The past week has been even worse for the world than the one before, but here is a list of links not totally dominated by the hideousness across the Atlantic, the hideousness at home, and the hideousness of the two together on Friday. My continuing thanks to all those who alert me to these – and my apologies for not acknowledging that individually.
• The schedule and the stream: Matt Locke is essential on media and public space.
• Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most important auteurs in TV history: Matt Zoller Seitz on the much-lamented actor and executive, who died this week.
• How La La Land is made: David Bordwell offers real insight – and a few spoilers.
• Arthouse roccoco: Close-up on two films by Catherine Breillat: Michael Pattison on two films currently playing in the UK on Mubi.com (which I am coming to like more and more): Romance, 1999, and Anatomy of Hell, 2004; article, by the way, is probably NSFW.
• Asghar Farhadi: Matthew Eng at Reverse Shot has an interview with the Iranian director currently banned from attending the Oscars ceremony for which his feature The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film; Sean O’Neal at The A.V. Club has background on the story. There is also a fine Tony Pipolo review for Artforum; and here’s the trailer:
• Fiona Tan on Ascent: “A mountain will always escape a photograph”: a fascinating Sight & Sound interview by Geoffrey Macnab with the artist whose latest film is composed of still images of Mount Fuji (including the above).
• Temporal vertigo – an interview with John Akomfrah: for Senses of Cinema, Thomas Austin speaks with the excellent filmmaker and winner this week of the prestigious Artes Mundi prize.
• The movie with a thousand plotlines: Raffi Khatchadourian on interactive films for The New Yorker.
• The cinematic control room, 1971-2015: a terrific video essay by Cormac Deane about technology and power:
• Errol Morris – how typography shapes our perception of truth: a stimulating interview by John Brownlee for Fast Company with the filmmaker about, among things, the persuasive power of Baskerville.
• Greasers and rah-rahs: pure literary pleasure from John Lahr reviewing Bruce Spingsteen’s Born to Run for LRB.
• Dee Dee wanted her daughter to be sick, Gypsy wanted her Mom to be murdered: from last August, a truly strange true crime story by Michelle Dean for Buzzfeed…
• Behind the story: ‘She would have been the perfect mom for someone that was actually sick’: … and how the piece came to be written, with Elon Greene talking to Michelle Dean for Columbia Journalism Review.
• If Trump were to build it, what sort of wall would the Wall be?: Jonathan Meades on fine (and predictably scatological) form for The Spectator.
• The false lords of misrule: Peter Pomerantsev rather wonderfully brings Bakthin and the carnivalesque to bear on the current situation for Granta:
What do Trump, Putin, the Presidents of the Czech Republic and Philippines, right-wing anti-EU Europeans and the British Foreign Minister have in common? Ideology? Not always. Gender? Closer – but the answer is simpler: their sense of humour. These men all constantly joke about private parts, fucking and shitting, often partnered with boasts about excessive screwing, eating and drinking. Their bawdy lingo tells us more about their political strategy and strengths than any manifesto: populism and penis jokes go hand in hand.
• A clarifying moment in American history: counselor from 2007 to 2009 to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Eliot A. Cohen writing for The Atlantic.
• Donald Trump and the theater of access: for The New York Times, John Herrman on POTUS and the press.
• Reality in the balance: Jeremy Till at Places on Trump, Brexit and architecture.
• What Trump is throwing out the window: Jessica T. Mathews for New York Review of Books on POTUS and foreign policy:
What he has done is to take the few things on which neocons, realists, and liberal internationalists agree and throw them out the window. These are fundamentals of American foreign policy, taken as givens by both parties for the seven decades since the close of World War II. T
• The eclipse of the West: John Bew for the New Statesman on the new age of isolation:
The Western world faces many challenges – none more pressing than its declining share of global wealth and population compared to Asia’s leading states. Yet looking to the future with trepidation should not take the form of giving in to despair. To do so is to court a self-fulfilling prophecy.
• How to save capitalism from itself: a dense, demanding but I think brilliant essay for the TLS by Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford; interesting to see TLS moving into long-form political analysis that LRB has until recently had pretty much to itself.
• Julia Louis-Dreyfus at SAG Awards: “My Father Fled Religious Persecution in Nazi-Occupied France”: as Matthew Dessem at Slate says, ‘this was about as close to the platonic ideal of a political acceptance speech an entertainer could give: funny, personal, and short.’