Monthly Archives: October 2008

Portrait of the filmmaker (#2)

Julie Murray

21 October 2008

Ithaca, New York


The traveler

For me the camera is exactly like a pen. It can be used by the common person, or it can be used by Baudelaire to create a great poem. We have an Iranian saying that if you want to become a good writer, you just keep writing and writing and writing. So in response to the question of how to develop a good aesthetic vision, I can say that you have to keep seeing and seeing and seeing. – Abbas Kiarostami, as quoted in Adrian Martin’s article in 16:9

Scenes from the American economy

Feel free to add more in the comments section.

State of Play [TV]

Serial television seems to have made a comeback this decade, with at least one show of astonishing depth and resonance, The Wire, redefining the way I look at both TV and American cinema. Steven Soderbergh’s experimental, ambiguous, and as some have pointed out, Warholian K Street set the bar for sheer originality in a one season long serial. 

State of Play is a Blair-era, anti-corporatist BBC thriller, involving a British MP’s ties to a series of killings and the newspaper which unravels the sequence of events. The show unfolds like few Hollywood thrillers dare do anymore, which is play with expectations, dole out information as it sees fit, and have eccentric characters grounded in reality. As a six hour serial, State of Play deflates on occasion, where sidetracked plot devices threaten to destroy everything in its wake, only to rebound, revealing the show’s true strengths: the tremendous actors, a humanist script, and a paranoia about the present that remains unresolved. 

The show’s penultimate episode resolves its story not in catharsis but anguish and disgust, a conclusion so bloody bleak that the audience is called out for following the revelations like tabloid headlines. It’s television for those looking to escape for sure, but it’s a punch in the stomach to those looking for heroism in the 21st century.

Free Ken Jacobs

Some full-length and excerpted works by the great Ken Jacobs are available by Tank.Tv here for free. All titles will be kept online until November, so hurry!

Autumn hours

It appears as if I’ll be missing every major film festival this year, to my great upset. I hope to catch up with things such as Summer Hours, The Headless Woman, Che, Wendy and Lucy, Waltz With Bashir, etc. in the coming months or, unfortunately, years. It’s a tough time economically for most right now and finding a way to view all of these new works is secondary to immediate needs.