John Wyver writes: another round-up of recommendations of articles, audio and video that have engaged and interested me over the past week.
• William Friese-Greene – Close-up: Stephen Herbert at The Optilogue begins a series of posts (to which we’ll undoubtedly return) with a great deal of new research about the ‘moving image’ pioneer (and the inverted commas are Herbert’s).
• Asta Nielsen: A Cosmopolitan Diva is a further fine article by Helle Kannik Haastrup at the essential Danish Film Institute site, which is a model online resource of articles, many fine prints freely accessible, and more.
• Free Thinking: Asta Nielsen: an edition of the ever-dependable Radio 3 discussion series was given over to Nielsen, and to fascinating exchanges between Pamela Hutchinson; Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford; Dr Erica Carter, Professor of German and Film at King’s College London; and Lone Britt Christensen, Denmark’s Cultural Attaché. All are warmly recommended.
John Wyver writes: herewith a further batch of links to lighten any winter gloom (with minimal mainstream politics this week), put forward with my weekly expression of gratitude to those on Twitter who continue to highlight interesting stuff.
• The best video essays of 2021: the BFI’s invariably wonderful drawing together of much great visual scholarship and imaginative engagement with sounds and images – there’s so, so much to explore here, including
• Screening Room – on digital film festivals, Jessica McGough’s imaginative 9-minute meditation on recent events…
• Thrills and melodrama from the 1910s: it’s especially great to have a new blog post from film historian David Brodwell (although the epithet hardly does justice to the riches and range of his writing); here he writes about ‘the virtually unknown 1915 Italian feature Filibus: The Mysterious Air Pirate [and] the famous but little-seen 1919 serial adventure Tih-Minh, by Louis Feuillade’.
• Immortal technique: from Steve Macfarlane’s Element X Cinema, ‘[a] conversation with Nyika and Dávid Jancsó about their father Miklós, his legendary long takes, a hundred years of Hungarian cinema, and everything in between’.
John Wyver writes: Today’s selection is a little late as I’ve been watching the dismal end of the Ashes saga. And I wish I could suggest that the following choice of articles and more that I’ve appreciated over the past week is what we all need to cheer ourselves up. But given the state of the world that’s not a promise I can make, although there are moments of hope and joy. With my usual thanks to those on Twitter who , wittingly or not, contribute.
• Another country – not the one I represented as a diplomat for 30 years: Alexandra Hall Hall’s thoughtful, finely written lament started as a Twitter thread, and it’s to the great credit of Byline Times that they picked it up and gave it prominence – do read; with its quiet, polite but white-hot anger, it encapsulates much of how I feel about my country.
John Wyver writes: two political articles to kick off this week’s selection, both wonderfully written, even if their content is so familiarly depressing; there are more cheerful recommendations below the fold, and as ever I’n grateful for those on Twitter whose recommendations pop up in my timeline.
PS. The previous selection was Tuesday, which perhaps accounts for a certain sparseness (is that a word?) and austerity here.
• How Britain Falls Apart: Tom McTague for The Atlantic, with exceptional photos by Robbie Lawrence (including ‘Morning traffic crosses Westminster Bridge, London’, above); this is the compelling lede:
The grim reality for Britain as it faces up to 2022 is that no other major power on Earth stands quite as close to its own dissolution. Given its recent record, perhaps this should not be a surprise. In the opening two decades of the 21st century, Britain has effectively lost two wars and seen its grand strategy collapse, first with the 2008 financial crisis, which blew up its social and economic settlement, and, then, in 2016, when the country chose to rip up its long-term foreign policy by leaving the European Union, achieving the rare feat of erecting an economic border with its largest trading partner and with a part of itself, Northern Ireland, while adding fuel to the fire of Scottish independence for good measure. And if this wasn’t enough, it then spectacularly failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, combining one of the worst death rates in the developed world with one of the worst economic recessions.
John Wyver writes: to start the new year after the holidays, don’t forget my review of the year, and here’s another selection of articles, videos and more that engaged or interested me over the past 10 days or so, beginning with pairs of essays amnd a related Twitter thread, about two recent releases, both of which I enjoyed enormously, that have prompted critical controversy:
John Wyver writes: Herewith a selection of books, television, art, Twitter, journalism, films and just a little music that kept me going, kept me sane and kept me cheerful during what was too often an annus miserabilis. I have deliberately excluded (with one exception) projects with which I was professionally involved, including my work at the Royal Shakespeare Company and, more tangentially, with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Most of the selection will, I feel fairly certain, be unsurprising to regular readers and Twittter followers of @Illuminations. The order is largely random.
John Wyver writes: a relatively modest selection (with perhaps more to follow later) of readings and videos that may engage you on the day after the day before – and beyond. We hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season.
John Wyver writes: I’m not sure quite how the holidays and any additional lockdown strictures will impact Sunday links over the next couple of Sundays, so make the most of this clutch of stuff that has engaged me over the past week; thanks as always to those in Twitter feed who point me in the direction of such interesting articles.
John Wyver writes: this week’s selections begin with an exceptional profile from The New Yorker; see also the Guardian longread below the break, which is as good as anything the fabled US magazine publishes.