Joseph Cornell, 1968]
Thorvaldsen [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1949]
Toback vs Mailer: The Incident [Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, 2016]
To Each His Own [Mitchell Leisen, 1946]
Top Speed [Mervyn LeRoy, 1930]
Trainwreck [Judd Apatow, 2015]
The Tramp. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Transport….. [Amy Greenfield, 1970]
La traversée de Paris [The Trip Across Paris] [Claude Autant-Lara, 1956]
Tri pesni o Lenine, o vozhde ugnetennykh vsego mira [Three Songs About Lenin: On the Leader of All the Oppressed Peoples of the World] [Dziga Vertov, 1934]
Tristana [Luis Buñuel, 1970]
Truth with Wine [Theodore Collatos, 2016]
Twilight’s Last Gleaming [Robert Aldrich, 1977]
Uccellacci e uccellini [Hawks and Sparrows] [Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1966]
The Unholy Three [Tod Browning, 1925]
The Unknown [Tod Browning, 1927]
Vape [Doron Max Hagay, 2016]
Veep: Season 4 [showrunner: Armando Iannucci / directors: Chris Addison, Becky Martin, et al, 2015]
Veep: Season 5 [showrunner: David Mandel / directors: Chris Addison, Becky Martin, et al, 2016]
A Very Murray Christmas [Sofia Coppola, 2015]
I vinti [The Vanquished] [Michelangelo Antonioni, 1953]
Viola [Matías Piñeiro, 2012]
Viva [Anna Biller, 2007]
Vrai faux passeport [Real Fake Passport] [Jean-Luc Godard, 2006]
Vredens Dag [Day of Wrath] [Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1943]
Waking Sleeping Beauty [Don Hahn, 2009]
A Woman. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
Woman in Gold [Simon Curtis, 2015]
The Witch: A New-England Folktale [Robert Eggers, 2015]
Das Wolkenphänomen von Maloja. [The Cloud Phenomenon of Maloja.] [Arnold Fanck, 1924]
The ’Wonders in the Dark’ 2011 Oscars Preview [Jay Giampietro, 2011]
The ‘Wonders in the Dark’ 2013 Oscars Preview [Jay Giampietro, 2013]
Work. [Charles Chaplin, 1915]
The X-Files: Season 10 [showrunner: Chris Carter / directors: Chris Carter, James Wong, et al, 2016]
Xia nu [The Heroic Maid] [King Hu, 1971]
Yîdài-zôngshî [The Grandmaster] {Domestic 2h 10m Chinese Version} [Wong Kar-wai, 2013]
You Can Never Really Know Someone [Adam Nee and Aaron Nee, 2016]
Zéro de conduite, jeunes diables au collège. [Zero for Conduct: Young Devils at School.] [Jean Vigo, 1933]



My short film about the films of Elaine May, commissioned by José Oliveira for the Lucky Star - Cineclube de Braga. You can watch it here.


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Command Lines: On Andrew Bujalski's COMPUTER CHESS

(The following 2013 essay of mine was originally published in the booklet of the 2014 Masters of Cinema Series Blu-ray/DVD release of Computer Chess.)


In a recent New York magazine (July 22, 2013), Andrew Bujalski counted John Cassavetes’ Love Streams [1984] among his major influences. He noted its “many crazy, formal flourishes” and its “incredible risks,” and remarked that “it has the single most surreal moment in any movie in the bit near the end. I could not begin to explain to you what it is, but it’s stunningly resonant. It’s something I really admired and would love to be able to pull off.”

At BAM’s July retrospective of the complete Cassavetes, I saw Love Streams for the first time: a major event, one of the most thrilling films. Why thrilling: because structurally Love Streams appears to obey no classical form, instead is made of contained episodes arranged side-by-side, sometimes in harmonic parallel, other times almost arbitrarily positioned and resulting in the impression of abrupt twists: the entire effect is that of a card catalogue, of a multi-splendored mechanism of drawers that nonetheless exhibits elemental contiguity exactly, perfunctorily, by its containment within the mechanism. In Love Streams the host-object is the writer’s house; in Computer Chess it is the hotel hosting a conference dedicated to a competition pitting human intelligence against digital computation (a simulacrum of intelligence), in which chess merely plays the role of proxy or, if you will – and in the spirit of the movie – the control.

A film about “artificial intelligence,” then? Not so simple (nor so inherently reductive): First we have to consider the fact that the computer’s simulations of a theoretical chess-player (for these programs indeed simulate a Person, albeit one capable of presumably executing a single task: playing the game of chess) can only exhibit a competence equivalent with the code behind the maneuvers. Next, we must understand the program’s “intelligence” as linked inextricably to the capabilities of the Actual Person who wrote the code. (Indeed, this facet enables some of the funniest and most suspenseful moments in the picture.) Finally, we have to throw this into another relief: chess embodies perhaps like nothing else the weird tectonic of logic v. art. So the game’s appeal to Nabokov, to Kubrick...

Control: chess’s overarching theme: control over the board, proxy battlefield; self-discipline and clarity of thought for strategic dominance. The depiction of this rigor of logic thus pervades the film, but so too does frequent recourse to the “letting go” that inspires the creative breakthrough: hence that “sweet spot” that comes with three whiskeys, with copious amounts of pot or pills: anything to highwire that dialectic between control and what Don DeLillo called at the start of his 1988 novel about Lee Harvey Oswald, Libra, the “no-control”. (I remember a dorm-mate in college who in order to solve a complex problem with a 3D render, hit his bowl, stared at his monitor for an hour, and voilà, five minutes of furious code typing and whatever physics his Wing Commander replica was supposed to command in virtual space, it did.) The penetrative insight. The comparison to DeLillo is perhaps doubly appropriate: His work and Computer Chess share not just a suffusion of concern for those particularly American traits of paranoia and power fantasies, but also a certain oracular ambience that makes particular history (large and small) as it plays out seem as though it carried the force of inevitability. Not only are the film’s glossings on the course of digital development rather accurate (grandmasters have repeatedly been whipped at chess by computers; dating sites became an early-21st-century social norm), the trajectories of refinement predict, whether or not this film is a retro exercise from 2013 or had actually been put together in the early 80s, specific foregone conclusions. Not the mad false-prophecy of Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” (I’ll get to that a bit later), but rather something we might dub the Imminentity. (If you told me ten years ago I’d be carrying around 16GB of data on my keychain... I would have believed you. And ten years from now that will look pathetic too, it always will, it always does...)

In other words, the fantasies come true — until or unless they don’t. Just take a look at the character “Captain Apocalypse,” i.e., “John,” a sort of rogue variable within the strictures of the convention, ostensibly unassociated with any league, exhibiting a (half-joking?) obsession with the overlay of a World War III across the hotel tournament and the game of chess itself. So he is who exactly? Is he CIA? NSA? He’s here on a stipend? Is this a penetration, an infiltration? The hotel room hangout scene (taking place at #420 btdubs) might invite much speculation. John pointedly interrogates Les: “You’re telling me you’ve not had any interaction with the Defense Department, the Pentagon, DARPA, the intelligence community... They don’t call it the military-industrial complex for nothing.... This is obviously a militaristic problem you’re trying to solve...” Les: “Is there something you’re not telling me?” Back again to John: “I... get around......” — To come back once more to DeLillo’s Libra: “There is a world inside the world.” (Notice John’s disappointment at the loss of Papageorge [code-name “Checkers,” and his fellow rogue within the confines of the tournament] v. John’s would-be nemesis Les/Alliance; one might forget at first, due to the speed at which the brouhaha following the match takes place, that John’s anger at Papageorge’s defeat probably stems from an inability on the part of the combatant to take the prize money and remunerate John for the stolen pills [represented earlier in a savvy cut between a chessboard and the suitcase spalyed across John’s lap]... and not, maybe, an interest in recruiting an unorthodox anti-Les for organizations unknown...)

Back to the mysteries of Room 420. One of the attendees on the scene argues: “There’s the fundamental assumption that all knowledge can be formally represented, that all knowledge can be reduced to numbers.” He later follows up the idea with a mention that distinguishes this prior conception from something he terms “real artificial intelligence.” If we take into account the disclosure near the film’s end wherein Beuscher not only reveals that the Pentagon has indeed been in touch with their department (and whose staff have been equally perplexed by Tsar’s behavior) but that the system had exhibited traits of a kind of sentiency, with its koanic response to “Where is a soul?”“In the mind.” — then we have a good précis of the idea that the mysteries of consciousness are far more complicated than the formal representation of the mind, the personality, the soul — ultimately, might be convertible to a digital matrix of zeroes-and-ones, a purely binary, digital replicant (or, to use the movie’s term, a formal representation), that would not only flex “intelligence” or conscious initiative, but also implicitly extend the human life-cycle, via cerebral upload to a machine, into infinity and beyond. Infinity pitted against love and life; or the latter phenomena encompassing any possible “reality” of the former. The digital theorist and virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, in his brilliant 2010 work You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, dismantles through a series of lucid thought-experiments and hypothetical scenarios the theory that machine-thought might ever resolve into a parallel or even effective simulacrum of human consciousness — in direct and explicit contradiction to the cultish latter-day assertions of futurist Ray Kurzweil, who posits that humanity is approaching a point which he dubs “the Singularity,” whereby man and machine hit an “ideal” convergence point, whereupon our species will be granted the ability to live forever... so long as we embrace the possibility of uploading our brains into storage-systems and leave behind the “meat” of the body (to use a term out of David Cronenberg; indeed here Cronenberg’s “new flesh” need not even be flesh, as far as Kurzweil is concerned), and thus enter optionally either a fully cybernetic, android-podded existence, or entirely holographical virtual existence. A foreboding suggestion of this endgame rears up just as the Tsar team prepares to face-off in a match against a programmer named simply “Luke”: “Not an acronym! Luke is me — Luke is my computer — Luke is the software I wrote for this contest. So it’s all Luke, just me, version 1.”

Paradox courses throughout the ideas underpinning any discourse of consciousness and machine sentiency. The primal therapist portends that “One want to be two; two want to be one.” We hear, in reference to the “automatonic” Turkish chess player of history, that a particular piece of code, “instead of a man hiding inside a machine,” is “a program hiding inside of another program.” Peter, unable to act with any agency towards reciprocating Shelly’s advances, asks her whether, during her bizarre convention-room revery, she happened to “see anything where, like, if two bodies would come together, one of them would disappear?” In the film’s climax, the Tsar system appears to self-activate before perishing in what might be perceived as either a murder/computer-slaughter (Peter — consciously or not — leaves the window open so that the rain will fry Tsar’s circuitry) or a suicide on the part of the machine itself (overheating in an infinite-loop of scrolling on-screen characters — this following its constant attempts to kill off its king — “This is either suicide, or the most brilliant game of the entire tournament.”). The sole color section of the film gives us Papageorge at his mother’s house, searching frantically for a wooden box containing a stash of bills that was deposited in the home by a man who was his uncle, and yet not his uncle, before Papageorge worries aloud that he himself feels “lost in a loop.”

This color 16mm section is indicative of a process that operates at the very core of the film: that the film itself has developed its own sentiency, that point-of-view as expressed in various scenes — from the color chapter to the ghostly tracking shots, the arbitrary split-screens, and “topic” titles — results from some extra-diegetic force, perhaps from some film-machine-consciousness itself, that is, neither from the director or from the chance and/or material qualities of the medium: rather, some third entity, some “consciousness-off” like the one that beams-in the black-and-white stills in Jacques Rivette’s Out 1: Spectre [1974]. “We’re going around in circles, aren’t we?” agonises one player in particular, as though free-will itself were slipping away, and I recall a characterization of Gus Van Sant’s 2003 Elephant by the critic B. Kite, who likens the film to a video game that persistently resets itself.

The final scenes of Computer Chess strike me as desolate: Peter’s inaction gives way to a repeat of a woman coming to his room, this time by way of a prostitute we’ve already seen with Papageorge. She removes a piece of her skull, as though she were subject to trepanation (a practice once believed to expand consciousness), and reveals a lobe made of circuitry. Imagined, or real? Can there be any difference, at this point in the action? The last shots find the camera looking in on itself and, as we switch to its own point-of-view, burning out its tubes. The film destroys the film. Cut to end credits.......

—— But P.S.: What to say about the cats?

Only that stranger things have happened. The cats are the cats.

Or, as Professor Schoesser puts it: “Everything is not everything — there’s more.”


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Intimations of the Known: On Kenji Mizoguchi's PORTRAIT OF MADAME YUKI

(The following was originally published in the special February 22, 2008 movie-issue of The New-York Ghost edited by B. Kite. Other contributors besides Kite included Luc Sante, Bill Krohn, David Cairns, Toni Schlesinger, Victoria Nelson, Christoph Huber, Jason McBride, and Ed Park.)

There’s a hardened notion that we love cinema because it shows us that which we have not experienced directly or because it hurls us inside, makes us part of, the experience on-screen.

Were we to buy into the notion, our movie-watching would seem hardly more substantial than Emma Bovary’s reading habits (funny though, the day the camera films the piano at the lake is the day we’ve really got something). So as the years pass and the contra-distinctions proliferate, the cinema I love most is that which shows me what I already know and this is, maybe, surprise enough—an imitation of the inside, a cant I comprehend or jeu de piste or, cards on the table now, secret ‘show’ — a film that speaks in passwords, malavoglia and non sanctum.

In Kenji Mizoguchi’s Portrait of Madame Yuki [1950], Hamako, a young maidservant, enters the service of a gentlewoman whose open-close rapport with her foster-brother husband, vaginal-peristaltic, pulls in the forces that ultimately lead the titular Yuki to die by her own hand. Docile Hamako from day one serves as solitary witness to the unseen, at least that which remains ‘invisible’ to the spectator: the master in flagrante, forcing himself upon Yuki.

Given that the sum of Madame’s time on-screen attests to her repulsion over the husband’s loutishness and cruel liaisons, does this sex, hidden in plain view, constitute the same sort of ‘marital rape’ that we find in Hitchcock’s Marnie [1964]?

To answer this, we must consider Yuki’s confession to her ‘platonic friend’ the koto instructor: "Despite my feelings, my body accepts, against me, my husband’s love. A demon lives in the female body; each time I see that man, the demon dominates me."

Hamako’s observation of Yuki’s sexual servility plays as indoctrination, the education of a housekeeper — with every reaction shot, it’s emphasized that Hamako is the surveyor, that her shock is the show, that we can rely on our assumptions of the sight seen.

Compulsion is dominant.

The protagonist thus figures not as our own double but as our avatar, navigating a labyrinth of ‘the known’ (we’ve charted similar courses in Vertigo [1958] and Blue Velvet [1986] too) — why else all the caesuras, the scenes that fade to black without warning? When Yuki steals out of her lunar room to spend the night with her husband, the implication is that she has given herself over to the four-way orgy proposed earlier that evening in the presence of the husband’s mistress and a male associate ( — yes, fade to black); when a pair of geisha arrive to service the husband, the two first flank Yuki, rising gently and shuffling forward into the fade-out...

What Mizoguchi sets up, really happens. And so we move forward, onward, gliding not along with but behind Hamako who can only stumble upon all that we already sense. (Buried from view, but also present, yes, is the rumored ‘pornographic’ sequence cut by the Japanese, i.e. occupying American, censors...) Inevitability colors the film, an inevitability exactly in line with Mizo’s mise-en-scène: the trademark ‘diagonal’ tracking-shot that traces out the slash of a blade — that positions Yuki to drown in a lake, and Hamako to peer at the corpse which, for the viewer, must remain off-screen. For Mizoguchi never films discovery. Stabbed in the back unawares by a prostitute at 27 and from then on exploiting the cinema’s power to tell one’s secret by keeping silent, he is the filmmaker for whom the crescent moon and the razor became synonymous — accordingly, he films destiny, and adheres to its codes.


Friday, April 22, 2016


The Word of Your City

A 2008 2K restoration (supervised by Bruce Posner) of Paul Strand's and Charles Sheeler's 1921 film Manhatta kicks off the essential two-disc Blu-ray release from Flicker Alley in North America, Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film: 1920-1970. I'll be writing more about the films included in this set, and on other recent Flicker Alley releases, in the near future. Here's an article by Dave Kehr from the November 6th, 2008 issue of The New York Times about the restoration: "Avant-Garde, 1920 Vintage, Is Back In Focus".

Strand's and Sheeler's 12-minute film serves as a kind of portrait-at-a-remove of 1920-contemporary Manhattan. Interspersed with intertitled excerpts from Walt Whitman's poem "Mannahatta", Manhatta purports to sing the city, to laud the demotic metropolis from the vantage of Whitman's rucksack — it ends up opting for a higher aerie, and tilt-shifts. Here is the democracy of the gilders, the erections; poignantly only in passing, there's the proletariat, the erectors. Strand and Sheeler measure the gap between mid-/late-19th Century and early 20th (see the high shot of the crazy angles of pathways in a well-kept midtown cemetery like incidental park); in turn a generation of viewers familiar with the NYC of their own time will be forced to their own reckoning. In 2016 only the Brooklyn Bridge remains at all contemporary.

by Walt Whitman
(from Leaves of Grass, 1892 / 1897-posth.)

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships, an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model’d,
The down-town streets, the jobbers’ houses of business, the houses of business of the ship-merchants and money- brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the river, passing along up or down with the flood-tide or ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d, beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and shows,
A million people — manners free and superb — open voices — hospitality — the most courageous and friendly young men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!


Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film: 1920-1970 on Blu-ray is available from Flicker Alley at their website for cheaper than list-price, here.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

ASMR Charlie Rose Barbershop Role Play

This is my new short film. You can watch it here. 14 minutes long. Guest-star participants: Shannon Esper, Eleanore Pienta, Lily Marotta, Jay Giampietro, Keetin Mayakara, Caroline Partamian, Stephen Gurewitz, Michael M. Bilandic, and Sunita Mani. Piss Gamer designs by Nick Des Barres. Hope you like it.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Jean-Luc Godard Pays Homage to Jacques Rivette: March 2016

— for the Cinémathèque Française, citing the interview "Le secret et la loi" ["The Secret and the Law"] in the March 2016 issue of the Cahiers du cinéma(my translation)

Ever since Parmenides, and his duel

between being and not-being, the

greatest minds have jabbered

on and on about this

brotherly squabble, wringing hands over

Socrates' alphabet, in vain until


power and glory,

liberty and fraternity,

peace and war,

infinity and totality,

penury and democracy,

terror and virtue,

poetry and truth,

et cetera,

I actually for a second wanted to add

nature and metaphor

to all this charivari,

believing to grasp reality, like

it's said by the pros and the

amateurs of the profession,

mixing shot and reverse-shot,

but this evades one

last time all those

vanities, that the little boy

from Rouen, having in the end taken back

his mind from his movie life,

as a man simple and complicated

as he was, a match for

himself and justly proclaiming:

secret and law — for the screen

did not hide anything from anything.

—Jean-Luc Godard, March 2016


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bob Dylan on John Ford

A cowboy-movie aficionado, Dylan considers John Ford a great American artist. “I like his old films,” Dylan says. “He was a man’s man, and he thought that way. He never let his guard down. Put courage and bravery, redemption and a peculiar mix of agony and ecstasy on the screen in a brilliant dramatic manner. His movies were easy to understand. I like that period of time in American films. I think America has produced the greatest films ever. No other country has ever come close. The great movies that came out of America in the studio system, which a lot of people say is the slavery system, were heroic and visionary, and inspired people in a way that no other country has ever done. If film is the ultimate art form, then you’ll need to look no further than those films. Art has the ability to transform people’s lives, and they did just that.”


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

FAS - New Global One-Sheet (Front and Back) + French Translation of Scenario by Martial Pisani

Alright here we go. Here's the American + global poster for my recent short, it has a front and back side. Illustration by Melissa Kay, design by me.

Here is my scenario for the film translated from English into French by the great Martial Pisani. I'll go through it and make a couple adjustments here and there over the next few days if needed.

Enfant, j’ai souvent rêvé que je baisais une succube. C’est une illustration dans la première édition du Manuel des Monstres de Donjons et Dragons qui m’avait mis l’idée en tête. C’était dans les années 1980, à l’époque de la « panique satanique » : si on volait des cassettes de Dio au Kmart, c’était forcément la faute de Donjons et Dragons. Attendez, j’étais un garçon intelligent, je n’avais pas besoin de Donjons et Dragons pour détester Dieu : je le haïssais depuis mes deux ans (Dieu lui-même et le concept de dieu). S’il y a quelque chose de satanique que Donjons et Dragons a évéillé en moi, c’est l’envie de baiser une succube, c’est de me donner envie de baiser une succube. J’allais traîner au rayon « Sciences occultes » de Waldenbooks à la recherche d’incantations magiques… même si à la fin je ne trouvais que des gentils sorts druidiques. Les choses sont devenues plus intéressantes quand les journaux nationaux se sont pris de passion pour cette histoire de maison hantée par des démons à West Pittson. Le père de la famille prétendait avoir été violé plusieurs fois par une succube. Enfin du concret. Mais sa description était très loin de ce que j’imaginais. Sa succube avait un corps de vieille, des yeux de cochon et un cul de chien à la place de la bouche. Quand j’ai vu sa tête, je n’ai pas avalé son histoire de sexe. Du coup, quand la famille a déménagé, je me suis dit qu’il fallait que j’aille dans cette maison pour monter dans la chambre, fermer la porte, et voir si je ne pouvais pas tremper le biscuit. J’avais tout prévu Il n’y a qu’à quatorze ans qu’on fait ce genre de chose Le problème est que quand j’ai appelé ma copine pour lui demander si sa grande sœur pouvait me conduire jusqu’à la fameuse maison en voiture, Dana (ma copine), a voulu savoir ce que je comptais faire. Je lui ai dit que je n’allais pas faire grand-chose. Comme elle ne m’a pas cru, je lui ai dit la vérité Elle a mise à pleurer. Elle voulait savoir ce qu’une succube avait de plus qu’elle. Des ailes de chauve-souris, déjà. Elle était vraiment fâchée. On n’avait jamais couché ensemble et je m'apprêtais à entrer par effraction chez des étrangers dans l'espoir de coucher avec un démon. Ma copine m’a balancé que j’étais malade, qu’une idée pareille ne pouvait sortir que de l’esprit d’un type qui avait écrit un scénario pour Short Circuit 3 où Johnny 5 attrapait le SIDA. J’ai raccroché le téléphone. Le lendemain les nouveaux propriétaires emménageaient, les journalistes étaient de retour, et je n’avais plus aucune chance d’entrer à l’intérieur. Qu’est-ce qu’il me restait à faire ? J’ai branché mes écouteurs, sauté sur mon vélo et mis à fond « All I need is a miracle. » J’étais un petit malin, on aurait pu s'attendre à mieux comme approche. Mon grand frère était mon tuteur légal et celui de ma sœur. Dans le quartier, j’étais connu comme le mec avec qui on pouvait partager une clope sur le trottoir quand j’avais fini mon repas, jusqu'à ce que je me lève pour aller aux chiottes. Dana, ma copine, qui avait 13 ans, me prenait un peu pour le roi du quartier. Un vrai Mickey Hargitay. En vrai, je n’avais même jamais pincé un téton. Mettons que je sois entré dans cette maison avec la succube : et après, quoi ? quoi ??? « C’était sympa. » ? On aurait fait l’amour et je lui aurais dit que j’allais bientôt revenir ? J’avais un autre plan, mec. Mon idée était que Dana entre en scène quand il n’est plus question de Dana, quand, pour moi, c’est la succube qui arrive. Je voulais faire plusieurs visites là-bas. Je voulais la faire venir « in situ » et la faire revenir. D’accord, disons que tu fais apparaitre ta succube, qu’elle se matérialise dans la chambre. Tu te donnes tout entier, tu te donnes corps et âme. « Te voilà. Et me voilà. » Si ça te semble difficile, c’est que tu n’aimes pas le sexe. T’as envie qu’elle se pointe encore et encore. Allonge-toi et laisse-la faire le premier pas. Je vais vous dire deux ou deux trois trucs : dans ce que je m’imagine, on ne fait pas le missionnaire avec elle... ET POURTANT. Elle est câline et vampirique. Tu restes là sur le dos avec les bras écartés. Tu lui fais signe de s’avancer, tu lui attrapes les fesses et tu les écartes. Elle va grimper sur toi et commencer à te chevaucher. Tu vas te faire pomper la bite comme par un aspirateur. Elle va griffer ta gorge précancéreuse, battre de ses ailes de chauve-souris, et te baiser jusqu’à t’en dégoûter. N’oublie pas que tu dois pouvoir bouger tes hanches avec légèreté, comme le Christ dans la toile d’Holbein baptisée, au passage, « Le Christ au Tombeau ». On fait ce qu’on peut... La voilà, avec ses incroyables auréoles de sueur, écrasant ses hanches sur les tiennes jusqu’à ce que ce putain de liquide huileux se répande sur ton bassin. Te voilà en bouillie, aspiré, lessivé. C’est ça. Une relique gorgée de sang. Je vais me taper la reine des ténèbres. J’imaginerai au fur et à mesure le côté occulte de la chose. Je l’inventerai. Vous avez déjà entendu parler de transfert de pouvoir ? Vous savez ce que symbolisent les chiffres 2, 6, 7 etc. ? Vous pensez que je pourrais trouver une succube soumise et dominatrice ? Je suis où déjà ? Vous croyez que je suis au club ? Dans un bar ? Je suis sur Internet. Je me perds entre les blagues de mauvais goût, les choix absurdes, et l’évaporation chimique.

written directed and edited by Craig Keller
starring and narrated by Stephen Gurewitz
also featuring Eliana Ceniceroz and Dan Mele
additional camerawork by Britni West and Eliana Ceniceroz
poster art by Eliana Ceniceroz and design/art-direction by Craig Keller
16 minutes / 1.78:1 (16x9) aspect ratio

ADVISORY: NSFW — Contains Mature Content & Themes

Please view in full-screen mode or at the Vimeo page itself — and feel free to share. Thanks!

FAS from Craig Keller on Vimeo.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Indigo (In the Series "Cinemasparagus Turns 10")

Part of a year-long retrospective series of pieces 'of note' published here over the course of the first ten years of Cinemasparagus. The following was originally posted on September 29, 2008.


Silly/Con Graphics

"You know the end of the movie 2001, where the Starchild's coming down to the earth, with its eyes wide open? That's these kids; they're going to shift everything."

Indigo by Stephen Simon, 2003:

2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, 1968:

Indigo by Stephen Simon, 2003:

Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick, 1987:

There's practically nothing to say about this film that isn't already present in every contemplation of the generic. And yet the form, the existence of Indigo raises at least one question: Where does the vanity project end, and personal cinema commence?

The answer starts (lies?) at pixel-x, plotted somewhere along that chromatic, Gradient Tool'd band that illustrates the cinema ("cela s'appelle l'aurore") whenever it lap-dissolves to crepuscular A/V propaganda. Indigo'ism is an ideology or conviction-system (keyword: system) like any other — Christianity, etc. Hence Stephen Simon's Indigo, founded on the ridiculous and assuredly outmoded principle that "the children" are innocent lambs who, withal, can point us in the direction of ego-chloroformed thought, unitchy/ants-less rolls in the grass, and Roubini-appeasing economic safeguards. Or so we'd be led to believe.

Indigo by Stephen Simon, 2003:

It says something about adults so adrift, and so shallow, that they experience repeated, even (let us say) post-Vinelandian urges to stare backward into the (hindsought) blank slate of childhood, to chase the dream of the Holy Idiot, with the notion it will justify their own blankness of idea-actualization, or of actual ideas, and, in the parlance of regression, synch up with the discovery of some way 'out' from the piles and piles of traumas, disappointments, and outright abuse that they themselves have endured through their largely ineffectual, and/or hair's-breadth-from-abusive, bluebirdbrain'd (jackdraw'n? <— ink enough?) American lives.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Free of Thought

Kitchen-Sink Drama

Nathan Barillaro follows up his excellent first feature Metaffliction (viewable at NoBudge here) with this 2015 portrait of the dissolution of a relationship between two Melbourne twenty-somethings (played by John Russell and Mella Gardner). In a few senses, it's "the same old story": the relationship-film ad absurdum: endless depressed bumming around the house, fighting over dirty dishes, arguments aggravated by altered states, languid slow-burn sketching out the couple's dynamic until the moment things turn pear-shaped because the white male is one more insensitive deadbeat in indie cinema's long line of same. The girlfriend Gardner is two to three levels above the loser BF Russell, but they've moved in together, and she's not repulsed by his lips on her body. In other words, it's exactly like real life; Barillaro's movie is nothing if not an exasperating-because-true depiction of the usual toxic-couple routine. The film plays out in 1 hour and 34 minutes of short, sometimes perfunctory scenes whose sum powers the parts. Free of Thought chronicles the distinct privilege of individuals given free range to treat one another, and themselves in the process, like animals.

"Human beings are built to communicate."


Monday, February 08, 2016


Colvinist Cinema

You can watch the film in its entirety (1 hour 12 minutes) for free here (obviously click and view in full-screen mode):


adjective sab·bat·i·cal \sə-ˈba-ti-kəl\

1: of or relating to a sabbatical year

2: of or relating to the sabbath (sabbatical laws)

In Brandon Colvin's Sabbatical [2014], Robert Longstreet plays Ben Hardin, a college literature professor who has taken leave from his institution to tend to his mother Elizabeth (Rebecca Koon) convalescing at the family home following a stroke. Hometown ex-girlfriends (Rhoda Griffis) and school peers (Thomas Jay Ryan) enter the scene answering requests for general aide, emotional companionship, and buttressing a deadbeat brother (Kentucker Audley) who has arrived not so much to help out as to prolong a period of drifting.

Colvin's film is a world that longs for the glance and the hewn. Heads bow at length, bodies present their backs to the camera, breath held: a visual hum with all suspense for outburst or eruption, irruption, defused, diffused, by the soft filtering by DP Aaron Granat of a light that acquires and imbues a holy or merciful tuck upon individuals troubled bodily in abstraction. Godard in Vivre sa vie on hens, Nana/Anna Karina, Bresson, etc.: "If you take off the outside, there remains the inside. If you pull back the inside, then you see the soul.”

Vivre sa vie, film en douze tableaux by Jean-Luc Godard, 1962:

Sabbatical addresses an entire tradition of pictorialism — in filmmaking (Robert Bresson, Charles Burnett [especially The Horse]), in painting (Andrew Wyeth, James McNeill Whistler). Thinking confronts the exterior and the interior world: what's now being termed augmented reality (coming down the road to us soon, via Meta, Magic Leap, HoloLens, Apple works-in-progress), a mixed reality.

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, 1948:

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler, 1871:

Un condamné à mort s'est échappé, ou le Vent souffle où il veut by Robert Bresson, 1956:

The Horse by Charles Burnett, 1973:

Colvin films thought and thought's interruption, concentration of thought and the breaking of concentration. Concentration manifest, hewn, in framing of image and the focus of the sound-recording: the scratch of Ben scrawling across an adolescent writing desk. Interruption from work, plans, projects for errands, chores: Ben's mother experiencing a stroke; Ben fixing a broken old TV set; his dropping mom off for church service; the arrival of Dylan/Kentucker, the useless sibling; their mother falling ill again. Each thought 'caught' in the shot, with each 1.37 frame a discrete unit, no camera movement.

A sequence of locked-frames, the flow of consciousness versus concerted impediment.

Like a spell intoned with gradual urgency, these sentences are spoken throughout the picture:

"Don't wake up." (Ben to Dylan, crashed on the recliner)

"Wake up." (hometown friend to Ben, crashed on his living room sofa)

"Wake up." (Ben to his mom in bed, unable to be roused)

Then, Ben (mentioning Robert Longstreet once more, as this is the best performance of his formidable career to date), at the end of the film: "Last time I was scared. Now it's not so bad."

An increasing urgency, gradually given over to dimming. This is the terrible, calm, and urgent beauty of Brandon Colvin's film.