There’s one straight-up, stand-out recommendation this week, Eric Naiman’s lengthy essay for The Times Literary Supplement, When Dickens met Dostoevsky. It’s the tale of a notable literary hoax about an alleged meeting encounter between the two authors in 1862, but of course it’s also about what we fervently want to be true and why. Some of the same ideas run through The Fort Bragg murders – is Jeffery MacDonald innocent?. This is another of this week’s good long reads, in this case from Andrew Anthony in theGuardian about truth, relativism and the 1970 murders about which Joe McGinniss, Janet Malcolm and now Errol Morris have written notable books. Below, there are further links to interesting stuff, with thanks this week for recommendations from @audiovisualcy, @manovich and @poniewozick.
• Behind the scenes of an iconic Godard scene: Richard Brody at The New Yorker is so good on the glorious line dance from Bande à part (1964); Brody references a non-embeddable clip of the shoot which can be found here. Qui beauté eut trop plus qu’humaine?
• Hollywood archaeology – The Super Mario Bros. movie: a fascinating piece by Karina Longworth for Grantland about just what went wrong with what twenty years ago must have seemed like a sure-fire hit, directed by Max Headroom creators Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel (with thanks to Parallax View).
• Les Blank, American hero: Robert Sullivan for The New Yorkeron the fine filmmaker who we lost this week.
• Cheers, R.: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson pay tribute to the late Roger Ebert.
• Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: that seems to be the actual title of this adaptation, although the first credit in this official trailer is for writer Julian Fellowes – not to pre-judge, but bring back Baz is what I say.
• Between fair use and infringement – the perils of the video essay form: at Power Play Nelson Carvajal reflects on the problems of current copyright law in the United States, although there are lessons that we need to be aware of this side of the pond.
• The elitism of film preservation: Joshua Ranger of Audiovisual Preservation Solutions makes an important and provocative point.
• Here comes not quite everything: an essential post by Luke McKernan on thefundamental importance – and also the imperfections – of the legislation enacted on 6 April ‘to give the six UK legal deposit libraries the right to receive a copy of every UK electronic publication, on the same basis as they receive print publications’.
• Looking back at the 1928 Handbook: this is a totally delightful post at the About the BBC blog by Matt Verrill who picks out some highlights from BBC Handbook of 85 years ago.
• How much good TV is too much: Alan Sepinwall at HitFix expresses an idea that I’ve been trying to formulate in the past weeks: ‘this TV season is the first time I’ve began to feel like there may, in fact, be too much good TV’.
• With the rise of scripted cable programming, has television oversaturated its own marketplace?: … and Alyssa Rosenberg follows up at ThinkProgress asking whether there are enough viewers to sustain the current ‘golden age’:
There’s something tragic about the idea that television’s arrival at maturity as an art form could coincide with the implosion of its business model, and that one could directly contribute to the other.
• The 12 cellphones that changed our world forever: a Wired slideshow compiled by Roberto Baldwin.
• Turn Google Street View into Google Road Trip: an introduction by Kyle Chayka at Hyperallergic to Hyperlapse from creative agency Teeham+Lax – if you haven’t already caught up with this, it’s a super-neat system that pulls frames from Google Street View and maps them along a line that the user has chosen, like this:
• A Fidelio for the future: so I really want to see this production of Beethoven’s opera directed by artist Gary Hill and reviewed here from Lyon by Alexandra Coghlan for the New Statesman.
• Hand over the book, Britain, it’s the Getty’s: Christopher Knight in the L.A. Times on the ownership of a 15th century Flemish manuscript and an argument that you won’t find being made in papers this side of the pond.
• The Japan beneath the snow: Ian Buruma on the photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya for the blog of The New York Review of Books.
• In conversation – Robert Silvers: … and a delightful discussion with The New York Review of Books founding editor prompted by Mark Danner at New York magazine.
• Videos of the week: my colleague at Illuminations Todd Macdonald (@toddmacd) is offering on his blog a weekly compilation of interesting shorts – and the latest highly recommended batch is of videos that feature the close-up creation of beautiful objects, like this Making of a Blueware Vase:
Image: Portait of Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1872 by Vasily Perov, via Wikipedia.