Sunday links

31st January 2021

John Wyver writes: each week to make this selection I highlight interesting-looking stuff as it rolls through my Twitter feed before returning to it later to read and assess, and I supplement these choices with a regular rosta of journals and sites to check – and the final result today is…

• From Versailles to the War on Terror: Julia Elyachar rounds off a six-part Public Books essay series about the Treaty of Versailles and today with a brilliant analysis of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire; editor Joanne Randa Nucho introduces the series here, with links to the other essays – and the header is a detail from William Orpen’s The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919 (1919). Imperial War Museum London / Wikimedia Commons.

Senses of Cinema 97: a new edition of the online journal, as welcome as ever, and especially so for the ‘World Poll 2020″ which begins with the Introduction by Fiona Villella and in 8 sections gathers together the recommendations of many of the best and brightest writers on film from around the world…

Alphaville – Journal of Film and Screen Media 20:… and there’s a fascinating new issue of this open access collection, with editor Laura Rascaroli introducing a cornucopia of scholarship linked to the Women’s Film & Television History Network–UK/Ireland,

Robert W. Paul – Films and Technology: Part Seven. That annoying flicker, a new camera, and The Last Machine?: truly niche, but for those of us engaged by early cinema the detail is compelling – Stephen Herbert at his blog The Optilogue on Paul and Hollis Frampton, Animatographs, Nernst-Paul lamps and much more.

Dancing in the dark: Imogen Sara Smith is great for Criterion’s The Current on dance in crime films and thrillers.

A history of the Slade film project: Brighid Lowe and Henry K. Miller for the research blog of the Slade School of Fine Art on the school’s establishment in 1960 of ‘Britain’s first university film department, a unique centre of research, filmmaking and extraordinary screenings.’

For Paul Newman’s 96th birthday, his lost cinematic masterpiece: an extraordinary (if perhaps slightly over-excited) tale by Allan M. Jalon for Forward about a ‘lost’ 1962 short film that Newman directed on the stage of a Yiddish theater of an Anton Chekhov one-act play.

Still timely after all these years – Robert Altman on the rewriting of American history: Geoff Andrew pens a heartfelt appreciation of Altman’s cinema, and in particular of the newly available on Blu-ray from Indicator Buffalo Bill and the Indians or, Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976).

Not home, but back – looking for America in Route One/USA: Matt Turner for Mubi’s Notebook on a new restoration of Robert Kramer’s nearly four-hour road movie opus filmed in 1989.

Make it Real – Encounters after the end of the world: a thoughtful Reverse Shot column by Eric Hynes about the current state of documentary making and showing.

An art revolution, made with scissors and glue: another of Jason Farago’s interactive explorations of a single masterpiece for The New York Times, this time looking intensively at collage and Juan Gris’ 1914 Still Life: The Table.

The tricycle and the camera – new technologies for self-determination: a fascinating piece by Sara Domenici for the Journal of Victorian Culture Online about links between the tricycle and the dry plate camera at the end of the nineteenth century.

The light fantastic – the 1930s building as billboard: a terrific Modernism in Metroland post about early twentieth century buildings using neon to advertise products.

Photography, Reconstruction and the Cultural History of the European city with Dr Tom Allbeson: I recognise it’s about a topic closely linked to a documentary I’m working on, but I was very engaged by this online Royal Photographic Society lecture:

Corbusier on my mind: Design thinking and post-covid living.: back in September, Theodora Philcox posted on what lessons ‘Corb’ and the Spanish ‘flu epidemic might have as we think about building better in the years to come…

Has the pandemic transformed the office forever? [£ but limited free access]: … and this new New Yorker article by John Seabrook is an interesting complement.

Dancing for many cameras, in the round: ‘It’s Muybridge on steroids’: a fascinating piece by Marina Harss for The New York Times about the collaboration between American Ballet Theatre dancer Herman Cornejo with Steven Sebring to make screen dance in three dimensions.

Seven music videos that take a cue from art history: a rich list from Apollo which sets up the release this week the FKA Twigs video, co-directed with Emmanuel Adjei, ‘Don’t Judge Me’, which features Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus as installed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern:

The sorting of lists: Luke McKernan on the project to compile a list of the 24,000 titles from four hundred years of British newspaper publication (freely available here; with a background technical article by Luke and Yann Ryan), and on lists and spreadsheets, Umberto Eco and Raymond Queneau.

A vast web of vengeance: this really is remarkable journalism by Kashmir Hill for The New York Times and an extraordinary story with huge implications for all of our digital lives.

Godfrey Hodgson – a legendary author who predicted America’s unravelling: Anthony Barnett at openDemocracy on the writings of an important writer who has died at the age of 86.

The Trump inheritance [£ but limited free access]: for The New York Review Fintan O’Toole looks forward.

Name the days [£ but limited free access]: a typically wonderful Marina Warner essay for LRB about saints and angels and Eliot Weinberger’s new study of them.

The Underground Railroad – “In Aeternum.”: there is no film or television project to which I’m looking forward more eagerly than Barry Jenkins’ adaptation for Amazon of Colson Whitehead’s great 2016 novel – and this latest trailer has only upped my anticipation:


  1. Tom May says:

    I feel a bit like this with my work-in-progress Play for Today spreadsheet! An ever expanding and never quite finite project.

    This has also included The Wednesday Play, The Play on One and Armchair Theatre/Cinema, and yesterday I added all Centre Play episodes and Second City Firsts. I am of course aware that it is going to need all the Sunday Night Theatre and First Night and similar things in there too in time… Plus those 1960/1961 ‘new plays’ you have been writing so interestingly about. And other non-stranded one offs!

  2. Tom May says:

    Re. The Luke McKernan post, of course.

  3. Of listing there can never be an end

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