Books

Revising Revisionism—Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel

By Adam Nayman / September 20, 2021

“This is the unwieldy version of the movie,” said Quentin Tarantino on the Pure Cinema podcast in June about his new 400-page novelization of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019). “Unwieldy” is indeed the right adjective for QT’s new make-work project, and it’s also probably the last word on his creative sensibility.

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Books | Molto Bene: The Life and Deeds of a Selfless Egomaniac

By Celluloid Liberation Front / September 22, 2020

Carmelo Bene always had very little to do with the provincial history of Italian cinema and its self-congratulatory antics. “Culturally I’m not Italian, but Arab,” he told Jean Narboni in an interview for Cahiers du cinéma in 1968, reclaiming his geo-historical lineage while simultaneously denying the existence of a national culture. Born in the “ethnic mayhem” of Otranto—“a most religious bordello, a centre of culture and tolerance to bring together Islamic, Jewish, Turkish, and Catholic confluences”—Bene dedicated his life to the manic deconstruction of any form of identity, including his own.

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Silence and Presence: Chantal Akerman’s My Mother Laughs

By Phoebe Chen / September 25, 2019

By Phoebe Chen For certain filmmakers—attractive women—there is a popular kind of on-set photo that telegraphs authority: one eye pressed to the viewfinder of some behemoth camera, she is caught in a contra-glamour shot that codes the pragmatic as cool. Naturally, there is one of Chantal Akerman, taken some time in the late ’70s—shaggy-haired and…

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Golden Eighties: J. Hoberman’s Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan

By Adam Nayman / September 23, 2019

The news cycle waits for no one, not even J. Hoberman. Opening up the former Village Voice critic’s new book Make My Day—the conclusion, following The Dream Life and An Army of Phantoms, of his “Found Illusions” trilogy, which traces the intersection of Hollywood fantasies and American political reality in the transformative decades after World War II—on the same day that The Atlantic published an article detailing Ronald Reagan’s appalling comments to Richard Nixon about the members of a Tanzanian delegation to the United Nations in 1971, I couldn’t help but lament the anecdote’s lack of inclusion in Hoberman’s otherwise comprehensively withering mock-hagiography of the 40th Commander in Chief.

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Hollywood, Read: Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema

By Sean Rogers / December 19, 2017

By Sean Rogers “I am not trying to make some new meaning from these films; I am striving to bring out the meanings that are there but obscured by the plot lines,” Thom Andersen writes of the method he employed for his film Juke: Passages from the Films of Spencer Williams (2015). Again and again,…

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Before the Swarm:  David Bordwell’s The Rhapsodes: How 1940s Critics Changed American Film Culture

By Andrew Tracy / June 27, 2016

  By Andrew Tracy A friend recently pigeonholed me after he witnessed an onstage film critics panel and demanded I make amends for wasting his time—not because I had in any way obliged him to attend, but simply because I was guilty by association. “What’s the point of critics talking about criticism?” he demanded, which…

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