DAILY | Adrian Martin on Figural Thinking (and More)
“What is cinema theory up to, behind our backs?”
Adrian Martin’s new book, Last Day Every Day: Figural Thinking from Auerbach and Kracauer to Agamben and Brenez, is now available as both a free download (PDF) and, for a quite reasonable $9, a trade paperback from Punctum Books, which begins its introduction with a couple of questions: “Where is film analysis at today? What is cinema theory up to, behind our backs? The field, as professionally defined (at least in the Anglo-American academic world), is presently divided between contextual historians who turn to broad formations of modernity, and stylistic connoisseurs who call for a return to old-fashioned things like authorial vision, tone, and mise en scène. But there are other, vital, inventive currents happening—in criticism, on the Internet, in small magazines, and renegade conferences everywhere—which we are not hearing much about in any official way. Last Day Every Day shines a light on one of these exciting new avenues.”
You can read the rest here, or, better yet, listen to a dramatic reading of it by Craig Keller (4’35″). So far, I’ve only had a chance to dip into the book, which runs just over 30 pages or so, but I can already tell that, while the central concept of the figure is going to take some grappling with (speaking just for myself, of course), the prose is bright and personable, a real delight.
More reading. “Several vintage [Jess] Francos have come out on Blu-ray and DVD lately, offering movies that, depending on your tolerance, will fall into the ‘good to know’ or ‘too much information’ category,” writes Dennis Harvey in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. “[T]he House of Franco provokes wary fascination—like the contents of a hoarder’s home, it may seem a reeking pile of junk at first glance, but with gas mask and gloves on you will eventually uncover interesting artifacts of a unique life lived deep in the nether-realms of Eurotrash genre cinema.”
An Italian Horror Blogathon has begun today at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies; it’s on through Halloween.
New York. “Pulp-infused psychological realism separates the best films competing at the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) from traditional Bollywood cinema,” writes Simon Abrams in the Voice. “This year, a trio of compelling neo-noirs—Miss Lovely, Pune 52, and Akam—follow male protagonists who unsuccessfully attempt to fix their romantic problems by projecting their insecurities onto unattainable femme fatales. The fact that none of the films’ leading men can make their good intentions speak louder than their obsessive, self-destructive actions suggests a level of self-awareness largely absent from contemporary Bollywood, where no romantic problem can’t be solved by family.”
Silver Spring, Maryland. Halloween on Screen rolls on at the AFI Silver through November 4.
Berlin. The 7th Porn Film Festival Berlin opens today and runs through Sunday.
In the works. The BFI‘s announced that Clio Barnard (The Arbor) has completed principle photography on her second feature: “Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about two teenage boys who get caught up in the world of copper theft.”
Once James Cameron wraps work on the second and third sequels to Avatar, both currently in preproduction, he’ll direct an adaption of Taylor Stevens’s 2011 novel The Informist, reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming. The story “centers on Vanessa ‘Michael’ Munroe, an information specialist whose work is in-demand by corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. When a Texas oil billionaire hires her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood. Betrayed, cut off from civilization and left for dead, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.”
Johnny Depp may take the lead in Transcendence, the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, primarily known for his work with Christopher Nolan. Ethan Anderton has the story at FirstShowing.
For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily on Twitter and/or the RSS feed. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at fandor.com/daily. And just for fun, we’re tumbling, too.