Labors of love can be executed well or badly, and one of the many pleasures of this new book from McFarland — quite apart from the fact that its author, Ben Davis, interviewed me at some length for it (full disclosure), and quotes me accurately — is that it’s done so well. This is above all a work of social history, and because the 34 years that it covers includes all of my own extended sojourns in Manhattan and environs (in particular, 1961-1963, 1966-1969, 1978-1983), I can vouch for its accuracy as well as its success in evoking a now-vanished film culture without ever succumbing to the distortions of nostalgia. (I was interviewed mainly about my adventures in programming at the Carnegie Hall Cinema and the Bleecker Street Cinema, thanks to the support and assistance of Jackie Raynal and Sid Geffen.) The fine selection of photographs also helps a lot — although, thanks to the vagaries of the Internet, only one of these (the first) is posted below. [5/25/17]
Monthly Archives: May 2017
Written for the Carlotta box set release of Out 1, and reprinted here with their permission. — J.R.
Out 1 and Its Double
[Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz] causes earache the first time through, especially for those new to Coleman’s music. The second time, its cacophony lessens and its complex balances and counter-balances begin to take effect. The third time, layer upon layer of pleasing configurations — rhythmic, melodic, contrapuntal, tonal — becomes visible. The fourth or fifth listening, one swims readily along, about ten feet down, breathing the music like air.
— Whitney Balliett, “Abstract,” in Dinosaurs in the Morning
If there is something comforting — religious, if you want — about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.
— Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
In the spring of 1970, Jacques Rivette shot about thirty hours of improvisation with over three dozen actors in 16mm. Out of this massive and extremely open-ended material emerged two films, both of which contrive to subvert the traditional moviegoing experience at its roots. Out 1, lasting twelve hours and forty minutes, structured as an eight-part serial, originally subtitled Noli me tangere, that was designed for but refused by French television, was screened publicly only once (at Le Havre, 9-10 September 1971), still in workprint form.… Read more »