The most conspicuous absence in the following list of “the ten best films directed by women” requested by the BBC is Elaine May; clearly I should have included either Mikey and Nicky or The Heartbreak Kid.
BBC: The best films directed by women:
1.The House is Black (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1963)
2. The Enchanted Desna (Yulia Solntseva, 1964)
3. Mix-up ou Meli-melo (Françoise Romand, 1986)
4. Vagabond (Agnès Varda, 1985)
5. The Asthenic Syndrome (Kira Muratova, 1989)
6. Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989)
7. From the Other Side (Chantal Akerman, 2002)
8. You Are Not I (Sara Driver, 1981)
9. Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)
10. Aragane (Kaori Oda, 2015)
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The following is an edited transcript of remarks delivered by Jonathan Rosenbaum at High Concept Laboratories in Chicago on June 5, 2014. Mr. Rosenbaum and the other two panelists were asked to respond to The Point’s issue 8 editorial on the new humanities.
I’m the odd person out in this gathering because I’m not an academic, although I teach periodically in various, most often relatively unacademic, situations. And plus, I could be described as a failed academic. Before I came to Chicago I was teaching for four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, but prior to that I actually began my failed academic career in the U.S. where Robert Pippin had his background, at UC San Diego. And in between I was an adjunct at NYU at the School of Visual Arts, etc.
My academic background, actually, was in English. I was an English major as an undergraduate and in graduate school I did everything but a dissertation in English and American literature. But then I went to Europe and ended up being a journalist. And the reason why is that I had reached the point of alienation in graduate school where I was actually making a point of reading college outlines rather than the literary texts because I didn’t want them ruined—I wanted to read them in my own time, whereas what they needed in terms of my papers could better be fulfilled by reading the college outlines than by actually reading the texts.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (July 1, 1992). — J.R.
There’s apparently something about Hasidic Jews that makes normally talented and reasonable filmmakers — David Mamet in Homicide, screenwriter Robert J. Avrech (Body Double) and director Sidney Lumet here — turn otherwise straightforward thrillers into harebrained hootfests. The best that can be said for this movie, which stars Melanie Griffith as an underground cop who lives with the Hasidim of Brooklyn while trying to solve the murder of a jewel merchant, is that apart from the talents of Griffith and Eric Thal (who plays a young Hasidic Jew she mildly flirts with) it has some educational value as a form of exposition about a fascinating subculture. The worst is that most of the other actors (and characters for that matter) get bent out of shape while trying to conform to the contours of the dotty plot. With John Pankow, Tracy Pollan, Lee Richardson, Mia Sara, Jamey Sheridan, Burtt Harris, and a lot of quotes from the cabala. (JR)
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