Sunday links

31st May 2020

John Wyver writes: another list of links from lockdown, with my thanks once more to those on my Twitter timeline who have prompted many of them. These are some of the articles and videos and more that I have enjoyed and been engaged by over the past week.

Taking lessons from a bloody masterpiece: I was very taken by this New York Times interactive essay by Jason Farago and producers Gabriel Gianordoli and Alicia DeSantis – combining commentary with an innovative exploration of Thomas Eakins’ great 1875 painting ‘The Gross Clinic’ (Philadelphia Museum of Art, detail above, full painting below), it offers both stimulating ideas and a revelatory form of online close looking.

CoviDiaries – Finding the printed past in Neville Brody’s lockdown London: for Print, the influential designer posts a delightful group of reflections and images about pens, print and ‘this gift of time and space’.

Lockdown Culture: Marty muses wonderfully on being alone, on Hitchcock and more…

How I fell in and out of love with Middle East cinema: a careful and cautious love letter to film by the Egyptian film critic and programmer Joseph Fahim:

What eventually drew me back to cinema, what reignited that child-like wonder inside me, was the one thing that lockdown no longer contains: intimacy, humanity, and the unbridled act of creation. It’s there in the parting glances of Mizoguchi’s ravishingly sad heroines; in the valedictory embraces of Sirk’s ill-fated lovers; and of Abdel-Wahab and Salem’s jubilantly choreographed family gatherings.

Abruptly altered horizons: Julian Hanich on cinema, Dunkirk, 9/11 and Covid-19, and how ‘the way spectators perceive filmic space and character behavior has changed dramatically’.

• The real futuristic art and locations Kubrick found for A Clockwork Orange: a somewhat nerdy but nonetheless really interesting video by CinemaTyler for

• Stepping out – on watching women walk: brilliant from Imogen Sara Smith for Criterion.

• The art of persuasion: on Gilberto Perez’s The Eloquent Screen: A Rhetoric of Film: rhetorician Lanie Presswood for LA Review of Books on why the late scholars final volume is ‘a compelling account of how identification and narrative function within a film to direct thoughts and feelings in viewers’.

Notes on film criticism (iv): at Laugh Motel, Cristina Álvarez López on the varieties of a critic’s voice.

Scenes from a movie theatre: I love this montage by @DanceronFilm (whose Twitter feed I also adore) of shots of cinemas from 137 films.

The International Television Federation, 1960-68: a wonderful new website from Transdiffusion about Intertel, a little-known programme initiative of Associated-Rediffusion, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and National Educational Television in the States.

• Come on and zoom-zoom: David Kamp for The New Yorker on the WGBH kids television series Zoom that premiered in 1971.

The BBC is failing its journalists with a lack of clear direction: Roger Mosey for the New Statesman.

• History from below, looking up: aerial theatre, emotion and modernity: an extraordinarily rich Twitter thread from Brett Holman…

The fast life of Bobby Featherstonhaugh: Richard Williams with a lovely tribute to the saxophonist who toured Britain in 1932 with the band of Louis Armstrong and two years later ‘drove a Maserati to victory in the GP d’Albi’.

The pillage of India: for New York Review of Books, Christopher de Bellaigue on important new histories by William Dalrymple and Shashi Tharoor.

‘Things fall apart’ – the apocalyptic appeal of WB Yeats’s The Second Coming: a fascinating contribution to the Guardian by Dorian Lynskey about the afterlife of Yeats’s poem.

Maigret’s room: John Lanchester is just great on George Simenon for the LRB.

Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift: an engrossing ‘virtual view’ of New York MoMA’s exhibition of modern Latin American art.

Richard Sadler – looking back on 35 years: Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre remembers the remarkable photographer who documented so much of its life – the 1974 image of Lynda La Plante as Lady Godiva is quite something.

Atget’s Paris, 100 years later: more visual invention from The New York Times in this glorious feature in which photographer Mauricio Lima seeks out empty places (thanks to Covid-19) that Eugène Atget pictured a century ago; with words by Adam Nossiter – here’s one example, of the Rue des Ursins:

A brief ramble past Chanctonbury Rings and the unsettled countryside: Alex Gallacher for folk radio on music and film inspired by the deep strangeness of deep England.

The most mendacious President in history: I felt I couldn’t quite ignore the hideousness of T**** this past week (and past years of course also), and Susan Glasser is very good for The New Yorker on Twitter and why it, and he, are getting worse:

Seeing Trump’s falsehoods as foibles is folly. Trump’s lies are a feature, not a bug, of his Presidency and, indeed, of his entire public persona. His promotion of a sinister alternate reality divorced from facts is not an aberration that can be corrected. 

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