Links for the weekend

16th December 2012

My strangest (and most welcome) discovery of the week was the 1929 avant-garde film La perle (above). Thanks to The Forgotten: Never Explain a Mystery, Never Wake a Sleepwalker by David Cairns at the ever-excellent  Mubi.com’s Notebook, I read about the background to this ‘alluring, at times beautiful and eerie objet d’art… [which] simmers with sex and kink’. And then I got to see it, since thrillingly the author has posted it on Vimeo, from where I embed it here. Across the jump are numerous other links from the week, although whether any of the others offer further ‘sex and kink’ only you can judge. Thanks for pointers to @Chi_Humanities, @filmstudiesff, @TheBrowser, @weinmanj, and Michael Jackson.

‘Chromatic Frankenstein’s Monsters?’: Restoration, Colour and Variants of Georges Méliès’s Voyage dans la lune: from a new online edition of Senses of Cinema, Wendy Haslam has a fascinating piece on the recent restoration, which is newly released on DVD

A Trip to the Moon / La voyage dans la lune (1902): … and Film Studies for Free reminded this week of Dan North’s rigorous and remarkable blog post that offers a close analysis of each shot in the film.

Unsung musicals: a glorious post at Fandor by David Ehrenstein ‘singing the praises of ten great but lesser known movie musicals’, including I Love Melvin (1953) which features this number from Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds.

Birth of the femme fatale!: Salon has an extract from Richard Linegman’s new book, about the ‘rise of the femme fatale in films noir [which] reflected male ambivalence and anxiety about World War II women, those Amazons unleashed by the war who worked at men’s jobs, had sex with whomever they wanted, and rejected home and motherhood.’

Process – the Qatsi Trilogy: a fascinating post by designer Sam Smith tracing the development of his designs for The Criterion Collection release of Godfrey Reggio’s three films.

What is the 21st century? – frame-rate follies: in another Mubi.com post Ignatiy Vishnevetsky is very interesting on Peter Jackson’s choice of 48 fps for The Hobbit.

Ten filmmakers that will define cinema’s next decade: at BlouinArtInfo (in a slightly irritating slide-show format) J. Hoberman nominates his choice, with several unfamiliar names (at least to me).

Threat level: rarely (never before?) do I include a link to a piece I haven’t read, but this is very timely (and comes highly recommended; it’s just that I’m still in the middle on series 1) – an attack on Homeland‘s politics by Richard Beck for n+1; for him the show ‘works by acclimating its Democratic fans to a permanent political mood of suspicion and imminent catastrophe’. See also (which I also haven’t yet) Your Homeland questions answered from The New York Times, with show runner and executive producer Alex Gansa, and Howard Gordon, an executive producer, answering readers’ queries.

Counter-voicing politics: Phillip Brophy at Realtime on the connections between Citizen Kane and Samuel L Jackson’s ‘Wake the fuck up’ pro-Obama ad.

Matt Zoller Seitz’s favourite drama episodes of 2012: writing for New York magazine, MZS has seen all this stuff so you can watch just the good bits – here are tantalising notes on five selected episodes of Mad Men, four of Breaking Bad, two each of Treme, Luck and Downton Abbey (!), one each of Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, ScandalHomeland, Parenthood, Sons of Anarchy, Justified and a two-parter American Horror Story, plus the pilots for Awake and Last Resort; no Girls or Louie because those are in Matt Zoller Seitz’s favourite comedy episodes of 2012, along with quite a lot of 30 Rock.

11 Internet-related plots from ’90s TV shows: this is just great – Stacy Conradt at mental_floss finds the emerging tech of nearly twenty years back as a plot device in pop culture.

• Invasion of the cyber hustlers: Steven Poole for The New Statesman offers a pointed critique of Jeff Jarvis, Clay Shirky and other cyber ‘boosters’ which according to Poole are ‘a peculiarly corporatist species of the Leninist class: they agitate for constant revolution but the main beneficiaries will be the giant technology companies before whose virtual image they prostrate themselves.’

Four ways internet artists are making Facebook a less boring place: Michelle Lhooq at The Creators Project highlights the engaging work of artists who ‘are setting out to explore Facebook as a medium for creativity’.

• Info design for children: a brief but delightful Eye post by Sue Walker about ‘the Max Parrish Colour Books… designed by Marie Neurath and her team of Isotype designers and artists in the 1950s and 1960s’.

The Armory Show at 100:  James Panero at The New Criterion looks back at the landmark modern art exhibition in New York in 1913.

The Sight & Sound interview – William Klein: a compelling exchange between the great photographer and filmmaker and Brian Dillon.

Opening ceremonies and closing narratives – the embrace of media and the Olympics: David Rowe contributes an opening piece to a special issue of the Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies Journal analysing the cultural politics of this summer’s mediated Olympics; the index is here, and all of the articles are downloadable as .pdfs.

Maj-Gen Tony Deane Drummond: this is the description from The Browser that took me to this remarkable piece: ‘Aficionados agree: Best Telegraph obituary of 2012. Which is setting the bar very high indeed. One of those impossibly eventful army lives.’

Oh God, what have we done?: Jackson Lears for London Review of Books on Robert Oppenheimer, the bomb and Ray Monk’s new biography.

Charles Rosen in The New York Review of Books: the pianist and critic – perhaps our greatest writer on classical music – died this week; this page has links to some of his essential NYRB essays.

• Joyce DiDonato – Drama Queens: … and finally, a delightful fifteen-minute promo for a disc of 17th and 18th century ‘royal arias’ that The New Yorker‘s music critic Alex Ross named as one of his ten best classical music recordings of the year.

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