Links for Easter [updated]

30th March 2013

The past week has been particularly rewarding for those of us who follow the writings on film of David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. To start with, The Criterion Collection released the opening (embedded below) of a video essay about Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped (1956), newly available from them on DVD and Blu-ray. The essay features extracts from Bordwell and Thompson’s ‘Functions of film sound’ juxtaposed with clips of the Bresson masterpiece. (You should also read Tony Pipolo’s exemplary short essay on the film.) Then there have been two new Bordwell blog posts, Side Effects and Safe Haven: Out of the past and The 1940s, mon amour, both of which are related to a major new web essay, Murder culture: adventures in 1940s suspense (from which the above image, taken on the set of Hitchcock’s Suspicion Rebecca, comes). This is a wonderfully supple piece of writing about mid-century mystery narratives in novels and films.

Moving on, below you’ll find further links to interesting stuff, with thanks for recommendations via Twitter and elsewhere to @leagoldman, @Chi_Humanities@jmittell and @filmdrblog.  Happy Easter.

Monsieur Verdoux – sympathy for the devil: another great piece from Criterion, this time by Ignatiy Visnevetsky on Charlie Chaplin’s audacious (and much-misunderstood) late film.

Girls gone wild: it’s great that J. Hoberman is contributing regular pieces to the New York Review of Books blog, and here he is on Harmony Korine and Lena Dunham.

Loving Girls: … and this is a timely complement to Hoberman’s thoughts – on the blog of Critical Studies in Television, Helen Wheatley writes about watching the series with her mum in the Midlands.

Spring Breakers, a riotous take on modern America: … and this is Alex Godfrey in the Guardian – the movie opens next Friday, 5 April.

The Film before The Film: a wonderful compilation by Nora Thoes and Damian Pérez at the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule.

Game of Thrones is more brutally realistic than most historical novels’: the third season of the HBO drama starts screening in the UK on Easter Monday, and for the Guardian Tom Holland does a good job of hymning its virtues [warning: contains spoilers].

When did you get hooked?: … and here’s another classy piece of writing about the fantasy series, and the books by George R R Martin, also with spoilers, from John Lanchester for the London Review of Books, no less…

Game of Thrones lives up to its awesome ambition: … and if you’re up to speed with it all, here is Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture.

Kickstarting Veronica Mars – a conversation about the future of television: Henry Jenkins brought together three friends to talk about the reconfiguration of the relationships between producers, fans and distributors; it’s in four parts (the link is to the first) and it’s well worth your time, so see also part two, part three and part four.

Long night at Today: a compelling New York magazine cover story by Joe Hagan about Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s troubled Today show – but of course it’s about television, media and contemporary America as well.

The epic ups and downs of Peter Gelb: another great profile of another significant New Yorker – this is Chip Brown at The New York Times on the man who runs the Metropolitan Opera.

• Behind the curtain – scenes from two days at the Metropolitan Opera:… and this New York Times backstage time-lapse is the perfect complement to the Peter Gelb profile.

London opera companies’ ‘crisis’ is others’ envy: crisis? what crisis? how London’s opera scene looks from the other side of the world, courtesy of Mark Swed at the Los Angeles Times.

Is Wagner bad for us?: a gloriously rich essay by Nicholas Spice, and I love the way that the London Review of Books has embedded audio links to add value to this online version – can we do the same in the magazine copy, please?

Celebrity Britten: a terrific piece about the composer by Ian Bostridge writing for the Times Literary Supplement.

Simon Schama – the Rijksmuseum reopens: on the restoration to Amsterdam and the rest of us of the ‘museum of the Netherlands’ after a 10 year- closure.

‘Non-objective art history’ – how MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction fails its subject: I am reconciled to the fact that I won’t be able to make it to MoMA’s big show before it closes on 15 April, but I am enjoying the compendious catalogue and also a continuing debate, including this punchy – and smart – take-down on BlouinArtInfo by Ben Davis; see also (which Davis links to) ‘Colonizing abstraction’ at HuffPost Arts & Culture by G Roger Denson.

Saltz on the death of the gallery show: at Vulture, critic Jerry Saltz on the ways in which the exchanges of the art world is being impoverished by changes in selling – lots of food for thought here.

Much Ado About Nothing (dir: Joss Whedon) @ Shakespeare Association of America conference, Toronto: Peter Kirwan at The Bardathon gets an early look at Whedon’s much-anticipated movie – and comes away mightily impressed: ‘the visual and verbal play of the cast makes for a forceful and entertaining reading’.

Is Sherlock Holmes in the public domain?: this is an important question with all sorts of remifications, as Alex Heimback at Slate suggests.

The problem with David Mamet: Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times is very good on the writer’s shift to the right and ‘the way he has allowed the polemicist to overshadow the dramatic poet’.

• An ode to movie mainframes: a clever Slacktory video essay about the once-potent mythology of the mainframe; see also Alexis C. Madrigal’s brief gloss at The Atalntic.

Why e-books are a different genre from print: Stuart Kelly for the Guardian muses on e-books and the issues of privacy and continuity.

What is the business of literature?: a long but rewarding read from Richard Nash at The Virginia Quarterly Review which also has the best final sentence of any recommended piece this week (and maybe this year).

Open access and the humanities – reimagining our future: at the Guardian Higher Education Network this is a valuable contribution by Martin Eve to the ongoing debate.

On keeping a notebook in the digital age: a lovely post by Elizabeth Spiers.

• Trailer for the RSC’s new As You Like It: … and finally, this is just great – how much are we looking forward to Maria Aberg’s production (from 12 April in Stratford), with music by Laura Marling.


  1. Robert Beeson says:

    That’s Rebecca not Suspicion. Look forward to Man Escaped video

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