Yearly Archives: 2014

Mr. Deejay Pays a Visit (a chapter from an unpublished novel)

The novel in question, my third and last to date, The Best of Brand X, was written in New York and Paris in the late 1960s and early 70s. My first two novels, also unpublished, written successively in high school (The Manufactured Country, 1961) and college (Away from Here, 1965), were both partially autobiographical family chronicles that mainly juggled with the same characters and materials; the third was more experimental and abstract but no less personal. — J.R. 

 

Mr. Deejay Pays a Visit

Mr. Deejay has a long way to go. Straight through a bumper crop of twenty thousand of his listeners -– all of them senior citizens of the lower and middle income brackets, planted in the hot Texas ground up to their necks, each bearing a set of earphones that enclose their gravestone faces like parentheses. A long, long way to go past nurses with medical carts and trays on the narrow paths dividing the twenty thousand heads into neat rows, carry a hand-mike with him as he chatters compulsively against the midsummer heat: “Hot piece-a weather we’re havin, 96 degrees and cloudless sky here on Havingford Acres, givin these people some cool hot-weather music with lemonade, iced tea and all the best medication to see that they look up at the day and smile, my name’s Mr.… Read more »

Out 1 Solitaire

mubi.com/notebook/posts/out-1-solitaire

The following “messages” were sent to Kevin B. Lee as part of the preparatory work for our video Out 1 Solitaire: Part of the impact of Out 1 derives from the way
mubi.com|By Jonathan Rosenbaum and Kevin B. Lee
[09/30/14]
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Recommended Reading: The Periphery

 

© 2014 Justin Kingsley Bean, "Outer Edge"

© 2014 Justin Kingsley Bean, “Outer Edge”

I’ve never met or communicated with Philip Conklin, who turns 24 today. But his girlfriend, Katrina Santos, wrote me about a week ago, telling me about their new online magazine The Periphery and his birthday and proposing that I write him about one of his essays and offer some feedback and advice. I’m not sure if I can offer any advice, because he seems to be doing pretty well on his own without my mentoring, but I would like to call attention to three of his film pieces that I especially like, and to The Periphery more generally, which seems well worth checking out:

http://www.theperipherymag.com/filmgoing-in-the-internet-age

http://www.theperipherymag.com/modern-times

http://www.theperipherymag.com/the-grand-budapest-hotel

I’m sure that there’s more here to discover and enjoy, so consider the above just a sampler. [7/24/14]… Read more »

Venom And Eternity

From the Chicago Reader (March 7, 1996). — J.R.

Venomandeternity

venom-and-eternity

It’s a contradiction in terms to speak of a classic avant-garde film — especially one that aims at both extreme provocation and innovation — but this rarely screened masterpiece (1951) by Jean-Isidore Isou, poet and founder of the French Lettrist movement, qualifies if anything does. Beginning, like a book, with a catalog of all the previous works by the same author, it proceeds with a lengthy account of an impassioned theoretical debate following a Paris cine-club screening, then with a love story of sorts, but the film’s narrative and dialogue are recounted almost entirely offscreen, in voice-overs; what we see is the hero walking in Paris’s Left Bank in the early 50s, eventually followed by other kinds of shots that are sometimes viewed upside down and often scratched over in various ways, making this partially an animated film. Though some of the rhetoric is dated (mainly a misogynistic rant or two, and some anti-jazz invective as objectionable as Theodor Adorno’s), the direct address to the audience via titles and commentary couldn’t be more pointed, and the passion of the whole enterprise is often breathtaking. As an indication of how influential this movie was and is in France, the last sequence of Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep (see separate listing) would be unthinkable without its example.… Read more »

Recommended Reading & Viewing (with qualms, 4/24/14)

 Directory of World Cinema Belgium

In today’s mail: Directory of World Cinema: Belgium, edited by Marcelline Block and Jeremi Szaniawski. Bristol, UK/Chicago, USA: Intellect Books, 332 pp., $31.95 from Amazon.

Nightfall

Discovered today on the Internet (at YouTube): 17 films by James Benning: five shorts (Two Cabins, Short Story, Two Faces, Postscript, Youtube) and a dozen features (Twenty Cigarettes, Ten Skies, One Way Boogie Woogie, Easy Rider, The War, Faces, After Warhol, Small Roads, Nightfall [see above photo], BNSF, casting a glance, Stemple Pass).  

In both cases, untold riches. Just for starters, the book offers countless reviews and essays by 38 contributors exploring multiple facets of a neglected subject, the first detailed account I know in English of all the features of André Delvaux, fascinating interviews with Chantal Akerman and Boris Lehman (including the former’s description of The Misfits as “a documentary about Marilyn Monroe undergoing a depression” and the “extremely accurate, just relationship” between people and space in John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath), reflections on Jean-Claude Van Damme and “Belgium as Cinematic ‘Non-space’”. The Benning bounty includes five film that I’ve already seen and a dozen more that I haven’t .Read more »