Here are some links to pieces of mine that are available online elsewhere, but not (yet) on this site, in chronological order, over the past six or seven years. Many of them include various lists of their own. — J.R.
10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals (March 2006):
Ten Overlooked Noirs (April 2006):
A Dozen Eccentric Westerns (June 2006):
Ten Neglected Science Fiction Movies (August 2006):
Ten Overlooked Fantasy Films on TV (and Two That Should be Available) (October 2006):
A Dozen Undervalued Movie Satires (January 2007):
Eleven Treasures of Jazz Performance on DVD (April 2007):
18 Thrillers You Might Have Missed… (July 2007):
Ten Underappreciated John Ford Films (December 2007):
My Dozen Favorite Non-Region-1 Box Sets (June 2008):
My Dozen Favorite Non-Region-1 Single-disc DVDs (November 2008):
Trial and Era (on Jim McBride’s early films) (posted April 3, 2009):
The Consequences of Fame (on Roman Polanski’s arrest, posted Sept. 19, 2009):
Tony Tony Tony (on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, posted December 23, 2009):
Great 30s Movies on DVD (…and a few more that should be available) (February 2010):
Too Many Greats Ignored (on the Oscars, posted March 4, 2010):
http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/do-the-oscars-undermine-artistry/#jonathan… Read more »
At the suggestion of a reader, Philadelphia cinephile David Ortega, here is the ballot I submitted to DVD Beaver‘s poll late last year. Note: Sadly, the absence of any titles from the excellent U.K. label Masters of Cinema can probably be explained by the fact that this label stopped sending me any of its releases about nine months ago, after sending me all of its releases prior to that — a decision that I continue to find baffling. [P.S.: A couple of people have pointed out that, in fact, Park Row wasn’t released on Blu-Ray; it came out only on DVD. Sorry for this error. This is also available, by the way, from Masters of Cinema, but I haven’t included that version because I haven’t seen it — although Craig Keller was kind enough to send me a PDF of that edition’s excellent accompanying booklet.] — J.R.
Top 10 SD-DVD Releases OF 2012
(NOTE: Please ONLY DVD releases that are NOT available on Blu-ray!)
1.DANIÈLE HUILLET & JEAN-MARIE STRAUB, Volume 7 (Editions Montparnasse)
2. DRIVER X 4: THE LOST AND FOUND FILMS OF SARA DRIVER (filmswelike)
3. ECLIPSE SERIES 34: JEAN GRÉMILLON DURING THE OCCUPATION (Criterion)
4. POLISH CINEMA CLASSICS (Second Run)
5.… Read more »
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I can’t remember precisely when it was that I first met Elliott in Paris, but I’m sure it was in the early 70s, and I suspect it was the late Carlos Clarens, another Cinematheque regular, who introduced us, most likely after some Palais de Chaillot screening. It wasn’t much later when I discovered we were neighbors living a few blocks apart — me in a small, sunless flat on Rue Mazarine, Elliott in a large room stuffed with all sorts of arcane memorabilia at the Hotel de Verneuil on Rue de Verneuil. He was already a pack-rat then, especially when it came to his collection of clippings, and he continued to live that way years later when he eventually moved back to New York — first to a hotel on lower 5th Avenue, then to a roomy loft in Soho on West Broadway. It was a tragic moment for him when he had to move out of the latter place, leaving behind or giving up many of his treasured possessions (including, as I recall, a table once owned by Robert Ryan). And only a few days ago, at the Viennale, hearing about the ravages of Sandy on New York and environs, my friends and I were concerned about whether or not Elliott was okay.… Read more »
Written for the Second Run DVD of Pedro Costa’s Casa de Lava, released in the U.K. in 2012, and developed from separate articles in the Chicago Reader, November 15, 2007, and the Portuguese collection cem mil cigarros: OS FILMES DE PEDRO COSTA, edited by Ricardo Matos Cabo, Lisboa: Orfeu Negro, 2009. — J.R.
The cinema of Pedro Costa is populated not so much by characters in the literary sense as by raw, human essences — souls, if you will. This is a trait he shares with other masters of portraiture, including Robert Bresson, Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Demy, Alexander Dovzhenko, Carl Dreyer, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, and Jacques Tourneur. It’s not a religious predilection but rather a humanist, spiritual, and aesthetic tendency. What carries these mysterious souls, and us along with them, isn’t stories — though untold or partially told stories pervade all of Costa’s features. It’s fully realized moments, secular epiphanies.
Born in Lisbon in 1959, Costa grew up, by his own account, without much of a family. Speaking about O sangue, his first feature, he admitted that there was a personal aspect in his concentration on the incomplete family in that film “because I never really had a family.… Read more »
On October 14, 2012 I received the sad news from Pierre Bayle d’Autrange that his longtime partner Eduardo de Gregorio, also a longtime friend of mine (since 1973), died Saturday night at the St. Louis Hospital in Paris, not long after his 70th birthday.
I wrote the following for the festival catalogue of the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film in 2004, to accompany a retrospective of Eduardo’s films — as far as I know, the only such retrospective that was ever held. It is also reprinted — along with a short essay of the same length on Sara Driver (also the subject of a BAFICI retrospective that year)– in “Two Neglected Filmmakers,” a piece included in my most recent collection, Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia as well as here. — J.R.
Eduardo de Gregorio’s Dream Door
It must be a bummer to be an Argentinian writer and/or filmmaker and constantly get linked to Jorge Luis Borges. It must be especially hard if you’re Eduardo de Gregorio, whose first major screen credit is on an adaptation of “Theme of the Traitor and Hero” for Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 feature The Spider’s Strategm.
I don’t mean to question the credentials of de Gregorio as a onetime student of Borges — just the appropriateness of a too-narrow understanding to impose on a singular body of work that owes as much to cinematic references as to literary ones, and one that indeed juxtaposes the two almost as freely as it juxtaposes different languages and historical periods (while including all the cultural baggage that comes with each of them).… Read more »
This beautiful photograph, which I’m told has never been published before, was given to me by his maternal niece Rina Chakravarti in Toronto last night, at the Lightbox, shortly before I gave an introduction to a restored, gorgeous print of Ghatak’s 1960 masterpiece, The Cloud-Capped Star. It was taken taken in 1946 in Baikunthapur, Madhya Pradesh.
As one can (arguably) see from the photo below, of Niranjan Roy — the male lead of The Cloud-Capped Star, who plays the character Sanat — there’s a certain resemblance. [9-11-12]
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Please go to kickstarter.com/projects/1209470946/a-fuller-life/posts for details. — J.R. [8/20/12]
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Note: items followed by “(i)” have been reformatted and are also illustrated. (There are a few long reviews that appear on this site twice, once with illustrations and once without, although I’ve started to delete the non-illustrated duplications whenever I spot them.) For some strange reason, one of my long reviews, of both Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace and Trekkies, which appeared in the May 21, 1999 issue of the Chicago Reader under the title “Summer Camp,” didn’t make it onto either the Reader’s web site or my own until I recently copied it here. (I’ve also added another text missing from both sites, from the same year, on the four-hour Greed, which I already had in digital form because it was reprinted in my collection Essential Cinema.) Still missing from both sites is my brief ten best piece (actually, 20 best) for 2006, which appeared at some point in December 2006 or January 2007. If readers spot any errors here, I would welcome hearing about them, at jonathanrosenbaum at earthlink dot net.
Abigail’s Party, 1/10/92 (i)
The Abyss, 8/11/89 (i)
The Accidental Tourist, 1/13/89 (i)
The Accompanist, 1/28/94 (i)
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 3/4/94 (i)
The Actor, 4/11/97 (i)
An Actor’s Revenge, 6/3/88 (i)
The Adopted Son, 4/2/99 (i)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 3/17/89 (i)
The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl in 3-D, 6/10/05 (i)
Aerograd, 6/7/02 (i)
The Affair of the Necklace, 12/21/01 (i)
After the Sunset, 11/18/04 (i)
Against the Day (novel), 12/1/06 (i)
The Age of Innocence, 9/17/93 (i)
A.I.… Read more »
I was delighted to discover just now that the Raymond Durgnat web site — relaunched about half a year ago, and one of my favorite movie-related web sites (which, even better, includes a lot of material about things other than movies, including some rare poems), has been growing and expanding lately; see, especially, Articles, Poems, and Additional Resources and Links for some of the new additions. It’s also worth recalling that Ray’s pioneering A Mirror for England came out in a second edition late last year, with a new Introduction by Kevin Gough-Yates, his literary executor, and this was about a year after the publication of a second edition of A Long Hard Look at ‘Psycho’, with a new Introduction by Henry Miller. (May 21 update, wonderful news: Miller has also edited a superb Durgnat collection of previously uncollected pieces that the British Film Institute plans to bring out in December 2012.)…On the web site, I haven’t found any activity yet on the Forum, but I’m hoping that this will start to grow soon as well. [3/11/12]
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I’m terrible when it comes to dating cars from any period, especially during the early part of the 20th century. According to my memoir Moving Places: A Life at the Movies (1980), which I researched pretty thoroughly back in the late 1970s, “The Florence Princess, an $85,000 Opera House, [opened] triumphantly on Labor Day, September 1, 1919” (see pp. 180-181 in the book for more details). But according to this newspaper photo — which I don’t recall ever having seen before, posted by Betty Terry on “Remembering Florence” (a Facebook page) last November — it cost $40,000 more than that; and according to a news clipping that went with it (see below), which she posted about a week later, it opened, apparently in some other form, in 1925. An abiding mystery…but of course we can never get very far by believing what’s printed in newspapers, then or now, even when that’s all we have left. Because newspapers are largely generated and sustained by advertising, and it’s typically the job of advertising to make things sound brand-new even when they’re simply or merely upgraded. [1/16/2012]
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Written for the January/February 2012 Film Comment. — J.R.
(André Téchiné, France)
Téchiné’s best films (Wild Reeds, My Favorite Season, Thieves, Unforgivable) have two major signifying traits: all the characters are major fuck-ups, and the co-writer-director loves them all equally. Some of those in his latest film, set in and around Venice, include a macho novelist (André Dussollier), his flighty daughter (Mélanie Thierry), his real-estate agent and subsequent wife (Carole Bouquet), and one of her former lovers, a detective (an especially memorable Adriana Asti), whom he hires to go looking for his daughter. The multiple crisscrossed emotions and lives are every bit as intricately and beautifully plotted and tracked as those in Thieves.—Jonathan Rosenbaum… Read more »