Exploded View

By Chuck Stephens / December 20, 2011

“This is a test. You will probably not be able to answer all of the questions.”—New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops, George Landow, 1976 Owen Land, aka George Landow—one of the founding, and most confounding, members of that moment dubbed by P. Adams Sitney (and…

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Shame (Steve McQueen, UK)

By Andrew Tracy / December 20, 2011

By Andrew Tracy At the midpoint of Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008), what had heretofore been a largely dialogue-free immersion into the sights, sounds, and smells of an Irish prison takes a pointed interlude for a veritable torrent of discourse. In a lengthy, unbroken two-shot followed by two shorter close-ups, Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and Father…

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A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, Iran)

By Michael Sicinski / December 20, 2011

By Michael Sicinski A Separation is one of the year’s most accomplished films, and like so many films we might characterize as “accomplished,” it hasn’t garnered actual detractors. It merely fosters a coterie of skeptics. Several commentators felt that Farhadi’s film shouldn’t have won the Golden Bear over Béla Tarr’s more deserving The Turin Horse…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: About 40 More Items (or Thereabouts)

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 20, 2011

By Jonathan Rosenbaum For its 68th DVD release, the Austrian Film Museum, which published the first substantial book about James Benning in 2007, has begun the long-overdue project of restoring and releasing Benning’s work by starting at the approximate halfway point of his filmography—namely American Dreams (lost and found) (1984, 53 min.) and Landscape Suicide…

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CS 49 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 20, 2011

To combat the onset of seasonal affective disorder, in between editing articles and tearing out my hair I like to pre-hibernate and play critic as opposed to programmer, by watching all of the Hollywood releases that I’ve missed over the past year. I try to legitimize this stupefying act with the words “for your consideration,”…

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Papirosen (Gastón Solnicki, Argentina)

By Jay Kuehner / December 20, 2011

By Jay Kuehner Genealogy is compelling as a means of accountability: ancestry as an historical index into the past that somehow illuminates the present. The desire for a legible personal history is always hopeful, taking memory as redemptive in its recovery of lost episodes, marginal lives, traumas and triumphs. And yet, for a film that…

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Slow Action / Sack Barrow / Two Years at Sea

By Robert Koehler / December 20, 2011

By Robert Koehler When we first found fire, we had our first movie. Once the flames began to curl around the wood, building up heat and its own thermal momentum, the fire took hold, and began to capture the imagination of those staring into the constantly flickering light, with stories and images emerging. For millennia,…

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La folie Almayer (Chantal Akerman, Belgium/France)

By Eva-Lynn Jagoe / December 20, 2011

By Eva-Lynn Jagoe At the end of Joseph Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly, the title character, a benighted Dutch trader at a failed Malaysian outpost, is deserted by his beloved half-caste daughter Nina and determines to forget her before he dies. “He had a fixed idea that if he should not forget before he died he would…

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The Systematically Incomplete Dialectical Process, or, Articulations of Structural Mythopoeia in the Para-Classical Realm for the Metrickally Measured Linguistical Motivics and Deeply Felt Cinematic Appoggiatura of Mr. David Gatten, Gentleman by Michael Sicinski

By Michael Sicinski / December 20, 2011

By Michael Sicinski 1. David Gatten’s cinema is probably the clearest articulation of a broader tendency in contemporary experimental cinema. Filmmakers working in this mode are equally influenced by Romanticist and Formalist traditions. Personal expressivity and objective rigour are not so much stances as they are strategies, poles along which to suspend oneself in a…

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Documentary Is Just One of My Tools: The Digital Film Activism of Ai Weiwei

By J.P. Sniadecki / December 20, 2011

By J.P. Sniadecki The celebrity status of Chinese artist, architect, and social activist Ai Weiwei has been steadily constructed over the past decade via his multimedia provocations and large-scale interventions in both art and politics. Combining a bold conceptual vision with a staunch belief in the artist’s role as social critic, his works have aimed…

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Bad Billy: William Friedkin on Killer Joe

By Olivier Pere / December 20, 2011

By Olivier Père With The French Connection (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Sorcerer (1977), Cruising (1980), and To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), to cite some of his most famous films, William Friedkin has made a deep impact on contemporary American cinema, establishing himself as one of the most talented and uncompromising of the New…

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Hammer Horror: Ben Wheatley’s Kill List

By Adam Nayman / December 20, 2011

By Adam Nayman MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD The claw hammer that makes mulch of an amateur pornographer’s skull in the midpoint money shot of Kill List is a blunt instrument wielded with purpose. It’s the perfect avatar for Ben Wheatley’s style in his astonishing second feature. Working with cinematographer Laurie Rose and editor Robin Smith, both…

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