Monday links

25th July 2016

A day late, I know, but here’s this week’s list of links to articles that I’ve found interesting or stimulating over the past seven days. Thanks as always to those who have pointed me towards some of them, via Twitter and in other ways, and apologies for the absence of appropriate name-checks.

Brexit blues: John Lanchester for LRB: thoughtful, not totally gloomy and completely essential.

Fences – a Brexit diary: Zadie Smith similarly has to be read, from the New York Review of Books.

The English revolt: and in a third vital contribution to the debate, the distinguished historian Robert Tombs takes the long view on Brexit, Euroscepticism and the future of the United Kingdom, for New Statesman – I don’t agree with all of this, but he makes a strong case.

• How ‘competitiveness’ became one of the great unquestioned virtues of contemporary culture: fascinating Will Davies article from 2014 re-published last week by Evonomics.

Donald Trump’s ghostwriter tells all: this is one scary article; Jane Mayer for The New Yorker speaks with Tony Schwartz, who wrote The Art of the Deal.

Trump’s appetite for destruction – how disastrous convention doomed GOP: terrific reportage from Cleveland by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

The Promise of Cinema – German Film Theory, 1907-1933: on the blog of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, Jan-Christopher Horak reviews what looks like an essential anthology of writings; there is also a valuable companion website (which includes the image above of Erich Mendelssohn’s “Universum” picture palace which opened in 1928).

39 Staircases: a terrific supercut of staircases in movies, from Room 237:

39 Staircases in the cinema from Room 237 on Vimeo.

Born on the 23rd of July: to mark his 69th birthday, David Bordwell rather wonderfully reflects on the films playing in Madison, Wisconsin, on the day that he was born…

A Touch of Zen prowling, scheming, flying: … and for The Criterion Collection, David Bordwell writes on King Hu’s 1971 masterpiece.

• The crazy, drug-fueled story behind one of Hollywood’s most notorious lost movies: Business Insider UK isn’t perhaps the obvious place to find an in-depth account by Jason Guerrasio of the making of Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie, 1971, but it’s a good read nonetheless and includes this glorious quote from Hopper:

It was one long sex-and-drugs orgy… Wherever you looked there were naked people out of their f—ing minds. But I wouldn’t say it got in the way. It helped us get the movie done. We might have been drug addicts but we were drug addicts with a work ethic… The drugs, the drink, the insane sex, they all fueled our creativity.

Jill Soloway’s new family: now this is weird – as Jason McBride reports for The New Yorker, the creator of Transparent is adapting for Amazon Prime Chris Kraus’ oddball cult memoir I Love Dick.

Sam Dunn, producer of Dissent and Disruption – Alan Clarke at the BBC: a MovieMail interview by James Oliver with the BFI producer responsible for the landmark DVD box set.

Nostalgia TV: Meghan Lewit for LA Review of Books.

• Happiness is a huge gun – Cold War thrillers and the modern nuclear deterrent: a very good New Statesman piece by Andrew Glazzard on Bond, Le Carré, Trident and more:

The Cold War spy thriller presciently suggests that true independence is an illusion. Britain may consume the most destructive weapons yet invented, but it can no longer produce them or deliver them without America’s industrial might.

How the BBC can create a better digital public sphere: Becky Hogge at OurBeeb.

• An art historical perspective on the Baton Rouge protest photo that went viral: An Xiao Mina and Ray Drainville for Hyperallergic on Jonathan Bachman’s photo of Ieshia Evans.

• Move over Merrie England… Shakespeare and architecture: Gavin Stamp for Apollo, linked to an exhibition at the Sir John Soane Museum, The Cloud-Capped Towers.

Olympic dreams: Luke McKernan looks back to 2012 and – tentatively – forward too.

• The unlikely tool filmmakers are using that many VR experiences lack: at The Creators’ Project, Catherine Chapman on VR, theatre and the NT’s Immersive Storytelling Studio.

Is Pokémon Go just the beginning?: good to get the thoughts on the phenomenon from University of Nottingham’s Prof. Steve Benford, with whom we worked many moons ago.

The spectacle of labor: for Reverse Shot Brendon Keogh reflects on the visuals of the Uncharted video game series.

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