Monthly Archives: October 2012

Eduardo de Gregorio, 1942-2012

This morning, I received the sad news from Pierre Bayle d’Autrange that his longtime partner Eduardo de Gregorio, also a longtime friend of mine (since 1973), died Saturday night at the St. Louis Hospital in Paris, not long after his 70th birthday.

I wrote the following for the festival catalogue of the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film in 2004, to accompany a retrospective of Eduardo’s films — as far as I know, the only such retrospective that was ever held. It is also reprinted — along with a short essay of the same length on Sara Driver (also the subject of a BAFICI retrospective that year)– in “Two Neglected Filmmakers,” a piece included in my most recent collection, Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia as well as here.  — J.R.

Eduardo de Gregorio’s Dream Door

It must be a bummer to be an Argentinian writer and/or filmmaker and constantly get linked to Jorge Luis Borges. It must be especially hard if you’re Eduardo de Gregorio, whose first major screen credit is on an adaptation of “Theme of the Traitor and Hero” for Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 feature The Spider’s Strategm.

I don’t mean to question the credentials of de Gregorio as a onetime student of Borges — just the appropriateness of a too-narrow understanding to impose on a singular body of work that owes as much to cinematic references as to literary ones, and one that indeed juxtaposes the two almost as freely as it juxtaposes different languages and historical periods (while including all the cultural baggage that comes with each of them).… Read more »

Jews in Hollywood, Actual and Imagined

From the Jewish Daily Forward, October 9, 2012. — J.R.

Hollywood’s Chosen People:

The Jewish Experience in American Cinema

 

Edited by Daniel Bernardi, Murray Pomerance, and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

 

Wayne State University Press, 270 pages, $31.95

 

The coeditors stake their claim in the first sentence of their Introduction: “This book sets out to mark a new and challenging path of the role of Jews and their experience in Hollywood filmmaking.” And to some degree, they live up to this goal, in a varied collection that tends to get livelier as it proceeds. But considering how slippery and elastic their definitions of “Jews” can be, part of their path strikes me as both familiar and questionable.

Fritz Lang, for instance, gets cited over a dozen times in the book’s index, but for me his inclusion is fully justified only once — in a fascinating article by Peter Krämer that charts diverse efforts over four decades to make a movie about Oskar Schindler that preceded Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List in 1993, many of them launched by Schindler himself, who had a lengthy correspondence with Lang about the first of these projects in 1951. Virtually all the other references assume that Lang was a Jew because of his mother’s origins—a default position held in spite of his being raised solely as a Catholic and apparently never betraying the slightest interest in identifying himself any other way.… Read more »

Preface to the Korean Edition of GOODBYE CINEMA, HELLO CINEPHILIA

Written in October 2012 for what was supposed to have been the first (and, so far, only) translated edition of my most recent collection, although it has never come out. There is, however, a Korean translation of my earlier collection Essential Cinema (with a new Afterword, available here).

In retrospect, I’m sorry that I didn’t find some way of mentioning Lee Chang-dong’s extraordinary Poetry (2010), my favorite Korean film [see all the stills below] — and one that, incidentally, helps to explain the reason for my alienation from most of the other South Korean films I’ve seen and their excessive reliance on rape and serial killers as subjects (something that I was embarrassed to bring up in this Preface, written at the request of the publisher). This film in fact addresses the theme of rape and its role in Korean society quite directly. — J.R.

My acquaintance with cinephilia in South Korea is limited. My only first- hand knowledge comes from my experience as a juror on Indie Vision at the Jeonju International Film Festival in the Spring of 2006 and my acquaintance over a longer period with the brilliant and discerning critic and programmer Un-Seong Yoo, who worked for that festival for many years and, more recently, was my fellow juror on the New Directors jury at the San Sebastian Film Festival in the Fall of 2011.I credit Un-Seong in particular for some of the crucial choices and selections made for the extraordinary Jeonju Digital Project that began in the year 2000, and has already yielded such masterpieces as Jia Zhang-ke’s In Public (2001), Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Twelve Twenty (2006), and Pedro Costa’s The Rabbit Hunters (2007).Read more »

A Master Index To This Site (as of October 1, 2012)

Trevor Vartanoff, one of the frequenters of this web site, has just come up with an invaluable gift to me and to others — an alphabetical master index of all (or almost all) the postings here, complete with links. “I found it useful,” Trevor just wrote me, “maybe you or readers will too.” — J.R.

***

Featured Texts:

*Corpus Callosum

*CORPUS CALLOSUM

12 Monkeys

12 and Holding

15th Annual Festival of Illinois Film and Video

2 Oxford Companion Entries (Albert Brooks and découpage)

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

2001: A Space Odyssey

2046

20th International Tournee of Animation

29th Chicago International Film Festival: Mired in the Present

4 Little Girls

4

60s Wisdom

7 Women

8 1/2

8 Mile

84 Charlie Mopic

9 1/2 Weeks with Van Gogh

A Bankable Feast [BABETTE’S FEAST]

A Beauty and a Beast

A Bluffer’s Guide to Bela Tarr

A Breakthrough And A Throwback

A Brief History of Time

A Brighter Summer Day

A Bronx Tale

A Christmas Commodity: SCROOGED

A Cinema of Uncertainty

A Constant Forge

A Couple of Kooks [MY BEST FIEND]

A Cut Above [HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER]

A Depth in the Family [A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE]

A Dialogue about Abbas Kiarostami’s SHIRIN

A Different Kind of Swinger [GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE]

A Different Kind of Thrill (Richet’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)

A Dry White Season

A Family Thing

A Far Off Place

A Few Eruptions in the House of Lava

A Few Things Well [A LITTLE STIFF]

A Film of the Future

A Fish Called Wanda

A Force Unto Himself [on Hou Hsiao-hsien]

A Great Day in Harlem

A History of Violence

A Home of Our Own

À la recherche de Luc Moullet: 25 Propositions

A Little Transcendence Goes a Long Way

A Lucky Day

A Major Talent [on SWEETIE]

A Man Escaped

A Midnight Clear

A Moment of Innocence

A New Leaf

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Page of Madness

A Perfect World

A Perversion of the Past

A Place Called Chiapas

A Place in the Pantheon: Films by Bela Tarr

A Place in the World

A Price Above Rubies

A Prophet in His Own Country [Jon Jost retrospective]

A Quirky Cowboy Classic [on THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA]

A Radical Idea [HALF NELSON & THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED]

A Road Not Taken (The Films of Harun Farocki)

A Room With No View [ORPHANS]

A Russian in Hollywood [SHY PEOPLE]

A Scanner Darkly

A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love

A Single Girl

A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries

A Stylist Hits His Stride (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND)

A Tale of Love

A Tale of Winter

A Tale of the Wind

A Tale of the Wind

A Thousand Words

A Time of Love

A Time to Lie (CROSS MY HEART)

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

A Touch of Class [GOSFORD PARK]

A Woman’s Tale

A World Apart

A Year at the Movies

A Zed and Two Noughts

A.I.… Read more »

A Master Index To This Site, with Links (as of October 1, 2012)

 

Trevor Vartanoff, one of the frequenters of this web site, has come up with an invaluable gift to me and to others — an alphabetical master index of all (or almost all) the postings here, complete with links. “I found it useful,” Trevor just wrote me, “maybe you or readers will too.” — J.R.
***

Featured Texts

 

*Corpus Callosum

 

*CORPUS CALLOSUM

 

12 Monkeys

 

12 and Holding

 

15th Annual Festival of Illinois Film and Video

 

2 Oxford Companion Entries (Albert Brooks and découpage)

 

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

 

2001: A Space Odyssey

 

2046

 

20th International Tournee of Animation

 

29th Chicago International Film Festival: Mired in the Present

 

4 Little Girls

 

4

 

60s Wisdom

 

7 Women

 

8 1/2

 

8 Mile

 

84 Charlie Mopic

 

9 1/2 Weeks with Van Gogh

 

 

 

 

 

A Bankable Feast [BABETTE’S FEAST]

 

A Beauty and a Beast

 

A Bluffer’s Guide to Bela Tarr

 

A Breakthrough And A Throwback

 

A Brief History of Time

 

A Brighter Summer Day

 

A Bronx Tale

 

A Christmas Commodity: SCROOGED

 

A Cinema of Uncertainty

 

A Constant Forge

 

A Couple of Kooks [MY BEST FIEND]

 

A Cut Above [HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER]

 

A Depth in the Family [A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE]

 

A Dialogue about Abbas Kiarostami’s SHIRIN

 

A Different Kind of Swinger [GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE]

 

A Different Kind of Thrill (Richet’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)

 

A Dry White Season

 

A Family Thing

 

A Far Off Place

 

A Few Eruptions in the House of Lava

 

A Few Things Well [A LITTLE STIFF]

 

A Film of the Future

 

A Fish Called Wanda

 

A Force Unto Himself [on Hou Hsiao-hsien]

 

A Great Day in Harlem

 

A History of Violence

 

A Home of Our Own

 

À la recherche de Luc Moullet: 25 Propositions

 

A Little Transcendence Goes a Long Way

 

A Lucky Day

 

A Major Talent [on SWEETIE]

 

A Man Escaped

 

A Midnight Clear

 

A Moment of Innocence

 

A New Leaf

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

 

A Page of Madness

 

A Perfect World

 

A Perversion of the Past

 

A Place Called Chiapas

 

A Place in the Pantheon: Films by Bela Tarr

 

A Place in the World

 

A Price Above Rubies

 

A Prophet in His Own Country [Jon Jost retrospective]

 

A Quirky Cowboy Classic [on THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA]

 

A Radical Idea [HALF NELSON & THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED]

 

A Road Not Taken (The Films of Harun Farocki)

 

A Room With No View [ORPHANS]

 

A Russian in Hollywood [SHY PEOPLE]

 

A Scanner Darkly

 

A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love

 

A Single Girl

 

A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries

 

A Stylist Hits His Stride (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND)

 

A Tale of Love

 

A Tale of Winter

 

A Tale of the Wind

 

A Tale of the Wind

 

A Thousand Words

 

A Time of Love

 

A Time to Lie (CROSS MY HEART)

 

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

 

A Touch of Class [GOSFORD PARK]

 

A Woman’s Tale

 

A World Apart

 

A Year at the Movies

 

A Zed and Two Noughts

 

A.I.Read more »