Film Criticism in Crisicism

After a bleary battle with the weather this morning i headed uptown to the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln center to bear witness to the great minds in modern media lock intellectual horns and grind their cinematic hooves into the ground for a panel called Film Criticism in Crisis.

but not really. I was nervous before i went in that they would just shoo me out saying “you know what, there really is nothing left to talk about so you might as well LEAVE!” but alas, i found a comfortable seat close to the front. Among the heavyweight panelists were the “king of the blogosphere” David Hudson, Chicago critic Jonathon Rosenbaum and Emmanuel Burdeau the editor of Cahiers du Cinema.

The panel was moderated by professional hoity-toit Gavin Smith, the editor of Film Comment. He functioned well as “the person who asks the other person to speak directly into the microphone”. Burdeau was the classically strident yet loved 35 year old Frenchman who kept things saracastic (eg: calling Rosenbaum old). Rosenbaum was the happily retired smarty pants who seemed comfortable having finally found the freedom to watch’n’write at leisure. Hudson seemed the only panelist with a relative idea of the contemporary media related topography.

All in all- crisis is only a sexy word, this is in fact a heyday for film if only we can update and reconfigure our vocabulary  and harness our web based energies. We could have probably launched at least several large balloons given all the hot air being blown in the conference room, but perhaps that’s something I should have seen coming. at least people are talking.

Thank The House Next Door ↔ to track back to other notes on the panel.

Click here for more information on events with the New York Film Festival – and their blog!

Gittin mo’

creative time is this really cool public arts initiative and they are opening a new show at the Park Avenue Armory. It seems like a massive open space, meets tiny little crazy rooms, where the biennial just was. It opens this SUNDAY SEPT 21 and closes SATURDAY SEPT 26. look at that, a whole wide week to dabble and maybe go here and there and possibly-if you wanted- hear the yes men have a little chat session.

creative time got behind the infamous Steve Powers ‘Waterboard thrill ride’ at coney island, the pie in the sky Clouds and many other exciting, open, free, undirected and museumless spaces and places and faces and  braces made of laces.

I will be docenting at what is now an undisclosed time and location, but can post that later. they are awesome and still looking for volunteers!!!

outer space, cake and tampons

i had a dream that i could fly, which ive never had before, i flew all the way up into outer space and looked down at the earth and thought about how astronauts actually want to do this and how terrifying it was to see. then i thought of it as something nice. i kept going, into another dimension i guess, and hitched a ride in an airplane which then became a car and i think i was on an island. we got to the house where we were staying (an ambiguous we) and there was a pool and i wanted to swim.

except i had my period so i had to find a tampon, but there was only one tampon which was old. and there was some sort of joke about obgyn, but the g for geriatric, in terms of the elderly tampon.

i also made this.

it is a cake. my second this weekend. i am a cake lady apparently. so far they’ve been boring looking but progressively delicious.

Vicky Cristina Barfelona

The most recent film I saw, and gladly paid my own money to see was Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona I had been looking forward to seeing it for a long time, and my friend Naomi suggested we go to the Angelika Theater, although the east village location would have been ideal, considering the rain. Having missed the 8 oclock showing (the six train was running slow) we bought the tickets for later and passed the time with coffee and a drink before the 9:10 screening.
The film began with a very poignant Luis Vuitton advertisement before launching into a series of trailers for environmentalist documentaries, and one for ‘The Women’ a film which I am sure may be prove the nail in the coffin for feminist film. About every other minute during the trailers a different person, having separated from their couple, would come up and ask if the seats next us were taken, which sadly they were. The variegated but always disgruntled responses of those feeling around for seats primed us to for laughter before the film even started.
Manohla Dargis said it best in her review for the Times that “There will always be an audience that hungers for a certain kind of Woody Allen movie, but it’s a relief that he has moved away from the safety and provincialism of his New York.” This is both true and false. I think people were relieved that he was making jokes again, and not shooting Ms. Johansson with a sawed off shot gun in a stairwell. Although Ms. Dargis is a personal favorite I am not sure that New York is, in fact, Mr. Allen’s vision of provincialism. New York is instead his stomping ground, perhaps what many may call his muse. Sadly, I too am one who misses the New York Allen and craves a refreshment from the genre of urban neurosis.

Interesting though to see Mr. Allen’s new film as a foreign director trying his best to submerge himself in another culture, standing in paradoxical alignment to the plot of the film. It was great; however, because it returned to a lighter, albeit complex, humor reminiscent of his “New York” films, something many fans I feel, have been missing.
There were moments inside the packed and wet theater where everyone was really laughing. There were times when people would laugh preemptively or laugh very boisterously. At first, I was put off by all of these different types of laughter but I realized that maybe people were just excited to see Mr. Allen cracking a joke again, and that maybe i should loosen the fuck up. Often the jokes came at the expense of Ms. Johansson , the poet and the lover. In contrast with the stiff yet quirky Cristina, who comes to terms with her own sexuality in a much different way.
And yet, the tired joke of innocence abroad is often another, more sensual way of harping on a crypto machismo. There was something about the fact that it was a Woody Allen film, or perhaps that there was narration which guided us but there was something quiet that felt as though the film could indulge in itself, Allen could indulge in himself, but we could not. Had this been say, a James Bond movie, regarding the various relationships, the sexuality would have been gratuitous at best. But here, the sexuality is modern, bohemian, dare I say chic.
I had read a diary with the Times called “Excerpts from the Spanish Diary” Mr.Allen wrote from the set of Vicky Cristina parodying the beautiful cast he was working with, something which served to prime me for the film.

“JULY 15

Once again I had to help Javier with the lovemaking scenes. The sequence requires him to grab Penélope Cruz, tear off her clothes and ravish her in the bedroom. Oscar winner that he is, the man still needs me to show him how to play passion. I grabbed Penélope and with one motion tore her clothes off.”. (Woody Allen, NYT,8/20/2008)

Perhaps, this movie helped Mr. Allen reclaim that certain dark levity his ouvre, and his fans had been missing.